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Best Temperature Controller?

My grandmothers fridge just stopped making ice and dispensing water, so she is getting a new one and giving me the broken fridge as a birthday present to use for fermentation. My wife wants to get me the temp controller. I have seen a few and would prefer a digital control but I’m not married to the idea.

What is the best temp control unit for the money?

Thanks

[quote=“schitzoflink”]My grandmothers fridge just stopped making ice and dispensing water, so she is getting a new one and giving me the broken fridge as a birthday present to use for fermentation. My wife wants to get me the temp controller. I have seen a few and would prefer a digital control but I’m not married to the idea.

What is the best temp control unit for the money?

Thanks[/quote]

I have the Johnson controls one sold by NB. I took it out of the box, plugged it in, set the temp I wanted and it does it’s thing. There may be cheaper alternatives.

I have seen Johnson and Ranco, there is about a $10 difference. I’m not so much worried about the price, as just getting the most reliable.

The Johnson controller is good if you only want or need to control cooling. If your fridge is going to be in the garage or where it drops below freezing you’ll want a two stage controller to control heat as we’ll.

Here’s a thread I did converting my old fridge with a 2 stage controller: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=120252

Get itself what ever temp controller you want doesn’t much mater there pretty simple. When you want it for cooling plug you refrigerator into it when you want heat unplug the fridge and plug it into a 75 watt light bulb you stick in your fridge. You can put a switch on it if you want .

Alright thanks! I’m in SWFL so I have very little chance that it’ll get below 60 much less freezing :slight_smile: So I went with the Johnson, it was prime eligible so that made all the difference.

Stc1000. I own two and are half the cost to put together.

Something else I do is put a remote thermometer in there so I can monitor the temp without going downstairs . I’ve learned nt to trust thermometer accuracy so I always use two.

[quote=“LJb”]The Johnson controller is good if you only want or need to control cooling. If your fridge is going to be in the garage or where it drops below freezing you’ll want a two stage controller to control heat as we’ll.
[/quote]
I feel the need to point out that the digital Johnson Controls unit can be used to control “heat” also. You just have to remove the cover to access a jumper. It certainly cannot switch between heating and cooling automatically though.

[quote=“kcbeersnob”][quote=“LJb”]The Johnson controller is good if you only want or need to control cooling. If your fridge is going to be in the garage or where it drops below freezing you’ll want a two stage controller to control heat as we’ll.
[/quote]
I feel the need to point out that the digital Johnson Controls unit can be used to control “heat” also. You just have to remove the cover to access a jumper. It certainly cannot switch between heating and cooling automatically though.[/quote]
Yes, I may have misspoke as this is what I meant. Switching between the two comes in real handy in the spring and fall where you need one mode during the day and another at night.

I have Johnson controllers and recently acquired the Ranco dual stage controller. Nice to have both heating and cooling measured and controlled by the same probe and unit. Ranco dual stage controller, small chest freezer and a fermwrap is a hard combo to beat. I can hold beer temp dead on my setpoint, with the exception of the occasional +/- 1 while the utilities are running.

[quote=“kcbeersnob”][quote=“LJb”]The Johnson controller is good if you only want or need to control cooling. If your fridge is going to be in the garage or where it drops below freezing you’ll want a two stage controller to control heat as we’ll.
[/quote]
I feel the need to point out that the digital Johnson Controls unit can be used to control “heat” also. You just have to remove the cover to access a jumper. It certainly cannot switch between heating and cooling automatically though.[/quote]
On the subject of 2-stage. My basement tracks mid-to-upper 50s in the winter. My temp controller running my 7.1 cu. ft. Fermentation chamber (chest freezer) is currently set to 67. So the controller has generally been running heat.

I put a fresh batch in Sunday afternoon, and taped the probe to the outside of the carboy. 24-hours later the yeasties are doing their thing, and suddenly the controller is running the freezer to keep the temps down. Based on my past logs it will need to stay in cooling mode for 24-48 hours. Then it’s back to heating unless spring finally shows up to pull my basement temps back up.

So I’m kinda glad that I have a controller that can automatically switch between heating and cooling.

In my setup, the dual controller is almost required. If I set the temp at 64, once that yeast heats the carboy enough to trigger the freezer to kick on at 65, it will run until the carboy liquid gets back to down to 64. Since I’m using a freezer that means ambient temps will drop very low. Freezers insulate well, so if I didn’t have a heating element in there the carboy would continue to plummet even though the freezer isn’t running. Using the dual controller though, once the carboy temp hits 63 the fermwrap fires up and shuts off at 64. Works great.

This looks like an interesting unit, although it does not switch automatically between heating and cooling.

http://www.williamsbrewing.com/CONTROLL ... P3616.aspx
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