The Fresh Loaf

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Surely this proofer/retarder idea isn't unique?

dance's picture
dance

Surely this proofer/retarder idea isn't unique?

I'm thinking of building a combined retarder/proofer controlled by an Arduino for a specific purpose and I'm thinking surely this idea can't be unique to me?

Basically I want to have croissants retard for HALF the night and then for the cabinet to switch to proofing mode at say 4am so that the croissies are ready to go in the oven when I come downstairs at say 7am.

Surely someone else must have done this? If not, why not?! Am I missing something?!

 

Thanks!

HansB's picture
HansB

Of course proofer/retarders have been around for a long time. What do plan to have the Arduino controlling?

dance's picture
dance

HansB - I plan to have the Arduno do the temperature switch in the middle of the night.

 
suave's picture
suave

There's no need to mess with Arduino.  There are reasonably inexpensive controllers that are designed for this exact purpose.   I'd be more interested in hearing how do you plan to combine heating and cooling withing the same package.

dance's picture
dance

Can you name one? I would rather buy something off the shelf if I can afford it rather than hack it together.

As for combing heating and cooling in one package: I was going to use a heatpad (vivarium type) for the heat and a peltier module for the cooling.

jimbtv's picture
jimbtv

If you reverse the voltage on a Peletier module it will produce heat. Like any other low-output device the heating/cooling is a factor of the ambient temperature and not an absolute high or low temperature. If you mount a good sized P-module to a heat sink and fan you can increase its efficiency. What it really comes down to is whether you will need one or more (many more) P-modules to do the job.

The module I have been playing with requires 5 amps of 12 VDC. Ten modules would require 50 amps and now we're talking some serious bucks for the power supplies.

I am also a fan of Z-wave and work regularly with the Homeseer software and modules. I use different modules to monitor temperature and program set points to trigger heating and cooling. Entry level pricing for a Z-wave controller and modules might be prohibitive for this single purpose. I control multiple devices in my house and barn (Vermont), and even control devices in my mom's home in Florida.

If you expand the Z-wave mesh network to include lighting, heating, security, and so much more around your home and property, the price point for the proofer starts to make sense.

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

Here is a PID I've used with good success.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01489R8RG/

suave's picture
suave

I don't remember model number off hand, but when I was selecting a controller for a thermostat I was building (btw, I decided to forgo PID units and opted for small and cheap STC-1000, - it works great), I saw quite a few of more capable controllers on ebay. 

dance's picture
dance

suave - really? I can't see that there are inexpensive controllers designed to switch relay output at a preset time?

albacore's picture
albacore

An interesting idea. I would sort out the design and practical implementation of a combined heating and cooling system before worrying about a controller.

For instance, would a Peltier module have sufficient cooling capacity?

Lance

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

I have used an inexpensive PID kit to control temps for other projects.   For a proofer you could simply have the PID turn a light bulb on and off or any other electrical heat source.  The PID is more sophisticated than a simple thermostat and will learn how quickly/slowly your heating element changes the temp and then how quickly the temp drops when the heater is turned off.  So it can apply quick pulses of heat, if needed, to keep the temp very stable and within a narrow range. 

I don't know what you'd use for a chiller for the retarding portion - but a PID could control it. 

dance's picture
dance

 

AndyPanda - PID sounds good but I want to control BOTH a heater and a cooler AND I want the cooling to switch to heating in the middle of the night as per the OP

 

AndyPanda's picture
AndyPanda

One PID to control the heater and another PID to control the cooler and a timer to switch power between heating element and chiller?  i.e. the chilling PID would stay set at the cold temp and heating PID would stay set at the warm temp but the power would switch off to the chilling device by the timer and the power would now come onto the heating element

I only suggest PID because they are inexpensive and easy to setup and remember what you set them to after a power cycle.  I think the inkbird that I have used only cost about $25 including the SCR and thermocouple wire.

albacore's picture
albacore

What about getting a preowned fridge of suitable size and adding in a heating module?

That way you've already got a housing, shelving and good insulation.

A simple timer module could then switch off the cooling and enable your heating controller, whether on/off or PID

dance's picture
dance

albacore -can you link to a timer module with thermostat? Or have I misunderstood?

 

albacore's picture
albacore

Two channel timer modules are commercially available.

eg channel 1 controls mains power to fridge compressor, or other cooling device. Set to cut power at 4am.

Channel 2 controls heating controller. Set to apply power, either mains, or enable signal, to heating controller at 4am. Heating controller contains temperature setpoint.

Ebay #282643594342 on Ebay.co.uk might do it.

Also give thought to temperature variance (layering/zoning) in your cabinet. My proving box, which does heating with an on/off controller, has a small 12v DC fan in it. The fan runs all the time on low speed to stop layering, except when heating is active, when the fan runs on high speed. The fan is in close proximity to the heater.

Like Suave, I use and recommend the STC-1000 on/off controller. No need for PID in this application - you are not trying to control to 0.1C

dance's picture
dance

Thanks all - have posted individual replies