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Old 08-30-2010, 07:00 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by kenc_zymurgy View Post
If the pump runs 50% of the time (I don't know what's typical with these systems)
Duty cycle is typically WELL under 1%. Pump heat is just not a significant factor. You might as well get a pump that works well for recirculating through an immersion chiller.

We (I) don't use a thermowell, so as soon as the coolant reaches set temp, the pump is off.
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Old 08-30-2010, 08:30 PM   #112
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Originally Posted by 944play View Post
Duty cycle is typically WELL under 1%. Pump heat is just not a significant factor. You might as well get a pump that works well for recirculating through an immersion chiller.

We (I) don't use a thermowell, so as soon as the coolant reaches set temp, the pump is off.
I see, with that low of a duty cycle you are right, a non-issue. I was figuring it might run for a while to get down to temp, but less often to maintain that temp. I think it's good that you monitor the coolant temp, I wasn't aware that most people were doing it that way. It seems that so many people get hung up on monitoring the wort/beer temperature, but it almost always works better if you can keep the environment at a controlled temperature, the beer/wort will follow. Esp since the coolant in this design will quickly draw of any heat from fermentation.

I looked back in this long (and excellent) thread, here's a good example of why monitoring the coolant can work better than monitoring the beer/wort:

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Originally Posted by RecruitNBrew View Post
I started with the thermowell (thermistor??) directly in the carboy, but I ran into an issue. When the system kicked on, it would pump so much freezing cold water into the chiller that it would push my fermentation temp 4-5 degrees lower than my target. Now that it is in the chiller water, I just set the temp controller about two degrees lower than my target fermentation temp and it works great.
With a good coolant level, I'm not sure you'd really need the two degree offset, but hey, that's closer than most people can get anyway.

-kenc
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Old 08-31-2010, 03:45 PM   #113
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So if i am figuring this out right,
Long as its a cheap pump, It really doesnt matter if it does 40 or 240gph.

Just make sure the controller is set up right.

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Old 11-25-2010, 08:13 PM   #114
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I recently moved hawaii and dont have many options for a cool room to ferment my homebrew. There happen to be 3 coolers left under the house im renting so i used them to make my water chiller. Ended up using all pvc piping for the overflow and drain hose connection. Bought a RANCO controller off ebay. Was SHOCKED at how easy it was to set up. Bought a 40gph pump to circulate the water in the chiller and a 180gph to pump from water cooler to the chiller. Its working great! I have two 2.5gallon rectangular water jugs that i use to chill the water and keep two more in my freezer. I have been switching them every 48 hours. The chiller maintains a steady 65 in my 90+ degree garage. Bought a sheet of foam from Home Depot and made a cover to place of the carboy to better insulate. I have been very please so far.dsc03029.jpg

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Old 06-14-2011, 05:44 PM   #115
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I'm experimenting with this method of controlling fermentation temps.

Has anyone put a thermowell in the carboy and compared it to the ambient water temperature? Results?

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Old 06-27-2011, 02:52 PM   #116
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Sorry to bring up an oldish thread, but does anyone think the following may work? I want to use my immersion chiller and pond pump set up as is without much modification. If I put the IC copper coil in my 10g water cooler mash tun filled with ice water, the pump in my Rubbermaid container where the fermenters are, and plug the pump into an ebay temperature controller, theoretically it should work correct?

This way I don’t have to worry about overflow pipes, both containers can stay on the floor, and all the water being pumped will end up right back where it came from. The only issue I can see is stratification of the chilling water in the mash tun, but I think it should still work. I guess if its taking too long I could throw a small aquarium pump in the cooler to keep the ice water turbulent.

I figure this is the best way to use the equipment I already have, and since I almost never do back to back days of brewing, the equipment can basically be utilized at all times. If I brew the following week, usually the beer has fermented to FG and temp control is not as necessary. So I would be pulling the first batch out of the Rubbermaid, and replacing it with the new batch. After cleaning the IC and mash tun, it goes back to fermentation chill mode. (This would give me incentive to clean my equipment right away as well lol).

BTW I frequently do 10 gallon batches, and currently use the rubbermaid container as a swamp chiller to chill two buckets at the same time. In the recent heat, I've had to change frozen water bottles up to 3 times a day. Hopefully with this setup I can partially enclose the rubbermaid container (at least put a blanket over it, and possibly insulate the outside walls as well). If I can get away with a constant temperature while only having to change ice once every couple day, I will be ecstatic!

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Old 06-27-2011, 07:57 PM   #117
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I think its a great idea! I recently switched to a chest freezer, much simpler than the water bath but it definitely served its purpose and I made some great beers using that set up!

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Old 06-27-2011, 08:49 PM   #118
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kpr121 View Post
Sorry to bring up an oldish thread, but does anyone think the following may work? I want to use my immersion chiller and pond pump set up as is without much modification. If I put the IC copper coil in my 10g water cooler mash tun filled with ice water, the pump in my Rubbermaid container where the fermenters are, and plug the pump into an ebay temperature controller, theoretically it should work correct?

.....

Hopefully with this setup I can partially enclose the rubbermaid container (at least put a blanket over it, and possibly insulate the outside walls as well). If I can get away with a constant temperature while only having to change ice once every couple day, I will be ecstatic!
That should work fine, I would think. Pumping the water directly (as in the OP) has the advantage of not needing to transfer the heat, it just moves the water. But an IC should have plenty of heat transfer capability.

Two suggestions - 1) put the probe in the water such that the pump shuts off quickly. The coldest water will be the water sitting in the IC (it has had time to give up its heat). Might as well just pump that cold water, then let it sit and come to an average temperature.

and 2) get the bottom insulated. Cold sinks and you want to hold the cold in.

I don't think stratification will be a big issue, the ice will float to the top, so you will get a natural flow from the cold on top dropping to the bottom and rising again as it warms.

-kenc
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Old 06-27-2011, 09:11 PM   #119
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See my remarks below in bold

Quote:
Originally Posted by kenc_zymurgy View Post
That should work fine, I would think. Pumping the water directly (as in the OP) has the advantage of not needing to transfer the heat, it just moves the water. But an IC should have plenty of heat transfer capability.
Understood. I guess I am trading off efficiency for ease of use/implementation. If the pump runs 2-3 times longer in my situation vs. directly pumping the ice water, I am okay with that.

Two suggestions - 1) put the probe in the water such that the pump shuts off quickly. The coldest water will be the water sitting in the IC (it has had time to give up its heat). Might as well just pump that cold water, then let it sit and come to an average temperature.
Im thinking of either putting the probe directly in between the carboys or at the furthest point from the cold water out, basically the opposite corner. Which would be better?

and 2) get the bottom insulated. Cold sinks and you want to hold the cold in.
Great point, I think I am going to use the second rubbermaid I have and insulate between the two with expanding foam

I don't think stratification will be a big issue, the ice will float to the top, so you will get a natural flow from the cold on top dropping to the bottom and rising again as it warms.
The only reason I thought of stratification was from experience with cooling wort. If you dont stir the wort a cool layer sits right outside the copper, essentially limiting the temperature delta. I guess when the delta is only a few degrees you don't have quite the same issue

-kenc
Thanks for the suggestions! I am definitely going to give this a try since it literally will cost me nothing but a couple minutes of my time. I'll report back (w/ pics hopefully) with my results.
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Old 06-28-2011, 01:09 PM   #120
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See my remarks below in bold

I'm thinking of either putting the probe directly in between the carboys or at the furthest point from the cold water out, basically the opposite corner. Which would be better?
I think you will need to experiment. The reason I say close to the output tube is consider this:

Say you have 5 gallons of chill water in the fermentor cooler and you want to maintain 60F. It takes some time for a thermostat to respond. If the pump moves 1 gallon of water (just one minute for a 60 GPH pump) before the thermostat shuts it down, you have a mix of one gallon of, say, 40F water and 4 gallons of 60F water - that averages out to 5 gallons of 56F. That might be a bit more swing than you want.

Again, it will take some experimentation, but I'd lean towards a short cycle to avoid over-shoot, and move from there as needed. With a compressor, you want to avoid short cycles, but I think this will actually be best with just a pump.



Quote:
The only reason I thought of stratification was from experience with cooling wort. If you dont stir the wort a cool layer sits right outside the copper, essentially limiting the temperature delta. I guess when the delta is only a few degrees you don't have quite the same issue
That's what I think also. Also, calculate how much water the IC holds. From my comments above, you may find that all you need to do is pump the contents of the IC over to the fermentor. After that, the water in the IC has some time to sit in the ice bath and give its heat up. You might not really need to transfer any heat as it is being pumped.


Quote:
Thanks for the suggestions! I am definitely going to give this a try since it literally will cost me nothing but a couple minutes of my time. I'll report back (w/ pics hopefully) with my results.
Please do report back. Let us know some things like the controller settings, volume of chill water in the fermentor, in the ice bath, the volume in the IC, and your pump capacity (it would be good to measure how long it takes to fill a gallon jug with it hooked up - to see how it handles the restriction of the IC and hoses). It really helps us to hear how the theories really work out in practice. I do think this will work well for you.

-kenc
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