Temperature Controllers

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'Draught' is not a beer style - it's a lifestyle
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Melbourne & Southern Riverina
Hi all,

It seems that there are a lot of brewers who are itching for some good temperature controllers, myself included. They seem to be ridiculously expensive, over-specified, and there isn't much of a range available. I'm wondering about the possibility of pooling our resources, finding a good solution, and buying a small batch to keep costs down.

So could those that have found ones they are happy with state their source and model, pros and cons?

Does anyone have access to Asian manufacturers?

I guess the ideal spec would be: digital, probe, 2-stage, 240v powered, built-in relays, 0-20C minimum range.

Anyone interested? Any other suggestions or recommendations?!
im interested in one if the price is right
Hi wortgames,
For under $100 dollars you can get a simple single temp controller from lots of places including all the best craftbrewing retailers. I should do a quick search and post some links of stuff already done here but alas pint near run empty. I know MAH posted a great looking thing that even peter from wagga could build.
I don't think there much of a call unless your want to make something even better than that simple unit for under $100. ie a unit with a digital interface but really that all just bells and whistle.

Anyway that all sounds all so negative. So i'll get past the idea of this just being for the brewer who just wants a fridge controller and more to the point you were getting to. I think theres many craft brewer that would look at jumping at the chance if you could get a much better unit that you could trust to measure and controll temps during the brewing. Such a unit would be great.
Anyway i have some fire hazards in the family that talk more shit that goes over my head than not which built mine i'll see what i can scratch up for you.

I am all up for the idea. I have a PLC which is about to do everything but for the last nearly four years i have been using this one that one of the fire hazards built for me.


Just a heads up from someone in the refrigeration trade, Heatcraft (Kirbys or Lovelocks) have some Dixell controlls out for sub $100 at the moment which are a bit flasher than the small units that were previously advertised

Cheers Ausdb
Over the weekend my fermenting fridge got a Tobins TS-040S thermostat.
The old thermostat housing was thrown away, and new thermo fitted into a normal mounting block and blank face plate, onto which the thermo was mounted.
On the side a small switch was put, for the light globe to be over rode if needed.
The TS-040S switch can control both the fridge motor from position 1 and heating light from position 2.
This has to be the best alteration that I have done to my brewing setup by far, can now lager or ale my beers at the rotation of the dial.

All this for the cost of about $50.00


Do you have a part no. for those units?
I have to agree with using the Tobins thermostat. I just replaced my standard fridge thermostat with a Tobins one (It's only 2 wires) and straight away I can brew anywhere from 0-40 deg C.

The only addition I bought was a digital thermometer from Jaycar so I can set it where I want. Only $20 and has been very handy:


Never had a problem with the temp being off.
dicko said:
Do you have a part no. for those units?

I'll try and scan the ad today at work
Ausdb - I had a bad experience with a couple of quite expensive Dixell units being grossly inaccurate (up to 11 degrees off). I'd be interested to check out the model you are talking about, but I shudder to think what their cheapo units are like ;-)

Shmick - any idea what that kit cost to build?

I have contacted some of the eBay suppliers - does anyone have any recommendations or warnings regarding temp controllers on eBay?
I use a dixell for everything - mash, HLT, fridge.... it is able to switch 20A so no need for an external relay. I posted a while back to try to hunt up some interest while the price was down a bit. A couple of blokes from my brew club bought one, but that was the sum of the interest. You can probably track down the original post by searching for "dixell". No bother to me as I now have three digital temp controllers, but I like the dixell.

At a guess Wortgames,
$60-70 for the kit (can't tell exactly what's in it)
Be up for a plug pack and 240V rated relay for load switching - add $25

Would rather get an off the shelf jobby for the same price and save myself an hour with the soldering iron.

A work colleague reckons you could knock up an electronic controller (without a display) for $40. He'll drag out a few circuit diagrams for me on the w/e to look at. It would be similar in function to the Tobins unit but external and more accurate.
Thanks somnar
I'd originally dismissed that one because it only goes down to 5C.
But on reflection - if I run it in parallel with the original thermostat (only one on at a time though) it would work for my fermenter/freezer.
I usually lager & CC in a seperate fridge these days so should work out ok.
Might pick up one of Manean's digital therm's while I'm there.

Cheers :)
Heres a pick of my controller below I built recently. Its an LAE MTR12 digital does -50 to +150C, heat/cool, came with a 2mt probe, just had to buy a relay and a box some cable and wire it up. Unit was $90, relay was $16, box was $7 and cable $0 all up cost about $120. If anyone is interested I can post better pics/details.


Very elegant unit Wobbo :super:

Please do post details, suppliers etc. Sure there'd be lots of interest.

Warren -
Ok, Got the unit and relay from a company called RES (Refrigeration Equipment Sales) in Silverwater in Sydney ph (02) 9648 0300. They also have a branch in Brisbane dont know where else though. Got the case from Middendorp electrical in Fyshwick and just used some old cable I had lying around in the shed. I will take some clearer photos tomorrow and post for everyone.

I use the controller on heat mode to control my electric HLT when mashing and sparging and then switch it to cool mode when fermenting in my fridge.


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