PicoBrew Zymatic

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jm_maclaren

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Oh that is a good question... Don't know if I wrote that down, but I think I usually throw in 1Tbsp per gallon. I've started doing a citric acid rinse after each deep clean (every 3 cleans). Which since I switched to cleans every 2 sessions instead of 3 that is usually after 6 brew sessions. Remember after the citric acid to run at least 1 rinse, but I'd recommend even 2 if you have the patience and time.
Thanks. Fortunately after the PBW deep clean I did not have any noticeable gunk in the keg. But the heater and wort curves tracked nicely. I'll make sure to do two rinses after the citrus acid rinse. I am swapping between the Zymatic and a pico pro using the pico-free box. I brewed a couple of batched with the pro and got really nice efficiencies (70% on one where the OG the overshot and 80% on one where based on that efficiency I lowered the grain bill from 35lb of 2 row to 2.5lb 2 row and 1/4 of carapils and 1/4 of crystal ended up at 1066. I bottled them today so wont get to taste for a while.
 

mjc999

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And another ?.
Might take a bit longer to reach temps, but I don't see an issue. I've done a couple and I know guys doing 5 gallon batches. You'll just have to try it and see how it works.
Fair point. I’ll give it a rip once the fittings arrive and report back.
 

jm_maclaren

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Thanks. Fortunately after the PBW deep clean I did not have any noticeable gunk in the keg. But the heater and wort curves tracked nicely. I'll make sure to do two rinses after the citrus acid rinse. I am swapping between the Zymatic and a pico pro using the pico-free box. I brewed a couple of batched with the pro and got really nice efficiencies (70% on one where the OG the overshot and 80% on one where based on that efficiency I lowered the grain bill from 35lb of 2 row to 2.5lb 2 row and 1/4 of carapils and 1/4 of crystal ended up at 1066. I bottled them today so wont get to taste for a while.
 

jm_maclaren

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Did anyone notice a blue tint to the water after the PBW deep clean? Hope it's not something to worry about. This must be some copper salt created. It appeared after about half way through the process. From what I've read that can happen with PBW and copper. After the citric acid rinse I'll rinse with clean water until its gone.
 
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Craiginthecorn

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Oh that is a good question... Don't know if I wrote that down, but I think I usually throw in 1Tbsp per gallon. I've started doing a citric acid rinse after each deep clean (every 3 cleans). Which since I switched to cleans every 2 sessions instead of 3 that is usually after 6 brew sessions. Remember after the citric acid to run at least 1 rinse, but I'd recommend even 2 if you have the patience and time.
What is the reason for the acid rinse? I realize that many cleaners, like PBW, have a high pH, but I've not heard of doing anything beyond rinsing well with water after using PBW on other brewing equipment.
 

Craiginthecorn

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Yup the acid is neutralizing the active ingredients in the PBW. Happens all the time and is not anything to worry about specifically.
It seems more likely to me that there is some copper in the system that is reacting with the acid -- essentially cleaning it. Many of those with a JadEd Corny Pillar know how clean and shiny it gets after soaking a short time in StarSan, which is quite acidic. Is the HEX loop copper or stainless? I'm betting copper.
 

Trevor Mack

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I would bet that the HEX (which is a counter flow plate chiller BTW) is indeed copper plates.

I took the fact that the acid turned blue an indication that it was doing something and scrubbing or neutralizing build up. Though not too knowledgeable of the specific chemical reaction that is taking place, same happens when cleaning other copper sources as you mention (for me the PicoStill and an external CFC).
 

Craiginthecorn

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A quick update on my replacement pump. I replaced just the input pump using the new pump with the lower flow rating, which, assuming that they're performing the same as when Picobrew tested and marked them, should have been OK.

I've run through a couple rinse and cleaning cycles and the flow rate looks much improved. I think it'll be fine. I left the little circuit board in place ahead of the new pump, by the way.

Even after a couple lengthy PBW cleaning cycles and several deep rinse cycles, the rinse water is still a pale tea color. I think I might just keep at it to see if I cannot get it squeaky clean.

Meanwhile, I picked up an unused Z1 today. It's surprisingly compact compared to the Zymatic.
 

Trevor Mack

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Update on the clean method. Sunday I let one my Z's do 3 back to back cleans where one of those was the long run PBW cycle I have posted here previously. Though this time I didn't want the long exposure to PBW (as there wasn't an active overheat blocker just wanted to get squeaky clean). After the long wash with a normal dishwasher tabs the water came out dark brown (almost coffee colored) and the luerlock ended up crystal clear. Just cause that water was still in I wanted to run a few more normal cleans with fresh water to see progress and definitely improved the grey water at the end. Final rinse came out nearly clear so I was extremely happy.

I would recommend only using PBW after failing with any other cleaner cause PBW could wreak any hard plastics that are still exposed on the pass through unfortunately. Haven't personally had this problem, but a few of you have mentioned cracking of the luerlock or snorkel housing.
 

Craiginthecorn

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@Trevor Mack, do you use Finish Powerball dishwasher tablets with your Z step filters, either using the standard cleaning cycle or in a dishwasher without the heated dry nor sanitize cycles?

I have read comments elsewhere suggesting that even these approved tablets lead to cracking in the Zymatic step filters, but I've also seen comments saying that even washing by hand doesn't prevent them. So it's possible that the Finish Powerball tablets aren't really a cause of cracking and that it's just a result of the Zymatic step filter's angular design.

I'd like to use the dishwasher tablets if they're actually safe. It's hard to imagine that Picobrew would have continued to recommend these on the Z after countless replacements of the Zymatic step filters, if the tablets damaged the plastic.
 

Trevor Mack

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I have never washed my step filter or lid in a dishwasher even though our Bosch doesnt have a "heated dry" or "sanitize" function. I have always washed by hand, every once and a while I'll throw the mesh screens into the dishwasher and run a cycle, but never the plastic step filters. Though Z step filters supposedly (from support messaging) are more reliable than the Zymatic ones.

The dishwasher agent I've used regularly for the "clean" cycle is a powerball (dry) tablet unwrapped. I've heard you can also just get powdered dishwasher cleaner and that also works well as it dissolves quicker so is effective faster.
 

mjc999

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Might take a bit longer to reach temps, but I don't see an issue. I've done a couple and I know guys doing 5 gallon batches. You'll just have to try it and see how it works.
So I ran a random recipe with 6 gals of starting water. It took just under an hour to go from 61 to 152 degrees and another hour and change to go from 152 to boil (207). Session attached (I skipped the mash and boil cycles). So answer is yes, doable. Will be a long session with mash and boil actually taking place.
hop-tuddies (1).jpeg
 

Trevor Mack

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So answer is yes, doable. Will be a long session with mash and boil actually taking place.
Would likely need longer mash steps as well to make sure all the liquid is evenly recirculated over the mash. Similar with the hop additions. Will definitely be a longer brew day, you might be able to help heat loss/gain if you have a secondary heating element you could use with the strike water.
 

mjc999

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Would likely need longer mash steps as well to make sure all the liquid is evenly recirculated over the mash. Similar with the hop additions. Will definitely be a longer brew day, you might be able to help heat loss/gain if you have a secondary heating element you could use with the strike water.
Was thinking the same thing, maybe a sous vide stick to kick things off.
Once to temp, the thermal mass of the 6 gals should help keep things going.
 

Tkrummen

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Would you mind sending me the same? Got 1 Fatal Error #17 followed by numerous Fatal Error #1's. My search for a fix let me here. Would you also send me the glycol reservoir mod as well. I hope to get it up and running but I would like to mod it in the near future to avoid this problem. Thank you!
 

jkennedy1980

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Hello, I’d also like to request info on the glycol mod. I’m fighting error #1 and error #17.
 

jm_maclaren

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What is the ID/OD of silicone tubing needed to install glycol reservoir recommended from amazon. Thanks
 

Jenallis

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@Mike Howard - I just bought a zymatic on craigslist. Tried to run cleaning. And I got a fatal error code number one. Troubleshooting. Tried running clean v6. Keep getting error code # 1? I have option to return for refund. Or keep troubleshooting. Suggestions?
 

DaveandTrev

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I have a complete step by step procedure, with photos, that I have been working on with the help of about 10 or so others on here who have followed the procedure and added modifications/clarifications for each revision. I'd be happy to provide that info to anyone who needs to top off their glycol. Just shoot me a PM and I can get it to you.

For the glycol, I use this one from AMAZON, but I have three draft chillers so I need large quantities. As GP said, USP, Food Grade is what you need.
For FE#1...almost certain they had to tear the unit down and either replace the HEX or Fill the Glycol.

Hops usage on the Zymatic will be less efficient than if you dropped them into the boil on a different system. I learned that shortly after getting my Zymatic. You'll have to up your recipe amount to get the same aroma/alpha acid characteristics. It also helps to spread them out over the 3 adjunct compartments rather than sticking them all in one.

As for the FE#1 or any other error for that matter....since I have been performing the deep clean process I came up with and topping off the glycol whenever I hear cavitation, I have not had a single error with the unit during brewing. I have had to replace a few parts, but its almost 3 years old now and nearing 150 brews, as of the last time I counted. It definitely requires some preventative maintenance and diligent cleaning, but I'm finally happy with its performance...no thanks to PB.

If anyone needs help with the Fatal Errors, hit me up on PM.
Need help topping off glyco. Could you please send instructions thanks so much..Dave
 

DaveandTrev

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@MikeHoward
I am new here and getting a error #1 also. Could you please send the instructions for the glycol top up. Thank you
Dave
 

chagtie

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Hello my friend,
although this seams like a great solution it will almost certainly cause a leak in the silicone rotary arm bushings above. The reason for this is the two pumps have different flow rates and will cause either pressure or a vacuum in the bypass line that you created. Instead you needs to have a cleaning vessel so that you don’t create the positive or negative pressure.
 

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Vandammified

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Hopefully this will help anyone considering mounting their glycol reservoir externally to their machine for easy refilling. It can be done without cutting the Zymatic and doesn't look too bad.

I previously did the glycol fill last year to fix the error code 1 according to @Mike Howard 's instructions and my zymatic worked great for another year (25 brews or so).

Recently I got another series of error code 1s and had to do the refill again but decided to add a reservoir like @Mike Howard and @memphisbrews (on page 53 of this thread) and mounted it externally for easy refilling. Using 3/8" ID - 1/2" OD tubing I was able to sneak the 2 lines out of the zymatic without having to make any cuts to the machine. The side panel is slightly askew and the bottom few screws are not fastening the back panel to the side panel but it is acceptable (at least to me).

Using an air/oil separator (mounted upside down) as the reservoir I avoided the need to manually work the air out of the glycol loop by leaving the fill port open and running the machine for a few minutes and all the air worked itself out.

For my fellow Canadians, I found this reservoir on Amazon Canada, I used a 3 port model because it was half the price of the 2 port ones and had same day shipping. I ended up filling the 3rd unused port with silicone. It had a nice mounting bracket that I used to mount it to the back of the machine using one of the existing zymatic screw holes. The hex key size for the fill port is 5/16". I needed to use silicone tape on the fill port screw and the 3 ports to make it air/liquid tight.

Thank you @Mike Howard and @memphisbrews for their instructional posts.

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IMG_3135 2.JPG
 

Mike Howard

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I think I contacted everyone through PM that is needing help with the glycol top-off. If not, tag me again or PM me and I'll get back with you.
 

astro237

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I think I contacted everyone through PM that is needing help with the glycol top-off. If not, tag me again or PM me and I'll get back with you.
Hello, I could use some help with the glycol top-off. I just recently acquired a zymatic and I get fatal error #1 and I'm hoping this will fix that problem.

Thanks!!
 

Mike Howard

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Zymatic board update:

Version 2.5 of the board has been tested and is complete, software written and tested in demo mode.

Demo Mode is everything working except applying voltage from the SSR to the actual RIMS element (actuating the RIMS relay and SSR is active) it uses a timer for the "heat to temp" steps so it can cycle through the entire recipe without intervention. Arm moves to every position on the step filter successfully for each step. Demo mode is selectable on the Recipe screen.

System is fully compatible with Zymatic recipes from the Recipe Crafter. Will also parse any BeerXML file and convert it for use on the Zymatic. I use BeerSmith, not sure about others, but if they follow the BeerXML protocol, it should work.

Board has two extra relays which can be programmed for anything you want. Also has an extra temp probe connector for a DS18B20. Has a built in power supply for a Raspberry Pi (if required), the Pi can also be powered externally if desired. Currently working with a RPi 3 B+, will test with a Pi Zero soon. Power module and Stepper Motor driver are replaceable in the event of failure. Board is completely plug and play, all connectors just swap between the original and the new one. Software requires minor configuration which will be made available via a new UI Config screen (in the works). Board fully exposes remaining RPi pins and has a 12v and 5v user port.

Next phase is water testing and then documenting the installation procedure. Will also need to develop a mounting bracket for the RPi/Control Board combination.

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UI v2.5.PNG


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tsatsa

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Hi Mike, great work! It may be too late, but ease of use and installation for most of us folks out there, I suggest to add a raspberry compute module connector that will allow the installation of a RPi without soldering. The compute module 4 has just been released and it's worth a try. If the raspi zero works, then the old module could also be a good and cheaper option
 

Mike Howard

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Hi Mike, great work! It may be too late, but ease of use and installation for most of us folks out there, I suggest to add a raspberry compute module connector that will allow the installation of a RPi without soldering. The compute module 4 has just been released and it's worth a try. If the raspi zero works, then the old module could also be a good and cheaper option
There is no soldering required. You simply plug your RPi into this board and away you go. It has a standard 40 pin female connector for the Pi on the back side. What you see is the soldering of the connector to the board.

I'll post a pic when I get home later, today is brew day at the brewery so working late.
 

Mike Howard

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Also, for the curious, the pulled pin with green wire thats on the 14 pin Molex connector is the glycol pump. Since this unit is dismantled it has no glycol in the system and running it dry would just burn it up, so I pulled the pin for testing purposes.
 
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Mike Howard

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What a wonderful update Mike!

I'll def be in for a board or 2. Have you set a price yet?
I have not set a definitive price yet, but I'm thinking of offering it in multiple ways:

1. Complete turnkey for those not electronically/mechanically inclined. Complete board, Raspberry Pi, pre-loaded with software, pre-configured and fully tested on my test Zymatic. Only minor mods to the configuration will need to be made. $$$$$*

2. Complete board, fully tested. You provide the Raspberry Pi and install the software yourself. $$$$*

3. Bare board with components, you solder them on. Provide your own RPi, etc... $$

4. Bare board, no components. You purchase components separately and solder them on. Provide your own RPi, etc... $

Eventually I want this all on github and open source. Folks can download the source files, build their own boards, modify the code, etc... The only money I'm trying to procure is to cover the development costs of the board.

* I'm only one guy with a full time job, so building boards, testing and getting them sent out, could be on a long delay.
 
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