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-   -   240v or 120v (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/240v-120v-358357/)

ronan 10-02-2012 09:40 PM

240v or 120v
 
Ok, I presently have 240v service in my garage which is where presently brew. My intent for now is build a electric HLT and maybe a year or two out perhaps an electric kettle. But the question at hand is 240v or 120v and the reason I ask is this. A 30A GFCI breaker which is in my opinion is 100% required here is nearly 80$. If I go 120v its just a cheap GCFI outlet and most of the part are pretty cheap. I also have a PID which I may or may not use with the HLT but its rated for 110-240v so no concern there. So the question is 240v going to be that much better and worth the additional upfront cost? What sort of current draw can one expect from a 2000 to 3000 w element?

Thanks

-Robert

tre9er 10-02-2012 09:49 PM

I used a 1650w element in my 8g HLT for a while and it was OK. It took a good while to heat strike/sparge, but not longer than the mash for sparge and for strike I'd just mill my grains, clean stuff, etc. while it heated. Really, the HLT is easy IMO. I watch the thermometer, old school I guess you could say, since I don't have RIMS/HERMS. I think you could totally get away with 120 on the HLT and then shoot for a 240 BK down the road.

DeafSmith 10-02-2012 10:01 PM

I'd definitely recommend using 240 volt, especially since you already have it available. With a 240 volt, 30 amp outlet, you can use a 5500 watt element drawing 23 amps; with 120 volts only a 1500watt element drawing 12.5 amps, or maybe, if you have a 20 amp outlet, a 2000 watt element drawing 16.7 amps. So with 240 volts, you can heat your water/wort 2.5 to 3.67 times faster - that makes a big difference on brew day.

A lot of people use spa disconnect panels for the GFCI because they are pretty cheap (as of a couple of years ago you could buy a 50 amp spa panel at Home Depot for $49 - don't know what they are charging now). That works well for people like me who plug into a dryer outlet and don't want the GFCI while using the dryer. If you have a dedicated outlet for brewing where you can always leave the GFCI breaker in place, you'd probably be better off to go ahead and buy the breaker, because with a spa panel you'll have additional expenses in wiring and possibly an additional pair of plugs depending on how you wire it.

EDIT: I didn't catch the part where you only want an electric HLT for now - you could probably get away with 120 if you don't mind the additional heating time, but I'd definitely go with 240 for a boil kettle.

ronan 10-02-2012 10:15 PM

Based on the feedback thus far thinking better to start off with 240 v then have to rebuild my HLT to later to support it. Thanks for the suggestion on the SPA disconnect. This is what I found near me at local big box store. I think it will work what do you think DeafSmith?

http://www.menards.com/main/electric...096-c-6435.htm

P-J 10-02-2012 11:29 PM

A SPA panel is a good solution. The one from Meynards 'appears' to be ok. This one from HomeDepot is the one I frequently recommend and is often pictured in this forum.

P-J

DeafSmith 10-03-2012 12:17 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ronan (Post 4464140)
Based on the feedback thus far thinking better to start off with 240 v then have to rebuild my HLT to later to support it. Thanks for the suggestion on the SPA disconnect. This is what I found near me at local big box store. I think it will work what do you think DeafSmith?

http://www.menards.com/main/electric...096-c-6435.htm

I use the one from Home Depot - don't know anything about other brands. I'd follow P-J's recommendations as I'm pretty sure he knows more about this than I do.

ronan 10-03-2012 01:36 AM

So I picked up the one from Menards but may return it if the consensus is the version from Home Depot is better and tried-n-true. I did notice my wires are only 12g so the most I can run is 20a even though the Spa Disco is rated for 50a. I suppose it's not an issue since the breaker in the box is 20a, right? Probably looking at a 2500 to 3000w element does this sound correct for the circuit size? I will probably run a heavier wire at some point when I decide to do brew pot.

thargrav 10-03-2012 03:04 AM

A 3000 watt, 240V element only draws 12.5 amps.

porcupine73 10-03-2012 03:10 AM

I'd go 240VAC for a couple reasons, it's just kind of bad ass having something like that in a home application on 240VAC. Yes the current will be a lot less, well I guess 1/2 basically. Trying to push more than 2000 watts through a 20A GFCI outlet may be pushing it, though for short durations it should take it alright.

maltbarleyhops 10-03-2012 05:29 AM

im doing the same as you as far as the build goes.
240v to start. i tested my 4500w element today at 110v with 5 gallons of water (although it will be used for 220v, just wanted to see it "run") after 2 hours, running full on, did not reach boiling temps (186f).

when i heat the water in the HLT, i bring it to a boil at first, just to rid it of Chlorines and such. i then let it "rest" to and maintain it at strike/sparge temps. and i usually start with 10-12 gallons in the HLT, 220v is a necessity


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