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Old 05-07-2013, 12:02 AM   #1
knokep
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Default Help Choosing Temperature Controllers for New eHerms

Hello All

I'm in the design stages of a new home brewery. It will be a single tier 3 vessel e-herms with propane fired BK sized for 5 gallon batches.

Temperature control of the HLT will be with a water heater element sized for 15a/120V service (strike/sparge water will be heated via boil kettle and temperature maintained in HLT hence small heating element.) Ideally the heating element will be plugged into a typical outlet which is powered by temperature controller of some type (discrete on/off control)

Temperature control of MT will be via circulation of work through HX coil in HLT. The pump will be plugged into an outlet powered by temperature controller (discrete on/off control).

I'm very comfortable in the mechanical fabrication of this system, but I'm shaky on the instrumentation and electrical part and am hoping you all could lend me your expertise.

What is neccessary equipment wise to control HLT temperature as described?

What is neccessary equipment to control MT temperature as described?

What flaws are there in this control strategy, how can it be improved?


I appreciate any help in advance.

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Old 05-10-2013, 08:09 PM   #2
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I am also interested in this!

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Old 05-12-2013, 01:49 PM   #3
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Why the split gas/electric setup? Most often brewers who go electric do so with the boil kettle as well.

Kal

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Old 05-12-2013, 02:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kal View Post
Why the split gas/electric setup? Most often brewers who go electric do so with the boil kettle as well.

Kal
A 120v 15A system like us described wouldn't have enough power to effectively boil 5gal, not in any reasonable time frame, anyhow.
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Old 05-13-2013, 04:13 PM   #5
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Subscribed. I have many of the same questions. Funny how this information is not easy to distill from all of the exchanges on this forum. Part of it, I think, is that I need to see and touch these things and then I'll "get it."

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Old 05-15-2013, 10:15 PM   #6
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I too am in the middle of a similar build, so I am by no means an expert/qualified to give an answer, but it's the interwebs so I'll do so anyways :-)

I literally just ordered the following parts 30 minutes ago for my controller

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?ma...&products_id=3

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?ma...&products_id=9

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?ma...roducts_id=249

I could have saved money going with a thermocouple instead of RTD, but I like how this fits into the 3-way pipe joint, that will be the easiest way to integrate this into my system. I also could have save $10 by going with the controller that only shows one temp at a time, but I want to be able to see both my set point and process point temps

From what I've read the Love TS and TS2 controllers are also perfectly suited for controlling a single 1500W heating element. They do not require the SSR, but I've read that the PID is better at 'learning' the nuances of a specific system and adjusting accordingly.

I do see one major difference in your plan vs. mine... I plan on pumping my mash through the HX continuously during the mash, in my head I think you'll see more dramatic temperature swings if you're turning the pump on and off, but I could be very wrong as well...

I also bought one of the cheap Chinese pumps, I plan on using it to recirculate the water in my HLT, I think that will help keep everything at a more uniform temp as well... More info on the pump is here:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/chea...t-pump-375904/

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Old 05-17-2013, 04:18 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kal View Post
Why the split gas/electric setup? Most often brewers who go electric do so with the boil kettle as well.

Kal
I don't have the neccessary electric service for an entire electric set up. I feel that temperature control via electric heating provides fewer headaches than automating a gas fired HLT/MT hence the hybrid design.

Kal - I would like to thank you for your website, it's very well laid out and helps to clearly walk a person through the build process.

I was also intially planning on a cheap and cheerful conversion to automation, but have since let my inner engineer go crazy and am in the process of a BCS 462 design to eventually automate all but grain addition. The tough part being how to do so in a stepwise fashion to allow for continued brewing through the process.
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Old 05-17-2013, 04:22 PM   #8
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My first HERMS used an A419 digital controller with a super long temperature probe that when through the lid of the HLT. I had it hooked up to a 1500 w element.

It took 90 minutes to come up to strike temperatures, but if you're heading the water with gas anyway that shouldn't matter. It'll easily hold any temperature you want once you get it heated up.

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Old 05-17-2013, 04:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jersh View Post

I could have saved money going with a thermocouple instead of RTD, but I like how this fits into the 3-way pipe joint, that will be the easiest way to integrate this into my system. I also could have save $10 by going with the controller that only shows one temp at a time, but I want to be able to see both my set point and process point temps

From what I've read the Love TS and TS2 controllers are also perfectly suited for controlling a single 1500W heating element. They do not require the SSR, but I've read that the PID is better at 'learning' the nuances of a specific system and adjusting accordingly.

I do see one major difference in your plan vs. mine... I plan on pumping my mash through the HX continuously during the mash, in my head I think you'll see more dramatic temperature swings if you're turning the pump on and off, but I could be very wrong as well...

I also bought one of the cheap Chinese pumps, I plan on using it to recirculate the water in my HLT, I think that will help keep everything at a more uniform temp as well... More info on the pump is here:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/chea...t-pump-375904/
It's great that you're getting started!!

I believe PID to be the way to go for heating, the ability to tune the temperature loop should reduce mash flucuations.

I agree with contious mash recirculation. Since my intial post I've made some large changes to my proposed plan. Eventually the my mash recirculation loop will contain a 3way solonoid valve to direct flow through the HLT or back into the mash tun. I believe steady mixing of mash should help maintain an even temp profile.

I've studied those inexpensive pumps as well. My intial plan involved them, but I'm not worried that with the addition of numerous automated valves and associated flow restrictions., the small pumps will not produce enough volume.
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