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-   -   Photos of the new 5500 watt electric system (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/photos-new-5500-watt-electric-system-250703/)

GRHunter 06-11-2011 06:03 PM

Photos of the new 5500 watt electric system
5 Attachment(s)
After a couple of months of studying and planning, and then 2 weeks of build time, I am finally finished with my little system. I have to give thanks to Kal for taking the time to document the process so well that even us newbies can get into electric brewing. Also to P-J who provided lots of advice and invaluable schematics.

When I first started I thought this project was going be cheap, quick, and easy. I was wrong on all accounts. But to be fair, because of my ignorance and lack of patience I made it a lot more expensive, slower, and harder. With the lessons learned from this build I expect it to go a lot better next time. Now that I can get back to brewing again I am going to take my time and build a 3 kettle single controller system. AKA the Electric Brewery. I am probably just going to order the kit from Kal as chasing down all the parts was my least favorite part of the build.

And as I mentioned before, I think I may have set the record for the most expensive single kettle electric brew system ever. I tracked every penny I spent on this project except for gas (picking up parts) and my time. I spent a lot of extra money for the following reasons:

A) I bought locally because I didn't want to wait
B) I bought online from a single vendor because I was too lazy to place multiple orders
C) I bought the wrong parts
D) I bought to many items because I didn't know the correct quantity
E) I had to pay an electrician to install my sub-panel
F) I had almost none of the tools I needed

Here is a break down of my costs by category

Cost Description
$228.46 Tools
$97.84 Element Parts
$365.42 Controller Parts
$24.97 Tax
$47.00 Shipping & Handling
$560.00 Electrician

$1,323.69 Total

P-J 06-11-2011 09:20 PM

Very nicely done. Congrats!

The good part? You now have the tools for a lot of other projects. You have your sub panel in place which allows you to do whatever you choose on your next adventure.
And the best part? You have an electric brew rig that looks absolutely great and will serve you very well.

I'm pleased that I could be of some help.


jsguitar 06-11-2011 11:23 PM

Looks awesome!

I'm embarking on the same adventure. You're right that it's more expensive than you first think. For example, I went to Home Depot the other day to buy some sjoow wire. I had my toddler with me who was amused with the various switches for a while, but by the time I got to buying the wire he was ready to go so I forgot that I wanted 20 feet of 10/3 and 10 feet of 10/4 and I had the guy cut me 30 feet of 10/4! Of course, I didn't even realize my mistake until later that night. Oh, well. I figured out I can now put my controller in a more optimum place....for an extra $50! Live and learn.


Garrett 06-12-2011 02:53 AM

looks great! I am currently doing the exact same setup! 62qt kettle instead.

Garrett 06-12-2011 03:04 AM

Actually what setup did you use to do the sight glass with a ball valve? I would love to do that as well.

GRHunter 06-12-2011 03:11 AM


Originally Posted by Garrett (Post 2998983)
Actually what setup did you use to do the sight glass with a ball valve? I would love to do that as well.

It's the kit that Bobby M sell here on the forum.

kappclark 06-12-2011 12:08 PM

nicely done --

this is 220 - right ? It looks like 110 outlets below the sub panel. Is the GFI breaker in the sub panel, or the main box ?

GRHunter 06-12-2011 12:19 PM


Originally Posted by kappclark (Post 2999367)
nicely done --

this is 220 - right ? It looks like 110 outlets below the sub panel. Is the GFI breaker in the sub panel, or the main box ?

Yes, it's 240v to the brew controller and 120v to the accessory plug on the side. I have a 50 amp GFCI breaker in my main panel. And then in my sub panel I have two standard breakers, a 30 amp breaker to run the brew system, and then a 20 amp breaker to the accessory plugs. I wanted the GFCI in the sub-panel but my electrician pointed out that technically my sub-panel is in a wet area and by code the GFCI should in the main panel. He also said that having GFCI to another GFCI can be a little quirky, so we went with the typical spa panel design.

Dgonza9 06-12-2011 02:07 PM

You can save quite a lot of money if you go with 120v and use existing outlets, if you have them, or if you move them. That's what I did. Two 2000w elements can boil 13-14 gallons for a ten gallon batch. That's enough for just about anyone these days. I used to really want 240v (I'd have to reorganize my panel), but now it's hard to see the need.




Where I most overspent in both time and money was with the illuminated switches. But oh, well. They're pretty cool. Certainly don't need 'em, but at least I can see what's on. Then again, when I turn on pump or fan I know it's on by the sound, so it is overkill. While I know part of the fun is building new things, I've finally reached a point where I don't need any more upgrades (sort of) and can just brew beer. Enjoy your new rig.

The upgrade I like the most at this point is the RIMS tube and controller. Do you have one or is your pid to control the boil?

kappclark 06-12-2011 02:13 PM

120v - are those 20 amp outlets ?

Is the HLT a cooler ?

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