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Question about electronic controllers.

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:41 am
by Mob_Barley
All you guys that are building RIMS or HERMS systems, are the controllers difficult to put together? I'm not much on electronics so I don't know how to go about it. I'd rather spend my time reading and learning about brewing rather than a taking a crash course in thermodynamics and electronics. Makes my head hurt just thinking about the amount of research it would take. Maybe one of ya'll can help me when the time comes for me to put one together. What would be cool is if they come pre-made and all you have to do is plug in the thermocouples and go.[/b]

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 7:35 am
by Imakewort
We buy the love controllers from Cole- Palmer see link, the asco valves off of eBay. they are pretty much plug and play units but you must find and build your own control box. I bought mine from Lowe's and cut the holes out with as dremel tool.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:47 pm
by zeeboz
Here's a picture of my control box. I only use the Love controller on the left (the one on the right is for an upgrade later). You can see the temperature probe on the left. I set mine up so I can remove the entire enclosure (8" x 8" x 4") and store it. All the electronics are set up with basic extension chord type plugs.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:56 am
by Mob_Barley
And what are these controlling exactly? To maintain temperature are you using propane or electricity?

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:58 pm
by zeeboz
Here's a general overview of how it works:
There are a few things happening simultaneously...

First: The wort is being continuously recirculated from the mash tun (suction at bottom of pot) back into the mash tun (discharge at top of pot) by the pump (electricity). While this is happening the temperature is being monitored. The temperature probe is placed at the suction and simply monitors and displays the temperature of the wort as it is being re-circulated.

Second: An electrical output signal from the Love controller either opens or closes a valve connected into the gas line. In this case, if you want the temperature to go up - the valve opens. This gas line feeds the burner under the mash tun. The Love controller uses electricity to send the signal to the gas valve to open or close. (Comment: Technically, the valve is fail safe closed so it will only open if it receives a signal - i.e. electricity)

Example: Let's say you want the mash to reach 150 deg F. When you set the temp on the Love controller the gas valve will open and a flame will heat up the mash/wort (simultaneously while you continuously circulate with the pump and distribute the heat). The probe will monitor the temperature increase. When the temp reaches the set point of 150 deg F the valve automatically closes and the flame goes out (except for the pilot light). The pump will continue circulating the wort regardless if the flame is on or off.

If you were to monitor the temp for a while and say it drops to 147 deg F the signal will be sent again to open the valve and the flame comes back on - again heating up the wort. This temperature can be held for as long as you like (and is great for doing step mashes).

I hope this explains the general concept of how the RIMS system works.

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:39 pm
by triple-oh_six
I'm planning on automating my sysyem in the future.
But in order to avoid repipeing anything I was going to put the asco valves on now and get the controllers later.
I guess if the default setting is closed then my plan won't work.

I just checked ebay for the asco valves and several diff. models came up, which is the right one.

Well, since I suddenly have no choice, what kinda $$$ am I looking at here?
Can anybody give me an estimate?

PostPosted: Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:47 pm
by triple-oh_six
Oh, and nice breakdown there Zeeboz.
I'm familiar with the system already, but for those who aren't that's a pretty simple description.

PostPosted: Sat Aug 02, 2008 6:40 pm
by triple-oh_six
I'm looking at these, are they suitable? ... =p3907.m29

Also, I'd appreciate if you guys don't try to outbid me :wink:

PostPosted: Sun Aug 03, 2008 3:23 pm
by triple-oh_six
Nevermind, just won them
2 for $48.00 w/shipping, good? yes/no?

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 7:45 am
by yeastmeister
Ummm....the correct procedure is usually to wait for a response prior to buying once you ask.... :)

Either way, you should be ok with the burners and regulator you have. Those are 15PSI valves you bought, but since the regulator you are using is putting out around 11" of water column pressure, that roughly translates to 0.5 PSI.

I'm a little confused. If you check the manufacturers website, that part number says its a DC valve, if you look at the picture, it looks like it only has 2 wires, which is typical of the DC valves. But I agree that the valve body itself, and the box claim its AC.

So, the answer is probably. But I'd step back before I energized it with gas the first couple of times....

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 6:30 pm
by triple-oh_six
Well, the auction was ending and I had a few beers in me so I jumped the gun a little.

Anybody that wants to help me stay un-blown-up/un-electrocutted is more than welcome to help me out. :wink:

Any tips or things you would have done different are appreciated as well.


PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 8:29 pm
by Imakewort
I will be happy to help, and will be home in about 1 week. Or bring it tio the next club meeting.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 04, 2008 8:49 pm
by zeeboz
Did I ever tell you I like to blow $#!+ up ... :twisted: LOL

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 6:50 am
by Mob_Barley
So, which asco valves are the correct ones to get? Does it depend on your system? Also, how do you get a pilot light onto your burner, and how is it piped? A T off the gas line with a 1/4 turn valve on it?

PostPosted: Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:44 am
by Imakewort
it would be easier to show you, unfortunately I will not be brewing for a little over a week from now, but I can or Gene can try to explain at the meeting tonight