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Old 01-06-2011, 04:34 AM   #1
Dgonza9
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Default Heat stick failure... ground question.

I think I'm going to try making an all copper and therefore "waterproof" heatstick. I had the traditional JB weld version with a J bend. I thinned the JB Weld and poured it in to pot the electrical connections. I was heating my sparge water with two heat sticks when one of my GFCI outlets popped. I'm not sure why as I haven't been able to open the heat stick.

I have four 20 amp, switched GFCI outlets in my brewing area and I tried it in each of them. It popped them all. Luckily, I had a third heat stick to finish the brewing with. Nice to know the GFCI was working properly. But it gave me some pause to consider that my keggle is not grounded

I was thinking about putting a ground wire in the skirt of the keggle and then wiring it to my RIMS TUBE grounding connection, but I need to lift and dump the keggle and don't want a wire attached.

How else do people ground the keggle when using heat sticks? Do you just use a spade and unscrew it to move the keggle around for cleaning, etc.? Or is grounding the keggle unnecessary in this case, since the heat stick itself is grounded? I would think it should be grounded, no?

Thanks for the advice.

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Old 01-06-2011, 05:41 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dgonza9 View Post
I think I'm going to try making an all copper and therefore "waterproof" heatstick. I had the traditional JB weld version with a J bend. I thinned the JB Weld and poured it in to pot the electrical connections. I was heating my sparge water with two heat sticks when one of my GFCI outlets popped. I'm not sure why as I haven't been able to open the heat stick.

I have four 20 amp, switched GFCI outlets in my brewing area and I tried it in each of them. It popped them all. Luckily, I had a third heat stick to finish the brewing with. Nice to know the GFCI was working properly. But it gave me some pause to consider that my keggle is not grounded

I was thinking about putting a ground wire in the skirt of the keggle and then wiring it to my RIMS TUBE grounding connection, but I need to lift and dump the keggle and don't want a wire attached.

How else do people ground the keggle when using heat sticks? Do you just use a spade and unscrew it to move the keggle around for cleaning, etc.? Or is grounding the keggle unnecessary in this case, since the heat stick itself is grounded? I would think it should be grounded, no?

Thanks for the advice.

The keggle should be grounded as long as the heat stick is on the bottom of the keggle. As long as the keggle and the metal of the heatstick are touching any current should pass into the ground wire if you built it correctly. Did you connect the ground wire to the side of the chrome drain tube?
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Old 01-06-2011, 05:55 AM   #3
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Just to confirm, you're saying that if the heat stick is properly grounded, the keggle is also properly grounded so long as the metal from the stick is touching the metal from the keggle?

I did indeed connect the ground wire to the side of the chrome tube and then cover it with epoxy.

That alleviates my fear. I know this can be dangerous so I'd like to be sure things are properly grounded, GFCI is working, and I try not to touch anything without turning off the switch to the gfci boxes.

Thank you for explaining that. Quite a few posts seem to suggest that the keggle itself isn't grounded with a heat stick, especially if the ground wire is mounted near or below the liquid level. It sometimes is in my heat sticks as I'm now doing 10 gallon batches. Does being below the liquid level change things?

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Old 01-06-2011, 08:58 AM   #4
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The easiest way to test if your keggle is grounded with the heatstick in it is to use your multimeter to measure the resistance between the ground prong on the plug for your heatstick and any point on your keggle. You should get some very small value. If it does not change from where it was before the probes were in contact with these points then your keggle is not grounded and it's time to alter your design. Of course, for this to be a valid measurement you should fill your keggle with water.

Edit: Don't do this with the heat stick plugged in (I know that's an obvious one, but wanted to make sure...).

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Old 01-07-2011, 12:03 AM   #5
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Quote:
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Just to confirm, you're saying that if the heat stick is properly grounded, the keggle is also properly grounded so long as the metal from the stick is touching the metal from the keggle?
Yes.

Do you have a multimeter to test it out? That's the sure fire way to tell.
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