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Hi all,

Just want to get a public apology out to all of you waiting on hardware orders. We have been backed up much more than we Weber expected and have been making promises that we haven’t been delivering on. I’ll spare all the details but initially electronic component availability and more recently some repeat team personal issues have compounded the delays.

We are making every effort to flush the queue and get orders out as soon as possible. If you don’t want to wait any longer, by all means email us and we can try to make it right or refund upon request.

Thank you for the support and patience!
 

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Having a bit of a weird (and disconcerting) issue I hope some of you can help with.

Earlier today, I reconfigured my Unishield to connect to Brucontrol via ethernet rather than serial. Installed 450-MEGA-E firmware and edited all the network specs to get things connected.

What's happening now is that when I disable the Device Element for my boil kettle electric heating element (a PID element), the circuit for the heating element is actually closing and sending power to the element! Note that it works perfectly normally when the element is disabled (i.e., power to the element shuts off when the target temp is set below the actual temp, and it turns on when the target temp is set above the actual temp. Note that when I just unplug the ethernet cable, plug the serial connection back in, enable the serial interface/disable the ethernet interface, and "reconnect" via the serial element for the same mega/unishield (and turn slider switch 4 on the Unishield to the appropriate place) I don't have this issue. I've double-checked that the Device Element settings are the same for the "Copied"/replicated elements and I can't see any differences. Also tried the45K-MEGA-E firmware as a last resort of sorts with no luck. Any thoughts?

---------
EDIT: I just checked again and now it's defaulting to closed/on even when the interface(s) are disabled and/or physically disconnected. Physically unplugging the ethernet shield stopped it, hence why it didn't do it when I tested earlier with the serial connection again (it was unplugged). Something fishy with the ethernet shield or Unishield hardware settings, I guess.
 
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oakbarn

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Having a bit of a weird (and disconcerting) issue I hope some of you can help with.

Earlier today, I reconfigured my Unishield to connect to Brucontrol via ethernet rather than serial. Installed 450-MEGA-E firmware and edited all the network specs to get things connected.

What's happening now is that when I disable the Device Element for my boil kettle electric heating element (a PID element), the circuit for the heating element is actually closing and sending power to the element! Note that it works perfectly normally when the element is disabled (i.e., power to the element shuts off when the target temp is set below the actual temp, and it turns on when the target temp is set above the actual temp. Note that when I just unplug the ethernet cable, plug the serial connection back in, enable the serial interface/disable the ethernet interface, and "reconnect" via the serial element for the same mega/unishield (and turn slider switch 4 on the Unishield to the appropriate place) I don't have this issue. I've double-checked that the Device Element settings are the same for the "Copied"/replicated elements and I can't see any differences. Also tried the45K-MEGA-E firmware as a last resort of sorts with no luck. Any thoughts?

---------
EDIT: I just checked again and now it's defaulting to closed/on even when the interface(s) are disabled and/or physically disconnected. Physically unplugging the ethernet shield stopped it, hence why it didn't do it when I tested earlier with the serial connection again (it was unplugged). Something fishy with the ethernet shield or Unishield hardware settings, I guess.
Are you using Port 10 (7P) for the "Device Element for my boil kettle electric heating element (a PID element)"? If so, It may be the issue as Port 10 is OK for Serial but not Ethernet.
 

Dustin_J

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Are you using Port 10 (7P) for the "Device Element for my boil kettle electric heating element (a PID element)"? If so, It may be the issue as Port 10 is OK for Serial but not Ethernet.
It was port/pin 4, but good suggestion. Turned out my Arduino ethernet shield had continuity b/w pin 4 & pin 10 (and a few others) thanks to some shoddy construction or something. Bending pin 4 on the ethernet shield out of the way before reinstalling solved the issue.
 
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oakbarn

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It was port/pin 4, but good suggestion. Turned out my Arduino ethernet shield had continuity b/w pin 4 & pin 10 (and a few others) thanks to some shoddy construction or something. Bending pin 4 on the ethernet shield out of the way before reinstalling solved the issue.
I wonder if PIN 4 with Ethernet could be an issue. Since it is one of the few counter pins, I do not use it but have reserved for future Counter Use if I ever get counters. Is any one using Pin 4 with Ethernet?

Which other Pins (" and a few others "on the Ethernet Shield were issues? Was the continuity to Pin 10 on any of the others?
 
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You may be right. Pin 4’on the shield is used for the SD card slot. Because we don’t use it it shouldn’t matter, but if that pin is indeed pulled low, SPI data may get tied up as multiple slaves (ethernet and SD card) will be able to communicate at the same time. We need to test it and possibly isolate that pin.
 

oakbarn

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You can, but you don't have to. If you are getting EMI on your analog inputs, in some instances tying VDC - to chassis/earth/AC ground can suppress or eliminate the EMI.
Thanks, I know when I had my BCS they had it wired that way. I am going to have a single 12 vdc circuit that is independent of the common ground to power my CR05 valves as they reverse polarity.

All other VDC - to chassis/earth/AC ground.
 
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Thanks, I know when I had my BCS they had it wired that way. I am going to have a single 12 vdc circuit that is independent of the common ground to power my CR05 valves as they reverse polarity.

All other VDC - to chassis/earth/AC ground.
I don't understand this... when you reverse polarity on the valve, you don't reverse polarity on the power supply. What does this mean?
 

oakbarn

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Is
I don't understand this... when you reverse polarity on the valve, you don't reverse polarity on the power supply. What does this mean?
CR 05 Reverse Polarity Valve Operation

Yellow to 12 VDC (+)
Blue Wire to 12 VDC (-)

Valve Opens

Yellow Wire to 12 vdc (-)
Blue Wire to 12 VDC (+)
Valve closes

With the DTDP relays it work fine for opening and closing valves.

The Power for the LEDs needs to be independent of the valve power supply because you need and independent (-) and independent (+) as per US Solid instructions: at about 1:13 in the video just one small statement:

"It requires an actual separated DC power supply that is less than 36 volts."



I found out by burning some wire!
 

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Is this a good clean power source? I plan to convert from a 24 vdc 10 amp transformer to 5 v.
 
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Oh, I see. Did they supply those LED's?

I honestly don't see the value of those, and I think they add extra complexity. If you want the indication, why not just wire those signals to your interface and let BruControl see/report the open and closed state? Again, your brewery so do it the way you want it. But the point of software controls is you don't need to add & manage dedicated hardware.
 
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Is this a good clean power source? I plan to convert from a 24 vdc 10 amp transformer to 5 v.
Dunno!?! DC:DC shouldn't be too much of a worry for noise/EMI.
 

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I like to be able to see the valve positions from a way in the brewery. Extremally helpful when I have lots of helpers. I only had manual valves before and thought it would be nice to show the valve positions. I have auto control, Emergency Off, and total manual control on everything except the heating elements. The heating elements are all Auto but with an Emergency Off switch as well. There

I found that some manual control of my pumps was very helpful in clearing cavitation and shutting down a pump when transferring Wort. There are also times when I just want total manual control. I find that useful in cleaning.


I also use Digital Input (momentary push LED push buttons) to control the flow of the program
Next Step when needed to complete manually, such as end of wort transfer). Also to kill an alarms.

I do not like to touch the Touch Screen or Mouse if I can help it. Much easier to ask a Helper to click the Blue Button.
 

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Oh, I see. Did they supply those LED's?

I honestly don't see the value of those, and I think they add extra complexity. If you want the indication, why not just wire those signals to your interface and let BruControl see/report the open and closed state? Again, your brewery so do it the way you want it. But the point of software controls is you don't need to add & manage dedicated hardware.
The beauty of BruControl is control. One of the great thing about BruControl is the We are in control of what We want. There are thousands of way to skin a cat, and BruControl allows you any one of those thousand ways. And if We need a thousand steps to get there, We can do it with BruControl.

Since the process is 95% AUTOMATIC, We like to sit away from the Brewery (and heat) and watch the process from afar.

In fact, we have a large screen (55") that displays the BruControl interface. I even have a special work space that displays only the Mash Timer and Temperature during the Mash.
 

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Klooid

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Hi All,

I am planning with the aid of Brucontrol to upgrade my current fermenter controller which is based on 2 x STC-1000 to control my two 1BBL Unitanks, each with a 240V ~ 200watt (< 2amp) heater pads, and cooling via two Solenoid valves fed by a Glycol Chiller. Also when a Solenoid valve is activated, this switches on the 240v glycol pump which is part of the chiller.

Therefore, as a complete NOOB with Brucontrol, I should be grateful for some guidance on what appropriate parts I need to order to build my new Fermenter Panel using either a Mega 2560 or an Adafruit Feather M0 Wifi (I have both to hand)?

Although, I have looked at the “Order List” for the Mega 2560, my main question is what is your thoughts on the following parts I am looking at:

2 x 12v Motorized Ball Valves – Do I go for 2 wire or 3 wire version and in a normally closed position?

Motorized Ball Valves controlled by CZH-Labs 2 x SPDT Relay Module, and will this work only with the Mega 2560?

240v Heater Pads and glycol pump controlled by CZH-Labs 3 x SSR Relay 8 amp, and again will this work only with the Mega 2560?

Also, I’d rather go for quality / reliability and not price, and hence for example if Crydom SSRs gives this, then please give me your thoughts?

Thanks for your help.
 

oakbarn

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Hi All,

I am planning with the aid of Brucontrol t...
Crydom SSR are better but more $.

Do you want positive control of your valves. The advantage of 3 wire is that you can leave the valve in a position (open or closed) with power off (it remains it the position it is when power is turned off). When your fermenter is Off when it is empty, how do you want the valves? With 2 wire they will be closed.
The only issue with 3 wire is that reverse polarity is common so a DPDT relay can come in handy for control.

I cannot speak to the Feather as I only use Mega 2560 or Grand Central. Since you are fermenting, you might look to the ESP 32 if you ever want to add a Tilt. I think you could do everything you want with just the ESP 32, but I have not used it other than for a Tilt. If you have the Mega 2560, it gives you lots of options if you add more fermenters or other things you want to control. You could add the ESP 32 if you ever wanted a Tilt.

You could even use your Solenoid valves if you wanted as you might need a couple of DC relays.
A wiring Diagram of your current setup would help with advice.
 

RiverCityBrewer

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I'm not familiar with the 240v heater pads, do you have a link to their spec sheet as well as the glycol pump? Mostly concerned that they will be drawing more power than the 8amp SSRs are rated for.

I used 3 wire motorized valves for ease of use with SPDT relays.
 
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First question is... how do you want the interface (MEGA, etc.) to connect to the BruControl computer? USB/serial (assuming they are within a couple feet of each other) or network (Ethernet or Wi-Fi). That will drive the decision of which interface to use given the ones you have.

Everything else you are saying is OK. I would select 3-wire valves - the two wire ones use a capacitor to store charge and I'm not a huge fan of that concept should the caps not be able to charge. The relay modules should work with either the MEGA or the Feather. You can probably use a multi-bank relay board to drive both the valves and the heaters, assuming the heaters are <= 10A.
 

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Thank you to all who participated in the discussion of proportional valve use from late May, early June on this thread. My past rig was 3-tier so things you can do with pumps are all new to me. :) The PID settings stuff goes over my head, but may try to dig into that understanding down the line.

I am currently in testing phase with my Uniflex Brucontrol scripts. Using my proportional valve for 3 things
  1. Sparging: I plan to measure what setting will give me desired gpm from MT to BK. A float switch in the MT turns the HLT-->MT pump on when needed to keep level correct
  2. Whirlpooling: Assuming we don't want to go full bore here. I have a way too strong for brewing March Pump.
  3. Chilling: First Stage, I have an exchillerator counter-flow chiller. It will be fed by hose water. Second stage, I have a coil inside my fermenter fed by a water reservoir that comes from a kegerator via a pond pump. I plan to dump ice in it for the cool down and then it works fine with just the kegerator cooling for ferment temp control.
Questions:
For Whirlpooling, is there an optimal gpm speed? Will be doing 10-15 gallon batches. I would think that too fast and it might discourage settling. Too slow and the cone would not form well

For two stage chilling is there an optimal temp to go for on the first stage? Don't want to waste a lot of hose water, but also don't want to wait too long for the second stage. Is there a PV value relative to the sparging speed and or whirlpooling speed that people use? My valves and hoses are all 1/2"
 
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Not sure there are empirical answers for these. Probably need to pick some targets and see what happens. Whirlpooling speed maybe 5 gpm? Depends on vessel size, volume etc. try it and see. Probably doesn’t matter much as long as it’s not too slow. For first stage, maybe 30 degrees above flush water temp? Dunno really, sorry!
 

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Thanks for all the replies, which is very much appreciated, and the 3-wire valves certainly helps to get things started.

In terms of interface, I have both Ethernet and Wifi in the Brew Shed, and I have been messing about with both Mega and Feather just for connection purposes and both appear to work ok. Also for info my 1 BBL Unitanks are Jacket / Walled Cooled, and I am unlikely to have any success adding a Tilt due to the thickness of steel in the walls.

The heater pads are similar to the picture, with Mat Dimensions - 250x150mm, Power - 200w, Voltage - 230v, so my calculations indicate <0.9 Amps per Unitank?

The Glycol Cooler similar to the picture is a Vision 21 and the specification indicates that the flow Pump is 80 Watts, and again my calculations indicate <0.4 Amps.


Again any help would be appreciated, and once I have my parts list, I'll draw up a sketch diagram to share with you for comments, before I place the actual orders.

Thanks again for you guidance.


silicone-heater-mat-800_1.jpeg
s-l500.jpeg
 

oakbarn

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I would think that you want a fairly fast Whirlpooling speed and let it settle. We run uncooled tap water thru the chiller while Whirlpooling for 15 minutes. We let settle for 15 minutes and the Whirlpooling slows down by itself. We do not throttle down the output for Whirlpooling.

We also use a two stage Chiller. By pre cooling during the Whirlpool, we use a second plate chiller that cools the tap water with glycol when transferring to fermenter.

It would be neat to have the proportional valve on the output for the Wort. We use a manual ball valve.

That being said, we can normally use full flow through the Plate Chiller to the fermenter.

Big Hint: Have a BruControl controlled valve on your cooling hose water and have it shut off on a timer. I don't know how many times we forgot to turn off the water!
 

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With regards as to which interface to use I would go with the MEGA only because you have more types of ports available to you to use. When I built my main panel my intentions were to incorporate both brewing and fermentation into one single panel. I soon realised I had used a lot more ports than I had originally planned on and thus went to a separate Fermentation/ Instrumentation panel which cut down drastically on stray EMI interferance. I realise your panel build is for fermentation purposes, but my thinking is go bigger than you think because there are always improvements that can be made in future if you have availble ports on the interface.
My fermentation setup employs the use of a glycol chiller and heat tank each temp controlled with STC1000's not controlled via BruControl and the temp in my jacketed conical is regulated using 2 3 way valves (24VDC) and 2 pumps (24VDC) With a small script I can hold fermentation temps at +/- 0.5F of set temp.
 
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swanwick

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I would think that you want a fairly fast Whirlpooling speed and let it settle. We run uncooled tap water thru the chiller while Whirlpooling for 15 minutes. We let settle for 15 minutes and the Whirlpooling slows down by itself. We do not throttle down the output for Whirlpooling.

We also use a two stage Chiller. By pre cooling during the Whirlpool, we use a second plate chiller that cools the tap water with glycol when transferring to fermenter.
Interesting, so at flameout you start running the wort through the chiller and back to the whirlpool. Hadn't thought about that.

So your steps are whirlpool/chill and then chill/transport-to-fermenter. My plan was Whirlpool and then chill/transport (hose water) and then chill in fermenter (fridge water). Do you think I would be better served by either of:
  1. Whirlpool/chill (hose water), transport, and then chill in fermenter.
  2. Whirlpool/chill (hose water), chill/transport (hose water again) and then chill in fermenter
I would have to change some of my plumbing to connect the chiller-out back to the whirlpool-in. Both 1 and 2 would require same plumbing adjustments.

I actually spent a little time thinking about it while this post was in draft...... I could accomplish #2 above without having to get any additional auto-valves, but
  • I would lose proportional mash re-circ. I have MT false bottom with wide cross-hatch and I am doing BIAB (3 vessel system, just for ease of cleanup) so thinking that full-bore mash-recirc might be OK. Probably a decent amount of drag from all the HERMS piping to slow it down a little.
  • I would also have to take the sparge output from MT through the chiller (without the cooling on) to the whirlpool-inlet. That is 10' of hose plus the chiller coil rather than 2' of hose. Guessing that would drop temp and mean extra time to get to boil.
Wondering what your thoughts are on that change. Worth it to get the immediate chill during the whirlpool and gain unlimited passes through the chiller rather than one and done before 2nd stage cooling via coil in fermenter?
 
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Lots of way to chill... the only thing I will tell you is pre-chilling flush water into a chiller is not efficient. For whirlpooling, if you want to do hop-flavored beers without isomerizing the hop oils, you will need to chill to ~170 deg F first, so chilling into the whirlpool first can be a good strategy. On my personal rig, I run 2 serial chillers inline to the boil loop, and a 3-way valve can direct the wort back to the BK or to the fermenter. I use the first chiller (tap water) to bring the temp down to 170 and hold it for the whirlpool and hopstand. Then single pass to the fermenter using both chillers, with the second using an ice water pool as its chilling source.
 
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Thanks for all the replies, which is very much appreciated, and the 3-wire valves certainly helps to get things started.

In terms of interface, I have both Ethernet and Wifi in the Brew Shed, and I have been messing about with both Mega and Feather just for connection purposes and both appear to work ok. Also for info my 1 BBL Unitanks are Jacket / Walled Cooled, and I am unlikely to have any success adding a Tilt due to the thickness of steel in the walls.

The heater pads are similar to the picture, with Mat Dimensions - 250x150mm, Power - 200w, Voltage - 230v, so my calculations indicate <0.9 Amps per Unitank?

The Glycol Cooler similar to the picture is a Vision 21 and the specification indicates that the flow Pump is 80 Watts, and again my calculations indicate <0.4 Amps.


Again any help would be appreciated, and once I have my parts list, I'll draw up a sketch diagram to share with you for comments, before I place the actual orders.

Thanks again for you guidance.


View attachment 772799 View attachment 772800

I think the standard relay board will do it for you. Those electromechanical relays included on those boards are rated for 10A @250V, so you should be OK. The chiller will have a high starting current load, but should still be alright.
 

oakbarn

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Interesting, so at flameout you ....

So your steps are whirlpool/chill and then chill/transport-to-fermenter. My plan was Whirlpool and then chill/transport (hose water) and then chill in fermenter (fridge water). Do you think I would be better served by either of:
  1. Whirlpool/chill (hose water), transport, and then chill in fermenter.
  2. Whirlpool/chill (hose water), chill/transport (hose water again) and then chill in fermenter
I would have to change some of my plumbing to connect the chiller-out back to the whirlpool-in. Both 1 and 2 would require same plumbing adjustments.

I actually spent a little time thinking about it while this post was in draft...... I could accomplish #2 above without having to get any additional auto-valves, but
  • I would lose proportional mash re-circ. I have MT false bottom with wide cross-hatch and I am doing BIAB (3 vessel system, just for ease of cleanup) so thinking that full-bore mash-recirc might be OK. Probably a decent amount of drag from all the HERMS piping to slow it down a little.
  • I would also have to take the sparge output from MT through the chiller (without the cooling on) to the whirlpool-inlet. That is 10' of hose plus the chiller coil rather than 2' of hose. Guessing that would drop temp and mean extra time to get to boil.
Wondering what your thoughts are on that change. Worth it to get the immediate chill during the whirlpool and gain unlimited passes through the chiller rather than one and done before 2nd stage cooling via coil in fermenter?
We plumbed so that any vessel can go to any vessel thru any port. We have a loop manifold and planned it so we can do that. You can create a small copper recycle tube with a little soldering that is at the top of the vessels (preferred for Whirlpooling) and not use any of the ports on a vessel. In fact, if I was buying vessels again, I would not get any tangential inlets as we made a widget to go over the top and it worked just as good and a lot less $$. You can "tangential" any vessel you have.

Depending on the tap water, we can get down to about 150 or so with just the tap water while whirlpooling. Definitely in the winter but late summer our taps can be up to 85-90.

Using the home made widget allows you to leave your plumping as is for the most part.

We also have a Tee and two manual valves on our pumps. We always have a free port for almost anything.


Pump_Yellow_Rip_Off with Tees.png
 

swanwick

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We plumbed so that any vessel can go to any vessel thru any port. We have a loop manifold and planned it so we can do that.
So, do you have three way valves at each connection point in the loop? Just opening the output and the input with a pump in-between would allow a loop to also flow back to the original output. Seems you would have to not only open an exit from the loop, but also block the continuing loop at that point. Also, I assume you do not fly sparge. Two simultaneous flows would require two loops and then you complicate the network with each access point needing to connect to both loops, but not let the loops flow into each other.....aye aye aye.

Another problem I am thinking about is that because every port is at a static point in the loop and because pumps can't reverse flow direction, how would you get liquid from an access point closer to the pump outflow to travel to a point further from the pump outflow.....I am starting to think that I am incorrectly visualizing this loop. Do you have a post summarizing the loop architecture?

I don't think there is any way I am jumping ship to this model, but it is a really interesting thought exercise. Kind of blowing my mind.

For my config, realized I am going to need another moto-valve in order to get the whirlpool continuous hose chill. Will need a second additional moto-valve if I want to continue to proportionally flow the mash re-circ. Anyone have any thoughts on the importance of controlling mash re-circ speed? Is march pump full-bore for mash re-circ OK if I am BIAB with a very wide slotted screen at the bottom?
 

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So, do you have three way valves at each connection point in the loop? Just opening the output and the input with a pump in-between would allow a loop to also flow back to the original output. Seems you would have to not only open an exit from the loop, but also block the continuing loop at that point. Also, I assume you do not fly sparge. Two simultaneous flows would require two loops and then you complicate the network with each access point needing to connect to both loops, but not let the loops flow into each other.....aye aye aye.

Another problem I am thinking about is that because every port is at a static point in the loop and because pumps can't reverse flow direction, how would you get liquid from an access point closer to the pump outflow to travel to a point further from the pump outflow.....I am starting to think that I am incorrectly visualizing this loop. Do you have a post summarizing the loop architecture?

I don't think there is any way I am jumping ship to this model, but it is a really interesting thought exercise. Kind of blowing my mind.

For my config, realized I am going to need another moto-valve in order to get the whirlpool continuous hose chill. Will need a second additional moto-valve if I want to continue to proportionally flow the mash re-circ. Anyone have any thoughts on the importance of controlling mash re-circ speed? Is march pump full-bore for mash re-circ OK if I am BIAB with a very wide slotted screen at the bottom?
You may get a stuck mash if the recirc flow is too high. My last batch I upped my flow from 1 gpm to 2gpm. The flow steadily reduced from 2 to 1.5 over 30mins as the bed compacted. This will depend on a lot of things like your grind, mash composition, vessel and screen, but not having control could lead to issues.
 
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