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Old 01-29-2008, 05:24 PM   #1
mike_g08
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Default HLT with water heater element: control

Hello.

I posted something like this on the greenboard, but I thought I would try it here, after seeing all of the good DIY stuff on your site. BTW, I like this forum a lot....

Anyway, what I would like to do is convert a simple kettle, say an AL turkey fryer pot to an HLT which would allow me to turn it on a few hours before brewing, and turn off automatically, when it reaches, say 170 degrees. I would like to use a 120V heating element, with say 12-20 amps of draw.

I am comfortable with electricity, but don't know much about electronics beyond the function of resistors, capacitors, potentiometers.

I am thinking, based on threads I have seen here and there, that a person could make a stainless or copper temp probe, which would send a voltage to an amplifier chip, which would trigger at a certain voltage? current?, closing or opening a relay to shut off the heating element.

People on the greenboard suggested a Love controller, PIC controller, Ranco, etc. These are good ideas, but I am looking for something more, DIY (and cheap for that matter) The reason I got thinking about this is I am planning a parts order from Mouser or similar to assemble the stir plate control circuit (as featured on this forum, thanks), and was fascinated by LM34 sensors, and the like.

Thoughts?? Thanks in advance.

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Old 01-29-2008, 05:41 PM   #2
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Look at the various temp controllers on Ebay. You can get one for under $30 shipped and you'll be that much closer to not killing yourself. Of course, if you try really hard you could still probably kill yourself in the process of working with these currents but....

If you find any potential candidates, you can post the link in this thread and we might be able to determine if it's appropriate for your application. If you find a controller that can't hand 18a, you can decouple with a 120v relay(with 120v coil trigger). By the way, 18 amps is 20x higher than what you'd deal with in a stirplate controller. Apples and oranges.

Welcome to the site!

Something like this might work for you even though the max temp is 175F. You might want to wire in a controllerl over-ride switch so you could manually bump the temp higher when desired. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=190193153773

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Last edited by Bobby_M; 01-29-2008 at 06:03 PM.
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Old 01-29-2008, 06:00 PM   #3
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Bobby,

Thanks for the input. I am comfortable working with 120 and 240 volt AC current, and realize the difference in amperages you mentioned. It's just that I don't have much knowledge about electronics design.

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Old 01-29-2008, 06:06 PM   #4
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This is just one of those areas where I feel there are cheap enough off the shelf surplus parts for this task to negate messing around with DIY controller circuits.

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Old 01-29-2008, 06:24 PM   #5
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Why not just use the same contact thermostats your hot water tank uses? They can handle the current and they are cheap.

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Old 01-29-2008, 06:40 PM   #6
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I don't think they go up much higher than 140F for safety reasons.

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Old 01-29-2008, 06:48 PM   #7
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Hmmm. You may be right; I can't recall offhand. Anyway, it shouldn't be too hard to put some insulating material in between the thermostat and the body of the kettle to bias the thermostat a little. A guy would have to experiment with different materials to find something that performs consistantly.

You would have to come up with a way to cover up the thermostat too because the wires are exposed on those things. You wouldn't want to get them wet either.

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Old 01-29-2008, 07:19 PM   #8
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You might want to pass on the honeywell 991a temperature controller as it has a 135 ohm potentiometer instead of switch contacts.

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Old 01-29-2008, 07:39 PM   #9
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In my opinion I wouldn't bother. I used a 2000w element this past weekend to heat 6-7 gal of sparge water and what I noticed is that it will heat to around 180-190 max., at this point the heat loss equals the input of the element.

What I do is just let it heat for a couple hours and then temper w/ a little cool water or just stir the tun w/ the top open and the temp will drop quick.

If I wanted to do it, a ranco would work well. Not sure how many amps these things can handle but I think you'd be ok w/ a 1500 w, not sure about a 2000w.

see links for decent priced units on ebay.


new ranco

http://cgi.ebay.com/RANCO-ETC-111000-Digital-Cold-Temperature-Control-NEW_W0QQitemZ140202387922QQihZ004QQcategoryZ41988Q QssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem



ranco????
http://cgi.ebay.com/Electronic-Temperature-Controller-Microprocessor-LCD_W0QQitemZ180209109731QQihZ008QQcategoryZ50974Q QssPageNameZWDVWQQrdZ1QQcmdZViewItem

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Old 01-29-2008, 08:23 PM   #10
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kladue is right. Pass on that one. It's tricky to find ones in the right temp range with switched terminals but I've found a few. Keep looking. I would suggest going with 220 if you can swing it.

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