Cheap Temperature Control?

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Kjokkakim

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Have anyone tried the cheap china temperature controllers found at AliExpress/ eBay/ Amazon?

If you want a plug-and-play solution and don't want to fiddle with a STC-1000, is these decent alternatives? Or should you just fork out for a Inkbird?

MH-2000 with a 25w heat belt $32,
the MH-2000 seems to sell for $20 alone.

Thermostat Digital Controller 16A $13
 

doug293cz

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Have anyone tried the cheap china temperature controllers found at AliExpress/ eBay/ Amazon?

If you want a plug-and-play solution and don't want to fiddle with a STC-1000, is these decent alternatives? Or should you just fork out for a Inkbird?

MH-2000 with a 25w heat belt $32,
the MH-2000 seems to sell for $20 alone.

Thermostat Digital Controller 16A $13
These would be applicable if you only have to heat above ambient, or cool below ambient, but not both. STC-1000 (and similar) and ITC-308 can handle heating and cooling at the same time, and this is often what is needed for fermentation control.

Brew on :mug:
 

madscientist451

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And I thought Inkbird WAS the cheap controller; I have a Johnson Controls A419 that I paid full retail of like $100 at a small shop a few years ago because I really needed one. More expensive, but it hasn't had any issues either. The one on Aliexpress may be fine, or it might be junk, let us know. I've also heard about people ordering from Aliexpress and the item never shows up.
 
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Kjokkakim

Kjokkakim

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These would be applicable if you only have to heat above ambient, or cool below ambient, but not both. STC-1000 (and similar) and ITC-308 can handle heating and cooling at the same time, and this is often what is needed for fermentation control.

Brew on :mug:
At the moment I don't have access to active cooling for fermentation. Just a basement with temperatures between 40 and 70 Fahrenheit, depending on season and room.

I've also heard about people ordering from Aliexpress and the item never shows up.
I probably have a four figured number of purchases from AliExpress. The few times I've encountered delivery problems, I've got a refund.

But surely I've bought lots of crap 🙈.

Go with BrewPiLess
Seems like a very interesting alternative. I have briefly looked here. https://www.reddit.com/r/Homebrewing/comments/bjxdsv
But being based in Scandinavia, the links to the needed part at Amazon.com is expensive due to shipping or straight up unavailable. It seems like equal parts can be found very cheaply at AliExpress. I would need access to a forum or thread for guidance. Anyway nothing I will do now, but tempting for the future.

If you just need to heat, there are some sets on Amazon. I actually just ordered this set yesterday for $35 (3.4 stars but some reviews are negative). https://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B016MKY7C8/
I've actually looked at something very similar at AliExpress which is easier being based in Scandinavia.
The Controller
The mat

But I don't see what this gives which my OP suggestions doesn't give.
 

CascadesBrewer

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But I don't see what this gives which my OP suggestions doesn't give.
I guess for me, I have been a satisfied customer of Amazon for 25-ish years and have been happy with their service and return policy. I have had some minor issues with eBay so I try to avoid it. I have heard of enough issues (scammed, or 4+ week delivery) about AliExpress that I don't want to mess with it. It is all cheap Chinese stuff anyway. I feel a little bad not supporting InkBird as they do seem to help out the homebrew community. I have been very happy with the InkBird on my fermentation chamber.
 
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Kjokkakim

Kjokkakim

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I guess for me, I have been a satisfied customer of Amazon for 25-ish years and have been happy with their service and return policy. I have had some minor issues with eBay so I try to avoid it. I have heard of enough issues (scammed, or 4+ week delivery) about AliExpress that I don't want to mess with it. It is all cheap Chinese stuff anyway. I feel a little bad not supporting InkBird as they do seem to help out the homebrew community. I have been very happy with the InkBird on my fermentation chamber.
As long as you have Amazon in your country, it's a valid point.

To me it would be the same hassle if it's Amazon or AliExpress. Both are a based in a foreign country.
And the few issues I've had dealing with AliExpress, have been flawlessly solved.

It not difficult to find cheap thrash at Amazon either. And surely quality can be found at AliExpress.

INKBIRD Official Store

kegland Official Store
 

CascadesBrewer

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All good. Inkbird has a good reputation. I have seen them active here and other forums giving away products and soliciting feedback. They seem to have good customer service. The features of the ITC-308 are a great fit for homebrewers. I have been a happy owner of a ITC-308 for about 2 years to control a freezer. I don't think you can go wrong there, even if it is a few more dollars.

My $35 set from VIVOSUN came today. It feels like a decent product. All I can say is that the heating pad heats up, and the probe is reading the same temp as my Inkbird. The Inkbird is rated for a few more amps, though the 8 amps of the VIVOSUN controller is plenty for my planned uses. This VIVOSUN controller is heat only.

The first kit you listed will be hard to beat on feature vs price. The downside is that it looks like it can only control either heating or cooling, but not both at the same time. The Inkbird ITC-308 will control both a heating source and a cooling source. So in my case, I have both a chest freezer and a small space heater plugged into the Inkbird. I use the heater to boost temps above ambient, and also to cut down on overswings by the freezer.

I plan to use the VIVOSUN controller mostly for fermenting at warmer temps, for stuff like Kveik and Belgians.

Do you need a unit that will control a cooling source (like a freezer or refrigerator)? Or just heat?

P.S. My experience is all based on US prices, products in the US and products that work on US power. The products available in Scandinavia might be completely different.
 
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Kjokkakim

Kjokkakim

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Do you need a unit that will control a cooling source (like a freezer or refrigerator)? Or just heat?
Check my answer for the first quote


Btw Inkbird have a great name here also.

I'm just not sure if it's what I need. If I ever get a freezer or other electrical cooler I might go for a BrewPiLess, STC-1000 or a Inkbird.
 

bkboiler

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Inkbird is accurate and a good value for the price.

My johnson controller is only single stage and was double what my inkbird cost. It's also completely metal case and is very well made.

My inkbird has cracked a little bit, but overall a great value...
 
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