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Old 12-16-2010, 10:11 PM   #1
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Default looking for clarification on heating elements for RIMS

I have been researching a RIMs system for the better part of 6 months now. I am more confused than when i started regarding heating elements. Some people say the only way to go is low density or ultra low. Other people say using Hi denstiy elements doesnt cause them issues. Another thing i have seen is people using hi wattage (5000) 240 V elements hooked to 120 power - even at 120 v that still equlas 1250 watts.

So what is the denstiy, is it just amount of watts vs length of the element? or is it something different. Is there a good watts vs length to follow.

What say you??

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Old 12-16-2010, 10:41 PM   #2
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I read a lot on this as well when I was conceptualizing my system. The general theme is that HD elements are fine as long as the flow across them is adequate.

I went with a 5.5kW ULD camco, which is not the RIP. It's straight, and really long. I also included a selector to switch it from 240 to 120. I went with this setup because 5.5k is not required to maintain temps, but it gives on demand sparge water, and ramping to mashout is fast. I have only done 1 beer so far with it, but it seemed to work great as long as I kept the recirculation going fairly fast. Another advantage of going ULD is that most of them can withstand a dry fire. While it's still a really bad idea, it made me feel a bit better, especially after seeing some pics of burned up elements.

The watt density is the total amount of wats delivered divided by the surface area of the element. So both length and diameter effect the density.

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Old 07-27-2011, 02:21 AM   #3
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So, trigger, how's the heating element treating you after 7+ months of use? Is this the element you're using?
http://www.amazon.com/Camco-02933-Sc...1732904&sr=8-5
I'm looking into making a RIMS tube, and I like the idea of having the capability of having on demand sparge water. When you step mash, are you using 120v or 240v? What sort of rise times are you experiencing?

Thanks!

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Old 07-29-2011, 02:26 PM   #4
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I just got done building my RIMS (it's working fantastic btw), but here's what my research lead me to.

- A 4500-5500w 240v element will put out 1/4 the watts at 120v i.e. 1125-1375w.

-A high density element essentially becomes a low density element when run on 120v. You're now spreading 1/4 the watts across the same surface area. Therefore the element becomes 1/4 the watt density it was.

-If you have the ability to run 240v, doing what trigger did is a great idea. Put a switch to flip the element from 240 to 120. Use 120 when mashing, and 240 for on-demand sparge water. I'm not sure you want to use 240 for step mashing.

-I used the Extra low watt density 1500w 120v element from plummers supply. It was small, and it's working great so far. It just barley fit in a 1.5" tube, without having to bend it.

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Old 07-29-2011, 03:17 PM   #5
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Agreed, either switch from 120-240, or use PWM or a PID that has manual % control (like Auber) in conjunction with an SSR to vary power.

Pulsing gets you the nice ability to go in between.. saving time.. A PID with temp probe on the outlet of the RIMS would let you put perfect amount of heat to get to a safe temp, say 2-10 degrees above your mash tun temp or rims inlet temp, then when that inlet temp hits target, stop the heat

I have done two batches by manually pulsing the 240V on a 4500W element, about 2-second bursts, longer makes the hoses from my 809 pump start to shake (vibrate at first, then very violently), and while fun to watch, is definitely not good for enzymes, the mash bed, or the pump impeller.. strike water does not do this, the pump is moving liquid fast enough to keep it from boiling

10 total seconds of 'ON time' takes the mash of a 10gallon batch up about 1 degree F

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Old 07-29-2011, 09:18 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottland View Post
-I used the Extra low watt density 1500w 120v element from plummers supply. It was small, and it's working great so far. It just barley fit in a 1.5" tube, without having to bend it.
I was considering using a LWD 1500w 120v element like the one from plumbers supply, with an auber PID and an RTD temperature probe. My typical batch size is 5 gallons. What sort of step times do you think I could achieve with that setup? I'm really hoping that for a 5 gallon batch, the 1500w element could work for step mashing.
Do you think that I could do on demand sparge water with the small watt element? I typically fly sparge at an extremely slow rate anyway (45 mins to an hour for 5 gallons), so there would be a good amount of contact time with the element.
I just don't want to have to re-wire my house to be able to use the 240v element.

EDIT - Is it brewing mantra that Low Density is required for brewing applications? There's always the 2000 watt high density elements for 120v applications. Wouldn't want to scorch the wort though. Anybody ever use these high density elements?
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Old 08-01-2011, 03:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GuitarLord5000 View Post
I was considering using a LWD 1500w 120v element like the one from plumbers supply, with an auber PID and an RTD temperature probe. My typical batch size is 5 gallons. What sort of step times do you think I could achieve with that setup? I'm really hoping that for a 5 gallon batch, the 1500w element could work for step mashing.
Do you think that I could do on demand sparge water with the small watt element? I typically fly sparge at an extremely slow rate anyway (45 mins to an hour for 5 gallons), so there would be a good amount of contact time with the element.
I just don't want to have to re-wire my house to be able to use the 240v element.

EDIT - Is it brewing mantra that Low Density is required for brewing applications? There's always the 2000 watt high density elements for 120v applications. Wouldn't want to scorch the wort though. Anybody ever use these high density elements?
Read through the "RIMS for dummies" thread it will give you a lot of insight to how the system works. That being said RIMS tubes are designed to keep a steady temp for your mash. I have not tried but I know some people on the board will mash for 45 minutes and set the PID to mash out temps and some can get there in 15 minutes, completing your 60 min mash. Also do not use the high density element in a RIMS tube, you will scorch your wort.
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Old 10-24-2011, 03:59 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottland View Post
-I used the Extra low watt density 1500w 120v element from plummers supply. It was small, and it's working great so far. It just barley fit in a 1.5" tube, without having to bend it.
Do you know the insertion length of this element? On their site they says it is about 4 1/2" which seems really small
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Old 10-24-2011, 04:45 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ekjohns View Post
Do you know the insertion length of this element? On their site they says it is about 4 1/2" which seems really small
I just put one in my rims tube yesterday (haven't used it yet). 4 1/2 sounds about right, but it is folded over which adds about 2" per side.
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