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Old 09-16-2008, 10:16 PM   #1
whitehotdawn
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Default All Electric Brewing System with Steam

So I have been thinking about an all electric brewing system for a long time now. I am looking to brew 5-10 gallon batches with this system. I have a space in my garage that has access to a 240V 50 Amp receptacle and a 120V 15amp receptacle (another 120V 15 ammp receptacle is close and will power pumps, ect). I have decided to automate the system using an Arduino Board (just like Yuri's system).

Steam Boiler and MT:
The Arduino would control the pressure (read temperature) in the boiler by activating a hotwater heater element inside. The temperature in the MT would be controlled by activating a solenoid valve to realease the steam into the MT in which a thermocoupler is placed.

HLT:
The Arduino would cotroller the temperature in the HLT, in which a thermocoupler is place, by activating a hot water heater element(s).

BK:
The Arduino would cotroller the temerature in the BK, in which a thermocoupler is place, by low-density hot water heater element(s). Ideally both the HLT and the BK would have lower wattage elements that could maintain the temperature (while the larger elements are disingaged).

I'm looking for advice on how to divide up the avaible power and what size elements should be used. For the boiler, Yuri uses a 240V 6000W element, which gives him 1500W at 120V with a 12.5A current draw. This seems to work well for him, so I'll probably do something similar unless people suggest otherwise. Before I propose a design, I would like to have clarification on downgrading a circuit for this particular application. Others have talked about using 75% or 80% of a circuits rating. Others still have decribed applications which seem to run equipment much closer to a circuits full capacity. What is the recommended protocol in this situation?

Initial Design

Boiler:
One 240V 1500W element connected to a 50A soild state relay (SSR) (Am I correct that SSRs are rated by the input current, so one would need a 50A SSR on a 50A line?).

HLT:
The HLT would have two 240V 4500W elements and one 240V 1500W element connected to a 50A SSR and have independed switches for each (do they makes these at a reasonable price?). Or the two 4500W elements could be connected to one SSR and the 1500W element could be connected to another SSR . The goals is to disengaged the 4500W elements and engaged the 1500W element in order to maintain the temperature.

BK:
The BK would have two 240V 4500W extra low density elements connected to an SSR and one 120V 1500W extra low density connected to an addtional SSR (I have yet to find a 240V 1500W extra low density element).

This design would give me 9000W of power to heat up water in the HLT and 10,500W with the BK (the additional 120V 1500W element). Since the 240V 4500W elements on the HLT and the BK would not be running at the same time they would consume 37.5A (the 240V 1500W element on the HLT would not be engaged while the 4500W elements were). Additionally, the boiler would consume 6.25A, for a total of 43.75A (which is ~88% of the circuits 50A). If this maxium load is unsafe I can redue some of the specifications. It would be easy to reduce the Amps on the HLT with a 240V 3500W element. The boil kettle proves to be a bit more difficult. As of right now I can only find extra low density elements in 5500W and 4500W.

10,500W is enough power to bring 13 gallons of wort to a boil (with a temperature rise of 73 degrees) in 14 minutes.

I'm going to need a bit of help figuring out this project and I would like to thank everyone in advance for any assistance offered.

-Sean

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Old 09-17-2008, 02:17 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by whitehotdawn View Post
Others have talked about using 75% or 80% of a circuits rating. Others still have decribed applications which seem to run equipment much closer to a circuits full capacity. What is the recommended protocol in this situation?
The rule is a continuous load should not exceed 80% of the full load capacity.

Definition of a continuous load-
A load where the maximum current is expected to continue for 3 hours or more.
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Old 09-17-2008, 03:43 PM   #3
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Use the arduino as a PID and you only need a single 240V element in each. (there is some code in the playground for arduino as a PID). PID code will cycle the 240V element on/off to reach and maintain a tempterature. I do the same thing just with a dedicated PID (ie, not an arduino) and I just have one element in my BK and one in my HLT. I set my BK pid to 212 degrees, and once I get a boil I set it to cycle at 50-60%. (ie, on for 1 second off for 1 second). You could do the same with the Arduino quite easily.

Also, I use 4500W elements. 25A SSR is fine for that (with a heatsink).

10,500W is a crap load of power. A single 5500W element in the BK would probably be fine.

I'm thinking of doing a HERMS system with an arduino. I already have all the relays and other electronics.

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Old 09-17-2008, 03:59 PM   #4
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Man, I would love to have an all electric brew system.... Hmmm. I wonder if I can convert the Blingmanns.

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Old 09-17-2008, 08:00 PM   #5
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Since I have this power available, I might as well use it to speed up the process (or just because I can). I like the idea of integrating a PID algorithm with the Arduino. Here is the PID code in case anyone is interested.

What if I bought five 25A SSRs configured in the following way:
HLT: two 240V 4500W elements
Boiler: one 240V 1500W element
BK: two 240V 4500W extra low density elements

When the HLT or the BK reaches the set temperature the second element would be disengaged leaving the single element to cycle with the PID code. This would give me 9000W of power to heat up the strike/sparge water and the boil. This would be a maximum current draw of 43.75A, which should be find since this is not a continuous load application.

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Old 09-18-2008, 06:08 PM   #6
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Since I have this power available, I might as well use it to speed up the process (or just because I can).
If you've got the power, go for it.
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Old 09-18-2008, 11:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
What if I bought five 25A SSRs configured in the following way:
HLT: two 240V 4500W elements
Boiler: one 240V 1500W element
BK: two 240V 4500W extra low density elements

When the HLT or the BK reaches the set temperature the second element would be disengaged leaving the single element to cycle with the PID code. This would give me 9000W of power to heat up the strike/sparge water and the boil. This would be a maximum current draw of 43.75A, which should be find since this is not a continuous load application.
Watch your SSR's: with 4500 elements you have 18-19 amps. Your under the 80% rule ( 20 amps), but I'd definately make sure you have good heat sinks and maybe a muffin fan to cool the SSR/sinks. I have a 3000W/240V HLT element with a good heat sink thermal greased to my 25 amp SSR, and my SSR gets to 125 deg F at 100% duty. Your SSR's could get to 190 deg F. 25 Amp SSR's are only 25 Amps with an "infinate" heat sink.

Your max load is 43.75A ??? Ouchers. That's a bit scary. What kind of Breaker Box do you have? 100A, 150? 200? With that amperage, you'll have to (should) run 8 gauge wire in conduit. You might be able to get away with 10 gauge, but you better check with a real electrician. I'd go with one gauge down from Kitchen Range wire gauge. Kitchen Ranges run on 50 Amp circuits... so you're pushing the 80% rule with 43 Amps. You may even think about getting a sub-box with a lever switch on it. That way you *might* be able to switch the entire 240V system down if holy hell breaks loose.

BTW: I found the "D" in PID relatively useless. PI control works fine for me. And NO SSR's are not rated for the "supply load": there is no such thing. The load current is always dictated by the devices you're controlling. Just make sure you have a circuit breaker in the box big enough to handle 43 Amps. (try a 60Amp 240V). I'd even think about having a sub-box with individual 30 amp breakers each 4500 W element, and a 15 or 20 amp breaker for the 1500W circuit.

I see many trips to Home Despot, or Blows in your future!
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Old 09-19-2008, 12:00 AM   #8
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W With that amperage, you'll have to (should) run 8 gauge wire in conduit. You might be able to get away with 10 gauge, but you better check with a real electrician.
Really need to run 6 gauge probably. That's what I did. 8 is only rated at 40A, IIRC.
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Old 09-19-2008, 12:19 AM   #9
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Man i'd love to put one of these systems together. I'f only I spoke what ever language you guys are speaking.

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Old 09-19-2008, 12:58 AM   #10
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Really need to run 6 gauge probably. That's what I did. 8 is only rated at 40A, IIRC.
Ok... I'll believe you on the 6 gauge. HAHA, I petty the fool who has to man-handle 6 gauge wire through conduit.
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