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Old 06-04-2012, 09:34 PM   #1
xrattiracer
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Default Arduino controlled fermentation chamber

Yes, my first post on homebrewtalk is about the fermentation chamber I have been building
I have all of 2 brews under my belt, but I dont have a place with stable temperature and I love gadgets so hence this build. Also been wanting to use an Arduino for something, and this seemed perfect.
As an overview, I enclosed a stainless steel cart from Ikea with insulation and installed a peltier module. There are several reasons I went with this method.
1) Needs to be portable. My house is very small and the fermentation chamber normally lives in the spare bedroom, but needs to be able to be moved elsewhere if that room is needed.
2) Needs to be small. Kinda goes along with the above, but also necessitates the peltier module as there is not enough room for a compressor and associated plumbing.
3) Needs to be able to easily switch from heating to cooling. The climate here generally stays pretty close to fermentation temps, so there are times of the year when it will need to cool during the day and heat during the night. The peltier setup makes this easy.
4) Needs to be able to be monitored and controlled remotely. Because I can, mostly
Parts used, mostly sourced off ebay:
Ikea Flytta stainless steel cart.
1.5" styrofoam for insulation, with plywood walls.
Arduino mega with ethernet shield.
400 watt peltier module.
12v @ 36 amp switching power supply.
box of misc large heatsinks.
25 amp h-bridge controller.
DS18B20 OneWire digital temperature sensors.
Ikea Dioder LED strips (hey, it needs light inside, right?).

The physical built is complete, however I am having problems cooling the hot side heatsink with the weak fans I have, so I have some much stronger ones on order. If that still doesnt work, I will water cool the external side. And until I can get that under control, I can't start experimenting with PID control.
I have plenty more pictures, but this should get it started

img_20120528_161732.jpg   img_20120528_150626.jpg   img_20120513_135720.jpg   img_20120604_130603.jpg  
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Old 06-04-2012, 11:05 PM   #2
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Curious: Why use an Arduino Mega and not a regular arduino? Just what you had on hand?

Really neat, though. I used a fridge with some bad control parts for my arduino-controlled fermentation chamber/kegerator, which was a lot simpler to implement.

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Old 06-04-2012, 11:14 PM   #3
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I wanted to get a mega just to play with mostly. It will probably get swapped out with one of the smaller ones eventually.

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Old 06-04-2012, 11:51 PM   #4
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Very cool. What kind of H-Bridge controller are you using? I've been meaning to do something like this for a while, but every time I go onto digikey to pick out mosfets my eyes kind of glaze over.

(I've got one of the old NuCool fridges, but I've been thinking of bypassing the controller to do both heat and cool in terms like this.)

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Old 06-05-2012, 12:02 AM   #5
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Hi

I think you will need something that looks more like the blower on a forced air furnace and some ducting to get the heat off of your heat sink.

Bob

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Old 06-05-2012, 12:07 AM   #6
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malfet, I got the h-bridge off ebay, but its the simple-h from robotpower.com

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Old 06-07-2012, 06:32 PM   #7
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Well the new (extremely loud) fan has the heatsink temperature under control, but I am not terribly happy with the maximum temperature differential i am getting.

capture3.jpg  
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Old 06-07-2012, 06:44 PM   #8
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I'm having a hard time reading the numbers on the image you uploaded. What kind of temperature differential are you getting?

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Old 06-07-2012, 07:17 PM   #9
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hmm, i am rather unimpressed with the photo gallery here, it resizes stuff down to useless levels and wont show the original image...
the yellow line (interior temperature) is just touching the 60F line on the right.
green (exterior ambient temp) is about 73F.
red (hot side heatsink temp) is about 78F.
it made it down to 58 or so after awhile at full power, and running it at 50% power it is holding 63F.
temp rises back up pretty quickly when turning the power off so I am wondering if there isnt enough insulation. I would think that 1.5" of styrofoam would be plenty (I dont recall the exact R value).
this may turn out to be an expensive exercise in futility...

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Old 06-07-2012, 07:26 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xrattiracer View Post
hmm, i am rather unimpressed with the photo gallery here, it resizes stuff down to useless levels and wont show the original image...
the yellow line (interior temperature) is just touching the 60F line on the right.
green (exterior ambient temp) is about 73F.
red (hot side heatsink temp) is about 78F.
it made it down to 58 or so after awhile at full power, and running it at 50% power it is holding 63F.
temp rises back up pretty quickly when turning the power off so I am wondering if there isnt enough insulation. I would think that 1.5" of styrofoam would be plenty (I dont recall the exact R value).
this may turn out to be an expensive exercise in futility...
Something's not working right...I'm not sure the power on my system, but it's two peltiers and four 60mm fans for a grand total of 130W. I get about 40ºF differential without much difficulty.
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