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Old 07-13-2011, 10:53 AM   #21
MaxOut
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Default Brew Station Modifications - Automation

Now that I have the vessels sitting over the burners it’s time to start getting things fired up. To do this I need to start my automation panel build and settle on my controls. At first my plan was to just have manual switches mounted on the front of the brew station to control pumps and burners through 3 PID’s. I am not interested in a push a button and your done system just wanted semi-automation to heat and cool to desired temps and control pumps. As I looked deeper into the BCS and Brewtroller I realized I wanted more. PID’s are nice and simple but the ones that can communicate between each other are expensive and complicated to program. On top of that if you add them up they can exceed the cost of a BCS and the BCS has much more to offer with a nice interface. The Brewtroller is nice if you are looking for full automation but I wanted more of a plug and play solution with computer interface. So I ended up with a BCS-462. I had an outdoor plastic control panel left over from a gate repair I did years ago and decided to strip it out and use it to house my controls. Without a doubt sourcing all of the small electrical components was the most time consuming part of the project. You have to think out every piece and how it is going to fit. Then you have to find a source that can supply the pieces at a reasonable price. Originally I wanted my control panel to be mounted above the brew station so it could be seen and mount switches into the cover. That would have been a simple solution but I didn’t like the idea of having this control panel across a 36 inch table and would have too many cables exposed. I also had a hole in the face of the table from the heat controller for the steam sink (Where the burners are). So ultimately I decided to mount the panel under the table and extend the manual controls to a custom panel that would cover the hole left by the steamer control. Here are some shots of the automation build.

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Old 07-13-2011, 11:23 AM   #22
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Default Brew Station Modifications - Automation

I also modified the temp probes purchased from Brewers Hardware and Embedded Control Concepts and covered them with fiberglass mesh and heat shrink. I highly recommend calibration of ALL probes to ensure accuracy across the entire temperature range. I found through testing that the coefficients needed to be adjusted for all probes connecting to the BCS. Almost cost me my first batch but I was trusting and testing with a known accurate thermo and had to change temp settings on the fly in the BCS while mashing and sparge. Another reason I like the BCS. March 809 with SS Chugger heads mounted and wired check. Placed pop up outlet strip over pre existing hole for wiring to pass through to top of table. More Pictures.

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Old 07-13-2011, 11:30 AM   #23
onthekeg
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That is a nice clean looking build there dude! Thats what I call an investment!

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Old 07-13-2011, 12:53 PM   #24
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Default Brew Station Modifications - Automation - Primary

Well here’s the curve ball. The refrigerator (Primary) built into the table was a no go. The refrigeration unit is a sled type mounted to the right side of the box. Inside the box is the coil and two circulation fans. Well plugged it in and no fans, no compressor and no cooling fan on compressor. Called my boy Matt (HVAC Guru) and it was bad. New Compressor, New Compressor Fan, New Circulation Fans, Pump, Recharge and Test. About 24 Mooseheads and $350.00 in parts the primary was breathing life. This was not part of the budget and slowed things for a while. The refrigerator will hold 5ea 6.5 gallon fermenting buckets. Time to wire to BCS. I wired a box in there with 4 temp probe connections (XLR) then wired to BCS. Ran output from BCS to SSR in an outlet box and plugged compressor into outlet. This way the circulation fans run constant and I am only controlling the compressor as needed. Worked out the thermostat built into the refrigerator did the same thing and the compressor all ready has a plug wired to it. This gives me a back up to use the refrigerators thermostat simply by switching the outlet the compressor is plugged into in an emergency.

Here are a few pictures of the primary. Got three lager batches in there chilling. One week apart in schedule getting the pipeline flowing. Got a batch going into secondary today and brewing again tomorrow morning. The temp probe controlling the compressor is sitting in a glass of distilled water. The last picture is my ice machine and some new corneys I scored off Craigslist. Ice machine kicks out 350 lbs of ice in 24hrs. I’ve had this for a while as I am avid camper and fisherman. The ice machine has paid for itself several times and has helped out with cooling the wort.

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Old 07-13-2011, 01:01 PM   #25
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wow. looks awesome.

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Old 07-13-2011, 01:46 PM   #26
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Default Brew Station Modifications - Automation - Summary

So basically I ended up with a self contained, semi automated, BCS-462 controlled, 16 foot by 3 foot by 8 foot, single tier, HERMS, gas fired HLT/heat exchanger & Boil Kettle, brew station with primary fermenter, bakers rack, secondary mash lauter tun and work surface. Here are some pictures of the MaxOut Brew Station as it sits today. (Sorry about the fuzzy photos)
As of now I have two 6 gallon lagers in primary and one in secondary. I have learned allot leading up to my first brew day and much more through the coarse of the three brews sessions since. Each brew looks better and easier as I fine tune the equipment and processes. Can’t wait to taste the final product. The sample I pulled to read FG tasted SWEET!!! (Moosehead Clone) Hope it makes it to the serving keg!

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Old 07-13-2011, 02:02 PM   #27
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Very impressive!

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Old 07-13-2011, 02:03 PM   #28
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Default Serving Keg Cooler + Misc

!Using this Beverage Air serving cooler as a temporary secondary on the first batch. Soon as its ready, hook up gas, adjust temp, transfer to serving keg and liquid line to tap (can’t wait). The small containers go to an instant carbonator I use to make sodas. So I can blast the beer with carbonation and sample. Included are some misc pictures of hardware I’ve acquired including 4 med grade O2 tanks with regulator and SS diffuser, MM3 1.5 Monster Mill set at .039 with 15lb hopper, scales and other stuff. This has now become a hobby and will always be a work in progress. I will be brewing tomorrow and will get some action shots.

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Old 07-13-2011, 02:11 PM   #29
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This looks like a SERIOUS setup, man. I like the color-coded rings on the hoses too.

You're in Hugesville? I grew up in Waldorf.

May need to come by and crash a brew-day the next time I visit my folks.

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Old 07-13-2011, 02:13 PM   #30
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Default The Serving Area / Grill Zone

This is where the brews are served and the other cooking takes place. Opposite end of garage.

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