RIMS System Pictures

These pictures are of my current RIMS system. As with most RIMS systems, it is constantly in a state of flux. Although I have been making many very minor changes, the basic system has been like this for close to 1 1/2 years now.

The thumbnails are 1/4 size of the scanned images. Click on the thumbnails to get 1/2 size pictures. The size of the half-size images is in parentheses at the end of the description line.

At the bottom of each narrative paragraph is a link to the original size scanned image which are up to 900x600 and 300kb. Clicking on this link will show you the original full size images. Those of you with less than a 28.8kb modem which is able to actually download at full bandwidth may not want to do this. I timed a 250k download at 2.5 minutes.

NOTE: This page is intended for people who are RIMS literate. It is not intended to teach those who are not.

All images and text Copyright 1997 Oceanwave Softworks. This is proprietery material and any download or copying of text or images is expressly forbidden. However, I bestow the right to anyone to use the methods embodied in the HTML language for display of their own images and content.

Front view top half of system
Front view of top half of system (397x303 - 63k).

On top right is 10 gallon Gott mash/lauter tun; you can just see the return manifold poking out of the top. Directly below that is the controller box. Directly to the left of the controller box is a keg used as a hot liquor tank and to the left of that the wort boiler.

Full Size Picture (794x606 - 227kb)

Front view of bottom half of system
Front view of bottom half of system (307x303 - 59k).

Directly below the control panel is the pump and heater chamber assembly. Once the hoses and wires are disconnected, the whole assembly just lifts up and away. To the left is a complete view of the hot liquor tank. And to the left of that, once again the wort boiler. It is heated by a 130k BTU Kamp Kooker, which I have modified slightly to put the metal heat shield on the front to keep the flames in under the keg. The part of the wooden stand that the burner is on has been covered in a thin sheet of stainless steel to prevent the wood from scorching. This has been done as well to the 2x4 in the front between the boiler and hot liquor tank. Sparge water is heated in the wort boiler during the mash and gravity fed into the hot liquor tank and during the sparge, pumped from the hot liquor tank up into the mash/lauter tun. This also cleans out the heater chamber with hot water during the sparging process. I always make up too much sparge water and use the excess to pump through the system after sparging and clean out pump and heater chamber.

Full Size Picture (614x606 - 212kb)

Back view of system
Back view of system (276x303 - 38k).

This is a better view of the return hose going from the heater chamber up to the return manifold and also shows the back of the Kamp Kooker and the propane cylinder placement during the brew day. While in use, there is generally a two-step utility stool in front of the mash tun on this side so that I can get up and look into it.

Full Size Picture (553x606 - 132kb)

Controller cabinet
Interior of controller cabinet (440x303 - 72k).

In this view the front of the cabinet is on the left and the back of the cabinet is on the right. It is a surplus alarm system cabinet which I purchased for $5 and it opens like a clamshell.
On the left from top to bottom are :
  • Electronic temperature display (uses thermocouple as input) on right.
  • GFCI breaker in center
  • Neon heater indicator to left
  • Cabinet closure latch on far left
  • Main heater switch under tangle of wires to right of GFCI
  • Main heater adjustment potentiometer under GFCI at bottom
  • Pump speed controller in bottom left corner

  • On the right from top to bottom are:
  • Fan in top right corner of back wall
  • Temperature controller directly below it
  • On far left perimeter wall, the thermocouple and thermistor connectors
  • On left back wall down to center, grill for air intake
  • On far left perimeter wall at bottom, conectors for heater and pump electricity. This is a standard duplex outlet with the ears broken off to isolate the two plugs.
  • In center back wall at very bottom, insulated up on a piece of plastic, the hot and neutral power distribution strips
  • Just to the right of that and up a little, the ground distribution strip.
  • At the bottom of the right perimeter wall is the 110v input socket

  • Full Size Picture (880x607 - 265kb)

    External of Controller cabinet
    External connectors of controller cabinet (213x426 - 49k).

    From top to bottom, the connectors are :
  • Thrermistor - DIN style connector
  • Thermocouple - special thermocouple connector
  • Heater - half of duplex outlet
  • Pump - other half of duplex outlet

  • A handle used to pick up the cabinet can be seen sticking out of the back slightly.

    Full Size Picture (427x852 - 184kb)

    Front panel of controller cabinet
    Front panel of controller cabinet (280x318 - 39k).

    From top to bottom :
  • Digital temperature readout at top left - reads temperature of wort as it exits the heater chamber
  • GFCI breaker in center
  • Neon indicator light to right of GFCI - wired in parallel to the heater and glows when power is applied to heater
  • Main heater switch to left of GFCI - turns off all power to the temperature controller board
  • Key latch for cabinet on far right edge
  • Main heater control pot in lower left corner. Temp markings put on with blue masking tape.
  • Pump speed controller in bottom right corner.

  • Full Size Picture (560x637 - 141kb)

    Pump with Hansen Quick Disconnect fittings
    Pump with Hansen Quick Disconnect fittings (373x236 - 61k).

    The pump is mounted solidly with bolts on a piece of MDF board and two slits are cut in the edge. The slits allow the pump platform to be attached to the heater and pump stand with bolts and wingnuts. At disassembly time a flick of the thumb on the wingnuts and actuation of the QD fitting between pump and heater chamber has the pump free in a matter of 10 seconds and the pump can be easily drained and put away while the heater chamber is free to be cleaned in lots of splashing water without damage to the motor of the pump.

    Full Size Picture (746x473 - 235kb)

    Heater and chamber
    Heater chamber with heater element in front (343x177 - 43k).

    Input end of the chamber is on the left with a Hansen QD socket which mates with the Hansen QD plug on the pump output. Output end is on the right. The heater screws into the far right end (actually the top when chamber is on stand) of the heater chamber. Hose clamp right below the 1.5" SS pipe T is for securing a ground wire from the controller box.

    Full Size Picture (686x354 - 162kb)

    Heater Chamber output
    Heater chamber output end and sensor port (288x259 - 53k).

    This close up shows the output QD plug in more detail as well as the port for the temperature display sensor. This fitting is a 1/2" MNPT x 3/8" compression fitting. The ferrule is thrown away and the probe is pushed through a rubber stopper which fits in the compression fitting. The stopper is held in place by the compression nut and a SS washer. The heater is inserted in the T at the far right.

    Full Size Picture (577x518 - 202kb)

    Heater Chamber Input
    Heater chamber input end and sensor port (288x259 - 49k).

    This close up shows the input QD socket which attaches to the pump in more detail as well as the port for the temperature controller sensor. It is made in the same fashion as the port for the other sensor with the exception of using a 1/2" compresion fitting to accommodate the larger diameter of the thermistor sensor.

    Full Size Picture (577x518 - 184kb)

    Heater and pump stand front viewc
    Heater and pump stand front view (228x369 - 56k).

    This detail shows how the power cord for the heater and both sensors are attached to the stand so that when the pump and heater chamber are removed, everything else can be moved out of the way as a unit. Laying on the lower left corner of the stand are the U bolts which secure the heater chamber to the stand and the wing nuts which secure the U bolts. The go through the upright piece of plywood near top and bottom of the heater chamber. To the right of the U bolts are the two bolts which are affixed to the stand to secure the pump platfrom. On the back of the stand (and not currently visible) are straps of velcro for securing up the bundled wires, in one fashion when the system is being stored and in another during brewing to keep them out from underfoot.

    Full Size Picture (457x738 - 213kb)

    Heater and pump stand
    Heater and pump stand side view (246x337 - 55k).

    In this side view, the blocks of plywood which position the heater chamber so that it mates with the pump are shown better. Also, a little of the orange velcro on the back is visible as well as the handle near the top of the stand which is used to lift the whole assembly out of the brewing stand. The heater and pump assembly is not attached to the brewing stand, but sits on the floor inside the perimeter of the stand. The assembly is free standing so that it can be used easily in tests where the whole stand is not needed because no beer will be actually boiled, nor a sparge done, as in when one is calibrating the system with water only.

    Full Size Picture (493x675 - 209kb)

    Heater chamber and stand
    Heater Chamber and stand (283x416 - 77k).

    This view shows the stand with only the heater chamber attached to it. You can see where the U bolts secure it an how it is ready to be mated to the pump. The bolts sticking up from the floor of the stand are ready to accept the pump platform.

    Full Size Picture (566x833 - 288kb)

    Heater and pump unit
    Heater chamber and pump unit complete (283x416 - 77k).

    In this view, the pump is attached, the sensors are in their ports and the heater has been assembled into the top of the chamber. The small red light leaning out to the right from the very top of the heater is a second neon which is another way of telling whether the heater is being powered. When on the back side of the system with the control panel not visible, one can still see what the heater is doing. During use, the wires at the top of the heater are covered with a plastic pipe cap that allows the neon to poke out. This would prevent an inadvertant shock from touching the top of the heater assembly, but still allows the terminals to be easily avialable for disassembly at cleaning time so that the heater can be cleaned with no trailing wires in the way.

    Full Size Picture (566x833 - 287kb)

    Heater chamber hooked up - view of top
    Heater chamber hooked up - view of top (268x400 - 73k).

    This closeup allow you to see the heater electrical connections, the thermocouple connection and the wort return hose connection better at the top of the heater chamber.

    Full Size Picture (536x801 - 270kb)

    Heater chamber hooked up - view of bottom and pump
    Heater chamber hooked up - view of bottom and pump (289x356 - 64k).

    This closeup allow you to see the pump to heater chamber and the thermistor port connection better. It also shows the pump input connection.

    Full Size Picture (578x713 - 236kb)

    Temp Controller Test
    Test and calibration of temp controller circuit board (418x289).

    This picture is from my old RIMS page, but it is the only picture of the temperature controller calibration process and was done in the very beginning. It is of the first PCB I made and when I finally hooked it up to something more substantial than a 300 watt light bulb as a load, it first vaporized several traces on the board because you cannot run 11 amps of 110v through a 10 mil trace. Then when I jumpered over those traces with copper wire, it ran for about 2 minutes before it turned the triac into an LED. Can't put 11 amps of 110v through the gate of a triac. B-{

    There is no full size picture available.

    Dough In

    At one time, I was having trouble with stuck mashes and I finally determined the cause. I use a 1/8 hp pump and while mashing in, I run it full tilt and slowly dribble the grist into the returning wort stream. This was causing a strong suction on the grain bed and compacting it too much. I have found that after dough in, if I stop the pump (which I always did anyway to replace my dough in manifold with the wort return manifold), and while the pump is off I take a spoon and stir up the grist from the bottom to thoroughly break up the grain bed, that when I turn on the pump once again at low speed, there is no longer a grain compaction problem.


    Check out the pictures above and remember the system setup, the hot liquor tank is the lowest level, the wort boiler above that and the mash tun highest. The pump is a couple of inches below the HLT. During mashing, wort flows down out of the mash tun to the pump, up through the heater chamber and back into the top of the mash tun through the return manifold. At time to sparge, I stop the pump, close the valve on the bottom of the mash tun and move the hose to the pump to the valve in the bottom of the HLT where water has been transferred by gravity after being heated in the wort boiler during the latter part of the mash (catching the wort running out of the hose with a small bucket). I then attach a short length of hose to the output of the mash tun, turn in around 90 degrees and insert the hose in the wort boiler and open the valve to drain the first runnings. When the first runnings slow to a trickle, I turn on the pump and pump water up into the mash tun until it covers the grist by a couple of inches. I once again let the runnings flow until they go to a trickle. Then I pump up another batch. Most brews will not need a third batch of sparge water. In general I guess I use the "batch sparge" method.