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Khlogan2002

Johnson Controller

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Screw it. I'm getting fed up with the whole swamp cooler, fan, etc crap. Im gonna buy a mini fridge with separate freezer door, and I need to pick up a Johnson controller to override the circuit. Can someone tell me which model to buy, and where the cheapest place is?

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I don't have one, but I've seen people reference this one: http://amzn.to/19F3KuN

People also buy an STC-1000 which allows both cooling AND heating, so you can warm a chamber if you need to. http://amzn.to/14ZBzFO Of course you need a heating device like a light bulb.

I'm sure people that have installed them will have opinions on other models.

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I've got This One!!! It's basically the digital version of the one RickBeer posted. I love it. I did a German Pilsner in a small fridge and was able to hold temp at 50 +/- 2 degrees very easily.

EDIT...as for the cheapest place....just search the internet, there are a lot of places that carry them.

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I'm running a johnson digital, love it. Very accurate and easy to use. Just plug and play. Plug fridge into the unit and plug the controler into the wall. So easy to use a caveman can use it. It is a little spendy though, I think they run around $80.

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I'm running the STC-1000 DIY controller. Yeah it sucks that it only reads in *C, but I have a digital thermometer that has a probe as well so the 2 probes are in the fridge measuring temp, but the one reads out in *F. Not that it's difficult to do the math to convert, but it's just easier to have a readout already in *F. All told, everything including the project box and the controller ran me about $30.

Never hooked up a heating element since in FL there's no real need. Just gotta make sure it stays cool enough.

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I did the STC1000 project and have a C-to-F reference chart taped to the cabinet. I really dont care what the temperature says once I set it unless I am ramping up during fermentation for whatever reason. To save a little money I built the whole thing inside of a 3-gang wall box rather than a project box (plus I avoided having to make the cut outs too lazy brewer that I am). One of the outlets holes needed to be widened slightly - why they didnt build it to fit a standard plate is beyond me. I am planning on another build once I get the fridge moved over. I tape the probe to the side of the LBK or carboy and cover the other side so the air temperature does not play as much of an influence. Works like a champ!

[attachment=13995]stc1000.jpg[/attachment]

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ohh man, that is brilliant. I am returning my box and getting a 3 gang box. Thanks!

Monty

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"Khlogan2002" post=382414 said:

Are they pretty simple to install? I'm not very mechanically inclined.

I have this one, same as others have posted: http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/johnson-controls-a419-digital-temp-controller.html

It couldn't be simpler to install. You plug this thing into the wall, plug the refrigerator into this, put the temperature probe inside the fridge, set the temp, and you are done.

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"philm00x" post=382428 said:

I'm running the STC-1000 DIY controller. Yeah it sucks that it only reads in *C, but I have a digital thermometer that has a probe as well so the 2 probes are in the fridge measuring temp, but the one reads out in *F. Not that it's difficult to do the math to convert, but it's just easier to have a readout already in *F. All told, everything including the project box and the controller ran me about $30.

Never hooked up a heating element since in FL there's no real need. Just gotta make sure it stays cool enough.

+1 i do have the heater hooked up works great



http://brewstands.com/fermentation-heater.html

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"Monsteroyd" post=382451 said:

ohh man, that is brilliant. I am returning my box and getting a 3 gang box. Thanks!

Monty


Only problem I had at first is I was trying to use some heavier gauge solid core wire I had laying around (I try and be as frugal with my projects as I can - more money for beer )and boy did I fight with that. Looking at the amp ratings I realized I could simply strip down one of the zillions of computer power cords I had laying around and then it became a piece of cake. So dont go using 6 gauge and expect it to be easy.

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No, 6 gauge would be very hard to bend. I got some old power cords with braided wire so it should be OK for the power cord. I will probably use some 12/3 I have internally.

Thanks again
Monty

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Thanks for bringing this up, I was about to resurrect an old thread to ask a couple of questions about this/these but i will just post them here and hope it isn't threadjacking but asking questions you or others have or will have.

I think I want digital over analog, and all things considered may want the cool AND heat ability although now that I am living in Maryland I am not sure if I will need heating or not (sure is hot here lol) but I want to be able to use for fermenting and potentially for maybe serving beer/kegorator type of use.

Does any other mid atlantic/easterner have the 2 stage? Is it needed? Use if for Belgians etc?

I am now looking at buying an old fridge as opposed to a freezer to use this for (fermenting and also eventually serving kegged beer out of), that sound right? heard that it may be easier on fridge than freezer.

Ranco vs Johnson. Apparently Ranco is more high end but Johnson works just fine. I will probably be recycling this to use as we get more/bigger/better fridge/freezer/kegging stuff in future so should I get the good one now and just add other basic ones when I can have one designated just for fermenting etc?

Wiring. I really want one that is pre wired but can't tell which ones are and which ones are not. i don't have many tools out here and have no skills. Even though it seems simple to alot of you handymen - I would rather my screw ups have little chance of causing fire or flood (although I will mess with plumbing if need be). Is there a certain model # that comes pre wired and just plug and play? Once I see how the thing works I may be more comfy experimenting and trying to build or wire my own.

Programming them. Easy? I also saw that you should try to make the cycling as far out as you can just to prevent overload. I know some have this ability, some don't. Any advice from the Borg?

Hope this doesn't step all over things but as I am shopping the Net looking for one of these as well as a craigslist fridge (or even a 4th of July sale new fridge) I really thought others ,may have same questions.
Cheers
jeff

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"Manowarfan1" post=382491 said:

Thanks for bringing this up, I was about to resurrect an old thread to ask a couple of questions about this/these but i will just post them here and hope it isn't threadjacking but asking questions you or others have or will have.

I think I want digital over analog, and all things considered may want the cool AND heat ability although now that I am living in Maryland I am not sure if I will need heating or not (sure is hot here lol) but I want to be able to use for fermenting and potentially for maybe serving beer/kegorator type of use.

Does any other mid atlantic/easterner have the 2 stage? Is it needed? Use if for Belgians etc?

I am now looking at buying an old fridge as opposed to a freezer to use this for (fermenting and also eventually serving kegged beer out of), that sound right? heard that it may be easier on fridge than freezer.

Ranco vs Johnson. Apparently Ranco is more high end but Johnson works just fine. I will probably be recycling this to use as we get more/bigger/better fridge/freezer/kegging stuff in future so should I get the good one now and just add other basic ones when I can have one designated just for fermenting etc?

Wiring. I really want one that is pre wired but can't tell which ones are and which ones are not. i don't have many tools out here and have no skills. Even though it seems simple to alot of you handymen - I would rather my screw ups have little chance of causing fire or flood (although I will mess with plumbing if need be). Is there a certain model # that comes pre wired and just plug and play? Once I see how the thing works I may be more comfy experimenting and trying to build or wire my own.

Programming them. Easy? I also saw that you should try to make the cycling as far out as you can just to prevent overload. I know some have this ability, some don't. Any advice from the Borg?

Hope this doesn't step all over things but as I am shopping the Net looking for one of these as well as a craigslist fridge (or even a 4th of July sale new fridge) I really thought others ,may have same questions.
Cheers
jeff

ok you know your skill level. you have no handy man beer drinking friend? programming is simple on the stc-1000. as far as the cycle is conserned if you use the wort temp to controll there will not be a lot of comming on and off use thhe air temp there will bei got my delay sert for 5 min but really don't matter as it only engages the compressor a couple times a day

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"kdhs10" post=382411 said:

I'm running a Johnson A419 and love it.

Same here I generally use it to heat the brew chamber

Now if I can figure out how to use it to fire a 240 V 5500 Watt hot water heating element for an electric brewery I would be very happy. That is happy I am with it!!

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Hey Jim - is the STC-1000 a one way or two way deal? Heat and/or Cold or both?

Bob - you use your Johnson (d'oh) for heat? I think I read you can use it for either heat or cooling but have to switch jumpers around each time. I am trying to make things real simple to start with so I can keep adding to the toy chest due to simplicity and usefulness so want to start out with things that SWMBO can use or deal with in my absence.

Thanks for any additional info
jeff

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Jeff, I have the STC-1000 and it controls both heat and cold. Trust me, in Maryland you will need heat. I'm in Georgia and glad I have it. I use a reptile heat pad for the heat.
Following russkis thread anyone can do it (I know cause I did).

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"haerbob3" post=382504 said:

Now if I can figure out how to use it to fire a 240 V 5500 Watt hot water heating element for an electric brewery I would be very happy. That is happy I am with it!!

All you would need to do is go out and buy a couple heavy duty relays and a cheap power source. Use the controller to switch the power source and power the relays. I thought about doing that as an added measure of safety when I bought mine but realized I would engineer the thing forever with relays, knobs, and blinky lights so slapped it together in a half hour.

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"TheGrove" post=382564 said:

I have to cast a vote for the non-digital one (linked below).
It's about $20 cheaper and it's just 1 dial. I dialed it to 62 and it's been 62 in my fridge ever since.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002EAL58/ref=oh_details_o03_s00_i00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

But you can build the one they're talking about for around $25 and 45 minutes of your time! They are awesome I have 2 of them and love them. The video Jim posted is really good as well. The guy walks you through step by step just like Russki does only you can watch him do it.

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"Inkleg" post=382532 said:

Jeff, I have the STC-1000 and it controls both heat and cold. Trust me, in Maryland you will need heat. I'm in Georgia and glad I have it. I use a reptile heat pad for the heat.
Following russkis thread anyone can do it (I know cause I did).

You need the heat over in Lilburn? Is your chamber in the garage? I intend to have mine in the basement, and went with the stc-1000 because of the cost and I am a DIYer, but I actually never thought I would use the heat side unless I was using it to hold mash temp or something.

Monty

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did you drill the side of the fridge to insert the temperature probe or just close the door on it? I've been trying to decide on one, the examples that I see have the probe drilled into

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I didn't drill. I just taped the wire tightly against the fridge and into the door. The molding around the door fits over it nicely.

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For some reason my wife is very excited about me getting a Johnson controller .

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"TheGrove" post=382916 said:

I didn't drill. I just taped the wire tightly against the fridge and into the door. The molding around the door fits over it nicely.

This is how I ran mine also. Only I used some little plastic stick-on thingies with small hooks on them to hang the cord. Sort of like this, but these would work also.

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"Banjo-guy" post=382933 said:

For some reason my wife is very excited about me getting a Johnson controller .

:huh: I thought your wife WAS your Johnson Controller.. :dry:

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"Banjo-guy" post=382933 said:

For some reason my wife is very excited about me getting a Johnson controller .

Now I'm intrigued, please explain more.

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"Banjo-guy" post=382933 said:

For some reason my wife is very excited about me getting a Johnson controller .

:laugh:

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OK so after a craigslist purchase of an old chest freezer (only a 5 or 6 footer), I also checked the old dorm fridge I have out in the garage. One (and only one :( LBK will fit in it if I turn it a certain way. So, by getting chest freezer I accomplish 1)getting hops out of SWMBO freezer 2) getting rid of tons of frozen water bottles out of SWMBO freezer 3) storage space for more meat and veggies that we find on sale and the mini fridge COULD be used as a fermenter space for one of many LBKs if i get a controller hooked up to it.

Can these temp controllers be easily moved around? I will be looking for a full sized fridge on CL but figure if I can order the controller and get familiar with it now, it might be worthwhile using the mini fridge in the meantime.

Good idea?
jeff

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"Manowarfan1" post=383398 said:

OK so after a craigslist purchase of an old chest freezer (only a 5 or 6 footer), I also checked the old dorm fridge I have out in the garage. One (and only one :( LBK will fit in it if I turn it a certain way. So, by getting chest freezer I accomplish 1)getting hops out of SWMBO freezer 2) getting rid of tons of frozen water bottles out of SWMBO freezer 3) storage space for more meat and veggies that we find on sale and the mini fridge COULD be used as a fermenter space for one of many LBKs if i get a controller hooked up to it.

Can these temp controllers be easily moved around? I will be looking for a full sized fridge on CL but figure if I can order the controller and get familiar with it now, it might be worthwhile using the mini fridge in the meantime.

Good idea?
jeff

imo use the freezer your getin for a chamber till you can do better this will eliminate the need for water bottles and if you build small tables you can put 4 lbks in a med size chest freezer


IMG_0577.JPG[/attachment]

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as a further idea, if you put the end of the temp sensor in a container of water, it will keep the temp swings down.

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i tape mine to the side of the active fermentering lbk below the wort line with a paper towel between the probe and the tape to insulate it from changes in air temp. as you know, the only thing that matters is wort temp.

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"Monsteroyd" post=382752 said:

"Inkleg" post=382532 said:

Jeff, I have the STC-1000 and it controls both heat and cold. Trust me, in Maryland you will need heat. I'm in Georgia and glad I have it. I use a reptile heat pad for the heat.
Following russkis thread anyone can do it (I know cause I did).

You need the heat over in Lilburn? Is your chamber in the garage? I intend to have mine in the basement, and went with the stc-1000 because of the cost and I am a DIYer, but I actually never thought I would use the heat side unless I was using it to hold mash temp or something.

Monty

Sorry for the late reply Monty, just saw this.
I have my fridge in a 3 season sunroom. The STC-1000 was reading 52° after a few cold days last winter and I was doing an ale. :ohmy:. Put the heat pad in, stuck it to the underside of a shelf and worked just fine. I wish I had a basement, with a drain and exhaust vent and.........

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The unit could definitely be moved easily. I use Velcro to hold it on the outside of the fridge, but you could just rest it somewhere if you don't want to tape or Velcro for now. My sensor is taped to the inside of the fridge. I set it at 62 degrees, wort in both kegs reads 66 degrees. JJ's idea of putting it against the LBK is smart, but I don't ever need to touch mine, just leave it there. To each his own.

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I don't put the sensor on the lbk or in water. What if active fermentation kicks off, and the lbk is a couple degrees hotter than your setting, freezer kicks in and keeps going, fermentation keeps the lbk warm for a few hours, and the temp goes way down, active fermentation ends or you put all the yeast to sleep, then it has to sit in way too cold an environment for a long time.

I keep my air temp constant, and monitor the lbk manually.

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Thanks for all the responses everyone. I guess the next step is to go ahead and jsut order one - hopefully a pre wired one so it can go rigght to work, then worry about getting a DIY one later. Gonna be pulling some funds out of the old IRA to get by the next few months before I am ready to get back to work (and hopefully by then some of the defense contractors on base are hiring). In the meantime if i run across a great deal on a fridge I will grab one of those but as of the past couple of days it looks like a new expense will be a bigger aquarioum. Dang baby turtles keep coming out of the Bay and getting in to her mom's pool we have been readying for summertime use. We have her neice putting some nail polish on shells before putting them back in the bay - if they show back up, we bring them home. I would name them all Darwin if they keep coming back to the pool after being released into Chesepeake but she won't let me as she thinks it is mean (or demeaning to them) :)
So, I have lost count of how many furry family members we have between the two of us, and now it is time for the fish reptiles and amphibians to start representing apparenlty :)

Cheers
jeff

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Found this on eBay and used it works great AC 110~120V Digital Temperature Controller Thermostat F
http://r.ebay.com/A3Htol

Control temperature range: -58 ~ 194 deg F

The only problem is it took 10 days to get it.

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Wow thanks for that link Bob. Did you get one? Was it pre wired for USA or did you have to do anything additional once it arrived? It has a huge range but I can't tell if it has plugs to do both heat and cooling or if I would need something else.

Temperature Measuring Range: -58 ~ 194 deg F
Control temperature range: -58 ~ 194 deg F
Working temperature: 32 ~122 deg F
Storage temperature: -14 ~ 140 deg F

Not sure what the differences in the above mean but it shouldnt matter for my purposes (unless one of our resident techie gurus sees something there).

I can wait 10 days or so if it saves me a bunch of money and comes almost ready to go right outta the box. Thanks again
Jeff

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it was just a switch and worked on 110v with out any problem.
They even include a english print on the wiring layout.
only does cooling but i am in FL and don't need any help with heat.

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