Review: Inkbird ITC-308 Dual Stage Digital Temperature Controller
The Inkbird ITC-308 dual stage digital temperature controller is a cheap and versatile way to control your temperature for kegerators, fermentation, and even aquariums or terrariums if needed. This model contains both a cooling and a heating plug for running two separate devices. I’m mainly covering the fermentation and kegerator uses.
The ITC-308 is perfect for running your kegerator or keezer. The Inkbird has both a heating and cooling plug but you can use just one with no issue. I set my heating side for a 30F differential and plugged in the cooling side to my keezer. I’ve had luck with setting the cooling to come on within 8 degrees of my optimal temperature of 38F. The thermal mass of the keg makes it stay cooler than the air so this minimizes the power consumption while keeping the beer cold. Your settings might vary if you attach your probe to a keg or place it near the bottom of your freezer or fridge. My freezer’s compressor only kicks on every couple hours and the beer stays cold.
The ITC-308 keeps temperatures steady for your fermentation. There are a few options from up to a fermentation chamber to a simple heat pad or aquarium heater in a tote of water. I only have one freezer at the moment but was curious how well the Inkbird would work so I set up a trial.
I set up a simple plant heating pad and my keezer to test it out. The heating pad was placed near the 5 gallon glass carboy full of water with temperature probe and the Inkbird probe taped to the side of the carboy. I set the Inkbird to come on within 2 degrees of 55F for heating and cooling. It kept my water consistent for my 48 hour test. I don’t know how often the heater had to kick on but the freezer only ran here and there.
The plug and play claim is fairly accurate but you really need to pay attention setting it up. I didn’t read the instructions at first but you should. First of all you probably want to change it to Fahrenheit as Celsius is the default. Now setup begins by selecting your optimal set temperature. Next you select the range of when you want your heating and cooling to kick on. The alarm is the next thing that needs set. Set your compressor delay to protect it for power outages and other issues. Finally remember to save your settings by holding the set button! It took me a few times before I finally grabbed my instructions and got my settings to stick.
The features are ample for what I need. A dual relay is present that allows either a heating or cooling device to run but not both at the same time. The display shows the your set temperature and the current temperature of the probe. Both Celsius and Fahrenheit are available with Celsius as the default. A compressor delay setting is included for power outages. An alarm is available for high, low, and sensor fault. I haven’t used it and set high alarm at 99F and the low to 25F for my keezer Inkbird. The probe cable is five feet long so there is plenty of length to reach where you need. The probe also fits perfectly in the SS Brewtech Brewmaster Bucket thermowell. The back of the controller and the cooling/heating pieces both have a place to mount them with a screw (Not included). The maximum loads are 1000W (110V) for each heating / cooling connection or 2000W (220V) for both total.
For you plant growers this works well for a simple growing setup. I like seed starting with flats with a heat pad and a fan for cooling. I set the temperature probe in one of the middle slats for an even temperature reading. The fan keeps you from baking your seedlings while keeping the seedlings at optimal temperature. For you brewers why not try grow something to add to your beers!
The price is really nice for a plug and play option. This is the cheapest unit I’ve found that does both heating and cooling without direct wiring. I’ll definitely be buying one of these for my fermentation chamber once I scrap together the extra cash.
My Keezer Settings:
- Set Temperature: 38F
- Cooling On Differential: 8F
- Heating On Differential: 30F
- High Alarm: 99F
- Low Alarm: 25F No frozen beer!
- Compressor Protection: 5 minutes
- Probe Location: Right above kegs at collar level.
- Handles most freezers and fridges
- Plug and play with no direct wiring
- Works with any heating device that fits the wattage and voltage
- Can’t control two devices at once