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Old 12-18-2012, 12:30 AM   #1
Jebediahscooter
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Default automation noob...am I on the right track?

Hi all,

Been reading a ton of threads while planning a new system, and I think that I have a pretty good idea of what I want to do. Basically, it's going to be a two-vessel no-sparge setup with a direct-fired recirculating mash. I'll mash with the entire liquid volume needed to hit pre-boil target (or possibly mashing normally with a mashout big enough to hit the pre-boil volume), recirculate the entire time, and then run off my entire boil volume. I'd like to automate the mash temp control a la the Brutus method, and I've been trying to figure out what I need. I have zero DIY ability when it comes to electronics...I do have a friend who can help with that end of things, but he has zero brewing knowledge. I'd like to keep it as simple as possible...just the automated mash temp control and a switch for the pump in a simple control box, and I'll manually fire the BK. Please let me know if I'm on the right track:

1) A controller like this -- This will basically read the temperature from a probe and tell the burner when to turn on and off. Does this need an SSR? I think I've figured out what that is...the PID only makes the decision to fire the burner, and it tells the SSR to actually provide the electricity to the solenoid, right?

2) A thermocouple or RTD (haven't figured out the difference) like this to place in a tee on the MLT valve, for sending the PID the temperature of the wort on exit.

3) A solenoid valve like this -- So this will receive word from the PID to open, allowing gas to flow through the gas line to the burner, which will ignite once it reaches the pilot light (is that assembly included, or does it need to be purchased separately?). Another quick question: will this guy shut down automatically if it sense that the pilot light blows out?

4) Pump switch -- that's a pretty basic thing to wire in from what I understand.

Is that the basic setup? Anything I'm missing?

Also, another quick question: is it possible to set this up so the control box and electronics can be unplugged from the stand after brewing and taken inside? Stand might be sitting outside under a grill cover depending on where we might move.

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Old 12-18-2012, 03:05 AM   #2
ArtVandelay
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You're on the right track. I would however think about the auber 2372 that has a built in little SSR (although the one you linked to technically would work). SSRs can switch more often than a relay so gives a little more flexibility. However since you have a low amp draw solenoid you don't need a separate external SSR to switch something like an element.

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Old 12-19-2012, 02:21 PM   #3
Jebediahscooter
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Thank ya Art...I will look into that PID. Also read the Wikipedia article on PIDs last night, and though the math was boggling to me (history major here), I think I get the concept. One thing I learned led me to a question--does one tune these Auber PIDs with software? As I understood it, the three types of control (P, I, and D) need to be tuned so that they create stability in the system.

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