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Old 05-11-2012, 11:19 AM   #1
Ciderguy
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Jan 2009
Bellingham, Washington
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I have recently gotten my system together and would like some advice on what kind of an automated system. I don't want to get too deep into money (I know its going to cost either way and I want to do it right). I have 80 gallon kettle, HLT, and mash tun, and a RIMS unit on order. I would Like to get some kind of a system put together that will give me some basic controls over my valves (propane and liquid), pumps, and temperature control with a basic display. Any advice? I have been reading for a while but a lot of this still sounds a little over my head. Anyone want to recommend a good system for a beginner? Thank you!
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Old 05-11-2012, 11:40 AM   #2
Rbeckett
 
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Cider,
There are lots of different possibilites for doing your system. A lot depends on how much electrical/electronics experience you have or are willing to learn. There are some pretty compete systems out there and some junk too. I dont have enough experience to tell you which, but some of the other veterans will hopefully come along and point you in that direction. As far as automating goes a simple plan will go a long way to deciding how and what you wish to automate. I would suggest a line drawing of your system with arrows for fluid direction and heavy lines for hoses and see where you get, from there you can decide what you want to happen and build from there. Hope this helps.
WCB
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Old 05-12-2012, 04:40 AM   #3
Ciderguy
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Jan 2009
Bellingham, Washington
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Yeah... I don't have extensive knowledge with wiring but I can learn. I wouldn't necessarily need everything automated. I would like to start with something that gives me control over everything, which I may be able to expand or upgrade into an automated system without throwing or replacing any of the equipment I buy. I have found a line drawing or two that I am considering for my system. I just don't have any experience with the electronics and I was hoping someone could tell me what is and isn't junk. Thanks for the response!

 
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Old 05-12-2012, 11:12 AM   #4
Rbeckett
 
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Cider,
Sounds like a winning approach. I am doing basically the same thing. Everwhere I put a switch is an opportunity to allow a microchip to have control in the future. So my initial desigh has a huge number of switches. As the design progresses I will begin replacing switches with transistors or FET's, or ? so I can do the function with 5 volts. After I get the switch working with electronics, I will teach myself to code and program a 40 pin chip to make the decisions about which switch and when. So it is a 3 or 4 step approach to get to where I want to be. Dont get discouraged and feel free to ask questions. You never know when a particular question will unlock the whole project and help it all come together.
WCB
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Old 05-27-2012, 01:35 PM   #5
crane
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Sep 2011
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Deciding on how to implement your control system depends on to what extent you want to automate your brewery. If you want to have a fully automated system that will automatically activate pumps and valves at different points of the brewing process then you will need a centralized controller like a brewtroller, BCS, computer with lab view or DIY with a microcontroller. If you don't want to have it fully automated then you can consider using standalone PID temp controllers and switches.

 
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Old 06-03-2012, 04:47 AM   #6
Ciderguy
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Jan 2009
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I was just going to say I am looking into PID controllers and switches. It looks like a very cost efficient system that fits in my budget right now, and it should do everything I need. Thanks

 
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Old 06-03-2012, 05:42 PM   #7
Rbeckett
 
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Cider,
I found an Ebay seller selling the REX C-100's for 14 bucks each. I ordered 5 to get my system started. So far with all the components, boards and switches I am still in for less than a hundred bucks. I think eventually I will break that barrier, but for now the chinese stuff is making this project much cheaper to start out. If you need the vendors list let me know and I will post up some I have been using that have decent ship times and tracking.
Bob
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Old 08-08-2012, 01:22 PM   #8
mastweb
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Aug 2011
Montreal, Quebec
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Hey,

I just saw your system and I am planning on building a similar structure. How do you connect the propane tank to the top burner? Do you put the tank high or do you use a "extension tube" or something?

thanks!

 
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Old 08-08-2012, 03:09 PM   #9
SMc0724
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Subscribed.

 
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Old 08-09-2012, 12:21 AM   #10
Ciderguy
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Jan 2009
Bellingham, Washington
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The propane hose actually reached the propane tank on the ground, but you can buy propane hoses at hardware stores. I work in a marine supply store and we sell them too.

 
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