Traceable Thermometer Dumbassedness

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Evan!

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2006
Messages
11,835
Reaction score
104
Location
Charlottesville, VA
My favorite thermometer of all time is the traceable digital one from Professional Equipment, but it's pricey, runs about $35+. I had one, used it maybe 8 times. Now, I'll preface this next part with the fact that I direct-fire my mashes in a kettle. Anyway, not long ago, the readout went funny, and then it shut off. I checked it out, and the rubber wire sheathing had melted in the hot kettle. Damnit! I was pissed, but it was my fault, so what can you do? I went about 3 or 4 batches and ordered another. Yeah, it's pricey, but worth it.

So I was messing around with some equipment last night and pulled out the old "broken" thermometer, just wanted to make sure it was farked before I tossed it. I pulled the battery cap off and the battery looked loose. I pressed it in with my thumb, and bam, the thing fired up and was reading a normal temp! Well, the little catches on the battery door were broken off (cheapo!!) and so it wasn't holding the battery all the way in. This is odd, considering I'd never opened the battery compartment before. Anyway, I folded a piece of elec tap and put it in between the battery and the door so it'd put pressure on the battery, replaced the door, then taped it secure with another piece of elec tape. Bam, works fine. I broke out the new one just to test the accuracy, and it's only like .4ºf off. Close enough for mashing! So now I've got 2 of these babies.

I'll be more careful from now on. I do wish the sheathing was something other than rubber, though...
 

blacklab

Banned
Joined
Nov 2, 2007
Messages
2,379
Reaction score
50
Location
Portland, ME
Weird that they would put something on the thermometer that can't withstand the temp range the thing is supposed to measure.

I just bought a digital therm that was about the same price and it lasted 1 brew. Now it constantly reads 140 deg, even when just sitting at room temperature.
 
OP
Evan!

Evan!

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2006
Messages
11,835
Reaction score
104
Location
Charlottesville, VA
blacklab said:
Weird that they would put something on the thermometer that can't withstand the temp range the thing is supposed to measure.

I just bought a digital therm that was about the same price and it lasted 1 brew. Now it constantly reads 140 deg, even when just sitting at room temperature.
Really? Where'd you get it? I'd send it back!
 

blacklab

Banned
Joined
Nov 2, 2007
Messages
2,379
Reaction score
50
Location
Portland, ME
I actually picked it up at the local high end grocery store(sort of like Whole Foods, but diff name). It was actually labeled as a 'pro' cooking thermometer. I thought - "Hey, can't go wrong with pro!"

We don't go there much for the basic stuff, just speciality foods, so haven't been in awhile. I'm definitely going to take it back, though.
 

blacklab

Banned
Joined
Nov 2, 2007
Messages
2,379
Reaction score
50
Location
Portland, ME
Beerthoven said:
Do you guys leave the probe in the mash the whole time?
Mash - whole time.

Boil - I put it in with the wort chilller to santize(10-15 min left in the boil), b/c I want to know when I'm down in the 80's.
 

Beerthoven

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2007
Messages
2,173
Reaction score
39
Location
Cary, NC
blacklab said:
Mash - whole time.

Boil - I put it in with the wort chilller to santize(10-15 min left in the boil), b/c I want to know when I'm down in the 80's.
Once the mash temp has stabilized (5 mins or so) I remove the probe and close up my mash tun. Leaving the probe in there seems to be the cause of a lot of problems with digital thermos. I guess if you have a direct fired tun and doing multi-step mashes like Evan! you'd want a constant read on temp.

I also constantly monitor the temp of the wort when I'm cooling, but I use a dial thermo that clips to the side of the kettle, not my digital.
 
OP
Evan!

Evan!

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2006
Messages
11,835
Reaction score
104
Location
Charlottesville, VA
Beerthoven said:
Do you guys leave the probe in the mash the whole time?
no, I just must have not been paying attention and it the wire rested on the pot or the burner for a few seconds...
 
OP
Evan!

Evan!

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2006
Messages
11,835
Reaction score
104
Location
Charlottesville, VA
Beerthoven said:
Once the mash temp has stabilized (5 mins or so) I remove the probe and close up my mash tun. Leaving the probe in there seems to be the cause of a lot of problems with digital thermos.

I also constantly monitor the temp of the wort when I'm cooling, but I use a dial thermo that clips to the side of the kettle, not my digital.
My mash temps never truly stabilize because I mash in a kettle and not a cooler.
 

Beerthoven

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 4, 2007
Messages
2,173
Reaction score
39
Location
Cary, NC
Evan! said:
My mash temps never truly stabilize because I mash in a kettle and not a cooler.
I can see why you'd want to watch it closely.

You often do multi-step mashes, too, right? Me, I'm a single infusion guy, but I do do a mash-out.
 

Blender

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2006
Messages
3,106
Reaction score
8
Location
Santa Cruz, CA.
I have the same thermo and mine went wonky on me reading 30 degrees high. I have treated this thing with care because it was $40.00 but it was supposed to be waterproof under brewing conditions. I put it in the oven because it is warm from the pilot lights and about a week later it begins to read properly again when tested in boiling water and freezing water. I'm happy but I won't trust it without testing for the next few brews.
 

blacklab

Banned
Joined
Nov 2, 2007
Messages
2,379
Reaction score
50
Location
Portland, ME
The funny thing about mine is that the sensor plugs into the side of the main unit and is connected by a ~16 inch braided wire. It's supposed to be stuck in the oven with whatever you're cooking. I would think an hour at 152 in a cooler would not harm it.

Anyway - back to the old school dial.
 
OP
Evan!

Evan!

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2006
Messages
11,835
Reaction score
104
Location
Charlottesville, VA
Beerthoven said:
I can see why you'd want to watch it closely.

You often do multi-step mashes, too, right? Me, I'm a single infusion guy, but I do do a mash-out.
Yeah, I do like my stepped mashes....
 
OP
Evan!

Evan!

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2006
Messages
11,835
Reaction score
104
Location
Charlottesville, VA
blacklab said:
The funny thing about mine is that the sensor plugs into the side of the main unit and is connected by a ~16 inch braided wire. It's supposed to be stuck in the oven with whatever you're cooking. I would think an hour at 152 in a cooler would not harm it.

Anyway - back to the old school dial.
Well, with those braided wire units, the place where the wire connects to the metal probe is not waterproof. You should try putting the wire and probe in the oven for awhile, it might fix it...ask around for the right temp tho...
 

Blender

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2006
Messages
3,106
Reaction score
8
Location
Santa Cruz, CA.
blacklab said:
The funny thing about mine is that the sensor plugs into the side of the main unit and is connected by a ~16 inch braided wire. It's supposed to be stuck in the oven with whatever you're cooking. I would think an hour at 152 in a cooler would not harm it.

Anyway - back to the old school dial.
I think its the liquid that screws them up and not the heat.
 

tentacles

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 19, 2008
Messages
118
Reaction score
0
I hosed my digital meat thermometer last time I used it in a brew, I think the problem is that the probe isn't sealed well and wort got in there to short it out. When I get it replaced I will use some keg lube and heat shrink tubing to prevent this from happening again
 

Blender

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 6, 2006
Messages
3,106
Reaction score
8
Location
Santa Cruz, CA.
tentacles said:
I hosed my digital meat thermometer last time I used it in a brew, I think the problem is that the probe isn't sealed well and wort got in there to short it out. When I get it replaced I will use some keg lube and heat shrink tubing to prevent this from happening again
People have fixed these by applying heat and drying out the probes.
 

missing link

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2007
Messages
650
Reaction score
4
Location
Highland, MI
I made 1/8 weldless fitting for my HLT and MT using parts from lowes. The probe goes in the fitting and the wire stays outside where it is dry. Maybe $10 per cooler.

Linc
 

jdoiv

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 5, 2007
Messages
1,151
Reaction score
8
Location
Nashville, TN
I did the same thing a couple of weeks ago. I just got the Traceable about a month ago and have only done two batches with it. I was heating the MLT to mash out and looked down to see the wire touching the brewstand and it was too late. Looks like it still works though.
 

AnOldUR

fer-men-TAY-shuhn
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
6,847
Reaction score
856
. . . Well, the little catches on the battery door were broken off . . .

I had the same thing happen to my Traceable, although I totally blame myself. I was taking the battery cover off to get the plastic strip out that keeps the battery from going dead during shipping. The cover didn’t pop up, so I ended up turning too hard and broke those ears off.

I bought it from Lab Safety Supplies, so I emailed them about getting a replacement. Their reply was that the covers were not available. Next I emailed Control Company, who I believe is the main distributor. I told them that it was my fault and asked if I could purchase a new cover. This company has great customer service. They sent me out a replacement at no charge.
 

Brewing Clamper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Messages
2,804
Reaction score
23
Location
Union City, CA
At the risk of unveiling my ignorance, what is a traceable thermometer? Do you have a linky to the one you're using?
 

AnOldUR

fer-men-TAY-shuhn
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Mar 12, 2007
Messages
6,847
Reaction score
856
At the risk of unveiling my ignorance, what is a traceable thermometer? Do you have a linky to the one you're using?
Here's the one I have:

https://www.labsafety.com/search/traceable/38477/91824/?isredirect=true

Includes a Traceable® certificate that indicates instrument traceability to standards provided by NIST.

Edit:
Used it for the first time last weekend. Left the probe completely submersed in the mash the entire time. Worked great. No problems.
 

Chad

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2007
Messages
1,026
Reaction score
12
Location
Apex, NC
Traceable waterproof Mini Thermometer. Nice unit for checking mash temps. A little flimsily built for the price, as others have noted.

NOTE: braided wire cooking thermometers are meant for dry heat applications. Units like this Pyrex and similar thermometers from Taylor and Polder will quit if the braid gets wet. Do not use them in a mash tun. Luckily the probes are replaceable.

If you are into cooking thermometers -- or just want the fastest readout possible -- the Thermapen is hard to beat. Very pricey, but worth it if you cook a lot.

Chad
 
Last edited by a moderator:

GilaMinumBeer

Half-fast Prattlarian
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
65,437
Reaction score
10,792
I have personally opted to revert back to basics on my DF MLT. I too leave my therm in all the time via weldless therm port (thermothingy).

I use a cheap analogue dial type to get it to range and dial in the specific temp with a lab stick to be certain. For me, it always seemed the remote for the probe type was always in the way and the more I had to move it the more the seal in the thermothingy would fail. There is nothing worse than a leaking thermothingy when the leaky wort is at 140+ degrees. Now, I don;t have to move the therm and I don;t have any leaks.

So far, the cheap cooking therm's I have are consistent with my lab stick therm. Consistent enough that I don;t feel the need to check it but every other brew. Bet that will bite me one day tho'.
 
OP
Evan!

Evan!

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2006
Messages
11,835
Reaction score
104
Location
Charlottesville, VA
I have personally opted to revert back to basics on my DF MLT. I too leave my therm in all the time via weldless therm port (thermothingy).

I use a cheap analogue dial type to get it to range and dial in the specific temp with a lab stick to be certain. For me, it always seemed the remote for the probe type was always in the way and the more I had to move it the more the seal in the thermothingy would fail. There is nothing worse than a leaking thermothingy when the leaky wort is at 140+ degrees. Now, I don;t have to move the therm and I don;t have any leaks.

So far, the cheap cooking therm's I have are consistent with my lab stick therm. Consistent enough that I don;t feel the need to check it but every other brew. Bet that will bite me one day tho'.
Hey, so, I've never heard of the thermothingy before. Will this work in an igloo cooler MLT? I'd love to have a permanently installed thermometer. Can anyone also recommend a dial thermo for the MLT?
 

Brewing Clamper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Messages
2,804
Reaction score
23
Location
Union City, CA
I was thinking of maybe getting something like this sight glass from Williams Brewing. It would kill two birds with one stone, sight glass and thermometer adapter. I looked for something similar at Austin Homebrew Supply but the didn't have it. The only think is that I might need a different nipple to have it go through my cooler instead of a thinner wall like a brew pot.
 
OP
Evan!

Evan!

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 9, 2006
Messages
11,835
Reaction score
104
Location
Charlottesville, VA
I was thinking of maybe getting something like this sight glass from Williams Brewing. It would kill two birds with one stone, sight glass and thermometer adapter. I looked for something similar at Austin Homebrew Supply but the didn't have it. The only think is that I might need a different nipple to have it go through my cooler instead of a thinner wall like a brew pot.
What do you need a sight glass on your MLT for?
 

JVD_X

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 4, 2008
Messages
1,470
Reaction score
5
Location
Gainesville, Virginia
I was thinking of maybe getting something like this sight glass from Williams Brewing. It would kill two birds with one stone, sight glass and thermometer adapter. I looked for something similar at Austin Homebrew Supply but the didn't have it. The only think is that I might need a different nipple to have it go through my cooler instead of a thinner wall like a brew pot.
I did the same thing.. however the ID of the thermometer adapter on all three of mine was about 0.5 mm too small. I enlarged it slightly using a Dremel.
 

GilaMinumBeer

Half-fast Prattlarian
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
65,437
Reaction score
10,792
Hey, so, I've never heard of the thermothingy before. Will this work in an igloo cooler MLT? I'd love to have a permanently installed thermometer. Can anyone also recommend a dial thermo for the MLT?
Should work with a cooler. IIRC, they have the option on the nipple length.

Made by Zymico and available through many on-line retailers. Here's one;

Weld-B-Gone Thermothingy - All-Grain Equipment - High Gravity

Like I said before, it works good as long as you don't fidget with the probe wire. If you do that it'll become a serious PITA the first time you have to try to stop the leak mid mash.

As for the dial thermo's I have always used the cheap stuff from Walmart's cooking section but one of these days I will spring for the Blichman bling. Might even go for broke and get it welded in too.
 

Brewing Clamper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Messages
2,804
Reaction score
23
Location
Union City, CA

GilaMinumBeer

Half-fast Prattlarian
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jan 23, 2008
Messages
65,437
Reaction score
10,792
Cool, I found this one from the same retailer, but it specifically says it does not fit a 5g cooler, only a 10g. I did not know that the coolers had different wall thiknesses. Bummer, I have a 5g cooler!
I am not sure if the 5g wall thickness is that substantially thnner or not but, I suppose you could always find a shorter threaded nipple at Lowes in the plumbing section or add washers as spacers on the outside it after the provided washer.

My 2/100th's.
 

conpewter

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 2, 2007
Messages
5,077
Reaction score
58
Location
East Dundee, Illinois
I've read around here somewhere about just using a self-drilled stopper in the mash tun as a way to have a thermometer probe in through the side.

Basically you get a solid stopper, drill it smaller than your thermometer probe, drill a hole through the mash tun that will fit the stopper, put the stopper in from the inside (so the water pressure will push it in even more) and snug it in really good, then insert the probe from the outside.
 

Brewing Clamper

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2006
Messages
2,804
Reaction score
23
Location
Union City, CA
I've read around here somewhere about just using a self-drilled stopper in the mash tun as a way to have a thermometer probe in through the side.

Basically you get a solid stopper, drill it smaller than your thermometer probe, drill a hole through the mash tun that will fit the stopper, put the stopper in from the inside (so the water pressure will push it in even more) and snug it in really good, then insert the probe from the outside.
Yeah, that was The Pol's system here.
 
Top