My Single Tier DITCHES Build

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TriangleIL

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All,

I need some advice as I begin my adventure into the AG brewing. I've decided to dive head first into brewing, and I will be building a single tier AG automated setup based on others I've seen on HBT. Special thanks to everyone who has shared their knowledge up to this point in helping me learn as much as I can to get to this point.

First, I wanted to share my goals in this project.

1. Have a 100% automated system, which can be started, I can walk away, and hours later I would have beer in my fermenter. My current plan will require me to hook up the water source, remove the water source, and place the hose into the fermenter. Everything else should be automated.

2. The ability to brew 20 gallon mid gravity batches is important. I plan to accomplish this by repurposing the HLT into a BK during a "20 gallon batch" method.

3. The majority of the batches will be 5g until I start narrowing my focus on specific recipes. The system should be flexible enough that the batch size is independent of the functionality.

4. Where applicable, I need to save as much as possible. I.e. keep the system as cheap as possible, without sparing functionality.

5. All electric, with the ability to one day convert to NG. This is due to circumstances of being in a smaller space with no ventilation (currently).


From these guidelines, I mocked up an image similiar to the original DITCHES. This is based on my own specific needs, but perhaps I am missing something? Any advice would be appreciated.




So far I have acquired 3 kegs, 15 1/2" NPT bulkheads (weldless), 1 temperature sensor, 1 touch screen "brain". I will be posting an excel spreadsheet within a few days with proposed items and locations (again for more advice).

I'm currently in the process of gathering the required tools to begin tearing apart the kegs and installing the weldless bulkheads.

Thanks for any comments/suggestions and advice.

Edited: Changed the graphic based on the suggestion to have a dedicated H20 in.
 
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I'm having a difficult time figuring out how you'll be able to walk away for a few hours and have wort in your fermenter with a 20 gal batch. I understand what you are doing in the diagrams, but you don't have a dedicated water source and dedicated hose to the fermenter. Where will your system get the extra 11-12 gallons if you aren't there to add it?
 

Sawdustguy

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100% automation will be very difficult because of the priming issues face with the pumps we use and your desire to keep it cheap. What automation controller will you be using? Your desire for 100% automation will require you to measure volume for sparging and strike water or use expensive metering pumps. Will you be writing the software yourself?
 
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TriangleIL

TriangleIL

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Sadly, I only found out about the priming issues with the pumps this morning... that's something I haven't figured out quite yet. I do plan on having flow meters inline leaving the outputs on each of the keggles. I will probably draw up something more elaborate with parts and locations next.

I plan on writing the software myself. The initial plan is to hook all of the solenoid valves (shown in grey in the drawing) up to switches. The pumps will also be hooked up to switches. Since the programming and automation will take a lot longer than getting the plumbing setup, I plan to gradually implement the automation (6-9 months?).

I will be using c# to write the interface of a WinCE 6.0 device. My career is in software engineering, so this is where I'm most familiar. Everything else here is foreign.

As for keeping this on the cheap, my plan is to spend less than 2k if possible. I realize that may be hard, and that I might be spending more over time, but thats the initial goal.

Thanks!
 

Sawdustguy

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Sadly, I only found out about the priming issues with the pumps this morning... that's something I haven't figured out quite yet. I do plan on having flow meters inline leaving the outputs on each of the keggles. I will probably draw up something more elaborate with parts and locations next.

I plan on writing the software myself. The initial plan is to hook all of the solenoid valves (shown in grey in the drawing) up to switches. The pumps will also be hooked up to switches. Since the programming and automation will take a lot longer than getting the plumbing setup, I plan to gradually implement the automation (6-9 months?).

I will be using c# to write the interface of a WinCE 6.0 device. My career is in software engineering, so this is where I'm most familiar. Everything else here is foreign.

As for keeping this on the cheap, my plan is to spend less than 2k if possible. I realize that may be hard, and that I might be spending more over time, but thats the initial goal.

Thanks!
I have a feeling it will cost more than that but don't get discouraged. Nothing happens overnight. I think you are doing the right thing by using manual-off-auto switches. It will allow you to learn your brewery before you tackle the automation. It should help you when writing the software. The two most difficult issues you will face in automating 100% are the priming issue, and the measurement of volume. I suggest you have a look at measuring pressure to measure volume. It's much less expensive in the long run. Kladue and Coderage are both process control experts and will be the most helpful with this kind of stuff. I am a novice and just learning from these two guys. They both seem keen on an ARM9 SBC that has embedded linux and can run WinCE. I am an analog engineer who is code dumb. Best of luck and remember there is always a solution, some are just a little more elusive than others.
 
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TriangleIL

TriangleIL

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Quick update,

Build a rig to cut out the keggles tonight. Ran into some problems where 2 of the top rings were 'stuck'. Then I had the brilliant idea of just cutting them out with the dremel. Waste of time. Finally popped them out with a tiny screwdriver, but broke the tip in the process.

I build up a rig based on the plans here, Simple Keggle Rig. The rig worked AWESOME! Pics to come here as well.

I was able to cut 2 of the tops off tonight before it got too late. I plan to cut the last top off tomorrow and then sand, drill holes and polish the keggles this weekend. Pics to come.

I also plan to finish my spreadsheet identifying all the parts I *think* I will need. I have a feeling I could use some advice in this area. I have been keeping my eye out for good deals on LG pumps and ball valves. I've also been trying to find a good 'flow regulated solenoid' valve. I think the correct item I am looking for is a proportional valve?

Anyways, things are starting to come along. Thanks to everyone on these forums who've helped directly (PM) and indirectly (posting all this information).
 
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TriangleIL

TriangleIL

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I'm getting closer... drilled 4 of my fittings so far. Have placed my 1/2" couplings in for the drains and the thermometers on the HLT/BK. Ordered 2 sight glass kits from Bobby, hoping they arrive early next week. Received my first thermocouple in which I will need to drill my coupling 1/4" in place to put that into one of the keggles. Still not sure where I should put all my temperature sensors or where I should get flow sensors from (and where I should place them).

Now I am in the process of looking for a heating element for both the BK and the HLT. Can anyone comment on the following?

Camco-02933-Screw-Heater-Element

versus

Camco-02963-5500W-240V-Element.

I would prefer the first one, unless someone has a reason the 2nd is better?
 
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TriangleIL

TriangleIL

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Thanks for the reply. I pulled the trigger on the two heating elements.

I also purchased my SS Tee's, nipples and 4-ways today.

Now I am on to my HX coils. Is 50' in the BK overkill? I'm assuming 25' is more than enough? Based on another thread, I was going to grab the tubing here. Look good?

Gathering pieces is fun.
 

willynilly

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Thanks for the reply. I pulled the trigger on the two heating elements.

I also purchased my SS Tee's, nipples and 4-ways today.

Now I am on to my HX coils. Is 50' in the BK overkill? I'm assuming 25' is more than enough? Based on another thread, I was going to grab the tubing here. Look good?

Gathering pieces is fun.
25' is fine for a HERMS coil
50' is great for 10 gallon immersion chilling
 

ScubaSteve

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Man, just think...you coulda skipped all those steps if you bought those keggles from me on Ebay :D Just kidding...builds like this one are always interesting.
 

kladue

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It is possible to build a pickup manifold that will not get air bound, it is not like current through the side above the bottom method, but from center of the bottom as others have done. All the liquid piping to the pump intake has to be routed so air travels up to bottom of keg without being trapped.
 

Ohio-Ed

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Thanks for the reply. I pulled the trigger on the two heating elements.

I also purchased my SS Tee's, nipples and 4-ways today.

Now I am on to my HX coils. Is 50' in the BK overkill? I'm assuming 25' is more than enough? Based on another thread, I was going to grab the tubing here. Look good?

Gathering pieces is fun.
Stainless tubing can be difficult to bend. If the walls are thin enough to bend, it tends to wrinkle or kink. If the walls are thicker, well... it is more rigid and HARD to bend.
 

Boerderij_Kabouter

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I highly suggest buying the 50' chiller from Midwest and cannibalizing it. I have made 4 SS hard mounted chillers now and this gives BY FAR the best results.

Here is a side by side of the difference:



Obviously, both work but the midwest one looks a lot better.

Bending the SS by hand is a pain in the arse but is doable.

My other tip is to get a Swagelok brand bender #MS-HTB-8 for bending your SS plumbing. It works super easy with no wrinkes. Easy accurate bends. Find them on eBay for a good deal (e.g., http://cgi.ebay.com/SWAGELOK-MS-HTB...ewItem&pt=BI_Pipe_Benders&hash=item4cefc0a067)
 
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TriangleIL

TriangleIL

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I went with your advice and picked up the SS immersion chiller to use as my hard mounted coils. They are sitting in my garage awaiting cannibalization. I also have almost all of my plumbing and hardware now. I have drilled half of my holes, and will continue drilling each night. My drill is weak, and I'm only able to get through 2 holes a night.

I had a question for everyone, where would be the best places to put temperature probes? I currently have manual temperature gauges planned in each keggle. I also planned to have a temperature probe inside the HLT, and on the output of both HEX. Thoughts?

P.S. I will try and finally get some pictures posted tonight.
 
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TriangleIL

TriangleIL

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I need to post pictures soon ... just trying to acquire everything necessary for now. Does anyone see any reason these control boxes wouldn't work well?

Control Box
 
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TriangleIL

TriangleIL

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Finally, some pr0n...

My Little Army


Ferm Temp Controller, Sparge Arm, False Bottom and Belimo "Flow" Valves


I've got a hat but I really need a bath!


The "skull" still in packaging


Had a minor problem while mounting the electrical elements, so had to do emergency surgery and cut the plugs off... will have to wire this up later.


False Bottom Installed


Dual HERMS coils ready for action!


Will be putting all the pieces together this weekend, and then 3-4 weeks of electrical before the first test batch.
 
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TriangleIL

TriangleIL

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One more update today ...

Got most of the plumbing into the kegs


Also, started on the output tree for the right hand pump


Getting excited now :ban: ... plan to have everything plumbed and on a stand by Sunday.
 

Maltose

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hows it coming Tri? i'm accumulating my parts for a DITCHES as well. what solenoids are you using?
 

kladue

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Any luck finding a PWM to 10VDC module?, if not I can look in the spare parts bins for a floating acuator this weekend to replace the proportional belimo actuator.
 
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TriangleIL

TriangleIL

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Kladue,

Thanks for all the help. I found a Red Lion IFMA0065 Frequency to Analog Converter. I *think* this will work how I want it to, it just looks somewhat complicated to setup. I think I will need to build my PWM first (as it looks like the setup requires pushing the max and min frequency to the converter?

Datasheet for the Red Lion.

My plan is to use the PWM manually and then when I get to the point of wiring up all the automation, I will use the PC.

In other news, I have a ton more done, but mostly cosmetic. I finished polishing one keg, now it has a date with BKF. The other has been Goof Off'ed. I also have a rolling wood stand thats about 80% complete. I will try to get pictures up later tonight or tomorrow.
 
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TriangleIL

TriangleIL

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As promised, here are some more pictures of the build. Unfortunately, I only have 1-2 hours a night max to work on this project, so it has been slow going...

Unfortunately, I don't have a lot of tools, so I had to make due with a belt...



Wheeled bottom, 4 frames and I'm beginning to cut out the notches in the bottom shelf for the 'legs'.



Front shot of the stand. I still need to put the bottom shelf in and then I'm about done.



And a beer shot, here is my dry hopped, B.A. IPA (Bitter A$$).
 
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TriangleIL

TriangleIL

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hows it coming Tri? i'm accumulating my parts for a DITCHES as well. what solenoids are you using?
Maltose,

I went with the Ebay options, Valves4Projects I believe was the seller. Let me know if you need more information. They are super helpful.

I also purchased some Belimo B207-SR24 proportional control valves for both pump outputs. This will allow me to control the flow coming out of both of my pumps. I plan to use pressure sensing feedback (to monitor volume) from the BK and HLT to determine when to stop and/or scale down/up the flow from each pump.

Hope this helps.
 
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TriangleIL

TriangleIL

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Here is another PWM interface manufacturer http://www.kele.com/transducers/electronic/pwa-series.aspx, the PWA-2A would be appropriate. Search for vendors and you should be able to beat the Red Lion price, PLC center would be one source, HVAC part suppliers would other sources.
Kladue - I should have been more specific. I purchased the Red Lion to control one of the valves. I will be searching for a deal on another PWM to Analog output controller. I got a fairly good deal on the Red Lion ($50). I figure it'll take me a good week or two after building my PWM to figure out how this thing works.
 
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TriangleIL

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Well thanks to SweetSounds (Thanks for posting such an awesome schematic to use as my base...), I am able to present my first of 3 drawings. They will all interconnect at some point, unfortunately my art skills are super weakness and take me a long time. Anyways, here is the "hot box" or Power Box. This will contain the 220v 60A input, and have output plugs for the HLT element, BK element, 2 pumps, 1 mash stirrer plug, 1 grain mill plug and 1-2 aux plugs for future additions.

Please tear this thing apart. The 2nd drawing (control panel) should be completed by tomorrow. That panel will interconnect with this panel via the connections at the bottom. Box two will be my Controller Box.

Because of the size of my panels (12x12x6) I will need to separate everything into 3 boxes. The 3rd box will contain all the solenoid valve controls, as well as the flow controls. That box, like the control panel, will be fed 24VAC inputs only. Box three will be my Flow Box.

At last, drawing #1 - The Power Box
 
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Brother, I thought I was the **** because I started with all grain beer with a canner and some buckets. I wanted to start with the "real beer." No offense to the extract guys. However, you sir, have a pair that clank. You're doing awesome man. Keep fighting the good fight.:rockin:
 

Clayton

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it looks to me that each of your 220V legs should read 110V , thats how you get 220V, unless your system is 440V and are your pumps 110V or 220V?? if they are 110V then it should just be a 110V leg and a neutral leg, and you can split then up. and the same goes for your PS acording to the drawing it, the pumps and heaters are all 440V loads, and i am sure thats not the case unless you
live at an industral park or sub-station.

the drawing looks very good however i have to make a lot of wiring diagrams and yours is nice and easy to follow.
 
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TriangleIL

TriangleIL

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Clayton,

Nice call. I've updated the drawing to take into account your feedback. Thanks! I am also contemplating not having a Mash Stirrer anymore. I haven't decided what I want to do there. I'm afraid that adding water to the grains will cause dough balls, and if I'm going to fully automate one day, I'd like the option of having the microcontroller setup a stir mode during the first 5 minutes of the mash to minimize the dough balls.... hmmm :drunk:

Version 2 Power Box
 

Clayton

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i add water to my grains and have never had a dough ball problem,, but my mash tun is a large square cooler.
 
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TriangleIL

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Alright guys, I'm going to do this second drawing in steps. I hope its not too small that you can't see it. So far I only have the inputs to all my switches,PIDs etc wired in. This drawing is becoming a beast. This is going to be my control box (PID, switches, PWM, PLC). Please let me know if I am missing anything. I will wire up the outputs over the weekend and reply with the final drawing soon.

Controller Box
 
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TriangleIL

TriangleIL

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I've been really busy lately with work, etc. so not much progress to report. I did however pick up a chest freezer and have started work on my keezer. So far I have faucets, PVC spray painted chrome tower and beer lines. I am also dropping off the kegs to have the fittings welded in on Friday. After wrestling with the fittings over and over (and the BK and HLT are now bottom drain, and the bottoms of the kegs were a little malformed) I decided it was worth the extra cash to have the fittings welded. I got a great price, 10 fittings for $80. :ban:

I just hope the quality of the work is good...
 
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TriangleIL

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What program are you using for the schematics?
I've been using GIMP for all the drawings. I started with SweetSounds diagram, hacked it up, and then modified it to use for my purposes. Once I got the hang of it, it has been pretty quick to 'wire things together'. The hardest part was layout.
 

prosper

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why are you using contactors AND SSR's to switch the heating elements?

And, technically, the white/gray leg should be '0V' to ground (neutral)

Also, when you wire it up - I'd think about balancing the red and black loads a bit more evenly.
 
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TriangleIL

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Thanks prosper, I will take this advice and incorporate that into the next set of drawings.

I made a bunch of progress and pr0n this weekend. Hope you enjoy.

Finally got the keggles on the stand


Semi close-up of the goods, 2 pumps and manifolds


Missing the MLT because it's holding my keezer lid down while the Liquid Nails dry, but here is the majority of my hoses in place


and finally, a sneak preview at my next thread ...


and PVC tower



Progress update: Still need to finalize the electrical schematics so I can start purchasing the goods. I want to brew on this thing by the end of September... hopefully by the end of the week I will have all of the schematics up here so the experts can give me some feedback. Thanks!
 
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TriangleIL

TriangleIL

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I finally came up with an idea for the control panel. I plan to also include the latest schematics sometime later this week. I finalized the layout and design, it just takes time to draw all those lines.

Here is my thoughts on the control panel. I realize it is CRAMPED. I am limited to working with my 12x12 panel as I don't really want to buy another one. The drawing is to scale. Thoughts?




Edit, looks like my design for the plumbing is gone, and I can't edit the first post anymore. Here is my *relatively* updated drawing.



Finally, here is the latest schematic I currently have. There are still some edits to be made.

 
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TriangleIL

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Latest update

I have all the plumbing done except for the 'sampling valves' coming out of the pumps. At the last minute I thought it would be nice to have some ball valves to allow me to take samples from the outlet of the valves (for during recirculation and/or sparging).

I am now in electrical part accumulation period. I am still unsure on a lot of the parts I need, so hopefully I can get some advice from the smarter people here. Time for some beer pr0n.

The stand finally has pumps mounted


Semi closeup of the two manifolds


Large picture of the rig all plumbed


Inside the MLT - just need to add my pickup tube


Inside the BK (whirlpool return on the right, FB, HEX)


And finally, I need a way to drink all this beer ... keezer 90% done
Inside the beast


The outside of beast


5 ways to glory


And yes, the pink mat is temporary, it is what remains of the yoga mat I ripped apart.
 
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