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Old 10-14-2012, 03:24 PM   #71
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Quick update!!!
A close freind fabbed me an 17.5X12.0X8.0 electronics enclosure. He made it from 20 Ga cold rolled sheet and spot welded all the corners. He then made a top the fits perfectly and secures down to the lip on the box at all 4 corners. He also installed a rolled edge false bottom to allow the surface components to not protrude through the back of the enclosure. The plan is 2- 60 MM cooling fans, 2 Power supplies (5VDC & 24 VDC), SSR's and PID's. all running through a 40 pin PICMicrochip 16f877A. Gonna have a fairly decent amount of working room for the electronics, electrics, Pneumatics and water controls. Pics to follow soon of the control build out.
Wheelchair Bob
I'm curious to know what you are doing with the PIC if you are also using PIDs. Why wouldn't you implement the PIDs with the PIC?
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Old 10-14-2012, 04:38 PM   #72
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My plan is to use the PIC as a logic control that will recieve info from the pids and send control outputs to relays and SSR's as needed. I am hoping that the ability to use the chip as a decision maker will enhance the repeatablility of my brews over time. As the system evolves I will need the PIC to open and close valves and turn on the pumps or control the flow rate in a IC for best results. As I learn more electronics I will add more automation so I went with a flash programable chip that can be reconfigured pretty easilly when it is time to make changes to the basic and advanced routines. Sound about right?
WCB

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Old 10-14-2012, 07:17 PM   #73
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So for the temperature control is the PIC going to simply decide what SSR to send the PID output to or is it going to try to do something more sophisticated? If its only acting as a switch that makes sense. Otherwise if you are trying to parse the duty cycle of the PIDs output and make decisions based on that then it doesn't make sense.

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Old 10-14-2012, 11:27 PM   #74
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Yes the pic will selesct the SSR to send the PID output to based on time, temp and stage of the process. It will also select the pump and circulate the steeping mash through a coil in the HT to maintain the mash temp and control the valves to direct the flow of water to all three vessels. I'm probably making it more complex than it really needs to be, but I am doing this as an experiment to apply the stuff I am learning in electronics to real world applications too. When I started teaching myself basic electronics I got involved in home brewing and decided to build a wheelchair freindly brewing rig that eliminates lifting and reduces or eliminates the need to stand to complete a batch of brew from start to finish. I also have incorporated several safety features that will be controlled through the chip also. Things like the system will not turn on unless the legs are fully extended and locked or a dry fired vesel preventative. Eventually I think I will go all electric, but for the time being I am using propane.
Wheelchair Bob

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Old 10-15-2012, 01:46 PM   #75
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I'm still a little confused about the PIC making decisions based off of temperature. For every temp sensor you have going to a PID are you going to have a second sensor at that same location going to the PIC?

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Old 10-15-2012, 06:33 PM   #76
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No I had planned to use the signal out from the PID to tell the PIC that the temp was in or out of range and start the timer for the boil based on reaching 212. I also have a safety interlock that will not allow any thing to turn on untill the legs are fully extended and locked and there is liquid present to prevent accidental dry firing a kettle. It will also drive the status LEDs to indicate what is on, what is off and which valves are opened and closed so I can determine the direction of flow in various parts of the system like the immersion chiller, and the RO boost pump. Now that I have an enclosure large enough to accomodate the control systems I can start drilling the holes and wiring it up, when I get over this issue I am having with my health again. It is really a pain right now till I get that back under control and better managed. Fluid overload is a huge drag.
Wheelchair Bob

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Old 10-17-2012, 01:03 AM   #77
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Hi

Yes indeed, this is a bit picky. Feel free to ignore the input.

I'd set your boil point sensor to something like 208 F to start the timer. It's "close enough", and takes care of things like slop in the calibration.

Bob

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Old 10-17-2012, 02:16 PM   #78
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Bob,
I really value all of the input you have given me so far. I started this project just blindly ordering parts that I thought might work together and have been refining the idea based on you input and questions. Without you input God knows what kind of non working monster I would have cobbled together and gotten frustrated along the way. My original plan is somewhat still the same. I want to create a wheelchair freindly tower that does not require the brewer to lift or stand during the entire process. I want all of the valves to be electronically controlled in the future to control all aspects of fluid from from coming into the system from the well to going out the tap into a glass. I want the Heat, strike, Sparge, Vorlauf, Lauter and boil to be controlled by a logic circuit that selects the correct valves and times all critical steps. It must be safe to prevent tip over and dry firing and must not allow unauhorized users to attempt to use it. That is whay I am attempting to integrate the PID's with the PIC's and drive the relay boards and the SSR's. The relay boards are to allow me to step up the voltage to operate the valve coils and the SSR's are to provide power that is already at or mear line voltage and AC. I am sure I have confused you and others since I have not drawn a logic flowsheet or circuit concept, but it all fits together in my head (which is a scary thought indeed). So don't hesitate to nit pick and ask questions because every time you have asked I have found a need to improve some aspect of the attempt to make it better or safer to operate.
Wheelchair Bob

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Old 10-17-2012, 05:48 PM   #79
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Yeah I am asking questions not only to try to understand your concept but also to see if there is something that doesn't make sense once you put your ideas into words.

I am still hung up on the idea of using both PIDs and a micro. The problem I see is that you have two guys trying to control one thing and I don't see how that can work unless you have fancy PIDs that can operate in a slave mode over RS232 or some other comm protocol.

Let's take bringing wort to boil as an example. I am assuming that you only have the output of the PID as an input to the PIC and no RS232 or anything else so all you know from the PID is whether you are at the set point or below it.
1. You set the PID to 208 or 212 to bring the wort up to temp.
2. The wort reaches temp and now you have to change the PID over to manual mode to throttle back the boil. The PIC knows its reached the set point temp and can sound an alarm and disable the output but you still need to manually configure the PID for the next step.

There are ways to work around this example but what if you want to do a step mash and don't want to change temp values on the PID at each step. If you got rid of the PIDs and implemented the temp control in the PIC you can now have a more automated system. Without doing this I don't see how you can avoid manual intervention in between each step of the process that PIDs are involved in.

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Old 10-18-2012, 12:15 AM   #80
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I see your point now. I don't mind the intervention too much, but I wuld like to have enough room to eliminate those kinds of intermediate steps in the future. I would love to build a system like Kladue with grain hoppers and all the gee whiz, but I am not that smart yet. Eventually I'l get there, but I wanted to start while I was still revved up so I would complete most of it pretty quickly and make improvements and upgrades from there. Thanks for all of the help and questions, they have really helped and made me think a little more in linear terms to complete each task.
Bob

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