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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Fermenters > Poll: Fermentation chamber temperature probe placement

View Poll Results: Where do you place your probe?
Hanging in the air 84 22.22%
Insulated against the fermenter wall 180 47.62%
Submerged in a separate container of water 59 15.61%
Inside the fermenter utilizing a thermowell 55 14.55%
Voters: 378. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 07-09-2010, 05:42 PM   #11
Schnitzengiggle
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catt22 View Post
With all due respect, I generally disagree with most of the above.

1. IMO, a controller probe placed in a thermowell in the fermenter will result in larger temperature swings than having the probe in the air and monitoring the fermenter with a separate thermometer. The freezer will overshoot and undershoot a lot.

5. Attaching a thermometer probe to the side of a fermenter and isolating it with some insulation works really well. The temperature holds very steady within one degree or so this way and I believe that it provides a reasonable approximation of the actual wort temperature inside the fermenter. Using a thermowell may be a slightly more accurate method, but not worth the hassle IMO.
Am I missing something here?

You stated in #1 that the freezer would overshoot and undershoot because of a thermowell in the fermenter, then you stated in #5 that it would be the most accurate but not worth the heassle.

What hassle are you speaking of? If you have a decent temp controller you can set the hysteresis avoiding a gross over or under shoot of your desired temperature.

I think a thermowell would definitely be most accurate way to control fermentation temperatures for a single fermenter, but if you have a fermentation chamber with more than one fermenter and different beer styles using different yeasts, then having the probe in a seperate container of water might be a better solution, while keeping your fermentation temp a few degrees cooler during the "active" fermentation period.

My .02.
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:37 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Schnitzengiggle View Post
Am I missing something here?

You stated in #1 that the freezer would overshoot and undershoot because of a thermowell in the fermenter, then you stated in #5 that it would be the most accurate but not worth the heassle.

What hassle are you speaking of? If you have a decent temp controller you can set the hysteresis avoiding a gross over or under shoot of your desired temperature.

I think a thermowell would definitely be most accurate way to control fermentation temperatures for a single fermenter, but if you have a fermentation chamber with more than one fermenter and different beer styles using different yeasts, then having the probe in a seperate container of water might be a better solution, while keeping your fermentation temp a few degrees cooler during the "active" fermentation period.

My .02.
Yeah, you missed something. In #5 I was suggesting that a thermometer probe, not the controller probe, in the a thermowell might provide a slightly more accurate indication of the actual wort temperature.

The hassle I'm referring to is actually installing a thermowell in a fermenter. I prefer the simplicity of not having any unnecessary penetrations into the fermenter. A thermowell requires a penetration and one more piece of equipment that requires careful cleaning and sanitizing. Not worth the trouble IMO.

 
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Old 07-09-2010, 09:45 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by vincemash View Post
thanks for all the replies..

I am leaning towards leaving the one probe in the air and putting a separate cheap thermometer on the carboy wall with some insulation

now for the important question...whats the best source for a cheap thermometer with a probe that I can attach to my carboy?....on a major budget here
I have several fermentation chambers and several different digital thermometers that I use with them. You can find cheap indoor/outdoor digital thermometers just about anywhere. Target and Wally World have them as well as Lowes and HD. Radio Shack too. You can find them as low as $10 and they are surprisingly accurate. I have one that is wireless which is kind of nice as you don't have to deal with the probe lead as on the hard wired type. The only downside to the wireless unit is that the transmitter is rather bulky, but that hasn't proved to be a problem. Attaching the thermometer probe to the side or top of the fermenter and covering it with some insulation works very well. In theory, the heat radiated by the fermenter will be trapped by the insulation and very closely approximate the internal temperature of the fermenter. I think I first heard of this method from Jamil or someone on the Brewing Network. All I can say is that I'm very pleased with the way it works.

 
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Old 07-09-2010, 11:34 PM   #14
jroot
 
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I recently built a Son Of Fermentation chamber that contains one 6 gal carboy and uses a Johnson Controller to regulate a 5" fan blowing cold air into the chamber from 2 gallon frozen jugs of ice. Since you can only control the air temperature in the chamber it makes perfect sense to place its probe somewhere in that chamber and not worry able the wort temperature within the carboy. I bought a cheap $7 digital thermometer with probe that is within 1 deg of the Johnson probe and duct taped it with a 1/2" piece of dense foam covering it to the side of the carboy. I have used this arrangement twice now and it works beautifully to keep the chamber at the set point temperature. The beginning readings are usually 1-2 deg higher on the carboy probe during initial ferment but near end of ferment the reading comes more in line with the Johnson probe temp.

 
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Old 07-09-2010, 11:54 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jroot View Post
Since you can only control the air temperature in the chamber it makes perfect sense to place its probe somewhere in that chamber and not worry able the wort temperature within the carboy.
If you're not worried about the temperature within the carboy, why build a chamber in the first place?
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Old 07-10-2010, 12:52 AM   #16
vincemash
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hmmmm cheap

in for one!

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...=STRK:MEWNX:IT


I may be brave enough just to sanitize and dunk this right in the fermenter


 
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Old 07-10-2010, 01:03 AM   #17
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Thermowell for me I like to know the exact temp of the fermenting wort.
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Old 07-10-2010, 02:22 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brew-boy View Post
Thermowell for me I like to know the exact temp of the fermenting wort.
+10 I can deal with the extra little hassle be it so little being a deep well in the fermenters lid aimed straight down into the heart of the fermenter. Come on how much more of a hassle is it to clean and sterilize? Accurate temps are my goal.

 
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Old 07-10-2010, 02:44 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catt22 View Post
With all due respect, I generally disagree with most of the above.

1. IMO, a controller probe placed in a thermowell in the fermenter will result in larger temperature swings than having the probe in the air and monitoring the fermenter with a separate thermometer. The freezer will overshoot and undershoot a lot.
With all due respect, only if you do it wrong. Use a properly tuned PID to take care of overshoot/inertia problems in your cooling loop.

 
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Old 07-10-2010, 02:55 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RDWHAHB View Post
With all due respect, only if you do it wrong. Use a properly tuned PID to take care of overshoot/inertia problems in your cooling loop.
PID with refrigeration equipment is bad... Will kill the compressor in no time.

 
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