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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > Building the right 240v extension
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Old 07-06-2014, 03:01 AM   #1
Munkee915
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Default Building the right 240v extension

OK so I've decided to start moving towards electric brewing. At some point I will be building a control panel for fully automated brewing but for now I'm just looking at powering a 5500w element. I brew in my garage and there is a 240v 30a dryer outlet in there but its about 20 ft away from my brew setup. Im looking at building an extension cord but wanted to be sure I'm doing this right.

I'm looking at this cable:
http://www.amazon.com/Cord-10-Gauge-...&keywords=soow

and this receptical:
http://www.amazon.com/Leviton-55054-...ds=nema+14-30r

the element will be wired to a dryer cord:
http://www.amazon.com/Coleman-Cable-...=dryer+4+prong

my question is where can i find a 4 prong plug for the male end of my extension? I cant seem to find anything online for just the plug. Or should I just get another dryer cord and pull it apart and take the end off of that?

Other than that, does everything look ok for this extension? Burning the house down would really put a damper on my brew day.

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Old 07-06-2014, 01:23 PM   #2
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A few questions:
1) What are you doing for a GFCI?
2) What type of element do you have? A 240v element requires H-H-G, so 3 wires, not 4.
3) Do you need the neutral for your control panel to run a 120v circuit?
4) You will make sure that any power cord you have terminates with a female receptacle end, not a male plug which could be live, correct?

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Old 07-06-2014, 02:28 PM   #3
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Look for a NEMA 14-30P
(P as in plug)

A local supply house should have it.

Is your dryer outlet in the garage '4-wire'?

That will need to be changed back to the breaker panel if it's a 3-wire.

'da Kid

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Old 07-06-2014, 05:54 PM   #4
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1. I havent really given much thought to gfci at this point because I am not using a control panel and will just be plugging in the element for now and manually plugging/unplugging when i want to start/stop heat. I am still looking at a pump but for now will also be "manually run" on a separate circuit until I finalize my control panel.
2. The element is a 3 wire element and i will terminate the 4th wire on the plug and save it for use later.
3. I do plan on building a control panel down the road and will require 120v but at this time I am only plugging in the element.
4. The cord will terminate with the female receptacle I posted above but I still need the male plug end to plug into the wall. The element will be wired to a 4 ft dryer cable that will plug into the female end of the cord.

The dryer outlet is 4 wire and matches the receptacle i posted above. I'm trying to keep everything 4 wire because 1) I do plan to build a control panel down the road and will require the 120v and 2) just ease of not trying to convert 3 wire to 4 and then rewire down the road.

When I search for 14-30p I find a lot of plugs that have 4 'curved blades' but not a lot that match the layout of my dryer plug.

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Old 07-06-2014, 10:21 PM   #5
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I would encourage you to use a GFCI even if you are not going to use a control panel yet.

The GFCI will protect you when just using a simple system like you described.

You are trying to prevent the kettle and surrounding metal surfaces from being energized if the element fails or surrounding wiring shorts to the kettle/heater housing.

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Old 07-07-2014, 02:49 PM   #6
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Well my HLT is a 10 gallon cooler for now. Thanks for the tip I will look into it. Any advice on the plug though? Still not able to find just a male plug for now. Would I be ok cannibalizing a dryer cord and taking the end off that?

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Old 07-11-2014, 03:36 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Munkee915 View Post
1. I havent really given much thought to gfci at this point because I am not using a control panel and will just be plugging in the element for now ....
I would absolutely use a gfci, even more so without a control panel and plugging, unplugging high voltage.
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Old 07-11-2014, 06:10 PM   #8
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Are you looking to plug/unplug the element to control the heat? This has been asked before and to summarize: you won't be able to effectively manage that. A 5500 watt element puts out tremendous heat, you'll be plugging/unplugging repeatedly for the entire boil. It is also unsafe to plug/unplug at these currents.

If you are looking for a low cost entry into electric brewing, consider a StillDragon Kit which uses an SSVR to control the element.

If you are looking for more control, then go the PID route and BCS for full automation.

And yes, get yourself a GFCI breaker.

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Old 07-12-2014, 02:28 AM   #9
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Easiest would be to use a Spa breaker setup or a 30 Amp RV hookup. You can get a 25 ft. 30AMP cord for the cost of the wire. about $55.00. There really is no need for the 4 wire - there are only 2 hot wires at any time. You will need an electrician to be safe and it's usually required by the town/city codes. But more so by insurance companies. The ground is the key to electric brewing, your metal parts have to be physically grounded to be safe. Liquids and electricity are a disater in the making. On my setup I took the easy way out since it's portable from where I use it to where I keep it. I use one half of a jumper cable, one end attached to a ground pipe (a copper ground rod pounded into the ground in my case) the other end clipped to the side of a converted 15.5 gal keg which is also attached to a cable from my pump box. You'd be nuts not to have a GFCI, especially without the control box. If you must get a 30 amp on/off switch, these "extension cords" don't plug and unplug easy. There are no safe short cuts with gas or electricity.

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