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> Brewing Rig Complete, The project is finally done
stangbat
post May 1 2007, 07:25 AM
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It has taken almost nine months (insert baby jokes here) but the brew rig is done. It has been an incredible amount of work and at times I wondered if it would ever get done.

First off I have to give props to several KC Brewboard members. Without them this simply wouldnít have happened. Thanks to blktre for loaning me his welder, and I used it for quite a long time and he was very patient. Thanks to snowman for loaning me a metal chop saw that made cutting the pieces for the stand a breeze. Thanks to love2fishfork for designing, and building the controller circuit for the electric boil keggle. jimdkc gave me some tips on the amp meter and listened to me vent about the problems I was having. And I got some good ideas for the electric setup from DJ in KC.

I also have to thank Push Eject for his site with details of his control panel and brewing rig. George Schmidtís site was helpful too.

Thanks to my brother for helping install a door and helping with the house wiring. And last but not least I have to thank my wife for putting up with me during this whole process and letting me spend the insane amount of money it has taken.

Now to the details. The rig is set up to allow me to brew inside or outside. When brewing outside I will use natural gas, when inside I will use an electric keggle. I had a plumber install a natural gas line running outside with a quick disconnect so I can easily plug and unplug the gas. I installed two 50A 240v GFI protected service lines, one outside and one inside. I also had to install a door that allows me direct access from my basement storage/brewing room to my porch outside.

-Stand is made from bed frames purchased from a scrap yard.
-HLT has one 240v 4500 watt element controlled by a Watlow PID (used in on/off mode)
-Boil kettle has one 240v 4500 watt low density element controlled by a 555 timer circuit. The timer circuit has a frequency of about one second and variable on/off times controlled by a potentiometer. This allows almost infinite control so I can dial in the cycling of the electric element to control the boil.
-All electric connections are water tight or water resistant.
-I plan on fly sparging and have a HERMS coil in the HLT. There is a stir motor in the HLT to prevent stratification.
-The 240v service is separately contained in its own junction box and has two DPST switches so power can be completely cut to the HLT and electric keggle. The elements are cycled with SSRs that make and break one leg.
-There is a sub panel behind the 240v service box that has an individual breaker for the HLT, electric keggle, and the 120v service (control panel, pump, stir motor).
-All plumbing on the rig has quick disconnects: the water supply coming in, and all other fittings from HLT to mash tun to keggles.

The overall picture:

(IMG:http://img82.imageshack.us/img82/9297/dsc4086largeix4.jpg)

The control panel in action:

(IMG:http://img205.imageshack.us/img205/4760/dsc40882mediumwv5.jpg)

The guts of the control panel:

(IMG:http://img341.imageshack.us/img341/3497/dsc4075largelf6.jpg)
(IMG:http://img341.imageshack.us/img341/7809/dsc4078largezq3.jpg)

Close up of the box containing the 240v service, pump, and waterproof plug in for the electric keggle. The sub panel with the breakers is in back of this junction box.

(IMG:http://img205.imageshack.us/img205/2631/dsc4089mediumhz0.jpg)

The water filter with QDs plumbed right into the HLT:

(IMG:http://img205.imageshack.us/img205/9933/dsc4093mediumhc0.jpg)

There are a few things left to do such as some heat shielding for the pump and I have to fabricate and install an exhaust hood/fan for inside brewing.

Finally, I recognize that fancy toys do not automatically mean you make great beer. I brewed for two years without this fancy stuff. Now Iím going to have to get back into the swing of things and brew some beer (hopefully good beer). I decided to build this setup because I got tired of having to get propane refills, lifting (especially pots of hot water), and I also got tired of not paying attention to the HLT and overshooting my water temps. Okay, and Iím also a tinkerer.
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thirty-two
post May 1 2007, 07:45 AM
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wow! nice work!

(IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/cheers.gif)
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dagomike
post May 1 2007, 07:46 AM
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Pretty spiffy! My theory is the more you brew, the better the beer, and the easier it is to brew, the more you brew. The other is consistency makes better beer. No doubt your rig will be a big assist to better beer. (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/cheers.gif)
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wrz0170
post May 1 2007, 08:10 AM
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Holy Crap! Nice set up!
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Zandelar
post May 1 2007, 08:11 AM
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Man that looks sweet! How long did it take to do the electric?
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DJ in KC
post May 1 2007, 08:12 AM
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Nice job Erik! Can't wait to see this thing in action.

Is there a purge valve on that pump?

dj
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stangbat
post May 1 2007, 08:24 AM
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QUOTE(dagomike @ May 1 2007, 07:46 AM) *
Pretty spiffy! My theory is the more you brew, the better the beer, and the easier it is to brew, the more you brew. The other is consistency makes better beer. No doubt your rig will be a big assist to better beer. (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/cheers.gif)

True. And I hope to get back to brewing and work on my technique. One thing I don't have a great handle on is recipe formulation. That takes practice and I need more practice.

QUOTE(Zandelar @ May 1 2007, 08:11 AM) *
Man that looks sweet! How long did it take to do the electric?

Oh boy, I have no idea. And it depends on what you mean by electric. The house: a day. The 240v stuff: the junction box with SSRs was a bit of work. The control panel wiring took probably 8 hours. Wiring the sub panel took several hours. Then I had to run all the lines from the control panel.

QUOTE(DJ in KC @ May 1 2007, 08:12 AM) *
Nice job Erik! Can't wait to see this thing in action.

Is there a purge valve on that pump?

dj

No, no purge valve. I got it to prime last night by opening the valves and lowering the output hose until it took off.

This post has been edited by stangbat: May 1 2007, 08:25 AM
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jayflap
post May 1 2007, 08:28 AM
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Beautiful work Stangbat. Can't wait to hear about the first batch on the new toy. Very nice work for certain.

J
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erichonour
post May 1 2007, 08:30 AM
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Sweeeeeeeeeeet.

(IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/tongue.gif) (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/smile.gif)

I think the next time you host a KC BBoard get-together, we ought to make it a brew day. That way we can watch you and your system in action, while we all sit back and kibitz. (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/smile.gif)

(IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/cheers.gif)
EH
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snowman
post May 1 2007, 08:45 AM
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No doubt you have raised the bar...Fantastic work my friend!! Any bets on when the fist boil over will be? (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/eh.gif) I was just telling Andy that were gonna have to kidnap you when we get ready to wire the big rig (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/devil.gif)

Looks great!...Any dates set to break it in?
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blktre
post May 1 2007, 08:57 AM
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QUOTE(wrz0170 @ May 1 2007, 08:10 AM) *
Holy Crap! Nice set up!

+1 (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/hehe.gif)

Good thing you got on the next pallet order!!! Very nice work indeed and im super jealous of this thing. I cant wait to watch you brew on this thing and have the chance to be your assistant. Ill be dumping grain and cleaning for once!!!! After seeing this thing, your wife needs a surprise weekend getaway for putting up w/ it all! (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/hehe.gif)
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tjthresh
post May 1 2007, 09:28 AM
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Holy balls!!!!
Friggin' outstanding!!!!
I'm happy for you, and pissed I aint got one.
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stangbat
post May 1 2007, 09:55 AM
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Thanks for the comments, guys.

I had a request for a pic of the back of the control panel. Everything is pretty self explanatory. The buzzer is activated when the countdown timer goes off. I put a switch inline so that the buzzer could be silenced if I didn't want to use it.

I need to get a grill for the fan. My fingers will probably thank me.

(IMG:http://img82.imageshack.us/img82/316/panelbackcopylargetk0.jpg)
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blktre
post May 1 2007, 10:02 AM
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A buzzer even? Geeez......you suck even more than i thought (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/devil.gif)
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stangbat
post May 1 2007, 10:07 AM
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QUOTE(blktre @ May 1 2007, 10:02 AM) *
A buzzer even? Geeez......you suck even more than i thought (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/devil.gif)

I decided that if I was going to spend the time and effort to build this thing then I was going to go all out and not cut any corners. I spared no expense for the buzzer. (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/biggrin.gif) (IMG:style_emoticons/brewboard/hehe.gif)
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