EBay fish tank controller build using Wal-mart parts

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cmj141

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JuanMoore said:
There are sellers on e-bay that have an almost identical unit that reads in fahrenheit, but it's only single stage. I have one controlling my keezer and two in the control panel of my HERMS. If you want dual stage for a ferm chamber, they're all celcius.

Correct. It is highly reccomended to max out the compressor delay feature (10 min?), set the temp differential to at least a couple degrees F, and if possible secure the temp probe to something with some thermal mass so that it doesn't change drastically every time the door is opened. At least one of these things is a must to prevent short cycling the compressor and killing it. And FWIW you can actually set the STC-1000 to have a smaller temp differential than you can on the ranco controllers (0.3C < 1F), not that you'd want to.
What is the name of the one that reads in Fahrenheit ? I can't find it anywhere on eBay. The one shown goes for $15-20 on eBay. For 25-30 u can get a PID.
 

JuanMoore

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What is the name of the one that reads in Fahrenheit ? I can't find it anywhere on eBay. The one shown goes for $15-20 on eBay. For 25-30 u can get a PID.
Not sure if it has a name or model number. Just go to e-bay and search "aquarium temperature controller f". There are a whole bunch of different sellers, but they're pretty much all ~$17 shipped.

Here's one-

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Digital-Temperature-Controller-Thermostat-Aquarium-F-/220957637173?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item337219fa35#ht_4801wt_1396
 

cmj141

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DeafBrew

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I removed my fridge thermostat and ran those 2 wires through the cooling circuit of my two stage controller. A thermostat is just a temperature switch. It doesn't matter what the voltage is on your thermostat as long as it is 120 or less. It is almost definitely 120ac with the outside chance of it being 12-30vdc via a converter/transformer.


Effen brilliant! can't believe this never occurred to anyone before.

So if I wanted to do this with the single stage, I would just wire a dedicated line to power the temperature controller and then plug the thermostat wires into the "loading" terminals and that would be it, correct? I can probably trace the switch wires to the back of the unit where they could be wired into the controller without the need to drill into the chamber.
 

JuanMoore

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DeafBrew said:
Effen brilliant! can't believe this never occurred to anyone before.

So if I wanted to do this with the single stage, I would just wire a dedicated line to power the temperature controller and then plug the thermostat wires into the "loading" terminals and that would be it, correct? I can probably trace the switch wires to the back of the unit where they could be wired into the controller without the need to drill into the chamber.
Yep, that would work.
 

bcrderrick

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Need a little help programming mine. I figured out how to adjust the degrees. For f1-f4. Controller works properly I think. I don't know what f1 - f4 are though. I'm assuming from another post that f 1 is to be set at the temp you want the fridge at? F 2 is the swing??? And f 3 is the compressor delay? F4 no idea? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys
 

JuanMoore

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Need a little help programming mine. I figured out how to adjust the degrees. For f1-f4. Controller works properly I think. I don't know what f1 - f4 are though. I'm assuming from another post that f 1 is to be set at the temp you want the fridge at? F 2 is the swing??? And f 3 is the compressor delay? F4 no idea? Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks guys
Yours didn't come with directions? Assuming you're using the STC-1000 and not the single stage unit, you've guessed F1-F3 correctly, and F4 is for calibrating the sensor.
 

bcrderrick

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JuanMoore said:
Yours didn't come with directions? Assuming you're using the STC-1000 and not the single stage unit, you've guessed F1-F3 correctly, and F4 is for calibrating the sensor.
No directions. It is a stc-1000 though. Thanks for your help. How do I calibrate the sensor?
 
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No directions. It is a stc-1000 though. Thanks for your help. How do I calibrate the sensor?
The sensor is calibrated by using a bowl/glass of water in which you put the sensor, and a regular glass/lab/electronic thermometer. If they read the same, you're golden. If one is higher than the other, adjust by the number of degrees in the proper direction.

MC
 

flushdrew42

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not to hijack, but i built a temp controller w/ an STC off of ebay, and wonder if i can put a magnet (from a computer hard drive) inside the plastic project box to hold it on the side of the fridge?

will there be any adverse effects to the controller with a magnet that close?
 

chuckstout

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Thanks misplaced, got the parts for 2 and the controllers in the mail, one for the keezer and one for the ferm box
 

jeffsciv23

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lol well eff. i got a little too excited reading this thread and pulled the trigger a bit to quickly. then as i read i noticed i should have looked at the voltage. so i am the proud owner of two temp controllers, a 12V and a 110 hahaha
 

jeepinjeepin

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jeffsciv23 said:
lol well eff. i got a little too excited reading this thread and pulled the trigger a bit to quickly. then as i read i noticed i should have looked at the voltage. so i am the proud owner of two temp controllers, a 12V and a 110 hahaha
I'm guessing you meant to get 2 110v units? What do you have in the 12v unit? I might be interested in it.
 

jeffsciv23

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No I just meant to buy one 110 but bought the 12v without reading closley. It was $15.88 shipped. Figured ide throw it in a yardsale for same price. But let me know if you have a use for it.
 

jeepinjeepin

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jeffsciv23 said:
No I just meant to buy one 110 but bought the 12v without reading closley. It was $15.88 shipped. Figured ide throw it in a yardsale for same price. But let me know if you have a use for it.
Yeah. Planning a recirculating water bath for fermentation temp control. I have a 12vdc power supply and access to a 12vdc pump.
 

chuckstout

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Built one today works great tested with a small heater and a fan, thanks again love this site! My wife always like are you on your BeerBook again lol
 

jeffsciv23

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has anybody mounted one of these in the collar yet? just wondering because i have only been seeing them mounted in project boxes and junction boxes.
 

JuanMoore

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jeffsciv23 said:
has anybody mounted one of these in the collar yet? just wondering because i have only been seeing them mounted in project boxes and junction boxes.
Yep, mine is installed in the collar of my keezer, and I've seen a few other on here that have done the same.
 

johnlvs2run

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has anybody mounted one of these in the collar yet? just wondering because i have only been seeing them mounted in project boxes and junction boxes.
My love controller gets 100 degrees, which depending on use, may or may not make a difference.
 

jeffsciv23

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Yep, mine is installed in the collar of my keezer, and I've seen a few other on here that have done the same.
thanks. think thats what im gonna do also. do i just use longer wires and mount the junction box with the outlet on the back of the collar?
 

JuanMoore

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thanks. think thats what im gonna do also. do i just use longer wires and mount the junction box with the outlet on the back of the collar?
I flush mounted the controller in the collar on the back of the keezer, and then ran extension cord wires down to an exterior single gang junction box with the outlet in it that I placed in the compressor area. I thought about mounting a standard single gang box in the collar and running the wires through the hollow part of my collar, but I wanted to be able to push it as close to the wall as possible, and didn't want the plugs keeping it away from the wall.
 

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There was actually little need to log any data. In my fridge at least, (unlike the fridge thermostat) the controller can track / maintain the target temperature within a fairly narrow range. (+/- 0.5C or F2=1C was good enough for me.)

The only big difference I've noticed is the frequency and duration that the compressor is turned on/off. If the sensor is left in air, the fridge is turned on/off in short bursts (as an unmodified fridge). Having the sensor in water (near the back of the fridge) yielded longer shutoffs and longer power-on. I'm thinking that the water is a better representation of the beer temp but perhaps someone can comment on which method is better for the compressor.
Not sure if anyone has commented on this yet (didn't see a reply) but you definitely want to prevent short cycles on the compressor. Using a container of water would be one way, but you may want to consider changing the hysteresis (or "differential") to something more than a single degree to help with this even more.
 

JuanMoore

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dmbaty said:
Not sure if anyone has commented on this yet (didn't see a reply) but you sefinitely want to prevent short cycles on the compressor. Using a container of water would be one way, but you may want to consider changing the hysteresis (or "differential") to something more than a single degree to help with this even more.
And max out the compressor delay setting (10 min?).
 
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Not sure if anyone has commented on this yet (didn't see a reply) but you definitely want to prevent short cycles on the compressor. Using a container of water would be one way, but you may want to consider changing the hysteresis (or "differential") to something more than a single degree to help with this even more.
You can set the compressor on a time delay with the STC-1000. And set a larger swing.

MC
 

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rifraf

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I just built this guy yesterday, and tested it out on a lamp. Worked well...lamp was on until I stuck the sensor in a cup of ice water and it turned off. Today I went and plugged my chest freezer into it and nothing. The lamp doesn't work either.

The temp controller has power and is reading the temperature properly. The lamp and freezer both work independently of the controller. Is my most like problem simply that a wire wiggled itself loose? Chest freezer is 1.3A normal operation 9A startup. The STC-1000 is a 10A/220V. Someone in a different thread posted that he took his apart and the relays are 10A/220V or 15A/110V.

Thanks!
 

rifraf

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Well scratch that. It's working now. I originally had the compressor delay set to 10 minutes, but I thought that would have reset itself when I unplugged the controller to move it. Looks like it just had to be plugged in for >10 minutes for that lock to go away.

Sweet! Kegs here we come.:mug:
 

carlisle_bob

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Hi

The STC-1000 works perfectly fine with the sensor taped to the wall of a freezer. You simply need to set a wide enough control window (F2) so it does not go nuts. The beer in the freezer never sees the wall temperature, so it just sits there in the middle of the control window.

I know this sounds a bit odd, but here's a check you can do. Take your "sensor in a water bottle" setup and let it run. Put another sensor on the wall of the fridge. It's already moving all over the place as the compressor cycles. There's no difference in how things actually run with the two approaches.

The advantage of tape to the wall is you have one less thing to clutter up the freezer...

Bob
 
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Hi

The STC-1000 works perfectly fine with the sensor taped to the wall of a freezer. You simply need to set a wide enough control window (F2) so it does not go nuts. The beer in the freezer never sees the wall temperature, so it just sits there in the middle of the control window.

I know this sounds a bit odd, but here's a check you can do. Take your "sensor in a water bottle" setup and let it run. Put another sensor on the wall of the fridge. It's already moving all over the place as the compressor cycles. There's no difference in how things actually run with the two approaches.

The advantage of tape to the wall is you have one less thing to clutter up the freezer...

Bob
My neighbor for whom I had built a walmart type controller was reporting that when the sensor was "loose", the heat would turn on. The problem with having it in mid-air is that the sensor sees a massive amount of fluctuation. I tape my sensor sandwiched between the carboy, and a sheet of paper towel folded over down to 4x4".

MC
 

carlisle_bob

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My neighbor for whom I had built a walmart type controller was reporting that when the sensor was "loose", the heat would turn on. The problem with having it in mid-air is that the sensor sees a massive amount of fluctuation. I tape my sensor sandwiched between the carboy, and a sheet of paper towel folded over down to 4x4".

MC
Hi

Exactly correct. Variability is a *bad* thing inside a control loop. You want your sensor nailed in place and not going anyplace. You also don't want it blocked from air flow as you move stuff around inside the keezer. Tape it to the wall up over the hump.

Bob
 

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