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Old 01-10-2012, 06:34 PM   #1
GregKelley
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Default Sourcing parts and other options

Looking to go electric. Right now I plan on just using a PWM with a 5500 watt element in the BK.

I have the parts for the PWM circuit. Looking to get the SSR, heat sink and box to put them in. I found SSRs and heat sink at Auberins.com, oscsys.com and lightobject.com. Based on Kal's work, a lot of people use Auberins.com but those prices seemed high compared to the other sites. You get what you pay for sometimes, so I wanted to check and see if people had good or bad experience with the other two sites.

Any suggestions for the control box?

Next, attaching the element. Any good sources for the locknut, washer and o-ring? I saw McMaster-Carr has them but I can't see going through 24 o-rings in my lifetime.

I loved the idea someone had to put a socket in the box the encloses the heating element. That way I don't have to have a big cord hanging off my BK. However, that connection is only 3 prong, how does one deal with ground?

Speaking of which, my dryer connection is 3 prong. I gather that is the 2 hots and the neutral. I do have ground elsewhere in my house, so I'm assuming that if I ran a new line from my main box I could bring the ground from there, right?

Finally, are people building their own cords or are they buying them pre-made?

Thanks for all the help.

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Old 01-10-2012, 06:40 PM   #2
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Next, attaching the element. Any good sources for the locknut, washer and o-ring? I saw McMaster-Carr has them but I can't see going through 24 o-rings in my lifetime.
http://www.bargainfittings.com/

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Old 01-10-2012, 07:26 PM   #3
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Your house will have a ground at the panel. When you run power for your system, you will run 2 hot wires (from the circuit breaker you will be installing, black or red in color), 1 neutral wire (from the neutral buss, white in color or black with white tape) and 1 ground wire (from the grounding buss; bare copper, green colored wire or black wire with green tape). By the way, if the panel you are running the power from is the main panel, meaning that it is fed directly from your power meter panel and does NOT go through another panel or disconnect switch (like in a modular home), then the neutral buss will be bonded to the grounding buss. That means there will probably be a metal bar that connects the neutral buss to the grounding buss or the panel enclosure. This means that the grounding buss and neutral buss are interchangeable and you may see white wires on the same buss as the bare ground wires. This is ONLY possible if this is the main panel from the meter.

As for the power cord, I would just make your own. It's a lot cheaper and very easy to do. Just follow the instructions that come with the cord cap end you buy.

Good luck. Cheers.

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Old 01-11-2012, 12:37 AM   #4
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Next, attaching the element. Any good sources for the locknut, washer and o-ring? I saw McMaster-Carr has them but I can't see going through 24 o-rings in my lifetime.
Bargain Fittings
Thanks, mux. I'm assuming some people are forgoing Kal's design where the o-ring and washer are outside the kettle and instead they are putting the o-ring in the groove in the nut inside of the kettle, right?
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Old 01-11-2012, 12:39 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by MadViking View Post
Your house will have a ground at the panel. When you run power for your system, you will run 2 hot wires (from the circuit breaker you will be installing, black or red in color), 1 neutral wire (from the neutral buss, white in color or black with white tape) and 1 ground wire (from the grounding buss; bare copper, green colored wire or black wire with green tape). By the way, if the panel you are running the power from is the main panel, meaning that it is fed directly from your power meter panel and does NOT go through another panel or disconnect switch (like in a modular home), then the neutral buss will be bonded to the grounding buss. That means there will probably be a metal bar that connects the neutral buss to the grounding buss or the panel enclosure. This means that the grounding buss and neutral buss are interchangeable and you may see white wires on the same buss as the bare ground wires. This is ONLY possible if this is the main panel from the meter.
Yes, the panel is the main panel, the only panel in my home, directly fed from the meter. If the grounding buss and neutral buss are interchangeable, can they be split at my control panel and be used for neutral and ground?
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Old 01-11-2012, 02:25 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by GregKelley

Thanks, mux. I'm assuming some people are forgoing Kal's design where the o-ring and washer are outside the kettle and instead they are putting the o-ring in the groove in the nut inside of the kettle, right?
I only used the rubber gasket that came with the element, I haven't brewed with my kettle yet. Hopefully I can report back on this issue on Monday.
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:37 PM   #7
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I only used the rubber gasket that came with the element, I haven't brewed with my kettle yet. Hopefully I can report back on this issue on Monday.
This is what I did. We use water heater elements, they are designed to be watertight! I just used a $5 SS locknut from Mcmaster, and the rubber gasket on the OUTSIDE, (where it would go in a real water heater). No O-rings, grommets, extra washers, or any of that stuff. It's water tight with 15 gal in the kettle, on the first try.

As for ground, neutrals, 3 wires, 4 wires, etc., there's a pretty easy answer: a spa panel. You want a GFCI protected line for your brewery, it's NECESSARY. Either buy a $100 GFCI breaker to install in your panel, (which will then give you 4 wires, Hot 1, Hot 2, Neutral, Ground out of the panel), or buy a $50 spa panel from Home Depot. In the spa panel, you can take the 3 wire output from your dryer outlet, and split the Neutral into a Neutral/Ground. ONLY allowed inside a panel like that, (not allowed inside your brewery control panel, only in a breaker box or panel!). There are wiring diagrams on here that show you how. Now, you'll have a 4 wire output from the spa panel that you can route to your control panel. Here is one of PJ's wiring diagrams that shows how to wire a spa panel to go from 3 to 4 wire:


Finally, as to the outlet on the element box, the 3 wires going to the box are Hot 1, Hot 2, and GROUND. (The third wire going to an element box is GROUND, not neutral). Hot 1 and Hot 2 go to the element, ground goes to the pot you're using to ground it out.

Here is a pic of my element box on my keggle. Note 2 wires going to the element, the third goes to a stud that goes to the keg itself:


Another view of my element in my keggle....note the rubber washer in between the element flange and the keggle...
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:53 PM   #8
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Nice job, did you just glue the box to the element?

BTW: You may want to consider making the external gnd wire the same gauge as the others.

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Old 01-11-2012, 07:08 PM   #9
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Nice job, did you just glue the box to the element?

BTW: You may want to consider making the external gnd wire the same gauge as the others.
Does not matter IF it is GFCI protected. (Which I believe is the case.)
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Old 01-11-2012, 07:58 PM   #10
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I defer to you on this, you are one of our resident experts. I only mentioned that because I thought I was told that the gnd wire should always be sized to handle the same current as the rest of the circuit (eg: I run 10ga hot and neutral wires from basement panel to breaker box in garage for a 20A 120V circuit but only run 14ga gnd. This is OK as long as I use GFCI breakers in the garage panel?)

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