Author Topic: Temperature Controller?  (Read 7231 times)

Offline depper

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Temperature Controller?
« on: July 08, 2014, 06:02:18 AM »
I just purchased an Oktoberfest extract kit from Brewer's Best that I want to make for this fall.  I did notice in the instructions that the fermentation temperature needs to be cooler than what my basement can provide.  I have an old "beer fridge" in the garage that I want to use as a controlled fermenter for this brew as well as other lagers.  My question to you all is:

What kind of temperature controller would you all recommend/use? 

Thanks for your help and advice!

Tim

Offline RickS

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Re: Temperature Controller?
« Reply #1 on: July 08, 2014, 09:05:27 AM »
If you can do a little assembly, get a STC-1000, a project box (big enough to hold an electrical outlet and the STC-1000) and a electrical outlet and some wire.
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Offline depper

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Re: Temperature Controller?
« Reply #2 on: July 08, 2014, 09:18:27 AM »
I guess you have to describe "a little assembly" in more detail.......I can do some things but I also know my limits when it comes to electrical jobs!  I'm not against doing some assembly, but I also don't want to blow anything up :)  Is there one out there that would be a "plug and play" method?? 

Offline Baron Von MunchKrausen

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Re: Temperature Controller?
« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2014, 01:42:35 PM »
I have this Johnson temperature controller which works very well. You can switch from cooling to heating by removing the cover and switching a jumper.
I would have preferred to get a two stage controller because ambient temperatures fluctuate widely in my climate in the spring and fall.
For heating, I have a cheap clamp light with a clear 100 W bulb in the fermenter fridge. This works well in our harsh winters. My fermenter fridge sits in the garage.
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Offline depper

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Re: Temperature Controller?
« Reply #4 on: July 09, 2014, 05:32:21 AM »
After reviewing many different options for the temperature controller I decided to go with the Johnson control, mainly because it's more of a plug and play instead of my trying to wire things up.  I know the wiring isn't too challenging but I'm just not the electrical kind of guy :)  I am very excited to go this route so I can start fermenting lagers!  Thanks to all with advice.  Brew on!!

Tim

Offline Maine Homebrewer

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Re: Temperature Controller?
« Reply #5 on: July 09, 2014, 04:45:53 PM »
I use a Johnson controller to turn a chest freezer into a keg cooler. Works great, though I have to look at the manual every time I adjust the thing. Don't throw that paper away, you'll need it.
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Offline tonygrim

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Re: Temperature Controller?
« Reply #6 on: August 07, 2014, 10:59:14 PM »
I've put my geek hat on and written some code that runs on a Raspberry Pi computer. Attached to the Pi are USB temperature sensors that the code interrogates and it switches solid state relays to control heating and cooling. The STC-1000 does the same thing for probably less cost, but my Pi solution enables me to monitor and control the temp in more than one cabinet simultaneously. It's been keeping my primary (with IPA in it) happily within a degree either side of 18C for the duration so far, and will shortly be called upon to control a lager and a porter ferment simultaneously.

Worth the effort? Probably not but hey, it was fun building and coding it.  8)

Tony
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Primary 1: "Possumer's Flat II" robust porter
Primary 2:empty
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Bottle conditioning: IPA, "Middle Ridge" Porter, "Back Ridge" Brown Ale.

Offline Dodes

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Re: Temperature Controller?
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2014, 11:19:16 PM »
tonygrim, Do you have some pictures and some blog about it? I would be interested to read how you made it and what problems have you encountered :)

Offline tonygrim

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Re: Temperature Controller?
« Reply #8 on: August 08, 2014, 03:13:52 AM »
tonygrim, Do you have some pictures and some blog about it? I would be interested to read how you made it and what problems have you encountered :)

Not really. I conceived it as a project for my own amusement and didn't spend much time at all fine tuning the user interface - beyond being able to set the target temp and view a temperature graph of the last 24hrs -  or functionality. However, I have plans to make it more, er, "friendly", in the sense that if you want to manipulate some basic facet you don't have to edit the source code and rebuild the darned thing  :-\

I'll maybe start a thread and document what I've been doing. Watch this space.  :)

Tony
Dona nobis cervisiam!
Primary 1: "Possumer's Flat II" robust porter
Primary 2:empty
Secondary: "Possumer's Flat" robust porter
Bottle conditioning: IPA, "Middle Ridge" Porter, "Back Ridge" Brown Ale.

Offline drb1215

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Re: Temperature Controller?
« Reply #9 on: August 08, 2014, 07:23:19 AM »
I use the Johnson Controller, since my wife gave it to me for xmas last year.  Simple to use.  For a ferm chamber I'm thinking about trying out one of the Auburn Instruments unit that has 2 outlets (1 each for cooling and heating). http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8&products_id=334.  Has anyone tried one of these?

Offline Baron Von MunchKrausen

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Re: Temperature Controller?
« Reply #10 on: August 08, 2014, 07:46:49 AM »
That's half the cost of the Ranco I was looking at. I'm also looking for a dual controller. As we approach fall, ambient temperatures here can range from low 50's to high 70's. I also am curious if anyone has experience with this unit. It's very reasonably priced.
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Offline Dodes

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Re: Temperature Controller?
« Reply #11 on: August 08, 2014, 01:13:33 PM »
I'm using STC-1000 temperature controller (which has solo output for cold and solo for heat) which you can get from ebay for about 20$. It is working fine. But maybe in future I would like to have something based on the Raspberry Pi or something like this which would also log the temperatures, etc. (for logging I'm using the temperature logger, also from the ebay).

Offline ihikeut

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Re: Temperature Controller?
« Reply #12 on: August 08, 2014, 05:10:07 PM »
In the process of building a new fermentation chamber I compared Raspberry Pi and Webcontrol PLC controllers. Found Webcontrol PLC to be easier code to write and understand for a person that does not no how to write code, like myself. I would stay away from maxim for your temp sensors, a lot of hoops to jump threw.

Offline captjpr3

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Re: Temperature Controller?
« Reply #13 on: August 08, 2014, 10:09:43 PM »
Here's what I use

http://morebeer.com/products/analog-temperature-controller.html?site_id=5

You just plug it into the wall and plug the fridge into it, put sensor probe inside the fridge, and mount the control box on the wall or the side of the fridge. The thermometer inside my fridge doesn't budge from whatever Temperature I set. One note though, while the temp in the fridge remains steady day and night, it's not always exactly the same temperature to which I set the knob on the controller. I have to play with it a little bit to get it exactly where I want it. The really cool thing about this unit is when the fermentation is done and you want to go back to regular refrigerator temp, you just plug the refer back directly into the wall and leave all the kit in place