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STC-1000 Setup - For Beginners

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Hey All :mug:

I just finished setting up a dual-mode temperature controller for my fermentation fridge.

Along the way I took a number of pictures, and hope to explain here in detail how to do this easily and with little expense.

First off, do not be afraid of the wiring! A ways back, I spent a couple years working assistant to an residential electrician, and I understand that electricity and wire diagrams can be daunting. This project is super simple, and more importantly - CHEAP!

OK, here we go!

These are the tools that I used. there are many ways to accomplish the specific tasks needed, and I will expect that if you do not own any of the equipment here, you can improvise. you are homebrewers, right?



1 - Drill
2 - Female end of extension cord (Cooler)
3 - Female end of extension cord (Heat source)
4 - Male end of extension cord (Power for unit)
5 - Colored electrical tape
6 - STC - 1000 Temp controller
7 - STC - 1000 Temp sensor
8 - Zip ties
9 - Plastic project box
10 - Wire stripper
11 - Mini hacksaw
12 - 3/8 inch spade bit
13 - 1/2 inch spade bit
14 - small phillips head
15 - utility knife
16 - wire cutter
17 - Twist Wire connectors not pictured here

Step 1 - Prepare housing setup



We will need:
black project box - for housing
2 drill bits - for drilling holes for wires
hacksaw for cutting space for STC-1000 unit

Drill 4 holes in total:


3 holes for male/female cords(will connect to heater,cooler and power outlet)
1 hole for the temp sensor(smaller hole on bottom)



Now we can punch out a hole for the unit itself.

Here I used a drill bit to punch a hole in the center, then used to hack saw to trim around until I had enough space for the unit to fit snugly. The display is larger than the back of the unit and those dimensions should not be used. Use the dimensions from the back of the unit.





Alright, step one done - so far so good, right?

Step 2 - Set up Wiring

OK, here is the part that everybody gets worried about. But I'll take it slow, and it will be easy.

First you need to make sure you have the proper wires for this particular set up. I used some old 3 prong extension cords, which work perfectly.

Here in the US the color codes for our wires are:
Black - Live
White - Neutral
Green - Ground(Earth)

In the diagram below the colors are as follows:
Brown - Live
Blue - Neutral
Green - Ground(Earth)

Male end:
Cut enough wire for the unit itself to reach an outlet. This will be the only power outlet you will need.

2 Female ends:
Cut enough wire so that the cords from your heating and cooling devices can reach these female ends.

Also, cut a few pieces of separate wire(found from discarded extension cords) About 6 inches or so


You will need 3 pieces of live(black) and 1 piece of neutral(white)
I cut extra black pieces because I zoned out and forgot I only needed 3.

OK, so at this point you should have a total of 13 wires to strip

4 pieces of loose wire: (both ends of these are stripped)
3 Live(black)
1 Neutral(white)

and 9 coming from your extension cords, 3 Live, 3 Neutral, 3 Ground.

Strip all of these wires carefully. About 1 inch of exposed wire. (some of these will be trimmed later)

Step 3 - Wiring the unit

OK, so now you have all of your wiring prepped, and we are ready to wire the device.

Here is a diagram that shows the wiring structure:



What you will do first is wire the loose pieces that we prepped earlier (3 live, 1 neutral)


Note: Any exposed wiring being placed into the back of the unit should be trimmed to a 1/2 inch.

Using a small flat-head screwdriver, turn the small screws above each slot counter-clockwise all the way. This opens the slot so that exposed wiring can enter.

After a wire is placed fully into the slot. Tighten the slot back up.

You can slide the 3 loose black wires into slots 1, 5 and 7.
You can slide the loose white wire into slot 2.



OK, next part is super easy.

The 2-pronged temp sensor can be placed into slot 3 and 4. Left/Right does not matter.

Take Live(black) wire from your heating extension cord and wire into slot 6

Take Live(black) wire from your cooling extension cord and wire into slot 8

Note: The diagram has heating and cooling backwards. My directions are correct.

OK, at this point all of the slots are occupied with the correct wires.

Now we simply connect all of the remaining exposed wires by color.

You should have 4 black wires, 4 white wires and 3 green wires left.

Here I used twist wire connectors. You can also solder these together.


At this point the device should be fully functional. But we have a few additional steps left to go.

Step 4 - Finishing touches

Use zip ties to secure all wires into place. Place them snugly behind the back wall. This will prevent any accidental slip out of the wires from there connectors. I also used a bit a electrical tape just below the twist caps to keep the wires as snug as possible.

Screw the top plate back onto the project box and admire your work. I added some striping to one of the extension cords so that there is no confusion later.




I then added couple thick pieces of velcro to the unit. this is how I am attaching to wall.



Then plugging the unit in is simple. The male goes to a house outlet. And plug your cooler and heating device to the corresponding females.



I hope this tutorial has helped. Please feel free to message me with any questions about the project or suggestions that I could add to this thread.

Thanks and happy brewing!

Jonathan
 
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worthogg

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Looks good. I just did this project a couple of days ago with the same project box you used, except I put a duplex outlet on the front of the box. I like the extension cord idea though. Makes it much easier to fit all the wires in. I had a bit of a time squishing all mine in there with the outlet and getting all the terminals connected as well. I would suggest that beginners use stripped down extension cord wires like you did because they are more flexible. I used 12 gauge Romex and they were really stiff. It felt like I was putting a little too much stress on the STC terminals.
I like the velcro idea too, I'm stealing that. Thanks for posting a good tutorial for the inexperienced. BTW what is the white part on your box? I didn't notice it in the first photos but it pops up later. Is it the same one as in the first photos?
 
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Worthogg

Thanks for the feedback. The duplex outlet design sounds very cool though, probably looks sweet! Post some pics.

The white strip at the bottom of my box is electric tape. I made my opening for the unit a few mm's too big and at the bottom some of the cut was showing through. So a strip of electric tape around the bottom hides the blemish and makes the box look snazzy!
 

sennister

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I made one a couple months ago and have been happy over all with it.

I made a spreadsheet in Excel at taped it to the project box for a quick conversion.

For mine I put an electrical outlet with the tabs broken so one socket is heat and the other cool. I put a light switch on the other side to use as a master power. It is running my fermentation fridge so there are times where I shut it down.

Only things that would make this better is if it were in F and if you could change the temp by just hitting the up or down arrow. You have to go into program mode for the temp and make the change. Not hard but extra steps. When doing a lager it makes for more work as I slowly step the temp down over a 24 hr period.
 
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sennister

Thanks for the feedback. Your setup also sounds pretty kewl! Love the master switch idea. Post some pics!

I couldn't agree more about the Functions. By default, hitting up or down should be Function 1. And I would love a function for BOTH hot or cold accuracy. like .8 above sway but only .3 sway on the cold side, or vice versa.

If I was a tad more astute in programming and had the time to rig an arduino board. Could probably build an entire unit to spec. Ah, maybe one day.

Cheers!
 

BigFloyd

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Excellent thread with nice pics and explanations.

As one of the proponents of the STC-1000 on the forums (I have three and built a couple more for brew buddies), I'm going to add this as a link in my standard copy & paste STC-1000 explanation.
 
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Big Floyd

Thanks for the feedback and sharing the link!

I really felt that, though there are a number of tutorials out there, there really wasn't anything that really took it back to square 1 and the fundamentals. And, as you have in your signature, temp control is really important and we all shouldn't have to be subject to these super expensive temp control kits.

Happy brewing!
 

butterpants

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oh man I love you in the most non-gay way possible.

I've been thinking about temperature control alot lately and something like this is on my radar big time. Questions to come...
 

BigFloyd

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Here's my standard schpeal (now updated) about the STC-1000:

It's a dual temperature controller. You wire it into a standard 2-plug outlet that you mount in some kind of project box (either homemade or bought at Radio Shack). One (cool) outlet is for the freezer/fridge. If your fermenter chamber is placed where it’s cold (like a garage in winter), you plug some kind of small heater into the warm outlet and then put that heater inside the freezer. Otherwise, just use the cold outlet.

Set the target temp (in Celsius) on the STC-1000. Set the tolerance (default is +/-0.5*C). When the temp (as read by the sensor) climbs 0.5*C above the target, it powers up the cool outlet and keeps it energized until the temp drops to the target and then turns it off. Likewise with the warm outlet if it gets 0.5*C too cool. You tape the sensor on the side of the fermenter and place some kind of insulation like bubble wrap over top of it so that it reads the bucket temp and not the air.


https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/stc-1000-setup-beginners-433985/#post5538096

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/ebay-fish-tank-controller-build-using-wal-mart-parts-261506/


https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/ebay-aquarium-temp-controller-build-163849/


http://brewstands.com/fermentation-heater.html
 
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Butterpants

Absolutely dude, let the questions flow. More back-n-forth, the better for other Beginners.

I am new to this forum, so will be checking regularly. ;)
 

BigFloyd

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Butterpants

Absolutely dude, let the questions flow. More back-n-forth, the better for other Beginners.

I am new to this forum, so will be checking regularly. ;)

It's great having new folks come along who are willing to take the kind of time you have to help other brewers.
 

butterpants

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Did you just buy two extension cords and chop them up?

What are you using for the second circuit heating source?

My unit just arrived.... :)
 

BigFloyd

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butterpants

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Nice.... thanks Floyd.

Any issues with condensation and using a dessicant inside the chamber?
 

WI_Wino

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Nice write up, I built two similar in the last month or so.

Here's the Radio Shack project box I used for a couple bucks cheaper - $6.50

$5 14-3 appliance power cord from Menards

$1.29 15 amp decor outlet from Menards

Also I wired one up using single strand 14 gauge I pulled out from some Romex I had laying around. those were a beast to get folded into the box nicely and I thought they put a lot of stress on the STC terminals. For the second one I bought a 50 ft roll of stranded 14 gauge wire. So much easier to use, I highly recommend that over normal house wiring.

Lastly I salvaged some magnets from dead hard drives. I'm planning on using epoxy to attach several of them to the bottom of each project box. I hope that will keep it attached to the side or the lid of my freezer.
 

Beavdowg

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Would you mind showing me now how to wire in a "constant on" auxillary outlet (for like a CPU fan), a power switch for the whole unit, and indicator lights for when the hot side is working and when the cold side is working. I know those are already on the STC-1000 unit but I've already purchased the switch and the indicator lights and now I need to understand how to wire all those in.

thanks!:mug:
 

BigFloyd

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butterpants

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After some swearing and 2 hours in the garage when it was 14 degrees outside, she's finally done! Test run shows all functions working properly..... overnight test next. Thanks, again so much for this thread.

FYI glands M20x1.5 were just a little big for the 14 and 16ga extension cords I used.

Can someone answer me on how I should program the functions for this sucker? Here's what I set it at now...

F1 - Obvious, my target temp

F2 - Default 0.5 degrees

F3 - Compressor delay time, I bumped up to 5 minutes

F4 - No idea what this function does, left it at default.



ForumRunner_20131204_004035.jpg
 

raouliii

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......Can someone answer me on how I should program the functions for this sucker? Here's what I set it at now...

F1 - Obvious, my target temp

F2 - Default 0.5 degrees

F3 - Compressor delay time, I bumped up to 5 minutes

F4 - No idea what this function does, left it at default...
The F2 setting is the difference between the measured temperature and the set temperature that will cycle the cooling or heating function ON to bring the measured temperature back to the set temperature. Tip: There will be overshoot of the set temperature, therefore you don't want to set this too tight and continuously cycle between heating and cooling.

F4 is used to calibrate the temperature probe. It is added or subtracted from the probe temperature for an accurate measured temperature.

Another tip: The best probe placement is such that it is measuring the temperature of the beer (keezer) or pre-beer (fermenter) and is isolated from the air of the chamber with some type of insulation.
 

BigFloyd

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After some swearing and 2 hours in the garage when it was 14 degrees outside, she's finally done! Test run shows all functions working properly..... overnight test next. Thanks, again so much for this thread.

FYI glands M20x1.5 were just a little big for the 14 and 16ga extension cords I used.

Can someone answer me on how I should program the functions for this sucker? Here's what I set it at now...

F1 - Obvious, my target temp

F2 - Default 0.5 degrees

F3 - Compressor delay time, I bumped up to 5 minutes

F4 - No idea what this function does, left it at default.
Excellent. It looks like you're good to go. You'll enjoy having that setup for sure.
 

butterpants

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Copy. So what would you recommend for F2 then to avoid short cycling?
 

butterpants

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Excellent. It looks like you're good to go. You'll enjoy having that setup for sure.
I was giddy with excitement after checking the garage this morning. Floyd your heater recommendation worked perfectly. It's right about 5 degrees Fahrenheit outside with my garage close to that. I chucked a 2L bottle of water inside of the fermentation chamber last night and set the STC. It measured a lovely 64 F after 12 hours. Someone should have talked me into this a long time ago!
 

stpug

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Copy. So what would you recommend for F2 then to avoid short cycling?
I'm interested in this answer as well, however I don't think there is a one-size-fits-all answer. I suspect that it comes down to how anal you want to be about controlling a specific temperature and how much you care about constantly cycling your compressor.

I'm in the "somewhat anal but try to go easy on the compressor" category. I have my differential set to 0.5°C (which is about 1°F) with my compressor delay set to 10 minutes. I might push the differential to 0.7°C if I start seeing too much cycling going on.

From what I've noticed, it seems the differential is only HIGH for cooling. In other words, it cools to your desired temperature before shutting off (NOT your temperature minus the differential), and allows natural raising of the temperature to the differential before initiating the cooling phase which will delay based on you compressor delay setting. So a 0.5°C differential is truly only 0.5° up, not 0.5° both up AND down (which would be 1°).
 

BigFloyd

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I've tried mine on both the default of 0.5*C and also increasing it to 0.7*C. Both seemed to work fine for me.

When you initially put a bucket or carboy in the chamber, there's maybe going to be a little overshoot (probably due to the vessel itself being at first a bit warmer than the chilled wort) as it reaches equilibrium. I was worried about that at first, but not any more. In a short time, it settles down and maintains the temp nice and steady.
 

butterpants

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Anyone actually have to use function 4 and calibrate? My thermocouple seemed to jive with what the STC was saying
 
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Hey all. Love seeing this thread really taking off!

Butterpants - nicely done, show us some pics!
 

olsyboy

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Hi All. With the help of Jonathan Marino and BigFloyd's posts, I put together my own temperature controlller using the dual unswitched socket method. It works a treat and was really easy to construct. I really recommend the twist on wire connectors which do the job in seconds.

Here are a couple of images to show the set up.



 

BigFloyd

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Hi All. With the help of Jonathan Marino and BigFloyd's posts, I put together my own temperature controlller using the dual unswitched socket method. It works a treat and was really easy to construct. I really recommend the twist on wire connectors which do the job in seconds.

Here are a couple of images to show the set up.
Nice job on that build. :mug:
 

MindenMan

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Mine is nowhere near that pretty, but it does work. I used 12 g romex wire, and it was a bear to bend w/o breaking the connectors off. When it comes to first hooking the controller up to your fermenter, after a bunch of heat/cool cycles, knowing the wort was pretty warm at the time, I unplugged the heater, and by the next morning the heat/cool cycling had stopped, so I plugged the heater back in and smooth sailing from then on. Make sure there is a chunk of foam or something insulating between the sensor and the air, or the temps won't track worth a darn. At first I didn't cover the sensor, and the tape had come a little loose and the temps were all over the place. Lesson learned there. I was using a heating pad under my fermenter for heat, and it worked great as the outside temperature was dropping. SWMBO jr., (my daughter) needed the heating pad, so I bought a Lasko 200 watt heater from Home Depot. I could have purchased a much larger one for the same price ($20.00), but the small size was the best answer for me. I can still put a second bucket in my freezer/fermentation chamber and continue using that small heater w/o problem.:)
 

JuanMoore

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Copy. So what would you recommend for F2 then to avoid short cycling?
I use 0.4° for F2 on my ferm fridge, and 0.3° for my keezer, and max the compressor delay (F3) out at 10 min for both. I also make sure there's always a decent amount of thermal mass in my ferm fridge or keezer if the controller is running, and that the probe is secured to something with a little thermal mass and insulated from ambient air. Both my keezer and ferm fridge cycle very infrequently.

From what I've noticed, it seems the differential is only HIGH for cooling. In other words, it cools to your desired temperature before shutting off (NOT your temperature minus the differential), and allows natural raising of the temperature to the differential before initiating the cooling phase which will delay based on you compressor delay setting. So a 0.5°C differential is truly only 0.5° up, not 0.5° both up AND down (which would be 1°).
Kind of. Regardless of whether it's heating or cooling, the set temp (F1) is the temp at which it shuts off. Setting the differential to 0.5° does create a 1° total hysteresis. For example, if you set F1 to 18° and F2 to 0.5°, it will start cooling if the temp reaches 18.5°, and stop cooling when it reaches 18°, but it will also start heating when the temp reaches 17.5°, and shut the heating off when it reaches 18°.

Anyone actually have to use function 4 and calibrate? My thermocouple seemed to jive with what the STC was saying
Mine were all calibrated perfectly out of the box, but I've heard of others having to adjust them. I did have to adjust two of mine slightly after tripling the length of the temp probe cords.
 

celtic_dude

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So I just got my STC-1000 and I am a litle confussed. On the back of it there is only 6 terminals. Numbered 1-6. Anyone have any ideas on how to hook up?
 

JuanMoore

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So I just got my STC-1000 and I am a litle confussed. On the back of it there is only 6 terminals. Numbered 1-6. Anyone have any ideas on how to hook up?
If it only has 6 terminals, it's not the STC-1000, and is most likely one of the single stage versions. If you can post a couple pics we can probably help you wire it though.
 

celtic_dude

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Here it is. I am building my bar and I am building 2 cold boxes in it. One for my serving kegs and the other to be used as a fermentation chamber. I am guessing this box is only cold or only heat so maybe I could use for the serving side to keep the kegs cool.

image-3014717245.jpg
 
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