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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Temp Controllers
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Old 08-20-2008, 01:47 AM   #1
memphomaniac
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Default Temp Controllers

I'm a noob and haven't brewed my first batch yet (well, since starting again after almost a decade). I'm having fun collecting equipment, though. I've read some threads on here that have discussed various temp controllers, but I thought I would ask about my specific situation. I have found two Sanyo 4912s on CL. I want to use one as a kegerator eventually and the other as lagerator or a fermenting cabinet. Which temp controller would be good? Someone suggested the Ranco on eBay, and I've read about the Love and seen the Johnson (that's what she said). I'm not so good at wiring, but I suppose I could learn. Any thoughts?

If there's a good thread on here I'm missing, I apologize and please direct me to it.

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Old 08-20-2008, 01:51 AM   #2
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The ranco's are nice because all you have to do it plug in the fridge and you are set. That would be the best way to go. I have a love controller and really like it because for $50 it is digital and has some nice extra features. You can control how warm you let the temp get before turning back on (dead band) and can adjust for any temp differences.

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Old 08-20-2008, 02:01 AM   #3
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I think it really depends on how involved you want to get with it. The love's look like nice controllers, but you will need to make your own container for them. Also I'm not sure if they come with a temp probe or if you have to buy that separate.

For ease of use both the Ranco and Johnson will work great and if you only plan on using it for cooling then you will only need a single stage. I went with a Ranco 2 stage that I wired myself for my fermenting fridge so I can add a heat source in the winter since it's in the garage.

http://www.rancoetc.com/ Here is a site with decent prices on the Ranco's that you can get pre-wired. Wiring a single stage isn't very difficult. The 2 stage was a pain forme due the the lack of room to fit the extra wiring in. I got it done though and it works great

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Old 08-20-2008, 03:11 AM   #4
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The love controller comes with a temp probe.

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Old 08-20-2008, 04:51 AM   #5
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i recently purchased a Johnson A19ABC-4C analog controller, and hvae yet to decoide what i think of it...

dont worry about wiring, you can know nothing about wiring and figure it out. there is alot of help available on this forum and on google. just remember that a closed circuit equals power on, open circuit equals power off and you should be all set.

as for the johnson 419-abc... well it cost $24 so i should not complain. but it is is analog, with a pretty significant temp range... if i remember right the literature says 3 degrees F, though i have yet to fully test it... (a 3 degree range means if i set the controller at 64 degrees F it does not kick on until it sense 67 degrees and it does not turn off until it sense 61 degrees).

I bought this with the intent to use a free freezer as a fermentation chamber, but having installed it i am not sure. maintaining a steady fermentation temp is important. 7 degrees is a really wide swing. hell, 4 degrees is a wide swing. so now i am debating whether or not to trust a brew in there, or to use it for conditioning.

THE POINT being - digital temp controllers, with a 1 degree differential, will serve you much better than the analog equivalents with a 3 degree or more differential. maybe someone will chime in proving me wrong, which is almost an expected occurrence at this point, but I would say that if the wallet allows it, go digital, and don't worry about the wiring... if you buy a model that need to be wired you will find plenty of help... PM half of the folk on this site and they will give you a helping hand, myself included....

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Old 08-20-2008, 05:23 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Choguy03 View Post
The love controller comes with a temp probe.
Cool. I have wondered about that, but not enough to check for myself. I will probably look into one of those if I ever need to buy another.
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Old 08-20-2008, 08:00 AM   #7
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I use two Johnsons, (That just sounds sooo wrong).
But I have to admit the Love controllers look really good, and seem to meet all requirements for a home brewer. I'm thinking of getting one for my kegerator and keeping the current controller as a backup for my fermentation fridge and/or kegerator.

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Old 08-20-2008, 08:15 AM   #8
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I have seen people use gang boxes for thier loves. use a block plate on one side and power outlet on the other. also you can pick up project boxes at radioshack for cheap. and if all else fails wire it into the door like JB did on his full size freezers. i think it would look pretty sweet on the door.

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Old 08-20-2008, 07:11 PM   #9
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Thanks for the discussion and the offer of wiring help. I'm sure I'll be back needing it before long.

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Old 08-20-2008, 07:19 PM   #10
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The Ranco single stage can also be used for heating. Unplug freezer, plug in heater and set the heating setpoints. The Ranco also has an adjustable differential that is used as the "dead band".

Same is true for the Johnson analogue but, you have to open the controller and flip a switch.

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