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NorCal RIMS Tube and EBrewsupply Controller Build

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Howhownow

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After much planning, design, and coveting on HBT I have decided to make the jump to a RIMS system. I have learned so much and gotten so many ideas from posts of similar builds on here that I am going to try and document the process as best I can. I have one additional challenge in that my rig lives outside, my gear inside, and so the controller, pump, and the RIMS itself must be modular.
The RIMS tube, pump, fittings, etc. I picked up from NorCal (who are fantastic if you've not ordered from them). Their tube seemed to have the best features already baked in, and with the sale they had going on, the price was right. Those items should arrive late this week.
The PID is a Ebay Sestos that came with a probe. That should be here early in the week.
For the controller, I knew I wanted to try and build something myself, but I am no electrician, and with my rudimentary at best electrical knowledge I went with the 20A PID kit from ebrewsupply. I started to try put together a part list myself, but I just don't have the knowledge or confidence to be comfortable that I got everything I need. I know I probably paid a little more, but not that much, and it was well worth it for the piece of mind knowing that I wouldn't start work to realize I forgot one integral piece that is going to take another week to order. I looked into a lot of options for the controller, and ultimately went with a metal toolbox for the portability, ruggedness, as well as the price and looks. I used this one http://tinyurl.com/lbv6fnn.
My parts for the controller (less the PID) were in, so I started on that today. I was lucky enough to be able to get my coworker, who is an excellent electrician (he commissions 5MW utility solar farms) to come over and help. Let me say this first- if you do not have a good bit of electrical experience try your damnedest to get someone who does. It would have taken me 5x as long, and looked 5% as good. Plus I learned a lot along the way and usually folks will work for beer and pizza. In a day of work we were able to get through about 75% of the controller. Had a couple of hang-ups, but everything is now mounted and wiring has begun. He was not super pleased overall with the wiring diagram from EBrew, but again- it has all the components and will work. I'd say we still have one after work build session to get it done (again, less the PID and RIMS tube).

Configuration Mock-Up (has changed just a bit)

 
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Howhownow

Howhownow

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Got some work done today before/during the deluge/tornadoes. Everything except the slot for the PID is now cut and mounted. I was planning on using a dremmel cut wheel for that, for lack of a better option. Now all that is left is that and the remainder of the wiring! The RIMS tube, pump, etc was supposed to be here Friday, but tracking looks like it is pushed till Monday, so sadly probably don't get to test this weekend.
Final configuration, other than that the PID will likely go below the white element light.



Wiring thus far
 

decoleur

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this is looking awesome!

do you remember the issues your friend had with the ebrew designs? I have been looking at theirs and P-J's as I get ready to take the plunge but still haven't.
 
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Howhownow

Howhownow

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Again, not an electrician so I'm not 100% sure. I believe that it had something to do with the placement or type of the breaker, but we got that wired up last night and it threw, so I think it works. Other than that, no sure. All in all, it will definitely work, and I am glad that I sprung for the kit so I know everything is there. One thing we are going to add is a ground bar.

Got the E-stop and engage element switches going last night, as well as cutting the PID hole below the white 'element firing' light. Only the pump and buzzer switches/lights, PID, and outlets left to wire up. Going to try and finish it out tonight.
 

jimbonnet

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Nice setup. What 220v element are you going to use in the rims tube ?

Cheers!
Jim
 

jimbonnet

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It's a 5500w Low-watt density that Lowes had for $15.
Are you running it at 110V then? Im guessing yes. This is what Im looking doing as well. However that diagram at ebrew supply shows I think a 220V output..

Jim
 
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Howhownow

Howhownow

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Skipped a couple of steps since my last update, but all the parts are in. I have run a water test and temps ramp and hold great. First brew is planned for this weekend.

To hit the high points:
One of the main constraints of my build is that my setup has to be totally mobile. I don't store my gear where I brew, so each time I have to haul it all outside and set it up on my wire rack/brew stand. That led to the tool box controller, mountable RIMS tube and pump, etc. From the test the additional setup/breakdown is not too bad.

I originally ordered a Sestos brand PID from ebay. When I received and wired it, I was having issues getting it to control the solid state relay that came with the ebrewsupply kit. After some research and a little frustration, I discovered that I had been sent a controller that operated a relay (mechanical), rather than a SSR. My options were to find a way to supply the voltage to the SSR, replace the SSR with a mechanical relay, or get a new PID. Though all viable options, I was able to get a line on a good used Auber PID here on HBT, so I did that. The Auber is wired and fires the SSR like a champ. (Side note- if anyone is interested in a Sestos PID, I have a new one that I'll let go of for cheap!)

The RIMS tube itself from Norcal is shiny and spectacular, as expected. More importantly it works well and is very easy to set up. The tri-clovers take a minute to get used to, but they are great. It is also my first time using cam lock QD's, and I love the convenience.

I went with the center inlet chugger pump, and it looks like it is going to be a real workhorse. Don't forget that with the center inlet head you need a 3/4" to 1/2" reducer for cams, tubes, etc.
I think it is too soon to say if there was anything I would change in my build. It seems pretty functional right now, but I don't want to speak too soon before I get a few brews on it.

One question I would like to pose: any ideas for mounting the pump? It need to be upside down on the middle tier (right below the MLT) for the prime to work and the cord to reach the controller. Presently, I have it mounted to a board, with bolts that run though the other side. I push the bolts through the wire shelf, and secure the pump by tightening down a wide diameter washer over the top with a wingnut. This can be seen on the right of the pic below. While this is a workable solution, ideally I want to have some sort of cradle/mount that I can slide or lock it into for simpler mounting.

Water test, before the PID was permanently installed in the box.

IT LIIIIVES


 

paulegli

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Again, not an electrician so I'm not 100% sure. I believe that it had something to do with the placement or type of the breaker, but we got that wired up last night and it threw, so I think it works.
I'm working on a RIMS controller build using the same kit and noticed that the breaker was shown after the hot DIN block. I wrote to Electric Brewing Supply:


I'm in the process of planning my component layout for the 20A RIMS kit I purchased last month and have a question about the schematic. On the diagram, the circuit breaker is shown after the hot DIN block, but it seems to me it should be before the block. Is it ok to place the breaker between the contractor and block?

Ryan, the owner, replied:


For the breakers, these should come after the main power contactor and then are distributed out to the door/cover and the element circuits. The PID drawings haven't been updated as yet, but I usually bring the power into the contactor, and in the case of multiple breakers will split via multiple DIN blocks. In the case of the RIMs, you should be able to go contactor, breaker, then split to element SSR -> Contactor, and the split would go to the door for the control power.

I hope that's legible, if you need more clarity, please let me know.

I'm still drilling holes in the case, but once my controller is up and running, I'll start a thread with pictures and a parts list.
 
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Howhownow

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We noticed that, as well, and put the breaker between to contactor and hot DIN block.
 
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Howhownow

Howhownow

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Ran my second brew with the RIMS, the first with it in its final(ish) form on Saturday (Schwarzbier, also my first lager).
Earlier this week I added a better thermocouple, valve to autoprime the pump, and a more effective pump mount.
I will get some more detail shots next time I brew.


 
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