Originally Posted by SoSublime
How are you liking the TOP so far? What was your reason for choosing this over say the Loves?
I looked into building a controller using a PID, RTD, solenoid valve and a re-igniter, like the ones Blichmann uses but to be honest by the time you use the quality components that the TOP controller uses you aren't really saving much money. Then you have to find an enclosure to mount it all in.
The PID that the TOP uses is more accurate than the Love controllers or the Auber controllers that are popular. In order to achieve the +-.5F you need better than .2% F over full range of input.
So to answer your question about how I like it...like all Blichmann stuff it is good qualiity and well thought out. I did learn that when controlling gas, the PID can't really be used in a fully intelligent fashion. You can really only use the P term or on and off mode because the burner can't be controlled like an electric heating element, pulsed on and off quickly. I also learned that you will need to take some measures to insulate your MT and plumbing if you are brewing outside during the winter. Since the sensor measures the temp of the wort as it leaves the MT, If you have too much thermal loss your MT temp will be low. As much as a couple of degrees in my experience. That may not sound like a lot but the reason I purchased this device was to hold temps more accurately than that.
There is a learning curve but I believe it is the best product of its kind available today. If you have an specific questions I'd be happy to answer them for you.