Ace electric boilers?

Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Equipment Discussion' started by winstonia, Jun 17, 2015.

  1. Jan 8, 2017 #501

    Bigcol49

    Bigcol49

    Bigcol49

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    Hi!
    Thanks for that!
    I tried the silicon seal that is around the lid, but it didn't fit very well and created too much friction - a nightmare, as you said.
    I'm waiting on one or two bits of kit to be delivered and I'm ready for my first recirculating mash.

    I read a post rubbishing the sensors sourced from China, saying they weren't accurate. How have you found yours?
    I've ordered one from Angel Homebrew, but it's 80cm long, so some adaptation to the tee piece was needed. Now I'm worried that the sensor might impede the flow of the wort - there's always summat t'worry about!

    I'm going to place mine in the "elbow" of the tee so that there's no "corner" for the wort to turn. Do you think this might be the cause of your airlock problem?
     
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  2. Jan 8, 2017 #502

    donchiquon

    donchiquon

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    Hmmm...I'd not thought of trying the sensor in the elbow rather than letting the wort turn the corner. Might have to try that. I have also ordered a 4-way stainless steel cross to replace the tee piece.

    My plan was to mount the probe in one hole, wort in, wort out, and in the 4th hole (aligned vertically) I would stick one of these: http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/1-2-AUTOMATIC-AIR-VENT-CHROME-/112015249186?hash=item1a14a10f22

    I've spotted a couple of other brew systems using them, and it would get rid of any air that might build up in the outlet "tube".

    As for the probe, it seems accurate enough - judging by the temperature of the mash using a thermpen. I haven't however done a side-by-side comparison in the same liquid.
     
  3. Jan 8, 2017 #503

    Bigcol49

    Bigcol49

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    Hi!

    Thanks for the comments on the probe - I think I'll order one. I plan to get another PID to control the HLT, so the long probe that I've already ordered will come in handy.

    I look forward to finding out whether the 4-way piece solves your airlock problem.
     
  4. Jan 11, 2017 #504

    BeerCat

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    Another succesful brew finished using the pump. Absolutely no blockages. I did use 800g flaked barley at the bottom of the mash and didn't bother to stir much. Clear wort after 15 minutes. I now have all the fittings apart from the new probe which is on order.
    Another thing i still dont really understand is the fitting of the POT to control the voltage. I presume its wired up just before the socket for the boiler? (if that makes sense). I am sure it would need to be turned on/off a lot less if was only using 500w but the PID already varies the power each time it turns on. Am i missing something here?
     
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  5. Jan 12, 2017 #505

    Bigcol49

    Bigcol49

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    Hi Beer Cat,
    I'm in mid-build at the moment. I plan to put the voltage controller in the circuit just before the boiler socket, immediately after the SSR.
    As far as I know, the PID is simply a switch, albeit a sophisticated one - it allows mains current through or stops it. When the PID allows the current through it activates the SSR, which is basically another switch that has no physical connection to the PID, meaning it can handle a higher load than the 10A PID (the 2500W ACE draws more than 10A). The voltage regulator reduces the voltage, meaning the boiler can draw less power, so heats up the wort more gently.
    Any errors above are mine alone.
    Loads of questions - sorry!
    What type of filter did you use - false bottom and bazooka? Are you using the bag for mashing?
    How was the efficiency with only a light stir?
     
  6. Jan 12, 2017 #506

    Fil

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    if the plan is to fit a power controller post pid/ssr, using it on the fly may throw a major spanner in the works, if its for boil control and not intended for use in conjunction with the pid/ssr then no problem.

    pids benefit from an autotune during which the effect of the input power is tested and the 3 x control parameters are derived for optimum performance. Changing the power input on the fly will change the basis upon which the pids efficiency is based and could easily result inunexpected results such as over or under shooting the target.
     
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  7. Jan 12, 2017 #507

    Bigcol49

    Bigcol49

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    Hi!
    Thanks, Fil,
    The intention is to set the voltage regulator during a recirculation mash in an ACE boiler to maintain mash temperature. I intend to find a setting that will set the heating element to a gentle heat and then leave the voltage regulator alone. Donchiquon has done this successfully with the voltage regulator knob set at about one quarter of maximum.
     
  8. Jan 13, 2017 #508

    Fil

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    I should have read a bit more of the back story.. have browsed the last few pages and caught up a bit.. nice project.. a few things you may find useful,

    1) with adding a temp sensor inline on the return to the kettle you may want to look at using a 15mm compression T fitting in conjunction with a soft red brew bucket lid grommet, the soft rubber fits in the compression T for an easy seal, BUT the soft rubber also allows you to close off the output with your finger and waggle the probe to bleed any captured air in the fitting releasing to seal again and off you go.. if the probe or sensor your using is a little thin to seal in the grommet you can bulk up its girth with a wrap of pfte, as the probes sensor is generally positioned at its tip wrapping tape round its 'waist' wont have a detrimental effect..
    [​IMG]

    and reduce the diameter of the return tube post sensor to allow surface tension of the liquor to seal the tube against air bubbling back up should the flow reduce too much or ensure the return tube end remains submerged above the grain bed..


    2) imho its also worth splurging the extra ��£ or 2 on nice armoflex insulation for your pump return feed While some heat loss due to heating up the pipework and pump is inevitable, the more heat you can retain the better.

    get some pics posted.. perhaps a dedicated build thread even??
     
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  9. Jan 13, 2017 #509

    Bigcol49

    Bigcol49

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    Hi Fil,
    Thanks for these tips - very useful.
    I'm searching out my nearest Jewsons as they stock the Armoflex insulation - I brew in a brick shed with no heating, so any insulation will be useful. I want to insulate the boiler and mash tun with camping mats.
    Photos - on the way!
     
  10. Jan 13, 2017 #510

    BeerCat

    BeerCat

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    Thanks for the photos. Very helpful. Good idea about a new thread as well. Could you start one as i am sure you will come up with a better name than me. :)

    3rd run with the pump ended after 10mins. Pump gave up on me and is now kaput. I was running it at 2a instead of 1a due to my adaptor so that could of been the cause. Not really sure, was running flat out all the time but didn't seem to be straining until it sucked in air. Was having a few issues with sticking today before it broke. Anyway i found the same pump for sale at £10 but would take ages to arrive from Chine so a new better pump is on order and should be here in a week. Wont be using the voltage controller on it as they are built to be controlled by the flow apparently.
     
  11. Jan 14, 2017 #511

    Jcdonnan

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    Went with this in the end, may take a while to come as it's from china. But for £11 if it's no use no big deal.
     

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  12. Jan 14, 2017 #512

    nigelnorris

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    You've made the right choice going to a bigger one than mine, BeerCat was right about it being a bit small for larger hop loads.

    Mind you I fixed that in my last batch by doing a 50g 60 minute boil then just dumping the used hops and filling it again with another 50g for an additional 15 minutes.
     
  13. Jan 16, 2017 #513

    donchiquon

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    Brew day today - a Wherry-ish clone with loads of extra hops. I thought I would try getting rid of any air in the outlet by tipping the boiler forward before mashing in. Loads of bubbles came out, and I had the smoothest recirculation I've had to date. No "vacuum" - I think this was just an airlock :doh:



    The faster recirculation speed (well over 4 litres per minute) meant I was able to keep a much more stable temperature in the tun, and I got a pre-boil efficiency of 85%...the OG ended up 3 points over.



    Funny how the simplest fixes can be the most effective!
    [​IMG]
     
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  14. Jan 16, 2017 #514

    Bigcol49

    Bigcol49

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    Hi!
    Thanks for the tip!
    I'm going to try underletting - I wonder whether this will cause an airlock?
    Most of the parts have arrived - looking forward to building the controller tomorrow.
    Colin
     
  15. Jan 17, 2017 #515

    BeerCat

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    That's really good news @Donchiquon . I have no idea why mine blocked last time but new pump should be here this week. Just looking at your photo i probably have the same one as you.

    @Bigcol49 What pump do you have? I found my solar worked best flat out. When i slowed it down i became less confident and also didn't sound good when the motor ran on reduced current. I found out the magnetic pumps are controlled by flow, you don't need to reduce the voltage. My pump probably blew as i was running it at 2A instead of 1A. Could this be the cause? @fil

    This is the new one i bought http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/232179682176?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

    I think i should of let the mash settle for 5 mins before turning the pump on. That might of enabled the water to settle and purge any air pockets.
     
  16. Jan 17, 2017 #516

    Bigcol49

    Bigcol49

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    Hi!
    I went for this one http://www.angelhomebrew.co.uk/en/pumps/122-12v-homebrew-pump-type-3.html
    I haven't tested it yet - any day now!
    I spent this morning upgrading the old consumer unit in the brewshed (fuse wire!!) to one with MCBs, so now I'm ready to add more lighting, a couple of extra sockets and I think by then the probe and voltage regulator will have arrived - I think they're on a slow boat from China :grin:.
    This afternoon, I'm finally taking the Dremel to control box - wish me luck!
     
  17. Jan 17, 2017 #517

    Llanbrewer

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    Correct me if I'm wrong, but there seem to be two Ace boilers which are eminently suitable for home brewing. One is about £150 and comes with an inner mesh bag for easy BIAB and the other is over £300 and is billed as a microbrewery and has extra bells and whistles for stirring etc. To my ignorant (and slightly cheapskate) eye, the one at the £150 mark seems eminently suitable for replicating on a larger scale my ongoing 5l AG experiment. I'm keen on keeping it all as simple as possible.

    Has anyone here, set out the pros and cons of the two bits of kit?
     
  18. Jan 17, 2017 #518

    Bigcol49

    Bigcol49

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    Hi!
    The micro brewery is a "one pot" setup - ACE version of the Grainfather etc. It has a pump and temperature controller built in and only needs a wort chiller to have everything from crushed grain to fermenter in one vessel.
    The cheaper option is an insulated mash tun/boiler - it has a couple of bells and whistles that mine doesn't have as the company are continually upgrading their product.
    Colin
     
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  19. Jan 17, 2017 #519

    Bigcol49

    Bigcol49

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    Hi!
    I'm not yet ready to try my first brew with a pumped system, but I have been giving some thought to the pump having to deal with grain particles early in the mash. I wonder whether it would be worthwhile to manually vorlauf a few times until the grain bed forms? Daft idea when there's a pump, but would it work?
     
  20. Jan 17, 2017 #520

    Lowcliff

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    Just read the post- would it not be better to drain through 1/2 a gallon and sparge this by hand then when its clear connect the pump, sorry if I,m way off with this. I,m a complete novice
     

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