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Old 01-11-2012, 08:08 PM   #1
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Default Ripple element kettle clearance?

Maybe a silly question, but doesn't using a ripple element with stationary threads on the kettle problematic? What I mean is, you'd want to install it as low as possible but if you weld/solder a coupling or nut to the wall, wouldn't it need to be up high enough that the swing of the ripples would clear the bottom of the pot?

If so, I think there are three different options:

1. Use the ripple but mount the fixed bulkhead high enough for clearance.
2. Use the ripple but go weldless so that the element doesn't have to spin.
3. Use the LWD foldback element and mount it low (welded or weldless no matter).

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Old 01-11-2012, 08:53 PM   #2
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Yes! You have a clear understanding of the issues. I designed my system to be able to use the S-shaped elements. That said, I am back to the straight ones (folded over). I did not find the S-shaped CAMCO elements to resist dry firing. The straight ones are easier to clean as well. My BK is a 55 gal SS drum and bending over with my head in the BK scrubbing the elements is the least favorite part of my brew day.

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Old 01-11-2012, 09:18 PM   #3
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You used the Camco 2933?

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Old 01-12-2012, 02:27 PM   #4
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the S-shaped element I used was the Camco 2953, which is the 4500 watt version. I currently use rheem elements.

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Old 01-12-2012, 03:12 PM   #5
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I wonder if there is a time limit on dry-firing? I could imagine many seconds would be alright, but maybe not many minutes. I've dry fired my elements for seconds just to check them. Never got them red though.

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Old 01-12-2012, 03:23 PM   #6
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I use 2 of the camco RIPP 5500W elements. Yes, if you weld the 1" nut to the keg you'll need to install the elements so the ripples don't hit the bottom when they are screwed in.

But the bottom of sanke kegs (not kettles) is rounded, so I think you could mount it very very low.

I mounted mine at about the 3 gallon mark, but I could have gone lower. I have a dip tube down there (from a ball valve) that would interfere it I got the element too low.

Mounting it as low as possible is a good idea as it 1) lets you make smaller batches, 2) lets you get the element going earlier in the sparge, and 3) minimizes the stratification you get in there (not important for BK, but a real problem for HLT temp control)

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Old 01-12-2012, 03:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehaun View Post
Yes! You have a clear understanding of the issues. I designed my system to be able to use the S-shaped elements. That said, I am back to the straight ones (folded over). I did not find the S-shaped CAMCO elements to resist dry firing. The straight ones are easier to clean as well. My BK is a 55 gal SS drum and bending over with my head in the BK scrubbing the elements is the least favorite part of my brew day.
I dry-fired mine once, for about 10 seconds. Elements did survive (whew) but it burned off 2-years of grime that was on the element; there was a lot of smoke. That was the first good cleaning they've gotten! (they usually just get hosed, and occasionally some oxyclean; very rarely brushed)
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:44 PM   #8
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One thing I realized when mounting my 120v elements is that the final position has a lot to do with ease of cleaning. Though the 120v elements are just 'U' shaped--I mounted these flat (parrallel to the floor) and trying to clean the undersides is very difficult. If rotated 45 or 90 degrees, they would be easier to brush when I am cleaning. Not so easy with a ripple element, but rotating the foldback style a bit would make cleaning the underside a bit easier. This was one of the reasons why I chose to mount the elements at about the 3 gal 'mark'.

As you said though, with weldless fittings that is a nice luxury...what about screwing the element into the nut, then matchmarking the final position before welding? If you are particular about the final rotational resting place of the element, this could get you where you need to go?

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Old 01-12-2012, 03:47 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_M View Post
Maybe a silly question, but doesn't using a ripple element with stationary threads on the kettle problematic? What I mean is, you'd want to install it as low as possible but if you weld/solder a coupling or nut to the wall, wouldn't it need to be up high enough that the swing of the ripples would clear the bottom of the pot?

If so, I think there are three different options:

1. Use the ripple but mount the fixed bulkhead high enough for clearance.
2. Use the ripple but go weldless so that the element doesn't have to spin.
3. Use the LWD foldback element and mount it low (welded or weldless no matter).
You could always attach the element Kal style and put the lock nut on the inside of the kettle. The O-ring is on the outside held in place with a shim washer. It appears there are enough threads to hold it. I'm not sure if you use a keggle if that would be the case. Has anyone done this?
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Old 01-12-2012, 03:49 PM   #10
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I used a straight 4500w element in my kettle. Had some scorching issues so I decided to go with the 5500w ripple. Completely forgot about the clearance issues and was pretty mad when I tried to screw the darn thing in. I gently bent the element until it would spin in, but it was not a fun project.

Next time, if I ever change it out I'd consider a Tri-Clover install.

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