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Old 01-26-2013, 07:01 AM   #1
austinb
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Default Will the cheap ebay aquarium thermostat work with flexwatt?

So I have a fermentation temperature dilemma. I recently moved into a new house that really has no closet space for fermenting my beer and my wife definitely does not like having the carboys sitting in the living room with towels over them to keep the light out. The house does have a basement though which would be a great place to store the carboys except that the temperature down there is about 52-56F at this time of year. I will have to try a lager down there soon but for ales that is just too cold.

I thought about the aquarium heater in a bucket idea but with 10 gallon batches split into 2 carboys and 2 more carboys with aging sour beer in them it isn't the most effective method of temperature control. I also looked into just getting 4 fermwraps but at $30 a piece I don't think I could convince my non beer drinking wife to let me do that right now.

So I think the DIY fermwrap using 12" flexwatt heat tape from reptile basics is the way to go. However, their thermostats are spendy. I was wondering if anyone has used the cheap ebay aquarium thermostats (the gray and orange ones) as a thermostat for flexwatt tape or if it was even a compatible thermostat? I like the idea of being able to set it to a specific temperature rather than having to find the sweet spot on a dial thermostat. If they are compatible I was thinking of picking up a couple of them because two of the thermostats and 8ft of flexwatt comes out to about half the price of 4 fermwraps. I was thinking since with 10 gallon batches I will always have 2 carboys of the same thing with the same temperature requirements I could set the two carboys next to each other and snake 4ft of flexwatt around the two of them in an "S" shape so that they both are mostly wrapped by the flexwatt. Basically I would have 2 double length fermwraps with this method.

Please let me know what you guys think and if you have an easier or an even more cost effective method.

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Old 01-26-2013, 07:18 AM   #2
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Don't know fermwrap, but if it has a plug on the end, it should work with a DIY ST1000 theromostat.

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Old 01-26-2013, 07:26 AM   #3
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Flexwatt basically has two metal strips that you can either solder wires to or get clips that attach the wires and that technically can be plugged directly into an outlet but you will have no temp control.

The cheap ebay aquarium thermostats I know have been used to make a diy chest freezer ferm chamber controller like the already assembled ranco ones. My guess is that there is some way to wire them to work with flexwatt but I wanted to double check because I don't know a whole lot about electronics (I did manage my DIY stir plate though).

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Don't know fermwrap, but if it has a plug on the end, it should work with a DIY ST1000 theromostat.
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:44 PM   #4
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I ve done it and it worked fine. I use the ferm wrap type product from Reptile Basics. With a ferm wrap, you can use a much smaller temp delta than with a fridge (you shouldn't turn a fridge compressor on and off quickly). I've used 0.2C... I also adjusted the delay pretty low.

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Old 01-26-2013, 12:49 PM   #5
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I ve done it and it worked fine. I use the ferm wrap type product from Reptile Basics. With a ferm wrap, you can use a much smaller temp delta than with a fridge (you shouldn't turn a fridge compressor on and off quickly). I've used 2C... I also adjusted the delay pretty low.
2 deg C is a pretty big delta for ferm control. I'd do 0.5 deg C or smaller for fermenting.
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Old 01-26-2013, 12:53 PM   #6
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You right! I meant 0.2C for the ferm wrap. I will go back and edit my post.

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