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Old 08-08-2013, 10:51 PM   #1
malador
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Apr 2010
Oregon
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Has anyone been using hot surface igniters long term? If so, please share your experience I've seen a lot of references to them being delicate, but I did find anyone saying "I tried them and they sucked". "Or I tried them and they rock."

 
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Old 08-08-2013, 10:58 PM   #2
BigRob
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Jan 2011
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I work with them daily, they are quite delicate yes, but they provide a very reliable ignition. I would imagine a spark ignition might be a little more robust, depending on where you locate, and what kind of abuse it might be subjected to.

 
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Old 08-09-2013, 02:34 AM   #3
malador
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Apr 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BigRob View Post
I work with them daily, they are quite delicate yes, but they provide a very reliable ignition. I would imagine a spark ignition might be a little more robust, depending on where you locate, and what kind of abuse it might be subjected to.
I'll do some searching for spark ignitions. I'm trying to find something simple and reliable. I'm going to use a thermocouple input in the PLC to shut of the gas in the event of failure to fire. I'd really like to find an ignitor that doesn't have any of it's own logic. Just turns on when it receives power.

Would you have any recommendations on an ignitor for me?

 
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Old 08-09-2013, 03:48 AM   #4
BigRob
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To be completely honest, the way you seem to be using it, a standing pilot seems like the simplest way to go about things. You seem to be reinventing the wheel as you could use any number of gas valves that have integrated safety features like thermocouples/thermopiles that do exactly what you plan to do with the PLC. If you used such a valve, all you'd need to worry about it with your programming is sending the 24V to the gas valve on a call for heat. I've seen thermocouple/standing pilots last more than a decade of continuous use.

I don't do anything as far as PLCs, but I typically use ignition control modules (baso, fenwal, maxliter, honeywell, johnson controls, etc.) for both HSI and Spark ignition. These modules have the electronics to generate the spark, as well as flame sense. They're generally considered good for 1 million ignitions. They're intolerant of having water splashed on them too, which is another reason they may not be well suited to a brew stand unless you build it with that in mind. Price is also another factor to consider.

 
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Old 08-09-2013, 03:34 PM   #5
malador
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Apr 2010
Oregon
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[QUOTE=BigRob;5417728]........To be completely honest, the way you seem to be using it, a standing pilot seems like the simplest way to go about things. You seem to be reinventing the wheel ........../QUOTE]

Thanks for the information. I know there are easier/cheaper ways to do what I what I want to do. But I didn't start my brewstand(or homebrewing) just to keep it simple and cheap.

 
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Old 08-09-2013, 04:00 PM   #6
tob77
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Sep 2012
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FWIW I've been using a spark module from a gas range since about 2003. It has never once failed to light. You can find them on amazon for about $15.

 
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Old 08-09-2013, 06:45 PM   #7
malador
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Apr 2010
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tob77 View Post
FWIW I've been using a spark module from a gas range since about 2003. It has never once failed to light. You can find them on amazon for about $15.
Could you please share a little more about your system? Are you using it with a pilot light?

 
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Old 08-09-2013, 08:57 PM   #8
tob77
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Sep 2012
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No, I'm not using a pilot light. My old system used a cheap Mitsubishi PLC for simple on/off burner control. I have an ASCO lp solenoid valve that turns the gas on and off. I energize the spark module for 3 seconds whenever the solenoid valve is first opened. Like I said before, it has never failed to light. I have recently replaced the PLC in my new system with a raspberry pi. Additionally I have hooked up a servo to my lp regulator so that I can control the flame using a PID in the raspberry pi. I am not currently using a thermocouple with my setup. I always use my system outside, I never operate it unattended and my flame has never blown out on me. However, now with the servo automatically controlling the flame I might run into some issues in the future (I am still testing and tuning my new system). How are you going to hook up your thermocouple to your PLC? Analog or Digital?

 
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Old 08-13-2013, 01:14 AM   #9
BitSlinger84
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Feb 2011
Hershey, Pennsylvania
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I'd be interested in a spark ignitor for a PLC as well. Currently my direct fired RIMs uses a standing pilot. The issue I've been running into is in the summer when its 90+ degrees out and I have really low heat loss, the standing pilot will actually heat the mash a degree every 15 minutes or so (even at its very lowest). I temporarily solved the issue by creating a "manual" mode that sounds a piezoelectric buzzer. I then manually press a button to open the gas valve and ignite it by hand. It's not that bad (about 10 lights a brew to hold 0.5 degrees within my set point), but I'm not a bandaid type of person. I'd rather fix the issue, and I know a spark ignitor will do that.

 
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Old 08-13-2013, 04:00 PM   #10
tob77
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Sep 2012
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The only thing that you have to watch out for with spark modules is the EMI (Electromagnetic interference) that they produce. Most PLCs will handle the EMI ok but you might have to take extra precautions if you are using any microcontrollers, unshielded signal lines, or other sensitive electronics.

 
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