All Electric Brewing System with Steam

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whitehotdawn

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So I have been thinking about an all electric brewing system for a long time now. I am looking to brew 5-10 gallon batches with this system. I have a space in my garage that has access to a 240V 50 Amp receptacle and a 120V 15amp receptacle (another 120V 15 ammp receptacle is close and will power pumps, ect). I have decided to automate the system using an Arduino Board (just like Yuri's system).

Steam Boiler and MT:
The Arduino would control the pressure (read temperature) in the boiler by activating a hotwater heater element inside. The temperature in the MT would be controlled by activating a solenoid valve to realease the steam into the MT in which a thermocoupler is placed.

HLT:
The Arduino would cotroller the temperature in the HLT, in which a thermocoupler is place, by activating a hot water heater element(s).

BK:
The Arduino would cotroller the temerature in the BK, in which a thermocoupler is place, by low-density hot water heater element(s). Ideally both the HLT and the BK would have lower wattage elements that could maintain the temperature (while the larger elements are disingaged).

I'm looking for advice on how to divide up the avaible power and what size elements should be used. For the boiler, Yuri uses a 240V 6000W element, which gives him 1500W at 120V with a 12.5A current draw. This seems to work well for him, so I'll probably do something similar unless people suggest otherwise. Before I propose a design, I would like to have clarification on downgrading a circuit for this particular application. Others have talked about using 75% or 80% of a circuits rating. Others still have decribed applications which seem to run equipment much closer to a circuits full capacity. What is the recommended protocol in this situation?

Initial Design

Boiler:
One 240V 1500W element connected to a 50A soild state relay (SSR) (Am I correct that SSRs are rated by the input current, so one would need a 50A SSR on a 50A line?).

HLT:
The HLT would have two 240V 4500W elements and one 240V 1500W element connected to a 50A SSR and have independed switches for each (do they makes these at a reasonable price?). Or the two 4500W elements could be connected to one SSR and the 1500W element could be connected to another SSR . The goals is to disengaged the 4500W elements and engaged the 1500W element in order to maintain the temperature.

BK:
The BK would have two 240V 4500W extra low density elements connected to an SSR and one 120V 1500W extra low density connected to an addtional SSR (I have yet to find a 240V 1500W extra low density element).

This design would give me 9000W of power to heat up water in the HLT and 10,500W with the BK (the additional 120V 1500W element). Since the 240V 4500W elements on the HLT and the BK would not be running at the same time they would consume 37.5A (the 240V 1500W element on the HLT would not be engaged while the 4500W elements were). Additionally, the boiler would consume 6.25A, for a total of 43.75A (which is ~88% of the circuits 50A). If this maxium load is unsafe I can redue some of the specifications. It would be easy to reduce the Amps on the HLT with a 240V 3500W element. The boil kettle proves to be a bit more difficult. As of right now I can only find extra low density elements in 5500W and 4500W.

10,500W is enough power to bring 13 gallons of wort to a boil (with a temperature rise of 73 degrees) in 14 minutes.

I'm going to need a bit of help figuring out this project and I would like to thank everyone in advance for any assistance offered.

-Sean
 

wihophead

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Others have talked about using 75% or 80% of a circuits rating. Others still have decribed applications which seem to run equipment much closer to a circuits full capacity. What is the recommended protocol in this situation?
The rule is a continuous load should not exceed 80% of the full load capacity.

Definition of a continuous load-
A load where the maximum current is expected to continue for 3 hours or more.
 

bakins

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Use the arduino as a PID and you only need a single 240V element in each. (there is some code in the playground for arduino as a PID). PID code will cycle the 240V element on/off to reach and maintain a tempterature. I do the same thing just with a dedicated PID (ie, not an arduino) and I just have one element in my BK and one in my HLT. I set my BK pid to 212 degrees, and once I get a boil I set it to cycle at 50-60%. (ie, on for 1 second off for 1 second). You could do the same with the Arduino quite easily.

Also, I use 4500W elements. 25A SSR is fine for that (with a heatsink).

10,500W is a crap load of power. A single 5500W element in the BK would probably be fine.

I'm thinking of doing a HERMS system with an arduino. I already have all the relays and other electronics.
 

EdWort

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Man, I would love to have an all electric brew system.... Hmmm. I wonder if I can convert the Blingmanns.
 
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whitehotdawn

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Since I have this power available, I might as well use it to speed up the process (or just because I can). I like the idea of integrating a PID algorithm with the Arduino. Here is the PID code in case anyone is interested.

What if I bought five 25A SSRs configured in the following way:
HLT: two 240V 4500W elements
Boiler: one 240V 1500W element
BK: two 240V 4500W extra low density elements

When the HLT or the BK reaches the set temperature the second element would be disengaged leaving the single element to cycle with the PID code. This would give me 9000W of power to heat up the strike/sparge water and the boil. This would be a maximum current draw of 43.75A, which should be find since this is not a continuous load application.
 

beretta

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What if I bought five 25A SSRs configured in the following way:
HLT: two 240V 4500W elements
Boiler: one 240V 1500W element
BK: two 240V 4500W extra low density elements

When the HLT or the BK reaches the set temperature the second element would be disengaged leaving the single element to cycle with the PID code. This would give me 9000W of power to heat up the strike/sparge water and the boil. This would be a maximum current draw of 43.75A, which should be find since this is not a continuous load application.
Watch your SSR's: with 4500 elements you have 18-19 amps. Your under the 80% rule ( 20 amps), but I'd definately make sure you have good heat sinks and maybe a muffin fan to cool the SSR/sinks. I have a 3000W/240V HLT element with a good heat sink thermal greased to my 25 amp SSR, and my SSR gets to 125 deg F at 100% duty. Your SSR's could get to 190 deg F. 25 Amp SSR's are only 25 Amps with an "infinate" heat sink.

Your max load is 43.75A ??? Ouchers. That's a bit scary. What kind of Breaker Box do you have? 100A, 150? 200? With that amperage, you'll have to (should) run 8 gauge wire in conduit. You might be able to get away with 10 gauge, but you better check with a real electrician. I'd go with one gauge down from Kitchen Range wire gauge. Kitchen Ranges run on 50 Amp circuits... so you're pushing the 80% rule with 43 Amps. You may even think about getting a sub-box with a lever switch on it. That way you *might* be able to switch the entire 240V system down if holy hell breaks loose.

BTW: I found the "D" in PID relatively useless. PI control works fine for me. And NO SSR's are not rated for the "supply load": there is no such thing. The load current is always dictated by the devices you're controlling. Just make sure you have a circuit breaker in the box big enough to handle 43 Amps. (try a 60Amp 240V). I'd even think about having a sub-box with individual 30 amp breakers each 4500 W element, and a 15 or 20 amp breaker for the 1500W circuit.

I see many trips to Home Despot, or Blows in your future!
 

bakins

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W With that amperage, you'll have to (should) run 8 gauge wire in conduit. You might be able to get away with 10 gauge, but you better check with a real electrician.
Really need to run 6 gauge probably. That's what I did. 8 is only rated at 40A, IIRC.
 

TBLbrewer

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Man i'd love to put one of these systems together. I'f only I spoke what ever language you guys are speaking. :confused:
 

beretta

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Really need to run 6 gauge probably. That's what I did. 8 is only rated at 40A, IIRC.
Ok... I'll believe you on the 6 gauge. HAHA, I petty the fool who has to man-handle 6 gauge wire through conduit.
 

slnies

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you might as well go full boat and go straight to the 750's, or better yet, high voltage mining cable in any conduit. LOL
 
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whitehotdawn

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Watch your SSR's: with 4500 elements you have 18-19 amps. Your under the 80% rule ( 20 amps), but I'd definately make sure you have good heat sinks and maybe a muffin fan to cool the SSR/sinks. I have a 3000W/240V HLT element with a good heat sink thermal greased to my 25 amp SSR, and my SSR gets to 125 deg F at 100% duty. Your SSR's could get to 190 deg F. 25 Amp SSR's are only 25 Amps with an "infinate" heat sink.

Your max load is 43.75A ??? Ouchers. That's a bit scary. What kind of Breaker Box do you have? 100A, 150? 200? With that amperage, you'll have to (should) run 8 gauge wire in conduit. You might be able to get away with 10 gauge, but you better check with a real electrician. I'd go with one gauge down from Kitchen Range wire gauge. Kitchen Ranges run on 50 Amp circuits... so you're pushing the 80% rule with 43 Amps. You may even think about getting a sub-box with a lever switch on it. That way you *might* be able to switch the entire 240V system down if holy hell breaks loose.
Thanks for the comments. This 240V 50A breaker and receptacle are already installed (I have bought a 240V 50A GFCI Breaker that will be installed shortly). This receptacle was installed for an electric kiln that never happened.

The house has two 200A Breaker Boxes. I can't remember the electrical distribution off hand, but the house was wired for two dryers (we only have one) and an air conditioning system. All of the other major appliances are natural gas (hot water heater, oven, stove, heat). I don't think I'm going to run into any problems tripping the main breaker.

The receptacle is about 25ft from the breaker box. Close to flip the breaker in an emergency. Though I could install a sub-box with two individual breakers and two receptacles, but I don't know how beneficial this would be in my situation.

I thought Wihophead made it clear that the 80% rule only applies to continuous load (running at maximum current for three hours or more). In my case, the 43.75A draw would only last for ~15 minutes (enough to get the strike/sparge/boil up to temperature). Once temperature was reached one 4500W element would be cut off completely and the other would cycle to maintain temp along with the 1500W cycling to maintain the pressure in the boiler. Am I interpreting the 80% rule wrong? I'm going to call up the electrician who did our house and find out what gauge wire they used. There is a chance a 60A breaker may be supported. But then I'd probably want to use 5500W elements, lol.

Are there any heat sinks that you would recommend? Initially I am planning to mount the electrical equipment in a wood box. The heat sinks could be mounted through the box for exposure. Do you think a fan would be necessary if they were mounted in this fashion? Or they could be mounted inside with fans in the back.

Man i'd love to put one of these systems together. I'f only I spoke what ever language you guys are speaking. :confused:
I tried to avoid the jargon as much as possible and use full phrases before resorting to abbreviations. Is there anything I can help illuminate for you about the project we are talking about?
 

TBLbrewer

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I tried to avoid the jargon as much as possible and use full phrases before resorting to abbreviations. Is there anything I can help illuminate for you about the project we are talking about?
My problem is that beyond plugging it into the wall, I have no electrical knowledge what so ever. Though... I have a mechanical contractor that lives 2 doors down that I bet I can get to help me for some tasty homebrew.:mug:
 

wihophead

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I'm going to call up the electrician who did our house and find out what gauge wire they used.
Are you referring to the 50A Kiln receptacle? Most likely they used 8AWG which is only sufficient for 50A.

You are interpreting the 80% rule correctly...it seems you have a pretty good handle on the situation....;)
 

beretta

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Here's a pic of my 25 Amp SSR with heatsink:



It's came with the SSR when I baught it. You can see the thermal grease (the white stuff) oozing out between the relay/sink junction. The total height of the SSR + heatsink is 3.5", just perfect to fit into a wooden box made with 1X4's
 

Amiaji

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The house has two 200A Breaker Boxes. I can't remember the electrical distribution off hand, but the house was wired for two dryers (we only have one) and an air conditioning system. All of the other major appliances are natural gas (hot water heater, oven, stove, heat). I don't think I'm going to run into any problems tripping the main breaker.
Just the electrician in me being curious. If most of you appliances are gas why did they wire it with a 400 amp service? How many square feet is your house?
I thought Wihophead made it clear that the 80% rule only applies to continuous load (running at maximum current for three hours or more). In my case, the 43.75A draw would only last for ~15 minutes (enough to get the strike/sparge/boil up to temperature). Once temperature was reached one 4500W element would be cut off completely and the other would cycle to maintain temp along with the 1500W cycling to maintain the pressure in the boiler. Am I interpreting the 80% rule wrong? I'm going to call up the electrician who did our house and find out what gauge wire they used. There is a chance a 60A breaker may be supported. But then I'd probably want to use 5500W elements, lol.
The 80 percent rule only applies to continuous loads. You are correct.
 
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whitehotdawn

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My problem is that beyond plugging it into the wall, I have no electrical knowledge what so ever. Though... I have a mechanical contractor that lives 2 doors down that I bet I can get to help me for some tasty homebrew.:mug:
I have really learned a lot by doing two things: (a) checking out a basic book on wiring from the library (in my case Ultimate Guide to Wiring) and (b) reading as much as I could about other electric brewing projects (and other projects that use similar technology) on this forum and other sites.

There are really two different electrical aspects to the project. The first is access to power and the use of the appropriately sized elements. The discussion about watts (W), amps (A) and volts (V) is really quite simple. If one knows the watts and volts for the element(s) and other electrical equipment being used and the amps available at the breaker, the design can be properly assessed. This is done by using the simple equations watts/volts=amps. So if you have a dedicated 120V 15A receptacle how big of an element can one use? Well using the equations from before, we can do 15A*120V =1800W. Does that mean you can actually run an 1800W element (if they made them in that size)? Well, not exactly. As we have seen from our discussion, if one plans on maintaining a continuous load (over 3 hours at that level) then you have to only use 80% of the circuits rating or no more than 1440W. Though in this type of application with a 120V 15A receptacle we are talking about using a 1500W element. I have more power to play around with so I can use bigger elements, and part of this discussion was to get input on just how big of elements I could use. Other factors such as the length wire from the breaker to the receptacle can also influence available power. As a side note, ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCI aka GFI) are a must in order to ensure safety. Of course, until one feels comfortable with electricity and their design they should not attempt something like this.

The second aspect is how do we control this the heat from the elements. We have many options. One could have an electric system in which they turn on and off the power manually in order to control the temperature of the brewing process. But if we want a bit more automation and control we have a few options. The first is to set up the elements on some type of consumer or industrial dimming switch. This will allow us to control the amount of electricity going to the elements and thus the heat they produce. The problem with this strategy is that we can only use this system for elements that don't use too much electricity or the cost of the dimming switch would be really expensive. Depending on the size of the batches and the amount of time you want to spending brewing, smaller elements may not be the best choice (assuming you have the proper receptacles available that support elements that use more amps, such as receptacles for a dryer/oven/water heater/ac/kiln).

Also, perhaps you want to be able to automate the system a little more. We can use solid state relays (SSR) and temperature controllers, or proportional–integral–derivative controllers (PIDs) or Arduino and code to do this. The SSR is basically like a light switch that is turned on an off by a small electrical current instead of ones hand. This allows other devices to control the state of the heating element (i.e. either on or off). These controllers have a temperature prob (called a thermocouple) which is placed in contact with the substance one is trying to control (e.g. wort in a boil kettle). The controlling device will send the small electrical signal to the SSR allowing the electricity to flow to the heating element until the set temperature is reached. The elements will then turn off and on at the insistence of the controller to maintain the set temperature.

A similar control design can be used to regulate temperature on gas systems. Instead of an SSR, one has a solenoid valve that opens and closes based on these small signals sent from the controller. This is how I plan to control the steam from my boiler.

When taken apart these concepts become a lot easier to digest. The electricity is relatively simple once one knows a few of these formulates and rules and how houses are wired. The control and automation of the system is more complicated because there are so many options. While every electric system has some type of heating element, not all are controlled in the same way. If one has the electrical side down, the control can be as simple as a dimming switch or a Love controller and an SSR.

When you read these types of threads, try not to get bogged down in the specifics at first. Try and find the common thread (such as the type of receptacle they have available and the amount of Amps/Watts that can support) and get comfortable with one layer at a time. Just because you know nothing about electronics and computer codes, does not mean you can't understand the heart of ones system who uses an Arduino. A few months ago I knew nothing about process control and PIDs. And now I'm looking to implement a system with an Arduino board and PID code (at least the PI part). I'm so excited! And not of this would have been possible without inspiration from this board and other internet resources (especially the smoker and espresso community;)).

I hope this helped...let me know what areas are still unclear. I could write pages and pages on the things I have learned in the past few months. Even with the knowledge I have gained, I have no where near the knowledge of some of the members of this board. There are professional electricians, process controllers, and software developers who inhabit this board (not to mention the actual brewing resources). I am hear to learn and get advice and give back what little knowledge I possess.
 
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whitehotdawn

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Just the electrician in me being curious. If most of you appliances are gas why did they wire it with a 400 amp service? How many square feet is your house?
The house is large. About ~5000SF with basement and garage (we've got 8 people currently living comfortably in this thing--down from 10:)). They wired for appliances that we are not using. They wanted to ensure that there would be options for a potential buyer. Here are the big Amp items:

Range-50A
Dryer-30A
Dryer-30A
A/C-40A
A/C-30A
Kiln-50A
Pool-100A
Total-300A

We only have one dryer and we use a gas stove. The kiln never happened. I'm not sure why the A/C has two different breakers sizes. The pool is one of those endless pools. It's only ~12,000 gallons (a little longer than a twin mattress and about 4 ft deep), but you there is power for the motor that makes the current and the heater and filter.
 

slnies

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Your loads do not calculate out that way. Don't worry about it though, it is of no importance. If you really want to know, PM me, and I will send you the code articles that outline load calculation. Demand factors play in there, and you need the rest of the general light and power loads as well. These are all calculated using listed power ratings on the equipment and the code. S.
 
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whitehotdawn

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Your loads do not calculate out that way.
I was merely trying to respond to the question posed about why our house was wired for two 200A breaker boxes when most of our appliances use natural gas. Your point is well taken and I'm glad to have all the people who are experts on these matters.
 

beretta

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from left to right:
Laptop, controller, bk, mt, hlt. off the the right you can see my domestic HLT, err... regular water heater, to the right of that I have a clothes dryer with a very handy 30A socket. You can see the blue wire running off rightward to the dryer socket. The controller box was supposed to be to the right of my setup, but I had to put my brew stand "deeper" into the garage so I could get out of my car!



from left to right:
240V 20A SSR switched outlet to my HLT
120V 15A Relay switched outlet to my wort pump
250V 20A double pole switch for shutting down the high voltage.
120V 15A single pole switch for the electronics/low voltage supply.
RJ11 RS232 port to the laptop.
The controller box is box made with 1x4's, and archored to my cinder block wall with masonary lag expansion bolt thingies.


A stock 270Watt pc power supply made an excellent choice for powering my controller interface, valve solenoids, stir motors, RS232. It supplies plenty of power. Most power supplies are also 3.5" tall.. so it fits perfectly into a 1x4 box!


from left to right:

240V 25A SSR (working in the picture)
Homemade PIC based controller
Low voltage power bus to the various sensors, motors, solenoids.
the back end of the pc power supply.

Notes: I plan on tidying up the wires and such, but I'm still working on testing the design, and I'm still changing wires/hardware around, so I'm leaving it be until my designs finished (if ever).

Hope this helps whitehotdawn. Feel free to contact me if you have additional questions.

beretta
 

bakins

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Here's a pic of my 25 Amp SSR with heatsink:
My setup is very similar. I know that Auber also sells a 40A SSR with heat sink as well.

As far as the 80% rule and continuous usage - I decide to just go with the larger wire. The difference between 8 and 6 was not that much. I used a 50A range cord/plug into a 100A subpanel. I used 10 gauge to each of my 30A receptacles for the elements in the BK and HLT. It probably only cost be a few cents or so per foot to go to the larger size, so I went ahead and did it "the right way."

Go with all stranded wire -trust me- it is worth the few extra cents working in a cramp "brew box." My box is about 18x14x12 or so - alot of it taken up with the subpanel.. I was originally using solid 10 gauge for the 30 A (leftovers from basement work), but got feed up with it and bought the stranded. 1000x easier to work with.
 

beretta

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I usually impose the 80% rules, even if it seems rediculous: What happens if you have a bug in your aurdino's program which causes all SSR to stay locked on? And Bakin's is right: I went with stranded #10, wire for the chassis wiring for my 20 Amp system. Its not as flexible as the SOJ 10# in my extension cord power feed, but still much better than my #12 solid wire!
 

slnies

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I usually impose the 80% rules, even if it seems rediculous: What happens if you have a bug in your aurdino's program which causes all SSR to stay locked on? And Bakin's is right: I went with stranded #10, wire for the chassis wiring for my 20 Amp system. Its not as flexible as the SOJ 10# in my extension cord power feed, but still much better than my #12 solid wire!
if you are worried about your computer failing then you install a fuse block on the load side of your SSR's. this will protect your equipment even if your computer fails. Fused properly you might have damage, but the protection will limit how much can be lost. In controls, fusing acts as a type of compartmentalization, limiting how much can be destroyed by any one fault. It will also enable you to safely use smaller wire safely. Point #2, # 12 wire is required to be fused or protected by a twenty amp over current protection device. However in 310.16 of the NEC #12 THHN is rated for 27 amps. This is for the purpose of calculation in pipe fill, box fill, and ambient temperature, all of which require the amperage capacity of the wire to be de-rated. This is due to the fact that all of these things make it more difficult for the wire to disperse heat. So your use of oversized wire, although not bad, may not be needed. I don't have all the details for your system, so any more comment would not be constructive. I think that you are on the right track, but then I also think you should know why you are going to do it one way as opposed to the other. Good luck and happy brewing. S.
 
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whitehotdawn

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I've been trying to find a solenoid valve to use to control the steam from my boiler to my MT. Do you think this valve would work?

Also, I've been trying to find a pressure sensor to regulate the boiler, but have been really unsuccessful on ebay. Maybe something like this? Any other sources for reasonably priced pressure sensors?

I ordered these SSRs. I've been worried about heat issues (with pulling ~19Amps) so I bought the SSRs without the cheap heatsinks and bought some CPU heatsinks from FreeGeek. The heat sinks (with fan) were only $5 a piece and have lots of copper. Now I just need to get my hands on lots of thermal paste.

While I plan on using the Arduino Diecimila for my project, I thought I'd share a local Arduino clone called the DorkBoard!. The board can be purchased here and the kit can be purchased here. I'm going to get one and experiment with it. I might end up using it if I run out of pins on my Arduino.
 

Brewing Clamper

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This sounds pretty awesome. If I could put together an all electrical system, I'd probably install solar panels in my house... pretty easy to do in my neck of the woods...
 
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Great project! Look for Asco/Red Hat solenoid valves. They're made in all sorts of configurations, and the most common seem to be steam rated with either 12VDC or 120VAC control.
 
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whitehotdawn

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Well I won this solenoid, it is rated to 200psi but only 180F. I was planning on using this along with a float switch to help fill up the HLT.

I think I might get the High Temp Electric Solenoid Valve (McMaster-Carr: 4807t21). This is the one that Brewman referred to in his thread on steam. It's $52.86 which seems like decent price. Yuri, is your solenoid rated above 180F?
 

kladue

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What are the control system capabilities?, if you could use a 1/2" SS ball valve with 24VAC floating control (Belimo TR24-3-T-US) actuator let me know. Have you seen the omega brand pressure transmitters on Ebay?, there appears to be one with a 50 psi range for $20, down side it is an obsolete model 282 made by Mamac so wiring and spec sheets might be a problem.
 
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whitehotdawn

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What do you mean by control system capabilities? Also, could you please explain how a floating control actuator works?
 

kladue

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Since it appears that you are going to use an Ardunio board which does not support an analog output the floating control type actuator is the primary choice for valve control. The belimo floating control actuators have a 90 second travel time between closed and full open, floating control is when you apply power to either open or close connections to actuator, the longer the power is applied the farther the actuator travels. With on-off control outputs you can pulse the actuator to achieve a semblance of proportional control with a pair of on-off control points. An example is to apply 2 second pulse to open direction on actuator until flow is reached then leave actuator in that position, same for closing valve. The actuator remains in last powered position instead of returning to closed position, so if you need to start with a closed valve then you would have to power the close direction for over 90 seconds to make sure valve is closed.
 
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whitehotdawn

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Thanks for the overview. I think a floating control actuator would work for the steam application. I think the Belimo you have is only rated to 212F.

I've been looking at a few pressure sensors. There is a reasonably priced Kulite HK-120G-375 20psi sensor (they are rated for high temperature). Also, I came across the MP3H6115A Freescale sensors. These high temperature integrated 16.8psi sensors are only $12.90. Here is an article integrating a different Freescale model with an Arduino. I'm having difficulty determining how I could integrate this into the steam lines. I think the port material is stainless. Perhaps I could solder this to a copper fitting.
 

kladue

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The normal method of connection of devices to steam involves a water trap device (Pigtail) to keep hot steam out of sensitive parts. If you mounted your pressure sensor below steam line the water trapped in the tubing would be ambient temperature, then you could use plastic tube for final 4" to connection on sensor to make construction easier. Look for "zone" hvac valves with floating control actuators for your system, be carefull when selecting because most zone valves are 2 position actuated.
 

beretta

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Wouldn't it be easer just to turn on and off the element in the steam vessel, than to use a actuator? When I used steam to mash, I found that the temperature rise of the mash was still slow enough that simply turning off the heat at the boiler was acceptable for stopping the heat from rising in the mash. My 2 gallon 15psi pressure cooker would loose pressure/temp in about 30 seconds after killing the heat, and 10 lbs worth of grain would barely rise a degree in that time.

Turning the heat back on would only take 1-2 minutes to get the cooker pumping steam back into the mash when I was going for my next temp rest.

Also, when I used the ball valve to shut off my steam, my piping would slam, rattle, and roll, then wort would fill the voids in the piping nice and fast, do to the pressure/temp drop, causing me to clean the piping after use.
 

kladue

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It is quiter and easier to control steam injection to circulating wort than steam into the mash, screen wire diffuser in mixer prevents large steam bubbles and popping noise. Flash boiler works same as cycling heat to pressure cooker, higher the fire the greater the steam flow.
 

slnies

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Not to mention, I believe I spotted a check valve in kladue's design. would this not prevent the back flow of wort even in a continuous circulation.
 

kladue

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Yes this is a 1/4 PSI swagelok check valve to prevent wort backflowing into boiler when burner is shutdown when making steam. On old system I just kept water flow going for 60 seconds to fill tubing in boiler. During following sparge cycle the sparge water flows through diffuser and through mixer chamber and out of sparge ring which cleans it up from recirculation steps.
 
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