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Brewery Circuit

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by swanwick, Apr 7, 2013.

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  1. swanwick

    swanwick

    6
    0
    Apr 5, 2013
    If you are interested in the "why", read the two bullets below.....otherwise skip to the numbered list.
    • In brewing there is a step called mashing when grains need to soak in water at a perfect temp. I want to build a fluid loop that goes through a tube with a thermoprobe and a heater to maintain the temp of the reservoir it is drawing from and returning to.
    • Another step is called sparging. At this point water at a specific temp is being added to rinse the grains and now the resulting sugar water (wort) is being taken out the bottom of the vessel rather than recirculated. It is important to keep the inflow matching the outflow so it doesn't overflow nor run dry.

    My goal is to automate some of this through electronics. I would like a 3 position selector
    1. Pump running, Thermostat powered, thermoprobe plugged into thermostat, thermostat controlling heater
    2. All Off (circuit open)
    3. Pump controlled by float switch, thermostat powered with same set-up as #1

    I have the following parts so far
    • PID (thermostat) with no built in power source
    • thermoprobe
    • 1500w ultra low watt density heater for 120v
    • 25a SSR with heat sink for the PID
    • Pump with grounded plug built in for 120v
    • float switch 24v

    I am expecting to power the circuit with a GFCI outlet. I also have a grounded power cord with the three naked wires at the end to provide power as needed.

    I am not sure how to establish the two different circuits so that #1 and #3 can both operate. #1 lets the pump run all the time. #3 drives the pump off of the float switch. I also think I might need another SSR or transformer for the float switch.

    Any help/diagrams folks can provide is appreciated. I have been trying to learn the basics of circuitry, but it is pretty greek-like to me.

    Cheers,
    Swan
     
  2. john monks

    john monks

    693
    2
    Mar 9, 2012
    I am trying to understand more clearly.
    You want to maintain the temperature of the water at a particular temperature. And you intend to use a resistor wire, I assume something like a water heater element, to heat the water circulating through a tube that is drawing water and returning it back to a tank with the grains. And I assume you do not want the water to become to hot as to destroy biological activity in the water. So you want to be able to gradually turn up the heat and turn it down as needed. And I assume that a pump is going to continuously circulate the water. Am I correct so far for step 1?
     
  3. CocaCola

    CocaCola

    3,635
    5
    Apr 7, 2012
    I don't brew beer but I have been known to brew other mixes... For temp control I simply lined a wood crate with foam and put it in the basement, put in a 100 Watt bulb on a dimmer and over the coarse of a day or so dial in to exactly the temp I want inside that box... Ambient basement temp only has very small fluctuations so once dialed in that box is a perfect temp controlled brew room for the mash...

    As for sparging not something I do with my brews, but your old school floats work wonders on controlling liquid levels so that part is straight forward...

    IMO you are over complicating the heating part trying to build an all in one system... if the water you use for sparging is also placed in a temp maintained brew box and allowed to stabilize it will match the temp of the mash and all is good...
     
  4. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,497
    2,838
    Jan 21, 2010
    If I were to do it, I would use the PID controller to control the temperature of a water bath (or jacket) surrounding the beer. I wouldn't want to place immersion heaters in the beer.

    Coca Cola's solution is a lot simpler though.
     
  5. swanwick

    swanwick

    6
    0
    Apr 5, 2013
    Clarification

    Sorry, I simplified a bit becaue the full process of beer brewing is a bit complex for a forum post.

    Before the "mash", the water is heated up separately to a temp that when added to the grain will end up at about at about 150F. It then needs to maintain that temp for about 60mins. Certain recipes may cause for step mashing which is a certain amount of time at slightly different temps. The tube with the heater inserted one end is heating the mix as the pump draws it out of the vessel, through the tube and back into the vessel. The thermo probe determines whether the mix has dropped in temp and if so the PID turns on the heater.

    The sparge is similar except it is about 170F and instead of recirc it brings in new water at the desired temp and flows rinsed grain water (called wort) out the bottom.
     
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2013
  6. swanwick

    swanwick

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    0
    Apr 5, 2013
    CocaCola, thx for the response. What you are describing is a method of temperature control during fermentation. I have that already worked out via a dual temp controller. I only use one side of it in a tiny bathroom with a ceramic heater that kicks on as needed. As someone else mentioned heating a water bath would be an even better way.

    In the summer, I place the fermentation vessel in a chest freezer and control whether that turns on via the temp controller. In spring/fall when temp can flucutate over/under the desired ~68F, I can place the ceramic heater into the chest freezer and use both sides of the dual temp controller to turn on the freezer or heater as needed. I use enough spread that they don't "fight" with each other.

    What I am trying to accomplish here is pre-fermentation when the temps are much higher. See the response that I just provided in this thread.
     
  7. swanwick

    swanwick

    6
    0
    Apr 5, 2013
    Circuit

    How's this for a circuit?
     

    Attached Files:

  8. john monks

    john monks

    693
    2
    Mar 9, 2012
    I see nothing wrong with your circuit.
     
  9. swanwick

    swanwick

    6
    0
    Apr 5, 2013
    Thanks John. A friend of a friend was helping me out. He suggested using 3 on/off switches rather than a single 3 position selector.

    In the diagram there are two "Relays" and a 24VDC power supply. Which one of those is an SSR? What is the other thing?

    Thanks for the help.
     
  10. duke37

    duke37

    5,364
    772
    Jan 9, 2011
    I am only 4 miles from Swanwick, I will have to check that things are working right. :)

    The relay(heater) is the SSR.
    The relay(pump) could be a SSR.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2013
  11. swanwick

    swanwick

    6
    0
    Apr 5, 2013
    Duke, sadly Swanwick is my name rather than my location. Otherwise I would gladly have shared some of the quality beer that will come from the addition of this circuit to my home brewery. :) I am british though I live in the states.

    So is the 24VDC supply in the diagram a transformer for 120vAC into 24vDC? I thought that was part of what an SSR did. (Big newbie alert)

    So far I only have one 25a SSR. Sounds like I need a transformer, another SSR, and three on/off switches in order to build this. Does that sound about right? I have the pump, heater, thermoprobe, and floatswitch.
     
  12. duke37

    duke37

    5,364
    772
    Jan 9, 2011
    I gathered that you were not in the UK from the mains voltage. Damn George III.

    The power supply will cotain a transformer, rectifier and capacitor and perhaps a regulator. You can get the old style, heavy supply or the newer, light switch mode supply, perhaps in a 'wall wart'.
    You will need to specify the supply to supply current for two SSRs and in particular the controller which may be fussy.
     
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