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ebay aquarium temp controller build

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android

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i was excited about the prospect of this temp controller, so i got one from ebay and put the whole thing in a project box from radio shack. one plug is switched for heating and the other for cooling. i have yet to build up my fermentation chamber that i'll use this on, but preliminary tests confirmed that the unit worked great. there is a 0.3 deg C differential on this thing, so it is pretty accurate and easy to set. i used a 14 gauge extension cord for all the wires. it does read in celcius, but that's OK by me.

all of the parts:


did some sloppy cut outs and wired it up:


power cord and sensor gives plenty of slack:


close up of the temp controller:


powered up:


my wiring diagram (sloppy also). i only used one wire nut to join the hot wires as you can see in one of the pics above. also, very important to break off the jumper tab on the hot side so you can control each outlet independently.
 

JuanMoore

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Looks good. I've got two of them on the way, one for my keezer build, and one for a second fermentation fridge I recently picked up. How long did shipping take?
 

wyzazz

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I've got 2 of them on the way right now. I figure I'll print out a small C-F chart to put on the box.
 
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android

android

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funny you mention that, i just got done making one in excel for the same purpose...
 

Mobius570

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I'll apologize in advance for the noobish questions.

1) Do you have a link to the seller for this controller?

2) I see you have Heat and Cool, so will I be able to run a heat lamp as well as the fridge?

I just bottled my first batch and had a hard time keeping my fermenting temp steady and was looking into building a fermentation chamber using the idea I seen from another post using a mini fridge and a foam board box. Cooling wasn't so much the issue for, it's heating, so this controller build would be perfect.
 
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android

android

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mobius, yes, it functions as a two stage controller. one plug will control my fridge and the other a space heater (when i need it). there are times when my basement is pretty cool (58-59) and times when it gets 70+ during the summer, so mostly i'll need cooling power, but occasionally heat also, especially if i want to ferment a saison or something that needs really high temps.

here's the exact item on ebay
 

Mobius570

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Thanks for the replies. This is perfect for what I need then. Great diagram, this will help alot. I plan on building my fermentation chamber into the base of bar my when it is being constructed.
 

Csuho

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ya it didn't take but maybe 10 days to get here at most i was suprised myself.. just gotta get it up and running now..

you are all welcome for my nice find there.. ahh 1 more thing to do today ahhh better get off here and get my chiller, heatstick and then the mini fridge controlled by that temp controller.
 
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android

android

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yes, nice find for sure... thanks for your investigation!
 

OntarioBeerKegs

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Ordered one on the 9th, arrived the 19th. Installation was simple enough and instructions in very simple broken English. I like the delay to save on compressor wear and tear. The probe as expected was very cheap, looks like can add any two prong model you want though.
 

Csuho

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got mine hooked up and working fridge held the 34ish very well gotta warm it up to get to the 60-65 range i want.

i shall report back after we get a batch in there and see how it does.

android you use your controller yet for a batch?
 
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android

android

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no, not yet. i am doing this project backward. i have a mini fridge that is ripe for making into a small fermentation chamber, but i need some decent weather and motivation to do it. i'm gonna just make a moderate sized extension so i can get good lager temp control and ferment 2 at a time... i have the temp control unit hooked up to my fridge keeping a nice consistent 4.3 deg celsius :D (40 deg F)

it doesn't seem to have any problem powering up the fridge or the space heater i plugged into the 'heat' side. so i have no doubt whatsoever that it will perform exactly what i want it to. the 0.3 deg C differential with the adjustable compressor delay is really nice, the programming is very easy and it's simple to wire up (which works well for me).
 

BigJason

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Just ordered mine. I'm thinking it will come about the same time as the start relay I ordered for the chest freezer I got from CL.
 

Csuho

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in the process of fermenting a BM cream of 3 crop with pacman in the mini fridge with the controller on it and it is working beautifully. it has held the temp like a ranco (i have 1 for the kreezer) i am glad i made the purchase.
 

uwjester

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my wiring diagram (sloppy also). i only used one wire nut to join the hot wires as you can see in one of the pics above. also, very important to break off the jumper tab on the hot side so you can control each outlet independently.
I read the schematic that came with the controller differently. I have the input go directly to ports 1/2 and then feed hot from 5/6 and cold from 7/8. You have input power going straight to heat and then to 2 and then you don't have any neutral on the cool side. Did I read something wrong?

Edit: Ah, you didn't remove the tab on the neutral side, right?
 
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the way i understand it (and my electrical knowledge is fairly limited, so i may be misinterpreting it) is that the hot wire is what is being switched. so I have my input hot wire connected to channels 1, 5, & 7 (all pigtailed from the channels wire nutted together with the hot from the power cable, so 4 wires total). this hot is interrupted by a switch in both the heat/cool stages, so channels 6 and 8 each feed a separate hot wire to the receptacle to control the fridge/heater. the neutral from the power cord is in connected to the receptacle and no, i did not break the tab on the neutral side which takes care of neutral on both outlets. i have a jumper neutral that feeds the controller. since only the hot is switched, the neutral stays live to control whatever it needs to.

hopefully that makes sense. and hopefully that isn't the wrong way to do it, but it seems to work fine as is. let me know if that answers your question.
 

uwjester

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Yep you have it right. There are two pieces of paper in the box. One is similar to yours and one shows a dumbed down circuit diagram. I saw the diagram and thought you provided power to the controller and it in turn provided power to the heater/cooler. Sorry for the distraction.
 
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android

android

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Yep you have it right. There are two pieces of paper in the box. One is similar to yours and one shows a dumbed down circuit diagram. I saw the diagram and thought you provided power to the controller and it in turn provided power to the heater/cooler. Sorry for the distraction.
yeah, i think that is a difference between these and love controllers in that there is a separate hot for each terminal.
 

nutty_gnome

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So... I have an older fridge that only wants to sit at 32 degrees which is maddening. Can I just plug this into the fridge (appropriately connected) and then have the probe cut power on and off to run the fridge at a higher temp? I wouldn't have to rewire the internal fridge at all? That sounds great if true. N_G
 
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yes, you can do exactly as you asked with a temp controller like this. no need to modify the fridge at all.
 

nutty_gnome

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Awesome. I just bought one off ebay. Should pay for itself in saved electricity within 2 months. Thanks!
 
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this controller will just cut off power to the fridge/compressor when the set temp is reached. once the probe determines the temp has gone above the set point, it will switch power back on to the fridge/compressor to get it back to the set point.
 

nutty_gnome

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Yep. Right now the fridge wants to operate at 32deg regardless of what I tell it to do. So if I can just keep it at around 45 degrees with this thing then I"ll be happy and my ale's complex character will come through a bit better at a warmer temp. And I'll save electricity.
 

Petervonstubb

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Thanks for the post! I picked up the controller and used this thread for my new fermentation chamber. As far as I can tell from my test, it works great. Looking forward to my first brew with this thing.
 

MatterOne

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Mine was shipped out yesterday.

I plan to build mine just like Android's.


Incidentally, I also acquired a refrigerator and an analog Johnson controller for free over the weekend. The Johnson doesn't do me much good right now, since I'm looking to bump up my temperatures a little.
 

TRainH2o

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Thanks for showing photos of the wiring and the completed project. I saw that controller last week and wondered if it would work.
 

SC_Ryan

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This is awesome. I can't believe how cheap this thing is! Looks like I have a project for the weekend!
 
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