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Grainfather controller

Discussion in 'Electronics, Hardware & Software' started by scooterism, 19/8/17.

 

  1. scooterism

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    Posted 19/8/17
    Will a GF controller handle a 2400W element for a HERMS system?
     
  2. Boxcar

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    Posted 19/8/17
    If you use an appropriate external AC-triggered SSR, you can control a load of any wattage your circuit can handle. I plan to use a Connect to control a 5750W heating element.
     
    bigmacthepunker and scooterism like this.
  3. scooterism

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    Posted 19/8/17

    Like what everyone is using on their PID's?

    And where would one buy one from?
     
  4. Hermies

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    Posted 19/8/17
    Ink bird PID or Auber PID . I run a Sestos made in Japan purchased off ebay from China go figure and have been runnung it for around six or so years . Mine is just a ramp type controller others have ramp , soak so that you can program step mashing .
     
  5. Boxcar

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    Posted 19/8/17
    Yes, except most people are using DC to AC SSRs triggered by a low voltage (3-24vdc for example). There are two ways to do this, about the same difficulty. In any case, you should be able to buy the parts from eBay.

    1. Grainfather Connect -> IEC C14 connector/cable -> AC-AC SSR -> Heater

    2. Grainfather Connect -> IEC C14 to mains receptacle adapter cable -> 12v ACDC power adapter (run of the mill "wallwart") -> DC-AC SSR -> heater

    A stand-alone PID isn't an equivalent solution as it provides no automation features, including step mashing, mash-in/mash-out scheduling, mash-boil transition, addition alarms, bluetooth connectivity, recipe management, etc.

    The Grainfather connect is a complete mash+boil controller, of which a PID is only a single component.
     
  6. malt junkie

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    Posted 19/8/17
    If I may add the further solution of Matho's controller, PM @lael or Ardbir. I'm bogged down in the next iteration there of which will be wifi. No not quite plug and play but the forum has plenty of support for these devices and they offer very good automation with PID control. The one I'm working on will incorporate Beerxml (beer smith files) import, recipe saving and data loging. I intend to release board files, completed boards, and a limited number of completed control boxes (DC only, 240v to be completed by your sparky) The aim for release is Xmas, but as stated above the Ardbir controller is a quality controller, the kit offered by Lael second to none (and what I currently use).
     
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  7. Hermies

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    Posted 19/8/17
    Agree with your response yes the grainfather controller is a turn key solution and yes the PID is only one part of the system but it is a major part that you can use it to program it to do mash steps , the other control system is an Arduino so yes you do have choices . The 3V system I run makes beer and I have bragging rights as I built the system myself with a PID an SSR ,HX pot and an immersion heater .

    Wish I could type faster
     
  8. Boxcar

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    Posted 19/8/17
    Not to put a huge wet blanket on the current direction of the thread, but scooterism asked about the Grainfather controller, so let's respect that and not try to hock some other DIY solution.

    I also have a lot to say about ardbir and all these other solutions, but this isn't the place for it.
     
  9. malt junkie

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    Posted 19/8/17
    Understand what your saying, when the coroner comes a knocking are you putting up your hand?
    To get to down to the nuts and bolts.
    Is hot wiring a commercial solution aimed at running a very specific hardware spec without knowing the limitations of said product the best solution for the OP?
    The GF controller was not designed to fire an SSR. Your assuming the OP has the skills/ knowledge to wire 240v safely and understands the usage of solid state relays.
    Hell I've seen rigs setup by some *electricians* that'd scare a properly trained first year apprentice.

    Hey maybe it'd be a good solution, but until you want to put your butt on the line testing it.......

    yet to see a schematic.

    (note I've tested nearly every Ardbir/ matho's controller rev made, have the first one ever sent out)

    MJ
    MB << (ED: the OP of the Matho's controller thread ... ME)
     
    Last edited: 19/8/17
  10. Boxcar

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    Posted 19/8/17
    There's no need for schematic. It's much less complicated than wiring any ardbir which will also require SSR.

    The Grainfather connect has inside it an SSR - opto-isolated with TRIAC switching, and a mechanical relay which trigger mains voltage on an industry standard IEC C13 plug - TRIAC with a small heat sink used for temperature maintenance during mash (momentary ON use without clicking sounds), mechanical used for ramping to temp (within a few degrees) and boil (long-period ON, causes a click but won't overheat the TRIAC with the small heat sink). The output is always OFF or ON. You can plug any low-draw load into that using off-the shelf parts without hacking or wiring anything if you'd like, including another SSR or an ACDC wall-wart.

    If the OP doesn't have the skills to do basic wiring then they would have no business touching any partial solution like a stand-alone PID nor a micro-controller-based Ardbir solution which will require a lot more hacking.

    As it stands, the OP asked about connecting a 2400w heating element to the GF controller - that needs wiring work to put at the very least a plug onto the heater. So respecting the OP's position and original question, I gave an answer. The GF's own heaters are 2000w total. Better off using an intermediary SSR instead of connecting an external heater directly to it if it's over 2000w just to be safe. I do actually know exactly what's inside the GF, so I COULD go and verify if it will handle 2400.

    So in other words, exactly the same SSR setup can be used with the GF as is needed for any Ardbir or stand-alone PID or STC. The entire SSR portion can be sealed in its own box with fully finished and bog-standard IEC/NEMA/WHATEVER connectors and plugs coming out of it. A finished store bought IEC cable assembly can connect it to the GF.

    Now all that said... the GF controller and software are years ahead of Ardbir. In 5 or greater years from now, Arbir's software will still be lagging behind. The hardware as far as I'm concerned was done over 5 years ago, but no one is touching the software in a satisfactory manner. Does anyone on the project have experience with UX/UI? Some of the stuff I see people using, such as a plain Inkbird PID, is like carving into a stone tablet instead of using a word processor. Ardbir I suppose is like using a typewriter. And that's fine for some people, but sorry, those solutions are totally unfinished and unpolished and still just trying to catch up to the Braumeister's first generation controller. So, let me know when I can buy an Ardbir-based controller already fitted in one box with at least a 3" diagonal LCD and a responsive web interface that also ties into an online recipe database.

    BUT.... Not sure what any of this has to do with OP. The answer to that was (and still is) YES, use an external SSR to be safe.
     
    Last edited: 19/8/17
  11. malt junkie

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    Posted 19/8/17
    Boxcar, quite obviously you've got some smarts, and you know your way around electronic gear.
    Telll me in a thread already more than 12 post in , am I the only person who has mentioned the use of an electrician. 240v kills plain and simple. All advice on this forum related to Ardbir/Mathos, PiDs and most on the instalation of STC's have outright included: check with your sparky. Any bloody dim wit can read internet posts, what you and I and even the average Joe consider simple could kill some **** wit cuase they thought they could do what you posted because you said it was easy.


    At this point you don't even know what kind of system the op has/is building. (4v with 50l keg mash tun and seperate HX).

    As far GF control being 5 years ahead of ardbir well for starter bluetooth sux! GF is 1v only. Gf can not save a year of brew logs nor import beerxml and it's pid is setup to run specific gear.
    Brewmaniacex is the next step in Ardbir. It has wifi, web interface, pid for mash and hlt, has adjustment for pid parrameters. There are also settings to prevent the firing of HX when the pump is off. The parrameters for an external HX and a 1v are different.

    The GF controller does a great Job for what it was designed for. But my 6 yo Son will control a 4v better.

    I"m a do it once do it right save money guy. Gf controller on an external HX.... why bother?

    Now I could have just said bad idea but where would that leave the op. For all the convenience of automating the mash (sort of) there"s still the hlt to take care of.

    No budget BCS 462 and yes you can buy one in a box plug and play ready!Then again award wining beers have been made with $10 STC1000s and a couple of power timers, go figure.
     
  12. scooterism

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    Posted 19/8/17
    Wow, threads gotten a little heavy..

    I appreciate all replies.

    I'm running a 3V set up and in the middle of building a HERMS HEX.

    Regarding the electronics, I'm weighing up options GF C or PID.

    I have NO intentions of wiring anything up myself, I have about 40 electricians at my work who can help me out.

    The only connecting I will do is at a consumer level, plug a kettle cord in and away I go.

    Now, I'm interested in the GF C as it's a standalone unit with a boat load of functionality, sealed in a box ready to go for $160.

    Not sure a I will get the same with a PID.

    Sorry, To be continued, got to take my litle fella swimming.
     
  13. Hermies

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    Posted 20/8/17
    Sometimes it can be a bit much just do it . Buy your GFC and enjoy making beer because that is what its all about . Plus for $160 you get a turn key product whereas if you go the PID switches control panel etc... you would more than likely spend a lot more than that . In the end its your decision as when I started brewing we didn't have the likes of the GF Braumiester Guten and the myriad of other turn key technology so we had to build it and just OT BIAB started by a couple of blokes in QLD around 2007 with a 50lt keg , swiss voil and a burner and they still made beer.
     
  14. malt junkie

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    Posted 20/8/17
    A PID functions by applying power for a defined period then checking the change in temp, and again applying power if required the rate it does this at changes as it gets closer to set point. The reason SSRs are used is the millisecond speed at which a PID can switch.
    This here is telling you to switch a transformer at millisecond intervals, one of two things will happen (or both) 1. the low voltage side will not actually respond at the same speed due to residual power in the trany and therefore the heater will remain on. 2. the transformer will melt and if left unattended will burn down your brewery.

    There is no cheap off the shelf 3v/4v controller you can buy, purely because there are just so many ways to skin said cat. I get that a smooth interface with easy programing of the entire mash would be enticing. End of the day you have two other vessels to control (I'll get to the why) and the actual mash tun to monitor.

    With a 1v , you heat your strike water and mash in by adding the grain to the water. 3v your grain is already in the mash tun you then under-let (add the water to the grain from what normally be the outlet). why? No dough balls very little stirring required. So for 3v most have HLT filled with sparge, Kettle filled with strike, Mash tun with grain to start the day. If your going to automate, a holistic approach will give you an easier path to further control/automation down the road.
     
  15. peteru

    Here, taste this!

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    Posted 21/8/17
    I'm unimpressed with the GFC software (all of it, firmware in controller, cloud based recipe builder and Android app) so if that is your main reason for attempting to get the GFC hooked up, you should consider alternatives. From what I can see, SmartPID looks like the best contender in this space. For starters, it uses proper WiFi instead of a crap Bluetooth implementation.
     
  16. bradsbrew

    Who's up for a pint?

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    Posted 21/8/17
    Funny you should mention Smartpid. This weeks project is to swap out an auber pid with a smartpid. Have had it sitting in a box for months, which is why i could not resist buying this controller when it came up for grabs. 1503354389961255629330.jpg
     
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  17. Drtmonster

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    Posted 5/2/18
    Scooterism. What did you end up doing?

    I was considering the same, a Grainfather Connect with a 2400w element, but thought of winding back the voltage on the element with something like the Keg King voltage controller.

    D
     

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