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Old 04-01-2013, 03:17 PM   #1
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Default RIMS inline water heating question

I have a RIMS system I built with knowledge gained from amazing people in the forum (pics below)! I absolutely love my system and I've probably brewed 15 or so batches using the system. My efficiency went from the high 60's to high 80's low 90's which is what I was after.

The issue I seem to have is in the sparging. When I'm heating sparge water inline with the RIMS tube the temp is all over the place. If I set the PID 172*, the temp will climb past 172* and then I can see the element is turned off and as soon as the temp drops below 172 the element will come back on but the cool water coming from the tap (~72*) will have already passed the element while it was off so the temp drops to ~130* before climbing back up passed 172* and the process is repeated. This gives me an average sparge water temp around 160*. Raising set temp will fluctuate between boiling and 140*.

If I put the PID in manual mode the sparge water will eventually reach boiling temps which a quick increase of water flow will mitigate momentarily before climbing back to boiling.

When I'm sparging the 5500w element is running at 240V. If I run the element at 120V (quarter power) it is unable to heat the water to 172* at the sparge flow rate.

I'm able to mange this by watching closing but it's definitely not set it and forget it - which is what I'm trying to achieve.

Are any of you with RIMS systems able to set the sparge temp you want and leave it?

Your thoughts and suggestions are greatly appreciated!

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Old 04-01-2013, 03:27 PM   #2
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A question first - are you heating your sparge water directly from the tap via the RIMS tube and adding that to your MLT? It could be a change in water pressure that's causing the problem.

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Old 04-01-2013, 03:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stlbeer View Post
A question first - are you heating your sparge water directly from the tap via the RIMS tube and adding that to your MLT? It could be a change in water pressure that's causing the problem.
Yes, the water goes from the tap to an inline filter to the RIMS tube to the MLT.
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Old 04-01-2013, 03:37 PM   #4
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I don't mean to sound like I'm knocking RIMS setups but I think this illustrates an advantage of a HERMS setup. Since a HERMS has more thermal mass it doesn't fluctuate as much. But they probably also respond slower than a RIMS when you want to increase temp (e.g. step mash). How high is your flow? If it is pretty high, perhaps slowing it down a little so that the given portion of liquid is in contact with the sensor and element a little longer.

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Old 04-01-2013, 03:38 PM   #5
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That's a pretty cool idea. My RIMS tube only at a 2000w 240v element in it. I would think your flow rate would have to be fairly slow and with the variability of water pressure that could make for the difference you see. Also, it could be inadequate mixing of the heated portion of water at the temp probe. Is your temp probe long enough to get into the main column of water? I see it's in the side of the tee, but that could be part of the problem as well. Have you considered insulating your RIMS tube? There is heat loss there as well. Possibly a water regulator on the input side (ball or gate valve) separate from the valve at the tap?

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Old 04-01-2013, 04:19 PM   #6
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I too am having the same problem with my new Rims setup. When run in auto, I would get huge swings, so I switched it to manual. Now my problem is trying to get a 1/2 ball valve to open the exact amount for the flow I need. After playing with it for a while, I was able to get it steady at about 165-170, but it is extremely touchy. I will either need to put in a smaller valve, or something with better ability to fine tune it. Really though, I just need to figure out how to program the PID better.

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Old 04-01-2013, 04:34 PM   #7
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If I'm not mistaken, user Sizz had the best success by injecting incoming tap water on the input side of a recirculation loop. For example, say you have a gallon of water in your MLT and you start pumping it through the RIMS as if it was in mash mode (controller set at desired strike temp). Meanwhile, the incoming tap water is injected post pump, but pre RIMS via a tee and valve. The incoming flow rate remains generally slow to allow the filter to remove chlorine, etc.

He was using a BCS through so even in auto temp mode, he was able to fine tune the duty cycle to a very short period to avoid swings.

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Old 04-01-2013, 06:43 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by phreaky View Post
I too am having the same problem with my new Rims setup. When run in auto, I would get huge swings, so I switched it to manual. Now my problem is trying to get a 1/2 ball valve to open the exact amount for the flow I need. After playing with it for a while, I was able to get it steady at about 165-170, but it is extremely touchy. I will either need to put in a smaller valve, or something with better ability to fine tune it. Really though, I just need to figure out how to program the PID better.
I did the same thing and put a stopper on the tap line ball valve so I could hit the same flow rate every time. The issue is I have to get a pretty good flow rate in order to stay at 175-180 so the flow to my kettle is less than the flow to MLT. If I were to make them the same flow rate the sparge would be over in less than 30 minutes...I'm not sure if this is a problem or not but I assume it will decrease efficiency.

What size is your element? I wonder if I drop to a 4500w will correct the issue.
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:24 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stlbeer View Post
That's a pretty cool idea. My RIMS tube only at a 2000w 240v element in it. I would think your flow rate would have to be fairly slow and with the variability of water pressure that could make for the difference you see. Also, it could be inadequate mixing of the heated portion of water at the temp probe. Is your temp probe long enough to get into the main column of water? I see it's in the side of the tee, but that could be part of the problem as well. Have you considered insulating your RIMS tube? There is heat loss there as well. Possibly a water regulator on the input side (ball or gate valve) separate from the valve at the tap?
The probe is approx 3in. I think I'm getting good readings and adequate heating at my flow rate given the sparge water will reach boiling if I put the PID into manual mode. The PID controller is on its most sensitive setting and I don't see anything in the manual that leads me to believe I can fine tune it further. I'm really starting to lean towards replacing the 5500w element with a 4500w to see if lower wattage element will heat the water to the desired temp without reaching boiling.
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Old 04-01-2013, 07:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
If I'm not mistaken, user Sizz had the best success by injecting incoming tap water on the input side of a recirculation loop. For example, say you have a gallon of water in your MLT and you start pumping it through the RIMS as if it was in mash mode (controller set at desired strike temp). Meanwhile, the incoming tap water is injected post pump, but pre RIMS via a tee and valve. The incoming flow rate remains generally slow to allow the filter to remove chlorine, etc.

He was using a BCS through so even in auto temp mode, he was able to fine tune the duty cycle to a very short period to avoid swings.
So the wort from the mash tun is mixed with fresh water from the tap before hitting the RIMS tube? If I'm understanding this correctly I would have to add all my sparge water before emptying the MLT because I can't drain the MLT at the same time I'm mixing, correct?
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