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Old 01-31-2013, 11:59 AM   #1
Brulosopher
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Default A few Qs about going Electric

I'm sure it's all been asked before, but I've not the time before work to search, and I'd like it all in one place. Thanks ahead of time!

1. Is there a thread out there detailing how to make a super simple electric setup? I'm not interested in building a panel or anything, just a basic element installed in some kettles that I regulate by turning on and off. I already made a heatstick that works great, but I was wondering how I might go about just installing a similar element into my HLT and BK, running them through on/off switches, and using them worry free.

2. I don't have access to a 220v outlet in my brew area (yet, at least). What is the most powerful heating element I can get for the aforementioned purposes using a standard 110v on a 15a breaker?

3. Would it be possible to install 2 separate elements in the same kettle, plugging them into the same outlet on a powerstrip? Or, is this the same as using a more powerful element?

4. Do elements in the boil kettle ever caramelize wort? I would think the wort right around the heating element might tend to caramelize... but this is just speculation.

5. What is the easiest and cleanest way to drill a hole in a stainless kettle?

Like I said, I want to start very simple and potentially build up from there. My plan is to set my HLT on a timer that will turn on 45 minutes before I wake up on a brew day (all GFCI protected), then use electricity in my BK to achieve a rolling boil. I understand this may not work perfectly on my 11 gallon batches, but I'd assume I could work something out for my 5.5 gallon batches, eh?

Thanks!!!

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Old 01-31-2013, 06:58 PM   #2
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I'm still wondering...

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Old 01-31-2013, 09:40 PM   #3
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I'm wondering too!

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Old 01-31-2013, 09:56 PM   #4
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I suggest that you do some Google research on home circuit wiring and Ohm's law. You can plug as many devices into a power strip as you want as long as you do not exceed the rated capacity of the circuit. Ohm's law is your friend and will answer questions 2 and 3. In regards to #4, my 5500 ULWD element does not scorch wort. Oil and a new, sharp drill bit make short work of drilling in stainless steel. Larger holes can be made with a chassis punch in most of the kettles used for brewing.

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Old 01-31-2013, 11:49 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DakotaPrerunner
I suggest that you do some Google research on home circuit wiring and Ohm's law. You can plug as many devices into a power strip as you want as long as you do not exceed the rated capacity of the circuit. Ohm's law is your friend and will answer questions 2 and 3. In regards to #4, my 5500 ULWD element does not scorch wort. Oil and a new, sharp drill bit make short work of drilling in stainless steel. Larger holes can be made with a chassis punch in most of the kettles used for brewing.
Thanks!
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Old 02-01-2013, 12:22 AM   #6
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1. If you want super simple on/off, i would recommend making an oulet with an on/off switch that you could plug your element into so that you dont have to constantly plug/unplug it. It wont monitor the temp so it will be a little more work

2. if you plan on eventually having 220v in your brew area, you could always buy a higher watt element and just run it on 120. you will get less heat, but it will still work. then if you upgrade you will already have the correct element. there are plenty of threads that have the math for how big you can go on the element and since im no expert, i will leave it to them.

3. you can definately have 2 elemects in the kettle, but it would be tough to have them on the same circuit. if you have enough amps for the 2, then you could have just gotten 1 bigger one. if you do want 2 elements, you will have to make sure that you get them from 2 different circuits in your house otherwise they will pop your breaker.

4. i have seen no carmelization, but i like porters and stouts so its hard to tell

5. see kals website, its probably the easiest way, though the punches are kind of expensive. you can get a step bit fairly cheap and they work good. you just need to use oil and file down the edges a little bit.

good luck with your decision, there are plenty of people here that will help you out with your build if you have questions.

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Old 02-01-2013, 12:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mrwizard0
1. If you want super simple on/off, i would recommend making an oulet with an on/off switch that you could plug your element into so that you dont have to constantly plug/unplug it. It wont monitor the temp so it will be a little more work

2. if you plan on eventually having 220v in your brew area, you could always buy a higher watt element and just run it on 120. you will get less heat, but it will still work. then if you upgrade you will already have the correct element. there are plenty of threads that have the math for how big you can go on the element and since im no expert, i will leave it to them.

3. you can definately have 2 elemects in the kettle, but it would be tough to have them on the same circuit. if you have enough amps for the 2, then you could have just gotten 1 bigger one. if you do want 2 elements, you will have to make sure that you get them from 2 different circuits in your house otherwise they will pop your breaker.

4. i have seen no carmelization, but i like porters and stouts so its hard to tell

5. see kals website, its probably the easiest way, though the punches are kind of expensive. you can get a step bit fairly cheap and they work good. you just need to use oil and file down the edges a little bit.

good luck with your decision, there are plenty of people here that will help you out with your build if you have questions.
Thanks so much. More to think about...
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Old 02-01-2013, 05:40 PM   #8
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I found this reply helpful.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rcm_rx7 View Post
I would say about 3000 watts would be your absolute minimum. Would you not be able to do use the element I posted? You could use a similar 4500 watt element, those are pretty popular too. Again what are your electrical limitations?

Try this guide for heating time.
Nice spreadsheet to calculate what size element.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/wha...9/#post4804109

Here is another recent thread:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/my-l...2/#post4826350

I am also trying to figure out a simple plug and play solution. Subscribed!
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Old 02-01-2013, 07:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cank
I found this reply helpful.

Nice spreadsheet to calculate what size element.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/wha...9/#post4804109

Here is another recent thread:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/my-l...2/#post4826350

I am also trying to figure out a simple plug and play solution. Subscribed!
Killer suggestions! Thanks.
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Old 02-01-2013, 11:43 PM   #10
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With only an on-off, I think you will have problems. I have had a couple of boil overs with my 5500 watt element, and when I shut off the element, the boil stops instantly (and the boil over).
If I didn't have 240 available, I would have used 2 elements (!20v) and had at least one of the elements controlled with a infinite switch like a stove uses or a single PID/contactor and SSR. Otherwise you will be probably be boiling higher than you need to or not being able to keep the wort boiling.

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