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Meet Thing 1. A 5Kw Induction All In One...

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I did a brew back in January. It worked very well. I love brewing with it.

I am totally consumed with the coronavirus situation right now.
 

Sean Monaghan

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I did a brew back in January. It worked very well. I love brewing with it.

I am totally consumed with the coronavirus situation right now.
Sorry to hear, hope you're doing well in spite of it all. I admit that it was self-quarantine boredom that brought me back around to this thread. Best wishes, hope to see you posting again once this all blows over.
 

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I'd love to know more about setting up CraftBeerPi for controlling your induction rig.

I have an Adcraft manual control induction burner that I'm trying to set up to automate mashes. I got an Auber cube, thinking I had read that you could configure it to use 100% power when it was cycled on during mash steps. It turns out it that was for the ramp phase leading to a rest. During the rest, it cycles on/off very rapidly to simulate lower power. Needless to say, the induction unit doesn't care for that.

I'm thinking maybe a CraftBeerPi controller will do what I want. I can dial back the induction burner's output to about 20% during rests, then dial it back up for ramps. I just need a controller that will be either on or off depending on sensed temps during the rests. I'd also like it to control my pump as well.

On person suggested a relay with 120v coil and the same inkbird unit I use to control my fermentation chamber. I figure if I'm going to build something, I'd rather have something like craftbrewpi that will have a nicer interface/display and also control my pump.

I'm a software guy with a small amount of electronic tech experience, but the info on the CraftBeerPi site is pretty sparse.

Got any insight?
 
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I don't know how to control those all in one induction coils. If I owned one I could probably figure it out.

First step to controlling an induction coil is to figure out how to turn it on and off with a relay.
 
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We brewed 3 "beers" this weekend.

First was a banana based wine/cooler thing for my GF. Got the recipe out of a Winemaking book. Called for cooking 14 pounds of bananas for an hour, so we did a full on mash of banana and sugar. Just like grain mash. Sparged. Filtered it good through a grain bag and then chilled it with the counter flow chiller, just like beer. Worked great. The "wort" tasted awesome. OG into the fermentor was 1.098. Pitched it with a Lavelle Champagne yeast. Should be wickedly delicious.

Second batch was a Ed Wort's Blonde Ale. It went very smoothly.

Third batch was a ginger "beer". Peeled, sliced and shredded 6 pounds of fresh ginger. Mashed it at near boiling temps for a bit over an hour, just like a grain mash. Added in a bunch of brown sugar. Sparged. Strained it through a grain bag. Ran it through the counter flow chiller. Tasted fantastic. OG into the fermentor was supposed to be 1.060, but it went in at 1.090+. Pitched it with Safale Abbale BE256 yeast because of it's high alcohol tolerance, lots of sugar in the "wort" and it will finish sweet, not dry.

I'm just starting to drink the beers I brewed last winter. I'm biased, but I'd say they are excellent.

I am very, very happy with Thing1. As this weekend showed, it is incredibly versatile. And easy to use.

My GF was going to cook the bananas for the first recipe in a pot on the stove. And strain then with a bag. And chill overnight by leaving it sit out.
Being a brewer I looked at the recipe and process and immediately thought it would be much better to use Thing1 and I was right. It was child's play to mash, sparge, strain and chill 14 pounds of bananas.

I was surprised at how long it took for the ripe bananas to break down and release their starch. GF was shocked at how the CF chiller took near boiling banana wort and knocked it down to 60F in one pass. The yeast was very active the next morning.

After stewing the bananas in Thing1, it was a non brainer to cook, sparge, strain and chill the ginger beer in it as well, even though the recipe has no grain in it. I could have just as well had grain it or I could have cooked sparged and strained the ginger to liquid and then used that liquid to mash grain with. Hmmm... maybe next time.

I was worried that some of the shredded ginger was going to make it through the false bottom and into the pump and plug it up. But it didn't. I was also worried about plugging my counterflow chiller chilling the ginger. I recirced into the mash through a grain bag for a while to remove any large residue before circulating through the counterflow chiller. And there was no pluggage whatsoever.

The ginger "beer" had a ton of sugar in it. We simmered it for 1.5 hours without no scorching or burning on the bottom. The bottom of the kettle was barely browned and cleaned up easily with a bright pad. I even had the first boil over with Thing1 while watching YouTube videos in the living room. A little messy to clean up, but Thing1 basically cleans itself by recirculating PBW and hot water with the pump.

All I can say is that I can't wait to do more brewing with it.

What would I change ? I wouldn't use the 18DS20 temp sensors again because they are very slow acting and mine seem to be off a few degrees somehow. I will probably replace them with a thermocouple of some sort.

I also wish it was bigger. I'm brewing for corny kegs, so I only need 20ishL into the fermentor. The grain basket is only 8 gallons, minus a small amount for the false bottom, so it will only hold about 12 pounds of grain. That is enough for most of my recipes, but a bit more capacity would be nice.

I also wish I had a larger unit that could do double batches.

Not sure I would change anything else. I'll post if I do.

I love brewing in the kitchen. I love that Thing1 is on wheels. So easy to brew in front of the sink and then roll it away when you want to prep a meal or something. It gets rolled back and forth several times every brew session.
 
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Thing1 got a PID controller today.

Why ?

1) I didn't like how laggy the temp response is on the 18DS20 sensors. I could have built an interface board to use a different sensor with the RPi, but it would have been more work.

2) I'm going to distill with Thing1 and I want to control the boiler heat based on the column temperature. This requires a learning PID because no two distillation batches are alike.

I'll miss not being able to monitor a brew from another room or being able to heat strike water from bed, but I'll live.

I'll give the PID a try and see how it goes. One thing I know I'll miss already is not being able to read, display and control from more than 1 temp sensor at a time.

I love brewing with Thing1. I love brewing in the kitchen. I should have built it years ago.

The top switch is pump on/off. The bottom switch is induction coil on/off/PID controlled.

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Thank you for sharing all your work. I've been reading through this thread for inspiration. I have been wanting to build a 6 kW induction brew stand for a while. With the extra time I've had at home due to Covid-19, I've begun to make it a reality.

One thing to note for your second build (Thing 2 I'm assuming), you're induction coil may be getting too hot because of the skin effect. It looks like you're using 15 to 20 strands of 22-24 awg magnet wire to construct your litz wire? At 24 kHz, you should ideally use 36 awg wire to keep your AC resistance down (close to DC resistance). This would allow you to take full advantage of the cross sectional area of your wire. Commercial induction coils may use 26 to 28 awg magnet wire in order to cut down on manufacturing costs. It's cheaper (for them) to dissipate the heat. Some manufacturers use aluminum wire to cut down on cost even further.

I just purchased 2.5 lbs of 36 awg enameled wire to wind my own coil. I'm planning to use 413 strands to make the equivalent of 10 awg wire.
 

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Thank you for sharing all your work. I've been reading through this thread for inspiration. I have been wanting to build a 6 kW induction brew stand for a while. With the extra time I've had at home due to Covid-19, I've begun to make it a reality.
Are you able to share what board you are using? This thread has inspired me to look into building an induction setup, but I haven't been satisfied with the paucity of data available on a lot of the boards available on aliexpress / alibaba, and don't particularly want to mess about with IGBTs if there is something more easily available.
 

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Are you able to share what board you are using? This thread has inspired me to look into building an induction setup, but I haven't been satisfied with the paucity of data available on a lot of the boards available on aliexpress / alibaba, and don't particularly want to mess about with IGBTs if there is something more easily available.
Wish I could suggest a board but I'm building my own (IGBTs and all). Most boards on the market are quasi-resonant inverters (as far as I can tell... looks like the board brewman bought is a single IGBT quasi-resonant). I was thinking of building a half-bridge inverter but decided to go for the gold with a full-bridge inverter. It should be easier on the IGBTs and it should last longer. I'm finding that components from China are taking a long time to receive lately. I placed a few orders on Aliexpress and Amazon but delivery estimates are two months out.

If you want to design and build your own, there are some good application notes online.
 
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I've seen a couple water cooled 15kW induction power supplies - obviously that's WAY overkill for a 5 or 10 gallon batch, but it appears they're adjustable which is cool.


You'd still have to DIY your own coil... And I have no idea if this kind of power supply would even work with a litz coil. It looks like the water might run through the coils those power supplies come with so... maybe you could do the coil inside some silicone tubing and run water around it to cool it? Idk - just a thought.

Also, pretty expensive. Although for 15kW, not too bad I think.
 
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I've got a little problem with the output of the PID controller being too short to fully turn on the induction coil.

 
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I brewed another 2 beers with Thing1. I absolutely love it, except that I've been having issues with mash temperature control.

1) The temperature is not at all consistent in the grain bed. Every time you move the temp sensor, the grain bed temp is different. And not by a little either.
2) Because of #1, I've been under and over shooting temperature setpoints. If you put the sensor in a cold part of the bed, by the time it hits the setpoint temp, other parts of the bed are way over heated.

I tried moving the sensor to the volume under the false bottom. That doesn't work well because it is right on top of the heating surface and it is warmer there.

I'm going to make 2 trial changes to my system to improve its performance:

1) I'm going to put the temperature sensor in the wort return flow stream. So that I'm controlling the temp of the wort that is being recirculated back into the grain bed.

2) I'm going to make a spreader screen like what Grainfather et all use, to better distribute the recirculating liquid back into the bed. Prior to this I was using a 1/2" hose running at a pretty good pace. This was delivering most of the wort to a very small area.
 

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I brewed another 2 beers with Thing1. I absolutely love it, except that I've been having issues with mash temperature control.

1) The temperature is not at all consistent in the grain bed. Every time you move the temp sensor, the grain bed temp is different. And not by a little either.
2) Because of #1, I've been under and over shooting temperature setpoints. If you put the sensor in a cold part of the bed, by the time it hits the setpoint temp, other parts of the bed are way over heated.

I tried moving the sensor to the volume under the false bottom. That doesn't work well because it is right on top of the heating surface and it is warmer there.

I'm going to make 2 trial changes to my system to improve its performance:

1) I'm going to put the temperature sensor in the wort return flow stream. So that I'm controlling the temp of the wort that is being recirculated back into the grain bed.

2) I'm going to make a spreader screen like what Grainfather et all use, to better distribute the recirculating liquid back into the bed. Prior to this I was using a 1/2" hose running at a pretty good pace. This was delivering most of the wort to a very small area.
how many gallons per minute are you recirculating the mash at? if your pumping too fast you get channeling Ive experimented with temp probes and different pump speeds
 
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It flows whatever a chugger puts out though a 1/2" hose. It's quite a bit. I throttle it back some. It is definitely channeling.

I've had trouble with bed temperature differences before. If not going with an insulated cooler and no circulation, I think the best is to measure the temp of the flowing wort and spread the wort flow over as much of the bed as possible.

I'll post some pictures of what I test in my next batch.
 
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BTW, I love having the PID, heater on/off/PID and pump on/off switch (ie the control panel) right beside the kettle. It makes priming and changing hoses and stuff so fast. Before I was always switching between working with the tablet and working with the hoses/kettle/etc. Now it is all right there at my finger tips.

There is very little I would change about this system. If I had to do it again, I:

- might use an electric heating coil instead of induction. Induction works pretty well though. Heating coils have their own issues.
- would probably drop the pump down 4" or so for easier priming and better pump out at the end of the brewing session. As it is, I have to lift the boil kettle up 8" or so and tip it to get every last drop to pump out. It's a bit of a hassle, but it is pretty minor overall. I spend the last few minutes of pumping wort out holding up the kettle. It would also help to have a center drain in the boil kettle. This is doable with an induction coil.
- would probably spec a quieter pump.
- think it would be nice to have a timer on the "control panel". Right now I use the kitchen clock. Maybe I'll add one one day.

But everything else is excellent.

I love that it is all in one. I LOVE that it is on wheels. I love the way the mash tun sits above the boil kettle for mashing out. I love how the mash tun sits in the kettle during mashing. I love that it has just one pump. I love having the pump outlet at the top of the kettle and it has a valve right there. I love that everything uses cam locks. I love the 3 way valves on the pump inlet and outlet for draining and priming. I love that it is on wheels. I love the big counter chiller and having it in the sink when chilling.

Everything just works. It is as simple as I could make it without sacrificing any functionality. It does everything I need with no compromises.

I no longer dread setting up for brew day. Or tearing down and cleaning. I just roll it into the kitchen, plug it in, run water into it and start heating.

I don't miss a 3 vessel system at all. I heat some sparge water up on the stove in a big pot and manually transfer it to the mash tun during mash out. It isn't a big deal. I certainly don't need a pump to move the 3-4 gallons of water that it takes. I'm waiting for the mash to get up to boil temp anyway while I'm doing this.

I love that the mash tun sits on top of the boil kettle. There is no rush to move it when mashing. All the wort drains from the grain through a hole in the bottom. Disposing of spent grain is very easy because the grain is very dry.

I love brewing indoors. I love brewing in the kitchen. So much nicer than brewing in the garage. Or even the basement.

Thing1 makes my brewing days very enjoyable. This is the 3rd or 4th system that I've brewed on and it is by far the best of all of them. I didn't brew for many years because I didn't have a good system and I dreaded brewing. I'm so glad I built this thing.
 

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It flows whatever a chugger puts out though a 1/2" hose. It's quite a bit. I throttle it back some. It is definitely channeling.

I've had trouble with bed temperature differences before. If not going with an insulated cooler and no circulation, I think the best is to measure the temp of the flowing wort and spread the wort flow over as much of the bed as possible.

I'll post some pictures of what I test in my next batch.
I brew indoors and use a stainless bayou classic turkey fryer pot as a mash tun with an 1800w rims. I recirculate very slow at a measured 1.8gpm (Its actually the max my 24v pump would go but I incidently found out later with a different pump that when I recirculated faster my efficiency went down.) I dont have any issues raising temps or maintaining them even with flow closer to 1 gpm with thick heavy mashes.. 91% average brewhouse efficiency for 4 years now and 88% for two years before that (figured out my sparge flow was too fast in the beginning) Just reference for you if your worried about pumping too slow to maintain temps.
 
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Update

I started measuring the control temperature in the wort returned back to the grain bed. I did this by putting the temperature probe right in the wort flow.

I also removed the center overflow tube and used a perforated (drilled) plastic plate (diffuser plate) to more evenly distribute the wort on top of the grain bed.

These changes greatly improved the temperature consistency of the bed and within the bed.

My efficiency was 84% on my last brew. I double milled the grain and mashed 14 pounds of grain for 2 hours at 155F. The yield was 8 gallons @ 1.058 (469 points) at the start of the boil. Total input was 560 points. 469/580 = 84%.

Prior to measuring the wort temp in the flow returning to the bed, the wort would come back into the bed at 160-170F! This is because the induction heating element heats it so rapidly. The bed would overheat where the return wort was running and yet be cold where it wasn't. Now the return wort never goes above the setpoint and the diffuser plate spreads out the returning wort evenly throughout the bed.

The bed temp is very even, but about 1F lower than the temp of the return wort. I use 2 temp probes when I brew. The PID temp probe measures and controls the return wort temp. And a separate temp probe measures the bed temp. I adjust the wort return temp to get the bed temp that I want.

I'll post some pictures when I brew again, which might not be for a while because my kegs are full of delicious beers. What a nice problem to have.
 
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craigmw

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I've got a little problem with the output of the PID controller being too short to fully turn on the induction coil.

According to the manual for this PID (I think this is it based on your picture), you can adjust the Control Period ("ot"). It defaults to 2 seconds, but you should probably set it to something higher like 10 seconds to work with your induction heater. Here's the manual:


See Note 8 for Table 3 in the PDF regarding this.
 

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According to the manual for this PID (I think this is it based on your picture), you can adjust the Control Period ("ot"). It defaults to 2 seconds, but you should probably set it to something higher like 10 seconds to work with your induction heater. Here's the manual:


See Note 8 for Table 3 in the PDF regarding this.
I dont know how quick induction heats but with a regular element I would go the other way and put the control down to 1 second myself if anything... 10 seconds will cause the element surface to get much hotter than setpoint and you will have a constant over shoot condition I believe. I believe Brewman figured out it was his element placement and not pid setting that were causing his issues though.
 

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I dont know how quick induction heats but with a regular element I would go the other way and put the control down to 1 second myself if anything... 10 seconds will cause the element surface to get much hotter than setpoint and you will have a constant over shoot condition I believe. I believe Brewman figured out it was his element placement and not pid setting that were causing his issues though.
The OP mentioned:

" I've got a little problem with the output of the PID controller being too short to fully turn on the induction coil. "

My interpretation of this is that the cycle time is too short, which defaults to 2s. I agree it would be best to use the shortest cycle time possible for this induction heater, but I'm guessing that 2 seconds is insufficient to activate the coil. However, I know very little about induction heaters. Maybe the OP has this figured out?
 
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I have not figured it out.

The minimum "On" time from the PID is too short. It works OK, but would be nicer if the minimum On time was longer. I could build a logic circuit to keep the induction coil on for at least ~10 seconds whenever it is turned on, but it isn't worth it.

Otherwise everything works great. Fantastic, actually.
 
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According to the manual for this PID (I think this is it based on your picture), you can adjust the Control Period ("ot"). It defaults to 2 seconds, but you should probably set it to something higher like 10 seconds to work with your induction heater. Here's the manual:


See Note 8 for Table 3 in the PDF regarding this.
I have not seen that particular user manual for this PID. Good find !

I believe I changed this parameter and the only thing it changed was how often the PID sampled, not the minimum on time. But the name "ot" suggests otherwise.

I'll test it the next time I brew again and post back what I find.
 
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Update.

I've brewed 10 beers with Thing1 now.

I have several friends who are very skeptical of home brewed beer that say my beers are excellent. Especially the Chinooklehead Porter. American Porter - Chinooklehead Porter

All the beers have a very clean finish. Just as clean as commercial beers.
I'm not sure if that is because of the induction heating or why, but it's the case. The beers I've made prior to this have never been this good. Not sure why.

Afterthought: I wonder if it is because I strain out most of the cold break and hop matter before I pump the wort into the fermenters ?

Brewing is very easy with Thing1. Brew "days" are fast. Once the mash is running, it doesn't require a lot of attention. I have to watch against boil over when the boil starts, but after the boil breaks, it runs great. The counterflow chiller works great, provided that I strain out the hop material prior to pumping through the chiller.

I also use Thing1 to wash kegs and carboys by putting a submersible pump in the boil kettle. I have to be sure to rinse and flush everything out very well before brewing with it again, but it works well and doesn't require an extra "machine" other than the submersible pump. It is great having a heater and drain pump on the washer, though I found that plastic fermentors get soft at 160F. But they come way cleaner if you heat the water to 150F. Even the sticky material on the neck comes clean.

I love having an automatic keg and carboy washer ! It eliminates 2 more jobs that I dislike doing and thus I'm more inclined to brew.

I haven't installed the DIN Timer. I probably will in the near future.

I'd like to brew more, but I need to drink what I've got kegged first. COVID has cut into the number of visitors that I have to help me drink what I brew.

There is very little I'd change about Thing1.

- I love that it is on wheels.
- The vessels are the right size for 5 gallon+ batches.
- The induction heat system works well. I love how powerful it is.
- The PID control works really well and is very simple.

- The counterflow chiller is excellent.
- It doesn't take up much space. I love that it allows me to brew in the kitchen.
- The pump never plugs. Would be nice if it was quieter though.
- It is the right height.
- It cleans up very quickly and easily.
- I have not found heating sparge water on the stove to be a hassle or inconvenient.
- The conversion efficiencies have been very good - typically 80%.
- Temperature control is very good now that I measure temp at the return outlet and use a perforated pan to spread out the flow.
- I really like the cam lock hose system.

I'm not sure what else to say. It's a shame that you can't buy something like this commercially.
 

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I have not figured it out.

The minimum "On" time from the PID is too short. It works OK, but would be nicer if the minimum On time was longer. I could build a logic circuit to keep the induction coil on for at least ~10 seconds whenever it is turned on, but it isn't worth it.

Otherwise everything works great. Fantastic, actually.
Well, you can alter the "ot" parameter from 2 to 199 seconds with the default set to 2. If you raise this to 10 seconds, you will have less cycling and potentially more controlled behavior from your PID. I don't see why you would have to build a logic circuit to address this.
 
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Some pics of Thing1.

The boil kettle is an 11 gallon Bayou Classic, which is induction friendly. (#1044 IIRC.) 11 gallons is a perfect size for making 5-6 gallon batches.

The grain bucket is 8 gallons. It came with handles, which I cut off and a thermometer and port, which I plugged. It has a perforated false bottom in it and a single 3/8 hole in the bucket to allow wort to drain back into the boil kettle.

Here is the grain bucket in the sparge position. I heat my sparge water on the stove, which is very easy to do. I fly sparge. I pour sparge water on the bed using a 2L measuring cut.

Because induction heating is so gentle and there is no element to keep covered, I can start my boil as soon as I lift the grain bucket into the sparge position. In this pic I'm still doing the last bit of sparging and the wort is at 193F.

20201018_163331.jpg


The grain bucket in the mash position. The sight glass gives me a good indication of how much suction the pump is putting on the grain bed.
20201018_161055.jpg


A typical mash. I'm now using a 12" perforated pizza pan to diffuse the bed return flow. Once the bed is set, it pretty much runs unattended. Because it is so easy, I typically sparge for an hour, while I do other things.

I love brewing in the kitchen.

20201018_161051.jpg
 
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Another mashing pic.

I love that Thing1 is on wheels.

If I'm brewing on consecutive weekends, I put all the accessories in the grain bucket and roll it out of the kitchen until it is needed the next weekend. Way faster than hauling stuff in and out of storage.

I also like that I can roll it up close to the sink for filling, then roll it off to the side while brewing if I want to use the sink, then roll it back up to the sink for chilling. I put the counterflow chiller right in the sink so that there are no drips on the floor.

I TIG welded the SS frame. With the boil kettle removed, the base frame weighs about 30 pounds. I can easily carry it up from the basement where it is stored during the non brewing season.


20201018_161044.jpg


I sometimes use a downpipe like the Grainfather has. And a screen to make sure that no fines get into the downpipe. But it isn't really necessary to have a downpipe if you watch the bed suction on the sight glass. I suspect that Grainfather uses a downpipe to limit scorching.

The grain bucket sits on 1.5" spacers. That void below the grain bucket is always full of liquid. With induction heating, scorching is not an issue during mashing or boiling. After 10 batches the bottom of the boil kettle is pristine.

5 KW raises the mash temp quickly !

20200906_192205.jpg


I started out using CraftBeerPi as the controller, but changed to a simple PID and some switches. The top switch is for the pump. The bottom switch is for the induction coil. Right = controlled by the PID. Center = off. Left = manual on.

I thought I'd like using CraftBeerPi for the controller because it does recipe steps and I could watch temps remotely, but I found manual controls to be more user friendly than using the touch, for example, when turning the pump on and off when switching hoses, etc.

It was also a pain to have the tablet go into sleep mode. I know I can turn that off, but it's just easier to set the PID and look at it on the brew stand.

CraftBeerPi was also a bit finicky. The source code changes regularly. It irked me that it wasn't open source and I couldn't make changes to it.

I also found I tend to hang out in the kitchen when brewing and remotely watching temps wasn't a big bonus.

This is the enclosure is a Carlon Schedule 40 PVC LB Shaped Conduit Body 2 In

I plugged the holes with pieces of plastic siliconed in place. It's an inexpensive, waterproof enclosure the perfect size for my application.

The entire system is powered by a 4 conductor 20A 240V GFCI protected outlet I installed in the kitchen cabinet underneath my sink. 4 conductor means that the system is provided with a neutral wire so that 120V is available. Gnd, Hot (Red), Hot (Black) Neutral (White).

The plug is a Leviton 20A Lock Plug 125/250V Model number #02411-R01.

20A meant I could use 12 gauge wire from the basement to the kitchen. 20A GFCI are much less expensive than larger ones.


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I know that many brewers have brewstands are big, have multiple pumps, multiple vessels and a big (expensive) control box.

I wanted the opposite of that - something really simple and compact that made brewing easy and fun. Like a Grainfather or the other all in ones, but without the limitations and hassles... like a pump that plugs frequently or a grain basket that is too small or an undersized heating element that scorches.

Thing1 fits the bill perfectly.
 
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I've brewed 10 5-6 gallon batches with it now. Thing1 works great. I look forward to brew days and look for excuses to brew.

All the beers have been exceptionally good, in my experience.

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Ed Wort's Pale Ale.
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I forget which beer this is. So many beers...
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You know your brewing system works well when you run out of kegs. I have another 7 in my basement, 5 in the beer fridge. COVID has cut down on the number of visitors I have these days.

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BTW... there was supposed to be a Thing2. It was going to be a larger 10-12 gallon version of Thing1. I'm not going to build it. It is so easy to brew with Thing1 that I'm already swimming in beer. My usual brewing window is January to March, but here I am mid January and I'm full to the brim. Having said that, I'll get some kegs emptied and brew a couple lagers before spring.

I can easily crank out a 5 gallon batch in 3ish hours, half of which I'm doing other things. And once I've got everything set up, it's very quick to crank out a second batch if I want more. Smaller batches equal more experimentation and variety !

The only time I'd want a 10-12 gallon system is if I was brewing with a friend and we each wanted 5 gallons of the same thing. Thus far that hasn't happened. The other reason to brew larger batches is if you are going to distill them... :)

The 2 kegs above marked "Dark" are 2 different beers. I forgot to tag the kegs as I filled them and thus I'll need to figure out which is which when I drink them.
 
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I'd love to know more about setting up CraftBeerPi for controlling your induction rig.
Sorry, I seemed to have missed replying to your post.

I have an Adcraft manual control induction burner that I'm trying to set up to automate mashes. I got an Auber cube, thinking I had read that you could configure it to use 100% power when it was cycled on during mash steps. It turns out it that was for the ramp phase leading to a rest. During the rest, it cycles on/off very rapidly to simulate lower power. Needless to say, the induction unit doesn't care for that.
I've got the same issue with the PID I am now using. Thing is, when the temp gets low enough the PID increases the On duty cycle and it works OK.

I'm thinking maybe a CraftBeerPi controller will do what I want. I can dial back the induction burner's output to about 20% during rests, then dial it back up for ramps. I just need a controller that will be either on or off depending on sensed temps during the rests.
Because of the time lag when restarting this induction coil has a non linear output (versus time) at small duty cycles. I was hoping that I could mod the CraftBeerPi controller code to set up something that would work well with the induction driver board, but CBPi is closed source. The PID I'm using (JL612) works well enough with the driver board.

I'd also like it to control my pump as well.
CBPi works OK for this, but truthfully a big manual switch works better.

On person suggested a relay with 120v coil and the same inkbird unit I use to control my fermentation chamber. I figure if I'm going to build something, I'd rather have something like craftbrewpi that will have a nicer interface/display and also control my pump.
I really like the control system I now have on Thing1 - a manual pump switch, a PID and a selector switch for the induction coil, On, Off, Auto.


I'm a software guy with a small amount of electronic tech experience, but the info on the CraftBeerPi site is pretty sparse.
CBPi is very easy to set up, software wise. The electrical interface is pretty easy too, just connect the SSRs to the right pin.

Having said all this, I really prefer the manual/PID setup I now have.

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I dont know how quick induction heats but with a regular element I would go the other way and put the control down to 1 second myself if anything... 10 seconds will cause the element surface to get much hotter than setpoint and you will have a constant over shoot condition I believe. I believe Brewman figured out it was his element placement and not pid setting that were causing his issues though.
I had an overshoot of the mash bed temp if the temp sensor was in a different location than the wort return into the bed. This was due to the thermal mass of the bed between the wort return and the sensor. By the time the bed at the sensor got up to temp, the bed at the wort return was too hot.

I solved this problem by ensuring better flow through the bed and by keeping the temp sensor close to the wort return.

There is no issue with the mash tun bottom getting too hot too quickly with induction heat. After 10 brews, some with lots of molasses in them, there is zero scorching on the bottom of the mash tun. It looks perfectly clean. This is also due to having a false bottom that keeps the grain off the bottom of the tun and having a good pump circulating the mash continuously.
 
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I did a 30 pound reiterative mashed beer last night. Mash #1: 15 pounds of Munich. Mash #2: 15 pounds of Vienna.

The 8 gallon mash tun is very full with this much grain in it. But it works.

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This was my first reiterative mash. I'm a HUGE fan. I got 1.110 into the fermentor at nearly 75% efficiency.
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Here is how I chill into the fermentor. Carboy and plate heat exchanger sit in the sink in case there is spillage.
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The next day.
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To lift 15 pounds of malt plus the liquid it absorbs, grab the bar on each side of the grain bucket and do a barbell curl. So much nicer than the handles I've seen on other all in one systems that have you lifting with one arm from the center, especially when trying to turn the mash tun 45 degrees.

If the mash was really heavy, you could use 2 people, one on either side.

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I like Thing1 better than either of these.

Notice the problems he finds with the Grainfather.

Also note that at 12:30 he says he's going to build a cart and mount the pump just like I have it mounted on Thing1.

 
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Most of his complaints about the GF are kinda comical:

Like Oh, look how high you have to lift it when it is up on this counter.
Or Oh, you have to deal with this hardware to assemble the overflow pipe.
Or , if you don't assemble the drain right it won't work properly. Duh.
And I think he ignored tax on the Brau when doing his calcs, but I wasn't paying close attention by the end.

It is interesting he also ignores the value of the counterflow and the connect app when doing the comparison.

The UniBrau looks like a better built unit, and he should have just started with that premise and highlighted the things he likes about it and showing why those features are better and worth the extra cost.

I'm planning my move to a 10-12 gallon batch system from a 5 gallon Robobrew, so all these data points are helpful though.

I really like Thing1 and the stuff you have done. I won't be building my own heating element though.
I can match or beat the costs of a packaged system of that size and will have the exact configuration I want.
 
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Here are the instructions for building the 5KW induction heater for Thing1.

Moderator: how do I edit the first post in this thread ?
 
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I won't be building my own heating element though.

The induction heater instructions are here:
 
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Most of his complaints about the GF are kinda comical:
The comments he makes about the heating time, pump plugging and filter issues are definitely not comical. And there is no excuse for the controllers burning out or how the temp sensor fits in the well. And the unit is a throw away if the heating element burns out.

Sorry, those are deal breakers for me.
 
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