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)

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):

New Prices on Valves

Hello Home Brewers,

I’ve located a supplier for 1/2″ 316 Stainless Steel Valves.  Both threaded and threadless.

I think these prices are hard to beat!!!

1/2″ 2-Way 3-Piece Threaded Ball Valve 316 SS

Smart Brewer Sketchup

Wow, Google Sketchup is really cool!!

To better illustrate or modify designs this is the way to go!!

Here’s a rough sketch of the current brew frame.


Smart Brewer System Progress

Got a lot done today on the Smart Brewer system.  Unfortunately I won’t be able to brew for at least another week!!!

The most time consuming part was re-thinking the flow of the mash tank and the sparge tanks (the two tanks on the right).  I also discovered that it’s important that all the valves be easily accessible  (i.e. placed in the front) and to do that I had to lower the cross beam supporting the pumps so all five valves face the operator of the system (this is now the third time I’ve moved the pumps!!!).

The pumps flow from the bottom up and there will be  a “Tee” built in so the kettle (far left) can join into the loop for the center tank.

Here’s a picture illustrating the flow of the system.  Note the two stainless pipes on the floor, these will be the heating tubes for the “MASH” and “SPARGE” tanks on the right.

Latest Update on Smart Brewer System

It’s a Wednesday so I didn’t have much time but I did manage to measure and tack weld the cross beams today (the beams circled in red).

I also noticed that the structure is not completely symmetrical.  The top frame is 60 inches by 20 inches on top but when I add the cross beams I created THREE rectangles that measure 18 inches x 17 inches.

Can’t really turn back now but the next system will have a frame 60 inches x 23 inches so the squares in the center will all measure 18×18.

(Note: The beams are 1.5″ Stainless Steel. This thing is probably strong enough to park a car on)


Welding Pump Mounts For Brew System

Yesterday (Sunday, 2/6/11) I welded some pump mounts for my “Smart Brewer” Beer System.  This process took about 3 hours to do because of all the cuts, the measuring and seams that needed to be welded.  The bead on the weld could look better but the end product is exactly what I was looking for (a minimal design that’s all stainless and easy to clean around).

The “Brutus 10” has a vertical pump mount that doesn’t really make much sense for my design because I’m looking to push water in a vertical direction directly between my tanks (The Brutus uses hoses instead of stainless pipe and is not directly in-between the three tanks).

Anyway, please ask questions in the comments section if my pictures and description are not clear. I also plan to drill holes in the beam to hide the wires that power each pump.

It’s Starting to come together!!!

Measuring the pieces to be sure they’ll fit perfectly with the pump:

Tack Welding the pieces onto the main beam:

Here’s the two mounts welded before drilling the holes for the pumps:

Here’s the final setup with the pumps mounted: