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Old 05-19-2013, 05:13 PM   #41
emorrison89
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May 2013
Houston, Texas
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Hi everyone. I'm new to the forum and I just purchased one and it should be here in a couple weeks. If anyone has any tricks they have learned I would love to hear.

 
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Old 05-20-2013, 02:46 PM   #42
gwfrankpsu
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Jan 2010
Mckinleyville, California
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I've used the TOP for months, if you follow the cleaning method it works pretty well but I suggest the following;

1. Clean your mash tun - I mean clean it!

2. Add either PBW or One Step (my preference) with warm water I plan on trying TM Desanamax a color changing cleaner available from William's Brewing.

3. After everything is hooked up flush all lines (DO NOT RECIRCULATE UNTIL ALL AND I MEAN ALL LINES ARE FLUSHED) until wort is gone.

4. Recirculate through the mash tun for 15 minutes.

5. Drain mash tun by flushing lines.

6. Drain mash tun and refill with warm water.

7. Flush all lines with warm water through the pump.

8. Remove the sight glass and clean the sight glass and the float. After using for about 10 brews I noticed mung on the float. So I clean the sight glass/float and allow to dry before re-installing.

9. This is a great product, though I have not been able to get the TOP to talk to a computer to do automated step mash. Though it works great manually. My efficiency is almost always greater than 75%.

 
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Old 05-21-2013, 04:59 AM   #43
freshhoarse
 
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Jan 2011
West Berlin, New Jersey
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Subbed. I'll try to post pics of my set-up when l'm home...
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Old 12-03-2013, 02:19 AM   #44
ThatGeekGuy
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Aug 2012
Sugar Land, TX
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Wanted to stir the pot on this a little, so to speak. Looking at buying the ToP control head to use with my RIMS plumbing and Blichmann burner for doing BIAB. I had priced out building an electric RIMS tube system, to do it right put me within $75 of the Blichmann ToP and I'd still have to build everything for an electric system and still use the burner for the boil.
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Old 12-03-2013, 04:57 AM   #45
dcbc
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Feb 2012
Tyler, TX
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If you have a Blichmann burner already, you'll only have to drill one hole to install the spark igniter. From there, it's just a matter of plugging it in. I have had mine for a year and it works well. After all of that time, I finally got around to adjusting the MLT igniter. It was moving a bit and losing the gap on the nozzle on my wok burner. I expect they are easier to align with the cast iron burners. But that has been my only issue, and one that was easy to readjust and fix.
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Old 12-03-2013, 02:04 PM   #46
ThatGeekGuy
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dcbc,
Are you using your ToP in a BIAB RIMS system? Have you used the software for step mashing?
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Old 12-03-2013, 02:59 PM   #47
dcbc
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Feb 2012
Tyler, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ThatGeekGuy View Post
dcbc,
Are you using your ToP in a BIAB RIMS system? Have you used the software for step mashing?
No. I'm using it on a single tier, 3 kettle, batch sparge system with a false bottom. But it should work similarly with BIAB. I have the cable, but have never bothered hooking up the netbook. It's just so easy to push buttons on the controller to step mash.



I've been toying with the idea of rigging the cable to some sort of wireless usb adapter so I could monitor the temps and make adjustments from inside the house. But its being gas fired, even with the flame sensor, I really don't like to leave it for too long.

I'm brewing next Thursday. Maybe I'll play with it a bit.
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Old 12-04-2013, 03:52 PM   #48
Ahoffy
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Jun 2011
Port Angeles, Washington
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I use a DLink WiFi cam to monitor the mash temperature and flow. If the flow slows or burner doesn't light you can hear the alarm on your computer.

 
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Old 12-05-2013, 01:49 PM   #49
dcbc
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Feb 2012
Tyler, TX
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ahoffy View Post
I use a DLink WiFi cam to monitor the mash temperature and flow. If the flow slows or burner doesn't light you can hear the alarm on your computer.
Here is what I worked out (with some help) over the last day for a no cost solution. It helps that the previous owner of the house ran Cat5 to junction boxes in the garage and bedroom, where we have a desktop.

1. Run an Ethernet cable from the plug on the TOP to the junction in the garage.
2. At the junction in the bedroom, run the Blichmann cable from the Cat5 box to the USB port on the desktop (the Blichmann cable has a chip in it that does the conversion so the computer can recognize everything via USB.
3. Open LINK software on the desktop.
4. Use Logmein remote desktop software to monitor and adjust the TOP controller wirelessly either with my netbook or an iPad/android phone (there's an app for logmein. All free.

If I didn't have the Cat5 box in the garage, I could just hook it up to an old laptop and remote in to that.
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