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Old 02-27-2011, 05:00 PM   #1
G-Lover
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Default 120V power demand design question

I'm trying to build a 1 gallon automated brew system for test batches.

My goal is to plug a single control box into a residential wall outlet to power the rig. Based on my understandings of explanations here, expecting 3X 110V 1500W to do that is dumb. I assume that if I wired all three up a heat sticks and plugged them into a surge protector I'd flip the surge protector or some breakers or something else nasty would happen. Is this true or is there a solution I don't understand?

One glimmer of an idea...in this post wh4tig0t uses 2 120V heating elements. He said he split the circuits up, I assume he means the 120V(A) and 120V(B) circuits run in residential houses. So maybe that is a possibility?

As an aside, I will not be wiring all this up on my own. I'm just trying not to waste the time of the very experienced friend who said he'd help me make the control box by having a design when I call on him. That should bed some fears.

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Old 02-27-2011, 05:35 PM   #2
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If you are doing 1 gallon batches a single 1500W heater should work. I am not sure if I understand your post correctly, but 3x 1500W elements in a single gallon is overkill. I use 4000W to heat 10 gallons and it works no problem.

As far as plugging into a single residential outlet, I believe most outlets are either connected to a 15amp breaker or a 20amp breaker. If you are not going to reconfigure your breaker box with some higher amperage breakers than your control panel needs to draw less than 20amps. If you use 1x 1500W element that is 1500W/110V = 13.6A. Which provided nothing else is running on that circuit leaves you with 6.4A for the rest of your control components. This is very doable.

Maybe I am missing something here.. but I think you have been lead astray. For a one gallon batch set up I would say that plugging into a single residential outlet is no problem. This is based on my experience with my electric kettle and the limited electronics I learned in undergrad. Good Luck!

-T

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Old 02-27-2011, 05:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TrevorRuggiero View Post
If you are doing 1 gallon batches a single 1500W heater should work. I am not sure if I understand your post correctly, but 3x 1500W elements in a single gallon is overkill. I use 4000W to heat 10 gallons and it works no problem.
-T
That would be insane huh...maybe an idea for later. The three are used in: 1 for the HLT, 1 for the MT and 1 for the kettle.

Also, if I have something plugged in another outlet while the heating element is on what happens? Do I draw too many amps?
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Old 02-27-2011, 05:43 PM   #4
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agree with Trevor.. 3 elements would be massive overkill for 1 gallon. With 2 1500W elements you could do 5 gallons pretty easily.
And yes, you'd need to use a separate 20A circuit (or a single 40A circuit if you've got one) for each element if you decide to do more than 1. They don't need to be on separate poles of your panel, just different circuit breakers.

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Old 02-27-2011, 05:44 PM   #5
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Okay, that makes more sense. If you've got three elements and only 1 is on at a time they can all be plugged in to the same thing (most likely your control panel). Then the panel would need to switch to only turn on a single element. That way you wouldn't draw more current than your circuit could supply.

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Old 02-27-2011, 05:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Lover View Post
Also, if I have something plugged in another outlet while the heating element is on what happens? Do I draw too many amps?
Assuming the item plugged into the other outlet is drawing enough current to take you over the amount the circuit breaker is rated for, the circuit breaker will trip. It happens all the time at my house if we have the washing machine, microwave, and fridge all running at the same time. No big deal, just go out and reset the breaker.
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Old 02-27-2011, 05:48 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Lover View Post
That would be insane huh...maybe an idea for later. The three are used in: 1 for the HLT, 1 for the MT and 1 for the kettle.

Also, if I have something plugged in another outlet while the heating element is on what happens? Do I draw too many amps?
Ahhh gotcha. I use one pot as my HLT and kettle and then recirculate my mash through the same kettle so that I only need on "heating" pot. I forget that 3 heating pots is the norm...

So as long as you only have 1 element running at I time I think you are still good to go. As for the other stuff being plugged in, as long as its not turned on your ok. If there were a few lights that would probably be ok, but if your running anything with a motor, like a blender, on the same circuit you would probably trip the breaker.

Cheers,

-T
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Old 02-27-2011, 06:14 PM   #8
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So I guess for my peristaltic pumps I need to be on a different circuit..

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Old 02-27-2011, 08:41 PM   #9
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So I guess for my peristaltic pumps I need to be on a different circuit..
I think you will probably still be ok. Check the amperage on the pumps and then add everything up. As long as you stay below 20A your good.

-T
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:03 PM   #10
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Check out the 2.5 gallon brewery in my signature. The two elements is just to keep times down. You could easily do the entire brewery on a single circuit with 1 element if you designed it correctly.

If you use a 1500W element, then you can also use the pump on that circuit. If you use a 2kW element, then I would look for another circuit to run the pump on.

Joshua

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