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Old 07-05-2009, 02:53 PM   #1
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Default Electric HERMS Design

I'm still in the process of gathering all of the components for a HERMS. I figure this is a good time to get advice on the design. This will be a single tier system, using insulated sanke kegs, 5500W elements, 2 pumps, and a BCS-460 controller. The following diagram illustrates the mash configuration. The pumps will have to be rerouted for sparging.



I decided to use a counterflow plate heat exchanger and a small RIMS style heater instead of the traditional copper coil in the HLT for two reasons. Immersion chillers are notoriously inefficient unless you have a large amount of water movement. I also didn't like having to heat gallons of HLT water to step up mash temps.

With this design, there is also a possibility of eliminating the HLT entirely and using the HEX as a tankless heater. My initial calculations look promising, ~28 minutes to increase the temp of 5 gallons by 120F, ideally. I need to read up on some RIMS threads and see if they do this.

The only concerns I have about this design is having grain stuck in the plate hex. I'll be using a duda-diesel plate heat exchanger which has good flow and I'm hoping enough space between plates to allow any grains to pass through. I plan on testing this soon by adding some crushed grain through the plate HEX and weighing the grain before and after to see if any got stuck.

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Old 07-05-2009, 03:50 PM   #2
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The internal lines for flowing your wort through even the largest plate chiller are relatively small. I am betting that it will get clogged if you run raw wort through the chiller. I recommend that you either purchase or DIY a Hop Stopper like the one pictured below:



You can purchase one from Welcome to Innovative Homebrew Solutions! for about $60. You could make your own and follow this video by Bobby M:

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Old 07-05-2009, 05:30 PM   #3
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Quote:
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I I need to read up on some RIMS threads and see if they do this.
I use a RIMS tube with a traditional HLT. I use a 5500W element at 120 V (So, about 1300W effectively) and get about 1 degree per minute. With your design, you may could use a larger high density element if if doesn't come into contact with the wort.

PLate chillers clog fairly easily.
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Old 07-06-2009, 01:11 AM   #4
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I would definitely be worried about the plate chiller getting clogged. I just did my first brew using my HERMS system and the amount of crud running through the hoses before the grain bed was set was significant.

I don't know if the running through the plate chiller is really necessary. I used a 20 foot 1/4" ID copper coil in a 2 gallon cooler at got a rise of 1.1875 degrees per minute. This was with 3.5 gallons of water in 11.5 pounds of grain with a 1500W heater element. Agitation was achieved with a small aquarium air pump with an air stone inside the HEX.

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Old 07-06-2009, 01:29 AM   #5
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Subscribed. What is the plan for your RIMS? I'm doing two heat exchangers instead of installing a heater in my HLT, but I have igloo coolers.

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Old 07-17-2009, 01:12 AM   #6
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After pricing out stainless steel fittings and quick disconnects, I decided to try RIMS initially and look into switching to HERMS later. This will allow me to have a majority of permanent barb fittings ($2 on ebay) and cut the number of $30 disconnects down to 3. I ordered all of the parts, totaling about $900. That includes the BCS-460 controller, thermistors, pumps, heater elements, SSRs, silicon tubing, RIMS heater pipe/elbows and all fittings & valves. I never realized how much going to all stainless would cost. The stainless fittings, valves, and the RIMS heater parts totaled $300 alone.

The RIMS heater will be a similar to the one pictured in this post.

Priority #1 is testing the RIMS heater as a tankless heater for sparging. If it works, which my initial calculations show it will, I'm ditching the HLT entirely. I'll start an official "Another RIMS build" thread once I start assembly.

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Old 07-17-2009, 03:24 AM   #7
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i've been toying with the HEX instead of a coppercoil as well. Would a false bottom in the MT filter enough fines out to not clog the HEX?

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Old 07-17-2009, 03:31 AM   #8
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i've been toying with the HEX instead of a coppercoil as well. Would a false bottom in the MT filter enough fines out to not clog the HEX?
I have one of the false bottoms from Northern Brewer in my MT and get a lot of crud flowing through my HERMS when I first start recirculating. I wouldn't risk running it through a plate chiller unless you had some way to recirculate around it before it ran clear.
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Old 07-17-2009, 05:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sizz View Post
After pricing out stainless steel fittings and quick disconnects, I decided to try RIMS initially and look into switching to HERMS later. This will allow me to have a majority of permanent barb fittings ($2 on ebay) and cut the number of $30 disconnects down to 3. I ordered all of the parts, totaling about $900. That includes the BCS-460 controller, thermistors, pumps, heater elements, SSRs, silicon tubing, RIMS heater pipe/elbows and all fittings & valves. I never realized how much going to all stainless would cost. The stainless fittings, valves, and the RIMS heater parts totaled $300 alone.

The RIMS heater will be a similar to the one pictured in this post.

Priority #1 is testing the RIMS heater as a tankless heater for sparging. If it works, which my initial calculations show it will, I'm ditching the HLT entirely. I'll start an official "Another RIMS build" thread once I start assembly.
Thats way too much money. I built mine for under $375 and that was with 2" 304 Stainless Steel pipe. Look at this thread.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/rims-dummies-114997/







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Old 07-17-2009, 01:00 PM   #10
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Thats way too much money. I built mine for under $375 and that was with 2" 304 Stainless Steel pipe. Look at this thread
I don't see how you think I paid too much after looking at your chart. I did a lot of research for the best prices. Ebay generally wins if you can find the item.

Pump was $109 shipped. 1/2" SS valves $9.50. SSR's $15. I think you misunderstood what I said. All stainless parts including the quick disconnects ($30 each x3), 4 x valves, 10 barbs, and the RIMS heater parts all totaled $300. The 1-1/2" RIMS pipe/fittings was $90 total. The only thing more expensive is the BCS controller. Anyway, I'll start a build thread and put all of my parts/prices/vendors up soon.
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