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Old 07-04-2011, 09:29 AM   #1
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Default looking at using electric, I could use a lot of help.

I really want to start working with electric in my brew house. The major problem I’m having is the cost of rewiring my shed to run 240V. So I’m trying to figure out a way to just work with what I have 120V 20AMP. So what size element can I go with. Could I just use a johnson controller http://www.northernbrewer.com/defaul...ontroller.html to regulate the temp?

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Old 07-04-2011, 11:23 AM   #2
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if you take the 120v X 20 amps you get 2400 watts. You are safe running at 80% full time so take the 2400 x .8 and you get 1920 watts. That's if you have nothing else on the circuit. you'll need to deduct the controller you end up with, lights, etc. What type of system were you thinking of?

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Old 07-05-2011, 05:02 AM   #3
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How long would it take to heat 5 or 10 gallons of water @ 1920 watts?

I'm not sure yet. Right now I'm thinking about putting an element in a 5 gallon kettle and recirculating the wort or water. Initially I'm planning on a switch to turn the element on/off.

I'm a total noob when it comes to electric and wiring

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Old 07-05-2011, 05:20 AM   #4
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A 120v 20a feed is not going to do much for you. If you want a full electric system get at least 30a 240v. I ran my shop and a 4500w HLT with a 20a 240v feed for quite a while now. That is boiling with propane. I just trenched in a 100a feed though.

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Old 07-05-2011, 06:15 AM   #5
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A 120v 20a feed is not going to do much for you. If you want a full electric system get at least 30a 240v. I ran my shop and a 4500w HLT with a 20a 240v feed for quite a while now. That is boiling with propane. I just trenched in a 100a feed though.
Thanks for the reply, I have heard this before. Currently switching to 240V is not in the brew budget.
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Old 07-05-2011, 03:31 PM   #6
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I used an 1800 watt element and was able to brew a 5 gal batch this last weekend with no problems, its slower than propane but I like going a little slower if I dont have to listen to the blast of a propane burner for an hour!

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Old 07-08-2011, 04:11 AM   #7
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So How long would it take to heat 5 gallons of water to 170°F @ 1920 watts? I know you have to account for heat loss so just say there is no loss.

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Old 07-08-2011, 04:29 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by killian
So How long would it take to heat 5 gallons of water to 170°F @ 1920 watts? I know you have to account for heat loss so just say there is no loss.
http://gnipsel.com/beer/software/beer-software.html

This might help. Couldn't see it on my phone though.
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Old 07-08-2011, 01:39 PM   #9
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So How long would it take to heat 5 gallons of water to 170°F @ 1920 watts? I know you have to account for heat loss so just say there is no loss.
Assuming your starting groundwater is 55F, it will take ~46mins to heat 5 gals of water to 170F. These calculations assume the best conditions.

Speaking from experience, I was able to maintain a VERY WEAK boil with a 2000W heatstick with 5gals of wort. I found this out after my propane tank ran out at the last 10mins of my brewsession.

Here's some more food for thought, I brew 6 or 12gal batches currently. For 6gal batches I can use 2X 1500W elements each plugged in to a 15A 120V GFCI (3000W total for those that don't like math). And that gives me a great boil with no external control needed. With a 12gal batch I need to supplement with propane.

Edit: Obviously this would require you to have access to 2X 15A or larger circuits in your brewing area.
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Old 07-08-2011, 03:21 PM   #10
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Thanks wza it looks like this might work

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