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Old 03-01-2011, 02:49 PM   #31
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Then my uber-thorough wife told me that she found a clause in our homeowner's insurance policy that stated that any damage to the house caused by electrical work that was performed by someone without an electrician's license would not be covered. Period. So, in the event that something terrible happened and my house burned down... if it was deemed to have been caused by the breaker and 2 feet of wiring that I had installed, then I would be SOL and sitting on top of 25 years of mortgage for a house that no longer existed.
er I mean... I could totally install it myself dude... I just don't want to mess with my insurance on my house.... ha!

I over plan the heck out of everything, sometimes the best knowledge is knowing what you don't know! I know I could learn it, but I am happy wiring tiny light bulbs in series and parallel from a AA battery. Or changing out the occasional wall plug or light switch (with the breaker off)

Thanks for that link!

I know some old timer electricians who still test for hots with their fingers. One jackass likes to scare new guys by taking a screwdriver and causing an arc on wall socket wires....
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Old 03-01-2011, 03:02 PM   #32
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See heat sticks scare the sh!t out of me too. Problem is, I would have to install two elements. Also, right now my buddy bought a blichman for our "shared" mashtun. I have been rocking the BIAB so far. I am not sure he will be up for cutting into his new shiny toy. That also means I would need to buys 4 elements, versus making two heat sticks. But I still think the heat sticks are crazy.

Has anyone straight up welded the element onto the piping? and welded piping up and out of the kettle to make the seal versus jb weld and silicon? My buddy is a welder

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Old 03-01-2011, 03:21 PM   #33
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See heat sticks scare the sh!t out of me too. Problem is, I would have to install two elements. Also, right now my buddy bought a blichman for our "shared" mashtun. I have been rocking the BIAB so far. I am not sure he will be up for cutting into his new shiny toy. That also means I would need to buys 4 elements, versus making two heat sticks. But I still think the heat sticks are crazy.
I'm not following you. Why do you need 2 elements? I thought we were talking about a single 3000W element here.

Also, you do NOT want to put an element directly into your MLT, so forget about cutting up the blichman.

I am not clear on what you are trying to build.
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Old 03-01-2011, 03:49 PM   #34
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Ah! - I only saw 1500 and 2000 watt and 5500 elements at HD yesterday. I must have overlooked the 3K watt one. I thought you meant to use two 1500watts for a total of 3K.

By putting the element into the mash tun, I had thought about running it off a PID to maintain mash temps. I would be installing a recirculating pump to even out temp changes. Am I missing something here?

If I understand you, you were only talking about using the 3K element for wort boiling. Is there a good way to automate a mash tun's temp with an electric element? I thought that was the purpose of the PID controller and an installed element + circulating pump.

So to sum it up, my intent was (for hands off approach and no holes to the kettles)
1. build a heat stick and hook it up to a PID controller. Use that to control mashtemps with the help of a recirculating pump
2. use the same heat stick to then boil my wort after the mash is done (with the help of the PID controller)

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Old 03-01-2011, 04:05 PM   #35
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Ah! - I only saw 1500 and 2000 watt and 5500 elements at HD yesterday. I must have overlooked the 3K watt one. I thought you meant to use two 1500watts for a total of 3K.
I don't think 3000W/240V is a common size, so you may not find them at lowe's or home depot, but they are readily available online for less than $10.

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By putting the element into the mash tun, I had thought about running it off a PID to maintain mash temps. I would be installing a recirculating pump to even out temp changes. Am I missing something here?

If I understand you, you were only talking about using the 3K element for wort boiling. Is there a good way to automate a mash tun's temp with an electric element? I thought that was the purpose of the PID controller and an installed element + circulating pump.
If you put the element directly into your mash, you will most likely scorch the grain and have some crappy tasting beer. To maintain mash temps, you should to look into HERMS or RIMS systems. In those systems, you pump the wort out of the MLT, heat it up (just liquid, no grain), and then return the wort to the MLT. The element is never in contact with the grain.

The typical RIMS set up uses a stainless steel tube with a heater element in one end and a temp probe in the other and T's to bring wort in and out. You pump the worth through that tube and the PID monitors the temp of it as it exits the tube, and will bump the heater element when it needs to in order to maintain your set temp.

The typical HERMS set-up is a copper or stainless coil sitting in hot water. You pump wort from the MLT through that coil. The PID monitors either (a) the temp of the hot water or (b) the temp of the wort that is exiting the coil and boost the heat of the water when it needs to.


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So to sum it up, my intent was (for hands off approach and no holes to the kettles)
1. build a heat stick and hook it up to a PID controller. Use that to control mashtemps with the help of a recirculating pump
2. use the same heat stick to then boil my wort after the mash is done (with the help of the PID controller)
If you really want to avoid cutting holes in kettles, and you want to keep your costs as low as possible, then build a heat stick and go with HERMS.

You can mount the temp probe in a little chamber at the output of your copper coil. Sit that in a kettle full of water and put the heat stick in there, too. Pump wort through the coil and let the PID turn the heat stick off and on as necessary to maintain the temp of the wort that is coming out of the coil and back to the MLT.

When you are done mashing, pump the wort to another empty kettle and move the heat stick into that kettle. You're going to boil in there.

The hot water that you had in the first kettle is your sparge water. Pump it into the MLT for a batch sparge.

Pump the MLT contents to the boil kettle again to complete the sparge.

Flip the PID into manual mode and run it at 100% power until the kettle starts to boil. If necessary, dial the power down from 100% if your boil is too strong. But, with 3000W and 7 or so gallons of wort, you'll probably be find just running at 100%.

SO.. one heat stick, one PID, one probe mounted to your movable coil, and no keg cutting and you have fully electric HERMS.
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:18 PM   #36
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Then my uber-thorough wife told me that she found a clause in our homeowner's insurance policy that stated that any damage to the house caused by electrical work that was performed by someone without an electrician's license would not be covered. Period. So, in the event that something terrible happened and my house burned down... if it was deemed to have been caused by the breaker and 2 feet of wiring that I had installed, then I would be SOL and sitting on top of 25 years of mortgage for a house that no longer existed.

That was enough for me to cough up $100 to have a licensed electrician come spent 30 minutes in my garage.
Well, I guess it's a good thing I was wiring it up in a detached garage! If anything were to go wrong I'd just be out one detached garage.
Seriously though, I just wired my 240V plug the other day.. It was really simple, the hardest part was working with 8 AWG cable (my circuit is 40A).

That said, there's never any harm in bringing a pro in.
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:18 PM   #37
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BTW: you can still do this with a single element installed in a single kettle. That would be lower cost over all and you only have to cut a hole in one kettle.

This is what I do.

Install heater in a kettle. Put copper coil in it. Mash, circulating through that coil and monitoring temp as the wort comes out of the coil. PID boost the heat of that installed element when necessary.

When mash is done, pump the hot water to another empty kettle to hold it temporarily and take the coil out of the kettle.

Pump mash tun contents to the electric kettle.

Pump hot water from that temporary holding tank into mash tun for sparge.

Pump mash tun contents to electric kettle to complete sparge.

Flip PID into manual mode and boil in that electric kettle.

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Old 03-01-2011, 04:22 PM   #38
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OK cool - that makes sense that the coil in contact with grain could cause issues. Thanks for the explanation.

And just to be clear on this, again, not good with electric. That 3000W/240V, would I need to hook that up in a special way? As I said i have that double pole 15 amp breaker, but it on a circuit with all 120 outlets. Your saying that the double pole 15 amp breaker won't trip since 240 is available? Won't the outlets bottleneck?

I like the idea (and frugality) of the fully electric herms. I need to research the designs of that a bit more, but I believe that is what I will be moving towards.

I think for now I might settle on setting up for just the boiling, then develop the rest as I have the cash. To make the boiling apparatus all I would need would be that PID you sent earlier (no probe because I would run it in manual for boiling) and the material for building a heat stick right?

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Old 03-01-2011, 04:27 PM   #39
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Install heater in a kettle. Put copper coil in it. Mash, circulating through that coil and monitoring temp as the wort comes out of the coil. PID boost the heat of that installed element when necessary.
You wouldn't happen to have a picture of this set up would you? I can't visualize how the element interacts with the mash water/wort. Is the element under a false bottom or something?
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:40 PM   #40
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And just to be clear on this, again, not good with electric. That 3000W/240V, would I need to hook that up in a special way? As I said i have that double pole 15 amp breaker, but it on a circuit with all 120 outlets. Your saying that the double pole 15 amp breaker won't trip since 240 is available? Won't the outlets bottleneck?
Hmmmmm... that's a little strange, but it sounds like they fed 240V into the panel and through the double-pole breaker, but then forked the hots off to make 120V circuits.

Can you snap a pic of this breaker?

I thought you already had a 240v outlet connected to this breaker that you were going to use.

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I like the idea (and frugality) of the fully electric herms. I need to research the designs of that a bit more, but I believe that is what I will be moving towards.

I think for now I might settle on setting up for just the boiling, then develop the rest as I have the cash. To make the boiling apparatus all I would need would be that PID you sent earlier (no probe because I would run it in manual for boiling) and the material for building a heat stick right?
Well... if you want to just start out with an electric boil kettle, then you can REALLY save yourself some money. You will really not need a PID for that or anything. 3000W is going to be a good size for heating up water and boiling 5 gallon batches with no kind of control. You literally could just run the 3000W element at full strength and you'd be good.

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You wouldn't happen to have a picture of this set up would you? I can't visualize how the element interacts with the mash water/wort. Is the element under a false bottom or something?
I can go take a pic right now. Give me a few minutes.
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