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Old 01-23-2009, 06:37 PM   #1
mdelany
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Default Help with homemade RIM idea

I was looking at a coffeemaker today and saw that it has a heating element. I ripped the coffeemaker apart (it was a very cheap one) and was wondering this...

Could I use this temp control?



Like the #7051, our Digital Temp Controller operates by overriding the internal thermostat in a refrigerator or freezer and gives the brewer greater control over the fermentation. Unlike the #7051, however, the digital controller has a digital display with adjustable differential. It can be used to heat or cool a fermentation environment - when hooked up to a refrigerator, it turns the compressor on when the ambient temperature rises above your programmed temperature; when hooked up to a heater, it activates when the temperature drops too low. A sensor probe monitors the temperature inside while the readout displays it in either Fahrenheit or Celsius. This is the ideal choice for lager brewers who include a diacetyl rest in their fermentations or for ales like altbier or Kolsch that require fermentation temperatures in the low end of the ale range.

Features a wide setpoint temperature range (-30° F to 220° F) and differential adjustment (1° F to 3° F). The temperature sensor is a 1.94 inch thermistor on an 8 foot cable.


The heating element is very simple, it's hooked up to a switch and wires running directly to the element. I didn't know if it was going to work or not.

Here is the heating element.



Basically I was going to have it recirculate like a normal RIMS setup. Comments would be greatly appreciated.

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Old 01-24-2009, 01:43 AM   #2
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I had the same exact idea last fall and I have a coffee maker to sacrifice under my sculpture right now. I even have the same controller. The only problem I can think of is if the A419 will respond fast enough not to burn the wort. I'm subscribing to this post and will lend a hand if I can.

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Old 01-24-2009, 02:00 AM   #3
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interesting idea here keep us posted how this works out.

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Old 01-24-2009, 02:34 AM   #4
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Yeah, I am hoping that it won't scorch the wort. I think it might be a low enough watt element to do that, but these things heat up very fast, within seconds.

Do you guys thing that the Digital Temp Controller will actually regulate the heat for the element? I was hoping that it would, because it would be a waste if it didn't.

I'll also need a pump to help recirculate the wort.

Thanks for the input, I will stay posted for more.

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Old 01-24-2009, 02:53 AM   #5
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It wont regulate the temp of the element itself... but it will turn it on and off based on the temp of the wort that is flowing past the element.

I dont think there is an effective way to control the actual temp of a resistance element, because you are talking fractions of a second.


Also, I am not sure what the watt rating is of these elements, but one thing to consider. It is not the total wattage of the element that you need to be concerned about when you start discussing scorching wort. It is the watts/square inch of surface area. I have a 5500W element that is ultra low watt density because it is folded over and rippled (VERY large heating area).

These elements look VERY small, so even a weak element 500-1000 watts, of this size, would have a large watts/square inch surface area ratio, making it a high watt density element and a concern for scorching.

Preliminary reasearch shows that you are looking at 1000W for a coffee maker... Id say that is a VERY high watt density element. If you are concerned about scorching wort, this element would be about as bad as you can get if it is nearly 1000W.

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Old 01-24-2009, 04:39 AM   #6
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Ok. I wanted to do step infusion mashing. Can somebody point me in the right direction for a recirculating system. I am mainly looking for a temp controller, heating element, and pump. Just a really simple setup. I already know what pump I'm going to get, I just need specs and possibly links on gear.

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Old 01-24-2009, 11:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mdelany View Post
Ok. I wanted to do step infusion mashing. Can somebody point me in the right direction for a recirculating system. I am mainly looking for a temp controller, heating element, and pump. Just a really simple setup. I already know what pump I'm going to get, I just need specs and possibly links on gear.
You said that you want to do step unfusion mashing, but that you want to recirculate. So I presume what you mean is that you do not want to do infusion steps, but want to do direct heat step mashing using a heating element, a RIMS.

My system, that I have multiple build threads posted on, is a typical HERMS. I used an electric HLT, a 25' copper coil, a 1500W element in the HLT and a JC A419 to control the temp of the HLT. I use a March pump to recirculate everything (basically the only pump that will do the job).

If you would like to build a RIMS, Id suggest getting a 4500W, 240VAC element at a hardware store, constructing a small (1.5" ID) tube in which to install the element and allow the wort to be pumped through the tube for heating, returning to the MLT. Youd probably be better off controlling it with a PID and SSR/heat sink combo, just because the PID is more intuitive than a typical on/off controller. Run the 240VAC element on 120VAC to make it ultra low watt density, and you are good to go.

4500W element (any hardware)
Rims heating tube (parts from any hardware)
PID (Auber Instruments online)
SSR/Heatsink (Auber Instruments online)
March Pump (Northern Brewer, Austin Homebrew Supply....)
NEMA electrical box for the controls (any hardware)

Do a search here for RIMS Build of HERMS build, you should get a plethera of information.
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Old 01-24-2009, 03:15 PM   #8
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Thank you, I appreciate it. I was considering doing the recirculating for a more fluid temp and also I heard you can achieve higher efficiency. Is this true?

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Old 01-24-2009, 03:31 PM   #9
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You can maintain a much more accurate temp with a heated recirculating system... but a cooler MLT will do a pretty good job alone.

I dont know if you recieve much better efficiency with a recircualting system. I think it has more to do with your process (sparging) and your grain crush. I used to get 80% without any recirculating, then it went down to 70% with my HERMS and a horrible LHBS crush.

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Old 01-24-2009, 04:54 PM   #10
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You could always use a household light dimmer to turn down the heating element too. Just make sure you get one big enough to handle the power the element draws. You could also get a smaller thermocouple so it responds faster to the wort temperature. What idea's did you have for a pump?

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