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Smart Wi-Fi Power Switch

 
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dnierer




Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 35
Location: Slatington, PA

Drinking: Electric Hop Candy

Working on: Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger


PostLink    Posted: Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:17 pm    Post subject: Smart Wi-Fi Power Switch Reply with quote


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I'm looking to automate the start-up of my brew day. I would like to add the following Smart Wi-Fi Switch inline between the breaker box and my control panel. So that I can set a timer and have the HLT begin heating the water up automatically.

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07WG9S4Z8?coliid=I3RECVV2B5UK13&colid=2C755XH8JJGLK&psc=1&linkCode=ll1&tag=theelectricbrewery-20&linkId=6a7794bfc97bbec09084e912b6b6bdcc&language=en_US&ref_=as_li_ss_tl

Has anyone installed one of these, any potential pitfalls?

Thanks
Dru
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dp Brewing Company




Joined: 08 Jul 2013
Posts: 668
Location: Midwest

Drinking: Chocolate Taco, Raspberry Mango Cider, American X, Sandy Dunes

Working on: Nothing


PostLink    Posted: Thu Feb 18, 2021 4:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

That's an interesting idea. I would love to walk downstairs and be ready to mash.
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kal
Forum Administrator



Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10845
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Wit, Janet's Brown, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA


PostLink    Posted: Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Dru,

If using one of our panels as designed, the SAFE START INTERLOCK feature on the panel won't allow the panel to be turned on with an element or pump in the "ON" position. No different than a car that can't be started while in "drive" (must be in park). This is done for safety reasons. More info: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/control-panel-safe-start-interlock

I didnít look into this sort of automated start in much detail when I designed my setup as I find it inherently dangerous. You may turn it on accidentally, enter the wrong time, or get sidetracked and forget that you were supposed to brew, forget to fill the HLT with water (very dangerous), or have pump priming issues such that the water doesnít recirculate well (or at all), bringing all the water to boiling instead. To do this all safely would require considerable extra features and interlocks. Thereís something to be said about standing in front of a system that uses so much power when turning it on just to make sure things are working as they should. It only takes me 45 minutes to heat up 20 gallons of strike water from 70F to 155F so the time savings isn't massive. That 45 mins can be used to do prep work.

Another option that works surprisingly well and doesn't require any changes is to simply heat up the strike water the night before and then turn it all off when you go to bed. Throw a couple of towels on the HLT lid and you'll be surprised how well it holds heat through the night. I've found that it only loses about 10 degrees Fahrenheit through the night so you can heat to above the night before and in the morning only be a few degrees below your target which means you're almost ready to add grain when you wake up in the morning. This method is completely safe and also costs nothing.

Good luck!

Kal

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dnierer




Joined: 22 Jul 2013
Posts: 35
Location: Slatington, PA

Drinking: Electric Hop Candy

Working on: Pliny the Elder, Pliny the Younger


PostLink    Posted: Thu Feb 18, 2021 5:38 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm fully on board with the safety aspect of automating the start-up, I'm generally 100% prepped the day prior to include filling the HLT with water and priming the pump. I literally roll out of bed and head down to start heating the water. I always felt rushed waiting for brew day to do additional tasks, so it's just a waiting game at that point. I did not include the optional safe start interlock in my panel build so, I believe there would be any issues with remote starting the system with the HLT and pump already set to on.
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pedactyl




Joined: 01 Dec 2017
Posts: 34
Location: Seattle

Drinking: yes


PostLink    Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 2:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hey dnierer, this isn't really what you asked, but I thought I'd chime in. I considered an automated start on my setup, but I found similar to Kal that I didn't really need it. What I do instead is fill the HLT the night before, and heat the water up to 170-190F (depends how cold it is in the garage) with the lid on. Then I turn off the panel and when I wake up at 6 or 7am the next day to start the brew, the water is still at 100-130F. It's kinda amazing how much heat is retained even without insulation. This cuts down my ramp-up time considerably. Like you, I've usually prepped most of the ingredients the night before, so there's not a lot to do in those first 45 minutes (if i was ramping from tap temp.)
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10845
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Wit, Janet's Brown, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA


PostLink    Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Pedactyl, try throwing a few towels on the lid when you turn off everything in the evening - you'll be surprised at how much extra heat is retained. When I do this it's literally only 5-10 mins in the morning to get back up to temp, ready to transfer strike water. I often just transfer it anyway first and then the recirculation gets things back up (same difference).

Kal

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Our new shop with over 150 new products: shop.TheElectricBrewery.com
We ship worldwide and support our products and customers for life.
Purchasing through our affiliate links helps support our site at no extra cost to you. We thank you!
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pedactyl




Joined: 01 Dec 2017
Posts: 34
Location: Seattle

Drinking: yes


PostLink    Posted: Wed Feb 24, 2021 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great tip, thanks!
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