Grainfather Cutout

Discussion in 'General Home Brew Equipment Discussion' started by Slid, Nov 17, 2019.

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  1. Nov 17, 2019 #1

    Slid

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    For many months now my GF has cut out at around 80C - the temps got progressively lower. I got around this by transferring wort to another boiler, boiling, then transferring back to GF to chill.

    Yesterday, when I was doing the cleaning cycle, the heater element did not come on at any setting.
    Earlier this year @Hoddy suggested that in such circumstances it is the SSR that has probably failed.
    My GF is about 3.5 years old and yesterday was the 107th time of use.
    I don't know what an SSR is, yet alone what steps to take next.

    Does anyone have any ideas? Is there still such a thing as a "Grainbrother", for instance?
     
  2. Nov 17, 2019 #2

    terrym

    terrym

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    Solid State Relay?
    Plenty on ebay. Cheapish too
     
  3. Nov 17, 2019 #3

    Slid

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    Cheers Terrym.

    Does anyone know where the SSR is located in the GF? Is it part of the Controller unit or is it in the base somewhere?
     
  4. Nov 17, 2019 #4

    Mungri

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  5. Nov 17, 2019 #5

    Slid

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    Thanks Mungri, very interesting reference, which suggests the issue may be with the connect/controller box. My Mk 2 GF does not have the Connect with fancy Apps based control facility, which I never did much want.

    I have sent an e-mail to info@ GF, but do not expect any reply until the timing is in line with their location:laugh8:.

    SWMBO, as it happens, did not think £6 a pop for a brewing machine was that bad value, so I could think about replacing the whole unit. However, being a "careful" sort of person, who has put up with some hassle with the GF, I would prefer a less expensive alternative. Controller Unit replacement / upgrade would be OK, for instance.
     
  6. Nov 17, 2019 #6

    Hoddy

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    i think it will most likely be your SSR but it may also be an actual fault in the control box. I’ve never seen inside one to know how serviceable it is.

    you’ve done the right thing in contacting GF. My suspicion is that it will be a sealed unit and your best way forward will be to replace the controller

    although thinking about it, you may have an issue with the actual element. Have you tested it at all? Both cold and when it’s at 80oC?
     
  7. Nov 17, 2019 #7

    Clint

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    Take it outside and beat the devil out if it with a cast iron chapel railing...
     
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  8. Nov 18, 2019 #8

    Slid

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    On Saturday, I could not get the element to work at all, but I don't know how I would test it if the control box / SSR is faulty. I suppose it would be nice to know that the element works before buying a replacement controller!
     
  9. Nov 18, 2019 #9

    Slid

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    Ah, the old Basil Fawlty approach. That would learn it, alright.
     
  10. Nov 18, 2019 #10

    Hoddy

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    A simple test would be with an electrical multimeter. Test across two wires (L + N) if you can and you should see a resistance of upwards of 200 ohms. If you get a 0 or a buzz you may have a dead short ie a dead heating element.
     
  11. Nov 18, 2019 #11

    Mungri

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    It'd be a risk @ approx £110 for the controller if you're not sure that's the problem.
    Isn't there anyone on the forum who lives close enough to loan you one to try?
    You could try mine, but I think I live about 40 miles from you.

    @Hoddy posted as I was typing. Seems like a good idea.
     
  12. Nov 18, 2019 #12

    terrym

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    For my two penn'orth, if the problem was a simple i.e one day it works the next day it fails it is most likely to be a heater failure. However OP indicated a progressive fault which leans more to a control box problem. But its a simple test to put a multimeter over the element, so that wouldn't do any harm to prove it one way or another.
     
  13. Nov 18, 2019 #13

    Slid

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    Thanks @Mungri and @terrym. I am picking up a cheap multimeter from Screwfix on the way home tonight.

    Never used one before and the element in the GF is in the base. How would I access the element to do the testing, does anyone know?
     
  14. Nov 18, 2019 #14

    terrym

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    Isn't there a heater power supply lead that connects into the control box via a plug and socket arrangement? If it does and at the other end it connects directly to the element all you have to do I believe is to connect the multimeter over the live and neutral sockets or pins on the plug and measure the resistance.
     
  15. Nov 18, 2019 #15

    Mungri

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  16. Nov 18, 2019 #16

    the baron

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    surely a simple continuity test on the elements would tell if the elements are intact and not broken
     
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  17. Nov 18, 2019 #17

    Slid

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    Yes there is a plug and socket connector from element to controller and when I looked, with multimeter in hand this evening, it had worked its way loose. When I plugged it back in and put come water in the bottom, hey-ho it heated up when I turned it on.

    Even for me, that was a bad fail. Sooo embarrassing.:tinhat:
    Still it could be worse, I could have ordered a Brewzilla 35L for delivery early 2020 or bought a swish controller unit whose functionality I would never use.

    Next time, I am going to nail the grain crush and finally sort out all my GF issues, until the next one.

    Thanks, though, to all responders.wink...
     
  18. Nov 18, 2019 #18

    Chippy_Tea

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    Glad its sorted, how much do you want for the multi-meter :laugh8:
     
  19. Nov 18, 2019 #19

    foxbat

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    Make sure the two probes are in the common and "voltage/resistance" sockets. DO NOT use the socket labelled Amps/A/mA or similar because it's near enough a dead short to the common socket as well as being wrong for what you're measuring.
     
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  20. Nov 18, 2019 #20

    Slid

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    Screwfix £10 job, not worth the postage, I would expect.

    Cheers for this, I did watch a few videos on the subject, before going near the job. That is pretty much what I thought, as I am only interested in resistance.
     

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