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Old 05-28-2011, 03:37 AM   #1
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Default Bending an element

The Camco 5500 watt ULD element says that it needs 14" of space. My kettle only has 13" of space. Is it possible to bend the element?

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Old 05-28-2011, 03:43 AM   #2
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I don't think you can bend it.

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Old 05-28-2011, 04:01 AM   #3
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With due care...I believe they can be bent...ymmv

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Old 05-28-2011, 04:04 AM   #4
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I bent mine and it works just like new. I posted some pictures here: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/whirlpooling-bottom-drain-false-bottom-vs-side-drain-diptube-230578/#post2729717

Go slow and use steady pressure if the tube walls begin to bulge stop bending.

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Old 05-28-2011, 08:45 AM   #5
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You can bend it, as long as you don't kink the outer tube.

A heating element is a metal tube (normally a seamless SS tube), with a resistor wire running down the center, full of borosilicate sand and sealed at the ends.
When manufacturing them, the wire (normally NiChrome, sometimes manganin) is held taut inside the straight tube, while the sand is packed around it. Then the ends are sealed, and finally the thing is bent to shape.

Just use a good quality bender, and be careful. And, afterwards, use a multimeter to make sure the wire is not touching the tube.

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Old 05-28-2011, 09:09 AM   #6
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I hope this bending doesn't end in tears.


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Old 05-28-2011, 12:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inodoro_Pereyra View Post
You can bend it, as long as you don't kink the outer tube.

A heating element is a metal tube (normally a seamless SS tube), with a resistor wire running down the center, full of borosilicate sand and sealed at the ends.
When manufacturing them, the wire (normally NiChrome, sometimes manganin) is held taut inside the straight tube, while the sand is packed around it. Then the ends are sealed, and finally the thing is bent to shape.

Just use a good quality bender, and be careful. And, afterwards, use a multimeter to make sure the wire is not touching the tube.
I thought that the element was solid. Bending it sounds much less appealing now. I can go with a 12" 4500 UL watt element and not have to risk the bending process. Being as I only do 5 gallon batches the 4500 watt element should give acceptable heating performance. But I liked the ULW feature of the 5500 watt, hopefully that's not going to be an issue.
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Old 05-28-2011, 12:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRHunter View Post
I thought that the element was solid. Bending it sounds much less appealing now. I can go with a 12" 4500 UL watt element and not have to risk the bending process. Being as I only do 5 gallon batches the 4500 watt element should give acceptable heating performance. But I liked the ULW feature of the 5500 watt, hopefully that's not going to be an issue.
I have a 4500 w element in my BK and I can bring 12 gallons easily to a boil in it. It's low density element. I could probably boil even more, but it's only a 15.5 gallon keggle!

I have a 5500 w in my HLT.
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Old 05-28-2011, 01:33 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRHunter View Post
I thought that the element was solid. Bending it sounds much less appealing now. I can go with a 12" 4500 UL watt element and not have to risk the bending process. Being as I only do 5 gallon batches the 4500 watt element should give acceptable heating performance. But I liked the ULW feature of the 5500 watt, hopefully that's not going to be an issue.
Sorry for the bad news...
Either way, if you're careful, you can bend it. Then again, if you have an easier option, I'd go for it.
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Old 05-28-2011, 04:13 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Inodoro_Pereyra View Post
And, afterwards, use a multimeter to make sure the wire is not touching the tube.
I forgot to mention this, very important step. I measured terminal to terminal (~9ohms) before bending and the compared the same measurement after. Also after bending I measured terminal to outer tube (number of Mohms).
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