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Thread: Project - PID on Lee Pro 4 20 furnace

  1. #21
    Boolit Master Cranium's Avatar
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    I completed the last two items on this project. That is....until I come up with more items to complete.

    I used a wire coat hanger for my thermocouple holder. It is easily removable and works great. I did test the temperature difference between being in the center and being close to the edge. The edge was about 5-10 higher depending on how close it was. In general I'll keep it in the center and about 1/2" off the bottom but I have the flexibility to move it around as needed.


    Next was a cover for the PID. As was pointed out, lead could splash on the PID and cause some issues. I had some Lexan laying around so made a cover to go over the PID with it. Now I have a barrier to protect the PID. It's hard to make out in the picture but the cover is there!


    Time to melt lead!

  2. #22
    Boolit Master Cranium's Avatar
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    I mixed up a batch of alloy today to test out the PID controller. I have to say that it was quite amazing! In the pictures, there isn't much to see besides a displayed temperature and lead in a pot melting. The pictures also only show the temperature and not the setting at the bottom of the PID. The refresh rate of the PID displays were such that I could only take a picture of either the temperature or the setpoint but not both.

    I set the temperature to 700F, put in some lead and then waited.



    Once it reached 700F, the heater shut off and it overshot by a good 20F. After temperature stablized, I added more lead and temperature immediately shot down 100F, the coil kicked back on and it started rising again. This time, the heater shut off around 688F. It still overshot but by less than 10F this time. It was learning! I continued doing this until my lead, antimony, and tin were added. By the end, it was only overshooting by about 2F.

    The PID kept the lead to with 2F of 700F while there was lead in the pot. I fluxed my alloy and then started making some bricks. Temperature was rock solid all the way down until the bottom when the thermocouple started to get exposed. I took a 1 minute video but won't post it because it just shows the temperature staying the same as the heater cycles on and off.

    In conclusion, I reached all of my goals I was wanting to accomplish with this project! I now have one less variable to worry about when I cast. I can set it and forget it!

  3. #23
    Boolit Master Cranium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Frozone View Post
    Not bad!
    I'm a little concerned about the SSR location. You are aware that even the base of the melter gets rather warm?
    This is something that I may need to address....The base did get quite warm and I'm not sure what temp the SSR is rated for. Worse case is I pull the SSR outside the enclosure and put it beside the PID on the Heatsink. Will add some awkward bulk but work well.

  4. #24
    Boolit Master



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    Here's my PID project, completed about 2 years ago.



    Box is from Marlin P. Jones Co. Heat sinc also.



    Thermocouple goes right in the bottom, It's a non sealed unit,(type K), that I have screwed into a " connector that's screwed onto a bolt with copper washers above and below the bolt.



    I've up-dated the project with a connector/plug like cranium has for the thermocouple. I have both 20# pots,(one is bottom pour, the other is a melter), with their own TC that I can unplug to change pots. I also put a female plug socket for the plug from the pot. I have 2 more pots to get rigged for the PID. One is an old saeco melter that has NO T-stat.. The other is a small lee melter that I may just leave be.

    I really like the ability to move the PID from one pot to another. But a word of warning, it takes a while for the PID to re-learn the different TC from one pot to the next. Both pots are the same wattage as well as the TC's It settles in after an hour of running, even then, it beats the he!! out of the lee T-stat!

    Cranium, I'd definitely get that SSR out of the lee enclosure. It will be running too hot where it is. I certainly didn't need that big heat sinc for mine, especially because my SSR is a 40 amp!

    When wiring the power side of the SSR, just un-plug/remove the jumper from the lee T-stat, then plug the other wire that went to the lee T-stat to the heater element. The, IF you ever want to make it work on more than one pot, get a wall plug from the hardware store, wire that into the power side of the SSR. then simply plug the pot plug into it.

    I'll post this now, then go take some more current pics of it, should make the explanation easier.

  5. #25
    Boolit Master



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    Craniun's looks neat and works well - but I like the idea of the standalone unit I can just plug any pot into, stick the TC in an train it. Surprised someone ain't marketing one for all the electrically challenged folk !

  6. #26
    Boolit Master jeff423's Avatar
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    I had a Millenium and went back to a Rancilio Silvia. Partially because it's very easy to add a PID control.
    In terms of my Lee pot, I mounted everything to a piece of plywood with just a 120v female plug controlled by the PID/SCR. This way I just plug the pot into the plug and did not have to modify the pot at all. This also keeps the PID and SCR away from molten lead and heat. You just have to be sure you set the Lee's thermostat higher than the temperature you want.
    This way I can also use it for my electric smoker. Be sure you don't actually insert the probe into the meat.

    Jeff

  7. #27
    Boolit Master Cranium's Avatar
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    Thanks for the feedback.

    One of my initial goals was to have an integrated unit and not a separate device. That is why I went with the small aluminum housing rather than sourcing an external box. With this project, I achieved this and feel it looks good and functions well to boot.

    The SSR is an issue I have to deal with. I researched the technical specs of this specific Chinese SSR and found out the maximum operating temperature rating is 158F and the energy lost to heat by the SSR is ~7.2 watts. Because the temperature of Lee's base does get pretty hot (won't have my infrared thermometer to measure how hot until tomorrow), it could start to affect performance and fail prematurely.
    I can either isolate it from the base within the Lee housing by mounting it on a non-thermal material or move the SSR outside the housing and attach the heat sink. I will probably opt for the latter. It just adds a little more bulk to the back.

    I do not plan on using the PID on another device and if I desire a PID for another device, I will purchase another one. I like having one less device with a cord I have to deal with; although if a external box is done right, it does look sharp.


    I also left the rheostat hooked up as a manual override, if necessary. The PID does have a manual mode but if the heater is on, it will stay on when going into manual mode and you have to adjust it down which means lots of button presses. But I can easily turn the rheostat all the way down as a quick temporary adjustment.

    Millenium > Silvia

  8. #28
    Boolit Master
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    Awesome job and much appreciate you posting your details.... What do you think about using the 1/32 DIN controller instead of the 1/16? Am thinking it might save some space but the fact that everyone seems to be using the 1/16 makes me think there is a downside to using the 1/32 and I am an absolute newbie to this.....

    1/32 Controller

  9. #29
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    I used the 1/32 size.
    it is cheaper and smaller.
    works fine for me.

  10. #30
    Boolit Master Cranium's Avatar
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    The 1/32 controller would be perfectly fine to use for a project like this. It does save a little money and space. The only thing lost is the constant display of your current temperature and your setpoint temperature. But once you set your desired temperature, you don't really need to see it constantly.

  11. #31
    Boolit Master
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    Awesome! Thanks! Am going to have to give this a try.....;- )

  12. #32
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    Very intersting. I added a PID controller to my Magma pot using Magma's parts, at the time it was about $100.00 if I remember correctly. Magma no longer carries that unit but has a newer version at $200.00.

    I installed the controller my self rather than mail the pot back to Magma. Magma's intructions that came with the unit left a lot to be desired but I scratched my head a lot and got through it.

    The main bennefit (to me) of the Magma PID controller is that there is no probe (thermocouple) inside the pot. It works by welding a nut on the bottom center of the pot (outside the pot, not inside) and holding the probe with a machine bolt in the welded nut.

    Anyway, I was wondering if you considered this instead of a thermocouple inside the pot?

    Rick
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  13. #33
    Boolit Master bbqncigars's Avatar
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    I'm going to be interested in seeing how the Auberin PID behaves with my Lee 4-20 vs. the fuzzy logic Fuji PID on my Isomac Zaffiro. Much faster & larger temperature swings on the espresso machine, but the Fuji does a good job. I'll be happy if the Auberin keeps the temp within +/- 10 degrees (F).
    "Of all the things I've lost, I miss my mind the most." A. Brilliant

  14. #34
    Boolit Master Cranium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbrick View Post
    Very intersting. I added a PID controller to my Magma pot using Magma's parts, at the time it was about $100.00 if I remember correctly. Magma no longer carries that unit but has a newer version at $200.00.

    I installed the controller my self rather than mail the pot back to Magma. Magma's intructions that came with the unit left a lot to be desired but I scratched my head a lot and got through it.

    The main bennefit (to me) of the Magma PID controller is that there is no probe (thermocouple) inside the pot. It works by welding a nut on the bottom center of the pot (outside the pot, not inside) and holding the probe with a machine bolt in the welded nut.

    Anyway, I was wondering if you considered this instead of a thermocouple inside the pot?

    Rick
    Great looking pot and setup. No, I did not consider going with that kind of mount. I do not have a welder and was not looking at outsourcing any part of the project. That would work good though as long as the nut wasn't anywhere in the proximity of the heating coil to cause the temperature indication to be off. Auberins does have a thermocouple that could be used for what you are talking about.


    On my next PID project for a furnace, I may try this. It would be nice to not have to worry about any wires at all (except the one to plug it in).

    Ever think of upgrading your Magma pot to a Master Caster? These machines look pretty sweet!

  15. #35
    Boolit Master Cranium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by snuffy View Post
    Here's my PID project, completed about 2 years ago.



    Box is from Marlin P. Jones Co. Heat sinc also.



    Thermocouple goes right in the bottom, It's a non sealed unit,(type K), that I have screwed into a " connector that's screwed onto a bolt with copper washers above and below the bolt.



    I've up-dated the project with a connector/plug like cranium has for the thermocouple. I have both 20# pots,(one is bottom pour, the other is a melter), with their own TC that I can unplug to change pots. I also put a female plug socket for the plug from the pot. I have 2 more pots to get rigged for the PID. One is an old saeco melter that has NO T-stat.. The other is a small lee melter that I may just leave be.

    I really like the ability to move the PID from one pot to another. But a word of warning, it takes a while for the PID to re-learn the different TC from one pot to the next. Both pots are the same wattage as well as the TC's It settles in after an hour of running, even then, it beats the he!! out of the lee T-stat!

    Cranium, I'd definitely get that SSR out of the lee enclosure. It will be running too hot where it is. I certainly didn't need that big heat sinc for mine, especially because my SSR is a 40 amp!

    When wiring the power side of the SSR, just un-plug/remove the jumper from the lee T-stat, then plug the other wire that went to the lee T-stat to the heater element. The, IF you ever want to make it work on more than one pot, get a wall plug from the hardware store, wire that into the power side of the SSR. then simply plug the pot plug into it.

    I'll post this now, then go take some more current pics of it, should make the explanation easier.
    Nice looking setup. The bottom mounted thermocouple looks nice and clean. I'd like to build a custom bottom pour pot that has a bit higher capacity than the Lee next. Not that I really need it....I'd just like to do it.

    Thanks for sharing. It's great to see the innovation and customization others put on their projects.

  16. #36
    Boolit Master



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    Quote Originally Posted by Cranium View Post
    Ever think of upgrading your Magma pot to a Master Caster? These machines look pretty sweet!
    Oh no, I've seen them, played with one at the SHOT Show a couple of years ago. My 40 pound pot gives me all the bullets I need. I keep my main alloy in the Magma and use the RCBS pot for softer and/or odd alloys. I have a third pot, the Lyman, but I loaned it to a friend about 7 years ago and haven't seen it since. Nope, don't need no Master Caster.

    Rick
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  17. #37
    Boolit Master
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    This thread needs to be a sticky. Very good information here.

    If you are concerned with the heat created be an SSR, you might want to consider a relay. Thanks to a member here and some research for a project at work, I would be comfortable using one of these in any project.

    http://www.functionaldevices.com/bui...del=RIBME2401B

    Main relay page.

    http://www.functionaldevices.com/bui...ion/relays.php

    They have many options to choose from. I would suggest getting a 20 or 30 amp relay. According to the research they have done, the relay will out last the melting pot..

  18. #38
    Boolit Master jeff423's Avatar
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    "Millenium > Silvia "

    I remember now, it was actually the Isomac TEA. I didn't need the HX capability and I was worried about scaling. But I still miss that that E61 group head.

    As has been already mentioned, SCR's are very sensitive to temperature. I have PID'ed several things around my house: espresso maker, aquarium and lead pot. I always (except for the aquarium) use 40 amp SCR's with heat sinks. I know that's much more more than is needed but a 40 doesn't cost much more than a 25 and gives you a lot more service factor.

    After seeing the pictures from the other jobs I'll never post mine!

    Jeff
    Last edited by jeff423; 05-12-2011 at 06:38 AM.

  19. #39
    Boolit Master



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    If you are concerned with the heat created by an SSR, you might want to consider a relay.
    Ummmm, SSR-Solid State RELAY. I'm not sure about your relay, but if it has metal contacts in it, it won't last in a PID system.

    I'm no electronics buff, I barely knew enough to build mine, but that was pointed out to me that you NEED the SSR in a PID installation because it cycles so frequently that it would wear out a mechanical relay.
    jeff423
    Boolit Man


    Looking at the instructions it doesn't look that hard to program, is it?
    In general you want to use an SSR because the PID controller will cycle the heating element several times a minute to hold the temperature. An SSR is essentially a big transistor and will last for millions of cycles. A mechanical relay normally has a life cycle of 100,000 cycles.
    Here's where I got the info to build mine;

    http://www.castboolits.gunloads.com/...&highlight=PID

    Cranium, thanks for the kudos, but I should not have posted that pic of the TC installation, that failed because the TC is not sealed/leakproof. After a couple of hours it looked like a frozen waterfall. Talk about drip art!

    Here's a pic of what I ended up with.



    And the plug for the TC.


  20. #40
    Boolit Master

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cranium View Post
    The 1/32 controller would be perfectly fine to use for a project like this. It does save a little money and space. The only thing lost is the constant display of your current temperature and your setpoint temperature. But once you set your desired temperature, you don't really need to see it constantly.
    Would the wiring be the same on the 1/32 as it is on the 1/16?
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Abbreviations used in Reloading

BP Bronze Point IMR Improved Military Rifle PTD Pointed
BR Bench Rest M Magnum RN Round Nose
BT Boat Tail PL Power-Lokt SP Soft Point
C Compressed Charge PR Primer SPCL Soft Point "Core-Lokt"
HP Hollow Point PSPCL Pointed Soft Point "Core Lokt" C.O.L. Cartridge Overall Length
PSP Pointed Soft Point Spz Spitzer Point SBT Spitzer Boat Tail
LRN Lead Round Nose LWC Lead Wad Cutter LSWC Lead Semi Wad Cutter
GC Gas Check