Fast response HLT

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PeeBee
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Fast response HLT

Post by PeeBee » Sat Nov 03, 2018 3:07 pm

Some 15 months ago I declared my intentions to modify my "Hybrid HERMS/RIMS" brewery to have very fast response to mash temperature changes (for temperature stepped mashes, and also to get the HLT down to mashing temperature after heating everything up to strike temperature). I'd got that declaration in this post: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=76872&start=15. The relevant bit was:
PeeBee wrote:
Mon Jun 26, 2017 1:02 pm
... And it is undergoing a major change: A "Reserve HLT" that manages the HLT! It will allow me to heat portions of the HLT liquor "offline" so it will rapidly increase the temperature of the HLT (which feeds a HERMS) when returned to it. I grew impatient with the RIMS stuff and consider the other solution (a mini-HERMS for faster response) a dead loss.
Meantime I modified my changes to account for what's said in: viewtopic.php?f=60&t=80501.

Finally! I get around to it. So with the new "supporting" vessel built I need to patch in that vessel's control box into the existing ones. My control boxes are based on the documented "Electric Brewery" adapted for UK electrics and making the safety start interlock compulsory, not an option. I also split the heavy switching to its own "distribution" control box, and all the hands-on controls to a low amp (<6A) and low voltage (12V) in it's own control box.

I'm posting this because it might help others, give folk ideas and to give anyone the option to disagree with me (which I might argue with!).

So: Let's patch in the new control box to the existing distribution control box. This will be awkward because the distribution box is not easily accessible, under a bench, and hasn't been opened since I built it. But it was built when I was far more "incapacitated" than I am now so it shouldn't be too complicated …

… Holy Moses!
20181103_110132_WEB.jpg
Not as bad as it looks(!) Because I couldn't have the picture hanging about nagging me to finish the job, so the jobs finished in the piccie. You can see the big 40A contactors in the bottom right, and one of the three (switching the 2KW RIMS element) has been replaced with 2x20A contactors (the new vessel has a 3KW element and won't be used for extended periods). There is also the 24 core patch cable adding to the spaghetti of wires.

Next job, wire up the new control box ...

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Re: Fast response HLT

Post by PeeBee » Sun Nov 04, 2018 2:49 pm

While pondering that control box I'll introduce the new vessel:
20181103_155609_WEB.jpg
It is a 21L stockpot fitted with a 3KW element and a PT100 probe for monitoring temperature. There is two level switches to check water level because this vessel is parked under the bench with the HLT and the Distribution Box pictured in last post. The vessel is fairly inaccessible so it takes a "metered" charge hence the level switches (the lower to protect the pump from "run-dry", the upper to stop the fill at about 18L). Thanks to Paul at "Angel Homebrew" for supplying the pot with all the holes punched out - supplied over a year ago, I'm not exactly fast!

The water comes in from the HLT, and once heated is pumped back into the HLT (via that crooked pipe - I forgot about the pot's handle when planning this out). Only moving clean water so I'm happy to use cheap 12V "solar" pumps. There is a check valve on the output because it is lower than the HLT - the HLT has an overflow, but not this vessel into which the HLT would overflow if the check valve wasn't there.

So I can get on and install this vessel now. And the control box?
20181103_155240_WEB.jpg
Ah. But before getting on with that it's patched up so I can brew beer the old way (I'm running out!).



A reminder of why I'm posting all this waffle: It might make for some dry reading for many folk, but for someone engaged in such a project it is very useful; I know, because I spent hours looking for such material when I was planning. (It's also a record for me so I can figure what the hell I've been doing with it).

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Re: Fast response HLT

Post by PeeBee » Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:30 pm

I've a little hiccup in my panel build.

Because I've split the control boxes so as to have small low powered "hands on" control boxes away from the heavy high power switching. The control boxes are linked with multi-core SY cable.

I'm well aware of induced currents but thought they wouldn't be a problem in such a pokey project. I've been happy with the setup so far, but there was some odd anomalies, but they didn't stop things working.

And then I make all these alterations and re-wirings. "Straw that broke the camels back"? So ... induced currents won't be a problem?

Wrong!

I've now got to isolate all the 230VAC lines so they don't share the same trunking as 12VDC lines. The 230VAC lines carry tiny currents (circuits are on a 1A fuse); but that doesn't matter! I've "ghost" currents dancing all over my control boxes. That'll teach me.

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Re: Fast response HLT

Post by Dads_Ale » Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:39 pm

Hi. Do you get a chance to brew any beer between tinkering LoL. 😎

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Re: Fast response HLT

Post by PeeBee » Sun Nov 18, 2018 3:38 pm

Dads_Ale wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:39 pm
Hi. Do you get a chance to brew any beer between tinkering LoL. 😎
I'm certainly not L-ing, most certainly not LoL-ing! But things are not as desperate as when first faced with the problem. Induced currents are a swine to diagnose and fruitlessly checking all the connections (where I was sure I'd find the problem) was a right ... PITA I think is the term.

But I've still 18L to see me through until I'm back in production. Cheers!

(Always got to look for the bright side. Those old little "anomalies" mentioned - like the PID controllers randomly resetting from time-to-time - will at last get exorcised).

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Re: Fast response HLT

Post by PeeBee » Wed Aug 28, 2019 12:44 pm

About time I got this brewery fixed! It's close on nine months since progress halted due to rampant induced voltages crawling all over my control boxes.

So, the brewery is back together and waiting for its first brew. Induced voltages excised and the extra bits of hardware introduced. Extra bits of hardware? Well, this thread was about "fast response HLT" and it's about time I got on with it (before all this "three-vessel" stuff is completely brushed aside by the "one-pot" designs).
20190827_162419_WEB.jpg
Fourth vessel in place and plumbed in. Looks like I subconsciously knew I was going to do this and left just the right amount of space for it?
20190827_162447_WEB.jpg
"I knew"? Perhaps not. Now who was it who lent me that shoe-horn?

Looking "top-side" I have:
20190827_162551_WEB.jpg
The second control box for manipulating the "HLT Reserve" is still unfinished like last year. But any 230V lines in that box have been removed - I've learnt that lesson. The main control box now sports an extra cable conduit carrying the 230V lines - the cable conduits no longer carry a mix of 12V and 230V lines.

The (depressingly small) Grainfather Conical in that shot has been supplying me beer meantime, and is still supplying beer (there's 20L of DIYDog "5am Saint" in it at moment).
Dads_Ale wrote:
Sun Nov 18, 2018 2:39 pm
Hi. Do you get a chance to brew any beer between tinkering LoL. 😎
Avoided the stress of getting my brewery fixed before I could brew any more beer by splashing out on a Grainfather. Extravagant, but at least it's been keeping me supplied in beer since last Christmas. I think the "stress" can be appreciated looking at those piccies above.

But the Grainfather has been a little too successful and probably caused a big slow-down fixing the main brewery (yet it's a pain brewing such fiddly little volumes as 20L).

Even with the main brewery fixed the GF has a role - I was always jealous of people being able to knock up 20L batches when 40L was the smallest I could manage. But now I have a "pilot" brewery! My "low-alcohol" brewing trials have accelerated no end, and I'm looking forward to trialling more unusual (for me) conventional strength beers. I've already made tentative steps into "lager" brewing (that's a very big step for a life-long "Real Ale" guzzler).

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Re: Fast response HLT

Post by Kev888 » Wed Aug 28, 2019 2:37 pm

As it happens, I'm following a similar path with the second smaller system: my bigger one will do down to about 40L before it gets a bit daft, but I also want to do 20L and 10L brew lengths - partly for variety and partly for test batches. So I'm building a small one-pot system, as (for me) this type helps to reduce the time/effort needed for making small batches.

However, I still prefer 3-vessel brewing when time permits, so the small one-pot will have the option to be used just as a recirculating mash tun, between a HLT and BK. I suspect once this has come together, the bigger 3-V system might then only be wheeled out on special occasions.
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Re: Fast response HLT

Post by PeeBee » Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:09 am

As this thread was started so long ago, I'll post a summary of what I'm trying to do (I could do with the reminder myself!).

A problem with HERMS driven mashing systems is the slow convergence of actual mash temperature with selected ("set") temperature. Another problem I found was if using HERMS to heat mash water to strike temperature, the HERMS system has to cool back down to mash temperature before recirculating (not every HERMS user heats their mash water this way so don't have this problem). I'll start with a stylised diagram of a HERMS:
HERMS.jpg
(It was originally created for an article on temperature probe position - hence all the alternative probe positions!). A common solution to "slow" HERMS was to have a small volume "HLT" of 1-3L to increase the responsiveness but I was never keen on this "bolt-on" idea. Another was to use the alternative RIMS, a system championed by some and discredited by some others. I opted for a hybrid (RIMS and HERMS) using RIMS to heat strike water and for faster temperature steps (including "mash-out") - but my "RIMS/HERMS" hybrid didn't work that well because I under-estimated the power of the RIMS element needed (mine was 2kW, and something bigger was in order for a 40-60L brewery).

So I decided I need a system that can heat water "offline" (in a "HLT Reserve" vessel) which when mixed with the HLT water provides an almost instantaneous controlled heat source (it still takes time for the mash to heat up). This can be drawn as:
ENHANCED HERMS.jpg
A "metered" amount is drawn from the HLT into the reserve vessel where it is heated to a pre-calculated temperature. The "Reserve" is then emptied back into the HLT to instantly change the HLT temperature. The reserve can be overheated (by a yet to be determined amount) to compensate for the extra heat initially drawn out by the recirculating mash.


(EDIT: A key? "E" heating element, "T" temperature probe, and "P" pump. A motorised valve exists between HLT and Reserve).
Last edited by PeeBee on Fri Aug 30, 2019 9:26 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Fast response HLT

Post by Jocky » Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:51 pm

Can you quantify the speed difference you are hoping to make?

I don't understand why you've rejected the idea of a smaller but dedicated 'HERMS pot' as the heat source.
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Re: Fast response HLT

Post by PeeBee » Mon Sep 02, 2019 4:47 pm

The speed will be governed by how good your heat exchanger is and how fast you dare recirculate without everything bunging up. The speed and power of the heating element is no longer a factor.

If I was advising how to build a "dedicated HERMS pot" I'd apply the usual care and research into the description so I don't pass on dodgy ideas. But in this case I'm not suggesting anyone has a "dedicated HERMS pot"! So I can apply whatever bias, prejudice, distorted view I like. And I don't like nasty little untidy small dedicated HERMS pots; so there! [-(

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Re: Fast response HLT

Post by Eclipse9101 » Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:08 pm

I would suggest a dedicated Herms pot. Extremely quick temp ramp up. And depending what you build/use I think they look pretty neat and a nice little addition to the brewery! The hlt reserve pot you have made seems to be a dedicated Herms pot in disguise....?
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Fast response HLT

Post by LeeH » Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:41 am

I favour a RIMS tube especially if you’re going down the road of a dedicated HERMS pot.


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Re: Fast response HLT

Post by PeeBee » Wed Sep 11, 2019 10:27 am

Eclipse9101 wrote:
Tue Sep 10, 2019 7:08 pm
I would suggest a dedicated Herms pot. Extremely quick temp ramp up. And depending what you build/use I think they look pretty neat and a nice little addition to the brewery! The hlt reserve pot you have made seems to be a dedicated Herms pot in disguise....?
LeeH wrote:
Wed Sep 11, 2019 6:41 am
I favour a RIMS tube especially if you’re going down the road of a dedicated HERMS pot.
Yean, yeah. You are all going to try and persuade me that these older methods work better. But really I want persuading that what I'm trying to do won't work (if that's going to be the case).

The old ideas both suffer from heating "on-line", or real-time, and both require carefully configured PID controllers to avoid the "convergence lag", whereas I'm heating "off-line" and the power of the element is of no consequence and "convergence lag" can be easily tuned out.

Actually a dedicated HERMS design would have been easy for me to implement. My HERMS coil is external to the HLT and jacketed so the HLT just supplies heated water to the jacket. I could have arranged a switchover to a much smaller dedicated HLT supplying the HERMS coil jacket. It could be heated off-line before switchover and the main HLT heated "off-line" while switched over (and then switched back). :-k I'd better stop thinking about that or I'll be changing everything again. Anyway, to do that I'd be advocating my kooky style external HERMS coil and that would certainly switch people off (the kooky HERMS coil is designed that way so it can easily be switched to cooling mode).

Still haven't finished the control box for the "dedicated HERMS pot in disguise" (I am aware that it looks like that hence I called it a "HLT Reserve").

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Re: Fast response HLT

Post by Jocky » Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:17 am

So as I understand it what you want to do is to use your HLT to host the HERMS heat exchanger, but eliminate the time it takes for the HLT to heat up so you can reduce the time it takes to do a mash step?

If I've got that right, then I see the biggest potential issue you have is the size of your reserve pot vs the size of the HLT.
If you keep the reserve at 95c then how much water are you going to need to achieve a step?

Once you've added that to the HLT you may also need to run some water back from the HLT to the reserve for further heating, otherwise you'll need ever larger infusions to take the HLT to the next step.
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Re: Fast response HLT

Post by PeeBee » Sun Sep 15, 2019 10:08 am

Jocky wrote:
Thu Sep 12, 2019 10:17 am
… If I've got that right, then I see the biggest potential issue you have is the size of your reserve pot vs the size of the HLT. If you keep the reserve at 95c then how much water are you going to need to achieve a step? …
Thanks Jocky. The size of pots was dictated by what I could get. I thought the 21L size would compliment the 70L HLT but it is a bit of a close call. The following is a snip from the spreadsheet I built to manage it:
watercalc.JPG
"Step temperature" is the desired temp., "HLT temperature" is its current temp. (probably the previous step's temp.) and "HLT reserve temperature" is the temp. of the water being added to the HLT to get it to the desired temp.. The "Reserve" takes a fixed charge (18L here) and the temp. is varied 'cos it's much easier that way.

Step 1 cools the HLT from strike temperature (I use HERMS to heat the mash water at the start too) to mash temperature. That's good. But Step 2 and 3 combined raise the HLT from mash temperature to mashout temperature. So there's a bit of juggling to perform big temperature steps (64C to 75C here).

The problem is heightened with this is 'cos I was hoping to overheat the HLT (by 4-5C) to speed up convergence of mash with HLT set temperature. That's going to be tight.

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