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Old 11-14-2013, 04:43 PM   #1
thefost
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Default Planning out my automated 10G electric brewery

I've been brewing for about 5 months now using propane, and a couple days ago I realized that there are 3 20A electrical sockets on separate circuits near my apt garage. So, the only logical thing to do is to build a fully automated electric brewery

At the bottom of the page you will see my preliminary plan in picture form. I am planning on using a BCS-460+expansion or BCS-462. It seems like the easiest option, but if something about my setup requires the brewtroller I'd be fine with switching.

I would be super grateful for any input on why this will or will not work, and how I can improve my plan to make it simpler or cheaper.

According to my picture the BCS will be connected to
5 1500 watt heating elements (1xHLT (own), 1xMLT, 3xBK)
2 Cheap Pumps (P38I on ebay, own 1)
1 Chugger pump (own)
3 Temp Probes
1 Sump Pump (own)
2 Solenoid Ball Valves
1 Float Valves (maybe an extra one or two for redundancy)

Goals
Automate everything except Dough-In, Transferring Wort to Carboy, and hop additions
Keep It Cheap
Can do hop rests
Very accurate, near perfect repeatability

Extended Goals
Self cleaning cycle
Step Mashing (not sure if 1500W element is gonna cut it)
Able to run two cycles at once (can begin second beer in mash tun while first beer is still in BK)

Brew Day Step by Step List:

1) Add initial water to MLT and HLT (calculated from beersmilt) abnd use elements to heat the water up to the correct temperature
2) Manually dough In

Begin BCS-460 program, every following step is now automated

3) Use RIMS tube to to raise mash temp and hold temp while recirculating wort though fly sparge (60 min)
4) Raise temp for mashout (20 min)
5) Open MLT Mechanical Ball Valve which will begin gravity draining the MLT
6) Turn on Pump 1 to begin fly sparging (60 min)
7) Pump one turns off once water level reaches HLT float valve, ending fly sparge
8) HLT and MLT heating elements turn off, three BK heating elements now turn on
9) A half hour later the wort should all be transfered to the BK.
10) BCS-460 sends me a text message the wort is near boil and its time for hop addition
11) I add hops and press a button to begin boil program
12) I continue to get text messages when its time for hop additions
13) Chugger pump turns on near end of boil to sanitize plate chiller and beigin whirlpooling
14) Boil is complete, elements turn off
15) Garden hose solenoid opens, sending water through plate chiller
16) Garden hose solenoid closes at 180 degrees for hop rest for 20 minutes
17) Garden hose solenoid opens again
18) At 70ish degrees garden hose turns off and I transfer wort to carboy


Purchase List
BCS-462
8 Relay Module,Board, for 8051, PIC Project, 12V
DC 12V Electric Mini Water Pump 103 GPH (P-38I)
Stainless Float Valve
1/2" MPT 4" long BCS-460/462 Temperature Sensor
18" Rims Tube Kit
Plate chiller with wingnuts and inline probe assembly
1/2'' SS304 Valve--12V Motorized Valve TFCWX CR02 NPT
Packard C240B Packard Contactor 2 Pole 40 Amps 120 Coil Voltage



Update 11/21/13 - Added schematics, added purchase list









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Old 11-14-2013, 06:46 PM   #2
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Biggest issue is going to be power. You may have 3 separate outlets but do you have 3 separate circuits? A 1500w element running at 120v is going to need 12.5 amps. You could run 3 at a time if each of thos outlets had their own circuit which seems very unlikely and if all of those outlets are on 1 circuit you would only be able to run 1 1500w element at a time and that's not going to cut it.



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Old 11-14-2013, 06:57 PM   #3
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Default Circuits

Thanks TNugent, yeah they are on 3 seperate circuits. Two of them are in my garage and one is at my patio 70ish feet away, so I can just use an extension cord for that one. I played around with the breaker box to confirm they are definitely separate.

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Old 11-14-2013, 07:01 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thefost View Post
Thanks TNugent, yeah they are on 3 seperate circuits. Two of them are in my garage and one is at my patio 70ish feet away, so I can just use an extension cord for that one. I played around with the breaker box to confirm they are definitely separate.
Very nice, at first glance it seems doable then.

Only concern may be the use of an electric element inside an Igloo cooler. Not sure I've seen that done and what could be done to aleviate concerns regarding grounding, etc.

Back to back batches may be challenging also but you may be able to drop your BK down to 2 elements once the boil gets rolling and then you could use that 3rd circuit to start heating up your strike water.
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Old 11-14-2013, 07:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TNugent View Post

Only concern may be the use of an electric element inside an Igloo cooler. Not sure I've seen that done and what could be done to aleviate concerns regarding grounding, etc.
Thats actually something that I already have working right now. I just soldered the ground wire to the element's base, haven't electrocuted myself yet (knocks on wood).

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Originally Posted by TNugent View Post
Back to back batches may be challenging also but you may be able to drop your BK down to 2 elements once the boil gets rolling and then you could use that 3rd circuit to start heating up your strike water
I'm hoping that is the case. I'm not yet familiar enough with the BCS-460 so I wasn't sure if it could even begin a second cycle while the first one is still running.
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Old 11-15-2013, 02:42 PM   #6
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I'm hoping that is the case. I'm not yet familiar enough with the BCS-460 so I wasn't sure if it could even begin a second cycle while the first one is still running.
I'm using a BCS-460 to run heating & two pumps for a 3 vessel system with manual valve changes. Having separate processes set up for Heat Strike, Heat Sparge, Mash and Boil allows me to be boiling with 5500Watts while starting to heat the next strike water with 2000Watts in the MLT w/RIMS at the same time as heating the next sparge water with 1375 watts in HLT.

Each process may start the next in sequence if desired.
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Old 11-16-2013, 07:22 PM   #7
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I'm using a BCS-460 to run heating & two pumps for a 3 vessel system with manual valve changes. Having separate processes set up for Heat Strike, Heat Sparge, Mash and Boil allows me to be boiling with 5500Watts while starting to heat the next strike water with 2000Watts in the MLT w/RIMS at the same time as heating the next sparge water with 1375 watts in HLT.

Each process may start the next in sequence if desired.
Great, that's exactly what I was hoping for.

Well, without any objections, I guess its time to start assembling a schematic
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Old 11-18-2013, 08:56 PM   #8
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1500W for the HLT seems a bit weak especially if you are going to do 10 gallon batches. May take a long time to heat to strike/sparge temps.

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Old 11-19-2013, 12:09 PM   #9
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1500W for the HLT seems a bit weak especially if you are going to do 10 gallon batches. May take a long time to heat to strike/sparge temps.
I agree with crane, 1500W is low to heat strike and sparge water together for a 10 gallon batch, would take well over three hours.

I have found it useful to heat the sparge water in the HLT with a 5500W element at 1/4 power while heating the strike water in the MLT/RIMS with a 2000W element. If I start them both at the same time the sparge water has an extra hour to come up to temperature while mashing.
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Old 11-19-2013, 04:00 PM   #10
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I agree with crane, 1500W is low to heat strike and sparge water together for a 10 gallon batch, would take well over three hours.

I have found it useful to heat the sparge water in the HLT with a 5500W element at 1/4 power while heating the strike water in the MLT/RIMS with a 2000W element. If I start them both at the same time the sparge water has an extra hour to come up to temperature while mashing.
Good call, that's exactly what I'll do. I ran a test with ten gallons in my HLT and with 1500W it continuously raises 10 gallons 1 degree every 1 minute. So, for my largest 10 gallon batch, I guess I'd have about 7 gallons in the MLT and 7 in the HLT. Raising the water from 70F to 170F in the MLT should take roughly 70 minutes then, which isn't too bad.

Worst case scenario if I'm in a rush I can split the strike water in the HLT and MLT, cutting the strike water heat time in half, then add my sparge water to the HLT and in 70 minutes it'll be ready to go just in time.

Well after staring at my drawing for a few days I decided its too complex. I really don't want that grant. Its another thing to clean, and I wouldn't be surprised if those float switches get stuck at some point. That means I either need to pump directly from the MLT to BK and find a flow switch to turn off my MLT pump when its dry, or I need to gravity drain the MLT.

I can't find a good flow switch (a used gems fs-380 is close but it doesn't have a .1gpm version) so I'm probably gonna go gravity. If anyone know of a good flow switch I'd love the input.


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