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Old 12-01-2011, 07:24 PM   #1
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Default Why are controllers so expensive?

Ok.. I am no miser, I have much more expensive hobbies than brewing but I am pretty blown away to the cost of going "off the shelf" electric...

One of the cheapest options seems to be the stuff high gravity are selling but can anyone explain what makes this box:
EBC II with Infinite Power Control - High Gravity

so expensive?

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Old 12-01-2011, 07:29 PM   #2
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Because there aren't many commercial offerings so they can charge that much, mostly.

Time to DIY!

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Old 12-01-2011, 07:38 PM   #3
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Did you peek inside??

I see a fan to cool the unit, some wires, a Solid State Relay, and a PWM circuit. The PWM circuit looks like it's homebrewed on a breadboard. Not even a printed circuit board.

Honestly, it's about a $60 list of parts, maybe less. There are several threads on here that show you how to do the same thing yourself and save $$$$$$$.

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Old 12-01-2011, 07:40 PM   #4
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I am thinking about doing just that... just doing the risk benefit.. and yes I did look at the inside pic and that is exactly what prompted my question!

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Old 12-01-2011, 07:44 PM   #5
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Out of interest does anyone just bypass the controller expense, just to begin with?
ie if I got two of these:
Heating Element - 4500 Watt SS - High Gravity
One for the HLT one for the kettle, would just plugging into the wall (once I get a GFCI put in) work?

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Old 12-01-2011, 07:52 PM   #6
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My guess is that by the time you build it yourself you will save $50. You will be amazed how fast the cost of parts adds up. The only way to save money on something like this is to do a bad job building it (i.e., not using proper components or safety measures). That said, you would probably save $50ish.

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Old 12-01-2011, 08:15 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclogenesis View Post
Out of interest does anyone just bypass the controller expense, just to begin with?
ie if I got two of these:
Heating Element - 4500 Watt SS - High Gravity
One for the HLT one for the kettle, would just plugging into the wall (once I get a GFCI put in) work?
"For 5 - 10 gallon batches in a 15 gallon kettle, fine power control like that provided by the EBC II is recommended, or the evaporation rate will exceed 20% per hour."

I'd be a bit leery of pulling that in and out of the socket to control it being on or off. Maybe think about installing a 30A disconnect along with the GFCI.
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Old 12-01-2011, 08:19 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boerderij_Kabouter View Post
My guess is that by the time you build it yourself you will save $50. You will be amazed how fast the cost of parts adds up. The only way to save money on something like this is to do a bad job building it (i.e., not using proper components or safety measures). That said, you would probably save $50ish.
I can't speak for everyone else but I saved a hell of a lot more than $50. Plus, building it yourself is a lot of fun!
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Old 12-01-2011, 08:30 PM   #9
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Its just my experience. I have built a silly amount of homebrew equipment and while DIY does save money, unless you do a chincy job, the savings are no where near what many claim. I recognize many will come out of the woodwork with the 'but I built my whole setup for $5' argument, but it just isn't true. When comparing apples to apples, these systems just cost a bunch, no matter how you slice it.

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Old 12-01-2011, 08:34 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyclogenesis
Out of interest does anyone just bypass the controller expense, just to begin with?
ie if I got two of these:
Heating Element - 4500 Watt SS - High Gravity
One for the HLT one for the kettle, would just plugging into the wall (once I get a GFCI put in) work?
I just plug my 5500 HLT into a GFCI spa panel and heat her up to about 200 degrees. I use my herims to keep mash temps and to mashout.

I switch it over to a 3800 boil kettle and let it rip- my system uses converted sankes without insulation.

No controls other than the 50a breaker... Haven't got around to building a control panel yet (although I've had the parts for > 7 years). I've made about 20 all grain 12 gallon batches this year using the electric system.

I had been planning to go electric for quite some time- finally stumbled on the soldering SS thread. My delay was welding the fittings, finally just soldered them...works great.

Especially sine I was brewing w/ LP indoors for the last 12 years! I love the electric!
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