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Old 04-21-2011, 07:38 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by TonySwank View Post
Seems as if people are split on using a 25 amp or a 40 amp SSR and Heat sync for a 5500 w element (draw should be 23 amps). I feel like the 25 amp would be fine with the build in factor of safety but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
I use 25A Crydom SSRs. They are attached to a very good (conductive) heat sink. They have worked perfectly for many batches, so I can attest to their suitability in the exact system you're considering.

However, I'd use 40A if I could get them cheap enough. Why not?
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:39 PM   #12
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Not trying to thread jack, but P-J what are the benefits/advantages between your diagram added by the original poster using the contactors and the one you provided simply using a DPDT switch? It appears they will accomplish the same thing but just wired up differently.
The nice thing about the contactors though is the safety feature of them (I went the contactor route on my build). As Walker advised me, when you use the contactors you wire the contactors via a 120v line through your switches. So intead of having a switch on 240v, it is only 120v. So you never are touching anything (with potentially wet hands) that is 240v. I like the idea of that.

Also, I believe that if they fail, they fail open. i.e. no current passing to the element
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Old 04-21-2011, 07:41 PM   #13
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If you decide to use a switch, this is available at Home Depot. I mounted one of these in a waterproof cover, also from Home Depot. I have another switching the 240VAC on my control box. You could use this switch to make a pretty simple manual control, like I did, on the wall.

Passedpawn, I really like that setup. Nice and simple.

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Originally Posted by wilserbrewer View Post
IMO manual control for the HLT will work fine, insulation will help to maintain temp once reached. The big advantage of a controller for the BK is that you can achieve very quick times to reach boiling with a lot of power and then throttle back. IMO, depending on batch size, 5500w will be too much to run at 100% in the BK. 4500w for 10 gal batches or 3000-3500 for 5 gallon batches should work fairly well depending on pot size and ambient temps.

Elements are cheap and easy to install, play around till you find the size that works well at 100% power. It can be as simple or a complicated as you wish.
Wilserbrewer - I typically do 5 gallon batches (start boil at 7.5 gal and finish with 6). If I go manual I will probably scale back to 3500w. Speed isn't a huge issue but anything to shorten a brew day is helpful. Ambient temps aren't too much of a problem in Houston, it ranges from "hot" to "f-ing hot".
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Old 04-22-2011, 01:17 AM   #14
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Tony,

Good post.! I'll try to answer your questions after each:

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Originally Posted by TonySwank View Post
This looks great, the PID, SSR, Heat Sink and RTD sensor can be got for about $100. All the switches and plugs would have been needed anyway. Not quite as bad as I was thinking.

Seems as if people are split on using a 25 amp or a 40 amp SSR and Heat sync for a 5500 w element (draw should be 23 amps). I feel like the 25 amp would be fine with the build in factor of safety but feel free to correct me if I'm wrong.
I would definitely use a 40A SSR. You are really pushing the limit margin on a 25A SSR. The more current they carry the more heat is generated within the unit. It is not a switch - it's an electronic module. I think it is well worth the few dollars to get the higher capacity unit.

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Now that I've got the automation bug I am debating going ahead and setting up a HERMS. I have a 50' 1/2" immersion cooler that I could use as the heat exchanger in the HLT then move to the boil keggle for cooling after the boil is complete. This is the copper I am planning on installing in the HLT for a more permanent solution eventually when I go the counter flow chiller or plate chiller route.
I believe the HERMS coil is a valuable addition to you setup - IF - you are plan on using a keg for your MASH tun. (If you are going to use an insulated cooler, it's not needed.) With a good HERMS setup, you will only lose a degree or two during recirculation. (Just set the temp up for the loss difference) It is also important that the HLT water is kept moving over the HERMS coil. Use a second pump or a stirrer to do this) BTW you only need 25' of 1/2" OD copper for this HERMS coil. It's more than enough. You certainly can use the full length as you said and then use it for cooling in the BOIL kettle. Good idea and this could be your permanent solution as you already have it.. Why mess with something that is successful as is?

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If I were to use a second PID to control the mash temp what is the best way to wire it up (assuming I do need a second PID, SSR, Heat Sink, and RTD)? Does it need to control the pump since the pump will be running continuously throughout the entire mash? Couldn't I just set the HLT at the mash temp (or a few degrees hotter), turn on the pump, then let it run until I am ready to mash out? Would I be able to just monitor the temperature with a PID without controlling the pumps? Sorry for the rapid fire questions, just trying to get some clarification.
IMHO - there is no need for a second PID - unless - you plan on doing back to back batches. (MASH-In the second batch while running the Boil on the first. If you decide to go this route, I'd be glad to come up with a new diagram for you) The pump should run the Mash water through the HERMS continuously. The pump would be on for the full mash time. Temp is controlled with the PID controlling the HLT temp. BTW, There is absolutely no need for you to do a mash out with batch sparging. The current (modern) grain bill that you would be using would not require this step.

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I'm also on the fence about the whether or not the RTD should be placed on the output of the HERMS coil or the output of the MLT? Most of the information that I've found seems to favor on the output of the HERMS coil but I noticed on Kai's setup that it is on the output of the MLT. He states that when it was on the outlet of the HERMS the temperature always matched what the HLT was at, which makes sense with a big heat exchanger. I could see advantages to both ways. Maybe some trial and error is called for.
I would place (My strong opinion on this one) the RTD probe to monitor and control the HLT temperature. I would not place it anywhere else. Keep in mind that this temp sensor is controlling the HLT temp.

Quote:
I found quite a bit of good information in this thread regarding PID controls in a HERMS set up.
Have not looked yet but will.

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I am assuming that it would be bad for the copper to touch the electric element so I would need to build something for it to sit on the lip of the keggle and hold the bottom above the element.
Correct. Just fabricate a heavy copper wire loop to hold the coil a few inches above the element. You can wrap the support over the edge of the kettle.
Actually, I really don't think it would be an issue. Once you build your E-system you will be doing a 'wet' test run. Try it then and then decide. No?

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Anything that I am overlooking?
Great post.!!! Hope I didn't miss anything.

I'll ask for a favor from you. (IF you can feel comfortable doing it - IF not Don't.!) PM me your # and a good time to call. I'd love to talk out some of the detail a little more.

Best regards.
Paul
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Old 04-22-2011, 02:02 AM   #15
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I suspended my herms coil over the element by using the copper ground for 8/3 romex. I made a square U shape that sits on the keggle bottom and wrapped the other ends around the bottom most pipe of the coil, works good

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Old 04-22-2011, 01:43 PM   #16
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I suspended my herms coil over the element by using the copper ground for 8/3 romex. I made a square U shape that sits on the keggle bottom and wrapped the other ends around the bottom most pipe of the coil, works good
Do you have a picture of this? I don't quite get it.
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:46 PM   #17
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I suspended my herms coil over the element by using the copper ground for 8/3 romex. I made a square U shape that sits on the keggle bottom and wrapped the other ends around the bottom most pipe of the coil, works good
If your herms coil is removable, why not just fashion the coil itself so that it rests over the element. If it's copper tubing, you should be able to do that.
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Old 04-22-2011, 03:58 PM   #18
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Mine is not removable, so I had to fashion something to hold it up. If there is not a pic in my build in my signature, I think I have one on my build thread on theelectricbrewery. It is reverse polarity brewery build. At work, can't look at it now, I can get a detailed pic later.

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Old 04-24-2011, 09:49 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by P-J View Post
I would definitely use a 40A SSR. You are really pushing the limit margin on a 25A SSR. The more current they carry the more heat is generated within the unit. It is not a switch - it's an electronic module. I think it is well worth the few dollars to get the higher capacity unit.
Fair enough. At Auber the cost for a 25 amp SSR and heat sink is about $25 while the 40 amp is about $40. $15 won't break the bank. I am planning on the Auber SYL-2352 PID for $45. My biggest question now is if I would like to install a safe start interlock to avoid me accidentally dry firing the elements/pumps. If it can be done for around $50 I think it would be worth it. If not, at $20 per element it might not.

Quote:
I believe the HERMS coil is a valuable addition to you setup - IF - you are plan on using a keg for your MASH tun. (If you are going to use an insulated cooler, it's not needed.) With a good HERMS setup, you will only lose a degree or two during recirculation. (Just set the temp up for the loss difference) It is also important that the HLT water is kept moving over the HERMS coil. Use a second pump or a stirrer to do this) BTW you only need 25' of 1/2" OD copper for this HERMS coil. It's more than enough. You certainly can use the full length as you said and then use it for cooling in the BOIL kettle. Good idea and this could be your permanent solution as you already have it.. Why mess with something that is successful as is?
I will keep using for cooler for a little while but it is good to know that I won't need any additional equipment aside from the keg fittings/false bottom once I go that route. As I mentioned before I have a keg with the top cut off already. I've seen that the clarity of the beer can be improved with the constant recirculating, would there be any downside to recirculating through the HERMS coil while using the cooler?

Quote:
IMHO - there is no need for a second PID - unless - you plan on doing back to back batches. (MASH-In the second batch while running the Boil on the first. If you decide to go this route, I'd be glad to come up with a new diagram for you) The pump should run the Mash water through the HERMS continuously. The pump would be on for the full mash time. Temp is controlled with the PID controlling the HLT temp. BTW, There is absolutely no need for you to do a mash out with batch sparging. The current (modern) grain bill that you would be using would not require this step.
Currently I often do back to back batches, I like brewing more than drinking and like to keep a variety on tap (although I like drinking quite a bit). I was ready to move forward without it until I got a 50 amp GFCI setup instead of the 30 amp that most people seem to use. Now I am debating trying to tweak the system to be able to do back to backs, which I'm guessing would mean downgrading the 5500 watt elements to 4500 watt. I would absolutely love to have the option for back to backs, but when the boil is finished I still have about 45 minutes of wort chilling/whirlpooling/waiting for whirlpool to settle/draining to carboy before I would be able to start filling the boil kettle. That get me at least half way through my second mash. The time savings just don't seem to be there when mashing in a keg since the 20-30 minutes of preheating the cooler would not be included. That being said, lets see if it is possible.

5500 W = 22.91 A at 240 V
4500 W = 18.75 A
Pumps = 1.4 A

So if both elements and pumps were running, not including the control panel, I would be looking at:

49 amps with the 5500 watt element
40.5 amps with the 4500 watt element

I know the 80% continuous load rule, which the 5500 clearly breaks, and the 4500 would with another couple of amps going to the control panel. Looks like back to back isn't in the cards for me. It is not worth it for me to go down to 3500 watt elements, I need the speed baby.

Quote:
I would place (My strong opinion on this one) the RTD probe to monitor and control the HLT temperature. I would not place it anywhere else. Keep in mind that this temp sensor is controlling the HLT temp.
My thought was to place two sensors, one exiting the HERMS coil and one permanently mounted in the HLT. I agree that the control of the HLT temp should be controlled with a RTD mounted into the keg, but I was thinking having one at the exit of the HERMS coil would be a way to check that the liquid exiting was being heated properly. This may be unnecessary, but I have no experience with using a HERMS setup and would like some verification that it is working. May or may not do this just for my piece of mind.

Quote:
Correct. Just fabricate a heavy copper wire loop to hold the coil a few inches above the element. You can wrap the support over the edge of the kettle.
Actually, I really don't think it would be an issue. Once you build your E-system you will be doing a 'wet' test run. Try it then and then decide. No?
I've got some ideas, once the element is mounted I will figure it out. Should be simple enough once I see it all put together. If I need to re-bend or re-solder the coil in order to maximize the surface area in contact with the least amount of water it's not a problem.

Thanks so much for the help.
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Old 04-24-2011, 10:28 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by TonySwank View Post
5500 W = 22.91 A at 240 V
4500 W = 18.75 A
Pumps = 1.4 A

So if both elements and pumps were running, not including the control panel, I would be looking at:

49 amps with the 5500 watt element
40.5 amps with the 4500 watt element

I know the 80% continuous load rule, which the 5500 clearly breaks, and the 4500 would with another couple of amps going to the control panel. Looks like back to back isn't in the cards for me. It is not worth it for me to go down to 3500 watt elements, I need the speed baby.
Keep in mind: The "80% rule" does NOT apply to a single outlet circuit.
Also, the "rule" applies to the home designer and/or the electrician installing the electrical circuits. It does not apply to the home owner.

A 4500W element in your HLT and a 5500W element in the BOIL would solve your power concerns for back to back brews.
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