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My Hermit Build

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Pommy Matt

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Hi Guys - lurk on here a fair bit but don't post much - but thought I'd throw up a few pics of my Hermit build since I got most of the info and inspiration from this site.

My setup was two vessel - a cheap 70L kettle that served for both HLT and boil, and esky mash tun. After missing mash temps a couple of times over winter, and getting unpredictable attenuation that I could only put down to the mash as well I decided to go for the (relatively) inexpensive HERMS upgrade, once I'd seen the coil and Hermit build info from Nev at Gryphon. As it happened I had most of the other bits I needed including the brown pump and all the pipe fittings, so I just needed the coil and the bits to put a controller together, along with the kettle element which I got out of the $7.94 cordless at big W (same element as the original Hermit build).


I decided against trying to flatten the pipe as I was worried I wouldn't get a great seal - so I just went in through the bottom fitting:


The electronics came from Auber in the US - having read a bit around the topic I decided the extra $ were worth it - not a big % extra at the end of the day. I also went for the upgraded RTD100 sensor and plug ended connector.



The box was a Chinese ebay number, all alu so serves as a heatsink for the 25A SSR. It hasn't even got warm to the touch when running so far. The box is actually only just big enough - the PID had to go sideways to fit, and the rest of the contents are fairly tightly packed. For some reason I bought the alarm unit as well, and then had to try and fit it in (having spent the 5 extra bucks). Waste of time on reflection, I will never use it - although I suppose it could be useful for alerting to mash in temps or whatever.



240V in and out to the Herms unit. I also decided to run 12v in and out to the pump, so that I could have a switch on the same unit.



My brewing setup doesn't have a permanent home in the shed, so it was important to keep the new unit compact and stowable. The whole lot is mounted on a chopping board, with a couple of holes to hang off a pair of hooks on the workbench. The mash tun can then be positioned somewhere near, but far enough away to keep liquids away etc.





A few brews in, and I have settled on a return manifold that is simply a length of 1/2 ID silicon looped to a copper T piece, with largish holes drilled in the top. This is connected to the main return hose by another short length of tube and a copper elbow. Has worked extremely well over the last couple of brews, with no grain bed disturbance to speak of and a very consistent temp to the top of the wort (I know that that doesn't matter). Pairs of hooks hold the return hose very securely so that it can be lowered to the correct height and allow the manifold to rest on the grain bed.



And here is the manifold in action, towards the end of the mash. You can see how it rests about two inches under the top of the wort, on top of the grain bed. Also note the wort clarity :)



And here is the post boil wort from that brew:




So far the new setup has done a couple of test runs, 3 full brews and a 72 hour sous-vide chuck steak (awesome). It has exceeded my expectations in terms of temperature control - it is great to watch it at work. One of the biggest wins for my brew process, which I hadn't actually anticipated, is being able to just load the esky up with cold water and let the unit bring it up to strike. Before my process entailed filling my kettle, heating it and then transferring with a jug. I also had to hover around the kettle watching the temp. Being able to set the temp and go for dinner is great. I'm still a week of tasting the first brew out of the new system, but the two that have finished fermenting have hit the predicted FG spot on, which is really all I was hoping for.

cheers,
matt
 

dent

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That is a nice tidy job, I like your compact electronics box and the screw hook hose retainment mechanism.
 

felon

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Nice work. :icon_cheers:
 

stanko

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That is a SEXY looking thing.
 

Yob

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What the little red light for? Just a power on sort of thing? Does it flash?
 

Pommy Matt

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What the little red light for? Just a power on sort of thing? Does it flash?
The light on the top of the box? It's the temp alarm. A waste of time really as I mentioned in my original post, but it does both flash and make a noise if the temp goes outside of the range you set. Other than initial testing I haven't bothered setting these values and if I was doing it again I wouldn't bother with it - but now the hole is cut in the box it has to stay :)
 

Pommy Matt

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Is the box earthed mate? Some very tidy work there, love it.
Box is earthed and there's and there's an RCD involved as well, plus all the wiring inside is well over spec - all left over from re-wiring my boat as it happens.
 

mxd

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very nice, it looks like no heat sink on SSR does it get hot ?
 

Adam Howard

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Definitely looks more pro with a bottom mounted element. I'll be doing the same with mine. Have all the pieces now, just need to get the time to hook it all up.
 

Pommy Matt

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very nice, it looks like no heat sink on SSR does it get hot ?
Specs from Auber were that under I think it was 10A it wouldn't need one. They do an alu box about the same size with a similar set up (ie - no separate heatsink). SSR is mounted with the provided thermal paste to the alu base of the box, which will help with heat dissipation (base and side of box are continous piece of alu), but I haven't even noticed a slight increase in temp when running - and I have been checking. Element is 2200W but rarely runs for long.
 

white.grant

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Nice work! What model PID is that?

cheers

Grant
 

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