Author Topic: Ferment chamber temp controller  (Read 719 times)

Online BrewBama

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Ferment chamber temp controller
« on: January 01, 2016, 11:08:55 PM »
I am now in the market for a fridge fermentation chamber temp controller.  I have some Christmas money burning a hole in my pocket.  There are a few out there: Auber Instruments, Johnson Controls, Ranco, ThermoStar, Keg King, etc.  I intend to stay away from the DIY kits like the STC-1000 PID controller or BrewPi due to my shaky electrical skills.  If you use a turn-key controller which one and why (pros/cons)?  Point me in the right direction!

Edit:  I am beginning to lean towards the Auber Ins Programmable Two-stage Temperature Controller Model: TD400P.  Does anyone have this controller?  Pros/Cons?
« Last Edit: January 02, 2016, 03:16:52 AM by BrewBama »
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Offline tommymorris

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Ferment chamber temp controller
« Reply #1 on: January 01, 2016, 11:20:18 PM »
I am new to Huntsville, AL. The weather here is driving me a little batty re: fermentation temperature control. I feel like I need cooling one day and warming the next.

I am close to pulling the trigger on an Inkbird. (http://www.homebrewfinds.com/2015/12/hands-on-review-inkbird-itc-308-dual-stage-temperature-controller.html)

Only drawback is the max current of 1KW. But I think that should be plenty for my chest freezer. For warming I use a 60W bulb (can heater) so no problem there.
« Last Edit: January 01, 2016, 11:24:18 PM by alestateyall »

Offline mabrungard

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Re: Ferment chamber temp controller
« Reply #2 on: January 02, 2016, 12:54:45 AM »
All you really need is a control for your cooling circuit. I use a Johnson 419 to control a fan that brings air from my freezer into the chamber. It could just as easily be used as the thermostat for a refrigerator.

On those odd days when its actually colder outside your chamber than your ferment temp and you need to add heat, all you have to do is insert a heating pad in the chamber. You still keep the cooling circuit active and it will kick on if the heating pad makes it too hot in there. Sure, its a little wasteful, but its a million times easier and cheaper than having a special heating and cooling circuit.   
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Offline reverseapachemaster

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Re: Ferment chamber temp controller
« Reply #3 on: January 02, 2016, 05:26:52 PM »
The Johnson A419 is probably the gold standard in brewing--both pro and amateur--although it's probably overkill for homebrewing needs. It's what I own and it's reliable but you could probably be happy with a less expensive unit.

The A419 can be adjusted to either heat or cold. I usually run the fridge off the cool cycle but when brewing Belgians I need to kick up the temperature. I use a heating element to raise the temperature and switch the temperature controller to the heat cycle. You could take Martin's approach to create a permanent two stage system without needing something more complicated or expensive but I don't have problems running one stage or the other.
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Offline boulderbrewer

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Re: Ferment chamber temp controller
« Reply #4 on: January 02, 2016, 09:32:34 PM »
I would stay away from a Ranco, they have a problem with a power interruption and it fries the circuit. I have lost 2 this way. It think it happens when the power blinks. They survive for awhile and then error code. Which has no fix that I have been able to find. Sometimes you can get them to work when you change from Fahrenheit to Celsius, I have one like that controlling my chest freezer now.
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Offline kpfoleyjr

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Re: Ferment chamber temp controller
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2016, 02:07:54 AM »
+1, exactly.

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+1, exactly on the Johnson A419.
The Johnson A419 is probably the gold standard in brewing--both pro and amateur--although it's probably overkill for homebrewing needs. It's what I own and it's reliable but you could probably be happy with a less expensive unit.

The A419 can be adjusted to either heat or cold. I usually run the fridge off the cool cycle but when brewing Belgians I need to kick up the temperature. I use a heating element to raise the temperature and switch the temperature controller to the heat cycle. You could take Martin's approach to create a permanent two stage system without needing something more complicated or expensive but I don't have problems running one stage or the other.


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Offline BairsBrewing

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Re: Ferment chamber temp controller
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2016, 03:14:23 AM »
Ink bird. I have two, one for the rims system and one for the ferm chamber. Love them both and very easy to use.

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Offline BairsBrewing

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Re: Ferment chamber temp controller
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2016, 03:14:47 AM »
Oh and they are cheaply priced too on Amazon

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Offline narcout

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Re: Ferment chamber temp controller
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2016, 03:48:39 AM »
I have both a Johnson A419 and an Auber TD100.

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=8&products_id=334

I much prefer the Auber.  Besides being able to control both heating and cooling, you can adjust the differential by a tenth of a degree.  With the Johnson, the smallest differential you can set is 1 degree. 

The Auber also reads in tenths of a degree, while the Johnson reads in whole degrees, and the display is larger and brighter.

I think you will be happier with the Auber; it has more and better features for the same price as the Johnson controller.

Tape one of these guys, or something similar, to the inside of your fermentation freezer, and you will be all set: http://www.northernbrewer.com/electric-fermentation-heater
« Last Edit: January 03, 2016, 03:52:14 AM by narcout »

Online BrewBama

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Re: Ferment chamber temp controller
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2016, 12:49:47 AM »
Thanks for all the replies folks.  I ended up getting the Auber.  I like that they're from the next state over, they unit was easily programmed, and worked as advertised out of the box.  Again - thanks!
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