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Two stage temp controller worth it?

I will be buying a chest freezer to use as a fermentation chamber and I was just window shopping for temp controllers. Is it worth getting a two stage controller for both heat and cool. My thought was I could use a reptile heater or lamp to generate heat and obviously the freezer for cooling. My concern is that my basement is usually around 62* in the winter and I struggle to get my beers up in temp in the winter.

If I get a single stage controller I’m worried that if I start it off with heat and am away from home for the day and my fermentation takes off (I’ve had jumps of 10 degrees while I was at work before), then come home and switch it to cold, those temp swings will probably piss off the yeast.

But at $150+ and the cost of a reptile heater, that’s a lot of dough. Am I worrying too much or is this a valid concern? Does anyone have any experience with a setup like this?

Most dual stage controllers will switch between heat and cool automatically. Normally with a short cycle or overlap delay between them so your not flipping back and forth between heat and cool every second :slight_smile:

You can get cheap ($15) 2 stage controllers from ebay but there are others out there. This is the one I have a TC-9102D-HV: … -l-en.html found it on Amazon for $99. It has more features than the cheapo units but can be trickier to setup. Not overly complicated though.

Absolutely worth it. Once it’s setup, its as simple as set and forget. Perfect temp control all the time.

Good advice. Seems like it’s well worth the investment. If I decided to use a fermwrap instead of a “ambient” type heater I assume I would need to use a thermowell for the thermometer probe to accurately get the temp of the beer.

Seems like that would be the only way to determine if the fermwrap had the beer temp up high enough.

If your going to use a heat blanket then yeah, you would need a thermowell or drill a second small hole in the carboy stopper or bucket lid to slide the temp probe through.

I use a light bulb in a paint can for heat and hold the temp probe to the side of the carboy with an ace bandage.

No matter what controller you buy, you’ll need about $20 worth of stuff from Home Depot or lowes. Wire, switch box, outlet, etc. the wiring is quite simple and controllers come with wire diagrams. Mine came with a good color sheet. It’s also a PDF on the site I linked above.

There are a couple pre-made controllers in the works. I don’t think either is available yet. Might be worth waiting for one of these if your not comfortable doing the wiring yourself.

My heater is a arthritis heating pad from CVS.
The trick is to find one with a non-fancy on switch. Something that can be just “on” when it gets plugged in.

Here’s a way to control beer fermentation temperature accurately: ... 17.15.html
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