Goodbye Old Blog!!

Why have two blogs? Does anyone even know that I have two blogs?

This blog ( is the only blog from here on out.

I’ve deleted

Simple Stuff,


The TSS2 Love Controller (From old Blog)

Just consolidating an old blog entry from from 1/6/11:

Today I “discovered” how to use my two TSS2 dual control Temperature Controllers. I use the term “discovered” because the instructions are Engineering garble and lack any sort of intuitive approach.

I plan to use these for controlling an electric element or a gas solenoid valve for heating and controlling the temp on my sparge and mash.

So here it is in plain English:

The device can handle TWO temperature probes and control TWO devices (i.e. turn them on and off). The probes are “sd1″ and “sd2″ and the devices are “out1″ and “out2″. Pretty Simple.

Here’s the proper connection of a SINGLE temperature probe (the two solid black cable to the right are for power, the two wires on the left are for the temp. probe.).

PLEASE NOTE: The unit will almost immediately start beeping because it does not see the second probe. You will see “errP” and “ooo” on the screen. The Device is trying to say “Device is Missing 2nd Probe so I will beep like a fire alarm forever”.

Note: You can temporarily turn the beeping off by simultaneously pressing “set” and the “down” arrow. This only stops the sound, not the irritating blinking

Ok, so how to turn the blinking and the annoying beeping off for good:

Step 1: Hold the “set” button continously for 8 seconds
Step 2: Use the up arrow until you see “P5″
Step 3: The default it 2, change this to 1
Step 4: Wait 60 seconds for the device to exit program mode

You should now have a controller that is not beeping and seeing probe one. If you want to use two temp. probes the “P5″ obviously needs to be set to “2″

Here’s my working controllers (brrr, cold garage)

Going Back to the Basics








So, sometimes ideas are not so great.  Sometimes ideas don’t pan out the way people think they might pan out. Or, maybe I just didn’t put the time and effort into the site I needed to.


I’m referring to the SmartBrewer store of course. I just don’t have time to sell stuff online and with 3 items sold in about 6 months it’s just not worth the time and energy.


So, I’m going to can the whole shopping cart and go back to my brewing database. I’m also going to change how people can upload recipes.  Simple is better and I think the ability to upload documents with a short description will be more useful than requiring a person to enter every last ingredient for each beer recipe.


I also don’t think people have the attention span to learn complicated things on the internet.


So, good by Store!!!



1″ NPS Locknut Fused with 2″ Ferrule – Custom Part

Hello All,

I’ll have a more elaborate blog later this week with some closeups on the RIMS tube (aka TTHL: tube that heats liquid).

:o )

Today I added a custom part to Smart Brewer for users who want to build their own custom heating tubes. This is a hard to find part (as in non existent on the web).

This little doo-dad lets you add an end piece to your RIMS tube.  The NPS threading is specific to standard US water heater elements.

Note: “NPS” threadings should not be confused with “NPT” threadings that are common to 1/2″ brewing thermometers and the threading on the standard March 809 pump.



Here’s the link to buy one:


And here some pictures (click images to enlarge):



New THHL (RIMS) Tubes on Brew System :o)

Hello All,

So I completed my RIMS tubes for the Smart Brewer Brew System!!!  A RIMS tube is a “RECIRCULATING INFUSION MASH SYSTEM”.  The name is a complete stretch to make an acronym sound cool but this is what everyone calls them in the brewing world. I’ve basically created two tube that heats liquid so I think I’ll go with a better acronym: THHL (TUBE THAT HEATS LIQUID).  Makes more sense.

Anyway,  on one end is a thermometer probe and on the other end is a hot water heating element.  The advantage is that you can control your temperature and recirculate your mash or sparge tank easily.  In an ideal environment you dial in the temperature and walk away because your Sparge (also called Hot Liquor Tank or HLT) and Mash are controlled by your system.

So, here’s what I have (click image to enlarge).  The THHL tubes are parallel to the ground (I also made some stainless vertical tubes today as well.



The THHL’s also have an inlet and an outlet and are terminated by a hot water heating element (left) and a thermowell on the right.  A thermowell is basically a stainless tube about 1/2 inch in diameter that is terminated on one end.  This is where you would add your temperature probe.

All I have now is the control box!!!


Control Box Layout

Someone once said “Proper Prior Planning Prevents Poor Performance”.

I think it should be revised to “Proper Prior Planning Prevents BAD BEER”.

Anyway,  building a control box for a brew system takes a little foresight.  Here’s what I have so far:




Here’s what’s hooked up to the box:

- PUMP 1 (3 way switch, green indicator light)
- PUMP 2 (3 way switch, green indicator light)
- HEAT 1 (red indicator light)
- HEAT 2 (red indicator light)
- TEMP CONTROLLER 1 (no switch)
- TEMP CONTROLLER 2 (no switch)



And here’s what everything does:
When “PUMP 1″ is in AUTO mode this engages “TEMP CONTROLLER 1″ WITH “HEAT 1″ AND “PUMP 1″.  (The temp controller turns both the pump and the heat on/off depending on the temp)
When “PUMP 1″ is in OFF mode this only engages “TEMP CONTROLLER 1″(no “HEAT 1″ and no “PUMP 1″)
When “PUMP 1″ is in MANUAL mode this only engages the “TEMP CONTROLLER 1″ with “PUMP 1″ (no heat)

When “PUMP 2″ is in AUTO mode this engages “TEMP CONTROLLER 2″ WITH “HEAT 2″ AND “PUMP 2″.  (The temp controller turns both the pump and the heat on/off depending on the temp)
When “PUMP 2″ is in OFF mode this only engages “TEMP CONTROLLER 1″  (no “HEAT 2″ and no “PUMP 2″)
When “PUMP 2″ is in MANUAL mode this only engages the “TEMP CONTROLLER 2″ with “PUMP 2″ (no heat)

PUMP 1 (GREEN INDICATOR LIGHT): Illuminates ONLY when Pump 2 is running

PUMP 2 GREEN INDICATOR LIGHT: Illuminates ONLY when Pump 2 is running

HEAT 1 (RED INDICATOR LIGHT): Illuminates when Heat is on

PUMP 2 (RED INDICATOR LIGHT):Illuminates when Heat is on

ON/OFF: Turns everything off

TEMP CONTROLLER 1: This controller receives power from the PUMP 1 3-way control, it either gets power for both the pump and heat or just itself.

TEMP CONTROLLER 2: This controller receives power from the PUMP 1 3-way control, it either gets power for both the pump and heat or just itself.


Mounted the Control Box to the Brew System

I purchased a stainless steel box off Ebay for $100.  It’s about 18″ tall 6″ deep and 12″ wide. This was a great buy considering waterproof boxes like these sell for $600+ out of catalogs like Grainger.

Anyway, rather than tack weld the box onto the frame I opted to mount it with stainless bolts and nuts so I could remove it down the road if I choose. EASIER SAID THEN DONE!!

I spent a SOLID hour drilling the holes for the box.  I also spent about an hour remounting the three bottom beams (beams without the pumps) to the structure so all the beams are now symmetrical (OCD much?).

Note to self: stainless steel is VERY hard to drill through.

Hopefully mounting the temp controllers will be easier. I’ll go over the control box functions later this week.


(click to see larger image):

Smart Brewer Hop Database Restored

I’ve added the “Hop Database” to “Brewing Tools” on Smart Brewer.  This is a great resource when looking for hop varieties similar to what a recipe might call for.

From what I’ve seen this is the most exhaustive and accurate hop database I can find on the web!!!



Added “Recipes” back to the site

Under “Brewing Tools” I’ve started to add the parts of the old website to the new. This includes “Recipes”, “Yeasts”,  “Fermentables”, etc.

The purpose of SmartBrewer going back about a year ago was to provide a collaborative online tool for the avid home brewer to share recipes and tricks they learn along the way. I built a relational database that could store a users “ingredients” list and then cross reference the ingredient list with the recipes on smart brewer.  This took me a VERY LONG TIME but I was never able to get interest in the software.  I guess most people just want to print a recipe and go? I also realized that it’s much better to charge people for something then to offer it for free.  This give the user an incentive to actually use the tool they purchased (even if it was for $10).

I also discovered that people just want information without the “sharing” part.  This is fine, and I plan to make the site as easy to use as possible.  Everything on the old site will be under “Brewing Tools”.

I hope the format is easier to read and find info. I’m sort of puzzled at how I can get 500 unique visitors a a month with the average user visiting for 3-4 minutes with no feedback.

Guess I have to ask?


Sacramento Beer Week: February 25th – March 6th

Here’s the events list:

A friend of mine (David Teckam, Master Beer Judge) also forwarded this flier on “Beer Judging 101