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Old 02-24-2011, 01:54 PM   #11
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I chose the heatstick route because when the weather is nice I like to brew on my deck with propane & I can't afford 2 boil kettles. If using a GFCI I think the heatsticks are safe.

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Old 02-24-2011, 02:21 PM   #12
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I've done both, and I can definitely say that I've had way less problems with the element mounted in the kettle. Also, I'm not scared to use the darn thing anymore.

If you have the capability to mount the element in the kettle, I would suggest doing it that way.

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Old 02-24-2011, 05:21 PM   #13
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There's certainly more inherent risk with a heatstick, but if you build it properly and use a gfci i don't think it's as big a deal as everyone is making it out to be. I have no worries when i plug mine in because i know the way i made it ensures there's no chance water will make it to the electrical connection even if it somehow manages to get in the pipe.

For those that follow the cedar creek et al. method of blindly pouring JB weld into the pipe--that's another story. My electrical connection is completely sealed before it ever goes into the pipe.

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Old 02-24-2011, 05:46 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gritsak View Post
For those that follow the cedar creek et al. method of blindly pouring JB weld into the pipe--that's another story. My electrical connection is completely sealed before it ever goes into the pipe.
Ditto; my first attempt tried the pour method, after 1 week of curing it keep tripping the GFCI. I then built one by encapsulating the electrical connections first. It has worked great for 5 batches now.
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Old 02-24-2011, 10:36 PM   #15
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So you somehow cover the electrical connections with JB Weld first, then pour into the pipe?

I think the main problem with the pour in method is when making one with a J bend. The straight ones I've made have never had a problem (knock wood). But if I was to make another one, I would probably do an all copper version with a silicone wrap at the handle.

I'll probably look into a 4500W element this summer. But it's costly and time consuming for me as I'll have to replace four 20 amp breakers in my panel with slim line versions to make room for a 30 amp, 240V GFCI.

In some ways, a second 2000W element continues to make sense. Other than another protrusion in the keggle I keep coming back to that idea. I can do that for like $30, versus probably about $150 for a single 240V element.

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Old 02-24-2011, 10:54 PM   #16
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If you plug a 4000 W element into a 240 V line you get 4000 W. If you plugged said element into a 120 line wouldn't you get 2000 W? Maybe all elements can't do this but I bet you can find one at Home Depot, or a plumbing supply store, that can be wired on a 240 or a 120 line. This way the element is ready for you if and when you upgrade the circuit.

After thinking about this, I realized my calculations are off...

P=V^2/R should be the formula to used because the resistance of the element will not change

P=v^2/R; V=240 and v = 1/2 V = 120
P=1/4 * V^2/R

This means that the element would run at one quarter of the 240 rating when run on a 120 line. The ratings would be:
240V -> 120 V
4000 W -> 1000 W
5000 W -> 1250 W
5500 W -> 1375 W
6000 W -> 1500 W

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Old 02-24-2011, 11:09 PM   #17
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If you plug a 4000 W element into a 240 V line you get 4000 W. If you plugged said element into a 120 line wouldn't you get 2000 W? Maybe all elements can't do this but I bet you can find one at Home Depot, or a plumbing supply store, that can be wired on a 240 or a 120 line. This way the element is ready for you if and when you upgrade the circuit.
1000 watts from a 4000w 240 running at 120
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Old 02-25-2011, 12:16 AM   #18
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Unfortunately, that's correct. I've also installed one 2000W element in the keggle at this point. I JB Welded it to the back of a waterproof box and mounted with 1" element nut and food grade silicone gaskets. I have a waterproof cover and will cover the connections in food grade silicone just to be safe.

My only decision is whether to add a second 2000W element or to upgrade to 240V. That won't happen until summer, though. Money, time, etc., as mentioned previously.

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Old 02-25-2011, 12:16 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dgonza9 View Post
So you somehow cover the electrical connections with JB Weld first, then pour into the pipe?

I think the main problem with the pour in method is when making one with a J bend. The straight ones I've made have never had a problem (knock wood). But if I was to make another one, I would probably do an all copper version with a silicone wrap at the handle.
There's no pouring of jb weld into the pipe at all. I outline the way i built mine here: http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/my-...tstick-220198/
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Old 02-25-2011, 01:05 AM   #20
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My only decision is whether to add a second 2000W element or to upgrade to 240V. That won't happen until summer, though. Money, time, etc., as mentioned previously.
If you are going to eventually upgrade to 240V, then my suggestion (even though I don't like them) is to go the heatstick route.

You are only going to need a single element when you go to 240V, so I would avoid cutting another hole in the kettle that you will then have to plug up with something later. Plus, you could sell the heatstick when you move up to 240V.
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