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Old 02-08-2012, 03:41 AM   #1
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Default Soldering a heating element mount - Hex vs. Coupling

If you were going to do, or re-do your keggle, which mount would you solder to your keggle?

1" hex nut or a 1" 1/2-coupling?



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Old 02-08-2012, 04:06 AM   #2
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I welded a nut to mine, so I can't really answer your question, but I bet a nut would have more surface area contact with the keg. This is good when soldering because it's not nearly as strong as a weld. With the nut, you also get a groove (if you get the right nut) that accepts a silicone o-ring. I would go with the nut for that reason alone.



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Old 02-08-2012, 05:06 AM   #3
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I soldered the nut to my keggle ( which is plenty strong) and tonight I soldered the nut to m HLT for my HERMS kit. They seem great.

unfortunately the second nut on the HLT did not have the groove, but it holds water just fine.

I used 1/2 inch nuts for the magnesium anodes as well.

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Old 02-08-2012, 01:51 PM   #4
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Edit:
The coupling would be set in a dimple as described in the http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/soldering-stainless-steel-155782/index1.html sticky.

My other thought was to use the same dimple technique out toward the hex nut, with the groove of the nut facing down, for added strength. Obviously the diameter of the dimple to match the diameter of the groove.

Todd.

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Old 02-08-2012, 02:16 PM   #5
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Yeah, I've been thinking about this too - I know the coupling would be easier to mount and solder on than the nut. But I really prefer to get the locknut on there since it has the proper straight thread.

I'm just gonna have to do some practice runs with nuts and some scraps before I go for it on my actual kettle.

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Old 02-08-2012, 04:47 PM   #6
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I went with the 1 in. half coupling, dimpled and soldered. I then used a slightly modified version of the Kal method to attach a weatherproof box to house the electrical connections. I'm really happy with the results. The dimpled solder connection is strong as can be, and it hasn't leaked a single drop. It was more work than the soldered nut, but I think over time it will prove to be a better method.

I also like the standoff that the half coupling provides. My last brew got away from me for just a coup[le of seconds, and boiled over a bit. With the box spaced away from the kettle by the half coupling, cleanup was easy.

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Old 02-08-2012, 05:30 PM   #7
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It seems to be pretty much luck that determines how the 1" couplings work with the element threads. I guess with so many different element makers/models out there along with all the different sources of SS fittings, there are a lot of different combinations.
Some people have to use a ton of teflon tape because they can barely get the element in there at all, and others can screw the elements into the coupler all the way down to the rubber gasket.
Maybe I will get some nuts and some couplings and see how they all fit and then decide which one would work best....

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Old 02-08-2012, 05:50 PM   #8
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This seems to come up alot, and I am deciding how to do it right now as well. Has anyone looked into having some half couplers machined with nps threads?

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Old 02-08-2012, 07:30 PM   #9
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I was a little worried that my element wouldn't screw in far enough, so I bought a "cheap" NPS tap off Ebay. I was able to run it into the threads on the half coupling far enough to seat the element firmly. After final assembly, I realized that the thickness of the silicone O-ring and stainless washer (see Kal's site) between the weatherproof box and the half coupling probably would have let it seal without re-threading. The end result, though, is a no-leak, easy-to-change element mount without the inherent problems of the typical weldless installation.

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Old 02-08-2012, 08:22 PM   #10
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This sounds like what I am envisioning:
- locknut/coupling soldered to the kettle
- element base inside an electrical box, 1.25" hole cut in box, element threads come through hole
- exterior of electrical box pushes the gasket against the soldered fitting creating a seal

This way element connections are housed in a box, and if there is any leakage, the liquid will fall between the kettle and the box and not into the actual box....at least that's the way I'm picturing it



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