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Old 03-05-2010, 11:28 AM   #21
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If you have 5 gallons of wort in a mash.

Recirculate it at .5 gallons/min.

It takes 10 minutes just to turn the water over once...

This is not taking into consideration the thermal mass of the grain bed...

So, how exactly are you guys "step" mashing with a HERMS?

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Old 03-05-2010, 11:34 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Walker View Post
Ok, but you said your control box has 6 outputs and 10 SSRs... I am just trying to understand how your system works. Seems like a lot of stuff in that box, so I must not be understanding your full rig operation.
BCS has 6 outputs, they can be PID controlled, direct, differential, or duty cycle... you can change that mid process while brewing.

(4) of the outputs use (2) SSRs so that they can control 240VAC heating elements. (8) total
(2) of the outputs use (1) SSR so that they can control 120VAC pumps (2) total

(10) SSRs, (8) heatsinks, the BCS, wireless router etc. The box is pretty modular, I can simply loosen a few hots and grounds and throw it on a different rig, plug the hots and grounds into the SSRs and wirelessly control another system with it.

It can run UP TO (4) heating elements (which I have) and (2) pumps (which I also have). If you only had two or three, you could use it that way too. MAX power output for the box is 50A. The connections for the BCS, Router, Pumps are all fused as well to protect them.
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Old 03-05-2010, 11:47 AM   #23
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Its an interesting debate - pump continuously or pump when needed. I assumed a HERMS always circulated when needed. What is the general trend ?
Also - if you circulate when needed what temp do you keep the HLT at ?

Sparge rate for manual sparge is recommended no faster than 1L/min. Can sparging be done quicker with HERMS as its being pumped ?

What rate/min is the wort circulated through the HEX at ?

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Old 03-05-2010, 11:56 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bru View Post
Its an interesting debate - pump continuously or pump when needed. I assumed a HERMS always circulated when needed. What is the general trend ?
Also - if you circulate when needed what temp do you keep the HLT at ?

Sparge rate for manual sparge is recommended no faster than 1L/min. Can sparging be done quicker with HERMS as its being pumped ?

What rate/min is the wort circulated through the HEX at ?
Most HERMS, constantly recirc, that is the general trend.

Typically the HLT needs to be kept a few degrees warmer than the MLT target, but this will vary slightly between systems.

I think the sparge rate will be the same, as your limitation is the grain bed. The grain bed doesn't know if you have a pump or not... you do not want to stick the bed.

Depending on the system, you may get about .5 gal. per min. from your grain bed and through the HEX, maybe a little more, maybe a little less depending on the lauter device and your crush etc. This is the bottleneck when considering step mashes in most HERMS systems.

Bottom line, do what you want, but if you are already controlling the temp. in the HLT and turning the heat on and off to maintain said temp. there is no real reason to measure mash temp. which is hard to do at best, and switch a pump on and off too.

If you want to heat the HLT without heating the mash for a "step" mash, you can simply turn the pump off until your HLT reaches your target temp.
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:03 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by willynilly View Post
The BCS has 6 PIDs built in, it is the size of a wallet.
How big is it if you include the PC?

Aren't the state machines and PID control really happening in the software? maybe I'm wrong here, but I thought that's how it worked. Maybe the "settings" are transferred into the hardware and the control is there. Please educate me.

I've wondered what happens if you lose PC control in the middle of a brew...
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Old 03-05-2010, 12:06 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by passedpawn View Post
How big is it if you include the PC?

Aren't the state machines and PID control really happening in the software? maybe I'm wrong here, but I thought that's how it worked. Maybe the "settings" are transferred into the hardware and the control is there. Please educate me.

I've wondered what happens if you lose PC control in the middle of a brew...
If my PC drops off, the BCS simply maintains the outputs that were active when it dropped off. I suppose I could lose PC control if my wireless network went down, but I can only remember that happening a few times in the past three years.

The PC doesnt have to fit in the box, then I would have to as well
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:32 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willynilly View Post
If you have 5 gallons of wort in a mash.

Recirculate it at .5 gallons/min.

It takes 10 minutes just to turn the water over once...

This is not taking into consideration the thermal mass of the grain bed...

So, how exactly are you guys "step" mashing with a HERMS?
Recircing at ".5 gallons/min."??? That WOULD be a problem! I don't know about you, but most HERMS setups recirc at several times that rate.

How do I step mash? Easy. I start my brewday by filling the HLT the day before, and plugging the rig into the timer. At 5:00 am, the timer energizes the control panel. I have two Johnson Controls A419s, one for the HLT, one for the HERMS pump. The HLT control calls for heat, sending 24 vac to the Honeywell intermitent pilot control module, which in turn opens the pilot valve and sends high voltage to the pilot ignitor. The pilot lights, module senses flame and opens main gas valve to the 23 jet burner. HLT is set for 190 F. By the time I'm ready to brew, I have an HLT full of 190 F water. At home that's 15 gallons, on the Club system (which I actually do most of my brewing on) that's 35 gallons.

I use 190 water and mix with (carbon filtered) cold tap to get to strike temp. Say I do a protien rest at 122, then HERMS up to sach. If I did it your way, I'd have to raise both the HL temp AND the mash temp by 30 degrees. The whole idea of a Heat Exchange system is to have thermal energy stored for ready use, to be able to add heat to your mash quickly.
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Old 03-05-2010, 07:52 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by willynilly View Post
... you do not want to stick the bed.
Depending on the system, you may get about .5 gal. per min. from your grain bed and through the HEX, maybe a little more, maybe a little less depending on the lauter device and your crush etc. This is the bottleneck when considering step mashes in most HERMS systems.
Of course you're correct about the sparge/runoff rate. Rushing the runoff = lower efficiency, and rushing it too much will "stick" the mash. But as far as HERMSing goes, if you can't get any better than a half gallon per minute recirc, you're doing something wrong. For HERMS purposes, a half gallon per minute IS a stuck mash!
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Old 03-05-2010, 08:16 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by Walker View Post
I have to ask.... what do you need 6 PIDS for!?
You can get more for a few dollars more.

Why 6?
Well take my build:
1.) BK
2.) Tun
3.) Recirculating wort heater
4.) Fermenter (jacketed)
5.) Glycol fluid high and low
That leaves me with one station which might become a controller for the brew room running off it's own zone from the furnace.

I'm chilling my wort with the same system that will chill & warm my fermenter. I'll use glycol, a heater, and a chiller stripped from an old dehumidifier.

Now imagine I get bored with that and add another fermenter.

Oh I forgot:

6.) BK fluid level sensor
7.) Glycol fluid level sensor
Looks like I'm getting the additional controllers
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Old 03-05-2010, 08:17 PM   #30
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Well I just placed the order for my metal, 2x2" square steel tubing. Hopefully my stand will be done by next weekend!

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