Customer Reviews: RANCO ETC-111000 Digital Cold Temperature Control NEW
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on September 10, 2009
I have the Johnson Controls analog controller that I use to control beer fermenting temperatures on a chest freezer. I upgraded to the Ranco ETC Digital and it is much, much better. The analog has a +-3 degree range as the Ranco has remained pretty stable at +-1 degree. As many home brewers know maintaining a constant fermentation temperature is key to having a great end product. I'd highly recommend spending the few extra dollars for the Ranco vs. the Johnson Controls.
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on May 19, 2010
I have a refrigerator that broke in such a way that the compressor never cycled off. It froze everything I put in it. I bought this temp controller and wired it with a plug and an outlet and now my fridge works better than ever. This thing saved me some bucks from not having to buy a new fridge.
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on January 18, 2013
While the product is labeled as "Cold Temperature Control," this single stage unit can be switched back and forth to control either heating or cooling. This would not be ideal for an HVAC system in a building (you'd want a 2 stage unit), but it adds versatility to its use in home brewing beer.

In the summer, I use this to control an extra refrigerator, so that the fridge kicks on whenever my fermenting beer starts getting too warm. When taped to the side of the fermentor, I can set it at plus or minus one degree. It doesn't cycle on and off too much, since it takes time for that much liquid to change temperature even that small amount.

Then in the winter, I set the fermentor in my cold garage, wrapped in a "fermwrap" heating blanket. Again, I tape the probe to the side of the fermentor, plug the fermwrap into it, and the heater keeps the beer at fermentation temperature--cutting on and off as required.

Some brewers build a single chamber with both a heating element (like an incandescent light) and a cooling element (the fridge itself). If that is your intention, you would want to buy a 2 stage unit, to control them both. But in my case, I vary my use of this with the calendar. In the winter, I need to heat my fermentor. In the summer, I cool it.

And I have used this device constantly for ten years without any problems.
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on January 2, 2011
I want to contrast this Ranco ETC-111000 with the Lux WIN100 Heating & Cooling Programmable Outlet Thermostat.

This Ranco can only be installed by someone familiar with electrical wiring.
It does not come with any power input cord or any plug socket to get power out.
I cut an extension cord in two and wired the two cut ends through a cable clamp to the Ranco. So I had a plug to plug into the wall and a socket to plug my heater into. But if you're not familiar with the hot, neutral, and ground wires of a power cord, you should not attempt it. Also, it took me an hour to connect the cords. If you are familiar with electrical wiring, the wiring diagram is clear.
I found the ETC-111000-000W on the internet that is prewired with a plug and socket.

The Lux is ready to plug into the wall right out of the box.

The Ranco's temperature set point range is -30ºF to 220ºF.
Settable differential range 1ºF to 30ºF.

The Lux temperature set point range is 45ºF to 90ºF.
Differential/swing default is 1ºF. Can be set from 1ºF to 9ºF.

The Ranco has no time functions. I tested for a delay in cool mode between turn off and turn on so the pressure on the AC compressor can go down. After the Ranco turned off, I got it to turn on again in 13 seconds by warming the probe in my hand.

The Lux can have 4 different temperature settings each day, and the weekends can be different than the weekdays. Or, it can be set to one temperature all the time.
The Lux waits 2 minutes on cool between turn off and turn on so the pressure on the AC compressor can go down.

The Ranco comes with an 8ft cable on the probe which can be lengthened to 400ft by splicing in more cable.

The Lux comes with a 1 inch cable on the probe.

The Ranco works on 120 or 208/240 volts.

The Lux works on 120 volts with a max load of 15 amps.

I want to illustrate the danger if a mistake is made in setting the heat/cool mode or if someone plays with the settings.

I put 2 100w light bulbs in the lower oven drawer of my oven.
I set the Ranco to 75ºF. Then I made one error: I set the Ranco to cool.
It heated up to 175ºF. I wanted to see what happens at the Ranco limit of 220ºF, so I boosted the heat with the oven's heater. When the temperature passed 220ºF, the Ranco turned off and displayed "EP". As the temperature dropped, the Ranco displayed 220 and turned on again.
The power strip that I plugged the two 100w lights into was warped by the heat and can't be used anymore.
Ranco has addressed this problem by providing a keypad lockout switch inside the enclosure. When in locked position, the keypad is disabled.
Also, Ranco warns:
"All ETC series controls are designed as operating controls only. If an operating control failure could result in personal injury or loss of property, a separate safety control and/or alarm should be installed."

I did the same test with the Lux using the Ranco probe to read the temperature because the entire Lux device was in the oven. I stopped the test at 115ºF. The Lux displayed "HI" but was still supplying power to the light bulbs.

I have no children or anyone in my house who would touch these thermostats. If I connect them to a heater, I use the low power range and use the thermostat on the heater as a backup to prevent over heating. When I connect a thermostat, I watch it go through one on-off cycle to see if it is operating correctly.
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on January 30, 2012
This thing works great. I'm using it to control the temperature of the heat pads under my seed flats for starting veggie seeds for the garden. I set it to 75 degrees with a 6 degree variance, put the sensor under between the heat pad and the seed flat, and it comes on at 69 and goes off at 75. Perfect! I'm sure I will find plenty more uses for this after all the transplanting is done.
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on August 23, 2013
Using this on my aquarium to control 1000Watts of heating power!

Its so much more reliable than using individual heaters and trying to get them to "sync" up and help heat the water. I would never consider changing back to that manner of doing things...
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on March 4, 2011
I have two of these and they are great. They do heating and cooling unlike what it says on the site. Also the probe is replaceable so you can own this unit for a long time. I had some spare plugs so I wired it myself with no problem, but if you are unfamiliar with electrical work you may want to find one for sale that is already wired and ready to use.
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on July 21, 2014
This works very well for controlling my home-made kegerator. It has been in service for ~18 months without any problems. If you can use a screw driver & wire cutters, accomplish easy wiring tasks, and follow YouTube instructions, it is a very easy project to accomplish. It took me ~30-45 minutes once I had all the tools and necessary parts.

I highly recommend a cheap, on/off outlet strip so that you do not have to cut into the power cord of your fridge/freezer.
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on August 20, 2014
I didn't read as close as I should have, I thought it was pre-wired at the price I paid so slightly less of an amazing deal. Not the end of the world. The device is very very simple to wire. If you've ever installed a light switch or replaced an outlet in your home, you can do it. There's a ton of videos on YouTube showing you how. Once wired, the device does exactly what it says on the box. It's nailing temps perfectly in line with my laser thermometer. My fermenting beer has never been happier.
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on September 30, 2015
If you are home brewing I immediately suggest you purchase a good used freezer from craigslist and a RANCO ETC 111000. You can use this device to make a keezer, a cold crash device, or a controlled fermentation environment.

I use mine for cold crashing and controlled fermentation and it works perfectly. I didn't doubt the product would work well but was worried about having to wire myself.

I chose to buy the version that required being wired due to it being much cheaper. I made the right choice. I was able to wire for less than $10 with supplies I bought at Wal-Mart.

There are tons of how to videos for these. It is very simple to wire.

As for product performance: It holds the temperature in my freezer within 1 degree of the setting. I keep a secondary thermometer in the freezer to make sure that the RANCO isn't lying to me.

If you are looking to purchase a temperature control device this is the one you need to purchase. Don't look at other models. This is the way to go!
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