BrewCommander - Impressive offering from John

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BeardedBrews

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I'm not sure if the pricing varies by output option (edit - it looks like the system ships ready for all three common outputs 120v20a / 240v30a / Gas), but the page lists $375 for a pretty sexy 240v 30a controller.

https://www.blichmannengineering.com/brewcommander.html

Clean attractive builds with great HMI is right in Blichmann's wheelhouse, but this also seems to add "value proposition" to the list. I don't think I need an upgrade, but this seems like a compelling choice for someone building a system and wanting plug-and-play simplicity.
 

sfrisby

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I watched the videos and still trying to figure out how a 2v system works with it. It says it controls both mash and boil but if you have 2v an additional piece can be added but didn’t see a description on the website.

I wonder if they already have a 2v brewcommander in the works like their dual element controller.
 
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BeardedBrews

BeardedBrews

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The enclosure seems to be built to allow additional units to connect side by side, that and you could probably configure the software to pause while you manually disconnect vessel 1 and connect vessel 2
 

ehk089

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This is very cool. After the pain I had going through auber to get a controller I put together that never functioned properly, this price point is tempting.
 

Antonio Martinez

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I'm not sure if the pricing varies by output option (edit - it looks like the system ships ready for all three common outputs 120v20a / 240v30a / Gas), but the page lists $375 for a pretty sexy 240v 30a controller.

https://www.blichmannengineering.com/brewcommander.html

Clean attractive builds with great HMI is right in Blichmann's wheelhouse, but this also seems to add "value proposition" to the list. I don't think I need an upgrade, but this seems like a compelling choice for someone building a system and wanting plug-and-play simplicity.
I'm guessing this is why the current model of controllers are now 50% off on their site.
 

day_trippr

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I have to say, if the gas model MSRP really is $375 all up that's a fairly compelling offer when you consider the price of a Honeywell autospark furnace controller with solenoid valves and igniter/flame detector module and cable, plus something intelligent enough to control it and a temperature probe for that.

Reading the gas controller manual it implies the spark box is included, but elsewhere it's referred to as optional. So it isn't clear if $375 is a real price...

Cheers!
 

day_trippr

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Yeah, pretty much expected a differential, but didn't expect it'd be another $200. Woof.
Not so compelling now...

Cheers!
 

Carolina_Matt

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For someone that does single vessel BIAB, is there any reason to choose this over the Tower of Power (240V) when it's clearanced for $250?
 

Bent-Brewer

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Here I was ready to pull the trigger on the Ss system... this controller looks much more functional at a significantly better price point. Definitely going to read up on this some more!
 

WESBREW

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I don't know anything about controllers but this thing looks nice for me. maybe I can convert my existing pot to electric instead of buying an electric boiler or all in one system. I could probably even use the boiling pot/sparge water as a herms with an immersion coil and control mash temp with this while recirculating.
 

Baglorious

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ARGH. I get a major award for foolishness. I saw a link for the Tower of Power at 57% off and immediately bought one. Building my first electric setup (eBIAB), that seemed like a no-brainer. I knew Blichmann was coming out with something new (hence the clearance)... but just assumed it would not be so cool and competitively priced. I assumed it would be $500ish.

I didn't look around and see if the 'new' offering was announced yet.

This looks like a game changer in the industry for $375 in 240v.

Cool digital interface, programmable step mashing, boil timer and pump switch... did I mention "ARGH?"
 

Ragtop232

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I like everything about his controller and coming from Blichmann I'm sure it's built well. However, the one miss is network connectivity. This would've been great integrated into a control app.
 

LittleRiver

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... the one miss is network connectivity. This would've been great integrated into a control app.
I wouldn't be surprised to see a "connected" version down the road, but I don't consider the lack of that feature to be a miss.

A brew day (start of filling kettle to everything cleaned and put away) only takes me about 3:40. I'm in or near my brewing area pretty much the whole time, so network connectivity would buy me nothing.

During ramp and wait times there are other things to do, like grind grains, weigh hops, clean/sanitize fermenter, etc. I would have no need to be checking the controller via the network, because I'm busy doing other things.

During the mash I do go out and buy ice to use with my recirculating immersion chiller. While I'm driving I can't also be checking something on my phone. Network connectivity would buy me nothing.

It would be a neat gimmick, but certainly not a necessary feature.
 
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Wayne1

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Does anyone know how the relay module works with the BrewCommander? If I want to control a HLT, RIMS module and kettle would I need a BrewCommander and a couple of relay modules or a multiple of BrewCommanders?
 

Bobby_M

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Does anyone know how the relay module works with the BrewCommander? If I want to control a HLT, RIMS module and kettle would I need a BrewCommander and a couple of relay modules or a multiple of BrewCommanders?
The relay module is not for unique temp/boil control. It's for controlling a second element in the same kettle/process such as a large kettle that runs two elements. You need one per temp.
 

jdaeffler

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I was reading the PDF of their manual and it looks like if you use a different heating element than the boil coil you need 35 amp minimum. Did I misread that or would I have to up my 30 amp gfi breaker to a 35 amp.
 

Bobby_M

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I was reading the PDF of their manual and it looks like if you use a different heating element than the boil coil you need 35 amp minimum. Did I misread that or would I have to up my 30 amp gfi breaker to a 35 amp.
You did misread that. All it's saying is that it can support UP TO a 7000 watt element and if you do run it that hot, you'll need a 35 amp circuit. Controller don't dictate current, the element does. A 5500 watt element draws 24 amps.
 

jmrybak

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THATS A BIG PLUS FOR ME. only need to figure out element & plug to my 15gallon kettle and I'm on my way.
looks like there will be an optional remote control add on, per the MoreBeer website...

"Optional SparkBox™ Remote Ignition Module"
 

Carolina_Matt

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ARGH. I get a major award for foolishness. I saw a link for the Tower of Power at 57% off and immediately bought one. Building my first electric setup (eBIAB), that seemed like a no-brainer. I knew Blichmann was coming out with something new (hence the clearance)... but just assumed it would not be so cool and competitively priced. I assumed it would be $500ish.

I didn't look around and see if the 'new' offering was announced yet.

This looks like a game changer in the industry for $375 in 240v.

Cool digital interface, programmable step mashing, boil timer and pump switch... did I mention "ARGH?"
I'd recommend using the Tower of Power to see if it suits your needs. If so, you're set. If it turns out that the new device has some features that you really want, then upgrade. You should be able to sell the Tower for at least what you paid, if not more. Blichmann doesn't have it on sale anymore and some vendors are still charging full price.
 

day_trippr

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looks like there will be an optional remote control add on, per the MoreBeer website...
"Optional SparkBox™ Remote Ignition Module"
That's not a "remote control" of any kind, it's the spark ignition system for the gas version of the controller. It adds $200 to the cost of the whole solution for gas applications...

Cheers!
 

WESBREW

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During a multistep mash, does the BC automatically run through the steps you program based on the timer you set for each or does it reach the end of a mash step, you get an alarm to manually select the next step?
never mind: watched video and it looks like it will automatically go through the mash steps along with ramp times..etc Cool

On the downside; 1 year warranty isn't very good for the investment.
 
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flubbss

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So hypothetically speaking, I could use this controller to control one of the two heating elements in a HERMS setup? I have a eBIAB setup already and have been toying with the idea of getting a HERMS setup for more flexibility. I could use my current controller to control the boil kettle, and this controller to control the HLT?
 

Re:find

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All I want is to be able to start heating my HLT while I'm asleep, mash in right when I wake up, and have it control a separate element in my RIMS for stepped mashes.

So far it looks like this will do it.

I'm hoping the relay module will allow me to control (2) separate elements, independently, with (1) control module.

-TC
 

sfrisby

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All I want is to be able to start heating my HLT while I'm asleep, mash in right when I wake up, and have it control a separate element in my RIMS for stepped mashes.

So far it looks like this will do it.

I'm hoping the relay module will allow me to control (2) separate elements, independently, with (1) control module.

-TC
I too am interested in exactly what the relay module does. There’s lots of potential but I can’t find anything that explains its purpose yet.
 

Zooksta

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I'm hoping the relay module will allow me to control (2) separate elements, independently, with (1) control module.
The relay module is only to control multiple elements at the same time in a single vessel. It can only control the temp of one unit at a time. You would need to purchase two controllers to independently control two elements at the same time.
 

Re:find

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That’s very, very dumb.

Their PCB should have at least (2) triggered outputs to control the SSRs, allowing them to be independent. The cost would be negligible, and I don’t need (2) sets of brains to control (2) elements. Seems like a no brainer to be honest.

If the only point of the relay module is to control two elements in one vessel, why not just get a hotter element?

-TC
 

Re:find

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I heard back from Blichmann, answers in bold:

" - Will (1) controller and (1) relay allow me to power (2) heating elements independently from one another? For instance, can I use (1) element in a HLT and (1) in a RIMS, cycling on and off at different set values?
No, the module is for use with a kettle that has more than one heating element in the same kettle. Our 55 Boilermakers have 2 BoilCoils installed in them.

- If down the road I replace the 30A solid state relay with a 50A model, will there be any issues pushing elements at a higher wattage?
Yes , the wiring in the controller is only rated for 30 amps. We do not offer a 50 amp BrewCommander.

- Why is there no “HLT” section on the main screen? I want to be able to heat my HLT up to my desired temp while I’m asleep, then wake up and mash in
There is delay timer function you can set for up to 24 hours and the temp you want to set it for."

So, sounds like some re-wiring will allow for a 50A SSR, though they (obviously) won't warranty it or recommend it. Also confirmed that you must buy (2) controllers to power (2) elements, making it much less attractive, price wise.

I'm placing an order for one and will be using it for my HLT and RIMS, just unplugging between steps and moving power to the other element. I'm also going to try and find a tri-clamp thermowell for the sensor as I don't want any threaded parts on my setup.

-TC
 

Zooksta

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So, sounds like some re-wiring will allow for a 50A SSR, though they (obviously) won't warranty it or recommend it. Also confirmed that you must buy (2) controllers to power (2) elements, making it much less attractive, price wise.

I'm placing an order for one and will be using it for my HLT and RIMS, just unplugging between steps and moving power to the other element. I'm also going to try and find a tri-clamp thermowell for the sensor as I don't want any threaded parts on my setup.
I ended up ordering two of these, one 240V to switch between my HLT and BK, and one 120V for my RIMS. I just finished setting it up yesterday, looking forward to brew day.
20190711_165527.jpg
 

Re:find

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I ended up ordering two of these, one 240V to switch between my HLT and BK, and one 120V for my RIMS. I just finished setting it up yesterday, looking forward to brew day.
Awesome! My LHBS can't log in to the new Blichmann portal, but mine should be ordered within the week once that's resolved. Please post your findings once you've used it a couple of times.

-TC
 

nonstoptr

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Any thoughts on how this compares to the Auber Cube (s)? I am leaning towards a ready to use controller or kit instead of doing it myself from parts and had been looking at the Auber cube or ebiab controller. This seems a lot more user friendly but I don't want to sacrifice any capabilities I could have with these other systems.
 

Bobby_M

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They are similar in function. The economy cube does not have schedule timers built in but the advanced does. The cubes have two pump outputs if that matters to you. I haven't verified the temp holding capability of the commander yet but I do know that it's based on a minimum 1 second cycle time whereas the cubes are way faster. Whether that affects overshoot or accuracy remains to be seen. Neither is more user friendly than the other. Spend an hour messing around with either one and you'll get how it works. The EZboil controller in the cube does have a very intuitive knob to dial in settings. How much that matters probably depends on how you feel about a volume knob on a car stereo vs up/down arrows/touchscreens. I'm a dial guy myself.
 
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