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-   -   Not your typical GFCI/ground for eBrewery question (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/not-your-typical-gfci-ground-ebrewery-question-380129/)

kaz4121 01-10-2013 12:15 AM

Not your typical GFCI/ground for eBrewery question
 
Hey guys,

I have done a bunch of research on HBT for my eBrewery build. In short, I am building a custom system featuring a 11 gallon SS HLT with 5500W electric heating element, 10 gallon Igloo MLT with false bottom, 11 gallon SS BK with 5500W electric heating element and a chugger pump.

I eventually want to create my dream eBrewery like Kal's, but since I am a recent college grad paying off massive student loans, that will have to wait. In the mean time, I have budgeted and began piecing together a $1500 eBrewery system.

Now, I don't know a lick about electricity except that it is pretty easy to kill yourself, especially when you add water into the mix. I'm not building a control panel since it is too expensive at this point and because I don't feel comfortable building one by myself yet. I also am not comfortable building my own electric heating element yet. Therefore, I am purchasing (and yes overpaying) the following:

Controller: http://www.highgravitybrew.com/productcart/pc/Electric-Kettle-Controller-306p3084.htm

Heating element:http://www.highgravitybrew.com/productcart/pc/Heating-Element-5500-Watt-SS-306p2669.htm

Basically I am installing my heating element in the kettles, and those get plugged into the electric kettle controller, which gets plugged into the GFCI outlet.

Now my brew stand will feature a SS frame with thick plywood top. I know I should have a GFCI installed for my heating elements but here is my question:

Will accidental contact with water and the heating element successfully trip the GFCI without shocking me first (ie go from the element through the controller and to the GFCI before electrocuting me)? Or do I need to ground the heating element and electric controller separately as well? Also should my brew top be SS instead of wood?

I am interested in safety first and doing it the "right way".

jeffmeh 01-10-2013 12:35 AM

Yes, in addition to the GFCI, everything must be properly grounded. You do not want to be the path to ground relying on a GFCI to save your life. The controller out of the box should be properly grounded. A bit more questionable is the element, as you need to make sure the chassis of the element that is attached to the ground makes sufficient contact with the kettle. You can and should test that with a multimeter. If you buy from High Gravity, I would hope that they would provide you with whatever support you need to get this right.

Good luck with it.


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