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Control panel with discrete PIDs vs. computer/automation?
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sincere01



Joined: 16 Jun 2012
Posts: 162
Location: Gresham OR


PostLink    Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 6:30 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote


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I know this was posted a while back but I believe there are other PID's out there that you can get that have an output for an external reading along with the reading on the panel. Granted they are more expensive (over twice the price) and I don't know what all goes into it. I found some at automation direct, not sure if there are any on ebay (my work blocks ebay so I can't check here)

http://www.automationdirect.com/adc/Shopping/Catalog/Process_Control_-a-_Measurement/Temperature_-z-_Process_Controllers/1-z-16_DIN_Size_%28SL4848_Series%29

The manual showing how to connect it to software:

http://www.automationdirect.com/static/manuals/solocontrolm/ch6.pdf
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RichBenn



Joined: 30 Sep 2012
Posts: 3



PostLink    Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kal,

I wish I had found your site and read this thread before I started! I did wind up with a PID driven design, but not until doing a bit of soul searching. It wasn't really until I started asking myself questions, such as "how do I want to brew?" and other questions you already thought of and posted here. I could have saved a bunch of decision, design, and construction time had I known of this site.

While making the call, I was a keystroke away from ordering Arduino-like hardware before I came to my senses. A big deciding factor for me occurred reading the experiences of those who went the micro-controller route. The numbers of people not done or still tinkering with their micro-controller systems is extreme in comparison with those that have taken the PID and switches route. Unless one wants to tinker with microcontrollers, needs to automate valves, or perform some other custom process, there appears to be no compelling advantage to using a microcontroller.

BTW, I spent an entire career designing and managing hardware/firmware/software projects and STILL went with PIDs.

Thanks for supporting the community,

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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10274
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, London Pride, Weizen, Citra DIPA, Dubbel, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Kolsch


PostLink    Posted: Sun Sep 30, 2012 2:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

RichBenn wrote:
The numbers of people not done or still tinkering with their micro-controller systems is extreme in comparison with those that have taken the PID and switches route. Unless one wants to tinker with microcontrollers, needs to automate valves, or perform some other custom process, there appears to be no compelling advantage to using a microcontroller.

I think you've hit the nail on the head with that comment. Everyone has different goals when it comes to building a brewing setup and my experiences with other brewers mimic what you're seeing: Those who go the microcontroller route seem primarily interested in tinkering, not in making beer. That is (of course) perfectly fine. That's a personal preference. Where I get a bit irked sometimes is when sometimes someone going the more automated route tries to explain why it's "better". That doesn't make any sense to me. It's different, not necessarily better, as everyone has different needs/goals.

I'm interested in making beer over tinkering with my setup. I'm actually not much of a tinkerer. I wanted to spend the time designing something that would last a long time and be easily serviceable far down the road. I didn't want in 10 years to have to try and figure out how I programmed my microcontroller or think "where did I put that source code" or similar if I had to debug something - assuming I'd even remember how 10+ years later! I just want to brew beer. If something breaks I want to pull the part out out and put a new one in. Done.

Quote:
BTW, I spent an entire career designing and managing hardware/firmware/software projects and STILL went with PIDs.

As an EE I've also done extensive hardware/software work in the past and then had to support it myself. Maybe this is exactly *why* we went with PIDs. We wanted simple and easily supportable.

Quote:
Thanks for supporting the community,

You're welcome! Feel free to start a new thread and show us pictures of your PID based setup. I'm sure others would like to see (myself too).

Cheers!

Kal

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Last edited by kal on Wed Jan 28, 2015 6:49 pm; edited 1 time in total
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foomench



Joined: 21 Feb 2012
Posts: 710
Location: Longmont, CO

Drinking: Pinot barrel aged quad

Working on: Flanders oude bruin in barrel, Flanders red fermenting to refill the barrel


PostLink    Posted: Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
RichBenn wrote:

BTW, I spent an entire career designing and managing hardware/firmware/software projects and STILL went with PIDs.

As an EE I've also done extensive hardware/software work in the past and then had to support it myself. Maybe this is exactly *why* we went with PIDs. We wanted simple and easily supportable.

+1. EE & CSE here.

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oakbarn



Joined: 12 Oct 2012
Posts: 3
Location: Bartonville, TX


PostLink    Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 3:23 pm    Post subject: Was considering BCS 462 Reply with quote

I was toying with the idea of a BCS 462 and may still do it for one reason. I have three chest freezers that I now control with the plug in Johnson controls. They work great except that if I am out and I want to raise the temp of one for a diacytel rest, I have to wait. That is the one process I would like to automate.

On the other hand your comments about software and hardware make me pause. It may only work for a couple of years before it is outdated and not supported.

I like the idea of remote as sometimes not all my brew buddies can be there on a brew day. I would also like to somewhat automate my HERMS water bath temperature based upon the WORT temperature at the outlet of the HERMS.

I presently have a single PID on the outlet of the HERMS so I can quickly see the temp of the WORT while sitting in my armchair across the room. t would be easy to do with a RIMS tube and a PID on the Water bath inlet ( I whirlpool my HLT water bath around the HERMS inside the HLT)

We use Stout kettles. I would suggest anyone who want some quality equipment look at Stout. I have a Blickman 10 gallon and a Blickman 20 gallon kettles but have since upgraded to the much better Stout Kettles. The best feature is that the outlets are welded and never leak. I also like the TC fittings that are standard. You can order them for an electric brewery with the welded fittings for your heating probes ready to go. The only downside is the lead time but I wish I had bought them first so I would not have the Blickmans. I still use the 20 Gallon to heat extra water and we may do a piggy back second batch on some brew days using the older kettles. Cannot sell the Blickman 10 as it was out first kettle, so it may be mounted for a display.

I also do not generally want to automate the process as I think that the process is part of the fun.

I was a pilot and flying on autopilot is BORING! Mug

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fseider



Joined: 10 May 2013
Posts: 156
Location: Two Naked Frogs Brewery; Reading, PA (USA); Interests: Beer, Frogs, Steampunk, Being Naked


PostLink    Posted: Fri May 10, 2013 8:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Apologies for asking this here, but it seems appropriate. I love both concepts - the PID 'manual' approach, and full automation from a hobbyist perspective. Lets be practical - it's easier to go to the store and buy various styles, Home brewing is a hobby for most.
My question is - Has anyone come across PIDs, similar to those on this site, with the added benefit of also being controllable via some protocol? I'm thinking in terms of PID use similar to this project here, but as I expand, to be able to set temp, receive feedback, etc, via a centralized 'unit' (computer) Coding and micro controllers are no issue for me, but I like these PIDs, just wish they could be handled programatically. Any ideas?

Thanks,

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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10274
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, London Pride, Weizen, Citra DIPA, Dubbel, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Kolsch


PostLink    Posted: Fri May 10, 2013 8:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never heard of PIDs like that but maybe some others have and can chime in. I do remember talking to one brewer months ago who was going to try and hack into the PID and try and capture some of the data via PC, basically build his own data port. I'm not sure how he's getting along with that (or who it was exactly) but if he's reading, maybe he can post.

Kal

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wubears71



Joined: 14 Mar 2012
Posts: 278
Location: Webster Groves, MO

Drinking: Keg 1- Hefenweizen, Keg 2- Vanilla Scotch Porter, Keg 3-Munich Helles

Working on: Stinky IPA


PostLink    Posted: Sat May 11, 2013 1:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

fseider wrote:
Apologies for asking this here, but it seems appropriate. I love both concepts - the PID 'manual' approach, and full automation from a hobbyist perspective. Lets be practical - it's easier to go to the store and buy various styles, Home brewing is a hobby for most.
My question is - Has anyone come across PIDs, similar to those on this site, with the added benefit of also being controllable via some protocol? I'm thinking in terms of PID use similar to this project here, but as I expand, to be able to set temp, receive feedback, etc, via a centralized 'unit' (computer) Coding and micro controllers are no issue for me, but I like these PIDs, just wish they could be handled programatically. Any ideas?

Thanks,


Are you you talking about using a control sequence or something similar? If so you can buy single loop controllers with a modbus TCP and Modbus communications. I've put together some control schemes on skid equipment that utilized single loop controllers by reading the controllers PV and sending it a remote set point via Modbus over a serial port.

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fseider



Joined: 10 May 2013
Posts: 156
Location: Two Naked Frogs Brewery; Reading, PA (USA); Interests: Beer, Frogs, Steampunk, Being Naked


PostLink    Posted: Sat May 11, 2013 1:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

wubears71 wrote:

Are you you talking about using a control sequence or something similar? If so you can buy single loop controllers with a modbus TCP and Modbus communications. I've put together some control schemes on skid equipment that utilized single loop controllers by reading the controllers PV and sending it a remote set point via Modbus over a serial port.


My initial thoughts were on the line of some micro-controller that is easy to interface with, for example Arduino. The Arduino would set the PID temp, even a step mash set of values with the appropriate PID, and then trigger it when appropriate. This way I let the PID do what it does best - control the temps, and let the Arduino do it's thing - sequencing and monitoring the overall system and processes. The advantage of this approach is that I can still run the operation manually with the PIDs controlling the critical temp operations whenever I'd like, as well as program the overall system relatively easily as things progress. (The Arduino is an excellent platform for this.)

So I'm looking for PIDs that are similar to the suggested PIDs here, but with remote setting capability, along with it's manual keypad entry.

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Kevin59



Joined: 03 Aug 2012
Posts: 1049
Location: Fort Collins, CO

Drinking: Imperial Brown Ale

Working on: Oatmeal Stout, IPA


PostLink    Posted: Sat May 11, 2013 3:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not sure if this would work as you've described, but it's bloody expensive!

http://accuthermo.com/products_5.asp?pid=10182009116534781386&pname=ATEC302+TEC+Temperature+Controller

And then there's this:

http://www.ospid.com/blog/resources/hardware/

Or maybe this?

http://www.aliexpress.com/item-img/RS485-serial-port-CD100-L4-S-PID-temperature-controller-with-RS485-serial-port/543180318.html

Sounds like an interesting approach...

Found another one...

http://www.automationdirect.com/adc/Shopping/Catalog/Process_Control_-a-_Measurement/Temperature_-z-_Process_Controllers/1-z-16_DIN_Size_(SL4848_Series)/SL4848-VR

That link is correct but the embedded parenthesis screw up the formatting. This one is $100 and supports Modbus protocol, and there are Arduino libraries for that I believe.


Last edited by Kevin59 on Sat May 11, 2013 4:03 pm; edited 1 time in total
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fseider



Joined: 10 May 2013
Posts: 156
Location: Two Naked Frogs Brewery; Reading, PA (USA); Interests: Beer, Frogs, Steampunk, Being Naked


PostLink    Posted: Sat May 11, 2013 4:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

mrjofus1959 wrote:
Not sure if this would work as you've described, but it's bloody expensive!

http://accuthermo.com/products_5.asp?pid=10182009116534781386&pname=ATEC302+TEC+Temperature+Controller

And then there's this:

http://www.ospid.com/blog/resources/hardware/

Or maybe this?

http://www.aliexpress.com/item-img/RS485-serial-port-CD100-L4-S-PID-temperature-controller-with-RS485-serial-port/543180318.html

Sounds like an interesting approach...

Found another one...

http://www.automationdirect.com/adc/Shopping/Catalog/Process_Control_-a-_Measurement/Temperature_-z-_Process_Controllers/1-z-16_DIN_Size_(SL4848_Series)/SL4848-VR

That link is correct but the embedded parenthesis screw up the formatting.


Thanks!! I wasn't sure on what to search for specifically, but this gets me going. Much appreciated.

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Two Naked Frogs Brewery, Winery, & Meadery
Reading, PA
"What's in your goblet?!"
---
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Kevin59



Joined: 03 Aug 2012
Posts: 1049
Location: Fort Collins, CO

Drinking: Imperial Brown Ale

Working on: Oatmeal Stout, IPA


PostLink    Posted: Sat May 11, 2013 4:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fseider wrote:
Thanks!! I wasn't sure on what to search for specifically, but this gets me going. Much appreciated.


I was editing as you were replying, so note that last one should integrate well with Arduino.
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Ozarks Mountain Brew



Joined: 22 May 2013
Posts: 739
Location: The Ozark Mountains of Missouri


PostLink    Posted: Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:31 am    Post subject: Arduino is a hot technology Reply with quote

here's a few links Ive found interesting, I've recreated both and work fine, I'm using the potentiometer in my control box now, have a switch between the pid and the arduino using it for the boil, I'm guessing there is all kinds of shields to add on to this including a Ethernet card with an embedded webserver that could control the board. This is a hot technology that is worth exploring and its open source so most code is free


http://legwinskij.blogspot.com/2011/09/lm335-arduino-temperature-sensor.html?showComment=1369351764018#c5672456261909138614

http://thebrewstreetjournal.com/2013/04/arduino-fermentation-temperature-logger/

http://thebrewstreetjournal.com/2013/05/arduino-pwm-schematic-and-details/

http://thebrewstreetjournal.com/2013/05/arduino-pulse-width-modulation-pwm/
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sigsegv



Joined: 11 Dec 2012
Posts: 38
Location: San Francisco, CA


PostLink    Posted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If I were to build a new panel I would definitely consider something like the Arduino. The BeagleBone Black and Raspberry Pi are good options too. The Pi and Arduino are actually a fairly common combination. At the time that I built my panel, I felt I was in deep enough with my lack of electrical experience (even with the excellent documentation) that it wasn't worth adding the extra complexity of figuring out any automation on top of it.

Right now I'm writing some software to use a Raspberry Pi as a fermentation monitoring & controller device. I ended up using some spare SSR's and switches for that project that I had leftover from my control panel build. I don't think there's any reason a similar setup wouldn't work in a control panel build. I don't know why you'd want physical PID's in that situation, though. I would just use a software PID library. If you wanted the option to choose between the physical PID or the computer's software PID implementation I might just have another physical switch to choose which device is driving power to the SSR's.
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Crazy Brewer



Joined: 12 Feb 2014
Posts: 61
Location: Houston area, Texas


PostLink    Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 4:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm a little late to the ball on this string but would like to throw in my 2 cents.

Please bear with me as a little background info will help explain my opinion.

I work in the petrochemical industry with process control systems. When I started we used pneumatic and analog controllers to control the process. We had mechanical timers, relays, switches and sequencers. This is a very similar system compared to what Kal designed with the exception of the PID controllers that replaces the pneumatic and analog controllers. It's simple, robust and just plain works.

One petrochemical process technology uses fixed bed reactors that cycle between very high temp hydrocarbon for processing and very high temperature air for regeneration and heat input. They switch between the air and hydrocarbon flows several times an hour, 24/7. The old system with the switches, relays and analog controllers was bullet proof. There was no way, without installing additional wiring, that you could defeat the safety system. Thumbs Up

Then along came Distrubited Control Systems (DCS) and Programable Logic Controllers (PLCs) which are computer based. Now any process variable can be simulated or forced. Any Safety Instrumented System (SIS) interlock can be bypassed. There are just too many things that can be diddled with in the computer system. As Kal described, when you turn a switch, you get tactile feedback. Switching things in a computer requires you to visually confirm that you did the right thing. I have seen numerous examples of operators accidentally using the wrong switch or entering the wrong setpoint and not realizing it until there is a problem. Embarassed


I just helped restart a plant that had an explosion because the staff was frustrated with the SIS and interlocks. Shocked The system was making them do things the right way. They didn't like the "right way" because it made them take more time and effort to operate the process. So they just went into the control logic and forced, or simulated, process values and completely bypassed (ignored) the interlocks. It was too easy to do. They just went to the Engineering Interface Console for the DCS/SIS and manipulated it as described above. Thankfully no one got injured but some of the equipment was damaged. It took a month to repair and restart.

I sure wish they had the old style system. I doubt they would have had the explosion.

I really like the system Kal designed for the reasons he described. I have been looking for a system for a while now and havent' found anything that compares. It would be nice to have computer monitoring and trending but not controls. That way we could look at the history and trouble shoot our process after the beer is tapped, if there is a problem. The brewing software is helpfull if you use it properly.

Bottom line; I have a career of controlling process systems and will be purchasing a control panel kit and assories from Kal/Spike Innovations when I sell my Harley. Cool
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fseider



Joined: 10 May 2013
Posts: 156
Location: Two Naked Frogs Brewery; Reading, PA (USA); Interests: Beer, Frogs, Steampunk, Being Naked


PostLink    Posted: Mon Mar 03, 2014 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think you'll find any system, 'mechanical based", or 'digital based' can be 'abused'. Both systems have their advantages. But digital systems are much more flexible, and process control changes can be implemented very easily. The flip side is of course that digital systems are more complex as a result, and too easy to overlook many nuances, such as safety protocols, in the system design process. I would not say that the example above where a digital system was bypassed is a fault of the digital system - it sounds like people went out of their way to bypass the system to get past interlocks, or whatever. Shame on the system designers for making that too easy, and especially shame on the operators for not doing their job properly. (I would question the operators proficiency in understanding the system they were responsible for.) Even a mechanical system could be easily abused, and harder to troubleshoot as a result in many instances. In the end, I would think the owner, and the system designers, would anticipate the operators to be properly trained, proficient, and responsible to not allow a situation like this to occur. But human nature is what it is - fear of change, old habits, lack of skills, lack of training, etc.

I don't think we can argue the practicality of a digital system on it's flexibility and reliability. But the costs can be higher in many cases, as well as the complexity. And in the end it's a trade off. Here's an excellent example - In the early days of nuclear reactors, the control rods were actually manipulated manually, by someone pulling and pushing on the control rods. Yikes!! Then someone else had to monitor the temperature and open and close the cooling water valves to insure proper temperature. Another 'Yikes'!! I can't speak for others, but I'd rather depend on an automated system for critical controls, and still have human monitoring with the ability to intervene RESPONSIBLY in any unforeseen circumstance. Imagine if one of those operators were distracted for a few minutes.

I wanted an automated brew system, but really only for the 'cool' factor. But it is way too costly, thought the design side wound be a no brainer for me. In the end, doing this manually is just as much fun, if not more. I still have to be concerned with burning up a pump, etc, but that is where a few extra level and temperature sensors will come into play (eventually), along with these feeding a few additional interlocks. But to have that control, hands on with teh whole brew process, is way more interesting with this hobby than pressing a button and then going to watch a game for the next 4 hours.

As to my background - I'm NOT a process engineering. I'm a software geek who used to work for a software company that specialized in the petroleum industry. My particular area of focus was around P&IDs (Process and Instrumentation Diagrams).

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Crazy Brewer



Joined: 12 Feb 2014
Posts: 61
Location: Houston area, Texas


PostLink    Posted: Tue Mar 04, 2014 5:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice post, Fred! I appreciate your comments.

I prefer the simplicity and "hands on" myself. I am not a software person so if the platforms change and the support isn't available, I would be out of luck. You are absolutely correct about the protocols and administrative controls. Unfortunately our client is responsible for this and as written above, many of them either don't understand or don't care with production at all costs.

I am glad I didn't work in the nuclear industry. I was only exposed to stuff like benzene, butadiene, phenol....... The industry is much better today, in the west, with the available PPE. I am writing this in China. They have the same standards as the west, most companies just don't follow them. I avoid going into the plant on start-up and stay in the control room as much as possible.

Tony

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TheFC3



Joined: 19 Aug 2015
Posts: 4
Location: Florida


PostLink    Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 5:41 am    Post subject: DIN Rail Mounted Componets Reply with quote

I'm about to build a scaled down version of the control and I'm looking around on the Auber Instruments site. I came across their brew in a bag enclosure and there were some sample photos. The link is here:

http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=34&products_id=501

This panel uses all DIN rail mounted stuff. My question is, are there any advantages to DIN rail components over the older style contactors? Is there a reason you didn't use them?
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
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Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, London Pride, Weizen, Citra DIPA, Dubbel, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Kolsch


PostLink    Posted: Mon Jan 18, 2016 9:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

DIN is functionally identical. It's not better nor worse than "standard" components. Once built you won't notice any difference while using the panel no matter which type of parts you ended up using. Feel free to use what you like. DIN can offer faster building if you're familiar with the components and plan head well, and also makes it easier to swap out parts (snap out instead of screws), though the time saved when swapping isn't really important on our setup. (If you're running a production line and seconds count, it makes sense). I chose not to use DIN as it's a bit more advanced to use due to some of the specialized parts used to connect things up (stoppers/ferrules/etc) and figure it might confuse people more trying to follow the instructions here. Some DIN parts tend to be not as common and can be more expensive too. That said, our pre-built panels have all been DIN for some time now. When you build as many as we do and have a backlog to fulfill, shaving off a bit of time per build can add up.

Good luck!

Kal

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jgalak



Joined: 06 Jun 2015
Posts: 19



PostLink    Posted: Fri Jul 15, 2016 2:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I keep waffling on automation or not. So many pros and cons both ways. So here's a thought: the automation setup I'm mostly likely to use (Raspberry Pi running Strangebrew Elsinore) uses the same kind of solid state relays as TEB. I'm thinking about reusing the SSR to allow both - build a TEB back-to-back panel, but add a DPDT switch between the PID output and the SSR input. One side of the switch runs the panel in PID mode, the other stunts the SSR inputs to an external controller. (I'm not concerned about pumps at this time.)

Doable? Any problems I'm overlooking? I'm assuming the industrial style switches used in TEB can be had in a DPDT configuration?
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