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Old 11-30-2008, 11:18 PM   #61
Pelikan
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I'm building one of these and something I discovered is that many of those old transformers (cell phone plugs or whatever your using) are not the voltage they claim they output. I've found them above and below ratings. The first one I tried claimed 10V but my multimeter said 15.4. I'm afraid I'll burn a fan with that.
They all rate higher when they don't have a load on them. The 12 volt one I'm using reads about 19.5; the 9 volt 15 and change, etc etc. They're designed to pump at the rated voltage under load.
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Old 12-20-2008, 03:59 AM   #62
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Is it possible to glue the HD magnets together if the break? haha.

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Old 12-21-2008, 02:06 PM   #63
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Is it possible to glue the HD magnets together if the break? haha.
I gave up trying on that endeavor. I also found that the HD magnets, while free, were more of a pain to deal with - trying to get them to not interfere with the fan rotation, getting them centerd/ballanced properly, etc.

I found some magnets in either the 'crafts' or 'hobbies' section of Hobby Lobby. They have several sizes that are rated a 10 (on a 1-10 scale) for strength...and they are 3.99 per pack. The large ones you get one or two magnets per pack, and the small ones you get more. I bought the medium size magnets, around 1/4" diameter, and they came six to a pack. I used four magnets for my stirplate, and they just stuck on their own to the 3 metal washer I glued to the fan.

I can try to get pics for anyone, if it is needed. But I think you'll just have to futz with your fan, magnets, and washer combinations until you getting it working. After all, that's part of the fun opf DIY, isn't it?

Hope that helps and Maerry Christmas,
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Old 12-21-2008, 05:36 PM   #64
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Look on ebay for rare earth magnets. There is a kajillion to choose from and they are all relatively cheap, you can get like 20 of them for 5 or 6 bucks.

Also, I found some computer cooling fan speed controllers on there for the same price. You just plug the fan into the controller and the controller into the power source. The same as here but less cutting and splicing I assume. I found some cooling fans also for just a few dollars. I think you could spend about 20 bucks or so and have a pretty professional looking result.

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Old 12-21-2008, 06:03 PM   #65
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not sure I understand the need for the vortex to run to the bottom of the flask. All you need to do is keep the wort moving in the flask, right? I have (3) 2L erlemyer flasks to make starters in (all I use is light DME and water) -I've been just making the starters, and agitating the hell out of the mini-wort, and pitching yeast in it, putting the airlock on and letting it sit (every day, once a day, I'd shake the flask a good couple of throws or so, and after 3 days, would draw off most of the water from the yeast cake in the flask, then shake it vigorously to get it in suspension (with what little fluid I had left in the flask) and pitch it into my newly made wort in the fermenter, and I've had good success with it. But saw this thread on DIY stir plates and figured I could get even better results with my yeast starter.
I'll definately have to try making these for my flasks.

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Old 12-21-2008, 10:14 PM   #66
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not sure I understand the need for the vortex to run to the bottom of the flask. All you need to do is keep the wort moving in the flask, right?
The main purpose of a stir plate is not so much to stir the wort, as getting the mix supersaturated with O2. In this sense, having the vortex run to the bottom is ideal, as when it hits the bottom it sends an explosion of bubbles through the wort.

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I have (3) 2L erlemyer flasks to make starters in (all I use is light DME and water) -I've been just making the starters, and agitating the hell out of the mini-wort, and pitching yeast in it, putting the airlock on and letting it sit (every day, once a day, I'd shake the flask a good couple of throws or so, and after 3 days, would draw off most of the water from the yeast cake in the flask, then shake it vigorously to get it in suspension (with what little fluid I had left in the flask) and pitch it into my newly made wort in the fermenter, and I've had good success with it. But saw this thread on DIY stir plates and figured I could get even better results with my yeast starter.
I'll definately have to try making these for my flasks.
Although what you're doing will probably result in the bare minimum cell counts required, your best bet is to mock up a stir plate and use a 1 liter starter. You'll get at least double the cell counts as with your shaken 2-liters. This is because yeast uses O2 in its reproductive phase. Thus, your cell counts are more or less limited by how much oxygen you have in there at any given time.

Just stir plate it for about two days, then pitch the whole 1-liter solution. A lot of the higher attenuating, more vigorous yeast remain in solution, and (IMHO) when you decant you lose these guys.
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Old 12-21-2008, 10:48 PM   #67
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I gave up trying on that endeavor. I also found that the HD magnets, while free, were more of a pain to deal with - trying to get them to not interfere with the fan rotation, getting them centerd/ballanced properly, etc.

I found some magnets in either the 'crafts' or 'hobbies' section of Hobby Lobby. They have several sizes that are rated a 10 (on a 1-10 scale) for strength...and they are 3.99 per pack. The large ones you get one or two magnets per pack, and the small ones you get more. I bought the medium size magnets, around 1/4" diameter, and they came six to a pack. I used four magnets for my stirplate, and they just stuck on their own to the 3 metal washer I glued to the fan.

I can try to get pics for anyone, if it is needed. But I think you'll just have to futz with your fan, magnets, and washer combinations until you getting it working. After all, that's part of the fun opf DIY, isn't it?

Hope that helps and Maerry Christmas,
I can see why. I had the two magnets on the garage floor when i seperated them from the hd mounting tabs, and they decided to go see each other. Broke them both.

I managed to glue them together, using both magnets. Got them mounted on the fan pretty centered. Need to get an enclosure and mount it all up. Wife ordered me the yeast starter kit from NB, just waiting for that stuff to arrive so I can try it out!
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Old 12-22-2008, 08:42 AM   #68
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Pelikan. - Thanks for the info.
So just to get it straight, you recommend a couple of days on the stir plate, with a vortex that (preferably) hits the bottom (stir-bar, anyway) and this is WITH the yeast in the wort (so I'm making these little buggers dizzy, but happy -kind of like when I hit the tap a little too much after a long week of work -a little lightheaded, but plenty happy).
Ok, well, looks like I have a nice DIY project to add to the list (next weekend, anyway). Fortunately I have a few dead 'drives that have been doing 'paper-holder' duty, and if I dig around in the closet I know I have a couple of old computer power supplies (for fans, though one of 'em may still be functional and therefore able to provide voltage for all three stirrers.... ).
Guess I'll hit NB later and order up stir bars of various sizes to figure out which works best with my rigs, and order the proper bar.
I love a project that isn't beyond my capabilities, and this one will be entirely beneficial (and probably drive the dogs a little nuts, which is usually pretty fun too -doesn't hurt to have a slightly warped sense of humor, and mine is about as warped as it gets).
Keep the yeast happy, and that makes for better beer -which is ALWAYS a laudable goal.

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GOT BEER?
FERMENTING:
LAGERING/CONDITIONING:Simply Sweet Mead
Kegged: Big Bad Brown Ale (Brown Ale and Porter blend).
Bottled:

Plans: Oak-Smoked Porter, Honey Brown Ale.

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Originally Posted by Jaybird View Post
we do it for the love of beer! Not for the love of money! We can all make great BEER! Not so much when it comes to money!
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Old 12-22-2008, 09:08 AM   #69
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Pelikan. - Thanks for the info.
So just to get it straight, you recommend a couple of days on the stir plate, with a vortex that (preferably) hits the bottom (stir-bar, anyway) and this is WITH the yeast in the wort (so I'm making these little buggers dizzy, but happy -kind of like when I hit the tap a little too much after a long week of work -a little lightheaded, but plenty happy).
Exactly

40 hours is the ideal plate time, but anywhere between 36 and 48 should be fine in practice.

Quote:
Ok, well, looks like I have a nice DIY project to add to the list (next weekend, anyway). Fortunately I have a few dead 'drives that have been doing 'paper-holder' duty, and if I dig around in the closet I know I have a couple of old computer power supplies (for fans, though one of 'em may still be functional and therefore able to provide voltage for all three stirrers.... ).
I don't know that I've ever seen a plate powered by comp power supply, but it will most definitely work (and will be especially convenient if you're powering more than one, as you intimate). Just make sure you're able to install that 25ohm Radio Shack rheostat between the power supply and the individual plates, so that you can adjust the power as needed.

I used a 12 volt "wall wort" transformer for mine. A lot of guys recommended a 6 volt...I bought one and it had nowhere near the juice I needed. So I went around the house and started wiring up the ones I could find. As far as I'm concerned, 9 volts is the minimum for a serious stir plate, 12 volts = ideal. As long as you have the magnetic power to hold the bar in place, you can run as much juice through the fan as you want. For a fan, I'm using one from an Intel CPU cooler. Everyone's talking about insulating the fan magnetically with a washer, etc etc...I just glued the magnets right onto the plastic of the fan hub, and the thing rips. I think it's really a matter of finding the right fan for the job.

Quote:
Guess I'll hit NB later and order up stir bars of various sizes to figure out which works best with my rigs, and order the proper bar.
Bear in mind that the length of your magnets needs to be equal to or longer when compared to the length of your bars...otherwise, it won't work. Just measure your magnets, and that will tell you what you can use in terms of bar length. If you're going with a 1-liter starter (which is really as big as it needs to be), the 1" bars are just fine. The photo I posted of the 1-liter starter with the vortex to the bottom uses a 1" bar. But that very same plate will throw a 1.5" or 2" bar, because they're too long for the magnets.

Quote:
I love a project that isn't beyond my capabilities, and this one will be entirely beneficial (and probably drive the dogs a little nuts, which is usually pretty fun too -doesn't hurt to have a slightly warped sense of humor, and mine is about as warped as it gets).
Keep the yeast happy, and that makes for better beer -which is ALWAYS a laudable goal.
For sure. I was a little discouraged early on, because I couldn't get the plate to work the way I wanted it to (not powerful enough). But it seems everyone was recommending magnets/power supplies that didn't provide enough juice. Once I went with two magnets and a full voltage (12v) transformer, the thing did exactly what I wanted it to.

Also, one important tid bit: with a stir plate, you need to have gas exchange. In other words, you can't put a stopper on these. Just a loose fitting cap of tin foil...get a square of foil 6"x6" and crimp it over the top...then pull the corners out a bit so it's snug but not super tight. This will prevent nasties from floating down into your starter, but will also permit copious gas exchange (which is what you want and need with a plate).

And another nugget for your consideration: The distance between the magnets and the flask has a very real and significant impact on the overall performance of the plate...so you may have to fool with the fan's position a bit before it's right. But the more magnetic/electric power you have running through it, the more leeway you have in terms of mounting.
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Old 12-27-2008, 06:48 PM   #70
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great post, and thank you kindly... i have a question about this fan i salvaged form an ancient tower. its got 3 wires coming out of it: red, black and white... if red is the juice and black is the ground, whats the white one for and what should i do with it assuming i can make it work with this setup?

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