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Old 05-23-2011, 11:21 PM   #21
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Here's my take after playing around with my own RIMS:

As far as the elements "popping" I think you're right on. I would wager that the element got hot enough to break down the insulative packing in the element, and provided a lower resistance path to ground. This path would be from the internal resistor to the metal jacketing around the element.

I have noticed that the sludge that forms around my elements only scorches when it gets thick enough. I believe that this is a function of the sludge acting as an insulator around the element. I propose that the sludge traps steam pockets formed on the surface of the element, separating them from the liquid flow. The element is then able to heat these pockets above 212 F, in turn burning the sludge and leading to the element overheating. There must be a separation formed between the liquid column and the element surface, otherwise the sludge wouldn't burn.

Finally, I agree that there is something special about wheat and rye that cause a greater amount of sludge to be formed. If you look at a malt analysis they don't contain that much more protein than barley. The difference must be in the nature of the proteins. For some reason they are less soluble than barley proteins, and I believe that they must have a higher net electric charge, causing them to be attracted to the element surface.

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Old 05-24-2011, 02:45 AM   #22
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This is discussion is so timely. I was brewing a wheat beer this weekend while doing some yard work. I came back to check on the mash about 10 minutes in and the GFCI had popped, I reset it and the brewtroller started up and things went on. I realized a bit later that mash temps were dropping so I assumed that something happened to the RIMs element and it's fuse blew. I was really busy so I just let things go and the mash temp only dropped a bit and I haven't investigated the problem yet. When I randomly came across this thread it really got me thinking; when i first saw that things went wrong I noticed a little bit (1/2" circle) of black foam on top of the mash bed along with the typical tan foam. So I wonder what happened? My element is a low density version and it doesn't appear to be dry fired.

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Old 05-24-2011, 03:44 AM   #23
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Both BuzzedBomber and myself have scorched wort when using our RIMS tubes. We had the LWD 1500 watt 120v from PlumbingSupply. We noticed a scorch smell on his batch several times through out the mash. I only noticed it once on mine. Either way, once it's scorched, it's ruined.

I should note that in both cases, the scorching happened because we were trying to ramp temps. He was trying to ramp temps because he thought he could. I was ramping temp because I missed my sacch rest temp. I also was making a recipe with a large wheat bill and dealing with a very slow recirculation.

We have both since switched to 240v 4500w LWD elements running on 120v. I ran my first test batch with it with no ill effects. He just brewed his first batch 3 days ago. We'll see in a couple weeks.

I really would have thought scorching was difficult to do. I saw very few reports of people scorching prior to having experienced it myself. With as many people that swear by using RIMS, I would have thought there would be a lot more people scorching wort as they were learning to use the RIMS tube...

If I had to do it over again, I would probably opt for a HERMS. I still may if I continue to have scorched wort.

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Old 05-24-2011, 03:50 AM   #24
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I haven't had any problems before this wheat beer. I can typically run full throttle through the RIMs but the wheat had everything slowed down, almost stuck. I had to thin the mash to about 2 qts/lb to get it to flow, whereas I typically use 1.25 qts/lb. I definately think it is the wheat that caused the problem, not an inherent issue with the RIMs design.

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Old 05-24-2011, 12:50 PM   #25
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I am going to get flamed but I have always maintained that RIMS is for maintaining mash temperature only. Thats why I always try to brew with fully modified malts. With a fully modified malt a single infusion mash is sufficient so I never to use the RIMS to step. I think we are seeing more and more that using a RIMS to step is going to lead to problems. I think that one has to consider that to step you need to introduce a lot of heat into the mash which demands a slow flow to transfer the heat into the fluid flowing through the RIMS Tube. Thats where the trouble begins. I think if someone wants to step with a RIMS some direct heating of the Mash Tun or decoction has to take place for the step and the RIMS with maintain the rest until it is time to step again.

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Old 05-25-2011, 12:20 AM   #26
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I agree with you SawdustGuy, but in my case I wasnt step mashing and never have. Even when I mashout, it's the sparge water that brings things up to temp for the most part. The Only thing I did differently this time around was add wheat to the recipe. I've since looked things over and indeed I fried my element but it doesn't look split open like others I've dry fired.

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Old 05-25-2011, 12:22 AM   #27
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Are you sure that you didn't leave the element on after you were done with the mash etc ?

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Old 05-25-2011, 12:30 AM   #28
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No that didn't happen. As stated above, the Brewtroller was in charge and it happened ten minutes in to the mash. The gfci tripped and I had to reset it.

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Old 05-25-2011, 12:59 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker View Post
I wonder if you actually dry fired your element? That would leave a horrible burnt smell as well as cause the inner workings of the element to heat up excessively (no liquid to carry the immense heat away.)
Quote:
Originally Posted by shushikiary View Post
it doesnt appear that way. Looking at the element the entire thing is covered in black burnt material that I can scrub off, and the element its self smells very strongly of burnt grain, as if you put dry grain in a pot and put it on your stove too long...

...The elements I buy for the RIMS are camco ones and on the boxing it says they can survive dry firing, so to me the evidence points to the scorching and not dry firing.
I'm still wondering if you did actually "dry" fire the element. If you are getting a lot of buildup on the element that could cause a similar situation (or even worst) to dry firing as the heat won't be taken away from the element quick enogh and cause it to pop. For this reason I would guess even a ULWD element could dry fire under these conditions. I also thought the dry firerable (is that even a word) element s could only survive for a short time, not being left on. Just my $0.02 on the whole situation and I apologies if this had already been covered as I'm at work and did not have time to read the last few posts
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Old 05-25-2011, 12:34 PM   #30
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This seems like an elegant solution that I saw on the "Rims for Dummies" thread (page 81 of thread) -There is no heating element in the pipe. It's basically an external version of a HERMS system.

He wraps the outside of the pipe with extreme heat tape (The tape is a heating wire inside of a shielding, which is powered by 110VAC). The heat is applied to the outside of the pipe, like the coil in a HERMS.The pipe with the heat tape is the enclosed in insulation.

here is his parts list from McMaster-Carr --

1 1 each 4550T141 Extreme-Temperature Heat Tape 13 Watts/Square Inch, 8 ft Length, 624 Watts, 120 V today $69.07 each 69.07
2 2 each 4464K51 Type 304 Stainless STL Threaded Pipe Fitting 1/2" Pipe Size, Tee, 150 PSI today $7.18 each 14.36
3 1 each 4813K124 Standard-Wall Type 304/304L SS Threaded Pipe 1/2" Pipe, 0.84" OD, 18" L, 13/16" Thread Length today $18.65 each 18.65
4 2 each 4464K234 Type 304 Stainless STL Threaded Pipe Fitting 1/2" Pipe Size, Square Head Plug, 150 PSI today $3.21 each 6.42
5 1 roll 9379K92 Ultra-High Temp Foil-Faced Insulation Strip 1/2" Thick, 2" X 12' today $11.39 roll 11.39

Merchandise total
$119.89 Of one section. I used two for a total of 1200 watts..

When I finally get around to fabricating a bottom drain keg for my mash tun, I think this is the way i will go rather than an internal element.

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