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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > Simple e-build for extract brewing in one Boil Kettle
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Old 12-02-2011, 04:30 PM   #1
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Default Simple e-build for extract brewing in one Boil Kettle

I have a decent 8 gal brew kettle with a ball valve and welded thermometer port (BE308 from MoreBeer.com) and have brewed 90 gal in 5gal extract kits. I will, in the very long run, be buying and building the e-brewery with kal's directions (already bought the book and started reading/dreaming).

For now, I am interested in going electric just to replace the propane in my process and move everything to the basement. Thanks to my recent wet bar redesign, my Chief-of-Staff has cut off the project funding. On a shoestring budget, I want to

1 Ask a local machine shop to cut a hole in my kettle for a heating element
2 Attach the heating element using the method in kals book
3 wire the heating element to a 220v plug, through some sort of graduated switch (picturing a dial of sorts, with low to high or 1-10, etc)

When I brew, I will use the dryer plug (so no electrician costs), and have to watch the thermometer and use the switch to regulate the water temperature.

Anyone have any thoughts on this relatively simple undertaking?
Ideas for what kind of dial/switch I could use?
Forsee any problems or unexpected costs I'm not considering?

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Old 12-02-2011, 04:50 PM   #2
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Search for "PWM".

for example:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/pwm...us-how-221301/

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Old 12-02-2011, 04:52 PM   #3
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you can't use a straight forward "dimmer" switch to control your heating element. There is simply too much power. You're going to have to look into buying an SSR and building/buying a PWM (pulse width modulator) to control the amount of heating.

And I honestly wouldn't do any of this without GFCI protection. That can end up costing you an unexpected pretty penny to add it to your breaker box or buy an in-line GFCI cord or spa panel or something. You can figure $50 in costs to add GFCI protection as a minimum.

Your idea is simple enough, and I know people use things like this. Straight forward electric kettle with a knob to control the amount of heating.

Honestly, it'll probably run you $150 to build this when it's all said and done.

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Old 12-03-2011, 05:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker View Post
you can't use a straight forward "dimmer" switch to control your heating element. There is simply too much power. You're going to have to look into buying an SSR and building/buying a PWM (pulse width modulator) to control the amount of heating.

And I honestly wouldn't do any of this without GFCI protection. That can end up costing you an unexpected pretty penny to add it to your breaker box or buy an in-line GFCI cord or spa panel or something. You can figure $50 in costs to add GFCI protection as a minimum.
thanks for the feedback. I bought an in-line 220v gcfi breaker for $9 from ebay.
Next is trying to figure out how a SSR/PWM works and where to buy the parts.
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Old 12-05-2011, 03:40 PM   #5
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thanks for the feedback. I bought an in-line 220v gcfi breaker for $9 from ebay.
Next is trying to figure out how a SSR/PWM works and where to buy the parts.
Woah! $9 for an inline 240V GFCI? That's probably shoe-in for the deal of the century.

If the seller has more of those and you have a link, post it and share. Better yet, PM it to me and I will post it after I buy a bunch of them.
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Old 12-05-2011, 05:00 PM   #6
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^^What he said!^^

Also, without getting too technical and adding expense to your project I'd suggest using a 3000W element without any control PWM/PID control, just a simple on/off switch. I've found that this is the sweet spot for a 5-6gal batch and you can maintain a nice solid boil with that. True that it may take longer to get up to a boil, but we all have to make sacrifices in life.

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Old 12-06-2011, 02:10 AM   #7
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Wyzazz,

Probably a good call, but I really am hoping(dreaming?) to build Kal's e-Brewery in a couple of years and hate the idea of buying parts twice. I'm essentially trying to piece it out of parts from his instructions so I can re-purpose the parts whenever the time comes.

I made a few other purchases and I'll post about them when they come in the mail.

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Old 12-07-2011, 01:19 AM   #8
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Oh dayummmnnnn..... Stuff started to arrive!



5500w element
JB weld
O-rings
Adhesive
Some threaded stuff

Good times ahead!

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Old 12-08-2011, 09:00 PM   #9
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sweet, I am looking forward to a relatively simple build.

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Old 12-21-2011, 01:36 PM   #10
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Well, I guess I stalled a bit. Kinda getting intimidated on the parts-buying, when it comes to the wiring, plugs, etc. I will update this list later but this is essentially what I have so-far:

Kettle (still have to find a place that can cut my 1.25" hole, or I have to buy the $70 tool)
5500w element
2gang box and lid to house the outside of the kettle where the wires connect to the heating element, through the kettle wall
O-ring and flat nut to attach the element element/kettle
PID controller
Metal electrical box

Still have to figure out:
the thermometer and how it connects to the PID
Heat sink and whether I really need one for a one-kettle system
What exactly the Solid State Relay does and where I should buy one
What buttons and switches I need and where I should buy them
What wiring/cords/outlets I need to get the components talking to each other

If only I could find someplace cheaper and closer than HomeDepot/Lowes

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