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Old 12-07-2011, 05:40 PM   #1
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Default Confused. Need suggestions, 10G 1-element?

My application is a stainless keg, with 10 gallons in it. I will have 1 or 2- 2" sanitary fittings welded on towards the bottom, and use a special 2" cap that has threads in it for elements (for easy removal and orientation).
I'd like it to reach 170 quickly (think HLT), but then be able to throttle back power and have some some granular control of that range. It should be able to reach boil.

My service is 200amp, and has a 100amp subpanel off that for my shop. I've got 120 and 220 (240?) outlets, with dedicated 20 amp breakers.

I'm all over the place on what to do here. I've considered:
-(2) 1500watt elements, run both and then one off?
-(2) 3k elements, each with it's own plug, some kind of switch for each to run it at 240 or 120 . . so 750, 1500, 3k, 3750k, 6k.
-(1) 3500 element with some kind of controller? All I need is like a volume knob. LOL I've tried reading all the SSR, PWM stuff and I'm confused.

It seems like the last option is best, but geting a bead on cost and construction of some kind of a controller is confusing as there are so many out there, and many seem to be aimed at more automation than I need? I just need one knob, no temp feedback etc.

I'd love to only have to buy ONE GFCI for a 20amp plug, my shop is wired 12/2. Or not have to run a new 30amp plug, but I will if I need to. I'm a little unclear on just how big of an element I can use on a 20 amp/240 single plug circuit. Seems like 3500(14.5a) may be my max. 4k is 16.6a, over 80%.

Sorry if I'm all over the map. I've read a crapload, and could build anything if I had some steps to follow, but electric isn't my strong suit. I do have a BIL commercial electrician though.

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Old 12-07-2011, 06:31 PM   #2
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Default P - J is the Man!

Well, search for some drawings by PJ, I am certain you will find the plan and the answer right here.

For example I have a drawing here that shows a 220 - 30 amp GFCI and a 4500w element.

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Old 12-07-2011, 06:31 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Komodo View Post
My application is a stainless keg, with 10 gallons in it. I will have 1 or 2- 2" sanitary fittings welded on towards the bottom, and use a special 2" cap that has threads in it for elements (for easy removal and orientation).
I'd like it to reach 170 quickly (think HLT), but then be able to throttle back power and have some some granular control of that range. It should be able to reach boil.

My service is 200amp, and has a 100amp subpanel off that for my shop. I've got 120 and 220 (240?) outlets, with dedicated 20 amp breakers.

I'm all over the place on what to do here. I've considered:
-(2) 1500watt elements, run both and then one off?
-(2) 3k elements, each with it's own plug, some kind of switch for each to run it at 240 or 120 . . so 750, 1500, 3k, 3750k, 6k.
-(1) 3500 element with some kind of controller? All I need is like a volume knob. LOL I've tried reading all the SSR, PWM stuff and I'm confused.

It seems like the last option is best, but geting a bead on cost and construction of some kind of a controller is confusing as there are so many out there, and many seem to be aimed at more automation than I need? I just need one knob, no temp feedback etc.

I'd love to only have to buy ONE GFCI for a 20amp plug, my shop is wired 12/2. Or not have to run a new 30amp plug, but I will if I need to. I'm a little unclear on just how big of an element I can use on a 20 amp/240 single plug circuit. Seems like 3500(14.5a) may be my max. 4k is 16.6a, over 80%.

Sorry if I'm all over the map. I've read a crapload, and could build anything if I had some steps to follow, but electric isn't my strong suit. I do have a BIL commercial electrician though.
You don't need to worry about the 80% rule here. That rule applies to breakers that have multiple outlets connected to them based on what I have heard electricians explain.

if you have a breaker driving a single outlet, there are no issues with just using it to damn near full potential. 20A/240V, you should be able to do 4800W, but you will probably only be able to find 4500W, which is 18.75A.

And, if you actually have less than 240V available, you will be even lower on current (example: a "4500W/240V" element that is running on 220V is only acting as a 3781W element and pulls only pulls 17A).

If 4500W is too close for your comfort, go with 4000W.

As for simple "volume knob" controller, you are looking at about $25 for the components for this. That includes a $15 SSR+heatsink and $10 for a simple PWM.

edit: that $25 quote does NOT include the price of power cords and plugs and stuff. those items can give you sticker shock sometimes, but those are costs that are unavoidable and have nothing to do with "control".
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Old 12-07-2011, 06:38 PM   #4
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Fast or Cheap, but not both. If you want fast, put a 240v, 50a spa panel in and run dual 5kW elements. A PID with two 30amp SSRs can give you exact set point (170F) and then you can switch it to manual mode to regulate boil energy.

I'm an automation minimalist but if you have any temperature plateaus that you want to reach and not exceed, I think a PID or other temp controller is practical ESPECIALLY if you've got enough power to blow past your setpoint in a manual mode.

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Old 12-07-2011, 07:11 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker View Post
As for simple "volume knob" controller, you are looking at about $25 for the components for this. That includes a $15 SSR+heatsink and $10 for a simple PWM.

edit: that $25 quote does NOT include the price of power cords and plugs and stuff. those items can give you sticker shock sometimes, but those are costs that are unavoidable and have nothing to do with "control".
Poster before: link doesn't work.

I'm cool with the price of all the extra stuff, I'm DIY everything and I get that. But, in all of the stuff I've looked at for PWM, they seem to come in around the $100+ mark. I've got a cartload of stuff at Newark right now at $100 based around the PSR-25 (OK $75, but I added an amp meter for some kind of feedback on where I'm at). Is the $25 version the one with a regular SSR and the little circuit boards? From what I understand, the PSR-25 kind of has this built in.
UNITED AUTOMATION|PSR-25|Power Control Module | Newark.com

I'm leaning towards building this, using my existing 20a 240v outlets, and using one 3500-4500w element. I'm just trying to find a 4000 watt low density element.
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:14 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Komodo View Post
Poster before: link doesn't work.

I'm cool with the price of all the extra stuff, I'm DIY everything and I get that. But, in all of the stuff I've looked at for PWM, they seem to come in around the $100+ mark.
If it comes in at $100, then it includes not only the price of the PWM circuit and SSR, but also the heating element, mounting kit for it, power cables, etc, etc.... the whole project, not just a simple PWM controller.
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Old 12-07-2011, 07:33 PM   #7
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I've got:
$45 PSR-25
$6 for a knob, WTF
$8 250KOHM, 2w pot
$16 for a heatsink.

I guess I can scrounge the heatsink, forget the amp meter, scrounge a box or use a workbox . . so that chops some off.

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Old 12-07-2011, 07:41 PM   #8
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SSR w/ heatsink on ebay = $14
Knob at Radio Shack for $2.
I have no idea what a PSR-25 is.

edit: looked up PSR-25. It's a relay (usually called an SSR around here).

$45 is WAY too much to pay for an SSR, especially one without a heatsink included.

Look here: 25A SSR w/ heatsink = $12 ====> http://www.ebay.com/itm/25A-SSR-DA-SOLID-STATE-RELAY-Heat-Sink-DC-3-32V-control-24-380VAC-/220893018815?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item336e3f fabf

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Old 12-07-2011, 07:55 PM   #9
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I don't believe the psr-25 is a simple SSR. It's a power controller. I'm no expert, but from what I have read and understand, it would eliminate the need for me to have 12vDC to switch the SSR. And is simpler to build for the non-electrically inclined.

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Old 12-07-2011, 08:01 PM   #10
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Ah... I see. You apply a variable voltage to the control pins and it throttles the current through the relay.

Yeah, that removes the need to have 12VCD to drive an SSR, and you don't need a PWM or anything.

So, it's a lot more expensive, but simpler to build.

Interesting.... I need to look into these more.

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