How To Run A Still With An Electric Controller

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How To Run A Still With An Electric Controller

The V1 1500 Watt Controller by Vengeance Stills is hands down the best value on the market for Variable Power Control. Super easy to use.

For use with Stills up to 10 gallons and Fermentation Tanks up to 55 gallons.

Our Controller allows user to hold temps at predetermined set points or go into manual mode when you’re ready to boil and adjust on the fly.

This unit is also perfect for a fermentation tank.  Set the controller to heat the tank up to 150 degrees and cook your mash for an hour or so, whatever your recipe calls for.

 Then, lower the Controller to the temp required for your yeast to ferment.  Simply let it hold the temp there for however many days required.

 For instance our Turbo Yeast would require roughly 4-7 days at 90 degrees to achieve 15-20% abv.

The Vengeance V1.5 has enough power to achieve distilling with Pots up to 10 gallons.  Fermentation tanks needed to achieve 150 degrees can be as large as 55 gallons.

  • Let’s take a look and see what’s included:
  • Variable Power Controller
  • Solid State Relay
  • Waterproof enclosure
  • Thermocouple
  • 1500 watt heating element
  • *** Please allow up to 7-days to ship as these are hand built here at Vengeance
  • How To Run A Still With An Electric Controller
  • How To Run A Still With An Electric Controller
  • Sale! How To Run A Still With An Electric Controller
  • Temperature Controller Basics Handbook

    Courtesy of Danaher Industrial Controls Group – Process Automation, Measurement, & Sensing See all of Danaher's Partlow and West Controllers

    Why do we need temperature controllers?

    Temperature controllers are needed in any situation requiring a given temperature be kept stable. This can be in a situation where an object is required to be heated, cooled or both and to remain at the target temperature (setpoint), regardless of the changing environment around it.

    There are two fundamental types of temperature control; open loop and closed loop control. Open loop is the most basic form and applies continuous heating/cooling with no regard for the actual temperature output. It is analogous to the internal heating system in a car. On a cold day, you may need to turn the heat on to full to warm the car to 75°.

    However, during warmer weather, the same setting would leave the inside of the car much warmer than the desired 75°.

    How To Run A Still With An Electric Controller

    Open loop control block diagram

    Closed loop control is far more sophisticated than open loop. In a closed loop application, the output temperature is constantly measured and adjusted to maintain a constant output at the desired temperature.

    Closed loop control is always conscious of the output signal and will feed this back into the control process. Closed loop control is analogous to a car with internal climate control.

    If you set the car temperature to 75°, the climate control will automatically adjust the heating (during cold days) or cooling (during warm days) as required to maintain the target temperature of 75°.

    How To Run A Still With An Electric Controller

    Closed loop control block diagram

    A temperature controller is a device used to hold a desired temperature at a specified value.

    The simplest example of a temperature controller is a common thermostat found in homes. For instance, a hot water heater uses a thermostat to control the temperature of the water and maintain it at a certain commanded temperature. Temperature controllers are also used in ovens.

    When a temperature is set for an oven, a controller monitors the actual temperature inside of the oven. If it falls below the set temperature, it sends a signal to activate the heater to raise the temperature back to the setpoint. Thermostats are also used in refrigerators.

    So if the temperature gets too high, a controller initiates an action to bring the temperature down.

    Common Controller Applications

    Temperature controllers in industry work much the same way they do in common household applications. A basic temperature controller provides control of industrial or laboratory heating and cooling processes. In a typical application, sensors measure the actual temperature.

    This sensed temperature is constantly compared to a user setpoint.

    When the actual temperature deviates from the setpoint, the controller generates an output signal to activate other temperature regulating devices such as heating elements or refrigeration components to bring the temperature back to the setpoint.

    Common Uses in Industry

    Temperature controllers are used in a wide variety of industries to manage manufacturing processes or operations.

    Some common uses for temperature controllers in industry include plastic extrusion and injection molding machines, thermo-forming machines, packaging machines, food processing, food storage, and blood banks.

    The following is a brief overview of some common temperature control applications in industry:

    • Temperature controllers are used in ovens and in heat-treating applications within furnaces, ceramic kilns, boilers, and heat exchangers.
    • In the packaging world, machinery equipped with seal bars, glue applicators, hot melt functions, shrink wrap tunnels or label applicators must operate at designated temperatures and process time lengths. Temperature controllers precisely regulate these operations to ensure a high quality product output.
    • Temperature control in the plastics industry is common on portable chillers, hoppers and dryers and molding and extruding equipment. In extruding equipment, temperature controllers are used to precisely monitor and control temperatures at different critical points in the production of plastic.
    • Temperature controllers are used in the healthcare industry to increase the accuracy of temperature control. Common equipment using temperature controllers includes laboratory and test equipment, autoclaves, incubators, refrigeration equipment, and crystallization growing chambers and test chambers where specimens must be kept or tests must be run within specific temperature parameters.
    • Common food processing applications involving temperature controllers include brewing, blending, sterilization, and cooking and baking ovens. Controllers regulate temperature and/or process time to ensure optimum performance.

    Parts of a Temperature Controller

    All controllers have several common parts. For starters, controllers have inputs. The inputs are used to measure a variable in the process being controlled. In the case of a temperature controller, the measured variable is temperature.


    Temperature controllers can have several types of inputs. The type of input sensor and signal needed may vary depending on the type of controlled process. Typical input sensors include thermocouples and resistive thermal devices (RTD's), and linear inputs such as mV and mA. Typical standardized thermocouple types include J, K, T, R, S, B and L types among others.

    Controllers can also be set to accept an RTD as a temperature sensing input. A typical RTD would be a 100Ω platinum sensor.

    Alternatively, controllers can be set to accept voltage or current signals in the millivolt, volt, or milliamp range from other types of sensors such as pressure, level, or flow sensors.

    Typical input voltage signals include 0 to 5VDC, 1 to 5VDC, 0 to 10VDC and 2 to 10VDC. Controllers may also be set up to accept millivolt signals from sensors that include 0 to 50mVDC and 10 to 50mVDC.

    Controllers can also accept milliamp signals such as 0 to 20mA or 4 to 20mA.

    A controller will typically incorporate a feature to detect when an input sensor is faulty or absent. This is known as a sensor break detect. Undetected, this fault condition could cause significant damage to the equipment being controlled. This feature enables the controller to stop the process immediately if a sensor break condition is detected.

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    In addition to inputs, every controller also has an output. Each output can be used to do several things including control a process (such as turning on a heating or cooling source), initiate an alarm, or to retransmit the process value to a programmable logic controller (PLC) or recorder.

    Typical outputs provided with temperature controllers include relay outputs, solid state relay (SSR) drivers, triac, and linear analog outputs. A relay output is usually a single-pole double-throw (SPDT) relay with a DC voltage coil. The controller energizes the relay coil, providing isolation for the contacts.

    This lets the contacts control an external voltage source to power the coil of a much larger heating contactor. It's important to note that the current rating of the relay contacts is usually less than 2A.

    The contacts can control a heating contactor with a rating of 10–20A used by the heater bands or heating elements.

    Another type of output is an SSR driver. SSR driver outputs are logic outputs that turn a solid-state relay on or off. Most solid-state relays require 3 to 32VDC to turn on. A typical SSR driver turn-on signal of 10V can drive three solid-state relays.

    A triac provides the relay function without any moving parts. It is a solid state device that controls currents up to 1A. Triac outputs may allow some small amount of bleed current, usually less than 50mA.

    This bleed current doesn't affect heating contactor circuits, but it may be a problem if the output is used to connect to another solid-state circuit such as a PLC input. If this is a concern, a standard relay contact would be a better choice.

    It provides absolute zero current when the output is de-energized and the contacts are open.

    Analog outputs are provided on some controllers which put out a 0–10V signal or a 4–20mA signal. These signals are calibrated so that the signal changes as a percentage of the output.

    For example, if a controller is sending a 0% signal, the analog output will be 0V or 4mA. When the controller is sending a 50% signal, the output will be 5V or 12mA.

    When the controller is sending a 100% signal, the output will be 10V or 20mA.

    Other Parameters

    How To Run A Still With An Electric Controller

    Controller alarm comparison

    Temperature controllers have several other parameters, one of which is a setpoint. Basically, a setpoint is a target value set by an operator which the controller aims at keeping steady. For instance, a setpoint temperature of 30°C means that a controller will aim to keep the temperature at this value.


    Please read Postage

      All postage is for the UK.   Europe and the Republic of Ireland is International postage and no longer available. However, if items are under 2Kg I can send them with Royal Mail as customs is not such a problem this is still an option for small items.

    Electrical Control features the Rex 410 will control more or less anything to the specific temperature you set it at. It will hold this temperature forever unless you change the setting or switch it off.

    These are best suited to small loads. i.e. a few watts as they operate as an on-off switch. This means they switch on and off at full power.  If you have a 3/4/5/6Kw load that is the power it switches at. Industrial situations are fine. Domestic situation not so as it will dip the lights for several houses around, not just yours.

    For controlling a mash you only want a few watts they are brilliant as they will keep the temperature to the exact temperature you set them at. 

    I have some 100-watt heating belts that fit the 30L plastic brew buckets a treat. I use them for my mash. In winter I wrap the buckets with bubble wrap and the heaters do not come on very often to maintain a 24ºC setting via the Rex 410 PID.

    PID £18.50


    2mts ( 6ft ) ‘ K ‘ TYPE SENSOR THREADED END FOR REX 410  £7.50


    • These are an ideal match for the PID as they are voltage controlled. 
    • 40Amp SSR + Radiator £14.00
    • Resistive Control for 40Amp stand alone SSR for use with non voltage control SSR.
    • 330K Variable Resistor complete with Knob  to suit Resistive SSR £3.25


    23 Amp Variable Resistor complete with Knob this will control a 3Kw element £8.85


    4 Inch Fan 230 Volt complete with Grill. £9.75


     Additional Grill £2.00


    A complete set all in one. 1 x 40Amp SSR complete with Radiator and variable resistor with a knob. Nothing else is required to make your control.

    Radiator, SSR, Resistor. £17.95 + P&P


    Just in 60 Amp SSR complete with Cooling Radiator and LED on off indicator. £21.20. + P&P


    These are idea to control a 6Kw load.

    Just right for 2 x 3Kw elements.

    Variable resistor with knob £4.75. + P&P


     Liquid Heating Elements

    2Kw x 1” thread needs a 1.1/4” hole to fit the same again for the 3Kw x 1” element and the 4Kw element. These elements have a 1” BSP ‘G’ Thread.

    This is a straight thread as opposed to the BSPT thread which is a tapered thread. All elements come with a soft silicone gasket. Fit this on the outside against the nut of the element.

    Do the element up only just over hand tight. With a box spanner, it just needs to be hand tight.

    They are excellent for an on spec fit to anything anywhere. You can fit them into your still pot or soup pot. You can weld in a 1” spud to your still and fit them there. You can just drill a 1-1/4” hole push the element in and fit a back nut. Jobs done. I can also make a terminal cover for these elements but I only supply it with the element as it has to fit that element. 

    The new supply of elements also has a Thermo port built into the element. The 2Kw element is approximately 19cm long and the 3Kw element is approximately 22cm long.

    You can even fit them to a beer keg with a 1.1/4” hole and a little ingenuity.

    I also have some terminal shrouds that fit the live terminals to offer some protection but are not recommended if there are little children about the place. 

    The terminal covers include a cable clamp and lock nut, earthing stud with nuts and washers and safety external dome nut. If you are fitting into an existing 1″ thread fine. If you are fitting into an un-threaded hole then you will need to order the backnut.

    2Kw x 1″ BSP Element £16.50 20cm long.


    3Kw x 1″ BSP Element £17.50 23cm long.


    4Kw x 1″ BSP Element £18.50 27cm long.


    1” Back nut £ 2.10 + p&p


    Terminal Shrouds are not recommended if there are children around £1.00 pair. Not necessary with terminal cover.


    The Terminal Cover is only sold with the element. £10.00 each extra plus the standard price of the element.

    2Kw with cover £26.50 20cm long.


    2Kw element with terminal cover and backnut £28.50.

    3Kw with cover £27.50, 23cm long.

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    3Kw elements with terminal cover and backnut £29.50.


    4Kw with cover £28.50, 27cm long.


    4Kw with terminal cover and backnut. £30.50, 27cm long.

    Tri-Clamp Elements. 

    Again this is a 3Kw element but with a Tri-Clamp base. This means it is only suitable to be fitted to a tri-clamp base. ( Ferrule ) It does not have a thermo port. These elements will not fit the 2″ 64mm Bulkhead Fittings. These are only suitable for the normal 2″ 64mm Ferrule. 

    I do have Tri-Clamp Elements that do fit the 2″ 64mm Bulkhead fitting be sure you choose the correct one.

    2” 3Kw Tri-Clamp Ferrule Element 30cm long. £30.00


    2″ 3Kw Tri-Clamp Bulkhead Element 30cm long. £30.00.


    2″ 4Kw Tri-Clamp Element. Ferrule Fit 30cm long. £33.00


    2″ 5Kw Tri-Clamp Element. Ferrule Fit 34cm long. Not suited to 50L boilers and below. Only suitable for 100L boilers and above. £37.00


    The 4Kw and 5Kw elements can be used on single-phase and 3 phase electrical supplies. Just change the link system on the element terminals.

    The elements can be controlled via a controller. This will regulate the current going to the element and so control the rate of the boil.

    This can be made by yourself or I can make it for you. The parts are all available on the website. I can make it on your behalf for around £90.00 for a 3Kw controller.


    80 to 230 Volt AC. Amps 0 to 99.9 These are lovely items. Simple to fit simple to use. Drill a 22mm hole. Pop in the ammeter and tighten up the nut. Connect an AC supply to the screw terminals. Plugin the current transformer supplied. Pass the cable of the item you want to detect the current ( AMPS ) through the coil and that’s it.

     Ammeters £8.50

    Green Ammeter


    Blue  Ammeter.


    Red Ammeter




    Red Indicator

    LED Indicator lights. These are 230 Volt mains voltage led indicators. These are a perfect match for the Ammeters.

    I only have Red at the moment. They are quite bright and fit a 22mm hole. Price £7.90


    MCB Holder

    A brilliant little item.  Fits all major makes of MCB. Make your rectangular hole in the panel,  box or whatever. Fit the MCB holder then fit in the MCB,  just clip the MCB support into place. The MCB is fixed securely into place.

    This allows you to fit an MCB into anything. On / Off control with protection.

    MCB Holder £4.00


    Sorry about the P&P but most items are classed as small parcels.

    Please also note that the MCB is not included


    Contactors are a Din Rail or similar Fit. But I am sure with a little ingenuity they can be fitted in a different way. These are a 2 Pole  230 Volt coil single phase 40Amp contractor.  Ideal for the heating elements on sale on this site.

    Price £25.95 + P&P


    2 x 40Amp Contactors £48.00


    Sight Glass Light Fitting

    I make these especially for the 70mm OD and the 80mm OD sight glasses rims.

    These will fit the weld in, threaded and tri-clamp glasses of the above size.

    These are all handmade and take a long time to make. If you don’t believe me try it.

    They come complete with 2mts flex with a 13amp plug top attached.

    A 50watt 220volt GU10 lamp holder and lamp.

    Website price £66.00 for the light fitting only.

    70mm Light Fitting” £66.00″

    80mm Light Fitting £66.60



    3 Position Rotary Switch. These are a 20Amp Change Over type switch ideal for just one element or the two together.  Left one position and Off in the centre-right for the second position i.e. two elements.

    The terminals can be looped and configured to make that happen. If running elements that pulse on and off via a PID to maintain a set temperature then a couple of SSRs would be best to use. If you are using a constantly variable source of control that switches on and then varies the power to the elements while still constantly on then a contactor or two would be the best use.

    Rotary Switch £14.85 



    These have 10 Amp Contacts but obviously, you don’t want to put 10 Amp through them. Run via a Contactor or SSR or similar. These are also made by the world-famous company Chint.

    They are nice well made strong switches that retain the key when in the on position.

    Key Switch Price £9.95 


    Neutrik Connector.

    I have a few of these connectors in two sizes.  4mm to 6.5mm and 8 to 12mm.  The small one is ideal for the probe lead that comes with the PIDs and the larger one is ideal for small cables up to and including 1mm 3core.

    The size is just nice for the supply to smaller items such as the 100watt heating belts. These make perfect controls for the mash bucket when fermenting your wash to ensure the temperature stays perfect for the yeast.

    These connectors are really designed for a straight connection but they also lend themselves to being panel mounted. See Photo.

    4mm to 6.5mm Neutrik Connector  £6.60 + P&P


    8mm to 12mm Neutrik Connector  £9.30. + P&P



    Electrical Controllers. 

    Grey ABS box to make your very own electric element controller. They are easy to work with and are aesthetically pleasing. I use this box myself for my element controller.  Yes, it does involve some measuring and cutting but you don’t get out for nowt.

    I make controllers for individual customers. I do not sell them on eBay.  A – they are very time-consuming to make.  B – eBay are greedy buggers, they would end up making more than me. I will be making some for sale on this website.

    Some will be the simple Rheostat type and some will be the SSR type and some will be the PID  type controller. The Rheostat and SSR will have a cooling fan fitted. The price will reflect what goes into making the controller.

    The box measures 250mm x 190mm x 110mm this is an ideal size to customize.

    You can buy a box.

    Motor controller

    Device for regulating the performance of a motor

    A motor controller is a device or group of devices that can coordinate in a predetermined manner the performance of an electric motor.

    [1] A motor controller might include a manual or automatic means for starting and stopping the motor, selecting forward or reverse rotation, selecting and regulating the speed, regulating or limiting the torque, and protecting against overloads and electrical faults.

    Motor controllers may use electromechanical switching, or may use power electronics devices to regulate the speed and direction of a motor.


    Motor controllers are used with both direct current and alternating current motors. A controller includes means to connect the motor to the electrical power supply, and may also include overload protection for the motor, and over-current protection for the motor and wiring.

    A motor controller may also supervise the motor's field circuit, or detect conditions such as low supply voltage, incorrect polarity or incorrect phase sequence, or high motor temperature.

    Some motor controllers limit the inrush starting current, allowing the motor to accelerate itself and connected mechanical load more slowly than a direct connection.

    Motor controllers may be manual, requiring an operator to sequence a starting switch through steps to accelerate the load, or may be fully automatic, using internal timers or current sensors to accelerate the motor.

    Some types of motor controllers also allow adjustment of the speed of the electric motor. For direct-current motors, the controller may adjust the voltage applied to the motor, or adjust the current flowing in the motor's field winding.

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    Alternating current motors may have little or no speed response to adjusting terminal voltage, so controllers for alternating current instead adjust rotor circuit resistance (for wound rotor motors) or change the frequency of the AC applied to the motor for speed control using power electronic devices or electromechanical frequency changers.

    The physical design and packaging of motor controllers is about as varied as that of electric motors themselves. A wall-mounted toggle switch with suitable ratings may be all that is needed for a household ventilation fan. Power tools and household appliances may have a trigger switch that only turns the motor on and off.

    Industrial motors may be more complex controllers connected to automation systems; a factory may have a large number of motor controllers grouped in a motor control center. Controllers for electric travelling cranes or electric vehicles may be mounted on the mobile equipment.

    The largest motor controllers are used with the pumping motors of pumped storage hydroelectric plants, and may carry ratings of tens of thousands of horsepower (kilowatts).[2]

    Types of motor controller

    Motor controllers can be manually, remotely or automatically operated. They may include only the means for starting and stopping the motor or they may include other functions.[3][4][5]

    An electric motor controller can be classified by the type of motor it is to drive, such as permanent magnet, servo, series, separately excited, and alternating current.

    A motor controller is connected to a power source, such as a battery pack or power supply, and control circuitry in the form of analog or digital input signals.

    Motor starters

    See also: Motor soft starter

    A small motor can be started by simply connecting it to power. A larger motor requires a specialized switching unit called a motor starter or motor contactor.

    When energized, a direct on line (DOL) starter immediately connects the motor terminals directly to the power supply. In smaller sizes a motor starter is a manually operated switch; larger motors, or those requiring remote or automatic control, use magnetic contactors.

    Very large motors running on medium voltage power supplies (thousands of volts) may use power circuit breakers as switching elements.

    A direct on line (DOL) or across the line starter applies the full line voltage to the motor terminals. This is the simplest type of motor starter.

    A DOL motor starter often contains protection devices (see below), and in some cases, condition monitoring.

    Smaller sizes of direct on-line starters are manually operated; larger sizes use an electromechanical contactor to switch the motor circuit. Solid-state direct on line starters also exist.

    A direct on line starter can be used if the high inrush current of the motor does not cause excessive voltage drop in the supply circuit. The maximum size of a motor allowed on a direct on line starter may be limited by the supply utility for this reason. For example, a utility may require rural customers to use reduced-voltage starters for motors larger than 10 kW.[6]

    DOL starting is sometimes used to start small water pumps, compressors, fans and conveyor belts.

    In the case of an asynchronous motor, such as the 3-phase squirrel-cage motor, the motor will draw a high starting current until it has run up to full speed. This starting current is typically 6-7 times greater than the full load current.

    To reduce the inrush current, larger motors will have reduced-voltage starters or adjustable-speed drives in order to minimise voltage dips to the power supply.

    A reversing starter can connect the motor for rotation in either direction.

    Such a starter contains two DOL circuits — one for clockwise operation and the other for counter-clockwise operation, with mechanical and electrical interlocks to prevent simultaneous closure.

    [6] For three phase motors, this is achieved by swapping the wires connecting any two phases. Single phase AC motors and direct-current motors often can be reversed by swapping two wires but this is not always the case.

    Motor starters other than 'DOL' connect the motor through a resistance to reduce the voltage the motor coils get on start up. The resistance for this needs to be sized to the motor – and a quick source for a good resistance to use is another coil in the motor – i.e. series/parallel.

    In series gives a gentler start then switched to parallel for full power running. When this is done with three phase motors, it is commonly called a star-delta (US: Y-delta) starter.

    Old star-delta starters were manually operated and often incorporated an ammeter so the person operating the starter could see when the motor was up to speed by the fact the current it was drawing had stopped decreasing.

    More modern starters have built-in timers to switch from star to delta and are set by the electrical installer of the machine. The machin's operator simply presses a green button once and the rest of the start procedure is automated.

    A typical starter includes protection against overload, both electrical and mechanical, and protection against 'random' starting – if, for instance, the power has been off and has just come back on. An acronym for this type of protection is TONVR – Thermal Overload, No Volt Release.

    It insists that the green button is pressed to start the motor. The green button switches on a solenoid which closes a contactor (i.e. switch) to primarily power the motor. It also powers the solenoid to keep the power turned on when the green button is released. In a power failure, the contactor opens turning itself and the motor off.

    The only way the motor can then be started is by pressing the green button. The contactor can be quickly tripped by the starter passing a very high current due to an electrical fault downstream of it in either the wiring to the motor or within the motor.

    The thermal overload protection consists of a heating element on each power wire which heats a bimetallic strip. The hotter the strip, the more it deflects to the point it pushes a trip bar which disconnects power to the contactor solenoid, turning everything off.

    Thermal overloads come in different range ratings and this should be chosen to match the motor. Within the range, they are adjustable enabling the installer to set it correctly for the given motor.

    Which type for specific applications? DOL gives a quick start so is used more commonly with generally smaller motors. It is also used on machines with an uneven load such as piston type compressors where the full power of the motor is needed to get the piston past the compression stage – the actual working stage.

    Star-delta is generally used with larger motors or where either the motor is under no load at starting, very little load or a consistent load. It is particularly suited to motors driving machinery with heavy flywheels – to get the flywheels up to speed before the machine is engaged and driven by the flywheel.

    Reduced voltage starters

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