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Old 06-29-2011, 10:55 PM   #1
wncbrewer
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Default noob electricity question

I am getting prepared to start my conversion to electric. I have 220 power going through my brewhouse on the way to the heat pump, which is on a 20 amp breaker. I would like to replace it with a 30 amp for brewing purposes. My first question is will the increased amperage put my heat pump at risk (or be a fire hazard)? Second, if I leave the existing 20 amp will it throw the breaker everytime I'm brewing and the heat or air comes on? I am in very preliminary planning stages, and I figure the first hurdle is going to be getting safe, adequate power. Thanks as usual...wnc

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Old 06-29-2011, 11:09 PM   #2
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There are a lot of "depends" in your questions.

First thing I would do is determine what electric elements you are using and determine the max amperage that it could pull, then buy your gfci breaker based on that.

I'd also suggest, if possible, putting the brewing system on it's own gfci breaker, and leaving that 20A one to the heat pump. I would imagine that the heat pump pulls enough to warrant it's own 20A circuit. Then you wouldn't need to worry about tripping that breaker.

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Old 06-29-2011, 11:13 PM   #3
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The breaker is there to protect the wiring. You can't just upsize the breaker because you feel like it. You need to make sure the wire can support the increased load that the breaker will allow. More than likely if you did do everything you talked about and were brewing when the heat pump kicked on it would trip the circuit breaker. Even if the loads add up to a little under 30a the in-rush current on the startup of the heat pump motor will likely trip the breaker.

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Old 06-29-2011, 11:17 PM   #4
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Questions... Are you sure it is a 20A 240V feed to the heat pump? They usually draw a lot more power than that.

What size HLT and BOIL vessels are you planning on using?

If the feed is 20A, then you are really limited in what you can do with it. BTW, Yes the breaker will trip if the AC comes on while you are brewing. Plus, you really need to plan on a GFCI protected line for your brewery. Do not short change this safety option. Please.!

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Old 06-29-2011, 11:54 PM   #5
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That's what I thought. Here are a few more details...
Just checked the labeling on everything. The stamped plate on my heat pump says it is 240 and draws 11 amps (it is tiny). It is wired to a twenty amp breaker in the house. The air handler is on a different circuit wired to a 50 amp breaker. The wire looks to be 12-14 gauge and is pulled to a covered junction box and spliced before going on to the heat pump.

I certainly plan on using a gfci, just haven't determined the best spot for it yet.

I plan on having one 5500 watt element in my hlt to run a HERMS at first, and continue to boil with gas for now (I cant afford this all at once). Hope this additional info helps. If I have to run a new service from the panel its not the end of the world, was hopinto use what's already there if I can though

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Old 06-30-2011, 02:05 AM   #6
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All you need is a 4 wire run 240V-30A (2 hots, neutral & ground) to an outlet for your brew rig. That will work very well for your brew sessions, unless, you intend to do back to back brew batches. Then it would be wise to make it a 240V - 50A run.

A GFCI breaker for your mains panel might be rather expensive (It is critical to have that for your safety and protection), however, you can adapt a Spa Panel ($49) to do that task for you after the outlet in your brew area.

Please let me know what you want to achieve and I'll come up with a diagram and a plan for you. The controller should not cost you a lot of money. We are not talking about thousands here. With your plan, I can come up with a rough estimate on your cost outlay for the controller.

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Old 06-30-2011, 10:49 AM   #7
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That is extremely generous of you p-j and would be grealtly appreciated. All I want is an rtd in the hlt and a pid to controll it. I don't plan to put a probe in the mash tun, it is already fitted with a blichmann dial thermometer. I will have two pumps, one to circulate wort and one for the water. A this point I just want the bare essentials, but would like to have room in the controller to add things in the future. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge...wnc

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Old 06-30-2011, 11:20 AM   #8
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wnc,

Here is a controller diagram that would be well suited for your setup.
(Click on the image to see a full scale diagram that can be printed on tabloid paper 11" x 17")



You need a 30A-240V power feed and outlet for your setup. GFCI protection is very important as well. That can be handled easily by installing a Spa Panel in your brew area. HomeDepot (< click the link) has a decent one for $49.00.

Hope this helps.

P-J

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Old 06-30-2011, 12:14 PM   #9
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Very nice job P-J.

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Old 06-30-2011, 12:40 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bull8042 View Post
Very nice job P-J.
Thanks.! It's appreciated.
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