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Old 02-27-2011, 02:29 PM   #1
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Default How to get started?

Currently I am brewing 5 gallon batches on a single burner 99,000 BTU propane system in my basement. I am tired of all the ventilation system issues, constant C0 monitoring, and all the trips to the propane store that seem to occur at the most inopportune times. Up to this point I have been upgrading\modifying my system pretty inexpensively in little steps. But now I want to go to 10 gallon batches and add another burner. That in itself is going to cost a few dollars, but the cost of upgrading the ventilation system is what has pretty much forced me to seriously look at going all electric.

Money is kind of tight so I am going to need to do this in small steps. Initially I am just looking for guidance on having the appropriate power brought in to my brew area. Here is the general overview of the system I would eventually like to have:

Standard 3 kettle (15 gallons), single tier system.

At this point I am not looking to automate everything, but I do need to control the mash temperature and maintain a boil in the brew kettle.

HLT - I want to use it to heat my strike water as well as for the heat exchanger for a HERMS system.

Electric brew kettle - It needs to bring 12 gallons of wort to a boil as close to instantly as possible, but no longer than 60 minutes.

Run 4 March pumps

So here's my question: My first step is to hire an electrician to bring the appropriate power to my brew area. I just had a 100 amp breaker box in stalled last year (finally got away from the old 60 amp fuse box). So I have plenty of open slots in my box. Based on the design outlined above, what do I tell the electrician I need? I assume he will need to know the voltage and amps I will need. I would prefer to error on the side of over provisioning than trying to do the bare minimum. The wife will just barely indulge me once on the wiring costs, I would hate to have to go back in the future and ask for additional funding.

Thanks!

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Old 02-27-2011, 02:52 PM   #2
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I would suggest that you have a 50 Amp, 120/240 Volt outlet installed. This would be a 4 wire cable and outlet. This should be protected with a GFCI breaker in your mains panel. The 50 Amp service can be fairly easily accomplished as this is also commonly used for kitchen stoves. It will also provide all of the power you will need for your system.

BTW, The GFCI is very important. You could look in HomeDepot or Lowe's for a spa panel. They have a GFCI built in and are fairly inexpensive.

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Old 02-27-2011, 03:23 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P-J View Post
I would suggest that you have a 50 Amp, 120/240 Volt outlet installed. This would be a 4 wire cable and outlet. This should be protected with a GFCI breaker in your mains panel. The 50 Amp service can be fairly easily accomplished as this is also commonly used for kitchen stoves. It will also provide all of the power you will need for your system.

BTW, The GFCI is very important. You could look in HomeDepot or Lowe's for a spa panel. They have a GFCI built in and are fairly inexpensive.
Thanks P-J. I will add the GFCI to my list of requirements. I have a good electrician and he will be doing all the work.
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Old 02-27-2011, 07:30 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P-J View Post
I would suggest that you have a 50 Amp, 120/240 Volt outlet installed. This would be a 4 wire cable and outlet. This should be protected with a GFCI breaker in your mains panel. The 50 Amp service can be fairly easily accomplished as this is also commonly used for kitchen stoves. It will also provide all of the power you will need for your system.

BTW, The GFCI is very important. You could look in HomeDepot or Lowe's for a spa panel. They have a GFCI built in and are fairly inexpensive.
OK, after thinking about it for a while I am a bit confused. I understand the 50 amp part, or at least I think I do. But the 120/240 part has me confused. Do you mean 120 volts AND 240 volts. Or do you mean 120 volts OR 240 volts. I kind of thought it had to be one or the other. Also, is there an advantage to either the 120 or the 240?
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Old 02-27-2011, 11:38 PM   #5
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I'm saying 120V and 240V. This is accomplished with a 4 wire cable to a 4 prong outlet.
Phase A (black wire) measures 120V to Neutral (white wire)
Phase B (Red wire) measures 120V to Neutral (white wire)
Phase A (black wire) measures 240V to Phase B (red wire)
The 4th wire is equipment ground. It is either a green wire or bare copper wire. It is only used for equipment ground.

Take a look at 3 drawings that might help. Each uses 120V/240V power.
I'd be glad t o draw a diagram for your setup when you decide what you want it to look like.

This is a simple basic drawing for use with a single PID.

Auberin-wiring1-a4-5500w-30c.jpg

This one uses 2 PIDS.

Auberin-wiring1-a6-5500w.jpg

This one gets a little more complicated with the addition of a RIMs exchanger.

Auberin-wiring1-a13-Rob-May-SYL-2352-4500w.jpg

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Old 02-28-2011, 12:49 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by P-J View Post
I'm saying 120V and 240V. This is accomplished with a 4 wire cable to a 4 prong outlet.
Phase A (black wire) measures 120V to Neutral (white wire)
Phase B (Red wire) measures 120V to Neutral (white wire)
Phase A (black wire) measures 240V to Phase B (red wire)
The 4th wire is equipment ground. It is either a green wire or bare copper wire. It is only used for equipment ground.

Take a look at 3 drawings that might help. Each uses 120V/240V power.
I'd be glad t o draw a diagram for your setup when you decide what you want it to look like.

This is a simple basic drawing for use with a single PID.

Auberin-wiring1-a4-5500w-30c.jpg

This one uses 2 PIDS.

Auberin-wiring1-a6-5500w.jpg

This one gets a little more complicated with the addition of a RIMs exchanger.

Auberin-wiring1-a13-Rob-May-SYL-2352-4500w.jpg
Holy crap! What's a PID? Maybe I should just stick to propane and keep rolling the dice with C0 poisoning. I am beginning to think that the human gene pool would be stronger with my absence.
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Old 02-28-2011, 01:44 AM   #7
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Holy crap! What's a PID? Maybe I should just stick to propane and keep rolling the dice with C0 poisoning. I am beginning to think that the human gene pool would be stronger with my absence.
Do not get overwhelmed with this. A PID is a device that can and will control temperatures very precisely. I personally recommend the Auber Instruments PID Model: SYL-2352.
It can control temperature and the boil rate in your kettle very precisely. It'll cost you about $50 shipped. (Plus a SSR at about $20 and a temp probe at about another $20)

For your environment, I do not think propane or natural gas is a wise choice. Please entertain going electric. It's not all that difficult. I & a lot of others on this forum would be very glad to help you in your adventure.

Please think about it.
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Old 02-28-2011, 01:51 AM   #8
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Think of a PID as the power regulator (like you use a gas regulator). It's really not that complicated if you read up for awhile (it was pretty foreign to me at the start).

There are two ways to control the Auber PIDs, one way monitors the temperature and cycles the heating element to maintain. The other way is the manual mode where you use a percentage to cycle the element on and off.

If you really insist on brewing inside I think it's well worth your time to do a bit of reading on this subforum. And please ask any questions you may have about the workings of all this, that's what the forum is here for!

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Old 02-28-2011, 02:51 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GRHunter View Post

Electric brew kettle - It needs to bring 12 gallons of wort to a boil as close to instantly as possible, but no longer than 60 minutes.
with a 5500 watt element from mash temp to boil in under 20 minutes
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