Humidity & Temperature Controller


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Is anyone using anything like this?

INKBIRD Humidity & Temperature Dual-use Controller Thermostat IHC230, 1200W 110V

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Seems like it may be a good alternative for wineadors to control fans, active humidifiers, compressor, etc.

Any thoughts?

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Yes I actually use that exact unit (not for cigars) but it does control a heater and humidifier. Works very well thus far, and I say this having owned over 5 similar devices over the years. It's inexpensive and made in China but it gets the job done. I actually just calibrated mine and was surprised to find that from the factory it wasn't far off in terms of accuracy. If there's anything else you want to know about it let me know.

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1 hour ago, s1911 said:

Yes I actually use that exact unit (not for cigars) but it does control a heater and humidifier. Works very well thus far, and I say this having owned over 5 similar devices over the years. It's inexpensive and made in China but it gets the job done. I actually just calibrated mine and was surprised to find that from the factory it wasn't far off in terms of accuracy. If there's anything else you want to know about it let me know.

Thanks @s1911. How long has it been in service in your application? Also, does it seem rugged, durable? Have you played with the delay feature, if so, how does it work? 

I was thinking something like this could be used to better control the Wine cooler, with active humidification and fans. Most wine coolers are factory set and don't give adequate control over temperature. In addition, the cooling surface in wine coolers tends to freeze the humidity and then it condensates and drips out. I was thinking the delay might help smooth some of the rapid RH fluctuations caused by the compressor. 

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It seems to be okay, basically cheap Chinese junk, but it does appear to be somewhat accurate and function as it should. I haven't had it for very long, only about 2 months. I also have a dual humidity (humid and dehumidifier) controller from the same company that's working fine. You can set the delay but be careful with the compressor, I did burn out one using a different controller ..but it was probably cycling too much. The problem with all of these controllers is that there are no "professional" ones... they're mostly all the same technology in different packages. At all costs don't buy anything from Auber instruments as I had one of their units catch fire on me!

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I use the Johnson A419 external temp controller for my freezador and it works great. I use multiple air tight tupperware which hold about 20 boxes each with 2 boveda 65 packs and a sensor push sensor and maintains humidity beautifully.

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One can buy 'terrarium and lizard cage' controller for as cheap as $20...

As a competitor in this area I have to say that really good controls are not inexpensive. I am always looking for ways to get lesser expensive items to make my stuff more competitive, but you lose it somewhere, if not in precision, in accuracy, in logic control.

I have been working on making a video explaining some of the different in control, but have not done it yet. A lot has to do with how the controller works, if it is consummate (works forward and reverse) and if you can do with it what you want to do with it.

In a larger setting, or in a humidor that has slow controls, a strictly evaporative humidor, I cannot see why one cannot use inexpensive controls. But if you are looking for more precision there is really no way around paying up for a better product.

I am not done with the slides yet, but this is a sample of understanding how activation logic works, and this is the drying trend slide...Direct and Reverse Control Dry Trend.jpg

I have also written a thread about activation logic. Wow, looks like about 4 years ago!!! -LOL

Cheers! -Piggy

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Yeah, I have read your posts with great interest and admiration. In my case, I'm just toying around. I keep a winedor that I unplugged over 10 years ago. Every once in a while I get a bug to restart it. I'm not looking for a project, I just don't have the time. But I like to tinker and think through stuff, so one of these days I may plug it back in.

The compressor type of winedors with a metal cooling element against the back wall are horrible as active humidors, but not too bad as passive ones because they seal pretty well. Back when I was running the compressor, the back wall would ice up every time it ran, and my RH would fall 30%. Then the ice would melt forming dew all over cooling element, and it would drip out the drain hole. I was using a Oasis for RH control at the time, and some fans in an attempt to equalize the environment. A big challenge was the temperature setting at max temperature would still take the temperature down to ~50F. After every cycle of the compressor, the RH would stabilize and climb back to normal, and then the compressor would kick in again. Meanwhile, a lot of distilled water was running out the drain. Not ideal by any stretch. 

It got so I hated watching and hated the constant battle to keep things stable. Then I unplugged, and everything stabilized nicely. 

Thanks for making me think through this again @PigFish, you just talked me out of it. 

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2 hours ago, Philc2001 said:

Yeah, I have read your posts with great interest and admiration. In my case, I'm just toying around. I keep a winedor that I unplugged over 10 years ago. Every once in a while I get a bug to restart it. I'm not looking for a project, I just don't have the time. But I like to tinker and think through stuff, so one of these days I may plug it back in.

The compressor type of winedors with a metal cooling element against the back wall are horrible as active humidors, but not too bad as passive ones because they seal pretty well. Back when I was running the compressor, the back wall would ice up every time it ran, and my RH would fall 30%. Then the ice would melt forming dew all over cooling element, and it would drip out the drain hole. I was using a Oasis for RH control at the time, and some fans in an attempt to equalize the environment. A big challenge was the temperature setting at max temperature would still take the temperature down to ~50F. After every cycle of the compressor, the RH would stabilize and climb back to normal, and then the compressor would kick in again. Meanwhile, a lot of distilled water was running out the drain. Not ideal by any stretch. 

It got so I hated watching and hated the constant battle to keep things stable. Then I unplugged, and everything stabilized nicely. 

Thanks for making me think through this again @PigFish, you just talked me out of it. 

These projects are not for everyone. If I could keep cigars well and not have to mess with this stuff I would have never taken the path that I have taken.

I live in a relatively dry desert-like area, mitigated some  by the ocean which is nearby. My home was built in the 60's and was built with zero... yes, no... insulation! Temps can vary 40F+ in a day and 30F swings are common place. I got into this out of necessity and as it turns out, I don't like the idea of paying 1K a month on cooling my house for the sake of cigars!!! I own a humidor made by a famous maker and it helped... sometimes!

I had varied smoking experiences with the seasons. Once I would allow too much water in my cigars I noticed a decline in taste which just made me not want to smoke... I went crazy moving from humidor to humidor, trying to achieve a balance... an optimum that I could not even assess or nail down because of the swinging ambient.

Ultimately, I see this from all different angles, I get your position and respect it completely, but this is my story and I was sick of the hassles of cigar husbandry. Trying to establish a good baseline smoking condition in a cigar was beginning to ruin my enjoyment of them! It turned into me beating the ambient, or it beating me... -LOL

For the record I build compressor based humidor systems. So I disagree with you on your compressor cooler assessment, not based on your own experience, but as a generalization built on my own history with them. The test box in my shop is exactly as you describe your cooler. I have revamped and redesigned that particular cooler maybe a dozen times since I bought it in '07. That 'box' has in it at least a couple of grand worth of cigars and it has kept them and many others 'just perfectly' even when it has been 95F+ in the shop. I have posted data logs of that box on this site certainly no less than 50 times...

It works as a matter of engineering, and I guess, tenacity. I failed a lot before I succeeded. Like you I got tortured a lot... I got mad a lot, almost pushed it off the work table more than once... I literally threw it away once... cooled down (mentally and physically) and put it back in the shop. I unplugged it many, many times... and like an old Playboy magazine folded up a drawer, it would always call me back to have another look! I have come to look at my obsession with building humidors as a bit of an addiction.

Compressor based systems are not easy to make, on that point I will fully agree with you. But what they can do when engineered and made correctly is downright amazing.

On the other hand, unplugging them is what I recommend to many people... Glad I could be of service! Cheers... -Piggy

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I have one. It works well. 
Just needs a bit of calibration and patience.

The only reason I bought one was it doesn't need wiring in, plus in the event of a power loss (as of late really frequent) - the temperature of the wine cooler will be controlled. It does the job, and it does it well. At least for me, anyway. Last few days I've been recording temperature & humidity - keeping it at 19-20°C and 63-65% RH all throughout.

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Hi all I agree wholeheartedly with Ray thank god for your addictions my friend ?

Over the years I shudder to think of the lost sleep ? over worrying about your burgeoning collection Nowadays I am somewhat more laid back it is what it is and there's more chance of loosing some on the way by mere manufacturer insufficienties 

I currently use Wireless Tags how good they are on the scale of things I am unsure ? 

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... pretty cool stuff there Steve! I am a man who loves my charts!!! -LOL

Sometimes, depending on what I am looking for, appliance configuration and performance, I choose to look at data in different ways. Highly compressing the data can show you subtle changes where you might never notice the changes in a more focused view.

This represents very small logic changes and what those changes do to overall performance of the humidor. They also show how changes in temperature go hand in hand with the rH. The dependency of one factor to another, even in a 'performance' perspective.

2017-1-30 Settings.jpg

Alas, I could talk data logging almost all day!

We all settle somewhere and I have not as of yet created the 'perfect' humidor. But I am getting there!!!

This, by the way is a compressor refrigerated humidor, the actual humidor that I made to document my latest kit. This is not an old test box. This is the one that I look ridiculous making on video.

Theory is great, but it is bench testing that makes a humidor work. I cannot tell you how many 'brilliant' ideas I tossed in the ashtray as they proved not to be so brilliant. It is amazing to me how many designs have gathered dust on the shop floor, where the materials are laid to be chopped up into smaller parts and repurposed.

The worst part of this for me, and now I am discussing it on the commercial level, is that I cannot substantially break a price barrier. I just put too damn much work, parts and machine time into making one. Where I would really like to make a breakthrough here is if I could reduce the cost by about 25%. While I am obsessed with making them better, I am constantly judging how they work verses how much they cost.

When I trash Tabacuba for running up the price of cigars, I don't suddenly do about face when it comes to what I do in the cigar industry. Frankly, my goal was to make these under 1K... The time, the plastics, the machining, and then of course the robust components are just too damn high... There has to be an incentive to want to move me from smoking a cigar with the wife and horses, and out of the backyard and into the noisy, often hot shop in order to grind out parts. If I cannot make money on them, I will just go back to making them for myself as a personal achievement.

Unfortunately, almost every solution is 'more parts' not less parts. More manufacturing, more logic control, more complexity and not less.

While I am always looking to create a better working humidor, I must admit that more importantly today, I just wish I could make this one 25% cheaper!

Now off to ordering a HMI display for another idea... -LOL

-Piggy

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I just downloaded some data logs from a week or so ago. Been so busy I have been letting loggers 'run out,' and that is not a common occurrence for me.

 

As we were discussing the dehydration cycles of refrigerant based coolers, and while it is tough for me to get samples this time of year in the shop, this is a short period of 'room temperature' type behavior.

Cooling Cycle Gen12 2017-2-15GRN.jpg

I took one of the worst cycles and emphasized it (zoomed the crap out of it), showing the amplitude spread of about 4rH where the spread only lasts about 30 seconds. Only properly engineered compressor based systems run like this! With precision controls and the right design you get 'thunderclap' response to changes with low amplitude. The average line here is running out about 60.4rH.

All systems represent compromise... This type of compromise is what keeps me making humidors.

Cheers! -Piggy

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2 hours ago, El Presidente said:

I see a "fruit bat" in picture 2. 

.........i am not very technical :lookaround:

... enough sarcasm or I start calling you Guano instead of Bwana... -LOL

'Fruit bat' ... You must be talking cricket again! If that is the case, i forgive you! -R

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Here is another one over a shorter period

 this  is Also a compressor type fridge with passive beads

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Just now, Fugu said:

Impressive! Great responsiveness, Ray. Really well done!

Thanks mate. Coming from a guy with a critical eye, I really appreciate that...

You cannot walk through a room and not get 2 rH variations. I am pretty proud of what I can accomplish with the help of a 'fruit bat...' -LOL

-Ray

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Theoretically, if one had a coolidor inside a wineador, would that even out the fluctuations?  On a day to day basis I would guess yes, and you could likely keep using the original crappy controller that came with your wineador, since the insulation of the coolidor would dampen all the fluctuations.  But what would happen every time you opened the cooler? Would that same insulation prevent the inside of the cooler from returning to normal?  Or would the mass of cigars inside be adequate to keep the inside of the cooler from swinging with the ambient air allowed in? :thinking: 

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I'll rather leave that answer to Piggy. But basically true, Papa, an intert system will help with stabilization of course. But once out of balance (e.g. malfunction, adding a mass of boxes with off-range humidity, rapid change of external conditions with high deltas, etc.), a system with high inertia will take much longer to get back to set values. For, any erroneous / off-scale conditions will be stabilized as well. E.g. as for your example of opening doors, perhaps even for an extended amount of time: There is a nice vid on Piggy's channel where you can see the effect and how quickly it all settles back to desired values after that perturbance. Such that cigars in their boxing are unlikely to "notice" anything of that. So, effectively it is providing the more perfect stable conditions, short- as well a long-term.

Time constants, that's the main difference and the advantage of a high-responsive controlling over a system mainly based on inertia.

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  • 1 month later...

So I have my humidor dialed into about 67-68% humidity.  No issues there with Boveda packs and Xikar Crystal Jars.  My issue is that the temp fluctuates from 69F-75F.  It tends to be on the higher side.  I know thats not a bad temp but it will dry out the cigars with the humidity where I have it.  Any ideas on how I can get it down?  The temp in the house is fairly constant everywhere since we live by the beach.

 

 

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3 hours ago, primo said:

So I have my humidor dialed into about 67-68% humidity.  No issues there with Boveda packs and Xikar Crystal Jars.  My issue is that the temp fluctuates from 69F-75F.  It tends to be on the higher side.  I know thats not a bad temp but it will dry out the cigars with the humidity where I have it.  Any ideas on how I can get it down?  The temp in the house is fairly constant everywhere since we live by the beach.

 

 

Welcome to the forum!

Your question is not really clear to me. If you restate it in such a way that I can understand exactly what you are asking, I will try to answer it...

Cheers! -Piggy

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@pigfish 

Nice i like the controller on your older post, reminds me alot of Dixell controllers, ( but i know theres so many different brands that share a similar faceplate look )

Im Currently used to using CPC sensors, along with a CPC emerson E2 controller.when i set up Controls for customers.  

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11 hours ago, PigFish said:

Welcome to the forum!

Your question is not really clear to me. If you restate it in such a way that I can understand exactly what you are asking, I will try to answer it...

Cheers! -Piggy

@PigFish Sorry...  I am worried that the fluctuation of the temp in my humidor from 69F-75F will potentially dry out my cigars.  The humidity stays constants around 67%-68%.  My questions would be...  Is the temp fluctuation an issue?  If so, what can I do to keep it constant?  Like I say, the temp in the house is pretty constant throughout.  

 

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