# Brunswick Bio Flo controller

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
My latest project! This isnt the actual unit, but mine is same model and has roughly most the same bits. like the one in the link mine dosnt have the main power unit or control system.

These are beyond words, fabulous systems but a few issues. Different voltages all over the place! The heat unit is supposed to be 110VAC with PID control and mag stiring, it has a 8 pin non standard plug! This isnt too bad in itself. The bottom heat system and stir system is solely for the water jacket, these systems have an outer glass jacket isolated from the main glass reactor.

Then we have a brand new 4 head peristaltic pump system like the ebay one, trouble is you have to have various sensors connected and the pumps have 240V female plugs like the opposite of a kettle. Again not too bad, except I have to have a way to control pump speed and a way to determine when each pump is on or off. My main issue will be speed control, on and off will be via PH probes etc.

Then further up the system we have no end of ion probes and monitors, mine needs electric operated valves, its part of a continuous and not a batch type system.
Then we have for me the worse bit...... Some kind of magnetic coupled stir mechanism for the main reactor part. Its got 12 pin plug, no idea what kind of motor or what kind of voltage, i cant find any manuals or datasheets for it, there is no plates on it that say Voltage. I got a nasty feeling its also a stepper motor.

The normal control module is touch screen and really really nice, but they start at £3K!! So I am building my own! The one bit for sure I need help with is the AC side, the rest of it I can mange.

I will post some pics in a few days. I got it because its 1.3 ltr, it is for the production of an ingredient for my soap business. I was using 1ltr bio reactors before, but they were in batch config. The idea of getting this one is to fully automate a continuous production system.

Budget is £0, unless I absolutely must go outside my junk box, then it costs what it costs. But I am not going fancy, i dont need touch screen, i do need pc connection and likely the R pi will be part of the system.
Might need to get a pi3...... simply because they are more reliable and the file system can be fetched from an external USB HDD, instead of the silly cards the pi2 uses, this is a big plus on the pi 3!

So anyone up for the challenge of AC 240V PID and 110V dual PID? Actually stuff PID we can cheat on that with zero cross every 20mS, shouldnt need more than that.

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
I might also tag on a couple of professional CO2/Gas incubators. these are laboratory HEPA filtered Class 2 Lab ones, again i use these for work now mainly. Despite soap being my main thing, I do alot in alternative energy and environmental research stuff. Alot of the kit could do with an easy accessible interface. Most of it has built in controllers, but data loggers and a simple way to control and monitor them would be useful.

Hardware wise its just as easy to add a few of those things on. My normal use a chip 30X more powerful than I need still holds true! No idea why i never went into the fit as much as you can into as little as you can, but then again electronics for me is more about solving personal projects etc. I have never really got into the commercial side of it, i have always preferred to have it as a hobby. I still seem to have the soldering iron in hand most days, i still enjoy it alot. But i do like the fact most of what I do, is for me!

I am not sure i would want to design something someone else wants or needs, i like the flex i get on my own projects. Plus I am people unfriendly!!

#### KeepItSimpleStupid

##### Well-Known Member
Software PID is easy. You can even add stuff to the loop. A co-worker and I added shorted thermocouple and misplacement protection on heat-up which was really cool. I also used the proportional band of the environment controller (my -100 to +100%) and controlled to control the temperature of a surface RTD.
Software PID needs to limit the value of P, so it never exceeds 100% There's no point. You can make sure the integral term doesn;t exceed +-100% or make sure Pout doesn't exceed +-100%. Pout nominally varies from -100 to 100%. Analog controllers can implement this by limiting the maximum output of the error amplifier.

That said, resistive, tungsten and motor loads are very different.

You can group the heating output types into on/off or bang-bang, , proportional, phase angle fired, slow cycle triac, or ZCP (or zero crossing pulse)

1. bang-bang - just what it is. A setpoint with hysteresis. You can't have the measured value and SP agree,
2. proportional - a 0-5 or 0-20 mA or 5-20 mA signal that is your 0 to 100% or -100 to 100%.
3.Phase angle fired - If you do the nitty gritty, you need a table that knows about 1/2 cycles or even two 1/2 cycles. For simplicity let's assume one 1/2 cycle. Yout 0 to 100% needs to be proportional to V^2 of a sine wave. Why V^2 and not V? if the load is resistive power or what you want to control is proportional to V^2.

You could just base info on one 1/2 cycle or you could complicate matters by using one or both 1/2 cycles.

A tungsten load needs to know R as a function of V^2.

For a motor speed is proportional to V usually. Additionally, you need current limit to work. Not really sure how to implement that., but firing two SCR's back to back might be in the cards here. You also need current limit to operate into a transformer.

I typically used 30 Amp SCR units with an I^t fuse with 3A normal blow fuses for a 200 W load operating into a transformer. This saved a $30.00 USD fuse for a$1.00 fuse many times with current limit.

Motor control has the additional problem that the control device turn off at zero voltage AND zero current. To reduce power dissipation it's best to pulse the devices.

The HARD PART hardware wise is to accurately find the zero crossing especially at a low % output, because you could end up with nearly 100%. Power company frequency changes a bit. Backup generator frequency (may be important for you) is not as exact as mains frequency. Thus an always-on UPS is more appropriate for generators because of the frequency instability.

In some respects a DC power supply could be a better choice.

Devices that take a process signal of 0-5 V or 4-20 mA are available to address these types of loads. This is the common denominator for a PID temperature controller.

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
I didnt explain the heater well, one of those things i assumed everyone would know about, when in reality most people never see or use them. in essence the base plate heater is like a normal Lab hotplate, it just controlled via the main unit I dont have, the magnetic stiring in this case is a simple magnet that goes around on a tiny motor, this drives a PTFE stir bar you drop into the container.

The main stirer in the main vessel is different, this is a much chunkier motor, probably a stepper and drive a shaft. Whats odd about the hotplate and stirer is the voltage, here they are always 240V, never seen a 110V one. But i suspect they are low voltage and low current, the way you set these reactors up, you wouldnt want much heat in one go.

Roughly they are like these
https://www.indiamart.com/coleparmer/stirrers-and-mixers.html
except no controls on them.

I will take some pics of the equipment, you wont get far without these. The bit I am most concerned with is both stir controls, you need good speed control on both of these, the bottom one is normally a small DC motor and easy to control, the mag motor that acts as the main internal stir mechanism is something I havnt come across before. The first one stirs the outer water jacket and applies heat to it, the heater for this is external BTW. Just like the hotplate, they are designed so you can pump them out fast and replace with cold water, this lets you heat shock the organisms.

I wont be doing that, I got a electroporation machine for that, in this case the microbes need a really delicate environment. Its one reason I am switching to continuous system, batch systems are hit and miss with this organism and replacing it isnt easy. Its taken me 2-3 years to isolate and grow out a pure strain, I subculture it every 3 days in the microbe bank. I will also at some point build a lab freezer, my other freezer tests went ok, but a freezer set at -80C would be really useful, i could store alot of my bugs for longer.

Cryo is not a option, getting Liquid Nitrogen is expensive in the amounts I need. Its also a PITA keeping it topped up and working with it. A normal ultra cold lab freezer is ideal. I really like the control system they sell for this reactor, for what it does i think its good value. But its alot of money and I dont need the kind of functions it has.

If I could get the main power unit I would buy that, but havnt tracked one down.

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
I need to get some pics of this, and get going on it. Forget the \$12,000 control system they come with normally, I dont need that kind of functionality! It not fully assembled yet, i am in the process of taking the reactor apart and trying different configurations.
I will post up some pics, keep in mind i am currently taking this apart to try a different config. But it should show you some the parts I need to control. No idea why this has me so phased! Maybe the mix of 120V 240V and the bloody motor thing that I dont know the voltage of!!!

i will take the motor unit apart a bit, see if the connections give any clues. Anyway should have the pics in a day or so.

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
Right this evening I am going to try and lay out some of this stuff and take pictures. Mainly its simply to show the parts involved, I am not sure why this has me a bit unsure how to proceed. Ac isnt something I have ever been comfortable with. Anyway this really isnt my area so i thought i would ask people who know this stuff.

Alot of the control side i can do, i have a good idea where i want to go with this. One small point, I am not sure if I will use a touch screen monitor for the control side. The normal unit for this equipment does, its not something i need to think about for now, adding touch screen is a simple matter of R Pi a router etc etc, it dosnt alter the control side as such. Its simply a different way of interacting with the system.

I cant detail what its growing, i dont think knowing that helps anyway. This is for my soap business and is needed as soon as I can get it done, i cant get production of my best product up until i get this system working properly. I cant buy the product that is produced in this reactor, it isnt sold anywhere and no one else has used it.

I found the stuff by accident, the application just jumped out at me and it works. I already make small amounts, but it takes too long and as word of mouth gets out i am being asked to supply more than i can produce.

I dont have alot of money, everything apart from the bare minimum needed to keep us afloat, is all reinvested. I had wanted our website up long ago, instead i just have the old design online and the real one ready to go. but going live would be a mistake, I needed to up production capability across the board which is now complete.

So maybe Easter we may launch online, i have been lucky in getting enough orders to survive. But letting customers down isnt an option, so i play it carefully.

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#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
I have some pics to upload later, not sure they are going to help much. Two main issues remain, maybe three....
One i am pretty sure the top stir motor is a stepper, heavy duty and fairly small. I have zero idea how i would begin to find the voltage for it!!
The hotplate that is 110V, not a big deal i could get a variac and then just use on/off switching with zero cross detect... not sure and not focusing on it at the moment.

PH probe and DSO meter is 12V, no idea where the socket for power is! So i assume they do it via the RS485 Sockets, back off the unit should shed light on it.

Oh and nearly forgot....... Those 4 pumps, HMMmm nasty, need to get a rough idea how fast they turn first then decide.

#### alec_t

##### Well-Known Member
I have zero idea how i would begin to find the voltage for it!!
Can you do an image search, or search for motors with similar dimensions, to try and find a match? That would likely put you in the ball-park for supply requirements.

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
I am pretty sure its a widely used unit Alec, part the problem is brunswick dont make it, they badge it up along with 12 other people lol. I will get you a picture downloaded later, i took some last night. I will hunt the net as well, i have seen similar motors all over the place, the stems are all a bit different but the actual motors are the same. Its just the couple unit differs depending on reactor used.

Just checked the pics, rubbish! i will do some more, and take the top off this time.

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
got this off the net, i will take a better one later.

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
Found a brochure, the actual main control unit is different, but everything else for the 1.3 ltr is the same. More importantly the direct drive motor (black bit on top) is the exact same one. What is confusing is the specs, it says 110V -220V, the problem is parts of the system are 110V and parts are 220V... dosnt say what the motor is, i think it says the motor can be both, but its real expensive to get wrong...

Anyone got any ideas?

I will take the top off the motor and take a pic of the connections, the brochure wont upload, its too big!
But the direct link to it is

In the first page of it, the left hand motor is the exact model and drive unit, but both type have same motor as far as I am aware.

https://www.somatco.com/BioFlo-115-Benchtop-Fermentor.pdf

#### alec_t

##### Well-Known Member
Do you have a suitable 230V-to-110V transformer? It might be obvious whether the motor runs ok from that, or whether it is struggling at 110V.
My guess is that the motor has two windings, or a tapped winding, to allow for voltage choice. The trick will be finding out how to connect things up.

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
Do you have a suitable 230V-to-110V transformer? It might be obvious whether the motor runs ok from that, or whether it is struggling at 110V.
My guess is that the motor has two windings, or a tapped winding, to allow for voltage choice. The trick will be finding out how to connect things up.
It has 8 pins, i will take the top off and look at the connections, its def a stepper.

The entire system is a night mare, the problem is the UK version is the one i have, but the UK version has a mix of voltages. The heating plate def runs on 110V its on the base plate, the pumps are 220V because of the plugs, but the pumps should have a control unit that i dont have, this regulates the speed and on off time, the ;umps are peristaltic. Then we have 12V stuff that plugs into the large power unit which dishes out the all the voltages, again i dont have this unit.
I would hesitate to stick 220V through the motor, if i ruin it i am toast, they are nearly £1,700 to replace if you can get the shaft type i need. No transformer, i will get a variac, 1-3 amp should be plenty as even the heat plate isnt heavy on the juice.

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
Attached is the motor section and the plug

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
pump unit and plug type for the pumps, each pump has a separate plug, The DSO and PH units are also brand new, these i am likely to replace and just use the sensors.

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
Ok this is the main heat unit with the stir bar section, this is a separate stir unit designed to stir the water jacket.

Pink arrow is the stir bar, i suspect this is low voltage, normally like most hotplates they are simply a rotating magnet. Something almost like a pcfan with a strong magnet on one part!
Black arrow this is the base of the heat plate, i have taken alot of the reactor apart to show these details. The blue arrow shows the outer water jacket, this is attached to the inner jacket and they are fused together. The bottom is supposed to come off, but mine needs a yeast soak.
Green shows the inner reactor where the magic happens. this has all kinds of sensors and level detectors in and things like air and gas sparges etc etc etc.

The two pipes at the bottom of the pic are the outer jacket feeds, while the jacket is heated by the plate, it allows fast evac for quick chilling ect, in my case i will have 6 reactors connected in series, 3 of them heated by this unit, two of the other reactors have heating coils of stainless steel so the water from the jacket will pump in and out the the jacket via these other coils, the pump for this is a tiny 12V one and not an issue for now.

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
This is the unit 4/5ths stripped back to basics, just to give you an overview of it.

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
I will post more pics, seeing as this is a project build, i might try and mock up the eventual layout of all the reactors etc, i dont yet Have all the pumps etc, i do have alot the PH control stuff and DSO etc etc etc.

The point is to go from 13ml a day production in a batch system, to over 1tre in 16 hours continuous system. (revised numbers). This is why i have spent so much getting it together, i had to drop the control and power units, i just didnt have the cash to spend £20,000 more of getting these two other systems that would have completed the system. The price is second hand price BTW!

I wont say whats been spent getting this far, but its enough to make sure i have to get this working. While i cant say what it makes, making 1ltr a day of it would make a large difference to us as a business, we are the only company making this product in a lab. No one to my knowledge is even aware of the product or what it does.

Some from a few years back will recognize the other reactors i will post, they form part of this system, while i have used them for all kinds of stuff the main reason for them has always been to try and synth this product. So this is the end goal of a few years work.

The elctroporation system is a separate issue, i cant use the normal containers used for cell fusing, they use a coated aluminum and i cant use that. i cant use platinum ones for very obvious reasons, but i might have an idea with graphite and quartz glass. First bit though is the reactors, then we move on to the electroporation side, currently the way i fuse cells is haphazard heat shock, the machine i now have uses pulses of several thousand volts delivered over uS time spans with different capacitors to alter the decay times. Works extremely well in fusing cell nucleus together. Cell selection is via FGP and antibiotic resistant plasmid injection on one cell side.

I really thank those willing to help with the controller side, its the basic bit i need help with, i get one shot at this, if i destroy the stir motor its over, if i ruin the pumps its over. if i break the reactors glass its shotgun in the mouth time lol. No we dont have any money left! We have enough to trade for a while, but we need this up and running as its for our showcase product. Main launch of it is June at a international event in Germany.

A world first!!! Ok it dosnt cure cancer, but the product does make a difference to people in the sector its aimed at, it is unique and its never been discovered before, so yeah we are proud of it.

#### large_ghostman

##### Well-Known Member
A big thx to those and one in particular who got me this far!! I nearly gave up so many times, i nearly took the university route and 9-5 option. One in particular pointed me to take my own route.