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Old 02-05-2013, 07:23 PM   #3341
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The traces may be narrower and/or the substrate thinner. The distance from the relay to the post is so short though, they would have to have been real cheapskates for them not to handle 10A. If they have an appliance engineer working for them, it is a possibility- those guys think in fractions of a penny......
Agreed. I will inspect the traces.
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.....Why are all the single stage users so GD cryptic about why they choose them. What features does it provide that make it a better choice for you? You obviously don't use the min/max alarm. The only other notable difference is F vs. C.
Not fessing up just leads newbies to incorrect assumptions, like they don't need heating and cooling, even though they live in Maine, because they were reading posts from a guy living in Miami.....
Not trying to be cryptic; just didn't want to argue the details of MY preferences, but here goes.

My primary reason for choosing the single stage is that it reads in fahrenheit. I had a STC1000 installed for over 6 months and just became tired of referring to temperature in celcius and converting with a chart. I just don't think in celcius, even though I used mostly metric units in college engineering. I maintain logs of my fermentation schedule and found that I was having to record temperature in both units to be useful and decided that it was unnecessarily cumbersome.

I actually went through a lot of trouble installing a heat strip in my chamber, but have found that I didn't really need it. My chamber, a TRUE GDM-10 commercial cooler, is in my garage, in South Louisiana, which, with two other refrigerators, rarely drops below 40ish F. It has a 9watt evaporator fan which is constantly running and I have found, even in the dead of winter, I can ramp up an ale or lager to clean-up temperatures over the course of two or three days with no added heat. When I converted over to the single-stage I developed a schematic to add a manual HEAT/COOL toggle function but I haven't needed to implement it.

All of that being said, there is one drawback to the single-stage that is important to me. The STC1000 has a displayed resolution of 0.1degC and the CH54 is 1degF. As I recall, when I initially installed the CH54, I found that it would misbehave when the difference setting was set to 1degF. In cool mode, as it warmed to the SET + Diff temperature it would toggle between the integer values once or twice, which would momentarily bump the compressor on and off and start the delay timer. The compressor would then not cycle on until the delay was complete. I have set it to a 2degF differential to mitigate the issue, which results in a little more than 1degF control. I suppose that I could also just drop the delay time down to 1 minute and keep the differential at 1degF.

I am always on the look-out for the perfect controller for me but have not yet found it. I may have to build an arduino or netduino version to get it.

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....See above about min/max alarm....
I'm not aware of the alarm function. There are upper and lower limits that can be established but the instructions indicate that this only limits the SET temperature and doesn't appear to function as an alarm. I've never tried using these limits as alarms.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:45 PM   #3342
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Why are all the single stage users so GD cryptic about why they choose them. What features does it provide that make it a better choice for you? You obviously don't use the min/max alarm. The only other notable difference is F vs. C.
Not fessing up just leads newbies to incorrect assumptions, like they don't need heating and cooling, even though they live in Maine, because they were reading posts from a guy living in Miami.
I think I was one of the first to buy the single stage units intentionally. The main reason I did so was price. At the time the stc-1000 was selling for $20 plus $10 shipping, and none of the sellers were willing to combine shipping for multiple units. I bought 3 single stage units for $15 each and $8 combined shipping. So it was $53 instead of $90. At the time I had a ranco controller for my ferm fridge, and an stc-1000 for my keezer. I figured I could use the stc-1000 for my ferm chamber, sell the ranco, and buy a single stage unit for my keezer and two more for the control panel I was building for my HERMS. I was also curious about the single stage units since nobody had posted anything about them. I don't mind the Celsius for my ferm chamber or keezer, but my brain thinks in F when mashing, so I thought that would be a benefit if they worked.

As for the advantages now that the prices are similar, I'm not sure there are any. Some people find the temperature being in Fahrenheit to be an advantage, and a lot of people prefer the small SS cylindrical probe over the rubber blob probe. There are more options for settings and programming, but none that are that useful or that I'd say give the single stage a significant advantage over the stc-1000. The obvious advantage the stc-1000 has is dual stage control. I have dual stage for my ferm chamber and wouldn't have it any other way, but it's not needed for my keezer which is kept indoors, or for my HERMS control panel. For someone who doesn't need dual stage control, I don't think the stc-1000 has a significant advantage over the single stage units.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:35 PM   #3343
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When I converted over to the single-stage I developed a schematic to add a manual HEAT/COOL toggle function but I haven't needed to implement it.
I'm not sure how you could externally toggle between cool and heat (with temp control), unless you are talking about toggling between 2 discrete controllers. Maybe I am mistaken about those single stage controllers needing to be switched between heat or cool through the menus, or else you have a method that hasn't occurred to me.

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In cool mode, as it warmed to the SET temperature it would toggle between the integer values once or twice, which would start the delay timer. The compressor would not cycle on until the delay was complete. I have set it to a 2degF differential to mitigate the issue. I suppose that I could also just drop the delay timer down to 1 minute and keep the differential at 1degF.
You definitely do not want to reduce the ASD to 1 minute. Sounds like typical chingineering to not dejitter that, especially when the display res and diff value are equal. It seems like a better solution would be to leave it at 1F, and since ASD triggering is an operationial issue, to set ASD to the shortest 'generally agreed safe' value of 5 minutes. I would think 5 minutes would be less time than it would take the ferm to increase an additional degree, but maybe not- my .5C diff doesn't allow me to know the gory details of such abhorrent abuse of beer.

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I am always on the look-out for the perfect controller for me but have not yet found it. I may have to build an arduino or netduino version to get it.
Any of the user programmable uprocessor solutions allow much more flexibility, like ramping, soaking, freerise then ramp, crashing, logging, sensor averaging, multiple ferms, etc. The best standalone controller I have seen so far is the 2 stage Love that allows dual stage, or 2 single stages with one or two probes. It doesn't sound fun to program all that through the buttons and menus though, and I don't recall if there is a USB type solution.

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I'm not aware of the alarm function. There are upper and lower limits that can be established but the instructions indicate that this only limits the SET temperature and doesn't appear to function as an alarm. I've never tried using these limits as alarms.
I know that for at least one of the single stage units there is a separate min/max for an alarm, or maybe an alarm offset from the setpoint.
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:56 PM   #3344
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I'm not sure how you could externally toggle between cool and heat (with temp control), unless you are talking about toggling between 2 discrete controllers. Maybe I am mistaken about those single stage controllers needing to be switched between heat or cool through the menus, or else you have a method that hasn't occurred to me......
The external toggle would switch the output of the single controller between the compressor or heater. The controller would also be switched between cool and heat mode.

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......You definitely do not want to reduce the ASD to 1 minute. It seems like a better solution would be to leave it at 1F, and since ASD triggering is an operationial issue, to set ASD to the shortest 'generally agreed safe' value of 5 minutes. I would think 5 minutes would be less time than it would take the ferm to increase an additional degree, but maybe not- my .3C diff doesn't allow me to know the gory details of such abhorrent abuse of beer.......
Unless something goes wrong, like my probe falls free of the carboy, there should be no danger that the compressor would ever short cycle, regardless of the delay. There's just too much thermal mass in the beer. That .3C is about .54F. Regardless, I think a 1.1F swing is far from the abuse you claim. As I recall, when setting up the STC1000 initally, I had 0.3C undershoot cooling and 0.5C overshoot in heating. Certainly a function of my equipment but my differential had to take that into account or it would be chaos.

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.....Any of the user programmable uprocessor solutions allow much more flexibility, like ramping, soaking, freerise then ramp, crashing, logging, sensor averaging, multiple ferms, etc. The best standalone controller I have seen so far is the 2 stage Love that allows dual stage, or 2 single stages with one or two probes. It doesn't sound fun to program all that through the buttons and menus though, and I don't recall if there is a USB type solution. ....
Good information. My future may include brew automation.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:03 PM   #3345
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Unless something goes wrong, like my probe falls free of the carboy, there should be no danger that the compressor would ever short cycle, regardless of the delay. There's just too much thermal mass in the beer.
Short cycling can happen fairly easily if it has just finished cycling, and you open the door and start jacking with things. That is most dangerous time for a compressor, immediately after it stops, and is the primary purpose of ASD.

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That .3C is about .54F. Regardless, I think a 1.1F swing is far from the abuse you claim.
I was only joking, and rubbing it in about a single stage drawback- I just don't bother with emoticons. I also thought you were also talking about having a 2F swing due to jitter issues at 1F, and 1F resolution- zing. I actually set mine to .5C, which is more than adequate tolerance, and saves the compressor.

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As I recall, when setting up the STC1000 initally, I had 0.3C undershoot cooling and 0.5C overshoot in heating. Certainly a function of my equipment but my differential had to take that into account or it would be chaos.
Maybe more fans, and/or less insulation over the probe. The ambient air influencing the probe acts like a predictive control. I disable heating when it isn't in play in the spring/summer/fall, just in case this kind of funny business happens when I'm not looking. The Love controller I mentioned has true hysteresis control that can compensate for this effect, unlike a simple differential value.

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My future may include brew automation.
I have the same opinion regarding levels of automation as electric Kal does, and he does it for a living. He only controls temps, and sees electric valves and a bunch of hard plumbing as more problematic, at the homebrew scale anyway. Full automation does bring style points, and impress the ladies.
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Old 02-05-2013, 10:20 PM   #3346
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For someone who doesn't need dual stage control, I don't think the stc-1000 has a significant advantage over the single stage units.
This statement is more clear, but you still made a vague reference to the mysterious "more options for settings and programming" of the single stage. I forget, but I thought the only additional option was the alarm?

My concern was for the newbies who are in info overload, and usually of the mindset that most guys over build stuff, and so they look to see what someone/anyone may claim is unnecessary, and choose the simpler/cheaper model- especially when the cheaper one doesn't force them to use that communist Celcius scale. They then find out later that the primary benefit of the dual stage is what they needed.

The choice of which controller is necessary is very location dependent- whether you live north or south, and/or whether your keezer/fermenter is located inside or outside/garage. That said, in the cases where either will work for a particular application, besides the $5, it becomes a choice of what you lose or gain with each- single stage vs. dual stage versatility/future use, stainless vs. rubber probe, min/max alarm vs. none, F vs. C scale, 1F vs .3C min diff, 1F vs .1C resolution, etc.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:20 AM   #3347
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This statement is more clear, but you still made a vague reference to the mysterious "more options for settings and programming" of the single stage. I forget, but I thought the only additional option was the alarm?
There's also a min/max setting that essentially disables the ability to set the temp outside of a given range without a whole bunch of additional steps. I use it on my HERMS control panel so that I (or my daughter or someone helping me brew) can't accidentally set the temp outside of the range where enzymes are active. You can also set the min/max to alarm (as you mentioned) and IIRC you can also set it to shut the controller off if temps go outside of the set range. There's also a "lock" feature where you can wire a switch in that essentially locks all of the parameters in place. You can still access the menus and look at the settings, but can't edit any of them. Might be useful for those with flush mount controllers on the front of their keezer to prevent kids or drunken guests from changing settings. Like I said, nothing all that useful that gives it a significant advantage over the dual stage IMO.

These are just for the single stage units that I have. I've seen at least two other single stage units posted here, and I don't know if they have the same programming options or not.

And FWIW I've never tried to push the single stage controller on anyone. I think the stc-1000 is a better and more versatile option for most people, primarily because it's dual stage. I have however defended against posts claiming that the single stage units are not a viable option.
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Old 02-06-2013, 01:55 AM   #3348
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And FWIW I've never tried to push the single stage controller on anyone. I think the stc-1000 is a better and more versatile option for most people, primarily because it's dual stage. I have however defended against posts claiming that the single stage is not a viable option.
I know you never pushed it, but whenever it was defended as a choice (not necessarily by you) the reasoning wasn't always clear as to what it could do that the the dual stage couldn't (and there was usually the added allure of the mysterious hidden programming features). Before you beat me to it, I was about to edit my previous post to add the features I left out (from when you gave those a few (hundred) posts back). At least now there is a somewhat consolidated grouping of the features/differences of the single and dual stage.

I still think most of the non-process affecting features of the single stage are a bit hokey. I can't wait to see someone's panel with a three key lock to enable setting a new temp, like it's a nuclear missile being launched. I know the devil's spawn manage to get their grubby fingers into everything, but aren't those new age 'time outs' supposed to fix that?

As I see it, the biggest advantages of the single are the F scale (for us gringos at least, and even though it doesn't affect the process); and if you use it to mash, and don't want to stare at your panel the whole time, the over/under temp alarm. The biggest drawbacks of the single are no dual stage functionality, lower temp resolution for the display, diff, and setpoint (1 F), and a higher min diff value (2 F with no jitter?).

Interesting about the jitter on the single stage causing an issue at 1F diff. I think raouliii diagnosed it correctly that it is an issue with the current temp and min diff value being the same resolution with no smarts to mitigate jitter. The dual stage isn't affected since the temp res is higher than the min diff value. Like raouliii mentioned, probably the reason the min diff is 0.3C instead of 0.1C. On the single stage, they probably should have made the min diff 2F to fix it, but it would not have been good for marketing. An even better solution would have been to resolve down to 0.1F.
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Old 02-06-2013, 02:06 AM   #3349
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No telling how the programming is done. Just because the display is in F or C that doesnt mean anything. The smart way to do the programming is to do the math at higher precision and truncate/round to the display at the last minute. It would honestly be pretty silly to do the thermostat math in F or C, but who knows.

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Old 02-06-2013, 02:17 AM   #3350
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...On the single stage, they probably should have made the min diff 2F to fix it, but it would not have been good for marketing. An even better solution would have been to resolve down to 0.1F.
My guess is that the coarse single stage resolution is simply a matter of needing all 3 available digits for the integer value. There's just no way to represent a higher resolution on the display.
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