Sunday, January 25, 2009

First brew day with the BCS-460 Temp controller

The first full brew day on November 15th went without a single hitch, the sw was updated Friday night and wiring completed around midnight.

Here is the unit with ethernet connected (red) , output to the SSR (orange) and the two thermistors (white)

Adam has done a great job with the new additions to the sw, the frames are gone, additions include color buttons showing what outputs are active and what state they are in RED is ON, Green is OFF

I mashed in, aiming 3 deg below my real strike to see how the system would cope. It fired immediately and within 4 minutes had stabilized at 150 deg, I monitored both the output from the mash as well as the output from the RIMS heating chamber so that I did not scorch the wort. I never saw more than 3 deg difference.

Front temp probe is Mash out, behind is RIMS out

I chose to monitor both the mash tun output and the RIMS heater output to make sure I am not scorching the wort and also how close the temps are.

I verified the actual mash temp with a lab thermometer to be 100% sure.

I also used the new feature of being able to change the actual temp in the middle of a cycle, so changed from 150-152 after 45 minutes, it worked really easily, again did not did not see too much differential between Mash temp and RIMS heat output

The system is running a 1500watt element at 120volt AC. My system also has a hardwired interlock so that heating cannot work if the pump is not on, I can also switch heating off at any time with a manual switch (by same token I can forget to switch it on too [biggrin.gif]). The heating element is fired by a solid state relay which needs a 3-30 volt trigger from a controller. The BCS-460 provides this control voltage..

The mash stayed 100% within 1 deg the whole hour and switched off exactly at 60 minutes as programmed. The only missing part for me is an alarm (which was added in production sw) , so I used the Brewery Timer (which I also helped Beta)

Derek Meyn spent the morning with me checking that I made no mistakes, we brewed the Rittmeyer Kellerbier , my copy of the beer from the brewery I visited in Germany, I used Weyerman Pils Malt and 2% Munich with Spalt Hops - exactly what Alois used. The yeast is the only unknown , so used generic German Lager WLP830. We aimed for 12 Plato or 1.048 and got 1.049 with 83% eff, sparged to 13 gallons exactly and had just on 11.25 into fermenter at the end.

Once the brew day was finished I decided to do a cleaning cycle , and programmed the BCS to do a step mash during that. I used 3 gallons of PBW strike at 120, programmed it to step at 122 and hold once at temp for 10 minutes, then step to 150 and mash for 60 minutes.

Here is the back pic showing the unit on top of my existing control box and the SSR mounted on a heatsink below.

The steps took about 25-35 sec per degree, not too bad at all. I wrote it down but stupidly threw it out when cleaning up late last night, so don't have the empirical data I should have, I guess I had too many home brews yesterday.

A very successful first run with the device which worked perfectly. I intend to build a new SSR housing to use for Fermenting next, and will also use a DIN input next time to start the process - ie wont need the ethernet connected.

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