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Old 08-04-2011, 08:50 PM   #1
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Default E-Brewing help requested for a novice

I wish to make the change to an all electric setup for my brewing and, as a complete novice when it comes to all things electrical, I am looking for a little guidance. I would like to do the change over in two stages. For the first stage I would like to:

1. Monitor the temperature in the HLT and MLT
2. Control a 1500 Watt heating element in the HLT
3. Control two March 809 pumps
4. Ability to take manual control of the pumps and heating element
5. Kill switch

Both the HLT and MLT are coolers and I brew 5 gallon batches. I use a propane burner for the BK (outside). Also, I live in an apartment and only have 120 volts currently available to me.

And, the second stage:

1. Monitor temperature in the BK
2. Control a 5500 Watt heating element in the BK

The second stage will require me to upgrade my apartment to 240V, which I cannot yet do.

I have read many of the threads here on HBT and have settled on using the BCS-460 to monitor/control the system. I have gathered a list of items that others are using in their setups, but do not know whether it is correct for my particular setup...GFCI, SSR’s, Heat Sinks, Temp Probes, Heating Elements, Terminal Blocks, etc.

When I am done putting the system together I will have an electrician review/test it to make sure I have done everything correctly.

As a first post I realize that I am asking for a lot, and I appreciate any help provided!

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Old 08-04-2011, 09:58 PM   #2
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P-J to the rescue.... I built something really similar with a PID, SSR, and switches for the element and the pump. I dont have my diagram he sent me, but im sure he will chime in soon. I have a 2362 PID from Auber, 40 amp SSR, toggle switches from Home Depot, 120 volt plugs from Home Depot, and the 1500 watt 120 volt ULWD element from plumbingsupply.com in my RIMS tube. Oh and 2" RTD sensor that monitors my mash/RIMS temp. PID, SSR, heat sink, and RTD can all be found on Auber instruments web page.

Good luck

Since your new (welcome by the way) P-J is the Electrical Yoda.

**EDIT** What an idiot I am. I just read your going to be using the BCS-460 and I have no clue what you would use for that. But hey at least you know what i'm working with.

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Old 08-05-2011, 01:07 AM   #3
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Thanks for the response Coldies. I reviewed pid, brewtroller and BCS-460 methods but, the BCS-460 seemed more my "style" if that makes sense. It also seems to be able to be more compact.

If P-J does come to the rescue that would be great and much appreciated. I am also looking locally for an electrician whose is willing to review my completed project for beer.

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Old 08-05-2011, 03:06 AM   #4
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I've put up a few diagrams on the BCS-460 system. With your power limatations are you sure that you want to go with the BCS system? Take a break and really think this through. Your system is a mixed flame and electric system as it stands now.

Please tell me exactly what you are trying to accomplish.

(Coldies - Thank you so much for the accolades.
BTW, I got a huge kick with your edit. I do that all the time. Rest easy as your intent is golden.!)

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Old 08-05-2011, 03:54 PM   #5
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My main concerns are control over my mash temp, to be able to go from mash to mash out and to be able to move the wort around more easily. I am in an all electric apartment so no gas stove. I am currently heating my strike water on the electric range and its proving to be a pain to hit particular temps. The gas is a new addition, prior to it I was splitting the wort to be able to reach boil. I know with a 1500 Watt heating element it will take a long time to reach strike temp, but with the BCS i can maintain it once there. Also, I would like the system to be robust so that future needs could be handled by the controller, controlling the BK, etc. I had foreseen a some sort of combination between Pol's and Kal's systems.

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Old 08-05-2011, 04:13 PM   #6
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Can you pull your stove out?
Or do you have an electric dryer?

If either is the case, you do have 240V at 30A available.
You should only need to pull it out about 6-8 in to reach the receptacle.
A dryer cable can be purchased at your local hardware store for <$20 in either 3 or 4 prong that will fit that receptacle.
Then you can go all electric, probably the best option in an apartment.

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Old 08-05-2011, 04:19 PM   #7
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CrookedStaff,

See if this diagram is of any help to you:

Click on the image to see a full scale diagram printable on Tabloid paper 11"x17")




P-J

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Old 08-05-2011, 04:21 PM   #8
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Unfortunately no, the range and oven are separate. The range is flush with the counter top and the oven is mounted in the cabinets. I will eventually add 240V though, but can't yet do so. ($) Unless it is cheaper to add than I am anticipating.

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Old 08-05-2011, 04:58 PM   #9
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Thanks P-J!

This seems to be the system I am looking for and includes future capabilities. Although, I am not sure if I would know how to convert this to 120V.

A question, can you explain switch 8?

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Old 08-05-2011, 05:33 PM   #10
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Switch #8 is there to select the HLT or Boil element. The setup would draw over 55A if all elements were allowed to be powered at the same time. If the elements were changed to 4500W in those 2 vessels, then switch #8 would not be required.

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