I decided to start building a brewing system

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DrKarma

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I have put together a table of content below to make it easier for viewers to find what they are looking for, original thread starts under the ToC.

HLT - Posting #5, #7, #9, #41, #42, #43, #51, #58, #66, #95, #96
MLT v1.0 - Posting #2, #27, #72, #95, #96, #148, #150
MLT v2.0 - Posting #152, #153, #154, #155, #158
Wort Boiler - Posting #4, #77, #82, #83, #84, #87
Brew Cart - Posting #65, #70, #84, #87, #95, #96
Control discussions - Posting #13, #16, #17, #18, #26, #28, #33, #35, #38,
KarmaControl (my controller) - Posting #24, #46, #52, #59, #117, #120, #121
Equipment (fittings, pumps etc) - Posting #39, #47, #151
Brew reports - Posting #103, #104, #105, #145, #146
Bottle dish washer - Posting #186
Sketches and Graphs - Posting #109,
------------------------------------------------------------------

Hi all.
Going to publish the progress here as I build my system.

The background: A few years ago we decided to build a house. After a while we fired the contractor and finished building everything by ourselves. And after spending over 2000 hours post normal working hours in building your house - you get a bit less motivated to continue. This is the case with my garage which is next in line to have some construction done to it (the garage is there, but it's filled with moving boxes etc etc etc).

So how to get the motivation back?
Easy....decide to build a beer brewing system and when you have built it - you get forced to build a "brewing house" in the garage since you want to brew in a nice clean area.

Makes sense?
Probably not.

Fun?
Definately.

So once I decided to build a system, I started to scout the internet for inspiration and found homebrewtalk to be a great asset.

I plan to build an electric powered HERMS system.
HLT - 30 Gallon (120 litres) food grade tun
MLT - 30 Gallon (120 litres) food grade tun
Boiler - 33 Gallon (127,5 litres) stainless steel kettle

Pictures and construction starts in my next posting.
 
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DrKarma

DrKarma

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Last weekend I managed to find some time to start building.
The weekend before that I found an add in one of Sweden's most popular sell/trade sites - where a guy had 200 30 Gallon plastic tuns to sell and they didn't cost much at all. I didn't have room for 200 so I only bought 12 of them at a price of ~5 USD each - will use most of them as fermenters.
They came with great lids and a stainless steel ring to seal the lids on the tun.


I have attached wood ribs to the roller-ring on the tun.


Insulated between the tun and the ribs with polyurethane foam...a really expensive type that has good insulation values.
 
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DrKarma

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When I built the garage, I made sure to install a 3-phase socket (European so that would be 3x400 Volts, 1 Neutural, 1 Earth - 16 A).
So I have the power needed to build an electric powered boiler.

Keeping this in mind I decided to get a used expansion chamber (don't know the english translation for that - it's used to take up water pressure in your home). So I searched for one online and came across a welder that could weld something that would fit my needs.

So after a session in sketchup I sent him the sketch and instructions.
A week later I the boiler was delivered to me...amazingly fast and I didn't have to do welding myself (have not welded anything in stainless steel before so I am sure it would be a disaster if I had to do it myself).


This is the original sketch that I did - in the discussions with the welder I decided to increase the height with 100 mm (4")

The big hole is for the electrical element (6 kW) that I will put into the boiler.
The smaller hole is for draining the content after complete boil.


The result.

 
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DrKarma

DrKarma

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I bought three water boilers rated 2000W each in a store the other day.
Plan is to use them to heat the water in the HLT to the right levels.
So together with my soon to be wife I made an experiment with these to see how well they worked.

After doing some measurements I noticed that they actually only delivered 1650 Watt each, but in the graphs that I share with you (in case someone else have plans on doing something similar) note that where it says 2000W, 4000W and 6000W in the graphs - in the real world that would correspond to 1650W, 3300W and 4950W. So you can use the latter values for reference as a Watt is a Watt regardless of if you live in the US or in Europe.


First image shows how long time in seconds it takes to bring an (x-axis) volume of water from 9 C (48,2F) to boiling point. 100C (212F)
1 Gallon = 3,78541 litres

As the insulation in a water boiler (the one you use in your kitchen) is quite bad, it will be interesting (at least to me) to re-run this test later when I have created the HLT.
 

slimer

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Could the problem for the power be the result of the type of heating element that you're using?
 
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DrKarma

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The tuns that I have, they are quite thick. Take the thickness of a normal fermenting tun and multiply that by 5 and you get the idea.
Knowing the thickness of the material, I was a bit worried if I would manage to fit the heating elements from the water boilers (that by now had been under surgery).

But it actually went way easier than expected.


First hole cut out, using a hole saw attached to my cordless.
(38 mm)


Using the original seal from the water boiler.


Right tool for the job. (Just love that cordless 18V Hitachi of mine) but I think it would work with a DeWalt as well ;)
 
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DrKarma

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welcome!

I look forward to watching the progress.
Thank you.

Think this will take me about a month to complete, need to have it in operation before the spring gets here for real, as I intend to pay some of the people that will help me with the final touches on my house with beer.

And by "complete" I mean to get the first batches out of the system because I will do some brewing on it manually to see what I can and should automate. :)
 
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DrKarma

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Somehow part 2 got lost.


All three heating elements in place - have left room for where the heat exchanging coil will run (bottom "side" of the picture and between the heating elements).


No leaks! Here I have poured approximately 15 Gallons water into the tun to see if the seal can take the additional water pressure.


Now I just need to figure out what to do with the donors.
 
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DrKarma

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Could the problem for the power be the result of the type of heating element that you're using?
Definately...after the surgery of the water boilers I could read the printing on the elements that they were between 1850-2200 W but I trust the calibrated AC power meter that I have, more than I trust what is printed on a heating element from a budget water boiler.

But I figured, as I will have the same setup for the HLT as I have for the MLT (wooden ribs, with that expensive PU foam that normally is used for heating appliances)...that the insulation value would be much better than if I went and bought more expensive heating elements for the HLT. So I lose some and win some.
 

slimer

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Can I suggest taking a look at the Embedded Control Concepts box as a controller? It allows for multiple outputs and may provide a solution to control the heating elements.
 
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DrKarma

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Can I suggest taking a look at the Embedded Control Concepts box as a controller? It allows for multiple outputs and may provide a solution to control the heating elements.
I looked briefly at the EMC. Quite the thing to wish for.
Although getting one of these will probably be something that I have to postpone for a while.
One reflection of mine regarding the EMC: It seemed to measure in Fahrenheit, and since I am European I want to do stuff in Celsius.

That's basically a problem that I face for many nice things that I want. That it's designed primarely for the american market (110-120 VAC 60 Hz- where we in Europe have 230 VAC 50Hz) wish that all gadgets out there came with switches like a power supply on a PC has where you can select what voltage you need.

I do however have a 1500W 230-110 VAC converter, but I don't want to mix that in the system that I am working with.
 
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DrKarma

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what are those elements out of? some sort of coffee maker?
Yes, I guess it could be called a coffe maker (in case you make instant coffee) - I use the term water boiler Electric water boiler - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

They are quite inexpensive and the layout of the power connection (in most cases) fit the same kind of cable that you have in a computer power supply. So it's easy to convert it from a water boiler.
 

slimer

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I looked briefly at the EMC. Quite the thing to wish for.
Although getting one of these will probably be something that I have to postpone for a while.
One reflection of mine regarding the EMC: It seemed to measure in Fahrenheit, and since I am European I want to do stuff in Celsius.
It's nice. There is an option to read everything in Celsius, but I understand not wanting to have the power conversion.
 
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DrKarma

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It's nice. There is an option to read everything in Celsius, but I understand not wanting to have the power conversion.
As I wrote in a posting, I have a bunch of moving boxes in my garage - I know that in one of them I have my PIC developer board (EasyPIC 5) Development Tools | mikroElektronika
Haven't used it for a while so when I have more time on my hands, I will create a temperature regulator that will control a bunch of Solid State Relays.

Items that I am thinking about controling:
-3 heating elements for the HLT

-the heating element for the boiler (3 x 2kW)


-my hot water circulation pump (for water and mash)

I noticed that the embedded control concept used thermistors, with the EasyPIC5 (or others) board it's quite easy to program using the 1-Wire digital thermometer components such as the DS1820 that I have used a lot in the past. http://www.systronix.com/Resource/ds1820.pdf


All in order to (part from welding stainless steel) keep a high DIY factor :)
 

slimer

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Many on this board are using the arduino board. Looks like the EasyPIC5 is a step up from there.

Nice project!
 
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DrKarma

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Many on this board are using the arduino board. Looks like the EasyPIC5 is a step up from there.

Nice project!
The arduino board is great and many of its users have managed to create great communies for sharing code amongst hobby developers for the Amtel AVR micro processor.
A friend of mine at work is using it as the "master controller" in his plant watering system in his office. Kind of wish that he had done it on a PIC micro processor - so I could "borrow" his code for the circulation pump control that I will create. :)
 
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Hi all.

So how to get the motivation back?
Easy....decide to build a beer brewing system and when you have built it - you get forced to build a "brewing house" in the garage since you want to brew in a nice clean area.

Makes sense?
Probably not.
Sounds like brewers logic to me!

I'm curious is there a cost difference with electric over gas? (edit: cost of use not build.) I eventually want to build a new system similar to this and was thinking of electric for convenience factor.

It will have to wait till I find the right house though. Renting at the moment.
 
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DrKarma

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Sounds like brewers logic to me!
Great...then I know that I am not totally insane. ;)

I'm curious is there a cost difference with electric over gas? (edit: cost of use not build.) I eventually want to build a new system similar to this and was thinking of electric for convenience factor.

It will have to wait till I find the right house though. Renting at the moment.
First...I think most things are quite expensive in Sweden and it's a bit hard to compare but I will do a try. :)

1 kWh cost around USD 0.10 and let's say that making a 15 Gallon batch of beer would consume hmmm around 20 kWh so that would be USD 2.22.
A cheeseburger at McDonalds costs USD 1. So for the price of two cheeseburgers and a bite on a third cheeseburger - I can heat water and boil the wort.

When it comes to gas, only the larger cities have it in the infra structure (apartment buildings, hook-up to the gas grid). So if you aren't in the larger city area and would like to have butane/propane then you would need to buy a gas tank. Before starting this project I checked the cost for a gas tank of the size that you have for your gas bbq grill. It costs USD 180 (or cheeseburgers) and a gas re-fill USD16.

I don't know for how many 15 Gallon batches one of these gas tanks would last, but I can do 90 batches for the price of the tank.

The convenience of being able to brew indoors is also a big part of me not going the gas track. Plus the burners are VERY expensive here (probably due to that it's not commonly used with gas - part from your bbq grill).
 

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Is the reason you're comparing USD's to cheeseburgers because all us fat Americans like cheeseburgers and know what they cost?!? If so...you're pretty much correct. :D

All kidding aside, I'm very interested to see how the build goes!

Now where's my homebrew and cheeseburger?! :mug:
 
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DrKarma

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Is the reason you're comparing USD's to cheeseburgers because all us fat Americans like cheeseburgers and know what they cost?!? If so...you're pretty much correct. :D
Not at all. It just my adaption of the Big Mac Index Big Mac Index - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia as I don't know how much a Bic Mac costs, but I know the price of a cheeseburger as I bought a couple the other day. :)
 
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DrKarma

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After talking controllers with slimer here in the thread, I got a bit inspired and started to think more into controlling the system.

I have been thinking about keeping it simple initially - and that I still will do - but I couldn't help myself from ordering some Solid State Relays. Surfed around a bit and decided to do a buy on ebay.
So now I am awaiting the arrival of 10 SSR:s


Got a pretty good deal. 9 USD each including shipping and handling and since it will ship from Europe I won't need to bother about paying custom fees or additional taxes.
 

slimer

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Nice find.

I got a lot of Continental 40A SSR's on ebay for $20 shipped. The 2000W elements should be well within the range of those SSR's.
 

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Someone mentioned the arduino, there's a group here on the site called brewtroller and its using sanguino, the arduino's big brother (w/ more memory and capabilities) as well as the associated site BrewTroller where they're working on a full brew controller system. So far it can monitor temps and control a pump and plans are to add further abilities, like pressure sensor to determine volumes etc. Its coming along nicely, and I'm building a HERMS system too, mine will use the herms code and sanguino to control it... I can't wait to get it all working.
 
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DrKarma

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Today I went out to the garage to put some color (varnish) on the wood-ribbed MLT. Did it for two reasons. 1. Pine is a bit ugly in my opinion and 2. wanted to have a protective layer on it. Not that I ever would treat this tun as well as I would the dining table...but still...small effort and I think it looks a bit nicer.



I also continued to code on the temperature regulator. I decided that I wanted it to do soft regulation (i.e. not switching 6 kW on/off - instead it will gradually switch heating elements off when it's close to the desired temperature. Then it will go into a "maintain"-mode with one heating element until it gets just above the regulating temp and switch the last element off)



Just waiting for the Solid State Relays to give it a field try.
 
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DrKarma

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Nice find.

I got a lot of Continental 40A SSR's on ebay for $20 shipped. The 2000W elements should be well within the range of those SSR's.
Yea as they pass 25A through that wouldn't be a problem at all for me (230 VAC * 25A) = 5.7 kW. But by then the breakers would pop as they are on 16A but on 230V that would still be enough for 3.7 kW
 

kal

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...a guy had 200 30 Gallon plastic tuns to sell and they didn't cost much at all ... will use most of them as fermenters.

Do you have any idea what kind of plastic are these made of and what was originally stored in them? Not to rain on your parade, but I'm just wondering how suitable they are food use.

Excellent write-up so far - keep it up! I'm curious how it all works out!

Kal

P.S. Not living in the US, I thought I had it hard trying to buy stuff myself but I can only imagine how much harder it would be if you weren't on 120v/60Hz!
 
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DrKarma

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Do you have any idea what kind of plastic are these made of and what was originally stored in them? Not to rain on your parade, but I'm just wondering how suitable they are food use.
Hi Kal.
They definately are suitable for food use, as that is exactly what they have been used for.
This type of tun is used within the fish industry when they make pickled herring etc.

Now...one would likely think...hmmm fish...that might smell fishy...but they were rather easy to clean out and no fish smelling residue.

(And this particular tun with the roller-ring is very sturdy - and that's why they also can be used when making a horrible dish called surströmming which is fermented herring - and let me reassure you - that dish smells baaad)
 
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DrKarma

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Today my 10 Solid State Relays arrived, so tomorrow I hope to be able to do the first "automation" test with the relays connected to the controller.
 
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DrKarma

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That's sweet man. I'm working om my 55 gal MLT and had the idea of wood boards around it. Now seeing yours I may do that. Looks great. :mug:
Thank you.
I wanted to hide those blue tuns and get a retro look as well.
 
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DrKarma

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First of all...had a deadline at work so with all the overtime, I have not been able to put in as much time as I would have wanted to work with my brewing system.

Have done some work on the controller. I was planning to do the temperature probing on a single bus, but when trying to use the libraries that I found, supporting this setup for the DS1820 temperature sensor I discovered that the library in itself took almost all the available memory of the PIC that I am using.

Instead I will use one port for each DS1820 that I need...no problem as I have plenty of ports available.

Next weekend will be a kodak weekend when it comes to the brewing system. My soon to be in-laws are visiting, my fiancee's dad is a plumber. He will bring stuff like copper pipings, SS pipings, circulation pump(s), valves, fittings etc etc.
Best of all.....Freebies!!!!! :mug:
 

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good work so far. look forward to seeing future updates
 
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DrKarma

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I made a demo video where I show the temperature controller (that I now call KarmaControl)
Video quality is quite bad - and somehow my accent became Swedish in the upload...strange ;)

[ame=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5JgpfDiv3k]YouTube - Temperature regulation unit for beer brewing[/ame]

Edit: Forgot to add the pin layout.

' PORTA - DS18S20 multiple inputs
' RA0 - HLT DS18S20
' RA1 - MLT DS18S20
' RA2 - Heat Exchange In DS18S20
' RA3 - Heat Exchange Out DS18S20
' RA4 - Boiler - DS18S20
' RA5 - CFC In (warm side) DS18S20
' RA6 - CFC Out (cold side) DS18S20
' RA7 - Room temperature DS18S20
'
' PORTB - Outputs triggered by program
' RB0 - HLT Heating element A
' RB1 - HLT Heating element B
' RB2 - HLT Heating element C
' RB3 - Boiler - elements for bringing to boil
' RB4 - Boiler - element(s) for keeping a rolling boil
' RB5 - To be determined
' RB6 - To be determined
' RB7 - Circulationpump operative
'
' PORT C - Inputs used for buttons etc
' RC0 - BUTTON <OK>
' RC1 - BUTTON <+> <C>(element for settings) <switch menu + >
' RC2 - BUTTON <-> <B>(element for settings) <switch menu - >
' RC3 - BUTTON <ret>-return/back <A>(element for settings) <settings menu>
' RC4 - Spare
' RC5 - Spare
' RC6 - Spare
' RC7 - Spare
'
' PORTD - Used for LCD display
' PORTE - Not used
 
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DrKarma

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Ok.
Now the in-laws have arrived and I got a couple of bags with goodies.



As promised...a Kodak moment ;)
 

bendavanza

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Freebies!
Looks like a great plan. I like my propane setup but you guys with the processor controlled rigs do appeal to my inner geek. I'll be watching this thread for sure
 
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