A lot of homebrewers convert a chest freezer or refrigerator into a kegerator and they plug the fridge or freezer into an external controller to manage temperature. And if you want to go digital there is not a controller better suited for the job than a RANCO ETC-111000-000 controller. RANCO uses a thermistor on the end of a 8' cable to sense temperature & this gives you enough room to mount the controller on the side of your kegerator or on the wall behind your kegerator.
But RANCO ETC-111000-000 controllers to not make good mash controllers! The reason they don't is because they are just smart thermostats and a thermostat is always catching up to its set temperature. For example, let's say for example that you were to set your RANCO ETC-111000-000 up as a mash controller and you set your mash temperature to 145F. If you start at a strike temperature of 135F the RANCO would stay on until the mash temperature at the thermistor read 145F then it would turn off & the mash would cool until the lower trip temperature of 142 is reached & it will turn on, starting the cycle all over again. This cycle would continue and your average mash temperature will be right in the middle - at 143.5F. The correct temperature controller for your mash is a PID controller. A PID controller works to maintain 145F, not catch up with 145F. A PID controller will slightly over-shoot 145F to maintain your set temperature at an average of 145F. And a smart, tuned PID controller can easily maintain your mash to within 1/2 degree F of your set temperature.
Tom - www.kegkits.com
Step 1: Parts Needed
There are a lot of instructions on the net telling you to add a electrical box and outlet to the bottom of your controller. The box and outlet are not needed and only cost you extra money! All you need to wire your RANCO ETC-111000-000 controller are:
1 - RANCO ETC-111000-000 controller
1 - 3 wire extension cord - I chose a 15' extension cord from LOWES because I also wanted to use the cord as a extension cord. You can use a shorter or longer cord.
1 - NM Cable Connector (clamp)
1 - wire nut (not pictured)
Regardless of what cord you buy make sure that it's 3 wire and has both a plug end and a outlet end. You will need to use both ends in this project.
Step 2: Open Your New RANCO Controller
Start by unscrewing the 4 screws and lifting the front off. The front will not separate completely from the back of the controller - a set of wires will hold the two halves together.
lift up the paperboard cover that's inside the bottom and you'll see two terminal strips.
The upper terminal strip will be labeled 240 - 120 - COM. We will be wiring to 120 & COM.
The lower terminal strip will be labeled NC - NO - C. We will be wiring to NO & C.
Step 3: Mount the NM Connector
Unscrew the lock nut from the NM Cable Connector, insert the connector into the bottom of the controller, screw the lock nut back on from the inside & tighten.
Step 4: Cut the Extension Cord Into 2 Pieces
Cut off the outlet end of the extension cord - I made my cut about 1 foot from the end. The exact length is not important as long there is enough cord length left to make the electrical connections inside the controller.
Step 5: Strip Off Outer Covering
Strip off part of the outer covering from the cut-off cord.
Enough covering has to be removed so that the uncovered wires reach from inside of the NM Cable connector to just past the top terminal strip.
Cut the green & black wires back to about 1.5" long.
Save the black wire you cut off! You will use it later.
Strip the ends of all three wires then twist the loose ends together to keep them tight.
Step 7: Insert the Black Wire From the Cord Into the Proper Terminal
Insert the end through the NM Cable Connector, loosen the bottom terminal strip NO screw, insert the black wire end into the NO terminal and tighten the screw. When tight you should not be able to pull the black wire out of the terminal strip.
Step 8: Check Jumper Length Then Strip Jumper Ends
Bend the black wire you saved earlier into a J shape and compare with the inside of the box to make sure it can connect between the bottom terminal strip C terminal and the top terminal strip 120 terminal.
If the wire is not long enough then you will need to cut a longer section from the remainder of your extension cord and pull out the black wire from the cut-off piece.
Strip the insulation off both ends of your jumper wire.
Step 9: Strip Covering & Insulation Off the End of Your Remaining Cord
Strip the covering & insulation off the remaining cord. This piece does not need to be stripped back as far as the other end. Twist the ends of the wires together.
Step 10: Wire the Upper Terminal Strip
Feed the cord into the box through the NM Cable Connector. It will be a tight fit and you may need to wiggle the cable a little.
Loosen the top terminal strip C screw, twist the two white wires together, insert the two wires in the C terminal and tighten.
Loosen the top terminal strip 120 screw, twist the two black wires together, insert the two wires in the 120 terminal and tighten.
Step 11: Connect the Ground Wires Together
Twist the two green wires together then twist on a wire nut.
You can see from the bottom picture that I have 2 white wires inserted into the top terminal strip C terminal and 2 black wires inserted into the top terminal strip 120 terminal.
Step 12: Finish the Project
Tighten the two NM Cable Connector screws, put the top back on, tighten the 4 screws and you are done!!!
For more home kegerator & electric home brewery ideas please visit www.kegkits.com