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Johnson A419 Question

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by dcgunman, Feb 23, 2013.

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  1. dcgunman

    dcgunman Defender (669) Jul 1, 2009 California
    Beer Trader

    I am getting ready to brew next weekend and I have a chest freezer that I want to use for fermentation for the first time. I just bought a new Johnson A419 and it's all wired up and ready to go. But I have a question on it before plugging it in and trying it out before I brew. It comes with factory settings for cooling (jumpers). I want to set it at 68F. Do I change the jumpers in it for heating mode cut-in at setpoint, heating mode at cut-out or leave it at cooling cut-in?
    Also, do I need to do anything else to the freezer when I plug in the A419?
    Thank you.
  2. psnydez86

    psnydez86 Disciple (363) Jan 4, 2012 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    The only time you need to change the jumpers to heating mode is if you are gonna hook the controller up to a heat source (ferm wrap, space heater, hair dryer). I have to do this in my 55 degree basement for ales, but if your fermentation freezer is in a semi warm environment you should be good with the cooling mode. I suggest setting the DIF to the lowest number ( 1 or 2?) which will kick the cooling/heating on when the temp sways 1 or 2 degrees past your SP temp. The instructions are super confusing unless your a nuclear physicist. I also suggest putting some insulation over the temp probe after taping it to the side of the fermenter unless you have a thermowell.
    DubbelMan likes this.
  3. scurvy311

    scurvy311 Disciple (346) Dec 3, 2005 Louisiana

    All good advice above. Also, one of the settings adjust how long it takes to turn on after it has just turned off. Not sure what it is called. Mine is set to 12 minutes. If you are trying to get it to kick on, just set it to the temp and leave it be. It may not be kicking on because it is waiting for the set minutes to pass. Learned this the hard way. I thought it was defective. Turned out it was a broken TFO (the frickin operator).

    I use this. It's leftover pipe insulation. Should last forever or until I lose it. I wanted to share something on Photobucket with you!

    psnydez86 likes this.
  4. Seacoastbrewer

    Seacoastbrewer Aspirant (212) Jun 5, 2012 New Hampshire

    Hope you guys don't mind if I resurrect this post. It seems to be closest to my question regarding the JC A419. I actually have the brewer's edge ii, purchased from williams brewing about 6 months ago. I understand they are the same unit, maybe I’m wrong there. I haven't needed it as my basement is cold enough to ferment lagers in the winter. Will summer in full swing, I've been working on getting it hooked up to my chest freezer.

    I’ve read the one page instruction manual several times and followed the instructions to the T, as far as I can tell. I have the jumpers set for cooling mode. Once plugged in, the readout flashed SP for about 30 seconds which matches the instruction manual. Once stabilized, the probe correctly measures the current ambient temp, and the digital readout shows the temp as well as the snowflake icon, which I assume means it’s set for cooling mode. I’ve also checked the jumpers several times to make sure they are in cooling mode. I can set the set point to 34 deg F, which is my desired lagering temp.
    When plugging the chest freezer into the unit, I notice the compressor on the freezer turns off right away, which seems wrong since the ambient temp is approx 59 deg F. I believe that the compressor should be turning on at the temperature. When running the probe into the freezer, it will correctly read an ambient temp of somewhere in the 0-20 deg F range, depending on how long I’ve had the freezer unplugged.
    Am I missing something obvious here? Maybe the jumpers at cool mode are not actually set correctly? The snowflake icon is really throwing me because I assume it’s set properly. I can provide more detail as needed.
    Any advice is truly appreciated here!
  5. utahbeerdude

    utahbeerdude Disciple (376) May 2, 2006 Utah

    Because there is a green light that comes on when output power is being delivered by the unit, you should be able to see how it is set up without actually plugging anything in. With the temperature probe simply sitting at ambient, you can change the set point to values above and below ambient temperature to see what condition is needed to have the unit turn on. And yes, I believe that you do want the snowflake for it to be in cooling mode: I use mine for heating and it displays a little flame icon.
  6. Seacoastbrewer

    Seacoastbrewer Aspirant (212) Jun 5, 2012 New Hampshire

    Thank you!

    Interesting. I've noticed that the green light will be on, so I can confirm that output power is being supplied. Given that the ambient temperature is 59ish, I would think the freezer would turn on at that point, which it is not. I wonder if I'm setting the setpoints incorrectly.
  7. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Crusader (716) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    ALWAYS REMEMBER TO HIT ENTER/ MENU...fucking computers : )
  8. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Initiate (0) May 21, 2010 Texas

    LOL I like my analog controller, just dial in the switch and check it every few weeks to make sure it's not drifting very far (it doesn't). No computers, no enter button, and (so far) no "failboat moments." :rolling_eyes:

    note: I don't need the heating function tho
  9. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (310) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    what Krusty said. if I had to guess, that's the problem. but anyway...

    make sure that the freezers thermostat is set to its coldest setting. the outboard controller will over ride the internal t-stat. keep it at 9 or whatever.

    the default is cooling mode. the snowflake confirms this. it is hard to mess this up unless your shitfaced.

    the Johnson unit has a compressor protection circuit. it will not cycle on/off more than once over a set time. I believe the factory setting is 5 minutes? and can be adjusted, but there is no reason to mess with this (this is one reason why the Johnson controller has Byzantine instructions btw).

    I suggest you set it up as you have explained and leave it overnight. let the software control the unit for a while and then check the temperature in the morning. it should be correct. and if not you may have a bum controller, though unlikely. they are very robust.
  10. Seacoastbrewer

    Seacoastbrewer Aspirant (212) Jun 5, 2012 New Hampshire

    Just thought I'd update here since the online seller (Williams Brewing) was kind enough to replace the controller. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend them in the future as I've always had a good experience ordering from them.

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