# BrewCommander - Impressive offering from John

### Help Support Homebrew Talk:

#### doug293cz

##### BIABer, Beer Math Nerd, ePanel Designer, Pilot
Staff member
Mod
There are 10 Meg Ohm NTC thermistors, but wrt usage they're a rare beast compared to the ubiquitous NTC 10K sensors.
And they wouldn't particularly friendly to noisy environments...

Cheers!
But they wouldn't read 0.01 on a Kohm scale. That's the bogey here.

Brew on

#### day_trippr

##### Covid-19 Vaccine Effectivity Test Subject
True enough [edit - unless he's holding the probe tips with his fingers - then anything could happen]

Only the OP has any clue what the heck he has at this point...

Cheers!

#### RufusBrewer

##### Well-Known Member
Here is what I do not get. Let's make up some easy to use example numbers. Let's say you have 2,000 watt element. That 2,000 watt element raises 1 gallon of water 1° in 1 minute. The same element will heat 2 gallons of water 1° in 2 minutes, or 2 gallons 0.5° in 1 minute. And we can predict it will raise 5 gallons of water 1° in five minutes.

Unless I am overlooking something, the degree/minute rate is meaningless without volume factored in.

This is where I am confused. The BC is a degree/minute calculator. It is measuring temp on a second by second basis. It can tell you what the current ramp rate is. The BC can predict when the next threshold will be reached more accurately than me. So why do I need to set it?

In my opinion, step mash should have a self calculating mash option. User input values for A, B, C, X, Y & Z. The BC would behave as:

Step #1 A deg @ X minutes
After X minutes: turn on element & ramp up to
Step #2 B deg for Y minutes
After Y minutes: turn on element & ramp up to
Step #3 C deg for Z minutes
After Z minutes, turn off element

#### WESBREW

##### Well-Known Member
Somewhere, maybe on this thread a few pages back that was brought up and request sent to Blichmann. We are hopeful that there would be an upload to change that ramp rate calculation to - just starting the mash step whenever you reach the set temperature.

#### Cato1507

##### Well-Known Member
Here is what I do not get. Let's make up some easy to use example numbers. Let's say you have 2,000 watt element. That 2,000 watt element raises 1 gallon of water 1° in 1 minute. The same element will heat 2 gallons of water 1° in 2 minutes, or 2 gallons 0.5° in 1 minute. And we can predict it will raise 5 gallons of water 1° in five minutes.

Unless I am overlooking something, the degree/minute rate is meaningless without volume factored in.

This is where I am confused. The BC is a degree/minute calculator. It is measuring temp on a second by second basis. It can tell you what the current ramp rate is. The BC can predict when the next threshold will be reached more accurately than me. So why do I need to set it?

In my opinion, step mash should have a self calculating mash option. User input values for A, B, C, X, Y & Z. The BC would behave as:

Step #1 A deg @ X minutes
After X minutes: turn on element & ramp up to
Step #2 B deg for Y minutes
After Y minutes: turn on element & ramp up to
Step #3 C deg for Z minutes
After Z minutes, turn off element
You're right about the volume being a factor in the step mash settings in the Brew Commander. I really only step mash my Witbier recipe and typically only brew 2 batch sizes 2.5-2.75g or 5-5.5 g. I have to change those ramp times in the BC for those volumes but its no big deal.

Its certainly not a do everything controller, but for my BIAB and at a nice price point, mine has been a joy to use and made my brew days a whole lot more fun!

I brew in my garage and have done enough batches that I can leave and do other things while heating to strike, mashing, or draining the bag on the ratchet pulley hoist.

The only time I really have to be on hand is at boil, hop additions, and then the chilling and whirpool additions. I like that so much better than when I had to be in the garage minding the whole thing from start to finish!

#### Bobby_M

##### Vendor and Brewer
Here is what I do not get. Let's make up some easy to use example numbers. Let's say you have 2,000 watt element. That 2,000 watt element raises 1 gallon of water 1° in 1 minute. The same element will heat 2 gallons of water 1° in 2 minutes, or 2 gallons 0.5° in 1 minute. And we can predict it will raise 5 gallons of water 1° in five minutes.

Unless I am overlooking something, the degree/minute rate is meaningless without volume factored in.

This is where I am confused. The BC is a degree/minute calculator. It is measuring temp on a second by second basis. It can tell you what the current ramp rate is. The BC can predict when the next threshold will be reached more accurately than me. So why do I need to set it?

In my opinion, step mash should have a self calculating mash option. User input values for A, B, C, X, Y & Z. The BC would behave as:

Step #1 A deg @ X minutes
After X minutes: turn on element & ramp up to
Step #2 B deg for Y minutes
After Y minutes: turn on element & ramp up to
Step #3 C deg for Z minutes
After Z minutes, turn off element
You're mostly right. In the case of a single vessel mash, the temp probe will be reading the overall mash temp real time. Blichmann should update the software with a "BIAB mode" where the step timers are started upon reaching the target temp.

The way it works now is mostly suited for HERMS and RIMS systems where the temp probe is in the HLT and RIMS output respectively and that probe has no idea what the core of the mash is reading. That's why the ramp time is decoupled.

#### Merkur

##### BJCP #B1441
HBT Supporter
You're mostly right. In the case of a single vessel mash, the temp probe will be reading the overall mash temp real time. Blichmann should update the software with a "BIAB mode" where the step timers are started upon reaching the target temp.

The way it works now is mostly suited for HERMS and RIMS systems where the temp probe is in the HLT and RIMS output respectively and that probe has no idea what the core of the mash is reading. That's why the ramp time is decoupled.
+1 for a BIAB mode to be added to the controller. I had never thought about why it is designed that way but you are right - its geared up for RIMS & HERMS systems.

Thanks for the insight Bobby.

#### Thomas Rose

##### Member
Just hooked up BC out of box, set power to 80%, set temperature to 157 and was off to the races. At 123, the Heat indicator started going on and off and the element stopped heating. The heat fins on BC were warm, not hot. Confirmed 220V was getting to the unit, the unit is on, display on, pump would turn on and off. Checking the plug from BC to heater element, one side (power and ground) was ready steady 113, the other side would read 113, then drop to 30, then go back up to 113, coinciding with Heat display flashing on and off. Other thing was going into Settings, the start delay is saying Busy.

Any ideas about what the problem is?

#### Bobby_M

##### Vendor and Brewer
My last email was to bypass the controller to see if the element is the problem. The delay timer BUSY is just what happens when the controller is actively heating.

Also, SSRs will always pass voltage whether they are firing or not. Its essentially a current switch.

#### day_trippr

##### Covid-19 Vaccine Effectivity Test Subject
You're right - and a leaky current switch at that

Cheers!

#### doug293cz

##### BIABer, Beer Math Nerd, ePanel Designer, Pilot
Staff member
Mod
Just for kicks, here's an approximate equivalent circuit for a typical 40A SSR used in homebrewing systems, shown with a 5500W @ 240V element.

Brew on

#### Thomas Rose

##### Member
Really appreciate the input, as further investigation revealed the heating element is the problem. Took plug apart and the manufacture was extremely careless as one prong of the plug was not clamped to the electrode. Fixed the problem and will see how it works now.

Also, the schematic is excellent and explains what I was seeing.

#### RufusBrewer

##### Well-Known Member
Did my first BIAB batch with my new Brewcommander. Things went very well. Had a couple lapses, but they did not create any significant problems.

After reading the instructions a few times I figured out how I wanted to do my BIAB session. There is mash mode and boil mode. There is also a third, find it on the home screen you can go into Auto mode.

In the Auto option, the Brewcommander turns the heating element on and off such that measured temp matches the set temp. It does it very well. You can see when the element is turned on and off. The closer the set temp and meaured themp are the longer the between on cycles.

If you want to conduct a step mash, you need to change the set value to the next mash temp. You are on your own for the timing of your mash temps.

#### Bobby_M

##### Vendor and Brewer
If you want to conduct a step mash, you need to change the set value to the next mash temp. You are on your own for the timing of your mash temps.
Yes, if you use the home screen "auto" mode that's true but you can alternatively use the mash schedule that will run through steps/temps without your manual intervention.

#### ehk089

##### Well-Known Member
Has anyone else experienced temperature discrepancies with the brew commander? I brew full volume mash biab on a 20 gallon ssbrewtech e-kettle. The included probe from blichmann is installed in the “whirlpool” tri clamp port which is basically at mid height on the front of the kettle. When I’m heating strike water, my thermapen typically shows 5 degrees hotter water than what the blichmann probe shows. After I mash in and stop stirring, after a few minutes it shows correct temperature (same as thermapen). Any ideas what might be causing this?

#### WESBREW

##### Well-Known Member
I had one that was off/hanging up on temp. they sent me a replacement.

#### doug293cz

##### BIABer, Beer Math Nerd, ePanel Designer, Pilot
Staff member
Mod
Has anyone else experienced temperature discrepancies with the brew commander? I brew full volume mash biab on a 20 gallon ssbrewtech e-kettle. The included probe from blichmann is installed in the “whirlpool” tri clamp port which is basically at mid height on the front of the kettle. When I’m heating strike water, my thermapen typically shows 5 degrees hotter water than what the blichmann probe shows. After I mash in and stop stirring, after a few minutes it shows correct temperature (same as thermapen). Any ideas what might be causing this?
Sounds like temperature gradients during heat up. Unless you stir or recirc during heat up, there will be gradients.

Brew on

#### ehk089

##### Well-Known Member
Sounds like temperature gradients during heat up. Unless you stir or recirc during heat up, there will be gradients.

Brew on
Interesting....so that would make sense, because I almost always use the delay start feature, so I can come home and it’s already heated. I never really stir until I get mashed in. Strange to me though: the position of the blichmann probe, vs the thermapen probe, is only a couple inch difference.

#### doug293cz

##### BIABer, Beer Math Nerd, ePanel Designer, Pilot
Staff member
Mod
Interesting....so that would make sense, because I almost always use the delay start feature, so I can come home and it’s already heated. I never really stir until I get mashed in. Strange to me though: the position of the blichmann probe, vs the thermapen probe, is only a couple inch difference.
Would have to see pics of the specific setup to say any more about why the gradients are as high as they appear to be.

Brew on

#### RufusBrewer

##### Well-Known Member
I asked Blicchmann Tech Support some of the questions raised raised within this thread. Here is the response.

Start email response from Blichmann
=================================

Wouldn't the best setting be the current rate the mash is heating at the time mash is ramping up?
Yes, that would be the ideal situation for the set up but that is not how it works.

Why do I need to tell the brewcommander I *expect* the mash will ramp up at the rate of 3° / min? Shouldn't the BrewcSommander know this rate better that I do?
The controls and software are not that smart and do not have the logic to program that internally. So you need to enter the setting for your system and your brewing style and tell it what to do.

What happens if I give a wrong value and the mash hits the target temp sooner than my rate predicted?
That is fine, it will just hold it there until the ramp time has expired and move on to the rest period.

What happens if I give a wrong value and the mash hits the target temp later than my rate predicts?
If the temp is not reached during the ramp period it will continue to heat until it hits the desired temp in the rest period.

Why can't the Brewcommander ramp up and when it hits the target temp it stops adding heat and starts the mash timer?
It is not programmed to do that and doesn't have programming to do that feature.
To add add that to the system would have drive the cost up over double what it is now and would have driven a larger box for the control.

============================
End Blichmann email response

Interesting response. Blichmann had some decisions to make when developing the Brewcommander. I can say if I were in their shoes, I would have made the same choices as they did in trading off some auto function for price. I am still happy with my purchase.

#### Bobby_M

##### Vendor and Brewer
Has anyone else experienced temperature discrepancies with the brew commander? I brew full volume mash biab on a 20 gallon ssbrewtech e-kettle. The included probe from blichmann is installed in the “whirlpool” tri clamp port which is basically at mid height on the front of the kettle. When I’m heating strike water, my thermapen typically shows 5 degrees hotter water than what the blichmann probe shows. After I mash in and stop stirring, after a few minutes it shows correct temperature (same as thermapen). Any ideas what might be causing this?
You to be whirlpooling during heat up and to be honest, that is just a bad probe location. You should relocate the probe to underneath the bag.

#### Bobby_M

##### Vendor and Brewer
..Why can't the Brewcommander ramp up and when it hits the target temp it stops adding heat and starts the mash timer?
It is not programmed to do that and doesn't have programming to do that feature.
To add add that to the system would have drive the cost up over double what it is now and would have driven a larger box for the control.

============================
End Blichmann email response
I'm sorry, I don't buy this response at all. If the hardware/software is sophisticated enough to delay the start of a timer based on another timer that is driven by a programmable data entry, it certainly could have been programmed to start that timer based on a temperature reading. How is it that Auber can put all that logic and more into the DSPR-310 for less than \$100? What exactly would need to occupy a larger enclosure? I'll go out on a limb and say that single vessel brewing was not even on the radar for Blichmann when that unit was designed. The closest thing they have even now is the BrewEasy which is a two vessel system. Both their 3 vessel systems and the 2 vessel breweasy REQUIRE the ramp time function they put in the commander, exactly how it works, so it was a self serving software program.

#### RufusBrewer

##### Well-Known Member
I'm sorry, I don't buy this response at all. If the hardware/software is sophisticated enough to delay the start of a timer based on another timer that is driven by a programmable data entry, it certainly could have been programmed to start that timer based on a temperature reading. How is it that Auber can put all that logic and more into the DSPR-310 for less than \$100? What exactly would need to occupy a larger enclosure? I'll go out on a limb and say that single vessel brewing was not even on the radar for Blichmann when that unit was designed. The closest thing they have even now is the BrewEasy which is a two vessel system. Both their 3 vessel systems and the 2 vessel breweasy REQUIRE the ramp time function they put in the commander, exactly how it works, so it was a self serving software program.
Notice that I parsed my response with IF I had to make that choice, that is the way I would go. I am not convinced Blichmann was forced into such a corner.

What happened? They ran out of processing power? Seems unlikely. Even if they did, an upgraded processor would add \$375 and double the size. Come on. All you have to do is shop for a Raspberry Pi or Arduino to see how cheap a processor can be.

Maybe they ran out of memory?very uUnlikely, but still a \$375 hit & double the size. Memory is dirt cheap. Not going to believe that

Maybe they ran out of budget for writing new code? OK that affects cost, but not size.

As you point out a \$75 Auber has the features. Granted the Auber does not have touch screen , SSR, and fancy housing. So it is not a fair 1 to 1 comparison. But in 1983 people were writing code like this using Z80 processor in Basic. Using modern processors and Python would be easy.

Nothing is perfect, or at least reasonably priced for a cheapskate like me. This is one the few items in my brewhouse that was not a kluge a cobbled together job. Considering the alternatives, overall I am still happy with my purchase.

#### Bobby_M

##### Vendor and Brewer
Notice that I parsed my response with IF I had to make that choice, that is the way I would go. I am not convinced Blichmann was forced into such a corner.

What happened? They ran out of processing power? Seems unlikely. Even if they did, an upgraded processor would add \$375 and double the size. Come on. All you have to do is shop for a Raspberry Pi or Arduino to see how cheap a processor can be.

Maybe they ran out of memory?very uUnlikely, but still a \$375 hit & double the size. Memory is dirt cheap. Not going to believe that

Maybe they ran out of budget for writing new code? OK that affects cost, but not size.

As you point out a \$75 Auber has the features. Granted the Auber does not have touch screen , SSR, and fancy housing. So it is not a fair 1 to 1 comparison. But in 1983 people were writing code like this using Z80 processor in Basic. Using modern processors and Python would be easy.

Nothing is perfect, or at least reasonably priced for a cheapskate like me. This is one the few items in my brewhouse that was not a kluge a cobbled together job. Considering the alternatives, overall I am still happy with my purchase.
No, I get it. I'm a fan of the BC controller more than I'm a hater. I just don't like BS and that one answer was BS. I'm more comparing the Auber DSPR to the "brains" of the BC, which is essentially a double circuit board right behind the touchscreen. My argument is that I don't believe the "start timers on setpoint reached state" would add any cost. I think they're are weighing the administrative cost of potentially having to upgrade a thousand units that are already in the field. As I've complained multiple times in this thread, they created a controller perfectly suited for a single vessel system except for that one very practical feature. It's not a dealbreaker but it's not great engineering either.

#### RufusBrewer

##### Well-Known Member
I am in a brewing lull, so I took some time to experiment and see what I can learn about the Brewcommander.

The manual states in the Home Menu the Off/Auto/On button, when the button displays Auto, the Brewcommander will energize the heating element as needed to maintain the set temperature.

If you are in the Mash menu and start a mash profile, then go to home screen, the Off/Auto/On button displays Auto. At first I thought it was running Auto as defined in the home screen instructions. (automatically energizes element to maintain temp setting) It is in fact still running mash profile. You can figure it out if you look around the screen and notice that the timer is counting down. That count down is the rest step counting down.

IMO, It would be nice for the home screen to display that you are currently running mash profile #1. It helps to understand Auto means two things different thing. Not a biggie, just disapointing.

I thought I could determine the ramp rate by measuring a temp delta over a given period of time. The results are were not as exact as you would think.

The best I could come up with? Measure a ramp change and then subtract 15%-20%. Obviously there plenty of room to improve this.

The good news is the BC will not over shoot your step temp setting. If the BC reaches the rest temp early, it will stop and hold the rest temp and wait for the timer to catch up.

It is better to use a ramp value less than optimum instead of a value greater than optimum. IOW error on the side of caution and guess low.

Why do I say this? If you guess low, the error will manifest in an effective mash step that is longer than programmed in the mash profile. When you use a ramp value greater than optimum, the effective rest period will be less than specified by the mash profile menu.

I assume home brewers will prefer a long mash step rather than a short mash step.

Still I am happy I chose the Brewcommander over the alternatives. It is disappointing that it does not reach it's full potential. It could be a great product, not one with some annoying features or short comings.

#### Bobby_M

##### Vendor and Brewer
If you are in the Mash menu and start a mash profile, then go to home screen, the Off/Auto/On button displays Auto. At first I thought it was running Auto as defined in the home screen instructions. (automatically energizes element to maintain temp setting) It is in fact still running mash profile. You can figure it out if you look around the screen and notice that the timer is counting down. That count down is the rest step counting down.

IMO, It would be nice for the home screen to display that you are currently running mash profile #1. It helps to understand Auto means two things different thing. Not a biggie, just disapointing.
It may be worse than you're thinking too because you'll also get a home screen with a countdown timer and "auto" if you went directly into the "timer" and set up a manual timer and launched it before returning to the home screen.

The good news is the BC will not over shoot your step temp setting. If the BC reaches the rest temp early, it will stop and hold the rest temp and wait for the timer to catch up.
Yeah, the ramp time just determines when the step timer will begin. The PID algorithm for temp setpoint is always running.

#### RufusBrewer

##### Well-Known Member
Blichmann dropped the ball on this one. They could have made a great product. The pieces are in place. All they had to do was think through the code and the GUI. Part of my job is designing touch panels, GUI and workflow for A/V systems. I am familiar with the process of designing these types of interfaces. This could have been much better.

I think you are correct, Blichmann does not want to administer a menu & software update to hundreds/thousands of existing users. So BC owners are goign to be stuck with the close, but no cigar design.

Still I am glad I purchsed a Brewcommander. And so are you Bobby. I went electric using Brewhardware products.

#### BrunDog

Isn’t the firmware is field upgradeable?

#### RufusBrewer

##### Well-Known Member
It is not clear to me what the workflow of a software update to the Brewcommander would look like. There is nothing external like a USB port or a SD card slot. At the very least a field upgrade would require opening up the BC.

I have not cracked open and looked at what is inside The Brewcommander. I heard there is a couple PC boards, one of which has a SD card slot on it.

I have been through the process of software upgrades on devices like the BC. I know if I were Blichmann, I would not like the challenge of distributing an update to hundreds or thousands of customers on the consumer level. (some consumers are real dumb and can be a nightmare) A software update should be easy. Some consumers will screw it up rea,l real bad.

The alternative is consumers send in their unit or take it to the nearest Blichmann retail distributor. Still, costs and logistical considerations.

Any software update will be logistically difficult and expensive for Blichmann. I am sure they would like to avoid it if they can.

What might motivate Blichmann if they think they are losing sales. Customers are going with alternative products because Blichmann dropped the ball on the design. Blichmann can sell the "New Improved Brewcommander 2.0". But then have to provide an upgrade path to existing owners of the Brewcomander 1.0.

#### marjen

##### Well-Known Member
Anyone else getting very inconsistent temps from the brew commander? I have brewed 5 times so far with this. Not once will it keep a consistent mash temp for example. I am doing full volume biab. Today I set to 152. When it got to 152 my handheld read 146. I mashed in and it would jump all over the place. Up to 162, down to 150 up to 155. I mean it is completely useless. Hand held kept right around 146 so not sure if that was right? Also during boil water started boiling at 210 on hand held but 201 on brew commander. Then it settled in around 208 but hand held was still 210.

I was hoping going electric and using this would make fora very consistent mash temp but not my experience so far at all. Also have had terrible efficiency of around 50-55% during these 5 sessions. Thinking it has to do with not being in a good range during mash because of these readings.

#### Cato1507

##### Well-Known Member
Anyone else getting very inconsistent temps from the brew commander? I have brewed 5 times so far with this. Not once will it keep a consistent mash temp for example. I am doing full volume biab. Today I set to 152. When it got to 152 my handheld read 146. I mashed in and it would jump all over the place. Up to 162, down to 150 up to 155. I mean it is completely useless. Hand held kept right around 146 so not sure if that was right? Also during boil water started boiling at 210 on hand held but 201 on brew commander. Then it settled in around 208 but hand held was still 210.

I was hoping going electric and using this would make fora very consistent mash temp but not my experience so far at all. Also have had terrible efficiency of around 50-55% during these 5 sessions. Thinking it has to do with not being in a good range during mash because of these readings.
I'm not having any issues at all with mine. I'm using it on a Blichmann 10 gal kettle with 220v boil coil element.
I do run my whirlpool during my mash in BIAB as it keeps the grain bed moving as well as keep the temps from stratifying. I've double checked the readings with a digital probe with no fluctuation issues.

If I don't run the whirlpool I can definitely get a 3-4 degree swing from top to bottom on a full volume 5 gal batch with 10-11 lbs of grain in the bag.
My brewhouse efficiency runs 72- 75% on an average.

There are advanced settings in the BC I believe to adjust/calibrate the temp probe to a known accurate probe reading.
You might want to get on the phone or email customer support to get some help with your issues.

Last edited:

#### marjen

##### Well-Known Member
Just as a note I do run my whirlpool during mash.

#### doug293cz

##### BIABer, Beer Math Nerd, ePanel Designer, Pilot
Staff member
Mod
Just as a note I do run my whirlpool during mash.
If you are going to try to hold temp with PID, etc., then you really need to recirculate or stir very often.

Edit: I misread your post originally. My brain saw a "not" that wasn't there.

Brew on

Last edited:

#### Bobby_M

##### Vendor and Brewer
Just as a note I do run my whirlpool during mash.
Explain your system design and where the probe is located.

#### marjen

##### Well-Known Member
Explain your system design and where the probe is located.
I have a 15 gallon custom spike kettle. It has an electric element and another port for emptying boil kettle about 2” off the bottom. I have a TC port for temp probe about 6-8” from the bottom and a whirlpool port about 2” from the top. I currently use a brew bag. For the temp probe, its from blichmann as is the TC port that holds it. THe temp probe extends about 2-3” into the kettle.

EDIT: as a note, i tried it in several other positions for temp probe. I add the temp probe to the exit port after the TC valve in a T. Tried it a couple different ways there. Was not any more reliable. Actually was much worse in the T being up to 20 F off from hand held thermometer.

#### RufusBrewer

##### Well-Known Member
Anyone else getting very inconsistent temps from the brew commander? I have brewed 5 times so far with this. Not once will it keep a consistent mash temp for example. I am doing full volume biab. Today I set to 152. When it got to 152 my handheld read 146. I mashed in and it would jump all over the place. Up to 162, down to 150 up to 155. I mean it is completely useless. Hand held kept right around 146 so not sure if that was right? Also during boil water started boiling at 210 on hand held but 201 on brew commander. Then it settled in around 208 but hand held was still 210.

I was hoping going electric and using this would make fora very consistent mash temp but not my experience so far at all. Also have had terrible efficiency of around 50-55% during these 5 sessions. Thinking it has to do with not being in a good range during mash because of these readings.
One thing I have no complaints with the BC is maintaining consistent temps. I always see solid stable temps. +/- .2. deg @ 152. I think a mash run by manually increasing temps will produce a satisfactory mash.

My Thermapen agrees with the BC within one degree.

Few things that I can think of is:
#1 Insulate, insulated, insulation. The more insulation, less heat loss. Less heat loss = the less the BC has to make adjustments.
#2 Put the temp probe close the heat source. If you lose heat between the heat source and the probe, the controller will be chasing, catching up and over shooting temp changes.
#3 Blichmann was smart in providing a couple methods to compensate for system losses. Learn how to use them.
#4 Circulate (or stir) the mash to reduce hot and/or cold spots in the mash.

#### Bobby_M

##### Vendor and Brewer
I have a 15 gallon custom spike kettle. It has an electric element and another port for emptying boil kettle about 2” off the bottom. I have a TC port for temp probe about 6-8” from the bottom and a whirlpool port about 2” from the top. I currently use a brew bag. For the temp probe, its from blichmann as is the TC port that holds it. THe temp probe extends about 2-3” into the kettle.

EDIT: as a note, i tried it in several other positions for temp probe. I add the temp probe to the exit port after the TC valve in a T. Tried it a couple different ways there. Was not any more reliable. Actually was much worse in the T being up to 20 F off from hand held thermometer.
I'm positive that your probe location is a major factor because it's in a a pocket of restricted contact and will be out of touch with what's happening in various other parts of the system. The trouble has nothing to do with the controller. My system doesn't vary more than a half a degree whether it's on the EZboil or the Brew Commander. What are you doing for keeping the bag off the element?

I've been experimenting with temp stability in single vessel systems for several years and concluded that the best setup is as follows:

1. Bag/basket held at least 1/4" above the element creating an all liquid space of about 2-3" between the grain and bottom of the pot.
2. Probe installed in this lower 2" area about half way between the element install location and the drain port.
3. Recirculation: In a smaller 5 gallon batch system, you can get away without recirc as long as you stir about every 10 minutes for max stability. For larger systems, or if you don't want to stir, you split the output of your pump between a whirlpool port at about the 2" height (returning into the all liquid mass at the bottom) and the other going to a recirc return in the kettle lid.

This system works on my 15 gallon Spike for 6 gallon batches as well as a couple of my employees that run 25 gallon kettles for 12 and 16 gallon batches. In all cases, even with no insulation at all, the temps are less than 1F off of set point at all times. They also do not overshoot at all even when doing big step rises.

#### ehk089

##### Well-Known Member
I'm positive that your probe location is a major factor because it's in a a pocket of restricted contact and will be out of touch with what's happening in various other parts of the system. The trouble has nothing to do with the controller. My system doesn't vary more than a half a degree whether it's on the EZboil or the Brew Commander. What are you doing for keeping the bag off the element?

I've been experimenting with temp stability in single vessel systems for several years and concluded that the best setup is as follows:

1. Bag/basket held at least 1/4" above the element creating an all liquid space of about 2-3" between the grain and bottom of the pot.
2. Probe installed in this lower 2" area about half way between the element install location and the drain port.
3. Recirculation: In a smaller 5 gallon batch system, you can get away without recirc as long as you stir about every 10 minutes for max stability. For larger systems, or if you don't want to stir, you split the output of your pump between a whirlpool port at about the 2" height (returning into the all liquid mass at the bottom) and the other going to a recirc return in the kettle lid.

This system works on my 15 gallon Spike for 6 gallon batches as well as a couple of my employees that run 25 gallon kettles for 12 and 16 gallon batches. In all cases, even with no insulation at all, the temps are less than 1F off of set point at all times. They also do not overshoot at all even when doing big step rises.

I’ve also had a lot if weird temperature swings (as stated previously in thread) probably due to using my whirlpool port on ssbrewtech ekettle as my temp port. Do you think if I got a spike basket and used it to recirc constantly during mash that would help my temp problems? And put the probe in a tee where the wort exits the mash? Currently I’m just using a bag without recirc.

#### RufusBrewer

##### Well-Known Member
You wat the probe to measure the liquid the element is heating. Any heat lost during the liquid's travel will confuse the controller. The delay in time will be detrimental to accuracy. The more powerful the element, the wider the swings.

Avoid placing the probe in a place that relies on your pump working. If your pump fails, gets clogged or otherwise restricted, you can land in trouble pretty quick.

#### RockfordWhite

##### Well-Known Member
I'm positive that your probe location is a major factor because it's in a a pocket of restricted contact and will be out of touch with what's happening in various other parts of the system. The trouble has nothing to do with the controller. My system doesn't vary more than a half a degree whether it's on the EZboil or the Brew Commander. What are you doing for keeping the bag off the element?

I've been experimenting with temp stability in single vessel systems for several years and concluded that the best setup is as follows:

1. Bag/basket held at least 1/4" above the element creating an all liquid space of about 2-3" between the grain and bottom of the pot.
2. Probe installed in this lower 2" area about half way between the element install location and the drain port.
3. Recirculation: In a smaller 5 gallon batch system, you can get away without recirc as long as you stir about every 10 minutes for max stability. For larger systems, or if you don't want to stir, you split the output of your pump between a whirlpool port at about the 2" height (returning into the all liquid mass at the bottom) and the other going to a recirc return in the kettle lid.

This system works on my 15 gallon Spike for 6 gallon batches as well as a couple of my employees that run 25 gallon kettles for 12 and 16 gallon batches. In all cases, even with no insulation at all, the temps are less than 1F off of set point at all times. They also do not overshoot at all even when doing big step rises.
Just out of curiosity what’s the logic for splitting the pump output? Just to make sure you don’t dry fire? Do you run pump on full blast with this setup?