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Old 02-04-2013, 01:17 AM   #3321
cwi
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Originally Posted by JuanMoore View Post
I'm not trying to convince anyone that a single vessel is the best way to do things, I just don't see how adding a second vessel would be an improvement for my particular system.
And I am not saying the downsides of repurposing the HLT are all that great, but if you have the storage space and few extra bucks, it can make your brewday a bit less chaotic, especially when going solo. Although, there are entire processes that can be eliminated to make things easier and less gear intensive with very few or no drawbacks. BIAB is one way I have been trying out, although it does increase the size of the vessel required unless you do some workarounds.

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And one less temp controller, and one less heat source..... Either that or a more complicated process with moving pots of hot water around and/or controlling the HLT manually.
I meant one more complete pot setup, along with the additional storage required being the main, if not the only, benefit of reusing the HLT instead. If power is available, a cheap 110V heater element makes for a compact HERMS pot.

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Originally Posted by JuanMoore View Post
It does make ramping temps much slower, but the larger thermal mass makes it easier to hold a steady temp, especially when using a simple on/off controller rather than a PID.
I expect that a HERMS volume 1/4 the size of the HLT is more than enough buffering/damping for even a simple controller, and as has been commented recently- true PID control is all but useless for this type of system. When I used to do HERMS (combining gear with a friend), I think I used one ~1/3 of the HLT volume, and it was more than enough, even when doing it manually without the controller. I relocated temporarily, and have been reduced to using direct fire BIAB. The BIAB part I like, the direct fire mashing is a pain, at least without acquiring yet more large gear- like a basket.

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Like I said, it depends on your process. I don't do much juggling at all. To switch from dough-in to HERMS I simply add cold water.
Every extra step adds one more ball in the air. Some juggle better than others. Having a separate pot makes things simpler that way, and reduces the urgency of some tasks, at least for me.

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I batch sparge, and IMO there's no reason to mash out when batch sparging, so no temp juggling there. I fire the HLT burner up as soon as the MLT starts draining, and by the time the first runnings are transferred, the water is up to sparge temp. It's a very simple, fast, and easy process
I with you on the batch sparging. Fly sparging is only good for style points and $1 worth of grain. IMO there is also no reason to worry about sparge water temp, except for it being too hot. Someone reputable did a thorough test that debunked the benefit of heated sparge water for anything except reducing subsequent time to reach boil. I still like a mash-out though, but have little rationale as to why when batch sparging or BIAB, since it can be done just as effectively in the kettle. Maybe a bit more starch is cooked out of the grain, but I am grasping.
I also dough in with mash temp strike water (+2F maybe), and ramp back up to mash temps. Probably unnecessary, and a lot of extra stirring, but that will hopefully be minimized with the mash coil. Again no real ground to stand on, other than maybe treating the proteins a little more gently.

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I'd actually like to make some changes that allow me to reduce my rig from a 3 vessel to a 2 vessel. I may be moving out of state soon, in which case I'd likely sell my current set-up and build a single vessel system.
If you don't have any issues with batch sparging, BIAB is a small leap and will get you down to at most 2 if you still want HERMS. You can even add a dunk sparge in a spare bucket to get very close to or even match batch sparge efficiency. If not, its nothing $2 worth of grain won't remedy. The HERMS pot can be sized to fit inside the BK for storage. For anything larger than 10 gal batches, I am finding that a basket is a necessity.

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My HEX coil is mounted to the underside of a lid that fits all of my kettles, allowing me to use it in many different configurations. I tried the method you're describing, but found there was too much temp variance between the areas close to the coil and further away. I think it would have worked better with a stir motor, or if my MLT were better insulated so that the HEX was only providing minimal amounts of heat. I've added a lot of insulation to my MLT since then, and might try it again.
The stir motor is key, along with insulation, and a very thin, or even better a full volume, mash. A little localized temp variance is probably a good thing, as long as the upper limit is controlled like with HERMS, and the mash is manually stirred a few times during the mash.
Your setup is very close if not exactly what I am building. I will also use the stir motor when chilling and to get the whirlpool going. Although, I haven't had much luck with the whirlpool cone lately with the quantity of flame-out hops I have been using. I have a plan to reuse a soon to be acquired mash basket (needed for 50lb ~25 gal BIAB) as a hop spider/strainer to get rid of most of the hops after chilling, then replace the stirrer lid for whirlpooling. I will also be squeezing the nectar back out of those thieving bastards. I don't mind a losing a couple of bucks in grain to efficiency, but those hops are sponging up a lot of what is close to final product. Maybe less big flameout adds and increased dry hopping is a better solution.

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I also like to reduce the time the wort spends being pumped. Since adding the insulation I've started leaving the pump off for the first ~30min of the mash. I'm familiar enough with my system that I can hit my temps without the aid of the HERMS, and I don't notice any difference in wort clarity between an hour of re-circulation and 15 min of re-circulation.
I will not be pumping any product with my revised BIAB setup, but it does require elevating the kettle to fermenter height. The mash coil pump can serve dual duty as a ice bath pump for the chiller in the summer.
I am always jacking with things too much to get really dialed in, but even if I did, I like having the ability to recover gracefully when the SHTF- something systems with no mash heat infusion, like coolers, don't allow.
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:59 AM   #3322
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QFT. In many or most brewing applications, actual PID control is either pointless or meaningless. I think a lot of people use the term PID to refer to temp controllers in general and it is kind of annoying.
I always thought QFT was Quote For Truth to prevent someone from editing/backtracking over something you don't agree with them on.
You seem to be in the same camp I am regarding the use of PID control methods for most brewing applications. The time constants are generally too large for any real benefit from PID, especially when combined with only one sided corrective input. There is a whole thread for the Arduino PID library where they finally resorted to a staged proportional only algorithm, since simple on/off logic beat every tuning they tried with full PID. It did take them a few months of jacking around after I told them they were chasing their tails with PID for an HLT. Engineers love fancy sparkly technology.
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Old 02-04-2013, 02:04 AM   #3323
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Hey JuanMoore I have PP'ed you and PM'ed but have received no word from you what is up?

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Old 02-04-2013, 03:40 AM   #3324
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Hey JuanMoore I have PP'ed you and PM'ed but have received no word from you what is up?
PM sent.
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Old 02-04-2013, 05:07 AM   #3325
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After 333 pages, Thank you Didn't have the heart to spend $70 on the Johnson controller. I have bought 2 already.. I did this under $30. Awesome stuff. Thanks!

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Old 02-04-2013, 07:29 AM   #3326
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Originally Posted by cwi
Only the single stage version has the audible alarm. There are other dual stage controllers with actual alarm outputs for not much more money. There are also simple add on temp monitors with alarms, although that would require another probe.

Quit putting words in my mouth!
In case you didn't notice, I recommend buying the dual stage for their versatility. In previous posts I recommend PIDs for anything heat related, again because of their versatility. As you stated, yes, the general consensus is to use a 'PID' for heating elements. Although, it has more to do with the ability of most PIDs to vary/limit the power using PWM and SSR relays than the theoretical tighter control. The fancy PID control functionality is over-hyped for most brewing applications, and unless you get the tuning just right, is actually worse than a simple on/off controller . Even used for RIMS, it doesn't behave much differently than an on/off controller.

I believe most people using these (correctly) as mash controllers are using them for a HERMS rig. On/off control (at full power) is generally not suitable direct heat input to the mash. A lot of folks think any direct heat input, even a PID'd RIMS with an ULWD element, is unsuitable for the mash. The liquid is where mashing occurs, more so than the grain bed, and with direct/RIMS there is localized heating well above the mash temp, especially when ramping.

If you are going to recirc/pump anyway, check out HERMS. A separate small cheap kettle for the HERMS bath can easily be controlled using almost any type of controller. Trying to use the HLT as the HERMS bath just complicates matters, a dedicated one is simpler and better. You would need to agitate the bath somehow. What can serve double duty is an immersion chiller as the HERMS coil. The stainless ones are the same price or cheaper than a copper IC, and conduct heat as good or better (much thinner walled tubing). Some use the HERMS bath filled with ice water as a chiller, but that requires a lot of extra ice and pumping, especially if you wouldn't need ice otherwise. There are better solutions if you do need an ice assist.

And now you have hit on the main reason someone would use one of these controllers for a heating element. For an HLT or HERMS bath, they will work fine, but should be used with an additional SSR so you don't fry the built in relay. The lifespan of relays declines exponentially as you increase the current.
I don't see the 'way cheaper' part, though. Doesn't Auber have a suitable PID for ~$35 and an SSR for ~$10 (or less if you just match capacity of the ebay controller)?
As for 'way easier', the rigging is virtually identical for both. Maybe a bit more time to RTFM so you understand how the PID controller works.
I appreciate your comments and insight. I was talking about the single phase for controlling the mash because I have a spare just collecting dust on my work bench that I could easily wire up. My main reason for the low wattage heater in my mash tun is space savings. I have 165 degree water on demand in my garage that I batch sparge with and am mostly concerned with controlling the heat of my mash.
I'll do some more research before I commit to anything.
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Old 02-04-2013, 01:17 PM   #3327
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I appreciate your comments and insight. I was talking about the single phase for controlling the mash because I have a spare just collecting dust on my work bench that I could easily wire up. My main reason for the low wattage heater in my mash tun is space savings. I have 165 degree water on demand in my garage that I batch sparge with and am mostly concerned with controlling the heat of my mash.
I'll do some more research before I commit to anything.
An element directly under the tun screen is not suitable for mashing. Getting the flow and temp sensing right, even for a PID and ULWD element, would be difficult. If you add a gas solenoid, what JuanMoore has done, and I have too, will work fairly well- using direct fire while recirc'ing, and adjusting the flame to the point that it almost matches the heat input need. That, combined with a diffuse burner and a conductive kettle, helps prevent hot spots. I used the large Banjo burner and a large clad pot.

Any electric RIMS will need a 'PID' controller with PWM, an SSR, and preferably a ULWD element. Either a HERMS, or mash coil & stirrer if you do loose mashes or BIAB, are the main methods that would allow reuse of an on/off controller with an electric element (or gas).
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Old 02-04-2013, 05:06 PM   #3328
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Phew there are a lot of pages here kind of intimidating to try and sort through. I will need one of these for my walk in cooler build I am thinking of building one instead of buying a Johnson Controller can someone post to the easiest most concise directions? I would go by the first page but being two years old I am not sure if the directions are still relevant or if there has been changes in the hundreds of following posts???

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Old 02-04-2013, 05:22 PM   #3329
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Phew there are a lot of pages here kind of intimidating to try and sort through. I will need one of these for my walk in cooler build I am thinking of building one instead of buying a Johnson Controller can someone post to the easiest most concise directions? I would go by the first page but being two years old I am not sure if the directions are still relevant or if there has been changes in the hundreds of following posts???
The first in this thread is still accurate. The controller hasn't changed. There are several more threads on it as well. Instead of listing them all out here is a google search string. https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&...iw=320&bih=504
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Old 02-05-2013, 12:58 PM   #3330
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I found a supplier of the controllers with free shipping. I ordered one and it came in 9 days. Not too shabby.

http://www.eachbuyer.com/business-in...stat-1567.html

These are $15.80 and FREE SHIPPING!

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