Temperature controlled home brew

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Michaelsen
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Temperature controlled home brew

Post by Michaelsen » Mon Jul 19, 2004 2:50 pm

I am a beer home brewer and I want to make a temperature controlled brew system.
I have two brew pots I want heated with water heater elements. One 4500-5500 w in each pot should do it. I will power them from my 240V dryer outlet.
On the first brew pot I need to adjust the water temperatures anywhere from 110F to boiling.
On the 2nd I need to control temperatures from 120F to 180F.
I want to set a temperature, get the content of the pot to that temperature as fast as possible and keep it there until I stop it. <p>Now here is the bad part.... I do not know much about electronics.
Should I have someone built this for me or should I buy a temperature controller from ebay: http://tinylink.com/?TwkXhLpdZb ?
Then again, I have no clue what I should look for in those temperature controllers on ebay.<p>I hope someone here will help me out a bit with some answers.<p>Regards
Mike

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Chris Smith
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Re: Temperature controlled home brew

Post by Chris Smith » Mon Jul 19, 2004 6:28 pm

As long as your not a sealed system, your safe.<p> And if you are just buy a replacement cut off valve [pressure relief valve] for a standard hot water heater and plumb it in. <p>This will prevents explosions and boil overs.

As to the electricity side, That’s why we call it electronics and electrical jobs. <p>If your not familiar, hire some one who is or have it checked out before you fire it up. <p>Controllers are as simple as a electric blanket. <p>Use GFI [Ground fault interrupters] to prevent shorts to ground, and plastic coated SS probes to not taint the beers flavor. <p>Other than that it like a large crock pot, with probe that cutts off the power on and off as the Temp is achieved. <p>Heater probes stay off [power on] until the heat is achieved, and then merely cycle between a small hysteresis, depending on the controller. <p>Hysteresis [ Hiss Ter Iss] is the up and down or positive /minus fluctuating temperature of the controller, and some controllers have this as adjustable, so that it cuts off at say 180, and is back on at 175.

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jwax
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Re: Temperature controlled home brew

Post by jwax » Mon Jul 19, 2004 7:46 pm

Best I'd suggest Mike, is to find an electrician (a beer-drinking one would be best!) and describe what you're after- let him do it all. 240 volts is deadly, especially around liquids. You'll need GFI, a cutoff switchbox, and proper wiring. He'll set up a controller for temperature.
I don't know your electric rates, but you may save $$ by a "dual-fuel" heater. Cheap natural gas to get up to temperature, then switch to electric for control. Just a thought.
Cheers!
John

Michaelsen
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Re: Temperature controlled home brew

Post by Michaelsen » Tue Jul 20, 2004 3:34 am

ng2aradiofunk, you are sure drawing some conclusions here. The two 15.5 gallon pots I want heated are not covered up and it is not a "sealed system".<p>[ July 20, 2004: Message edited by: Michaelsen ]</p>

uchwoody
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Re: Temperature controlled home brew

Post by uchwoody » Tue Jul 20, 2004 6:39 am

its just that u don't know much about electronics, but u could get someone to build a circuit for u if u find one that suits you. Check out imagineeringezine.com, I think they have a sampling of circuits.

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haklesup
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Re: Temperature controlled home brew

Post by haklesup » Tue Jul 20, 2004 12:11 pm

Any temp controller has inputs for one or more thermo couples, outputs to control the load (usually a relay) and a way to power it.<p>Look for one that works at 110V to power it up and use a relay with 110V coil and 220V rated contacts. This will alleviate you from needing a DC supply to power it and the relay. Also (of course) make sure it handles the range of temp you require, many models exist, same goes for the thermocouple (you may want a glass envelope)<p>One thermocouple is enough but two would allow you to sense the heating element or a second pot with only one controller. Other models handle even more channels. A good controller will not only have a settable setpoint but will also have alarm levels you can set if anything goes wrong.<p>Omega is the biggest supplier of temp control stuff. Even if you go with another brand, the catalogs and appnotes available from them will fill in therest of the picture for you.<p>I'll leave the container and heating element up to you.<p>Omega Tech support page.<p>If you could install a 2 way light switch and fixture, you should be able to do this.<p>[ July 20, 2004: Message edited by: haklesup ]</p>

Engineer1138
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Re: Temperature controlled home brew

Post by Engineer1138 » Tue Jul 20, 2004 1:49 pm

Temperature control is a pretty stable industry and 3 possible solutions come to mind.
a) Look on the homebrew websites or on Usenet (rec.crafts.brewing) for what other people have done.
b) Go to a plumbing store (NOT Home Depot: a store that specializes in plumbing supplies) and tell the counter person what you are trying to do and they can probably point you in the right direction.
c) I think a large rice cooker might work, but I don't know how expensive one that big would be.<p>I make wine as a hobby (1 batch in sec. fermentation right now, one just bottled) and I have considered building a controlled heating blanket to keep the carboys warm in winter. <p>What you need is not hard to do, but unless you want to learn a lot about electronics quickly, you're probably better off with a prebuilt or slightly modified system. Sometimes we've been building electronics for so long we forget that someone new to the hobby is going to have a steep learning curve before doing anything useful :-)

Michaelsen
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Re: Temperature controlled home brew

Post by Michaelsen » Tue Jul 20, 2004 3:18 pm

Thanks for all your help.<p>I guess I will leave the project to someone who know what he is doing. Are there any websites out there where I can post my project for anyone interested in doing it for me?<p>I just found someones website with exactly what I need: http://hbd.org/rlaborde/controll.htm
It has diagrams for the controller and everything.<p>Regards
Mike

perfectbite
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Re: Temperature controlled home brew

Post by perfectbite » Tue Jul 20, 2004 7:11 pm

Engineer1138 <p>"""Sometimes we've been building electronics for so long we forget that someone new to the hobby is going to have a steep learning curve before doing anything useful :-)""" <p>Amen to that.<p>I have a question. In the given schematic at
http://hbd.org/rlaborde/controll.htm
on the left hand side of 1/2 556s in there is a branched parrallel circuit with an IN914 diode on one side without a resistor and a reversed IN914 diode on the other side with a 1K Ohm resistor. That branch comes back to a 100K Ohm variable resistor which then goes to the 1/2 556's pin 2 and pin 6. <p>How does that work?<p>Is it 'metering' the voltage to the 555's cap?<p>If both 1/2 556s are independent and the scheme of things is to switch the power over from one heater to another sequentially from the same 240VAC source what is to prevent overlap? Trial and error?<p>Thanks

dyarker
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Re: Temperature controlled home brew

Post by dyarker » Wed Jul 21, 2004 4:45 am

Pin 1 (13) is discharge. The 10uF cap charges thru the left 1N914. When discharge transistor turns on, the current goes thru the right diode. The 1K resistor limits the current if the 100K pot is all the way right. The 100K pot adjusts ratio of on to off time.<p>Pin 5 goes to SSR and the 555. The 555's output goes to pin 10, the RESET of second half of 556. So second half of 556 CANNOT be on if first half of 556 is on. (added: unless both 556 havles are set to long on times, then there could be overlap but synconized to be minimal.)<p>Adjusting on off ratio is a heat control. That circuit doesn't have a temperature sensor for temperature control.<p>[ July 21, 2004: Message edited by: Dale Y ]</p>
Dale Y

Deal
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Re: Temperature controlled home brew

Post by Deal » Wed Jul 21, 2004 2:17 pm

Looking for 20 amps at 230/240 volts is close to graduating you out of 'Home' brewing. That you mention 240v. makes me think you are not home based. 5500 watts is some freaking amount of power. How big are these pots? What in the fermentation (self generated heat) process needs enough power to melt a piece of steel the size of a paperback book in like less than a minute? Are these pots twenty feet wide? I'm calling shit on this question. This question is a fraud and a waste of time.

bodgy
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Re: Temperature controlled home brew

Post by bodgy » Wed Jul 21, 2004 3:02 pm

If building that particular circuit, zero crossing SSR's should be used, to keep the neighbours happy, also at those currents they may well need to be heatsinked.<p>As far as the 5K5 watts is concerned, my domestic kettle is 2K2 watts, and that only boils upto 6Ltrs of water.<p>So on a 240v supply 5KW would not be overkill as far as warming a barrel or two.<p>Colin
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Michaelsen
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Re: Temperature controlled home brew

Post by Michaelsen » Wed Jul 21, 2004 3:40 pm

Sounds like a couple of guys here know just as much about home brewing and boiling water as I know about electronic.
Today I "threw" a 1650W 110V water heater element in a pot with seven gallons of water. I wanted to see how fast it would come to a boil. After 30 minutes it went from 81 to 126 F. That was when I stopped, because this is the time I can bring it to a boil with my gas burner. My goal by doing this the electric way is first of all to bring the time it takes to archive a boil down and 2nd avoid running out of gas in the middle of my brewing.<p>It's as simple as that and nothing new. Check posts at rec.crafts.brewing: http://tinyurl.com/5q9l3, so Deal why don't you bring your shit somewhere else, I am just trying to get a little help and your post is not contributing in any way.<p>Regards
Mike<p>[ July 21, 2004: Message edited by: Michaelsen ]</p>

Michaelsen
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Re: Temperature controlled home brew

Post by Michaelsen » Wed Jul 21, 2004 4:28 pm

Did anyone say tunnel vision?

bodgy
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Re: Temperature controlled home brew

Post by bodgy » Wed Jul 21, 2004 7:12 pm

I've lost track of who is being insulted by whom here.<p>Anyhow as the boiling of the wort is a fixed time (commercially 1.75 hours), what this circuit really needs is -<p>1. A switch of some kind to connect power to the copper.<p>2. A timer to switch the heating element off after the required time.<p>3. An annunciator to let you know it's done.<p>Other possible refinements -<p>If the boiled wort is to be fermented in the same vessel, then after removing the manure from the liquor, a constant 60F is required during the fermentaion period, for this a temperature controlled heater would be required. <p>To get really swizzy we could also add on a device to open a valve to release the manure rather than doing it manually, but now I'm getting carried away with the gizmo side of things.<p>And yes I do know how to brew commercial beer, and ferment wine etc, knowledge needed for one of my past lives.<p>Colin, Dip Wine & Spirits WSET.
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