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Old 03-14-2007, 03:24 AM   #1
skifast1
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Default Need a sanity check on my schematic..

Hi all - my engineering classes were many years and many thousands of beers ago, so I want to be sure I don't kill myself, or worse, ruin my first batch on my HERMS setup.

The panel schematic has 2 switches - a master for all power feeds and a pump override for when I want to just recirculate. When the master is closed it should power the temp controller, which when tripped will power the heating element and the pump.




Look workable? Any suggestions for improvement are welcomed!

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Old 03-14-2007, 03:51 PM   #2
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I see several problems with that setup.

One, you have a lot of items in series with each other. The heater and pump won't work if you have them in series with a light bulb. The bulb should be wired in parallel.

Also, you shouldn't have the pump in series with the heater element, neither will work properly, and if you flip the pump switch on, the pump will work fine, but the heater won't work at all (it would be hot on both sides, so no current flow)

Since it appears that you are doing a RIMS (heating element) instead of HERMS (Heat exchanger) I wouldn't have the pump tied to the heating element at all, just have it on it's own switch and run the pump throughout the mash, that'll keep wort moving over the element and temp sensor, and should help prevent scortching

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Old 03-14-2007, 04:09 PM   #3
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Whew - i'm so glad I asked!

Quote:
The bulb should be wired in parallel.
This I can fix no problem (can you tell I learned on DC circuits, and poorly at that?)

Quote:
if you flip the pump switch on, the pump will work fine, but the heater won't work at all (it would be hot on both sides, so no current flow)
In this case it's actually the intended behavior - the pump switch would circulate the wort but not kick on the heater (for vorlauf). That said, your statement about neither working properly in series means my temp controller won't do the intended job of turning both on. I need to wire them in parallel and still get the pump override switch to work.

Quote:
Since it appears that you are doing a RIMS (heating element) instead of HERMS (Heat exchanger) I wouldn't have the pump tied to the heating element at all, just have it on it's own switch and run the pump throughout the mash, that'll keep wort moving over the element and temp sensor, and should help prevent scortching
It is in fact supposed to be a HERMS system - what's missing from the schematic is the fact that the heating element is inside a water-filled 3-gallon cooler. The wort is circulated through a 50' copper coil inside the cooler, so no direct contact with the heating element.

Thanks a ton for the input - it's greatly appreciated!
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Old 03-14-2007, 07:25 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skifast1
In this case it's actually the intended behavior - the pump switch would circulate the wort but not kick on the heater (for vorlauf). That said, your statement about neither working properly in series means my temp controller won't do the intended job of turning both on. I need to wire them in parallel and still get the pump override switch to work.
In that case, use a SPDT (single pole, double throw) switch, run the common to the pump, tie one side to the hot wire of the heater, and the other side to hot, then you have choice of on, or automatic control

Quote:
Originally Posted by skifast1
It is in fact supposed to be a HERMS system - what's missing from the schematic is the fact that the heating element is inside a water-filled 3-gallon cooler. The wort is circulated through a 50' copper coil inside the cooler, so no direct contact with the heating element.
where's your temp probe going to be? With how you've described it, I'd be concerned about being able accuratly and quickly maintain temp control. As is, you have two vessels that you'll be using to maintain temp control of one. If you place the probe in the mash, it will cycle when the mash gets low, but since the heating cooler could be at any number of temps (due to different cooling rates, etc) you will probably get greater temp swings than you should with such a system, since you have no direct way of keeping the herms coil from getting too hot or too cold. If you place the probe anywhere else, with the pump off, it won't be indicative of the mash temp.


What I would suggest, to keep with a single controller, is to run the pump continuously, and place the temp probe at the outlet of the herms coil. This will provide several advantages, one, the temp control will be much more stable, as the heater will cycle to keep the herms coil at the right temp, and since you're running constantly, the mash should maintain a consistent temp. It'll also give you a very clear wort (one of the goals of many rims/herms builders), disadvantage, is it will be a bit sluggish in raising the temp of the wort, since you'll also have to heat the extra water in the tank.

If you don't want to run the pump continuously, you should probably look at a second controller, one to control the heater to maintain the temp for the herms coil tank, and a second to cycle the pump for the mash. This will let you maintain both at a proper temp without wild swings in either, and will allow a quicker response for raising the temp.

One other suggestion, you might consider an agitator in the herms tank to boost the heat transfer efficiency, but this could be a later addition if you'd like.
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Old 03-14-2007, 07:45 PM   #5
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Maybe this will help. I used SPDT switches on everything to bypass the controllers.
Edit: I just noticed this is the drawing without the lights. You can see how the lights are wired in in the pic below...




This is what it looks like all hooked up without the 220 side. I just finished that last night and haven't taken pics yet.



and the front...

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Old 03-14-2007, 09:00 PM   #6
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Wow - you guys rock. These are fantastic suggestions and definitely have me rethinking how I want to build this (fortunately nothing's done yet beyond a simple cart to hold the MLT & HERMS tank).

I'm not averse to using 2 TC's, in fact I have two sitting idle as we speak. So let's assume the following setup per Shock's suggestion:

TC1 monitors the HERMS tank temp (not the coil) and controls the heater (w/ SPDT override)

TC2 monitors the mash temp and controls the pump, again w/ override.

The mash temp is obviously the target temp, and I'd think you'd want the other controller to be set pretty close to the same temp (say just a few degrees more) to minimize the temp swings. Sounds a bit like a mass-damper system, eh? Set the temps too far apart and it's underdamped, swinging wide and slow. Set them too close (i.e. as if using just one controller) and it's overdamped, always overshooting the target. I'm sure there's a way to set this up on a constant (but adjustable) temp differential, but it's way beyond me.


Quote:
One other suggestion, you might consider an agitator in the herms tank to boost the heat transfer efficiency, but this could be a later addition if you'd like
Sounds like a good use for that underpowered aquarium pump I have laying around!


Monster Mash - (killer setup, btw) - I think I'm definitely going to need a bigger junction box. 2-gang + wirenuts just isn't going to cut it I just saw your pics on the freezer collar - (i'll be building one of those in the next week or two). Very sharp!
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Last edited by skifast1; 03-14-2007 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 03-14-2007, 10:56 PM   #7
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I put a stir motor in the HLT and the controller switches both the Heating element and the stir motor.

This is the motor I am using.
Stir Motor <----Click




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Old 03-15-2007, 03:56 AM   #8
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Okay, n00b question on terminology: I'll have several hot wires to the various components and I want to bring the hot lead into a single junction and hook in the various other hot wires to the 'hub'. What's that thing called? It's like a grounding block, but with an insulating housing. Terminal blocks look to be for just connecting 1-to-1, but I want to connect 1-to-many.

Thanks again for the patience - I have what I think is a workable schematic and I'll try to have it posted tomorrow night.

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Old 03-15-2007, 04:14 AM   #9
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bus bar?

if you are using terminals, you can just put more than one lead on the same screw

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Old 03-15-2007, 02:46 PM   #10
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You can use a terminal block with jumpers. If you look at the pic I posted above you can see how I hooked up multiple connections to a short terminal block. One side has jumpers across the terminals.

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