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Old 07-19-2008, 03:07 AM   #1
IrregularPulse
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I've searched but could not find everything I needed. I thought why not start a thread, Start to finish on obtaining an electric HLT.

When I meant Start to Finish I mean Installing the breaker to heating water.

Beginning Assumption = I need a 220V breaker (2 free slots in breaker box) and probably 30 amp. My house has 100 AMP service.

Is it Possible?= Running a 110V Heating element for HLT, therefore not having to add a breaker. I'll be doing the wort boil with propane still, unless 220 breaker is the only way to go then I suppose I'll eventually be boiling Electric as well. I have electricla knowledge to the point of knowing how to be safe with it and making it work following a schematic, but not to the point of designing circuits and doing it by code.

I've seen 110V 3500W Elements and 220V 4500W Elements.
Can you run 1 110V 3500W element for an HLT? I don't want to be waiting for ever. I'd rather do it all the way with 220V if it is 100% worth it.

Now the assembling of the keggle isn't what I'm here for. There are enough postings on that. Just the specifics for 220V Breaker, Elements, GFCI Box and Circuit for everything together.

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Old 07-19-2008, 03:31 AM   #2
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To put it into perspective, Beertoolspro tells me that my large HLT burner runs at about 2400 watts based on calibration data I fed in. I think 3500 would be fine but I'm only aware of 2000w x 120v elements which would run just under 17 amps. You'd need a new breaker anyway for at least a dedicated 20 amp circuit (not quite code though because you're not supposed to run over 80% of the rated load).

This might help... http://www.suebob.com/brew/elementcalc.xls

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Old 07-19-2008, 03:34 AM   #3
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But how much longer would this take and can the 3500's just run off a standard household outlet? I'd like to heat a full day's water supply at once, then adjust temp as needed.

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Old 07-19-2008, 03:39 AM   #4
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Let's look at the two extremes. If you want to run new wiring, you can put in a 50 amp 240 V two phase GFCI and have lots of power for heating or boiling - 50 X 240 X 80% = 9600 Watts. If you want to use an existing 15 amp 120 V circuit you are limited to a heating element that is rated at 80% of the wattage of the circuit -120V X 15A X 80% = 1440 Watts.

So, the options are unlimited, but you have to figure out what you want to do. This board and the green board has a lot of electric brewers who are willing and able to help out newcomers to electric brewing, do some searches there, and here.

If you are at all unsure of what to do, hire an electrician to do the work or at minimum advise you. 240 V and water and concrete floors don't mix well without lots of safeguards, like CFCI circuit breakers, and redundant grounds.

No you can't run a 3500 watt element off a standard 120 V circuit, you'd need a 35 amp circuit for that. Standard circuits are either 15 or 20 amps.

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Old 07-19-2008, 04:34 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AiredAle View Post
No you can't run a 3500 watt element off a standard 120 V circuit, you'd need a 35 amp circuit for that. Standard circuits are either 15 or 20 amps.
Sure you can. Remember resistance is constant. (240V^2)/3500W=16.45ohms. so 120V/16.45=7.30A.

In fact I run a 4500W @ 240V on 120V no problems for my mash tun heater. I wanted a super low wattage per sq inch ratio. For a boil kettle you really need 240v though.

As for your breakers, be sure to run GFCI breakers. I am putting a small sub panel off of my water heater. The best thing would be to get a box designed for a hot tub. Usually they will have a 50A breaker which will exceed the breaker in your main panel. Which if you ask me is okay because the breaker in the main panel should trip, but what you really want it for is the GFCI feature.

Electric dryers and Ranges are also good places to pick up 240v
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Old 07-19-2008, 07:23 AM   #6
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If your panel is full remove two regular width size breakers and replace with four wafer breakers replacing the two 15 or 20 amp to the same amperage that you replaced then add your two pole 50. They are half as wide as a regular breaker, make sure you pick up both legs off the panel buss for your 240 volt and the breakers are pinned or bridged to trip together. Reconnect the other devices back to the other two wafer breakers. Even with only a 100 amp service you can run your brewing off a 50 amp breaker allowing for 9.6KW power at 80% of breaker rating per NEC code. With this setup tap off each leg with a 120 volt gfi with a breaker rated to the wire gauge for the pumps and controller before the 50 amp rated gfi for the heating elements. Just not have the wife use the dryer or electric range while your brewing, better yet get her out of the house shopping. Now the SOO cord will cost ya besides the male and female 50 amp twistloc plug, cap and gfi.
If the panel has room installing a 50 amp GFI breaker will cause the GFI to trip unless the PID, pumps and control lights are wired for 240 volt, remember balanced load between legs.
This will allow for two 4.5KW or one larger and smaller for still 4.5KW element total plus 600 watts for the pumps, controller and panel lights, radio.
Good point mentioned above about the use of super low wattage per/sq inch heating elements.
Even with this I will not allow my elements to be in any contact with any bier liquids from start to finish of the brew session.
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Old 07-19-2008, 07:46 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
To put it into perspective, Beertoolspro tells me that my large HLT burner runs at about 2400 watts based on calibration data I fed in. I think 3500 would be fine but I'm only aware of 2000w x 120v elements which would run just under 19amps. You'd need a new breaker anyway for at least a dedicated 20 amp circuit (not quite code though).

This might help... http://www.suebob.com/brew/elementcalc.xls
Bobby; 2KW x 120 is 16.666 amps not your "just under 19 amps".
Puts ya over the breakers 80% NEC rating to 83.33% and this without allowing for a pump, PID, control panel lighting and a mash stir motor if added.
Why not go to a 30 amp breaker and feed with number 10 gauge wire allowing for 24 amps at 80% breaker rating this allowing 7.34 amps for pump, PID and control panel lighting besides code legal. Throw in a GFI also.
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Old 07-19-2008, 12:39 PM   #8
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Yeah, I meant to type just under 17amps and I did mention a 20 amp circuit wouldn't quite be to code. I have a 100amp service as well and that's why I haven't gone to electrical heating on my rig. After an upgrade, I will likely cut over.

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Old 07-19-2008, 04:14 PM   #9
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As much as I hate to admit it I think this is over my head. I'm probably going to have an electrician come out and take a look. What kinda pricing am I looking at to switch over my house to a 200AMP Service?

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Old 07-19-2008, 04:30 PM   #10
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To upgrade your service, you are also bringing in your power co., upgrading your panel, etc.
I don't know what code is where you live, but I am assuming that your house is run with Romex, which makes adding more circuits more difficult. Also, GFI breakers are a HELL of a lot more expensive than GFI receptacles, and no more effective. Also, IF you pop the GFI, with a breaker, you are talking about having to go back to the panel to re-set it, as opposed to just re-setting the receptacle.
As to solving your problem, without knowing your lay out, etc, it's hard to come up with a definitive answer. Your best bet is probably to bring in a pro, and get their input.

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