Projects and Thoughts

Stirplate Finalle?

final stir plate build

IMG 2220

You may remember my prior update about the stir plate saga, if not ‘Stir Plate update, or how I let the smoke out of two sets of components‘ is where I elaborated on my attempts to create a stir plate. You may want to review that before you read this, so you can understand my state of mind approaching this project. This project has been hanging over my head for nearly a year now when I first received the parts. There is a lot of motivation to get this completed so I can move on to other things. Topping that list, making a heady topper clone, will require a large yeast pitch to fully attenuate. The added pressure hasn’t made it easier to resume work on this, if anything the pressure has been weighing on me. I  finally managed to muster up the courage and time Sunday afternoon to tackle this project once again. Did I mention this project had me a bit spooked? I’m generally a quick learner, I may never get great at it, but I do pick it up. When I failed this seemingly simple project multiple times, I started to get discouraged.

After attaching the first component to the board I knew things would be different this time. This time I was armed with Helping Hands to make the task easier. I had a new soldering iron, solder wick, and 5 more sets of parts. Having the clamps holding things in place, I could solder like they show on youtube. Heat the contact, apply solder, remove, leaving a nice clean soldered contact. I didn’t have to hold the circuit board and solder with one hand, while wielding a smoking soldering iron in the other. I still took me time, attaching a single component at a time, rereading the instructions a number of times. For someone with very basic electronics knowledge there are some vague/ambiguous instructions which left me googling to understand. I found it hard to identify the components on the diagram, knowing which leg of the potentiometer to usem and where the other ends of the wires go in the pictures. With that said, referencing the board I blew up last time, I managed to get the board to a state I thought was completed.  When I plugged it in and tried the potentiometer my heart sank. The fan wasn’t changing speed at all. Suppressing the urge to smash things in a fit of rage, I found a missing connection, and there was no smoke. I finished up that last wire, and much to my surprise it was spinning and I could control the speed of the fan. It still wasn’t spinning as rapidly as I expected from a pc fan, but I didn’t want to lose hope. It could be the fan, or the power supply, but I figured I’d finish assembling it, and test it before I stopped making progress.

The final touches to complete before I could test were simple. Tidying up the wires, mounting the board in the project box, and mounting the potentiometer. The last task was attaching the magnet to the fan. Just a note, don’t try to attach the magnet directly to the fan hub, it won’t spin. Us a large washer, and attach the magnets to it. You’ll have to watch the video to see the test.

VOILA! Finally you can mark this project in the completed column.  That’s a 2l growler of water, on high it will pull a vortex to the stir bar. I haven’t tested it with thicker liquid, like say wyeast 1968, but I think it’s got enough juice to spin it up, but further testing will tell. You can not believe the level of relief / elation I am feeling right now.

Wiring diagram & parts list

Where I bought the parts:

Also, if you’ve gotten this far and want a set of parts to build your own stir plate, drop a comment below, and I’ll pick one commenter to get a set of electronics for a stir plate. You’ll need a soldering iron, a fan, power supply, thermal paste, and a project box to complete it.

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