Love TSS2 Temp Controller

Love TSS2 Temp Controller

Just in time for the Dead Ringer brewday, I finished up the last of the top three wanted items for this year: a fermentation temp controller. I did a bunch of research on the differences between the budget-friendly STC-1000 and Love TSS2. Ultimately, I found more information on the Love, and I felt more comfortable buying from a company than off eBay, so I spent a little extra and went with the Love and a stainless-cap probe.

Love TSS2 Temperature Controller

I originally planned on splitting the hot feed to a single outlet for the heating and cooling circuit and nothing else, but I decided rather than come back later and re-wire the box to add another outlet should I want an always-on option, I added a second outlet to the build. I used a $9 weatherproof box from Home Depot for the housing, and aside from wresting with getting all the 12-gauge wire into the box, everything was pretty straightforward.

Love TSS2 Build

I’d be happy to post up a wiring diagram if anyone is interested, but generally I have one outlet that’s always on, and the other has a split hot feed from the TSS2 so one plug controls the heating circuit, and the other the cooling circuit. I used a carbide grout-removal bit on the plastic box to cut out the holes for the controller and the outlets. A few tips to anyone that’s building one of these:

  • Mount the controller first, and then figure out where you want your probe and power-supply wires to come into the box. You’re going to need to work around the controller and the outlets, and still make everything fit.
  • Make use of the bridged connections on the outlets. Rather than trying to wire-nut several wires together, make use of the common neutral on the outlets. The screw-terminals are more secure than wire nuts, which tend to come undone just when you have almost everything into place. The fewer connections, the better.
  • Keep your wire lengths reasonable. You need some slack in the connections to make installing everything go smoothly, but unless you have a ton of space in the box, you’re not going to have room for big balls of extra wire.

I also ordered a thermowell from Brewer’s Hardware so I can submerse the probe directly in the wort. Since that hasn’t shipped yet, I had to tape the probe onto the carboy & insulate it for my IPA fermentation. I hadn’t done much reading about how accurate this was, but it seemed very effective:

TSS2 Trial Run

My IPA wort was 85°  when I decided to give up on my immersion chiller, so I racked into a carboy, taped on the probe and insulation, and plugged in the fridge while I cleaned up. The above shot shows the ambient temp in the fridge (69°), and the wort temperature given by the probe (84°), so it was exactly what I expected. My setpoint was 64°, and when I woke up the next morning, the probe was registering 64.2°, so I went ahead and oxygenated and pitched my decanted starter.

Besides finally having proper, accurate control for ale fermentations, I’m really stoked that I’ll finally be able to ferment lagers, and I purchased ingredients for an Oktoberfest that I’ll probably be brewing up in a week or so.

2 Comments

  • Kevin Crumpton on Oct 24, 2012

    Hey Brandon. Nice job!!!! I also bought the Love controller you did. Would you mind sending me a diagram of how you wired it? I’m not a natural when it comes to electrical stuff.
    Thanks,
    Kevin Crumpton
    Colorado Springs, CO

    • Brandon Hornseth on Oct 29, 2012

      Apologies, Kevin. I thought I scanned in my paper diagram, but I can’t find it. I went completely off the diagram in this post on HBT, but instead of having a separate outlet for heating and cooling, I split the hot feed and fed the wire from pin 11 on the controller to one screw, and pin 8 to the other.

      It isn’t too hard when you get down to it, but the diagrams tend to make things look worse than they are. Just take your time and double check connections before you plug it in and you should be fine.