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Thread: PROGRAMMING a Golander GL1101 Intelligent Temperature Controller (PID)

  1. #1
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    PROGRAMMING a Golander GL1101 Intelligent Temperature Controller (PID)

    I have been casting for DECADES, and always wanted a way to more accurately control my casting sessions. I purchased (from Hatch) a group buy PID controller, and it is very well made. Using the PID will allow me to fine tune my casting sessions, and document target temperatures in an Excel spreadsheet for future use. However, the Golander logic for their "auto tune" function was actually detrimental to my casting style.

    I like to get my mold up to a really hot temperature, right at still shiny boolits, but at a temperature whereby I can open the sprue cutting plate with my thumb. While the cut sprue is still sizzling hot, I tip the mold over, and drop the cut sprue into my gloved hand, and slide that into the casting pot. Depending on the weight of the boolits I am casting, and the number of cavities, the sprue can be almost 1/3 of the boolit weight yield. It would be wasteful (in my opinion) to just set those aside to cool, having to use all the energy later to heat them back up again. And, by putting the cut sprues back into the pot while I am casting, it dramatically extends the casting session.

    I'm using the older style of the RCBS Pro Melt bottom pour casting pot. I like it a lot, and gave up on the cheap Lee version a long time ago. The Lee leaked, hummed (always bothered me that RF would be racing around the room, etc), and was always an issue when casting. I also didn't like the way the dispensing handle worked, and had done a modification. The Pro Melt is a much better platform. While a LOT more expensive than the Lee, the RCBS is an awesome casting pot, and well worth the money. NOTE: The new design of the RCBS Pro Melt has a built in PID controller. So, this discussion relates to older pots without the built in feature.

    So, as received, the Golander controller yielded, after the AutoTune function cycled through three full heat/cool sessions, a result which cycled the ON for 1/2 second, and the OFF for 1/2 second (even though the manual says that 2 seconds is the min setting). It was taking forever to get the pot up to temperature, and then it would not maintain the target temperature because of my sliding the cut sprues back into the pot.

    So, I needed to abandon the auto tune settings, and manually get into the controller for setting things more to my own needs.

    The key place to get to those settings is in the "PID parameters" area of the controller, (input passcode 0036 after pressing the SET key).
    So, press the SET key once, and then use the > key to move over two places, to the third position, and use the ^ and down keys to change the values to 0036. Press set again, and then index through the menu items using the ^ or down arrow keys. When you get to the setting that you want to change, press the SET key again, and change the values.

    By changing the settings in this area, I was able to get my controller to stay ON until the target temperature was achieved, and then it goes off. No more 1/2 second cycling on and off. And, I adjusted the "overshoot" a bit to accommodate the sprues going back into the pot, knowing that any temperature higher than my target will soon be reduced by a cooling sprue going back into the pot.

    Rather than clog up the Group Buy thread with this technical discussion, I decided to post this thread, and hope that it can assist someone else who might need the help. I was a naive novice when I first received my PID controller. I mis-understood a LOT about how it functions, etc. Unless you really need to change settings, I urge you to LEAVE YOUR PID CONTROLLER ALONE!!!!

    However, if you do need to change the settings, and feel competent to do so, this thread should serve as a discussion point for doing so. For reference, here is a link for the Golander GL101 PID Temperature Controller


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  2. #2
    Boolit Man

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    DukeinFlorida,

    Can you post what setting you changed and the numbers?

    I'm thinking about dumping my sprues back in the pot as I'm casting.
    Dumping a full load of sprues back in the pot is inconvenient now that I have that thermocouple in the way.

  3. #3
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    Actually the auto tune didn't work correctly - for an unknown reason. So you made it into a 'dead-band' controller. That's fine. Lee pots don't create RFI except when the contacts spark - easy to eliminate but not really any problem. I guess mine auto tuned years ago, I just turn it on and let it do what it does, I'll cast when temp is stable. I add cold sprue when I take a break.
    Whatever!

  4. #4
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    Here are MY PID parameters (input passcode 0036 after pressing the SET key, from Page 5 of the manual:
    P = 09.9
    l = 0099
    d = 062 (note: normally, d is set to 25% of l amount. That would therefore be a setting of 025. I am trying mine a little higher for now, and will make adjustment if I see the need)
    Souf = 0.2
    ot = 005
    FiLt = 0
    END - Exits the menu

    As I suggested earlier, these settings slightly overshoot my target temperature setting, but that quickly gets adjusted to the target temperature by sliding in the sprues. Before, the "ON" LED would flicker on and off every 1/2 second. Now, it stays steady ON until the temperature, with some overshoot, is reached, and does a reasonable sampling of the current temperature, accommodating my sprue recycling.

    Some thing I assumed early on, that I know now are NOT true:
    1) I assumed that the controller somehow adjusted the actual voltage sent to the pot. Like, 85 volts to 150 volts, as a way of controlling the temperature.
    ***I know know that was a false assumption. It sends a steady 115 volts to the pot, turning that voltage ON as needed to bring the pot to temperature, and then shutting off that 115v to maintain temperature.
    2) I assumed that the "amperage" was adjusted somehow. 15 amps would go to perhaps 25 amps, or something like that, as more heat was needed.
    ***I know know that the PID uses a 3a relay to send the FULL 15 amps of the circuit it is plugged into, to the pot. It switches on and off automatically, based on feedback through the thermocouple, which registers the actual heat very very accurately. One of the settings has a discussion in the manual about reducing the amount of cycling that goes through the relay, so that it will live longer. That's the "ot" setting. Default setting is 2, mine is set for 5. It's solid state controlled, and I feel that I have at least doubled the life of the relay, vs factory settings.

    For the record, with any pot, turn the POT ON, and then turn the potentiometer (heat control dial) to FULL power/most heat. Plug the pot into the controller cord, and then place the thermocouple in the pot, in contact with the lead, so that it will be immersed in the lead as it melts. Then, plug the controller into a power strip or outlet, and finally, flip the on/off switch on the PID to the ON position. The PID will light up the screen, and indicate the current pot temperature.

    I made a mounting bracket for my RCBS pot, out of .010 aluminum strip, and fastened that to one of the pillar screws on the top of the pot. The thermocouple has a nice threaded attachment portion with a nut, and made the job of placing the thermocouple near the outside edge of the pot (don't allow the thermocouple to actually touch the sides of the pot, it will see too much heat, and could really screw up your settings. When my pot gets drained (from use or when I am changing the alloy in the pot), the flexible bracket I made helps position the thermocouple in a way that it's not in the way like a hard permanent bracket would be.

    Again, I have learned a lot quickly, but am at no means an expert with these things. I welcome comments and suggestions. I hope that this thread is an open forum discussion on the subject of programming Golander GL101 PID controllers for controlling casting pots.


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  5. #5
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    Some eye candy, click on any image for a FULL size version!:
    (Pardon the VERY messy bench at the time I took these images)


    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	221546 This is the bracket I made for the thermocouple
    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	221547 This is the PID just starting to do it's heating
    Click image for larger version. 

Name:	tags for alloy identificationa.jpg 
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ID:	221548 This are a set of tags I made to hang on the pot, as a reminder of what is IN the pot
    Click image for larger version. 

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ID:	221549 This is a neat LED strip I made for the otherwise dark underside of the pot. Really helps when casting
    Last edited by DukeInFlorida; 06-04-2018 at 12:25 AM.


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  6. #6
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    Those of you trying the auto tune feature, could you kindly report in with results once you start using the pot?


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    Boolit Man
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    When got my Golander it flashed on and off every second, ot set at 2 seconds. The thing I didn't understand at first is that the ot setting forces an on and off cycle within that time setting. I had thought that the power would stay on continuously at first until the actual temp started nearing the set temp. So set at 2 it's always going to cycle on and off every second. Set at 5 sometimes it will power on for 1 second and power off for 4 seconds. Other times it will power on for 4 seconds and be off for 1.

    I also found out the AT is not a cure all. It still over shot badly after AT and the temp stayed above the set point, regardless over the overshoot compensation setting.

    After some frustration with it I just turned it on and left it on for a couple of hours at a time and just left it. Did that a few times and it finally settled in. Now the temp stays within a couple degrees and no overshooting. I forget exactly where I ended up with the ot setting, I think 7 or 8.

    I still don't understand why the ot setting forces an off cycle a hundred degrees short of the set temp. I would think the power would stay on constantly until the set point is approached, then start short cycling. That's the way the other PID's I have function.

  8. #8
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    Instructions look just like my Aubrin unit, looks like the buttons got modified a tad. US importer?
    Whatever!

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    Yes

    The primary site is at www.golanderusa.com

    Quote Originally Posted by popper View Post
    Instructions look just like my Aubrin unit, looks like the buttons got modified a tad. US importer?


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  10. #10
    Boolit Master

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    Don't know that much about your brand controller but downloaded the manual and I don't see "5" as being an option for the ot setting. Think I'd set it back to whatever the factory recommends for your type use.
    Mike

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    I received my PID from the last Group Buy, and got a chance to install the probe in my Lee bottom pour pot, by making a small bracket to hold it.... The first 2 attempts at using the Auto Tune function failed, the first time the temperature readout was unstable, jumping around (second to second) within a 20 degree range.... I turned it off, waited for the lead to solidify, increased the set point to 800*F, and started the Auto Tune.... The light blinked for a while (I could not constantly monitor it as I was doing other things).... but after 4 hours it was still cycling from 715 deg. to 885 deg. (ie 85 deg. either side of the setpoint).... I turned it off overnight, and this morning (from cold) I checked the setpoint (still 800*F) and then initiated Auto Tune.... After a half hour it was stable between 798-800 *F and stayed that way.... I haven't had a chance to cast yet, but it looks like it is working fine....

    I have an mechanical analog thermometer in the pot, which reads 40-50 deg. lower than the digital readout on the PID.... I assume the PID readout is more accurate?.... I tried to post these comments in the Group Buy thread but it is closed....

    Bob

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    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by rsterne View Post
    I received my PID from the last Group Buy, and got a chance to install the probe in my Lee bottom pour pot, by making a small bracket to hold it.... The first 2 attempts at using the Auto Tune function failed, the first time the temperature readout was unstable, jumping around (second to second) within a 20 degree range.... I turned it off, waited for the lead to solidify, increased the set point to 800*F, and started the Auto Tune.... The light blinked for a while (I could not constantly monitor it as I was doing other things).... but after 4 hours it was still cycling from 715 deg. to 885 deg. (ie 85 deg. either side of the setpoint).... I turned it off overnight, and this morning (from cold) I checked the setpoint (still 800*F) and then initiated Auto Tune.... After a half hour it was stable between 798-800 *F and stayed that way.... I haven't had a chance to cast yet, but it looks like it is working fine....

    I have an mechanical analog thermometer in the pot, which reads 40-50 deg. lower than the digital readout on the PID.... I assume the PID readout is more accurate?.... I tried to post these comments in the Group Buy thread but it is closed....

    Bob
    You don't want to start AT when the pot is cold, if that's what you are doing.

  13. #13
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    Yes, it is quite safe to presume that the PID readout is much more accurate than the analog thermometer.

    Quote Originally Posted by rsterne View Post
    I have an mechanical analog thermometer in the pot, which reads 40-50 deg. lower than the digital readout on the PID.... I assume the PID readout is more accurate?.... I tried to post these comments in the Group Buy thread but it is closed....

    Bob


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    I'm new at this, but I thought that the whole idea of the auto tune was to take the pot through the ENTIRE RANGE of heat needs. In fact, my understanding is that the auto tune function cycles through THREE full cold/heat cycles (room temperature to target heat). It's a three + hour process, and I didn't have the patience to sit and stare at the controller for that whole time. I came back after 5+ hours, and saw the disappointing results.

    Can you explain why it would make any difference?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pardini View Post
    You don't want to start AT when the pot is cold, if that's what you are doing.


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    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by DukeInFlorida View Post
    I'm new at this, but I thought that the whole idea of the auto tune was to take the pot through the ENTIRE RANGE of heat needs. In fact, my understanding is that the auto tune function cycles through THREE full cold/heat cycles (room temperature to target heat). It's a three + hour process, and I didn't have the patience to sit and stare at the controller for that whole time. I came back after 5+ hours, and saw the disappointing results.

    Can you explain why it would make any difference?
    AT doesn't let the lead solidify during the AT cycle, so no it doesn't run from room temp to the SV three times. AT calculates the error based on maintaining the SV under normal operating conditions. The length of time to complete the AT cycle depends on the conditions.

    The time from turning on the the pot at room temp to reaching the SV isn't relevant info for calculating the errors on maintaining the temp around maintaining the set value.

    AT is most accurate run under normal operating conditions starting with the pot temp at the SV.

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    So, if you are going to drop cut sprues back into the pot, start doing so while running auto tune, starting with when the controller reaches the target temperature on the first of three cycles?

    I hope someone will try this and report back.


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  17. #17
    Boolit Master

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    From everything I've ever read, and the way I've always done it, you turn everything on and when the PV is 10-20 below your SV is when you hit your AT button. Then the controller does it's little thing which is normally 3 cycles heating up and cooling down a bit. Then it changes the P, I, and D values so it can predict how often it has to turn the power on & off to maintain the SV. I would assume the Golander flashes an AT light while it's doing the process and it would go off when AT is complete as that is how the REX. Auber, & Mypin units have worked. The length of time needed to complete those cycles would be dependent on how fast the load (lead pot) changes temperature. I suspect my Lee 10# pots would do that a lot faster then your larger RCBS pot would and might be why it takes yours so long to AT.

    This is just a guess on my part but if you're adding sprues back to the pot while you're trying to get it to AT I suspect that isn't helping matters at all. Wait till the thing is AT'd and then get to casting. Unless you've got a heck of a large hot sprue it doesn't seem likely you'd even notice a temperature change in the melt with a 20# pot. Offhand I don't remember what a preheated ingot does to pot temp but can't imagine a hot sprue having nearly as much effect. I operate a bit differently feeding metal to a top pot which I use to fill a lower one that I cast from. Rarely see more than a degree or two drop as I'm feeding hot metal.

    This is the first time I'd noticed Golander PID's as it's always been the REX, Mypin or Auber units of which I've had all 3. Personally I didn't have too good a luck with the Mypin but it's more than possible it might have needed some tweaking that I didn't understand how to do. AT on the others took care of all that needed to be done and they stay within a degree or two running pots, hot plate or lube heater.
    Mike

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  18. #18
    Boolit Master popper's Avatar
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    AT doesn't require a room temp pot to begin, it really doesn't start til maybe 20% of set point temp. It 'remembers' the temp/time profile, adjusts to minimize the overshoot, then remembers the coefficients. It then averages the temp results with the last so several cycles are needed to 'get it right'. I don't bother with the AT as sometimes I have a full pot, 1/2 pot or cooking PC. Usually I just put the probe in the pot when it gets liquid (Lee pot with control set all on).
    Whatever!

  19. #19
    Boolit Master glockfan's Avatar
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    wow...i still haven't received mine,seems some tweakings are needed to get the pid running perfect. i still don't get how the auto tune works...also, i don't want to see the PID running in 2 seconds cycles all the time. i'd rather have the PID working till the temp asked is reached,then switching to off till the temp fall down like 20 degrees .

  20. #20
    Boolit Man
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    Quote Originally Posted by glockfan View Post
    wow...i still haven't received mine,seems some tweakings are needed to get the pid running perfect. i still don't get how the auto tune works...also, i don't want to see the PID running in 2 seconds cycles all the time. i'd rather have the PID working till the temp asked is reached,then switching to off till the temp fall down like 20 degrees .
    It's really a case of it sounds worse than it is.

    The benefit of PID is that the heater is cycled off before the set temp is reached. That way the residual heat in the system, after the heater goes off will bring the pot to the set temp without greatly over shooting the set temp. Works in reverse too. The heater comes on before the temp reading starts dropping to compensate for the time it takes for the heat to transfer from the element into the lead.

    AT forces the system to learn and then compensate for the variables that contribute to under and over shooting the set temp. Things like heater wattage, pot insulation, ambient temp, pot capacity,etc.

    I don't understand the OT setting. It works in reverse of what I expected. It forces an off cycle every at least every 2 seconds, which increases the number of on and off cycles, at least when starting with a cold pot. The Golander must have some built in override. I first used mine on my sizer, where the set temp and ambient temps were close together. The heater would cycle on for a second, then off for a second all the way to the set point. I noticed that if I set the temp several hundred degrees higher it would stay on for the full two seconds of the OT setting, go off then back on for two more seconds.

    You can set the OT higher which reduces the on/off cycles from a cold start, but causes temp instability when the actual temp is at the set point and the OT is set too high. For instance if the OT is set at 20 seconds and the heater needs to come on every 5 seconds to maintain the set point. In this case the heater can only cycle on once in any 20 second period which causes under and over shooting.



    There are other options. The PID can not be used until the set point is first reached from a cold start or set the PID as an on/off controller. In the on/off mode it acts like a furnace thermostat where you set the on and off temps, but you will get under and over shooting.

    I didn't like the rapid on/off cycles and set the OT at around 6. For your first use of the PID, I think it's best to get your pot up to temp first, then turn on the PID. Start AT and walk away for three hours, don't even look at it. LOL it will drive you crazy. After two or three hours it will probably be right on the money and you will have saved yourself the aggravation of thinking it doesn't work.

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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