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-   -   120v on 220v element? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/120v-220v-element-230298/)

hatrickwah 03-06-2011 09:25 PM

120v on 220v element?
I am hoping the electric brew rig gurus can help me here.
Yesterdays brew started with an excessive propane bill, therefore the wife and I both agree, electric brewing is in our future. The problem I have however, is that what I plan to ultimately build is a little steep on the price right now. I want to go with a BCS build based on OhioEd's panel, but will probably use Tiber_brew's kettle design. I already have the keggles built and am using them on gas right now.
Can someone tell me how to wire a 220v element, 5500w element to a 40a SSR that is controlled by my spare PID controller? I plan on changing my BK over first due to issues with the propane burner. I will ultimately go to 220 with it, but today that card is not available.

Sparky 03-06-2011 09:31 PM


The title of your thread is a little confusing vs. the content. Not sure if you have 120V now and will be going to 240V in the future?

But, regarding wiring your element, SSR, and PID - check out:

hatrickwah 03-06-2011 10:11 PM

Sorry, I'm bad at naming threads. I have 120v now and hope to be moving in the near future to where I will have 220v available.
I've read Kal's site over numerous times. Read Tiber_brew's a few, and just went through most of Ohio's. The problem is they are all 220 setups that I am aiming for, but need to take baby steps towards.
My plan for now is to buy the 220 element for my BK and wire it up, but run only 120 for now, and go to 220 when we move.

Sparky 03-06-2011 10:17 PM

You won't be able to run that 240V element off 120V. Sure you can't get 240V to the location? Many ways to skin a cat!

Elements are pretty cheap, so you could always install a 120V element and change it to 240V later. But, then you have to consider that when building your control panel.

hatrickwah 03-06-2011 10:43 PM

I thought I had read in a few other threads that it was possible. The resulting wattage is obviously less, in the neighborhood of 1500w. Only problem is no one seems to say to wire it.

Running 220 isn't really an option since the builder of our home cheaped on the electrical. I maxed out our panel when I added 2 circuits.

samc 03-06-2011 10:51 PM

220 Volt elements on 120 work fine. You will get 25% or so of the power. So a 6000 watt element will net you 1500.

Sparky 03-06-2011 10:52 PM

Okay, I may be wrong with the element, I will defer to my colleagues.

But, tell me about your panel, how many amps is your service and let's see a photo of that panel. You may be able to run a sub panel, or install quad/skinny breakers to free up some space!

bruin_ale 03-06-2011 10:59 PM


Originally Posted by samc (Post 2710949)
220 Volt elements on 120 work fine. You will get 25% or so of the power. So a 6000 watt element will net you 1500.

I haven't tried it, but how do you wire them? Since there are quite a few of us that are only switching a single leg of a 220V element, it's obvious that the element isn't active unless both hot legs are active.

I'm guessing you pigtail the 120V hot line so that it's connected to both legs of the element?

Personally, I'd just get a 120V element for now and swap in a 220V later. They're only $20...

hatrickwah 03-06-2011 11:24 PM

I wanted to just see what my options were, because I have to somehow sell the idea to the wife, at least the initial upgrade. I've been testing and tossing aside a few things recently with my brewery build, so the less I would throw away the better. I'll see what 120v options there are for low watt density elements then. I'm hesitant about the element in contact with my wort and the off flavors that could result, from what I've been reading it sounds like the ULWD elements are the best for the least impact. The only other worry I might have is whether or not the 220v element will fit the same hole as the 110v element, it would really suck to have to cut the hole and everything, only to have to redo everything down the road.

PurpleJeepXJ 03-06-2011 11:29 PM

If you cant get a 220v main line to the element then run a high amp extension cord from a separate 120v circuit on the other phase side of your panel. Wire the neutrals together and one of the blacks as the red. It will work... Thats how I set it up for a friend of mine.

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