Heating Belt in a Cold Room

Hey guys,

I love the BrewPi - I got it up and running in an evening and it couldn’t be simpler. Well done.

At the moment I’m just using it to monitor the beer and room temperature. I fully intend to upgrade to a chest freezer before too long, but for the next phase I’d like to do as the title says and move my fermentor into a cupboard in an unheated room (typically 10C to 15C) and use a heater belt.

Can you give me any set-up recommendations for BrewPi to work with the belt assuming the ambient temperature is always low?

Also, where do other users place the heater belt on their fermentor? I would think just over the top of the wort would be best to prevent any direct heat affecting the brew.

Many thanks,

I don’t use belts. But I do use heat tape. I’d imagine you’d just place the belt around the middle of your liquid. Once brewpi is used to control temps you’ll wanna change that room temp sensor over to chamber temp. Even though you don’t have a chamber. You’ll need to monitor the subtle differences between the on and off states of the belt. Placing the chamber temp probe in close proximity of the outer vessel wall and the inside of the heatbelt will be optimal so brewpi can monitor the heat of the belt in relation to the temperature of the liquid inside the fermenter.

Hi, thanks for the reply.

As the heating belt is either on or off, would having the chamber sensor too close to it not give BrewPi a wrong impression of the temperature?

E.g. if BrewPi is set on Beer Constant mode at 18C and the room is 12C. Say the belt gets up to 40C (I’ve never measured but it can get quite warm). So when the belt comes one and quickly reaches 40C the BrewPi will take that as chamber temp even though chamber temp is still 12C. So will BrewPi will immediately shut off the belt?

On the other hand if the chamber sensor is reading 12C will BrewPi keep the belt on constantly trying to head up the room?

I successfully use a heating belt in my setup (which you can see in my build thread http://forum.brewpi.com/discussion/496/andypatt-s-humble-fridge-build#latest ). My instructions for my 25W heating belt say the height you place the belt in relation to the liquid level depends how much heat you want to apply to the volume of liquid. The higher it is the less heat would be applied to the liquid (which make sense as heat rises). As you can see my belt tends to sit near the bottom just above the tap on my Coopers fermentation bucket to allow most of the liquid to receive heat. Also partly because there is the odd time the belt might loosen but the tap helps keep the belt in position. Personally I don’t think heating belts should be placed outwith the levels of the liquid as they need a suitable medium to disperse the heat they generate. I once tried to use my setup to condition some bottled beers by just placing the heating belt within the fridge. I discovered the belt casing start to slightly deform and also start to melt the fridge interior where the belt had been touching it. It should be noted that with my setup the fermentation bucket is a snug fit in my fridge rather than a spacious room so it may be behaving like a hybrid where the belt is directly heating the liquid but also via the small amount of heated air in the fridge space. My fridge temp sensor is just placed within the fridge and not near the the heating belt and it seems to work well. Have a look at the screenshots in my build thread ( http://forum.brewpi.com/discussion/496/andypatt-s-humble-fridge-build#latest ) to get ideas of BrewPi algorithm settings used.

Thanks Andy - that sounds like just what I’m after. Could you post the full URL to your build thread please? Perhaps there’s something wrong with the new forum, but the ‘build thread’ text shows as blue but clicking on it goes nowhere.

And if it’s not answered in your thread, did you make any changes to the BrewPi algorithm constants?

EDIT: Here it is: