HedgeBird Posted May 9, 2012 Share Posted May 9, 2012 I am in the process of building my still and was just curious how many people have automated, or semi-automated control panels for their stills. I have already started work on a panel for my mash tun that will use a PID unit to monitor temperature and control a steam valve, as well as have a switch for the pump and a timer, etc. Basically a simplified version of the Electric Brewery Control Panel: www.theelectricbrewery.com/control-panel With the mash tun its pretty simple; monitor temperature, control steam. The still on the other hand is not so straight forward. I am building a 150 gallon, steam powered, 4 plate pot still with a dephlegmator. The way I see it there are two data points I could potentially monitor, the collection vapor temperature or the dephlegmator cooling water output temperature rise. And also two inputs that could be controlled, the amount of steam (energy input) or the rate of dephlegmator cooling water flow. So potentially I could use a PID to monitor cooling water temperature rise or vapor temp, and adjust steam input. I don't really think this would get me much though.. Another option would be to monitor cooling water temperature rise and adjust its speed to maintain consistent reflux. With this arrangement adjusting the setting on the PID would control the amount of reflux. Steam input would be manually controlled and vapor temp would just be monitored with an alarm set at various collection points. This arrangement seems like it would be more practical. The easiest option would be to skip the 'control panel' and just build a 'monitoring panel' with displays for cooling water temp, vapor temp, and an alarm. So yeah. I'm curious if anyone else is using a PID or other type of controller, what their setup and experience are. Or if you just have feedback on if you think this would be helpful or is just overkill.. -Hedge Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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