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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > HERMS with 2 elements at same time or not?
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:41 PM   #1
summerofgeorge
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Default HERMS with 2 elements at same time or not?

It seems like quite a few people are going with some variation of Kal's build where only one element can be used at a time. I'm leaning towards a setup with the ability to use both elements at once. I've seen some nice setups like this. Do you actually use both elements at once or is it infrequent enough that it isn't really worth it?

I figure the benefits are that you can do back to back batches much easier. You can also use the HLT to heat up water for cleaning. Maybe this isn't that important. I guess you could always heat some cleaning water up once you start chilling. Then you only need one element. My thought was to use the boil time to get the MLT cleaned out though.

Benefits to one element at a time approach? Anything besides it's a little cheaper since you can get away with 30A instead of 50-60A?

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Old 03-05-2012, 01:09 PM   #2
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I am of the opinion that if you can get 2 elements, get 2 elements. The only difficult part is sourcing all the 60A stuff you will need (and keeping it cheap enough). The extra cost of running 2 elements isn't prohibitive though, and I think in the long run will be worth it (high gravity dual boil, back to back batches, cleaning water).

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Old 03-05-2012, 01:32 PM   #3
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i am running 4 5500W elements at a time so i would say two at one time is fine. 50A breakers is all you need for each pair of elements. Of course i am having to use 2 240V outlets to acheive this.

If you only have one element per vessel, the only benefit to being able to run both at the same time would be the ability to do back to back batches quicker. In my case, i have 2 elements per vessel.

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Old 03-05-2012, 02:47 PM   #4
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My plan is to use two 4500w elements in the HLT and two in the BK where any TWO may be used at the same time.

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Old 03-05-2012, 03:41 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moparx12 View Post
i am running 4 5500W elements at a time so i would say two at one time is fine. 50A breakers is all you need for each pair of elements. Of course i am having to use 2 240V outlets to acheive this.

If you only have one element per vessel, the only benefit to being able to run both at the same time would be the ability to do back to back batches quicker. In my case, i have 2 elements per vessel.

If it's possible to run more than one element at once, I agree, go for it. I'm sure you'll thank yourself later on!

I am in the works of drawing up a diagram that has (4) 5500W elements, all to be run at once. Do you happen to have a wiring diagram for how you made this work? Or pictures of your electric set up. The more ideas I can get, the better I feel I can build my set up!
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Old 03-05-2012, 04:05 PM   #6
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yea i have a wiring diagram but i have not physically done the wiring yet. I am doing it with 3 contactors and a 3 pole switch. Basically, if i want to brew in single batch mode, the switch will be in position 1. and the contactor to plug #2 will be open. The 3rd contactor will be closed allowing the power from outlet 1 to go to all heating elements 1+2+3+4 (through an SSR for one leg, hard wired for the other). The center position of the switch opens all 3 contactors (off).

The 3rd position on the switch closes the 1st and 2nd contactors and opens the 3rd. This position will be used when i am plugged into two 50A outlets and want to brew B2B batches.

Here is what i have for a witing diagram. I know its hard to see. I also did not include some of the wires (SSR control, volume measurement sensors).

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Old 03-05-2012, 04:11 PM   #7
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Once you have the option to use both the BK and HLT at the same time you will not want it any other way. I helped a member out with a build here:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/50a...roller-277903/

Maybe it would be some help.

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Old 03-05-2012, 04:32 PM   #8
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I have a 4500 W heating element in my HLT and a 3800 in my kettle. I've built a control unit with a SSR to control the 240V power but after I get my kettle to a rapid boil I switch it over to 110V. I have built a cord that has the 240V 30 amp female on one end (to receive the heating element) and the 110V male on the other (to plug into a regular wall outlet). Of course when you switch over to the 110V you are only providing 1/4 the power to the element but this is enough to keep a nice low boil on the kettle. I have 2 independent 30 amp circuit. With this system we do back to back batches without a problem. So while the first batch is on the low boil i'm already heating up the strike water for the second.

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Old 03-05-2012, 05:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickelmcgee View Post
I have a 4500 W heating element in my HLT and a 3800 in my kettle. I've built a control unit with a SSR to control the 240V power but after I get my kettle to a rapid boil I switch it over to 110V. I have built a cord that has the 240V 30 amp female on one end (to receive the heating element) and the 110V male on the other (to plug into a regular wall outlet). Of course when you switch over to the 110V you are only providing 1/4 the power to the element but this is enough to keep a nice low boil on the kettle. I have 2 independent 30 amp circuit. With this system we do back to back batches without a problem. So while the first batch is on the low boil i'm already heating up the strike water for the second.
Hmmm this sounds cool. What size batches are you able to do? Seems like 950 watts wouldnt be able to hold a boil in anything greater than 5 gallons. Am I wrong? Please say yes.
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Old 03-05-2012, 06:07 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirJoshuaIV View Post
If it's possible to run more than one element at once, I agree, go for it. I'm sure you'll thank yourself later on!

I am in the works of drawing up a diagram that has (4) 5500W elements, all to be run at once. Do you happen to have a wiring diagram for how you made this work? Or pictures of your electric set up. The more ideas I can get, the better I feel I can build my set up!
do you have a dedicated 100A service solely for your brew setup??
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