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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Brew Stands > automated brew system help
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Old 06-21-2011, 06:41 AM   #1
Cantaloupe
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Default automated brew system help

Before reading this forum until I go blind, I need to know if an automated brutus type system is something I can build without killing myself. My DIY background is fairly basic. I can weld ok, the only things I've ever wired are fans and sockets, the only things I've ever plumbed are sinks and irrigation lines. I also have access to an electrician who might be able to assist in the control panel somewhat if I lay out what I want. I've read about the Honeywell Y8610U system with the intermittent pilot. It seems pretty straightforward, but like most things it's always straightforward until you are doing it. So if the more experienced builders out there can let me know I can do it with basic skills and attention to detail, I'll go for it. Any direction to places where I might find more step by step directions on both the burners and control panel builds would be great. Cheers.

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Old 06-21-2011, 07:17 AM   #2
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Are you looking to go direct fired to your mash tun? If I were you, which I'm not, I would look into getting some PID controllers from ebay. The sellers name is coldfusionx. They are chinese but ship from California. Use one of those and make yourself a RIMS tube instead of direct fire for your mash tun. Less chance of scorched wort or grains. There is an advertiser on the boards called Front Panel Designer. You can design your control panel and they will cnc cut it for you. There are many, many threads on building such a system. If you use the search function, you won't have to read but a few different threads to really get an idea of what you are in for.

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Old 06-21-2011, 02:06 PM   #3
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I was thinking direct fired HLT with pumps for HERMS.

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Old 06-21-2011, 02:16 PM   #4
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Well, alright then. 2 pid controllers for your HERMS and a third for your HLT

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Old 06-21-2011, 04:21 PM   #5
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Well, alright then. 2 pid controllers for your HERMS and a third for your HLT
Why are so many PID controllers required? couldnt you just use one to maintain the temperature at the output of the HERMS coil by adjusting temperature in the HLT (say by electric drop in heat stick) and continuously pump through the coil during the entire mash?
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Old 06-21-2011, 05:08 PM   #6
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I would use 1 pid on the output of the MLT to cotrol the pump for the hot water through the heat exchanger to your wort. One PID to control the temp in the boiler vessel of the HERMS unit. And one PID for the HLT. Oh yeah, and add a fourth for your boil kettle if you want to go all electric/

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Old 06-21-2011, 06:30 PM   #7
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I just finished building a prototype control panel for automating my ghetto HERMS. I have a direct fired HLT ,one pump, and a stir mechanism to keep the water in the HLT moving. My electrical skills aren't a whole lot above what you describe having, and I was able to put this together pretty easily. It consists of two cheap aquarium temperature controllers along with a few switches, outlets, and a box I had laying around. The top controller reads the mash temp and turns the pump on and off as desired, or it can be switched to manual to recirculate continuously. The bottom controller reads the HLT temp and turns the burner on and off, but can also be switched to manual mode. Even though there's a GFCI recep right next to where I brew, the control panel also has a GFCI built in so I can take it elsewhere if I want. I plan on re-building the panel with a few upgrades as time and money allow, primarily a larger enclosure and twist lock receptacles. To make it fully functional I still need to convert the HLT burner to low pressure and buy/install the gas valve (already have the pilot light).

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Old 06-21-2011, 07:42 PM   #8
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What part of CA are you in? If you are near OC, I can show you the details of my system. I think seeing other systems first hand really helps in the thought process of laying out your own system.

There are pictures in the links in my sig.

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Old 06-21-2011, 08:08 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JuanMoore View Post
I just finished building a prototype control panel for automating my ghetto HERMS. I have a direct fired HLT ,one pump, and a stir mechanism to keep the water in the HLT moving. My electrical skills aren't a whole lot above what you describe having, and I was able to put this together pretty easily. It consists of two cheap aquarium temperature controllers along with a few switches, outlets, and a box I had laying around. The top controller reads the mash temp and turns the pump on and off as desired, or it can be switched to manual to recirculate continuously. The bottom controller reads the HLT temp and turns the burner on and off, but can also be switched to manual mode. Even though there's a GFCI recep right next to where I brew, the control panel also has a GFCI built in so I can take it elsewhere if I want. I plan on re-building the panel with a few upgrades as time and money allow, primarily a larger enclosure and twist lock receptacles. To make it fully functional I still need to convert the HLT burner to low pressure and buy/install the gas valve (already have the pilot light).

Nice looking panel!

Side note, I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who says "Screw rulers and squares, I'm eyeballing this sumbitch."
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Old 06-21-2011, 09:26 PM   #10
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Dude that a nice looking panel.

JonW thanks for the offer. I live in the central valley so I am a ways away. I think I may give this a try and see I can get it to work. Reading all of these posts really helps and it doesnt appear i need an engineering degree to get this done in a basic way. I do have access to an electrician for some advice on wiring. I was thinking of just a honeywell system with intermittent pilot based on kladues posts, one pump and a stainless coil wort chiller in the HLT for recirculating. I guess I'll need a step down transformer from 120 to 24. Are auber pid temp controllers the only option with that gas valve and if not are they more complicated to set up? I'll do a little more homework on the switches etc I will need. Anyone have any good links for control panel boxes that are splash resistant? Any other advice and dos and donts on a system like this would be great? Also is an adjustable burner really necessary? Cheers.

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