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I believe this is the most informative thread I've ever read on the topic. Thank you for posting all of this. I'm currently running a couple of Vinotemp 28's with beads and temp controllers set to 65 degrees. I'm finding the beads on the bottom are saturated. I'm blowing them dry with a hair dryer and putting the dried beads back in.

I'm in the process of ordered a custom Aristocrat to replace the Vino's. I will have to have cooling based on where the Aristocrat will be.

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Ray - I have been reading your content for some time, and like others, have been learning a great deal. Thank you.

I just have one issue that I would appreciate if you could clarify. What is the date logger that you use (Brand\Model), and why are you confident that it is keeping true RH stats?

I have been going nuts trying to get accurate and consistent instrumentation.

David

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Your next Doug.

Real quick. You did right by buying the compressor cooler (MHO). These cool faster but get really effin' cold. I have some ideas for you that will likely really help.

Amigo I have left one of my humidors in my shop at 100+ degrees with it stacked with 40 to 50 boxes of cigars. If we modestly said that the cigars were 150/box times 45 boxes we are talking almost 7K worth of cigars. I would not risk that on faith alone.

One of these compressor boxes will combat 100 degree temperature. They will cycle like crazy and without active humidification they will likely dry out but we can talk more on that later.

Things to do. Don't let the box get too cold. I keep mine around 67 to 70 degrees. Don't put unprotected cigars in there. Keep them all boxed. Don't let the box get to moist to begin with because taking the water out is harder than getting it in.

All for now mate. Best of luck on the project. -Piggy

Piggy - Thanks for responding back to this. This makes a lot of sense to me. BTW, I read your article on building a low cost refrigerated humidor and I thought it was excellent. My next one will be done right! Talk to me about active humidification. I did look at the Cigar Oasis XL and wasn't that impressed with it, so I decided to go beads. One thought that I had is that most of active humidifiers have fans and since I don't have fans in my unit now, this would help.

Thanks again - Doug

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I just have one issue that I would appreciate if you could clarify. What is the date logger that you use (Brand\Model), and why are you confident that it is keeping true RH stats?

I invested in a logger which Piggy recommended and it was the Lascar EL-USB-2-LCD+

The accuracy is amazing. I've tested it with the Boveda Calibration Pack several times and it's spot on. Just Google it to find the vendor of your choice.

I've used it so much I've had to replace the battery.

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Ray - I have been reading your content for some time, and like others, have been learning a great deal. Thank you.

I just have one issue that I would appreciate if you could clarify. What is the date logger that you use (Brand\Model), and why are you confident that it is keeping true RH stats?

I have been going nuts trying to get accurate and consistent instrumentation.

David

I use Lascar data loggers. They are a good compromise between economy, accuracy and size. They are certifiable, nominal resolution instruments with variable sample durations. They are independent of controllers and they are pretty reliable. Most importantly, the provide a visual representation and record of the work you do on your humidors. You can't prove if you are helping or hurting without a record of results. I am a datahound.

The point is when I am talking numbers I am getting close and since it is a personal preference and there is no right or wrong with anyones preference, certifiable accuracy is only important to those wishing to pursue it. Repeatability on the other hand is very important and should be for everyone. Only a couple of people that I know will take the time or spend the money to acquire the instrumentation so that we can have a "accurate" conversation about temperature or RH. Frankly when someone else specifies a temperature/humidity range (without meaning to sound highbrow or deriding) I take it with a grain of salt. Most people are little more than guessing at their numbers. The popular, over the counter instrumentation is really that bad. What really matters is that it works for them and I get that! It makes for leaving a lot of big holes in open conversations regarding the topic, however. I always find myself dancing around it not trying make people feel bad about it and act like a datahog!

This is one reason that I talk with so many generalizations caveats and "I don't knows." I encourage people to experiment and to try different things, perhaps bettering their smoking experiences and hopefully not ruining it. I try to frame it in a way that does not put anyone off or insult them.

Frankly you don't need hundreds in test equipment or thousand in storage solutions... you just need to dig your own cigars and enjoy talking about them. I am a little fanatical about storage, it is a challenge to me. I like to teach some of what I know, and help others diagnose their problems, hopefully for the better.

-Piggy

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Piggy,

Would a refrigerator with active humidification work?

Jeff

While plasma type (compressor) coolers work, refrigerators are a bad choice. They are frost free and have a thaw and vent cycle that will strip all the water out of your system in short order. Reefers are dry, and designed to stay that way.

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Piggy - Thanks for responding back to this. This makes a lot of sense to me. BTW, I read your article on building a low cost refrigerated humidor and I thought it was excellent. My next one will be done right! Talk to me about active humidification. I did look at the Cigar Oasis XL and wasn't that impressed with it, so I decided to go beads. One thought that I had is that most of active humidifiers have fans and since I don't have fans in my unit now, this would help.

Thanks again - Doug

I am gonna' address this problem... now!

I am skirting on "commercial in nature" post and I don't really want to go there without Bwanas blessing but here goes.

post-79-1307115036.jpg

This is a mock-up of a new product I will be marketing. It will have a lot of forms and sizes. It will use silica beads, the ones you have, or commercially available silica chips as a media.

This is just a mock up but it works really well!!! This one has had cedar shavings in it for a while now and is providing a nice cedar scent in my office. I think they will be reasonably priced, come in all kinds of sizes, have first class replaceable parts, and I will even sell kits for those who want to fabricate their own. I will likely custom make models to suit every need.

I just purchased a **** load of supplies to make them and I am currently working on the tooling and marketing items.

Now is this not better than one of your wife's crystal bowls in you humidor?

Tell me if you like the idea! -R

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I am gonna' address this problem... now!

I am skirting on "commercial in nature" post and I don't really want to go there without Bwanas blessing but here goes.

This is a mock-up of a new product I will be marketing. It will have a lot of forms and sizes. It will use silica beads, the ones you have, or commercially available silica chips as a media.

This is just a mock up but it works really well!!! This one has had cedar shavings in it for a while now and is providing a nice cedar scent in my office. I think they will be reasonably priced, come in all kinds of sizes, have first class replaceable parts, and I will even sell kits for those who want to fabricate their own. I will likely custom make models to suit every need.

I just purchased a **** load of supplies to make them and I am currently working on the tooling and marketing items.

Now is this not better than one of your wife's crystal bowls in you humidor?

Tell me if you like the idea! -R

Great idea Ray.

Sign me up.

As I may have posted before, I am too friggin lazy to deal with all this myself and I get dizzy just thinking about trying to start a project of my own as I read through your extremely well written and informative posts on this subject.

Love to just have someone deliver something that has a label on the outside that reads: "

This thing is so bloody easy to use and hassel free that even Tmac can get it working without any problems."

Cheers

Tom

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Piggy, I like what you have done. I like the idea of using beads in more of a controlled environment. Your timing is good. I just talked with David at CMT and got a quote for the Habitat control monitor and humidifier. They even have solid state switch out now that the monitor connects to. This eliminates any wiring modificaton to the Vinotemp. Before I spend $430 with CMT, I would like to know exactly what your new products will do.

Will you control your humidifer with the Habitat monitor?

Are coming out with a monitor of your own?

Tell me more!

-Doug

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I use Lascar data loggers.

-Piggy

OK, I never even knew these things existed. As someone in the IT Profession, I have appliances that monitor Temp\ Humidity in my datacenters. But accuracy is not a strong part of these. I even tried using a 500$ Temp\RH ethernet enabled appliance on my humidor at home, but had to stop, as it just wasn't accurate enough.

I hear what you say about accuracy, and the value of the appliance being certified, but when going over the technical specs, the overall RH acceptable error rate seems to be 2%-4% RH.

Here is the spec sheet:

http://www.lascarelectronics.com/pdf-usb-d...01283337709.pdf

Am I misreading the spec sheet, or is is this really the most accurate RH reading one can expect to get, within this price range?

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OK, I never even knew these things existed. As someone in the IT Profession, I have appliances that monitor Temp\ Humidity in my datacenters. But accuracy is not a strong part of these. I even tried using a 500$ Temp\RH ethernet enabled appliance on my humidor at home, but had to stop, as it just wasn't accurate enough.

I hear what you say about accuracy, and the value of the appliance being certified, but when going over the technical specs, the overall RH acceptable error rate seems to be 2%-4% RH.

Here is the spec sheet:

http://www.lascarelectronics.com/pdf-usb-d...01283337709.pdf

Am I misreading the spec sheet, or is is this really the most accurate RH reading one can expect to get, within this price range?

Mate I don't sell the gadgets, so I am not a proxy for them! These have worked great for me and I have spent my fair time researching the pros and cons of different instruments based on many variables including accuracy. If accuracy to the bureau of standards is your ultimate goal, pay to get whatever you get certified. That will satisfy the goal.

Accuracy is one factor and not the only factor. I like these and they work well for me. -Piggy

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Mate I don't sell the gadgets, so I am not a proxy for them! These have worked great for me and I have spent my fair time researching the pros and cons of different instruments based on many variables including accuracy. If accuracy to the bureau of standards is your ultimate goal, pay to get whatever you get certified. That will satisfy the goal.

Accuracy is one factor and not the only factor. I like these and they work well for me. -Piggy

OK - I get the picture. Sometimes it's easy to fall into the technical aspects, and forget the bigger picture. Thanks for all the info you have provided.

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Piggy, I like what you have done. I like the idea of using beads in more of a controlled environment. Your timing is good. I just talked with David at CMT and got a quote for the Habitat control monitor and humidifier. They even have solid state switch out now that the monitor connects to. This eliminates any wiring modificaton to the Vinotemp. Before I spend $430 with CMT, I would like to know exactly what your new products will do.

Will you control your humidifer with the Habitat monitor?

Are coming out with a monitor of your own?

Tell me more!

-Doug

There are a lot of pros and some cons to David's products. First I have to say that I own a number of them, I think 3 generations of them now! I think they are very good stand alone products. David is a fair guy, I have been a customer of his for years, he sells a great product, it is reliable and easy to use. There are places and projects for which his products are perfect. I know, I own many and have recommended many more.

I feel a little uncomfortable discussion cons, and criticisms on a public forum. As you can see from the first paragraph, I like his products very much. You might just say that I have out paced them somewhat. "I" need something more at this time. I have done so much testing and development with cigar psychrometry that I have found the flaws in his products. Ones, most people will never know. Ones most people will never need to know or care about! So for a matter of fairness and ethics I will reiterate that his products are good products but not perfect products and leave it at that.

David sells amongst other things an OEM programable 2 variable logic controller. I have found numerous ways around the limitations of the CMT controllers, but I am tired of looking for cleaver ways around problems of programing. I am now only interested in programable logic controllers. They are a lot more work initially. They are more expensive and they don't come in a nice complete packages for the layman to deal with. They are the "next" level.

Lets go real time. Lets say that what you are trying to do is change the performance of your humidor. The CMT product allows you to set a point at which your cooler comes on and it shuts off automatically 1 degree above the set point. Well... what if you don't want it to exceed the set point by 1 degree and prefer it shuts off at .5 degrees? You can't! What if you decide that you don't want your cooler to freeze the coil so that you won't strip water out of the humidor so rapidly? You can't. You get one set point, an on or off signal based on their programming to go with it.

Lets say that you would like to use logic to control your cigars, as if you were watching it and could pull the switches yourself? Here is an example.

I like my cigars at 60-63 RH. and 68 degrees. When my controller hits 69 it turns on the cooler and runs it until the temp is 67 degrees. In the mean time the humidity in the box declines to 45 RH. Well, if you can control refrigeration and circulation separately you can program your humidor to switch on the cooler for a specified period to get a more gentle cooling cycle. Better yet you could put a sensor on the cooling coil and ask for it to cool to 35 degrees, so it does not freeze and cycle off while keeping your fans running. The possibilities of a programable logic controller are almost unlimited. Some will allow you to access their data via the internet. It is all a matter of control. Control in the right hands leads to stability. Stability is defined by you! Stable to some means the box fluctuates no more than 15 degrees during the day. Some don't care, while others want to fluctuations down to 2 degrees. Which one are you?

Here is one, one that my next humidor will do for sure. What happens if you live in a humid environment? During a period of time the weather is cool but moist. Would it be neat to have your humidor recognize that, short cycle the cooler to strip the humidity out and then run a little heater to keep your cigar at 60 RH and 68 degrees even when your basement is a damp 65 degrees and 80 RH. Now think about leaving your humidor door open all night and how you are gonna' get all the moisture out of it!

You just get a new shipment of cigars. They come and you put them in your humidor and now it is reading 75 RH when yesterday it was at 65 RH. You know this because you are now using accurate tools to measure humidity. It is 75 RH in your house and you are wondering how long it will be before you can take steps to dry your humidor out. How about if your humidor had a dry cycle? One of mine does now!

This is the stuff that my next humidor will do for me. You will data log it and see no spikes! It will simply keep the cigar exactly the way you want them all the time, plus or minus a couple of degrees temp and RH. regardless of the outside temperature or humidity. If I am gonna' spend a few G's on a humidor that is what I want.

I have the goal of building the worlds best refrigerated humidor.... And I will do it very soon. If you want to do that, to take the next step, you need a PLC. If you want a great humidor with some acceptable limitations, like the ones I build now, you can use a CMT. For a 50 bottle cooler project, the CMT is likely today's best choice.

You see I am not interested in building cabinetry like other humidor makers. I would rather spend my money on the best technical equipment built off a commercial cooling platform. I don't want to build refrigerators! I don't want to build cabinetry that can be used to store cigars. I want the last word in consistent storage conditions. I want conditions that can be proven via a data logger. You see no one data logs their humidors except me (with few private exceptions). Probably because they are afraid to!

I will get into what my new little products in a day or so. Frankly I am a little spent to put my salesman's hat on. I have spent a lot of time the past few days with my mother-in-law at the hospital getting a little work done on her ticker and I am needing to work on some other things.

Lastly. I think I have come up with a viable product based on my experience helping others. It is not a panacea! It is an inexpensive circulatory product for those looking for better performance based on science and empirical data. It will help and cure some problems. What it won't do is turn me into a bullshitter or give you the perfect humidor for $50 bucks!

I have been looking for a means to supply those who are less than handy with a viable container to hold their beads, stabilize and homogenize their humidors through air circulation, especially those who are not currently using an active system. I will be changing the dynamic of using beads. I have opened a new category for active humidification.

There are currently two categories of humidifiers. There are active humidifiers and passive ones. Beads are passive in nature and therefore slow to respond. When you datalog you will find active humidifiers have problems too.

What I have done here is expand the active humidifier category into two groups; active automatic humidifiers, and active semi-automatic humidifiers. Mine will be of the semi-automatic type, unless you connect them to a controller, which you can do to make them the automatic type. I think they will benefit any humidor and I will be running some tests over the coming months but am considering putting them on the market now and not waiting for perfect timing. If there is a demand I will get more serious about marketing.

... all for now! Thanks for the interest, Piggy

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What I have done here is expand the active humidifier category into two groups; active automatic humidifiers, and active semi-automatic humidifiers. Mine will be of the semi-automatic type, unless you connect them to a controller, which you can do to make them the automatic type. I think they will benefit any humidor and I will be running some tests over the coming months but am considering putting them on the market now and not waiting for perfect timing. If there is a demand I will get more serious about marketing. ... all for now! Thanks for the interest, Piggy

Wow! This sounds exciting. :yes:

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I like my cigars at 60-63 RH. and 68 degrees. When my controller hits 69 it turns on the cooler and runs it until the temp is 67 degrees. In the mean time the humidity in the box declines to 45 RH. Well, if you can control refrigeration and circulation separately you can program your humidor to switch on the cooler for a specified period to get a more gentle cooling cycle. Better yet you could put a sensor on the cooling coil and ask for it to cool to 35 degrees, so it does not freeze and cycle off while keeping your fans running. The possibilities of a programable logic controller are almost unlimited. Some will allow you to access their data via the internet. It is all a matter of control. Control in the right hands leads to stability. Stability is defined by you! Stable to some means the box fluctuates no more than 15 degrees during the day. Some don't care, while others want to fluctuations down to 2 degrees. Which one are you?

I have the goal of building the worlds best refrigerated humidor.... And I will do it very soon. If you want to do that, to take the next step, you need a PLC. If you want a great humidor with some acceptable limitations, like the ones I build now, you can use a CMT. For a 50 bottle cooler project, the CMT is likely today's best choice

Another great post Piggy! Thank you

To sum it up, I am looking for a great humidor with some acceptable limitations. I am not looking for the perfect humidor. (at least not yet) . Remember, I am very happy with what I have now, but I haven't gone through a summer yet with this wine cooler and I can see the handwriting on the wall. I need to make some changes and make them soon. I would like to keep my temp flucuations down to 3 degrees and keep my humidity as stable as I can. I am considering the CMT, but looking at other options as well. One option that I am looking at is the Ranco digital temp controller and then getting Hydra active humidifier with extra fan. This setup is less than $200. I am trying to figure out if the CMT is that much better than this for twice the price.

Maybe another option is the Ranco controller with one of your humidifiers! I like the idea of using beads in an active or semi active humidifier.

-Doug

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I like my cigars at 60-63 RH. and 68 degrees. When my controller hits 69 it turns on the cooler and runs it until the temp is 67 degrees. In the mean time the humidity in the box declines to 45 RH. Well, if you can control refrigeration and circulation separately you can program your humidor to switch on the cooler for a specified period to get a more gentle cooling cycle. Better yet you could put a sensor on the cooling coil and ask for it to cool to 35 degrees, so it does not freeze and cycle off while keeping your fans running. The possibilities of a programable logic controller are almost unlimited. Some will allow you to access their data via the internet. It is all a matter of control. Control in the right hands leads to stability. Stability is defined by you! Stable to some means the box fluctuates no more than 15 degrees during the day. Some don't care, while others want to fluctuations down to 2 degrees. Which one are you?

I have the goal of building the worlds best refrigerated humidor.... And I will do it very soon. If you want to do that, to take the next step, you need a PLC. If you want a great humidor with some acceptable limitations, like the ones I build now, you can use a CMT. For a 50 bottle cooler project, the CMT is likely today's best choice

Another great post Piggy! Thank you

To sum it up, I am looking for a great humidor with some acceptable limitations. I am not looking for the perfect humidor. (at least not yet) . Remember, I am very happy with what I have now, but I haven't gone through a summer yet with this wine cooler and I can see the handwriting on the wall. I need to make some changes and make them soon. I would like to keep my temp flucuations down to 3 degrees and keep my humidity as stable as I can. I am considering the CMT, but looking at other options as well. One option that I am looking at is the Ranco digital temp controller and then getting Hydra active humidifier with extra fan. This setup is less than $200. I am trying to figure out if the CMT is that much better than this for twice the price.

Maybe another option is the Ranco controller with one of your humidifiers! I like the idea of using beads in an active or semi active humidifier.

-Doug

I did some looking at the Ranco controller and could not find manufacturers specs. It looks to me to be a brewing thermo... While the display is digital and has that high-tech look the money saved is not worth it (I am speculating). If the sensor is the thermocouple type, it will have resolution and sample rate issues. What I mean is it won't work very fast in a "dry bulb" application.

To expand on that a bit, if you want your cooler to switch on at 70 deg. it will likely do that okay since the instrument works slowly it will likely find 70 easy enough. But when it comes to switching off at 69 or 68... whatever the programed tolerance is, it may take the instrument far longer to get to that temperature than the cooler. In other words you cooler gets to 60 before the controller registers 68!!! Resolution and sample rate are important to "stable" climate control.

Frankly building an electronic humidor is not as easy as it looks!!!! :lol:

If I am right about the thermocouple and the sample rate of the instrument, you are far better off with the CMT. There are likely work arounds, like how close you locate the sensor to the cooling plate if you want the thermocouple gadget. These work arounds are real world solutions for less that adequate instruments. You would find this out the hard way in your cooler project. This is exactly the reason that each application is different and why a PLC is the real solution.

Best of luck Doug. Either way you will be opening a brand new book on cigar storage! -Ray

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CMT ready to go to work in a Piggydor project.

post-79-1307462491.jpg

Work around using relay switching for real time solutions in humidor control, because the CMT is not customer programable! This picture shows some tests done during building... The relay board is nicely attached to the back of the humidor by the compressor when done.

post-79-1307462438.jpg

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