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Old 01-29-2013, 03:14 AM   #1
mmonacel
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Default Can it all work on 50A?

So I'm in the initial stages of planning my E-system. After a quite a bit of reading I'm convinced I'm going to use a 50A spa panel. My ideal scenario is this - just not sure if 50A can make it all happen:

  1. Three vessel system - each electric
  2. HLT is one element; MLT is RIMS tube with one element; BK (ideally) has two elements but one would be fine
  3. I'd like to maximize the wattage for each element to minimize heat ramp ups
  4. Two pumps
  5. PIDs and SSRs for each element to start, ultimately a BCS involved
  6. Spare 120V outlet for computer, assorted other needs

I have no problem running in another 20A circuit to feed the pumps, computer, etc. if needed but is it possible to run it all off a 50A panel? Thoughts?
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Old 01-29-2013, 04:01 AM   #2
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Probably the max amps you want to use continuously is more like 40 than 50. You will likely need a selector switch to change between HLT/MLT and BK heating but that should be OK. The RIMS won't take a huge element. It might not be a bad idea to have low voltage stuff on a separate supply anyway because SSRs switching heavy loads can generate a lot of noise on the power line.

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Old 01-29-2013, 04:17 AM   #3
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50 amps can handle two elements at the same time.

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Old 01-29-2013, 05:14 PM   #4
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As long as you don't plan on running all three at the same time you should be fine.

For the price of three PIDs I would just get a Brewtroller or BCS to start with and be done with it.

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Old 01-29-2013, 05:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alien View Post
Probably the max amps you want to use continuously is more like 40 than 50. You will likely need a selector switch to change between HLT/MLT and BK heating but that should be OK.
Right - I know when doing residential wiring the rule of thumb is to not load higher than 80% of capacity. I'm assuming that follows suit here?

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The RIMS won't take a huge element.
For the RIMS is what is a standard wattage that most folks shoot for? I don't want unnecessary power, but I certainly don't want to be underpowered. Ideally I'd like to be able to do relatively quick temp rests / ramps.


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It might not be a bad idea to have low voltage stuff on a separate supply anyway because SSRs switching heavy loads can generate a lot of noise on the power line.
Yeah - while I could run a 120 off of the 240, it's almost just as easy to bring in a full dedicated 20A circuit to run alongside if you're already in the panel.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naamanf View Post
As long as you don't plan on running all three at the same time you should be fine.
I'd ideally like to be able to do just that if possible.

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For the price of three PIDs I would just get a Brewtroller or BCS to start with and be done with it.
I hear you. The BCS is my ultimate system, but I'd hate for there to be an issue with WiFi, my computer, or some other crap that stops me from being able to brew. The PIDs would allow the "manual" aspect of it and then I can layer the BCS on top to do all sorts of other things. I realize it's considerably more expense for basically duplicate functionality, but I don't want IE or Firefox telling me mid-brew that it can't connect or something.
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Old 01-29-2013, 05:41 PM   #7
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Even the career electricians on this forum cannot agree on whether the 80% rule applies to a brew system. I believe one reason is the fact that this is not a branch circuit, nor is it a true continuous use appliance like a residential water heater. I am not an electrician and I'm not giving you advice, but I have no concerns about running a 50amp spa panel at 49 amps.

I think the Cadillac of designs here can put 9000 watts into the HLT at one interval (rapid strike heating), then add 1500w of RIMS during the rest while the HLT is heating sparge water. That's 10,500watts and at 240v, that's under 44 amps leaving some room for a pump to run. Once you are sparging and collect enough wort to cover the BK element, fire a 5500w element in there on PID manual mode while using a selector switch/contactors to prevent the HLT from firing at all. While I don't anticipate that the HLT would lose too much temp during the sparge, you could always route it through the RIMS tube to keep the sparge temp topped off. Bonus is that you're cleaning the RIMS out at the same time.

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Old 01-29-2013, 06:14 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mmonacel View Post
I'd ideally like to be able to do just that if possible.


I hear you. The BCS is my ultimate system, but I'd hate for there to be an issue with WiFi, my computer, or some other crap that stops me from being able to brew. The PIDs would allow the "manual" aspect of it and then I can layer the BCS on top to do all sorts of other things. I realize it's considerably more expense for basically duplicate functionality, but I don't want IE or Firefox telling me mid-brew that it can't connect or something.
Then go with a brewtroller. It can be run directly from the panel with a LCD and rotory controller and/or browser or dedicated iPad/iPhone app.
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:20 PM   #9
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Then go with a brewtroller. It can be run directly from the panel with a LCD and rotory controller and/or browser or dedicated iPad/iPhone app.
But I'm all geeked out about the BCS and completely sold. Logic no longer enters the equation here. hahaha! Thanks for the suggestion though but I'm in love....
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Old 01-29-2013, 06:22 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by mmonacel View Post
But I'm all geeked out about the BCS and completely sold. Logic no longer enters the equation here. hahaha! Thanks for the suggestion though but I'm in love....
Brewtroller setup with a BX1 will cost the same amount as PIDs. Just saying.
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