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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Two 120V 20A circuits with 3 heating elements?
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Old 01-20-2012, 07:01 AM   #1
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Default Two 120V 20A circuits with 3 heating elements?

Hey all, I'm looking to put together an electric system with two 240V 5500W elements in the BK and one in the HLT. They'll be run at 120V, so only 1375W each. I have two 20A circuits in my kitchen, and I'm wondering how to wire it such that I could have all 3 running at the same time. I can't do 2+1 since the two elements on one circuit would be too much. Can I just tie the two circuits together and then hook all 3 elements to them? I'm no electrician so I'm not sure how to do this properly.

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Old 01-20-2012, 12:57 PM   #2
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Have they been rated to run at 120v instead of 240? If so I would imagine the output would not be as great and the efficiency possibly cut by half?

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Old 01-20-2012, 01:12 PM   #3
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I would suggest running two 2000w 120v elements on seperate 20 amp circuits...why do you want to run the 5500w elements at 120v for only 1337w ? You don't need to power the HLT and kettle at the same time? I'm confused.

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Old 01-20-2012, 03:47 PM   #4
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I would suggest running two 2000w 120v elements on seperate 20 amp circuits...why do you want to run the 5500w elements at 120v for only 1337w ? You don't need to power the HLT and kettle at the same time? I'm confused.
It should be 1375w at 120V, right? I want to use the 5500w elements for two reasons. One, they are ultra low watt density which means I don't have to worry about keeping them submersed all the time. I know they should be, but this just means one less thing to be thinking and worrying about. Two, it makes it very simple to upgrade to 240V once I no longer live in an apartment.

I want to be able to power both at the same time because I'm doing HERMS and I'll need to heat strike water in the BK and re-circulation water in the HLT at the same time. Well, I don't need to, but it will save a lot of time and simplify things.
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Old 01-20-2012, 04:54 PM   #6
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Use two 2000w elements. You won't be able to power all three at once. 2000/120=16.6amps. 1375/120=11.45a. Powering both on one circuit will blow it. Too high of amperage. The way I do it is I have both elements in my HLT giving me essentially 4000w. I know it's a tad less but we will use that number for now. In the beginning I turn on both elements and heat my strike water to 175. I take my amount and add it to the MLT. Add my grains and stir. Throw the lid on and start the timer. Then I add enough water to sparge and set the temp to my mash temp. 15 minutes prior to Sparging, I'll stop recirculation and set the temp to 200. Once mash is up, i'll drain my first runnings. ONce this is complete, my water is up to sparge temp. I'll do my first sparge, mix, circulate and drain. Repeat for the second sparge. After this my HLT is empty and BK is full. Now if you plan on going electric with boil, youll have to look at using a Brutus 20 type design.

The other way is to keep the two outlets set for your elements. Use a selector switch to change where your current is being used. This would involve 4 total elements though. Two for your HLT and two for your BK. I do a hybrid system. Two elements and propane for the boil.

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Old 01-20-2012, 06:27 PM   #7
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OK, 1375w is uber low...have at it.
I came up with around an hour to heat from 70F to 155F with 1375w. Not a big deal since it's the very first thing to be done and I could wake up and turn it on immediately and walk away. And when I get 240V it becomes badass without any changes save a new connector.
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Old 01-20-2012, 06:30 PM   #8
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Use two 2000w elements. You won't be able to power all three at once. 2000/120=16.6amps. 1375/120=11.45a. Powering both on one circuit will blow it. Too high of amperage. The way I do it is I have both elements in my HLT giving me essentially 4000w. I know it's a tad less but we will use that number for now. In the beginning I turn on both elements and heat my strike water to 175. I take my amount and add it to the MLT. Add my grains and stir. Throw the lid on and start the timer. Then I add enough water to sparge and set the temp to my mash temp. 15 minutes prior to Sparging, I'll stop recirculation and set the temp to 200. Once mash is up, i'll drain my first runnings. ONce this is complete, my water is up to sparge temp. I'll do my first sparge, mix, circulate and drain. Repeat for the second sparge. After this my HLT is empty and BK is full. Now if you plan on going electric with boil, youll have to look at using a Brutus 20 type design.

The other way is to keep the two outlets set for your elements. Use a selector switch to change where your current is being used. This would involve 4 total elements though. Two for your HLT and two for your BK. I do a hybrid system. Two elements and propane for the boil.
This is my main question. Is it possible to divide the total power evenly across the two circuits? The total amperage is 34.3A, which is less than the total 40A available. If it's not possible to distribute evenly, then I'll rethink how I want to set it up.
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Old 01-22-2012, 12:52 AM   #9
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I'm no electrician but no, it's not possible as far as I know.

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