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MX1
01-17-2011, 05:52 AM
I am reconfiguring my brewery. It will be 3 tier, gravity fed, electric HLT and BK. No pumps to run, no thermocouples. I will used kettle mounted thermometers for temp readings. I just need to be able to dial up and down the 2 heating elements.

I have no idea what a SSR, a PID, or a PWM really are other than ways and means to modify the power going to the element. With the right info, guidance and patience I can get there.

If need be I can use the controller by HighGravity, but I would rather build, or even pay someone here to build it for me.

Simple is better.
Thanks for reading

Tim
__________________

zoebisch01
01-17-2011, 12:14 PM
SSR: Solid State Relay. It's a device for switching high power with a small voltage signal.
PID: Proportional Integral Derivative. It's a common method for controlling process systems, in particular they work quite well with thermal systems once tuned.
PWM: Pulse Width Modulation. You modulate the width of a pulse signal to vary the power going to a device. Functionally similar to a duty cycle controller iirc.

All three of these technologies are commonly used in conjunction. The PID determines the value of driving voltage needed to get to a certain temp, the signal closes the SSR so that the high voltage can be supplied to your heating element. The PID uses PWM to regulate the signal.

That all being said, if you want a stable process (which I assume you do) there is no method more commonly used, nor cheaper than using a PID. My experience with these types of things is to buy an off-the-shelf solution if you can. In the long run it is usually worth it because it is less hassle than a custom job. Making a custom controller means you'll need to understand the device so when something goes wrong you can fix it.

MX1
01-17-2011, 02:10 PM
it i s my understanding that with all three (PID, SSR, PWM) you need a thermocouple. Is that correct? or am I miss reading.....

Tim

zoebisch01
01-17-2011, 04:29 PM
it i s my understanding that with all three (PID, SSR, PWM) you need a thermocouple. Is that correct? or am I miss reading.....

Tim

Absolutely. That is the sole input that the PID has and is what the control system is measuring. There is really no way around this. If you want an automated system you must have a means to measure temperature as an input which there really isn't much better than a thermocouple. Granted, I suppose you might be able to do it with an infrared thermometer somehow but that is going to be even deeper into the 'lotsa work' type deal.


I realized that what you are after is *not* a control system but rather a manual way to regulate your temps. (sorry about that)

That all being said what you *could* do is get a variac (http://www.variac.com/) and wire the elements that way. Then you could just turn the dial and measure your temperature manually and manually adjust the voltage. After a while you could get the equipment running the way you want. You just have to make sure it's regulated for the elements you are going to use.

zoebisch01
01-17-2011, 04:37 PM
After a little looking, a 30 A variac is pretty expensive. I'm pretty sure that's what you'd need and is really one of the most straightforward approaches.

How many elements are you planning on, what wattage and voltage?

zoebisch01
01-17-2011, 05:05 PM
Problem is with no feedback you are kind of limited to what you can use. Another thing you could consider is just to find an industrial dimmer switch rated for what you want, it would probably be cheaper.

wildwest450
01-17-2011, 06:26 PM
If need be I can use the controller by HighGravity, but I would rather build, or even pay someone here to build it for me.

That's a good choice if you decide to go that route. I have NO desire or ability to build electronics, and while everyone will tell you how easy and cheap it is, NO one is willing to build one for you, ask me how I know. Those guys are great to work with, and will change almost anything you want them to.

MX1
01-17-2011, 07:18 PM
I will be using 2 different elements both 240v at 3500 watts. And the dimmer switch is kinda they way I want to go.
My main issue is being in Belgium, I cant just pop into a hardware store, they don't sell that kinda stuff at them here.

Tim

Ronthered
01-18-2011, 12:51 AM
There are lots of controllers built for electric systems, and some built by members here on HBC, you should put out a cry for help, I'm sure it'll be answered.

Cliff
01-18-2011, 03:12 PM
I've read about people scavenging old electric stoves for the controllers

Check out Brewtroller and the BCS 460

MX1
01-18-2011, 04:17 PM
Thanks for the info and systems, but I guess I am confusing people with the fact that I don't want to use thermocouples....
I will be watching a dial thermometer, so there will be no temp feedback to send to a PID/SSR.

I get that in this day and age of high tech gadgets, I might sound a bit silly, but this is simply what I like.
I have seem some simply amazing full auto brew set-ups, they truly blow me away, and i am happy for those that have them, want them, and use them but,

if I wanted to push a button and get beer, I would hop in the Alfa Romeo 159, and drive to a brewery, there are many within 20 miles of my house.
I enjoy the simple acts of stressing over temp control, batch sparging, and stirring my own mash

Again, thank you one and all for helping me here, I have followed every link and suggestion without fail.
I submit to the world that this is by far the best Brew board on the net, and I am proud to be a member.

Tim

Ron
01-18-2011, 04:29 PM
Yeah your kinda in the land of beer over there. Someday I'd like to get over there just for the beer.

zoebisch01
01-18-2011, 05:09 PM
Oh hey no worries on explaining why you want to go that route, I get it. You can find a manual dimmer but one that is of that scope is going to be expensive. I'm looking into some other ideas. What you really need is one element that is a simple on/off for your boil kettle and an adjustable power output on your mash tun I am assuming?

I think I have found a reasonable off-the-shelf solution:

Payne Engineering Variable Transformer 18TBP-2-15 (http://www.morelectricheating.com/default.aspx?page=item%20detail&itemcode=PAYNE10002)

These are about $110 USd or so, and just meet the specs you are looking at.

zoebisch01
01-18-2011, 05:27 PM
Here's the manual (http://www.payneng.com/PDFs/18tbpds.pdf)

Keep in mind, that will control one (1) of those elements.

MX1
01-18-2011, 07:32 PM
thx
I will read up on it tomorrow at work

Cliff
01-19-2011, 11:14 PM
Of course you could just use hot rocks from a fire to boil your wort.

check out the WATLOW site they have some rather simple and straightforward controller solutions. Giver their sales geeks a call and tell 'em what you want to do.

Lerxst
01-20-2011, 10:29 AM
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3342&start=60

Cliff
01-20-2011, 06:14 PM
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3342&start=60

Is that like just a friggin Light Dimmer?
How mush power does he control with that thing~??

I've burnt up a Lutron unit with too many low wattage transformers on a line

MX1
01-20-2011, 07:22 PM
Is that like just a friggin Light Dimmer?
How mush power does he control with that thing~??

I've burnt up a Lutron unit with too many low wattage transformers on a line

Seemed like most everything was 120v at around 2000w. The thread was a few years old, and I will confess that i did not read the whole thing, but I will over the next few days.

Tim

zoebisch01
01-22-2011, 01:36 AM
Is that like just a friggin Light Dimmer?
How mush power does he control with that thing~??

I've burnt up a Lutron unit with too many low wattage transformers on a line

No, I'm fairly certain there's a Triac (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TRIAC) in there that takes the place of the variable resistor in a dimmer or is similar to a SSR in functionality.

Yes you can do such things, but to be honest I normally try for OTS solutions because you can save yourself lots of headaches.

zoebisch01
01-22-2011, 01:40 AM
Yeah, it's basically equivalent in function to the OTS I posted. It will be quite a bit cheaper though to build, assuming MX1 can find all the parts. What happens in that circuit is you have a variable resistor controlling the voltage via the triac, at least I am fairly certain from glancing at it.

MX1
01-22-2011, 07:24 AM
you guys have no idea how much I appreciate all the help.
Finding what I need is hard as hell to do, don't know enuff to be confident searching the net for it,
and do not know enuff French or Flemish to explain it here in Brussels.

Gonna just order the one I found online, and move forward.

Tim

Ron
01-22-2011, 08:17 AM
you guys have no idea how much I appreciate all the help.
Finding what I need is hard as hell to do, don't know enuff to be confident searching the net for it,
and do not know enuff French or Flemish to explain it here in Brussels.

Gonna just order the one I found online, and move forward.

Tim

Just say Pardon moi Je' desolae je' no compraha franica, parle vue english? Sorry for the spelling I'm sure I butchered it it's been along time since high school french.

zoebisch01
01-22-2011, 12:42 PM
you guys have no idea how much I appreciate all the help.
Finding what I need is hard as hell to do, don't know enuff to be confident searching the net for it,
and do not know enuff French or Flemish to explain it here in Brussels.

Gonna just order the one I found online, and move forward.

Tim

Sounds good, let us know how it turns out.

MX1
01-22-2011, 02:27 PM
Will do, I want to get back up and running by the 1st of March.
Going out Monday to source the lumber and hardware for the construction of my sculpture.

Ordered my 2 3800w elements, and I am looking for the right step bits and sawz-all blades to start the kettles.
Next week my 36qt cooler will be here, and I will start the manifold on that as well.
Also, need to source and order the the bulkheads, and thermo / sight-glass setups.

Then after I have all that I will set about plumbing the rig, and getting all the tubing I need.
I am going to install a water filter, and hard plumb up to the HLT, so I can connect my garden hose and not have to lug water to fill.

Tim