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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > Boil Kettle element question
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Old 06-27-2012, 07:19 PM   #1
deadboy
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Default Boil Kettle element question

I was thinking about some input I've gotten from several people in various threads and was thinking that if I were to not connect my Boil Kettle element to a PID would it be safe to wire it up to an appropriately sized contactor and then just hook up the coil on the contactor to a switch to allow me to turn it on and off at the appropriate times? That should negate the need for an SSR for the element, correct?

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Old 06-27-2012, 08:46 PM   #2
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It would work, just not "fine control" - you're either 100% on or 100% off.
People do that a lot with smaller 120 elements

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Old 06-27-2012, 08:57 PM   #3
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It's been put to me that with the boil element you pretty much are boiling or your cooling and there's no real need for fine control. I actually have the equipment to hook it to a PID. I just figured why wire up the extra kit if it's not nesc. If you disagree I would LOVE to hear your reasoning before I start filling up the control box.

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Old 06-27-2012, 09:01 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by deadboy View Post
It's been put to me that with the boil element you pretty much are boiling or your cooling and there's no real need for fine control. I actually have the equipment to hook it to a PID. I just figured why wire up the extra kit if it's not nesc. If you disagree I would LOVE to hear your reasoning before I start filling up the control box.
I have no controllers on either my HLT or BK and both are electric. I simply watch the temperature and turn it off accordingly. Worst case scenario is my strike is a little hot and I stir down for 5 minutes or my sparge is a little hot and I mash a little longer or run off slower.

In the BK it doesn't matter. The only time I cut power to an element is if the boil is ferocious and I'm near the top..which doesn't happen much in my new keggle.
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Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:01 PM   #5
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I have no controllers on either my HLT or BK and both are electric. I simply watch the temperature and turn it off accordingly. Worst case scenario is my strike is a little hot and I stir down for 5 minutes or my sparge is a little hot and I mash a little longer or run off slower.

In the BK it doesn't matter. The only time I cut power to an element is if the boil is ferocious and I'm near the top..which doesn't happen much in my new keggle.
This is the advice I'm mostly getting. I'd love opposing/alternate viewpoints. I had considered initially hooking up the boil element to a PID in order to have a little less vigorous boil.

EDIT: I take it back. It has not been suggested that I let the HLT element run. I'll probably go ahead and keep that one hooked to the PID as I'd hate to mess that about and the mash get too hot/cool.
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:05 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deadboy View Post
This is the advice I'm mostly getting. I'd love opposing/alternate viewpoints. I had considered initially hooking up the boil element to a PID in order to have a little less vigorous boil.
Depends on how attentive you are during brew days. I have an idea how long things will take to heat and such, so I can run off for a minute here and there, but I mostly watch everything like a hawk. If you want completely care-free brewing...get PIDs.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davekippen View Post
Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by deadboy View Post
This is the advice I'm mostly getting. I'd love opposing/alternate viewpoints. I had considered initially hooking up the boil element to a PID in order to have a little less vigorous boil.

EDIT: I take it back. It has not been suggested that I let the HLT element run. I'll probably go ahead and keep that one hooked to the PID as I'd hate to mess that about and the mash get too hot/cool.
Are you using Herms or something? If you're using a seperate MLT then strike water is all you're heating for the mash, and if that's too hot...turn element off and wait a minute or two. No biggie. Again, if you want to take a nap and have an alarm tell you when everything is ready...get controllers. Otherwise running upstairs to get a cup of coffee won't take your strike water 50* over. It takes a lot of time to heat water.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davekippen View Post
Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:23 PM   #8
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Yes, it will be HERMS. When I say too hot/cold I just mean if I leave the HLT element on/off too long then that would adversely effect the mash temp as it runs thru the heat exchanger. I'm not a total absentee brewer but if something comes up with the kid or door or whatever and I come back I'd rather the temp on the fiddlier stuff, like the HLT and mash temp, was being watched by me AND the system. Currently I brew on the stove so as long as I am watching the time I can just adjust the burner.

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Old 06-27-2012, 10:29 PM   #9
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Well HERMS is a totally different story. You should mention that next time! Yeah, I'd want the HLT element run on PID. For people with insulated, traditional mash-tuns...it's not necessary. The BK definitely doesn't need control unless you plan on a very full boil.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by davekippen View Post
Open log Fermenting and gas-can secondary?? I am planning my next brew right now!!
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Old 06-27-2012, 10:34 PM   #10
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Haha! Sorry about that. I'm actually transitioning from stove top 5-6 gallon batches to HERMS electric using two half barrel 15 gallon kegs for HLT and boil kettle and a 10gallon igloo for my MT. I forget that all electric isn't the same because I'm an idiot

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