Author Topic: Temp control ideas  (Read 2367 times)

Offline storm_ipa

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Temp control ideas
« on: January 25, 2012, 04:58:02 PM »
I'm relatively new to homebrew(brewed my third batch saturday) and read an article on temp control for the fermentation by building your own temp controller. The idea looks sound and I could do it, but my question is, has anyone tried doing this with something like a fridge to be able to heat if necessary? I could put the temp controller on my minifridge to control the cold air, but not sure how to add heat if necessary. i'll be doing a build thread once I figure the heat part out. Thanks for the help/ideas. I couldn't find a search function on the forums.....
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Offline weithman5

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Re: Temp control ideas
« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2012, 05:07:51 PM »
there are threads out there and also check on the byo website about builds. but yes, often people will wire in a light bulb which will be used to heat the refrig.  i actually have use a styrofoam box for a few small batches with a 4 watt christmas bulb.  in single digit temps outside and 25-30 degree inside my garage it kept the beer at 50.
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Offline storm_ipa

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Re: Temp control ideas
« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2012, 05:48:20 PM »
I brew mainly IPA's, but I want to get into Lagers and low temp fermentations. I'm thinking about taking an old minifridge and a heating element... maybe frankenstein it together?
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Offline Gribble

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Re: Temp control ideas
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2012, 07:18:26 PM »
Storm_ipa, if you get a fermwrap and a dual stage temp controller to hook up to the minifridge you'll be just fine.  Tape the fermwrap to the interior wall of the fridge running the cord out the door and plug the ferm wrap and the fridge into the temp controller, set your parameters, and you're off and running.  Here is a couple links.

http://morebeer.com/view_product/16674//The_FermWrap_Heater
http://morebeer.com/view_product/16664//Ranco_Digital_Two-Stage_Temperature_Controller_-_Wired
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Offline storm_ipa

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Re: Temp control ideas
« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2012, 07:50:17 PM »
Thanks for the links. I'm loving the fermwrap. I work in the pool industry so heater parts are easily and cheaply available to me. The only thing I don't like is the 40 watt draw. I want to do this as much DIY as possible, and the temp controller (I think) is a 10 watt power box.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Temp control ideas
« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2012, 08:00:19 PM »
I use a fermwrap and a chest freezer with dual controllers to regulate my beers. I find that most of the time I only need one or the other. Lagers need to be kept cold for fermentation then heated for the diacetyl rest. They both come in handy and are valuable tools in my cellar.
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Offline storm_ipa

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Re: Temp control ideas
« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2012, 08:05:49 PM »
@bluesman: That's what i'm trying to get, but for around $200... I have a minifridge so the dollar mark is less the fridge. I want to be able to use it like a household temp controller. Set it for 70* and "forget". or lower for lager fermentation.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Temp control ideas
« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2012, 08:10:49 PM »
I bought a Johnson A419 for the chest freezer and a Ranco dual stage controller for the fermwrap. I control them separately using the supplied thermocouples. They are very accurate +/-1-2 degrees. I set the differential to 2 degrees.
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Offline storm_ipa

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Re: Temp control ideas
« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2012, 08:23:02 PM »
I'm sure there is a way to control both temps/devices with one controller. These are great ideas and giving me a good picture of what is needed. Maybe using BYO mag's temp controller along with the temp probes and plugging the cooling and heating elements into the controller and probes would allow me to set a temp and let the controller do it's job.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Temp control ideas
« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2012, 08:25:21 PM »
I'm sure there is a way to control both temps/devices with one controller. These are great ideas and giving me a good picture of what is needed. Maybe using BYO mag's temp controller along with the temp probes and plugging the cooling and heating elements into the controller and probes would allow me to set a temp and let the controller do it's job.

Absolutely can do it. Just buy one of these.

http://morebeer.com/view_product/16664/beerwinecoffee/Ranco_Digital_Two-Stage_Temperature_Controller_-_Wired
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Offline Gribble

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Re: Temp control ideas
« Reply #10 on: January 25, 2012, 09:55:59 PM »
I bought a Johnson A419 for the chest freezer and a Ranco dual stage controller for the fermwrap. I control them separately using the supplied thermocouples. They are very accurate +/-1-2 degrees. I set the differential to 2 degrees.

Why would you use the A419 for the freezer and the Ranco Dual stage for the ferm wrap?  Why not the Ranco for both?
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Offline bluesman

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Re: Temp control ideas
« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2012, 08:33:42 AM »
I bought a Johnson A419 for the chest freezer and a Ranco dual stage controller for the fermwrap. I control them separately using the supplied thermocouples. They are very accurate +/-1-2 degrees. I set the differential to 2 degrees.

Why would you use the A419 for the freezer and the Ranco Dual stage for the ferm wrap?  Why not the Ranco for both?

Actually I have the Ranco single digital (my bad)...and it doesn't vave the dual stage. I incorrectly stated that I had the dual stage. Otherwise I would use it for both heating and cooling. I wish I would've spent the extra money and got the dual stage but hind sight is 20:20.
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Offline roguejim

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Re: Temp control ideas
« Reply #12 on: January 26, 2012, 03:18:38 PM »
I guess I have a similar problem with winter lagering.  I use a side-by-side refrigerator that is in my uninsulated shop, during warm months, i.e., above 50F.  Right now temps here in southern Oregon are fluctuating between highs in the mid-upper 40s; lows in the low 30s.  I have the older, gray Johnson controller/thermostat that controls the refrigerator, so, providing adequate heat is my issue.  Should I hang a low watt light bulb in the refridgerator, and just leave it on with the Johnson?  How low can I go with the bulb wattage?  I wonder what type of strain this will put on the refrigerator's compressor? 

Offline storm_ipa

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Re: Temp control ideas
« Reply #13 on: January 28, 2012, 08:19:04 AM »
I'm sure there is a way to control both temps/devices with one controller. These are great ideas and giving me a good picture of what is needed. Maybe using BYO mag's temp controller along with the temp probes and plugging the cooling and heating elements into the controller and probes would allow me to set a temp and let the controller do it's job.

Absolutely can do it. Just buy one of these.

http://morebeer.com/view_product/16664/beerwinecoffee/Ranco_Digital_Two-Stage_Temperature_Controller_-_Wired

Hmmmmm that coupled with a mini fridge would be perfecto! I noticed it didnt say if it automagically switched between heating and cooling like a home temp. Controler. Im assuming it does for the price, but i could be wrong?
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Offline Gribble

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Re: Temp control ideas
« Reply #14 on: January 28, 2012, 01:29:23 PM »
No, It does.  You set your temps on both stages say at 63, on the cold side you set your variance to 1 degree and same on the hot side.  well if it hits 62 the ferm wrap kicks in and if it hits 64 the fridge kicks on.
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