Temperature controllers

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Temperature controllers

Unread postby niels » Sun Apr 20, 2014 11:21 am

This post is an answer to a question in a different thread. I'm no expert regarding temperature controllers, but I have experience with the following ones.

Conrad UT-200 - Basic thermostat driven outlet [Sensor type: Analog NTC (103AT-11)]
This is a simple outlet driven by a thermostat. You specify a minimum and a maximum temperature to trigger the outlet. It is only suitable if you want to either cool or heat. Otherwise you'll need 2 of these. You don't need to do any wiring as it is plug-and-play. Beware: the cable of the probe is prone to breaking where it leaves the chassis. I recommend to fixate it using a drop of hot glue. Also, at about 40 EUR it is pretty expensive in comparison with other options.
Conrad UT-200.jpg
Conrad UT-200

STC-1000 - The Chinese temperature controller for heating and cooling [Sensor type: Analog NTC (NTCLE413E2103F102L)]
A widely used temperature controller for both heating and cooling. It is available under different "brands" but the main look is always the same (dark gray body with orange mounting brackets). I've a pair that are branded "Elltech". You will need to buy some additional items to get the wiring done: 2 sockets, 1 plug and some wires. At less than 20 USD (including shipping) these are cheap and at this price it makes sense to buy a spare one too. You can find them on eBay, AliExpress etc...
There is a project on GitHub allowing you to flash the controller with a custom firmware which allows you to create temperature profiles. The flashing is not for everyone as you need some additional hardware and basic electronics knowledge. I will attempt to flash one of my controllers in the coming week and leave a report on the forum.
STC-1000.jpg
STC-1000

BrewPi - An open-source temperature controller/logger. [Sensor type: Digital (DS18B20)]
If you want very accurate temperature controlling and/or good logging of you fermentation temperatures, you might want to look at the BrewPi. The core of the BrewPi is an Arduino with a custom BrewPi shield. The Arduino/shield combo monitors and adjusts your fermentation temperature. If you want you can hook it up to a Raspberry Pi or a PC with an USB port. The RasPi or the PC runs a web server (Apache) with a web application and a few scripts (Python) that function as a data logger and administration page. You can check and adjust your fermentation temperature from anywhere in the world if the RasPi/PC is connected to the internet.
Since the BrewPi is using digital sensors and a PID algorithm it is very accurate. All software/hardware is open source so you can alter it if you want. This is also one of the more expensive options. You pay about 98 EUR for the assembled shield with 3 probes and 2 SSRs (without shipping). Add the price of an Arduino Leonardo (about 22 EUR) and a Raspberry Pi (about 25 EUR) and some small pieces (SD card, power supply, USB cables, ...) and you'll reach the 200 EUR mark. This doesn't even include a enclosure...
BrewPi.jpg
BrewPi

BrewBit Model-T - A to-be-released open-source temperature controller [Sensor type: Digital (DS18B20)]
I added the BrewBit Model-T to the list because it looks promising: open-source, nicely enclosed with real sockets instead of screw terminals (BrewPi). Pre-order price is $189 USD. It looks like BrewBit will be shipping out the first units in the coming weeks. It looks like they are working on a specific gravity sensor too...
BrewBit Model-T.png
BrewBit Model-T

I've been working on a temperature controller/logger using a NetDuino and the .NET Micro Framework for about 2 years now. But since the last 2 years were about the busiest period of my life I didn't get further than 2 working prototypes with a few successful logs. One day I will complete this project :p

Feel free to add your favourite temperature controller/logger to the list.

Niels
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Re: Temperature controllers

Unread postby Cervantes » Sun Apr 20, 2014 12:12 pm

Niels,

Many thanks for that.

The Model T looks like it is exactly what I'll be needing. One lead to the fridge, the other to a heat pad and I'd be able to log on and change the temperature settings from work.

I've emailed asking a couple of questions, but am seriously considering pre-ordering one.

It would be worth the money for me as I would never get the time to gather the skills and knowledge required to build or assemble anything similar.

Cheers
Andy
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Re: Temperature controllers

Unread postby niels » Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:56 pm

Cervantes wrote:Niels,

Many thanks for that.

The Model T looks like it is exactly what I'll be needing. One lead to the fridge, the other to a heat pad and I'd be able to log on and change the temperature settings from work.

I've emailed asking a couple of questions, but am seriously considering pre-ordering one.

It would be worth the money for me as I would never get the time to gather the skills and knowledge required to build or assemble anything similar.

Cheers
Andy

I do think the Model-T would suit your needs indeed.

Keep us posted and feel free to share any information about it that you gather and is not on their website.

I also consider buying a Model-T for a second fridge, but the postage fees (and custom fees) always make me reconsider.

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Re: Temperature controllers

Unread postby DWB » Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:46 pm

It looks like a company used kickstarter to fund a WiFi enabled fermentation monitor to capture SG,Temperature and Alcohol content over time.
http://www.thebeerbug.com/products/
$250USD plus shipping buys one.
Anyone have any experience with this unit?
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Re: Temperature controllers

Unread postby BrauTim » Sun Apr 20, 2014 9:04 pm

I use a couple of STC-1000's and they can be assembled with enclosure and sockets for around £30 in the UK.

It would be nice to have the functionality of a BrewPi, but the cost doesn't really seem to justify it's usage for me at this stage.
To brew or not to brew, that would be a stupid question !
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Re: Temperature controllers

Unread postby Cervantes » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:01 pm

DWB wrote:It looks like a company used kickstarter to fund a WiFi enabled fermentation monitor to capture SG,Temperature and Alcohol content over time.
http://www.thebeerbug.com/products/
$250USD plus shipping buys one.
Anyone have any experience with this unit?
dwb


$250 just to monitor is a lot of money. Would be nice if they combined the Alcohol content monitor with the control functionality of the Model T. Then you could monitor your fermentation progress remotely and then once ready adjust temperature or cold crash from anywhere in the world.

Now that would be a good box of tricks.

Cheers
Andy
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Re: Temperature controllers

Unread postby Cervantes » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:04 pm

niels wrote:
Cervantes wrote:Niels,

I also consider buying a Model-T for a second fridge, but the postage fees (and custom fees) always make me reconsider.

Niels


Here in Australia we only have to pay tax on imports worth more than AU$1000. At the moment anyway. I'll have to check out the postage, but it looks like a fairly small neat box of tricks. I can't see postage being hugely expensive.

Cheers
Andy
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Re: Temperature controllers

Unread postby Cervantes » Sun Apr 20, 2014 10:26 pm

I currently use one of these.

Temp Controller.JPG
Temp Controller


http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Home-Brew-Thermostat-Temperature-Controller-/131127652071?pt=AU_Barware&hash=item1e87d12ee7&_uhb=1

Not flash, but for the technically challenged it comes ready wired and is a good plug and play solution.

Fridge goes into one socket, heat pad into the other, set your desired temperature and away you go.

Cheers
Andy
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Re: Temperature controllers

Unread postby cpa4ny » Mon Apr 21, 2014 8:09 am

I currently use two STC-1000s on two of my wine fridges.

I found them to be cheap and functional.

Unfortunately, no "remote control" capabilities; however since I do fairly few business trips during the course of the year, it works for me.

RaspeberryPi seems to be a sweet set-up.

Some guys even have their wort temp monitoring right on their brewing blogs. Here's a nice example:

http://www.bertusbrewery.com/p/temp-monitor.html
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Re: Temperature controllers

Unread postby Cervantes » Mon Apr 21, 2014 11:59 am

How about this thing?

I don't pretend to understand half of it, but it appears to have eight programmable temperature steps................

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Thermostat-Temperature-Controller-Sous-Vide-Electric-Cooker-Wood-Smoker-Grill/141131318923?_trksid=p2047675.c100012.m1985&_trkparms=aid%3D444000%26algo%3DSOI.DEFAULT%26ao%3D1%26asc%3D21400%26meid%3D6359715072185768046%26pid%3D100012%26prg%3D9407%26rk%3D4%26rkt%3D10%26sd%3D140895686813

Golden Rhino.JPG
Golden Rhino


A guy here..............

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/mash-bucket-system-399490/

Has used one to cobble up a very cool temperature controlled RIMS system out of a cooler and wire basket. A sort of Ghetto BM.

Cheers
Andy
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Re: Temperature controllers

Unread postby niels » Tue Apr 22, 2014 7:42 pm

Cervantes wrote:How about this thing?

I don't pretend to understand half of it, but it appears to have eight programmable temperature steps................

Personally I wouldn't consider it. If you are willing to spend this kind of money on a temperature controller I would spend a little more and get one that provide you with logs too. The Model-T for example seems to be a plug-and-play and is connected to the internet. It is a bit more expensive, but in my opinion is a better deal.

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Re: Temperature controllers

Unread postby Cervantes » Tue Apr 22, 2014 10:25 pm

niels wrote:
Cervantes wrote:How about this thing?

I don't pretend to understand half of it, but it appears to have eight programmable temperature steps................

Personally I wouldn't consider it. If you are willing to spend this kind of money on a temperature controller I would spend a little more and get one that provide you with logs too. The Model-T for example seems to be a plug-and-play and is connected to the internet. It is a bit more expensive, but in my opinion is a better deal.

Niels


Niels,

I also like the look of the Model T for fermentation control and am on the brink of ordering one. As you say the wireless internet functionality is perfect for my working arrangements.

Will probably have to wait until next month though as this months brewing budget has been allocated to four Perlick taps for the beer fridge.

I was more interested in the Golden Rhino as a means of controlling mash temperatures. I know that I have a Braumeister, but one day I'd like to have a bash at building some form of a clone. Just to see if I can.
Cheers :cheers:
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Re: Temperature controllers

Unread postby Elderberry » Wed May 07, 2014 11:58 am

I use something that looks exactly like the Conrad, only it doesn't say Conrad on it. I turn my fridge to the coldest temp and let the thermostat handle the rest. It does what I need it to do.
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