Programming the Electronic Temperature Controller (ETC)

(Note: As of Jan, 2015, BREWHA is selling the BREWHA ETC in place of the Ranco. For programming instructions for the BREWHA ETC, please click here.)

The BREWHA Electronic Temperature Controller or 'ETC' is a very useful tool in regulating mash and fermentation temperatures. Once the controller is programmed, the brewer can confidently know that one of the most important aspect of mashing and fermentation (regulating temperature) is conscientiously and precisely taken care of.

By plugging the Temperature Control Valve ('TCV') or the 120V contactor plug from the Power Box into the ETC, it can reduce temperature by opening the TCV and letting cold water into the jacket (most commonly used during fermentation), or raise temperature by turning the heating element on (most commonly used during mashing). (On the Small BIAC, the 1500W element plugs directly into the ETC as there is no Power Box used.)

Here are the simple steps to program the controller.

1. The default reading on the ETC is for the current temperature that its temperature probe is reading (55°F).To change settings on the ETC, press the 'SET' button. 
 
2. Press the 'SET' button one time to choose between Celsius ('C') or Fahrenheit ('F'). Push the up or down arrow one time to switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit. As seen in Step 4, the ETC can control to within one degree of setpoint, so Fahrenheit will give more precision than Celsius since there are approximately two degrees Fahrenheit in each degree Celsius. 
3. Press the 'SET' button a second time  to program the target temperature. Press the up or down arrow to move the target temperature up and down. In this example, we have target temperature set to 40°F as we want to cool the fermenter.
4. Press the 'SET' button a third time to program how many degrees of difference from target temperature to allow before the ETC turns on. In most brewing situations, 1° is desired as this keeps the temperature most consistent. When set to 1°, the ETC will only allow the temperature to rise or fall by 1° before turning on and off. So if the target temperature is 40°F during chilling, when the temperature rises to 41°F the ETC will turn the TCV or chiller on to bring the temperature back down to 40°F.
5. Press the 'SET' button again to tell the controller whether it should be heating or cooling. Press the up or down arrow to 'H1' for heating (e.g. turning on as the temperature drops to bring the temperature back up) or to 'C1' for cooling (e.g. turning on as the temperature rises to bring the temperature back down). During mashing 'H1' is most typically used, and during fermentation (at least for ales) 'C1' is most typically used.

 

6. Press the 'SET' button one more time to return to the display showing the current temperature (55°F).

4 comments

  • Hi Jim — BREWHA stopped carrying the Ranco line about five years ago. For troubleshooting you could try the Ranco website.

    BREWHA Equipment Co
  • Getting E2 error. Have reset all parameters, but error lingers.

    JIM RICHARDS
  • @Ron
    Further software implementation is not something we have ruled out, but we find that it can sometimes get in the way of brewing great beer. I personally find that the greatest enjoyment (and the best beer) comes from being involved with the brewing process from start to finish and deciding each major step along the way. In my opinion, full automation can lead to inferior results and/or extra work. A couple examples— typical software can’t tell if starch conversion is complete and will end the mash on time, but maybe it isn’t ready. Typical software doesn’t adjust boil rate based on amount of boil volumes so an extra step of adding water may be needed (if you have a ready supply of pure bottle water this might not be too much of a hassle, but it is if you don’t). There are also issues with stuck mash or sparge, or plugged hoses or any number of other contingencies that are best dealt with if the brewer is present anyway.
    One thing automatic control is good at (and I find really helpful) is controlling temperature; manually adjusting and watching temperature is a pain, and a simple controller can do that really well. This is why we use an ETC. It is easy to use, easy to program and does a great job keeping a temperature. We also use our ETC because then we aren’t tied to the Power Box. We can push our fermenter away from our 240V power source and plug it into the wall for controlling fermentation temperatures. If you have a permanent brew-room setup this may not be useful (although if you have multiple 3-in-1s/fermenters it might be) but if you are brewing in your kitchen or laundry room or garage it probably is. The ETC is also useful because it can open/close the solenoid (TCV) on the 3-in-1 during fermentation. It serves a number of roles, and does them well.
    But bottom line, we believe brewing should be pleasurable. And if full automation sounds like the most fun, then do it. For me personally, I believe the greatest brewing enjoyment comes from being involved with the process, while minimizing the tedious aspects. And we believe our current setup with the ETC does this really well.
    (Anecdotally, I have spoken with several professional brewers who had fully automated systems and even they pulled some of the automation out because they weren’t getting the full flavored, best results they wanted.)

    BREWHA Equipment Co
  • Are you planning to add software control over the temperatures (similar to what brew boss does)?

    Ron Moir

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