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Old 03-16-2010, 09:09 PM   #1
Schnitzengiggle
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Default electric brewing questions???

I am extremely interested in building an all electric Brutus 20 style brew system, however, I am fairly electronics dumb when it comes to automation.

My interest lies in a single tier 2 keggle system, I do not have a 240v supply available, but I may be willing to have an electrician come out and run a 240v line from my box to my backyard.

I really like the Simple Brewery design, and the 2P-Twent-E desings.

I currently brew 10 gallons the old fashioned way, picnic cooler MLT and a single 15 gallon pot w/1 burner.

I want to continue having the ability to brew both 5 and 10 gallon batches with an electric system. I also like the HERMs type coil for recircualtion and chilling.

Can someone explain exactly what a PID controls (I assume temps?) and SSRs (I assume turning the elements on and off via PID?)

I do not know anyone who has a brew rig, whether it be a direct fire, or electric let alone any type of automation.

I have read through many threads here including JKarps, Boerderij_Kabouter, and The Pol's, but still do not have a clear understanding of the electronics and automation.

I am fairly DIY oriented, and have access to family members who weld/fabricate, but do not have a great understanding of brewing electronics, so any help would be greatly appreciated as well as some suggestions, such as what you would have done differently on your electric systems.

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Old 03-16-2010, 10:08 PM   #2
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An SSR is basically a switch used to turn power on or off or duty cycle .

Basically, a PID works 2 ways...(1) set a target temp (auto mode), the PID will send a low voltage signal to the SSR to send power (switch power on) to the heating element UNTIL the target temp is reached, or (2) set percentage power (manual mode), this cycles the element on/off based on % (i.e. 50% manual power = 1 second on, 1 second off...25%= 0.5 seconds on, 1.5 seconds off).

Realistically there is more to it, but thats it in a nutshell.

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Old 03-16-2010, 10:38 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by illin8 View Post
An SSR is basically a switch used to turn power on or off or duty cycle .

Basically, a PID works 2 ways...(1) set a target temp (auto mode), the PID will send a low voltage signal to the SSR to send power (switch power on) to the heating element UNTIL the target temp is reached, or (2) set percentage power (manual mode), this cycles the element on/off based on % (i.e. 50% manual power = 1 second on, 1 second off...25%= 0.5 seconds on, 1.5 seconds off).

Realistically there is more to it, but thats it in a nutshell.
Thank you for that explanation, I assumed that since an SSR ia a relay it is a switch that controls the temps via PID, meaning PID tells the SSR when to cycle on and off according to the target temp.

So if my logic is correct, then I must have assumed correctly.
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Old 03-16-2010, 10:44 PM   #4
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You are correct...it sends low voltage current to the SSR to power the element on and off based on your input parameters (temp). Some PIDs also have fuzzy logic built in that 'learn' how the mass you are heating is reacting and compensates to prevent over/under shooting of temps...I could be wrong on that though

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Old 03-17-2010, 02:06 AM   #5
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In a nutshell a PID reads the information from the thermocouple or RTD sensor, or runs in Manual Mode (based on % of power), and pulses the SSR on/off, the SSR in turn pulses the heating element on/off.

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Old 03-17-2010, 02:34 AM   #6
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I built a CB20 clone system and the PID controller is only important for two parts of the two vessel brewing system: 1) hitting strike temp and 2) hitting mash-out temp. After those two points in the brew process, you boil at 100% on the PID. Hitting strike temp with a PID even requires a bit of finesse because of temp loss in the MLT. If you want to get your feet wet with electric so to speak, I would put an element in your BK and buy a march pump if you don't have one already. You could heat to strike temp in your BK, pump up to your existing MLT, mash, heat your recirculation water in your BK to 185 or so, then recirculate with the pump and gravity feed back to your BK for your mash-out. If you like the system, then you can always add a PID controller at a later point to hit your strike temp and mash out temps easier. Only problem with this advice is that your best best with a 15g pot is to install a 240v 5500w ripp element. You could brew 5g and 10g batches. So you probably have to have a 240v line put in.

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