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Old 01-20-2014, 03:42 PM   #1
chadkarol
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Sep 2012
Grayslake, Illinois
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I'm looking to build my first automated RIMS system. I've been an all grain brewer for quite some time, and I'm ready for more control over my mash temperatures, and incorporate RIMS at the same time. What are people's thoughts on the simplest (inexpensive) system? Basically, I just want to control my mash temperature using my existing propane burner. I already have a pump to use for recirculation, already have a 15 gallon kettle for my mash tun. I looked at the tower of power, but the price tag of $1200 for the tower and controller seems excessive. What type of inexpensive controllers are out there that I can just add a temp sensor, a pump, and be done? Thanks all.

 
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:36 PM   #2
ebstauffer
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Nov 2011
Indianapolis, IN
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Question #1: Is conversion to electric in the cards?

 
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Old 01-20-2014, 04:42 PM   #3
chadkarol
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Sep 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebstauffer View Post
Question #1: Is conversion to electric in the cards?
if it's not expensive to do, I would consider it for sure. Less than a couple hundreds dollars I assume? if so, then yeah. I should probably consider that option.

 
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Old 01-20-2014, 05:00 PM   #4
ebstauffer
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Ahhh. That's good to hear. I too was a former 2-banjo burner brewer w/ picnic cooler and have been slowly converting to electric. I made my RIMS tube from pieces and parts mainly from http://stores.ebay.com/Mainland-Valve-and-Fitting-Inc which were really good to work with. Here's my proof-of-concept:



I made a few significant changes since then -- added an air vent, altered wort flow, bought a triclamp potting system for the element -- I'll snap a few pics this afternoon. All said and done I probably have $150 in it including the controller which is a decidedly low tech affair based on a Auber PID. Works a dream though.

Even though I mash in a cooler I never seemed to hit my temps. This gives me lots of options.

 
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:36 PM   #5
chadkarol
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Sep 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ebstauffer View Post
Ahhh. That's good to hear. I too was a former 2-banjo burner brewer w/ picnic cooler and have been slowly converting to electric. I made my RIMS tube from pieces and parts mainly from http://stores.ebay.com/Mainland-Valve-and-Fitting-Inc which were really good to work with. Here's my proof-of-concept:



I made a few significant changes since then -- added an air vent, altered wort flow, bought a triclamp potting system for the element -- I'll snap a few pics this afternoon. All said and done I probably have $150 in it including the controller which is a decidedly low tech affair based on a Auber PID. Works a dream though.

Even though I mash in a cooler I never seemed to hit my temps. This gives me lots of options.
Whatever pictures you could snap would be great, thanks! Pictures of the controller would be helpful too. Not looking for anything high tech, so it seems like your setup is probably something I'm leaning towards; a simple RIMS tube and a simple controller to adjust the temp. Thanks again!

 
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Old 01-20-2014, 06:52 PM   #6
ebstauffer
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Nov 2011
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can you said, "plastic shoebox from Costco". Im almost embarrassed if it didnt serve me so well. Pictures forthcoming....

 
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Old 01-24-2014, 07:57 PM   #7
helibrewer
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Mine is very similar:


You will need some means of PID control through an Auber, BrewTroller, or some other system
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Old 01-29-2014, 03:11 PM   #8
chadkarol
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Sep 2012
Grayslake, Illinois
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I think I've decided I'm going to do a HERMS setup, perhaps similar to theelectricbrewery.com, but I'm trying to find a simple control panel, as opposed to something with a lot of bells and whistles that I don't want to spend $2k on. Anyone have any suggestions on already-built controllers, just something I can control the target temperature, plug in a temp sensor and an electric heater, and that's it? Maybe that's just not something that is available and I'll have to build for myself?

 
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Old 01-29-2014, 08:44 PM   #9
Brumateur
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Could you describe with more details - what are you expecting from a control panel/controller?

 
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Old 01-29-2014, 09:08 PM   #10
chadkarol
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Sep 2012
Grayslake, Illinois
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brumateur View Post
Could you describe with more details - what are you expecting from a control panel/controller?
Very simply, all I want to do is set a temperature for the HLT and that's it. Perhaps also do stepped mash temps also simply by raising the temperature on the controller. Then when boiling, set it to boil (or 212 degrees) and that's it. I can control the pumps myself. Don't need fancy buzzers, timers, key switches, etc. Don't need to integrate the pump switches to the control panel. I can make a simple switch to turn on and off the pumps. Simplicity is mainly what I'm looking for.

 
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