Documenting my build, PID and electric pot

For those with a soldering iron perhaps? :)
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Ante
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Documenting my build, PID and electric pot

Post by Ante » 4 years ago

After thinking about it on and off for a couple of years, I decided that it was time to try out brewing.
Beeing on paternity leave, I have had some time to come up with different ideas for a build, (which has resulted in some strange ones) but in the end I decided to go for a simple BIAB pot with PID control.

*I went for a 25L pot (as this pot was really cheap, I would have prefered 30L) with a 2.4kW heating element.
The heating element is the one from PECOservices http://www.pecoservices.co.uk/spare-ele ... 5-21-p.asp,
quite often used by brewers in Sweden. The PID I use is the N2006P (eBay) with a PT100 sensor.
At first I was planning on incorporating some kind of recirc but after reading several threads on the hassle with recirc in BIAB I decided to not go down that road...
I am planning on doing ~10L batches (Volume into fermenter)


To get the ball rolling I put an order on eBay, PID and SSR was the first to be ordered home!
Image Image Some other stuff I bought...
*The blue boxes contain IEC C13 and C14 sockets wich I use for power IN/OUT.
The shiny part to the right is 4-pin XLR, used to connect the PT100 sensor (you actually only need 3-pin)
Next to the box you see the 25A SSR mounted on its heatsink,
and in the lower left a bag with three SPST rocker switches with LED lights
Image The next step was to see how everthing would fit, cardboard mock-up =) Image Image When I was satisfied with the layout I started cutting the front and back plates. Image Image Image Finally time to start doing the wiring :) Image Testing, PID controlled kettle :thumbs:
*(The black box with blue and green buttons are an GFI, safety first!) Image At last time for a real test, auto tuning the PID with 20l water. Image

Still had some wiring to do to get the LEDs functioning, realised I had to re-do some of the earlier wiring.. Image

Had some problems with the soldering of the PT100 cables, damn those tiny cables! :scratch: Image After some fiddling I finally got it working :thumbs:
*The top switch is for main power to the unit, the next switch is power to the heating element, and the third one is for the alarm buzzer Image
Planning to do my first brew in january, can't wait to put it to the real test! :)
Please let me know what you think or if you have any questions!

*Edit Fri 21/12, additional info added

/Andreas
Last edited by Ante on 20 Dec 2012, 19:26, edited 3 times in total.


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Post by BrickBrewHaus » 4 years ago

Very elegant control box, looks nice.

1) How powerful is your heating element?
2) How big is your kettle?
3) What are the three switches for?
4) Seems like everyone that builds an electric system incorporates a pump for recirc, I don't see one for yours. Any particular reason (not that I think its wrong either way)?
5) You said this is gonna be your first brew EVER?
6) Congrats on the baby!

Job well done!


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Post by joshua » 4 years ago

Good Day, Just a question....your current Temperature(PV) is not near your Setting(SV).

Have you checked the programmed temperaure vs the measured Temperature and adjusted the "offset" so you can set a temperature and PID can hold it +-1C??????

Just a problem I had and took some time to fix.....
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Post by Ante » 4 years ago

Hi joshua, when I took that picture I didn't even had water in the pot, just plugged it in to see that the reading was ok and that the LED was functioning. After I had done the auto tuning the system was stable at the SV, fluctuating aprox 0.1deg acc to the reading. Anyway thanks for the tip! :)

Thanks BrickBrewHaus,
1) How powerful is your heating element?
2.4kW
2) How big is your kettle?
25l
3) What are the three switches for?
the first one is main power, the second is power to the heating element and the third is for the alarm.
4) Seems like everyone that builds an electric system incorporates a pump for recirc, I don't see one for yours. Any particular reason (not that I think its wrong either way)?
At first I was planning on having recirc, but after reading several posts about brewers that stopped using their recirc deeming it unecessary I decided to skip it (for now at least).
5) You said this is gonna be your first brew EVER?
Yep, first brew ever, maybe should have started with kits but AG seemed to be more fun... keep your fingers crossed :)
6) Congrats on the baby!
Thanks :)
Last edited by Ante on 20 Dec 2012, 23:05, edited 2 times in total.


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Post by BrickBrewHaus » 4 years ago

What's your plan regarding volume into fermenter, mashing, etc?

Are you planning ~10L batches because 25L is pretty small for ~20L batches.

And the PID will be used to bring the water up to strike temps then shut off (or only turned on when you can stir) for the mash?

Sorry if this sounds critical (its not, I swear). Just trying to figure out your plans and offer help if there seems like help is needed.


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Post by Ante » 4 years ago

Yes I plan on doing ~10L batches, I would have prefered a ~30L pot but I got this one for 350SEK (55USD) whereas a 30L would have cost me about 1200SEK (185USD).

Regarding the PID I was really hoping on using it to keep the temp during mash as well, with the occasional stirring of course.
Is that wishful thinking? I like not having the pot insulated (shiny, easy cleaning :) ) and I like the idea of having the PID controlling the temp, maybe this means I will have to incorparate recirc..?

Really appreciating the input BrickBrewHaus, help is much possibly needed! :)
Last edited by Ante on 21 Dec 2012, 00:25, edited 2 times in total.


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Post by BrickBrewHaus » 4 years ago

Ante wrote:Regarding the PID I was really hoping on using it to keep the temp during mash as well, with the occasional stirring of course.
Is that wishful thinking? I like not having the pot insulated (shiny, easy cleaning :) ) and I like the idea of having the PID controlling the temp, maybe this means I will have to incorparate recirc..?
I honestly don't know the answer, I don't have a system like this. But if I had to GUESS, I would say it is wishful thinking to leave the element/PID on during the mash and get uniform temperature distribution throughout the whole mash volume.

This will be something that you'll have to try with your own system. You'll want to look out for temp. stratification from top to bottom of your kettle (hotter at the element, colder at the top), I think this would be the biggest concern.

The good news is that plenty of people brew without any kind of control. This means you can fiddle around with trying to add heat via PID control during the mash and if you can't get anything to work out, you still have the ability to do it "the old fashioned way"...only adding heat when you're stirring. I don't see any downsides of the system you've built, just things you'll want to pay attention to when you start brewing with it.
Last edited by BrickBrewHaus on 21 Dec 2012, 02:32, edited 2 times in total.

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Post by thughes » 4 years ago

What BBH said ^

I have a similar system, originally designed to recirc during mash with PID controlling temp.

Lessons learned:

1) If you recirc too fast you will actually cause a vacumm to be created under the bag, leading to cavitation around the element and eventual scorched wort (had to be dumped....there's no fixing scorched).

2) If you do not circulate or stir, the temperature will stratify and the wort surrounding the element will likely scorch and burn.

3) If you stir constantly while the heat is on, the temp will remain consistent throughout the pot and the PID will control things nicely.

So.....If you want to use the PID to control mash temp you must stand there and stir constantly for the entire duration of the mash. If you want to install a recirc system to prevent having to stir, you will have to constantly fiddle with flow rates rates in the hopes of not going too fast and causing scorched wort (BTDT).

My solution? Get water up to temp with PID, dough in, use PID while constantly stirring until mash hits proper temp and stabilizes, turn off PID and element, wrap pot with blanket and go take a nap for 90 minutes. You can use the PID to raise to mashout when the mash is complete, just make sure you stir like mad whenever the element is energized.

Note: Your initial testing with plain water worked fine because there was no sugar in suspension....wort is a completely different animal.

Good luck with that first brew!!!

--Todd
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Post by joshua » 4 years ago

When I tryed the Re-circ, I still had a cake rack to keep the bag off the bottom, so no scorching.

But, I gave it up, since the flow rate was slow and the tubing and pump lost 2-3F, so the heat needed to run forever.

I now, use a string/rope the lift the center of the bag, up from bottom, and let it fall back down.

Helps keep the mash distributed, and does not lose heat.
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Post by kzimmer0817 » 4 years ago

joshua wrote:When I tryed the Re-circ, I still had a cake rack to keep the bag off the bottom, so no scorching.

But, I gave it up, since the flow rate was slow and the tubing and pump lost 2-3F, so the heat needed to run forever.

I now, use a string/rope the lift the center of the bag, up from bottom, and let it fall back down.

Helps keep the mash distributed, and does not lose heat.
Joshua!!! That's almost exactly the idea I was thinking about. It seems that several e-BIABers on another forum have abandoned recirculation. But . . . I would still like to be able to have constant control of the mash temps. I was thinking of having some sort of rod or string attached to the bottom of the bag and the other end attached to some sort of motorized crankshaft or cam attached on top of the lid that would gently agitate the bottom of the bag to keep grains and mash mixed and, hopefully, prevent temp stratification.

Thanks for reassuring me, albeit unwittingly, that my idea isn't crazy.

Regards,
Keith
Last edited by kzimmer0817 on 07 Apr 2013, 01:03, edited 2 times in total.


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Post by joshua » 4 years ago

Kieth, I used a teeter board style unit, Like the pumps used to pull oil from the ground.

But now I am trying a low vacuum system, so I pull the string thru the lid by hand.

For a full size human teeterboard see http://www.caninecrib.com/dog/training/teeter-board.asp
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Post by lonetexan » 4 years ago

If you have a manual setting on your pid, set it to about 4-5% and stir every 15-30 minutes. At that setting, the element is not putting off that much heat, so no scorching, and puts off just enough to keep the temp from dropping too much. I brew in my detached garage and, while having heat to keep it at 50-55*F, just leaving the kettle with no heat it loses too much, even if covered. KISH! (keep it simple homebrewer)

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