Flexible eBIAB Controller Help

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Jmarsh544

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Fellow HBT Members,

I have been lurking around the electrical portion of this forum for a while but this is my first electrically inclined post. I have dreamed of going to an all electrical system for quite a long time for the ease of repeatilibilty, the convince and the ability or get rid of propane and open flames (and on and on).

I have a basic understanding of wiring and electricity but once the conversation turns into loads and ssr's and various other electrical talk my brain begs me to stop reading. I am coming groveling on my knees before the community because my desire to make good beer tends to win out over my brain's complaining. I have had my eye on the eBIAB system (highgraviteybrewing) for some time, but would rather build it myself if possible to provide some greater flexibility. The flexibility I seek is that of brewing both 2.5 gallon batches and 10 gallon batches using the same controller and pump, utilizing a 15 gallon pot and a 5500w element, as well as a 7.5 gallon pot and a 4500w (?) element. I would ideally like for both pots (each will have a strainer baskets) to be able to plug and play into the controller/ pump. This way I can brew both test batches and then full batches once the small batches were dialed in.

So my question for ya'll is.... Does anyone have any insight into a wiring diagram/ parts list for a simple eBIAB controller that can easily accommodate two different elements, two different batch sizes, the same pump, etc. I am guessing I will need access to 240v and a min. of a 30amp breaker which I am working on. Any insight is greatly appreciated and again I apologize for my lack of electrical terminology...
 

jeffmeh

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Unless you are going to brew two batches at the same time, you will only need an e-BIAB controller that can handle the 5500w element (240v, 30 amps). Use a NEMA 14-30 receptacle for the outlet in the control panel, and put NEMA 14-30 plugs on both elements, then just plug in the vessel you want to use.

There are lots of single PID and pump builds on here. P-J certainly has a diagram.

You will likely want to keep track of your PID's autotune parameters, as they will be different for each vessel, and then manually input them when switching vessels.

I would also suggest that a 15-gal pot is not really large enough for 10-gal BIAB batches once you get up to some higher gravity brews. I would go with 20-gal.

The other thing to consider is when you mount your element in the larger vessel, as low as possible, what is the minimum batch size you can do that will always keep the element submerged? If that works for you, you can skip the smaller vessel.
 
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Jmarsh544

Jmarsh544

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So I was cruising through a few threads that P-J posted in and found this modified diagram:

Do you think this would work for my purposes? Do they make elements in the 3500w range that run off 240v? Is it easy to add an analog dial type control to regulate the temp of the element (manual mode)? Sorry for all of the questions but I am trying to gather as much info as possible before I begin purchasing items.

image.jpg
 

jeffmeh

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The diagram is a bit small to read, but if you found it as one of P-J's finished diagrams I suspect it will work. It does look to have a switch to turn off the PID (which I would not bother with), and a DPST contactor to use to cut off both hot legs from the element (critical IMO, so when that switch is off your element is off). I would add another DPST contactor and switch to allow you to cut all power to the panel.

You don't need a smaller element for your smaller vessel, as the PID will manage the power to the element. A larger element will just allow you to get to temperature more quickly.
 

jCOSbrew

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I think you are on the right track w/ one control panel and 2 vessels. I think you will find that the 15-20 gallon kettle will require >2.5 gallons to cover the element requiring a smaller kettle for small batches. The larger kettle (15-20 gallon) will probably work for >5 gallon batches depending on element location.

If you really want the analog knob to control the boil, look for a phase angle SSR or a PWM circuit to provide this feature. Some PIDs have a manual mode which is a digital power control for the element.

The most basic analog control could be implemented w/ the phase angle SSR + DPDT switch without PID temp control.
 

GTaylor

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I built my controller to run on 240 so that I could do the same, only have the smaller pot for now with a 3500 watt element. You don't really need the seperate control for the element because the pid should have a manual mode that will take care of that. I would think that any pump would fit the bill, I went with the one from greatbreweh.com so that everything stores in the pot when done.
 

jeffmeh

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I think you are on the right track w/ one control panel and 2 vessels. I think you will find that the 15-20 gallon kettle will require >2.5 gallons to cover the element requiring a smaller kettle for small batches. The larger kettle (15-20 gallon) will probably work for >5 gallon batches depending on element location.

If you really want the analog knob to control the boil, look for a phase angle SSR or a PWM circuit to provide this feature. Some PIDs have a manual mode which is a digital power control for the element.

The most basic analog control could be implemented w/ the phase angle SSR + DPDT switch without PID temp control.
My preference would be to just brew the smallest batch I could get away with, and only have one large kettle for the big and small batches, but I'm putting two kids through college so am currently in the "frugal" mindset. :)
 
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