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Old 10-31-2009, 02:53 PM   #21
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On the other end of the automation spectrum, there's always the option of simple on/off switches for elements, with a potentiometer to control output to the boil element(s).

My 55gallon drum system being built is similar to this. The boil kettle has 2 5500W elements with an on/off swtich with a potentiometer to regulate the level of power. When heating up I will have it at full output. When the boil starts, I can put the potentiometer to whatever number I want for the kind of boil I want. This can be repeated and have the same boil intensity each session, which is important for me in nailing OG. The HLT is the same as the boil kettle, but with a temp controlled PID instead of the potentiometer. In this instance I like to be able to input a temp and step away. The mash tun has a 1000W drum belt heater controlled by a PID to maintain temp during the mash. So I guess you could say I have a combination manual/auto system. Point is you can get away with a pretty simple electric setup in some cases.

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Old 10-31-2009, 03:42 PM   #22
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But not very automated or able to up or down load or alter into your main computer plus allowing for changes in the next brew session or alterations as needed plus the ability to exactly repeat from a past liked brewing process result. There are trade offs, I chose simple without sticking with 1920 brewing processes or over the top in computer high tech programing.

Automated enough for me, set and forget HLT, after the mash I can set and forget the boil, gives me plenty of time to get additions ready or grain crushed. I don't really need a computer in my brew room, I work with them all day, no thanks. I have a log book to exactly replicate any brew that I like, but I always make tweaks anyway.

Brew how you like, don't make fun of someone else's rig, I think that's a rule around here or something
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Old 10-31-2009, 06:01 PM   #23
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Another option is an immersion heater with a thermostatic temperature control built in. Picked this one up really cheap on ebay a while back, but just got it installed last night. It'll be used for my HLT, but it brought 8 gallons from 58 degrees to boiling is just over an hour. Not too bad for a 3000W unit.

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Old 09-11-2011, 01:25 PM   #24
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On the other end of the automation spectrum, there's always the option of simple on/off switches for elements, with a potentiometer to control output to the boil element(s).
I'm looking for a simple system with a PID/SSR controlling the HLT. But for the BK it seems like a potentiometer would work well. But I can't find a circuit diagram showing a potentiometer controlling on heating element and the PID/SSR on the other element. (This is a gravity system, so no pumps.)

Been searching but can't find much on potentiometers except for what Pangea wrote.
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Old 09-11-2011, 01:47 PM   #25
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I'm looking for a simple system with a PID/SSR controlling the HLT. But for the BK it seems like a potentiometer would work well. But I can't find a circuit diagram showing a potentiometer controlling on heating element and the PID/SSR on the other element. (This is a gravity system, so no pumps.)

Been searching but can't find much on potentiometers except for what Pangea wrote.
A pot will not work... too much power, it would burn up unless it was an autotransformer (i.e., Variac).

What you should search for is a simple 555 timer ckt for pulse width modulating the power. You'll still need an solid state relay ( SSR). Walker has posted some info on this somewhere. It still allows you to use a pot, but the pot controls the duty cycle of the PWM output, and the average power is controlled likewise.

Search PWM circuit, 555 timer, etc.
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:23 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by passedpawn

A pot will not work... too much power, it would burn up unless it was an autotransformer (i.e., Variac).

What you should search for is a simple 555 timer ckt for pulse width modulating the power. You'll still need an solid state relay ( SSR). Walker has posted some info on this somewhere. It still allows you to use a pot, but the pot controls the duty cycle of the PWM output, and the average power is controlled likewise.

Search PWM circuit, 555 timer, etc.

http://www.fyurl.com/rr.php?c=2&site=www.homebrewtalk.com&url=http://www.dprg.org/tutorials/2005-11a/index.html

This site shows a simple 555 based circuit. It explains clearly how they work and how to adjust the frequency. For our needs we generally need somewhere around 1hz or less.

This thread is useful as well.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/pwm-show-us-how-221301/
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Old 09-11-2011, 02:56 PM   #27
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Thanks. No wonder my searches for "potentiometer" came up blank. I'll study carefully.

One other thought... Can I hook two temp probes into one PID? If not, I guess I would need two PID's, each with their own temp probe? (That's if I don't go the 555 PWM route.)

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