Thursday, March 7, 2013

Plug and Play Thermohygrostat

When I first made my curing chamber finding the necessary temperature and humidity controllers was a bit of a challenge. They were out there but they were expensive and somewhat specialized. (at least for humidity control, temperature has always been easy)
Recently I ran across something which would make the whole thing a little easier. It's a thermohygrostat all in one with two plug and play outputs.

Basically, with this controller, you plug the fridge into one outlet, the humidifier into the other, put the sensor in the fridge, and set it and go. Seems pretty awesome to me!

If anyone has tried one of these, I'd like to hear how it works, but I suspect it's pretty good, as Auber Instruments makes good, inexpensive, controllers.

UPDATE 2/15/14: A friend pointed out that Auber now makes a controller for high humidity environments which has a more robust humidity sensor...i've heard the ones on the standard one go out if they get too wet....it's $20 more but seems to be worth it.



23 comments:

Andy Melka said...

This thing rocks. Makes set up incredibly easy, maintains good temp/humidity, highly recommend it!

Jasonmolinari said...

Good to know Andy! Thanks. If my controller ever dies i know what i'll replace it with

Jan Jansz said...

Keep a thermometer and hygrometer
4101 along to be on the safe side

Btw how much are these things?

Jasonmolinari said...

Jan, of course, there should always be a meter to confirm temp/humidity.

Jasonmolinari said...

Jans, they're $100.

Jon in Albany said...

I'm not the best at electrical stuff- you don't want me installing track lighting in your house - but I like the way their 1/16 DIN Humidity controller specs reads. If I am reading it right, you can set a humidity range and the "alarms" can turn something on or off to compensate. When I looked at them awhile ago while daydreaming of a chamber of my own, I thought the high alarm could be set to turn on the heat lamp, which would raise the temperature, which would then turn the cooling system on. The low alarm would turn on the humidifier. You'd need a separate temperature controller though and I'm not sure if this would be too much cycling off and on.

Then again, I could be completely wrong. I was going to call and sort it out prior to purchasing. But first I need space in the the basement for a chamber....one of these days.

Jasonmolinari said...

Jon, that's probably accurate, but the output from the alarm will have to run through a relay of some kind to turn something else on.
Interesting idea.

Aaron Kizer said...

I own one of these, and have it on my curing chamber. It works great! Here it is, on my rough draft start of a blog.

http://www.kizerfoods.com/?p=22

Anonymous said...

I came across this which is slightly different in that it will trigger equipment to come on if temp/humidity exceeds the set thresholds.

http://tinyurl.com/d23y947

So it would be redundant as a temperature controller but you could hook a dehumidifier up to it and bypass the heat lamp approach of getting the fridge to cycle more frequently to remove moisture.

It would great to be able to keep the RH between 70-77% by toggling the humidifier/dehumidifier on in shorter cycles. But depending on the accuracy/tolerance of these units I could see this approach turning out to be too clever by half as you may end up with the humidifier and dehumidifier both running simultaneously with RH at 74%.

-Brian

Jasonmolinari said...

That would likely be the problem, brian. The deadbands would probably have them battling each other and eventually just crap out!

Jon in Albany said...

That's an old Steven Wright joke:

"For my birthday I got a humidifier and a de-humidifier... I put them in the same room and let them fight it out."

Jan Jansz said...

This looks a perfect solution for temp/hum control.
It is also important to determine the set points and
Hysteresis. I bought a data logger to make this easier. It has the size of a memory stick and records temperature, humidity and dew point. Put it in the fridge overnight and the next day you can clearly see what happened .

G said...

Amazon now sells a humidifier with a built-in hygrostat: http://www.amazon.com/SU-2081B-Digital-Ultrasonic-Humidifier-Hygrostat/dp/B000O3I2BC/ref=sr_1_6?ie=UTF8&qid=1369143977&sr=8-6&keywords=humidifier+with+hygrometer
It's been working well for me so far.

Jasonmolinari said...

Good to know, thanks. I'll add it ot my equipment list on the right side

Anonymous said...

Thanks for mentioning this device. I live in New Zealand and cannot get anything like this. I can get individual components to make a temperature and humidity control device. However, I do not have the knowledge or skills to wire things up. I am game to have a go at certain things, but not when it involves electricity or natural gas (I know gas is not involved in this).

In NZ the electricity is different. If you are not interested in detail skip the next two paragraphs:

‘U.S. electricity is 110 – 120 volts alternating current (A.C.), 60 Hertz (Hz) or cycles per second. The U.S. also has 220 volts dual phase current (used for electric clothes dryers and commercial equipment). New Zealand operates on 220 – 240 volts A.C., 50Hz. U.S. equipment that requires 220 volts will not work in NZ, sorry. The reason is a bit technical (US dual phase 220 Vs NZ single phase 220) but the simple explanation is that US 220V is not the same as NZ 220V. The good news is most U.S. electronics that run on 110 – 120 volts 60 Hz will work in New Zealand with a little help or a few changes!

The difference in cycles per second or hertz (US = 60Hz, NZ = 50Hz) usually doesn't matter except in certain circumstances. U.S. 110V/60Hz clocks and items that use AC electricity to keep time won't be accurate on the NZ 50Hz system. U.S. 110V motors designed to run at 60Hz will run slightly slower and a bit hotter on 50Hz, but generally no harm done (http://www.enz.org/forum/showthread.php?t=591)’.

We are in the middle of winter. I emailed the company (local company, not a franchise and only operates in the city) that I get to services my heat pump (they are so good). The guy that installed my heat pump and has serviced it for the past 8 years phoned me and said that there will be no problem with the control and it will work fine. He said drop it around and he will change the plug (no brainer why I stay with this company). The sockets in the unit can receive NZ/Australian plugs. As a double check I emailed Auber instruments and got a reply within two hours confirming this. I bought the control unit direct as it was about $USD 10 cheaper than it would have been from ebay.

Mark

Kyle Hildebrant said...

I'm using one of these on my curing chamber as well. I think it's a great unit,. and very configurable.

Best place to buy it is straight from Auber Instruments.

Max said...

Got one of these things from Auber directly (I am in Australia). Got here rather quickly, 3 business days, I think, but I paid extra $10 for FedEx.

Plugged it in, and works like a charm - fridge and humidifier cycle on/off when needed, etc.


BUT! I have another measuring device (hygrometer) that also measures temperature and humidity. I have plugged both in at room temperature, and they are fairly close - within 1C on temp and couple % on humidity. However, in the fridge the readings are completely off the wall.

Plug and Play (P&P) sensor is md-way on the fridge wall close to the door opening. hygrometer sensor is on the opposite wall. Temperature is within 2C (that I can live with, I think), but humidity is a bit all over the place - both can show around 65% +/- 2%, and then I briefly open the door, and P&P will shoot up to 85% in a matter of seconds, but hygrometer will hardly fluctuate - 2 to 3% at most.

Outside humidity is circa 30%.

Any ideas why the humidity jumps so much?

Jasonmolinari said...

sorry, not sure what might be going on...maybe move the P&P sensor to the far wall so it doesn't get hit by the incoming air?

Michael Vasconcelos said...

Jason,

I noticed you now recommend the C.A.P AIR-1 controller. Earlier today I've seen a bunch of people using the C.A.P AIR-2 for their chambers. Is this your new go to controller? Are you done with the Johnson controllers? Im in the process of making my own with an arduino but would like a fall back plan if I don't like how it works out.

Jasonmolinari said...

michael, whatever the latest auber instruments dual controller would be my go to. I still use my johnson controller because it still works fine.

Matt said...

A great little unit, but the humidity sensor is very sensitive. I didn't have any meat curing in my chamber so I decided to turn it off. When I turned it off, the humididty rose to over 90% for a few hours as the fridge's temperature rose and killed the sensor. We had a power outage not too long ago and the same thing happened. No meat destroyed, but long exposure to 90%+ RH will kill the humidity portion of the sensor. It will still read temperature just fine, but no humidity. I'm now on my third sensor. At $15 its not a huge cost, just annoying.

Jasonmolinari said...

I just found out that Auber now makes an extra robust humidity sensor...i'm guessing they found that their standard one isn't robust enouhg, as you've found out.

Matthew said...

Hi Jason,

I found that out too, unfortunately the new sensor is not compatible with the old unit. I'll have to send the whole unit back and get a credit towards a completely new unit. At this point, it's too big of a deal as I've had meat constantly curing in the fridge.