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Old 01-11-2012, 04:43 PM   #1
mgude
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Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Ames, ia
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Default PID-less e-brew and other design questions

First I just have to say this forum is fantastic. I am super impressed with all the great advice and expertise here. I have learned so much in the past 2 weeks here. If anything, I am overwhelmed by too much information!

I am getting ready to go all-grain and all electric brewery. I have some questions though. (I am sure this info is here somewhere, but I am not very good at digging through the threads to find it)

My plan is for the HLT and BK to be stainless kettles (at least one will be a Bayou Classic 15g, the other has not been purchased yet, might be a keggle) heated by 5500w elements. I intend to keep using my Igloo 10g for the MLT. I will have a HERMS coil immersed in the HLT. My main panel is in the same room as the brewery, so I will probably pay the extra $ for the GFCI breaker (vs $50 spa panel).

So, my remaining confusions:

1) PID? Almost every electric build I see here has a PID. Do I really need one? Is there a reason I can't just wire the elements to switches? I don't really feel the need to automate (yet).

2) with simple switched elements, is there a way to vary the wattage to the elements to better control the heat? Can I get a link to a good switch?

3) can I use wood for my stand?

4) I am planning on having the HLT above the MLT so I can gravity drain for sparging. Do I need 2 pumps?

5) is a e-stop/kill switch necessary?

6) I am planning something like this for the kettles. Is it safe to have a plug that close to a potential boil over?

7) I want to have the option of moving up to PID control in the future, so I will be getting an oversized enclosure. Anything else I should consider in making room for that upgrade?

To start out though, the control panel will only NEED 2 element switches/dials, and one for the pump. Throw in some indicator lights, a keyed lockout, and an e-stop and I should be good, right? Is there a simple wiring diagram for this kind of build out there?

Thanks!

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