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Old 03-03-2011, 07:09 PM   #101
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Not sure if you need GFI for the electric heater, but it wouldn't hurt.
Your idea seems ok, if you want to possibly run 2 240V heaters I'd just install 2 240V outlets. You can easily design the brewery panel to plug into a 240V 50A receptacle.
I wasn't sure if I needed a GFI for it either, if I don't I will pass on it based on cost.

That is a good idea (plug in brew panel), especially since I am not ready to be fully automated, just looking to get the power done and an electric boil kettle to start. I could work on getting the wiring done, then once I am up to snuff with two 240's, design the box to plug into the 240.

I just wasn't sure if the 50 amp breakers were too high. But If I can get them cheaper than a 30 amp, that might make the decision on which box I am going to buy (QO square D). They have an 8 slot 100amp box that might work out for me ($34.97 in HD). It would leave me with a single breaker slot under the current set up, but I don't think that I have a foreseeable use for any more slots in the garage, so might be just right.
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Old 03-03-2011, 07:38 PM   #102
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I just wasn't sure if the 50 amp breakers were too high. But If I can get them cheaper than a 30 amp, that might make the decision on which box I am going to buy (QO square D).
When I was shopping for mine, I was originally going to just put in 30A, but I did find that the 50A GFI breakers were easier to find and cheaper.

The reason? Spas.

A typical spa requires 50 or more amps, and you definitely want GFCI protection if you're going to sit in a large tub of electrically heated water, so I think they manufacture more of the 50A and larger (I've seen 70A ones) because of the spas.

In fact, the deal I got on ebay for my 50A GFCI breaker was because the person who was selling it had bought it with the intention of installing a spa at their house, but then changed their mind. I got their $150 breaker for $35 shipped.

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Old 03-03-2011, 07:58 PM   #103
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Ah that is good stuff!

I am pretty close to choosing all the hardware. I picked a heating element and bought a 100amp 2pole for the main breaker to see if it is the "right one"

The only think I am not sure about is those breakers on Ebay. They saw HOM250 (which I would assume is the home line square D), but they are blue in the pic, look like the QO (square D). I am going to ask the seller which they are to confirm. If they are QO I think I will scoop 2 up.

Thank god for Spas haha

Walker - my drawing doesn't quite stack up to your visio one, but I did my best with teh time I had ha!

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Old 03-04-2011, 01:04 AM   #104
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FWIW on pricing for electrical work.
We charge the following:
- 200 amp meter/main and 40 circuit distribution upgrade: $2,900-$3,250 including permit.
- Sub-panel change (old to new): $1,000
- Install new sub panel (depends upon length of run and size): $1,500 - $2,500
- Standard hourly rate: $95/man hour; $120/man hour for AV; $380/hr design/engineering

Walker, nice score on the GFCI.....

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Old 03-04-2011, 01:21 AM   #105
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FWIW on pricing for electrical work.
We charge the following:
- 200 amp meter/main and 40 circuit distribution upgrade: $2,900-$3,250 including permit.
- Sub-panel change (old to new): $1,000
- Install new sub panel (depends upon length of run and size): $1,500 - $2,500
- Standard hourly rate: $95/man hour; $120/man hour for AV; $380/hr design/engineering
Phew! I'm glad I just had to have a guy install a breaker and run 3 foot of wire to a new outlet (and I already had all of the materials). He spent less than an hour in my garage, and I spent about $100. Basically, just paid him for labor on a simple job.

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Walker, nice score on the GFCI.....
Thanks. When I first looked at the price of them, I thought my project was going to be dead before it even began. I had a budget of $500 for the whole thing. Dropping $150 on the breaker would have surely killed me.
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Old 03-04-2011, 01:51 AM   #106
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So basically, I should brew my brother in law several cases of beer?

Holy moley, if I didn't have his help I would be figuring it out myself.

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Old 03-04-2011, 02:40 AM   #107
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He spent less than an hour in my garage, and I spent about $100. Basically, just paid him for labor on a simple job.
Another GREAT deal IMO. We used to charge $350, minimum, for a service call. Now, it is $500 and I try to avoid them for my crew.

PS - you guys are on the right track
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Old 03-04-2011, 11:10 AM   #108
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Thanks Sparky!

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Old 03-04-2011, 12:35 PM   #109
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Walker - I believe that you said this outright (but i can't find this within the thread).

Do you need an SSR or Temp probe if you are running the PID in manual mode for the boil only? MY current plan is the get the wiring set up, and get the PID and hook up to the element and run in manual mode at whatever percentage to get my boils taken care of. Down the road I will be adding things up into the herms (similar to what you have set up.

i.e. I am looking at the stuff I need from auberns to get the bare bones for my boil set up.

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Old 03-04-2011, 01:12 PM   #110
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Walker - I believe that you said this outright (but i can't find this within the thread).

Do you need an SSR or Temp probe if you are running the PID in manual mode for the boil only? MY current plan is the get the wiring set up, and get the PID and hook up to the element and run in manual mode at whatever percentage to get my boils taken care of. Down the road I will be adding things up into the herms (similar to what you have set up.

i.e. I am looking at the stuff I need from auberns to get the bare bones for my boil set up.
I never said you didn't need an SSR for manual mode PID operation, and I didn't *exactly* say you didn't need a temp probe.

If you want your PID to be in control of the element, you need an SSR. The SSR is the thing that handles the heavy load of the element. The PID is the thing that tells the SSR when to turn on and when to turn off.

Here's the deal with the temp probe, and (IMO) this is a slight design flaw in the PID. The PID will not operate without a temp probe connected to it. Period. The display will show "EEEE" to indicate an error. But, the reason I consider this a flaw in the design is that the temp probe, when in manual mode, is useless. The temp being read by the probe has no impact on what the PID does. The PID just turns the element on and off based on the setting you program in, and it doesn't matter if the temp probe is reading -100*F or +100*F or whatever.

So, the probe has to be connected to the PID, but the probe does not need to be installed in the kettle. You can just leave it sitting on the table or whatever.

Now... the other thing I said about boiling was based on earlier parts of this thread when you were considering using a 3000W element (and I am not sure what size element you are considering at this point.) Anyway, what I said was that 3000W is a really nice sized element for boiling 5 gallon batches, and you can literally get away with NO CONTROL at all. You could plug a 3000W element straight into the wall for 5 gallon batches and just let it run at full strength. No PID. No temp probe. No SSR. No control panel of any kind. Just plug and rip.

If you are going 3000W, you literally won't need anything at all from Auber to get an electric boil kettle in operation for 5 gallon batches. If you are going 5500W, then you probably will want the ability to dial down the boil strength, and that's when you need the SSR and the pulse width modulation that the PID offers in manual mode. And, because of the 'flaw' in the PID, you will also need a temp probe.
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