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Cheap Remote Probe Digital Thermometers

Discussion in 'Electronics, Hardware & Software' started by Thirsty Boy, 14/12/08.

 

  1. therook

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    Posted 15/12/08
    I bought one of these from IKEA and it lasted 2 brews....DON'T do what i did and submerse it up to the braid.....fcuked it up big time

    Rook
     
  2. Stuffa

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    Posted 15/12/08
    Rook,
    I did the same thing to a similar braided probe, I think the sugars in the wort get into the braid and give it false readings when dry. I soaked the probe in boiling water for a while then put it in the oven to dry out and hey presto it's reading true again.
    Chris
     
  3. warrenlw63

    Just a Hoe

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    Posted 15/12/08
    Therein lies the problem Stuffa. Not something you'd be wanting to do every mash... Sometimes cheap isn't alway best.

    Warren -
     
  4. Polar Beer

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    Posted 1/1/09

    ahhh! I've done the same thing. Mine has lasted 4 brews if you count this one. Wish I had read this first.

    Set the alarm for 5 this morning to get an early start. Had the strike water ready earlier then expected...add grain to mash tun...something doesn't look right. Get out an old thermo and what do you know, I'm mashing at 48 degrees. :eek:
    Perhaps if I'd had a coffee first I would have picked it up earlier. I had to add another 8 litres of water to the 14 already in there to bring it up to temp.

    off topic - can any one enlighten me as to the negative impact of adding this extra water?
     
  5. reVoxAHB

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    Posted 1/1/09
    The simple answer is: there is not much impact. Don't sweat it. So long as you're over a 3/1 g/w ratio the conversion and extraction changes will be minimal. If you normally mash with a 2/1 g/w ratio, and today you've bumped to 3.5/1 you would likely notice a higher efficiency, but as I say starting with 3/1 and over and changes are marginal.

    What you'll want to look out for is how your grain bed compacts compared to what you're normally used to.

    The longer answer is: things like mash time, pH, grind, grain bill composition, etc. can throw you out, or impart changes. Too many variables to nail down or assume specific to g/w ratio change. Kai's study of efficiency and attenuation from Basic Brewing Radio suggests the enzymatic activity of the amylases is affected by the thickness of the mash. Thinner mashes enhance the maltose production and therefore increse the fermentability.

    But again, I would say this will be marginal, generally speaking.

    reVox

    edit: added the longer answer to offset simple
     
  6. Carbonator

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    Posted 1/1/09
    The probe looks exactly the same as "The Chefs toolbox" crap my missus bought. She submersed the probe over the braided wire part and it was stuffed too.

    She got a free replacement, so I reverse engineered the probe. All inside is 2 wires with the insulation remove and the strands twisted together and pushed into the bent metal tube (probe). I took could see nothing in the tube without the wires.

    We now have a spare control unit with clock, timer and alarm.

    P1021854.JPG

    I suggest thinking very careful about buying crap like this if you can afford something of more industrial quality.
     
  7. Polar Beer

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    Posted 2/1/09
    Cheers ReVox. :)
     
  8. porky

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    Posted 2/1/09
    when you say you did the same thing, does that mean that you got the braid wet as well?
    I bought two of these, so just checking. Mine will go through the side wall, not able to get wet then.

    Cheers,
    Bud
     
  9. brotom7

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    Posted 2/1/09
    I bought one of these Link off Evilbay and it worked well until I accidently had some cooling water splash all over it.
    Reasonable price, two remote sensors, accurate to a degree as far as I could tell, rubber casing and I did drop it a couple of times on the concrete and no problems.

    I might just buy another one and make sure it's out of the way for any water.
     
  10. Thirsty Boy

    ICB - tight shorts and poor attitude. Fuck yeah!

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    Posted 3/1/09
    ummm, i fail to understand?? How does the fact that immersing the probes past the end of the probe up to where the braid is, buggers them up, make them "cheap crap" or in fact bad in any way? It may make the person in question a bit clumsy for dropping it, or possibly a bit dull for doing something that is patently silly, but being surprised that sticking underwater something that is obviously not waterproof renders it ineffective.......?

    Try taking a lovely industrial unit...say the mashmaster or the fridgemate, and dropping its probe in water past the waterproof bit. I suggest that they will soon fritz out as well. Or perhaps a digital stick thermometer like the one Jayse bought, chuck it in the mash and fish it out when you want a reading - they stop working (I have done this accidentally... they do stop working)

    The IKEA units are fine and very economical for what they are... a meat thermometer that can be used nicely in brewing applications - with a little care
     
  11. Carbonator

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    Posted 3/1/09
    Obviously! So this is a bit of an explanation for those whom may have specialist skills in other areas.

    I don't intend to start a debate and if your happy with your economy equipment, there is no point reading any more of this!

    Any temp probe that is not 100% water-proof can not be relied upon to last or work correctly. A retailer selling a relatively cheap control unit with a probe that can't be fully submersed in a saline solution and remain 100% operational whom states their product is "industrial" grade should be treated with caution.

    We are dealing with heat related changing electrical resistances within a probe causing an attached device to regulate other devices or a person to view a display and make judgment calls based on the output/displayed information, so it could or could not be important depending on the situation in where you are using it.

    With these Crappy open probes with bare wires twisted together, it is very obvious that a liquid or corrosion (including humidity in the air) will catastrophically impact the validity of the output of the probe.

    If you decide to get something that is truly "Industrial", it will not be effected by any liquid or humidity (except in the case of some acids and temps, etc).

    YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR!

    Here is an "Industrial" probe, be it "low-end";
    P1041863.JPG

    So after all that, I still realise there is no nead to spend heaps of cash if you are happy with an "indication", so if you want something cheap with 100% submersible probe, I suggest getting a fish tank thermomitor that will handle the higher temps required (some only handle up to 50C or 70C). I've been using one in my fish tank for years and the only thing that went wrong was the battery died. Get them from retail aquariums or eBay. B)
     
  12. Fermented

    I have the body of a god: Buddha.

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    Posted 3/1/09
    The Ikea jobbie is basically a meat thermometer. Most of this kind with a braid to the probe isn't intended for immersion conditions. It's good if you don't fully immerse, but just use it as a momentary reading device to check where you're up to. Takes about 30 sec to stabilise the reading.

    For a little more, Jaycar has DMMs with a K-type thermocouple. While they're accurate within a degree or two, their repeatability can be suss but they can withstand some immersion. Putting a layer of heatshrink tubing from 20 mm onto the probe (use a hair dryer to shrink it, not a flame) will improve it.

    Proper industrial sensors (similar to the one in Carbonator's post) cost a bit more (ca. $80++) from places like Festo, SMC, etc but I will attest to their longevity under harsh conditions. Some in machinery I bought in 1997 were still going strong when the machines were sold in 2004. They were in injection moulding mould temperature controllers and had been constantly immersed in doped (anti-rust) water at 45C-90C for the duration.

    Cheers - Fermented.
     
  13. Vlad the Pale Aler

    Cereal Killer

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    Posted 4/1/09
    Wrap the steel braid in heatshrink to seal from liquid.

    Kook- Mazzega in Kelmscott have a similar digital meat thermometer for $20 complete with remote function that works up to 100ft.
     
  14. TidalPete

    BREWING BY THE BEACH

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    Posted 4/1/09
    You beat me to it Vlad. Worked for me too. :icon_cheers:

    TP :beer:
     
  15. Polar Beer

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    Posted 4/1/09
    Exactly that. It's gone crazy now and that's all I can put it down to.
     
  16. Simon W

    Beer Good

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    Posted 4/1/09
    The probe you're describing is not a resistive device, it's a thermocouple, two disimilar metals that generate a small voltage dependant on the temperature.... the Seebeck effect. (the exact opposite of the Peltier effect used in car fridges etc).
     
  17. porky

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    Posted 4/1/09
    Purchased two of these last week from Ikea.

    First time use was today, did two brews, a single Bosuns best bitter and a double of Tony's Little Creatures clone (one of my favorites).

    Worked great, fast to respond to temps, which Mashmasters are not, and with the alarm function I set it for 76 for mash out and it beeped when I hit the temp. I got close to MO with hot water addition, but had to use a three ring burner to get the last two degrees.

    As seen in the pics, the probe goes through the side of the tun. I can push it in further than the pic, as I did when temp was achieved to check it closer to the middle, but with stirring it was the same anyway.
    Because I made a silicone plug for it to pass through, I am able to pull the probe out of the tun while water is still in it and it doesn't leak....works kinda like a ducks arse :)
    Now, I won't be getting it wet like so many seem to have, and I can't see why it won't last awhile.

    Thanks TB for the heads up

    Cheers,
    Bud

    and carbonator, use a bit of imagination hey. any one can purchase anything. but we don't purchase beer do we...nor do we purchase our brewerys. we make thing work for us as cost effectivily as we can.
    it is called part of the fun.

    probe1.jpg

    thermo.jpg
     
  18. Fermented

    I have the body of a god: Buddha.

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    Posted 5/1/09
    That's a great and simple idea, budwiser.

    Looks like Occam's Razor is at it again. :)

    Cheers - Fermented.
     
  19. Polar Beer

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    Posted 5/1/09
    The alarm is handy...but does anyone know how to turn it off? Not only the alarm, but the unit itself? I was flicking it over to the timer function just to shut it up.

    FYI - called Ikea to enquire about an exchange for my ruined unit. Unfortunately the person I spoke to (Richmond, melb) had very very poor English skills. After much frustration I eventually managed to get the staff member to understand that I wasn't calling to advise the product was "Fantastic" :huh: , rather it's a thermometer called FANTAST!!
    "Why do you want to return your item sir if it's fantastic?" serious

    After all that, I was told all returns need to be done in store.
     
  20. Bribie G

    Adjunct Professor

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    Posted 5/1/09
    I bought something almost identical from CraftBrewer and it's great for strike water, mashing etc and is suitably accurate. However problem is that when trying to get temperature of the current brew in the fridge and holding the probe against the side of the fermenter I don't really trust the reading because obviously there's cold fermenter on one side of the metal and warm air on the other side.....
    So the Ikea one would be great to feed down through the airlock hole and just leave it there ... suitably sterilised and the hole stufed with cotton wool whatever.

    I know some guys just sit a thermometer in a jug of water in the fridge but that wouldn't give really accurate reading during initial fermentation where the wort is generating its own heat and that's the critical area I need to monitor especially with West Yorkshire yeast.

    How much currently are they from IKEA does anyone know?
    Advantage of IKEA in Brisbane is that they are just down the road from Ross' store - or maybe a disadvantage as it's a bit of a trap

    "Abandon All Dough ye who enter here" :lol: :lol:
     
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