eBrewery/Propane to Electric Conversion

General brewing equipment discussion

Moderator: rsc3da

eBrewery/Propane to Electric Conversion

Postby StLBeer » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:22 am

I made the decision late last year - during the Oktoberfest - that I was going to start making plans and gathering parts to convert my current propane/electric hybrid RIMS brewery into an all electric brewery.

Here is a picture from the O'fest of the current rig:
Image

HLT and BK are propane fired and the RIMS tube is electric. Brewing outside in the cold is becoming more of a pain and I've found I do less of it and it's noisy (my excuses....). Electric is less noisy, cheaper, and more efficient. Besides, it's time for an upgrade.

After building and selling a couple of the Ammo can Controllers and RIMS tube systems, I've gained a better understanding of what it takes to control the electricity and the elements. So I'm going to give it a go.

My plan is to keep my 2 tier pyramidal rig - HLT up top, MLT and BK on the bottom. An additional requirement is that I have the ability to do back-to-back brews. That will require an additional pump. I retain the existing RIMS tube. I had considered setting up a HERMS, but it would have added complexity to the system that I don't think I need. I have a RIMS already and that will maintain the temp of the mash just fine. It will get an upgrade though and go from a 5500w/240v element running at 120v (1375watts) to a 2000w/240v element running at 240v. When everything is running as in a back-to-back brewing - HLT, RIMS, & BK - then I should pull 46amps. Add in pumps for less than an amp and I'll be OK with 50amp service. At some point along the line I will sell my existing Ammo can controller.

I am also posting in Homebrewtalk.com's forum. Here is a link: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/e-brewery-control-panel-project-conversion-propane-electric-293135/

So far I have a schematic and a control panel.

Image

Image Image

I'm putting together a list of parts I'll need to complete the project and will happily share it when I'm done. The project is being broken down into a 4 different parts - Controller Build, Kettle Re-fitting, Pumps & Plumbing, and Brewing Process. This is pretty much how I'll move through the project as well. I think I'll encounter less of an outage by going this way.

There are many different ways I could have gone to to this. I have decided to convert to electric in this way. I have automatic temperature control, but I still have hands on control of the brewery.

At any rate, please feel free to ask questions, offer opinions, or make suggestions as I go along.

Paul
Serving - Dark Medicine, JD Bigfoot Barleywine Clone, JD RIS (jealous?), American Wheat Ale, Nut Brown Ale, & Blondes...
Carbonating -
Primary - Big Ape AIPA
On Deck -
In the hole -
User avatar
StLBeer
 
Posts: 1324
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 1:08 am
Location: Fenton

Postby JoeHPhil » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:48 am

Great plan (not that I can read the schematic) .

So am I correct in assuming you are puting 50-100 amp service with the appropriate 240v service in your garage or basement so you can do this?

Am I correct in assuming that this essentially makes the system location-dependent? Do you have a 'brew space'?

I would love to hear some estimation of the costs for running service to the garage/basement. I would really like to add a seperate panel in my garage for both brewing and woodworking.

Joe
User avatar
JoeHPhil
 
Posts: 620
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:46 pm
Location: Ijamsville, MD

Postby wnordmann » Wed Jan 11, 2012 11:36 am

Impressive looking wiring diagram. I am a little confused what is the device sitting between the PID and the Coil? It looks like a relay of some sort.

Are you going from the PID 5v->Relay 5+v->Coil 240v?

Not saying this is a bad idea, just trying to follow the design.
User avatar
wnordmann
 
Posts: 767
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:07 pm
Location: St. Louis

Postby StLBeer » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:11 pm

JoeHPhil wrote:Great plan (not that I can read the schematic) .

So am I correct in assuming you are puting 50-100 amp service with the appropriate 240v service in your garage or basement so you can do this?

Am I correct in assuming that this essentially makes the system location-dependent? Do you have a 'brew space'?

I would love to hear some estimation of the costs for running service to the garage/basement. I would really like to add a seperate panel in my garage for both brewing and woodworking.

Joe


Joe,
I'm putting 240v 50 amp service in the garage. This is being done by a licensed commercial electrician. It will be GFCI protected. I have a 3 car garage and part of 1 of them is the brewery. The good part is there is 100 amp service not too far from where the new subpanel is gonig to go. I already have 20 amp service for my workshop.

I'll let you know the costs when I get the estimate.

Paul
Serving - Dark Medicine, JD Bigfoot Barleywine Clone, JD RIS (jealous?), American Wheat Ale, Nut Brown Ale, & Blondes...
Carbonating -
Primary - Big Ape AIPA
On Deck -
In the hole -
User avatar
StLBeer
 
Posts: 1324
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 1:08 am
Location: Fenton

Postby StLBeer » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:27 pm

wnordmann wrote:Impressive looking wiring diagram. I am a little confused what is the device sitting between the PID and the Coil? It looks like a relay of some sort.

Are you going from the PID 5v->Relay 5+v->Coil 240v?

Not saying this is a bad idea, just trying to follow the design.


Willie,

Those devices are Solid State Relays. They can handle the higher frequency of ON/OFF than the contacts can. The contactors are there to make sure the power is absolutely turned off to the elements. SSR's have a bad habit of burning out in the closed position meaning that the only way to cut power would be to power down the PID or unplug the panel. Contactors/mechanical relays are not able to handle the frequent contacts they'll have to make to maintain temperature, i.e. they could burn up quicker than they would otherwise. SSR's can handle the faster switching necessary and as needed by the PID.

So it works like this:
The control panel is energized when it's plugged in. The PIDs have a separate 120v power source. Each element will have it's own ON/OFF switch. That switch controls the coil on the contactor allowing energy to flow to the element when activated. Only 1 leg of the 240v is needed to control the flow since the SSR opens/closes the circuit. The PID control circuit then operates at the request of the PID settings. I can turn off the elements and still have the PID's energized for the purpose of temperature readings.

I want the ability to do back to back batches so I need 2 pumps since I could potentially be chilling and recirculating at the same time. There are separate switches for that. The switch for the RIMS pump is interlocked with the PID control circuit for the element. This way the pump has to be on in order for the element to get electricity and prevent dry firing the element.

Let me know if this explains the diagram. It helps me understand it more every time someone asks a question.

Paul
Serving - Dark Medicine, JD Bigfoot Barleywine Clone, JD RIS (jealous?), American Wheat Ale, Nut Brown Ale, & Blondes...
Carbonating -
Primary - Big Ape AIPA
On Deck -
In the hole -
User avatar
StLBeer
 
Posts: 1324
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 1:08 am
Location: Fenton

Postby wnordmann » Wed Jan 11, 2012 2:58 pm

I thought the questions might be helpful in working through all the kinds, even if I am asking pretty obvious questions.

The e-stop - only stops the heating elements? Is the idea the e-stop will make a circuit between hot and ground defeating the circuit between hot and neutral? This is the 240v line?

Is there going to be a nice large power shut off arm on the new panel?

Do you really need a PID on the boil kettle? It's set to 100C, do you ever want to to stop and lose boil? Is this to conserve energy and the life of the element? Will the boil kettle be recirculating? How will the elements be mounted?
User avatar
wnordmann
 
Posts: 767
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:07 pm
Location: St. Louis

Postby StLBeer » Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:02 pm

wnordmann wrote:I thought the questions might be helpful in working through all the kinds, even if I am asking pretty obvious questions.

The e-stop - only stops the heating elements? Is the idea the e-stop will make a circuit between hot and ground defeating the circuit between hot and neutral? This is the 240v line?

Is there going to be a nice large power shut off arm on the new panel?

Do you really need a PID on the boil kettle? It's set to 100C, do you ever want to to stop and lose boil? Is this to conserve energy and the life of the element? Will the boil kettle be recirculating? How will the elements be mounted?


Good questions!

The E-stop causes a very small voltage leak, 0.06 amps, which is enough to trip the GFCI circuit breaker. All power to the panel, elements, and pump is cut. The 120v circuit will be taken from one of the legs of the 240v. I will have a ground there as well - that's how I'm able to get the 120v. To clarify, the panel will have 2 legs of 120v to make the 240v, neutral, and ground.

The PID on the boil kettle will serve 2 purposes. 1) for the temperature. I can set an alarm a couple of degrees before boiling to make sure I pay attention and not get a boil over - which I'd like to stop doing. 2) the particular PID I'm using a PWM mode built into it. Once full boil is reached I'll dial down the percentage of power to about 60-65%.

Recirculation with the BK does not happen except during the last 15 min of the boil to sterilize the CFC and during the first part of the chill.

The elements will be directly mounted into the keggles. I have a couple of 1 inch nuts that I'll either silver solder or have someone TIG weld them to the keggles. Then I'll either mount and electrical box or use a cap with a strain relief for the cord. Lots of options there.

Paul
Serving - Dark Medicine, JD Bigfoot Barleywine Clone, JD RIS (jealous?), American Wheat Ale, Nut Brown Ale, & Blondes...
Carbonating -
Primary - Big Ape AIPA
On Deck -
In the hole -
User avatar
StLBeer
 
Posts: 1324
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 1:08 am
Location: Fenton

Postby wnordmann » Wed Jan 11, 2012 5:56 pm

So your E-Stop might make a little spark when it stops the system. I like that approach.

That's also cool that the boil PID has PWD.

Any thoughts to build a timer right into the box? That's really the only component you're missing.
User avatar
wnordmann
 
Posts: 767
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:07 pm
Location: St. Louis

Postby StLBeer » Wed Jan 11, 2012 10:47 pm

I hope there isn't a spark when I hit the E-Stop! I guess I'll find out soon enough though.

I have considered a timer. The folks who make the PID's also make timers that can be wired together and triggered to start counting down when signaled. I think they're about $45 though, so I haven't decided. There will be plenty of room in the control panel though.
Serving - Dark Medicine, JD Bigfoot Barleywine Clone, JD RIS (jealous?), American Wheat Ale, Nut Brown Ale, & Blondes...
Carbonating -
Primary - Big Ape AIPA
On Deck -
In the hole -
User avatar
StLBeer
 
Posts: 1324
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 1:08 am
Location: Fenton

Postby wnordmann » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:18 am

Even if the timer just beeps and isn't hardwired in to stop or start anything. I just see the timer as the only "measuring device" missing from your build. Everything will be in one neat package and you will still be using a kitchen timer or your phone to know when to add hops.
User avatar
wnordmann
 
Posts: 767
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:07 pm
Location: St. Louis

Postby StLBeer » Thu Jan 12, 2012 10:22 am

That's a good thought. You're right. I will add a timer.

Since I'm not too far into this, instead of PID's, what do you think about using a BCS-460 or BCS-462 instead? The only issue is I don't know how much programing I'll have to do and I don't think they use RTD's for the temperature probes.

More research to be done....
Serving - Dark Medicine, JD Bigfoot Barleywine Clone, JD RIS (jealous?), American Wheat Ale, Nut Brown Ale, & Blondes...
Carbonating -
Primary - Big Ape AIPA
On Deck -
In the hole -
User avatar
StLBeer
 
Posts: 1324
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 1:08 am
Location: Fenton

Postby wnordmann » Thu Jan 12, 2012 11:37 am

I think I looked at the BCS in the past. It's pretty snazy but it would be quite a change from your current system. All of your displays would be moved to a computer, or phone instead of that nice box you have. I would expect the basic operation to be simple enough and not require much programming.

This is the sort of device I would want to build. I love the idea of a Web interface to control my brewery.
User avatar
wnordmann
 
Posts: 767
Joined: Sun Feb 25, 2007 5:07 pm
Location: St. Louis

Postby JoeHPhil » Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:22 pm

Actually I was curious why you weren't looking into BCS. Great question
User avatar
JoeHPhil
 
Posts: 620
Joined: Tue Apr 13, 2010 3:46 pm
Location: Ijamsville, MD

Postby siwelwerd » Thu Jan 12, 2012 12:31 pm

StLBeer wrote:The only issue is I don't know how much programing I'll have to do


Isn't that half the fun?

To me the main benefit of something like the BCS (or building your own with an Arduino board or something) is configurability--you can plan and plan and plan all you want, but after you do 3 or 4 brews on the new system, what are the odds that you aren't going to say "Man, I wish I had thought of ______"?
User avatar
siwelwerd
 
Posts: 936
Joined: Tue Jun 10, 2008 6:38 pm
Location: Tuscaloosa, AL

Postby StLBeer » Thu Jan 12, 2012 1:08 pm

wnordmann wrote:Even if the timer just beeps and isn't hardwired in to stop or start anything. I just see the timer as the only "measuring device" missing from your build. Everything will be in one neat package and you will still be using a kitchen timer or your phone to know when to add hops.


Auber just added this new product this month. A PID with built-in timer.

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=239

Regarding the BCS - The box is big enough that I could put a touch screen computer in it and secure the screen to the front door.

But I'd have to install manual switches to override the BCS if there was a problem and use alternate thermometers, etc. If I go with a BCS there wouldn't be much room to upgrade. While I like the thought of having as much of a digital brewery as possible, I think I'm going to go with what I know works and will give me the least grief.

Keep the thoughts, questions, and opinions coming guys. This really helps.
Serving - Dark Medicine, JD Bigfoot Barleywine Clone, JD RIS (jealous?), American Wheat Ale, Nut Brown Ale, & Blondes...
Carbonating -
Primary - Big Ape AIPA
On Deck -
In the hole -
User avatar
StLBeer
 
Posts: 1324
Joined: Mon Apr 09, 2007 1:08 am
Location: Fenton

Next

Return to Equipment Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests