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Old 11-15-2009, 07:57 PM   #1
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Default What can cause a heating element to fail mid boil?

I have built the countertop Brutus system that jkarp has so graciously outlined here. Yesterday while brewing a stout, the element burnt out in the middle of the boil. I turned the PID down to 95 in manual mode and it quit on me. Luckily I could finish on the stove, but the boil was not as vigorous for the last 15 minutes as I would have liked.

There were a few bits of grain in the boil that snuck through from the mash. Could a bit of grain stuck to it causing a hot spot? Otherwise, I am clueless.

The element was black after I drained the kettle and the outer layer chipped off very easily exposing bright copper underneath. There was a little nick in the surface of the element where it appears to have burnt through.

I already had to replace the first one (my fault) and this is very frustrating. If I have to replace the element every time I brew, I'm not going to get much brewing done.

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Old 11-15-2009, 09:17 PM   #2
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Holy smokes! Where'd this element come from?

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Old 11-15-2009, 09:22 PM   #3
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There was no smoke.

Menards. I'm going to try the one at HD or ACE this week. It worked perfectly in all 3 of my test runs and auto tuning sessions.

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Old 11-15-2009, 09:50 PM   #4
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lilbastage already taken?

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Old 11-15-2009, 09:58 PM   #5
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lilbastage already taken?
PM sent. But, yeah, it's me.
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Old 11-15-2009, 11:32 PM   #6
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Get the low density (physically larger) ones. Sometimes they can even handle dry firing!

Use an ohm meter to measure resistance between a screw terminal and ground. (Well, each terminal now that it's broke.) Maybe short to ground causing hot spot?

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Old 11-15-2009, 11:50 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Get the low density (physically larger) ones. Sometimes they can even handle dry firing!
Unfortunately, low density 2KW @ 120V are nearly non-existent.
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Old 11-15-2009, 11:50 PM   #8
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Get the low density (physically larger) ones. Sometimes they can even handle dry firing!

Use an ohm meter to measure resistance between a screw terminal and ground. (Well, each terminal now that it's broke.) Maybe short to ground causing hot spot?
I would, but I don't have access to 240v in the kitchen. I'm not sure I could run it at 120v and still get the power to boil that I need. Do they make 8000kw elements?

I'd do the test, but I really don't want to try to dig the screw terminals out of the epoxy just to figure it out.

Is it possible the wort scorched and coated the element causing the failure? There was no burnt taste or anything to the wort or even the black crust that flaked off (and it was very thin).
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Old 11-15-2009, 11:57 PM   #9
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I've kept an eye open for 8KW 240V myself, but no luck. My out-of-the-ass guess is, this brand element didn't like the slightly acidic wort and corroded.

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Old 11-16-2009, 12:04 AM   #10
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I don't the answer to your problem. But I remember seeing this earlier in another thread. Atleast you might be able to find something better. Hope it helps.


http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/rims...97/index3.html

Look at post #21.

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