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-   -   I have made fire! (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/i-have-made-fire-327958/)

GregKelley 05-11-2012 05:26 PM

I have made fire!
Not really, but after last night, I felt like the first caveman or like Tom Hanks in Cast Away. I did my first test of my electric system. Just a boil kettle with a 5500W element. Boiled 3.5-4 gallons in about 15 minutes. My element is a little higher than I wouldn've liked (someone else drilled it) so it took a while to heat the water below. A little stir or two would've helped speed it up but I think when I boil 5 gallons it shouldn't take much longer because the extra water will be on top heating instead of the air above the element heating.

Built my own PWM from Walker's drawings (thanks a bunch). Wall wart from a defunct baby monitor. SSR and heat sink from Auberins (no connection to them). I made a modification to the drawing here. The negative lead going to the SSR instead goes to a 3 position (ON-OFF-ON) switch. I also tied the negative output from the wall wart to the 3 position switch. I then tied the middle lead on the switch to the negative terminal on the switch for the SSR. When I first start, I flip the switch so that I have constant voltage to the SSR completing that circuit, no switching. Once I hit a rolling boil, I flip the switch so that the SSR is controlled by the PWM. I adjust the potentiometer accordingly.

I still have to tidy up the inside of the box but plan to brew this weekend.

Thanks to Walker and everyone else who answered my questions!

stamandster 05-11-2012 07:43 PM

pics or it didn't happen ;)

Sounds exactly like what I want to do :)

jfrizzell 05-11-2012 10:06 PM


GregKelley 05-14-2012 02:41 PM

Oh, it definitely happened! I brewed my first batch last night, a saison. Here is my control box:http://i1077.photobucket.com/albums/...20513-2118.jpg

Here is some lovely boiling wort:http://i1077.photobucket.com/albums/...20513-2118.jpg

Chriso 02-22-2013 05:36 PM

Hi. Sorry to resurrect the thread, but this looks interesting to me - Like a DIY version of this retail unit: http://www.highgravitybrew.com/ProductCart/pc/Electric-Kettle-Controller-306p3084.htm

Can you quickly confirm - the switch there, I can't read the numbering, is the top position 100% and the bottom position is 10% through 90%?

And, Second question - You have two leads coming out of the box - are those both OUT? or is that one OUT to element, one IN from power source?


GregKelley 02-22-2013 06:46 PM

Since my PWM will only allow a duty cycle of between 10-90% I wanted to have a way to run my element full on (100%) while I'm bringing the wort to boil. So there is that little switch in the middle. Switch it up and the 5v bypasses my PWM and tells the SSR to stay on. In the middle, the SSR remains off. To the bottom and the SSR is controlled by the PWM. It is similar to the link you provided except that I have this additional switch. I also have the main switch to the left of the picture which handles all power coming in.

By leads, are you talking about the large black cables? If so, one is the feed from the wall, the other goes out to the element in the pot.

Chriso 02-22-2013 07:11 PM

OK, perfect. Thanks. That's exactly what I couldn't quite tell - if those were two different things plugging into the panel, or if it was just one In, one Out.

Thanks again for responding! Cheers!

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