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Old 03-03-2012, 04:31 AM   #1
Sanderoll
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Default Spa Panel, how many AMPS

I want to go the electric route soon. Going one step at a time, I'm already brewing with speciality grain with my extract. I want to go BIAB electric, full volume boil.

I just won an auction on Ebay for a GFCI spa panel breaker box they tell me to choose between 40-50-60 amps.

Right now I'm in an appartement, the place I want to plug it to was a place for a stove/oven. I have 40 amps circuit breaker there (200 amps service in the house). Not sure about the wire gauge, the plug is 4 prong.

I want to build to a 3 vessel brewing rig to do 5 and 10 gallons batches.

Is there a problem buying a 50 or 60 amp spa panel on my 40 amp circuit for now so I don't have to buy another 50 or 60 amp later. (maybe running 2x 5500w or 4500w element + 2 march pump) I plan on buying my own place in a couple of years, putting my cash down aside as we talk .

I think this set up from Tiber Brew : http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/ele...d-help-183775/ looks similar to my future plan any use to have a 60 amps breaker spabox (if I upgrade the breaker in breaker box and wires) or its useless and i should only go with 50 and it will do for now and for future 2 march pumps +2x element ?

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Old 03-03-2012, 09:34 PM   #2
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You can use whatever one you want, the primary breaker will act as an over-current protection device and your spa panel breaker will keep you for electrocuting yourself. A single 5500W element will pull 25 amps and will boil a 10 gallon batch. If you ever decide that you need to fire two 5500W elements in the future, a 60 amp GFCI spa panel will come in handy.

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Old 03-03-2012, 09:40 PM   #3
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No reason not to get the 60.

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Old 03-05-2012, 03:20 AM   #4
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I won the auction a couple days ago and I didn't want to wait to long before paying the seller so I went with the 50 amps. If I need more for other purposes like pumps or lights I'll just use a wall outlet.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pvtschultz View Post
You can use whatever one you want, the primary breaker will act as an over-current protection device and your spa panel breaker will keep you for electrocuting yourself.
That's what I thought but I rather ask to make sure their was no problem doing so.

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A single 5500W element will pull 25 amps and will boil a 10 gallon batch. If you ever decide that you need to fire two 5500W elements in the future, a 60 amp GFCI spa panel will come in handy.
Is it overkill 5500W what for BIAB 5 gallon batch ?
Is 2x 5500 + 2x March pump good on a 50 amps gfci ?
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Old 03-05-2012, 12:31 PM   #5
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I like the 5500W element with 5 gallon boils; going from tap water temp to mash temp and then to boil happen quite quickly (especially when compared to doing stove top batches). You just need a way to tame it a bit during the boil. I use a PWM for that purpose but the better PID controllers have a manual mode built in as well. I brew in a keggle so the larger element will allow me to brew bigger batches. But then again, my ferm chamber limits me to two carboys at a time...

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Old 03-05-2012, 03:06 PM   #6
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The spa panel that you won is probably a 100 or 125amp panel and they just installed whatever size gfci breaker that you wanted before shipping. If this is so then it probably also has 2 more spaces for more breakers. When you get your new residence you can feed this panel with whatever you want up to it's maximum rating and then add a couple of 20 amp gfci breakers for any ancillary equipment that you are wanting to use during your brew day (like your pumps and all your control wiring) leaving you with the full 50 amps for your elements.

I found that a 4500 watt element is plenty fast enough for 10 gallon batches and it keeps all the wiring and components quite a bit cheaper since you only need to buy 20 amp switches and wire instead of 30 amp.

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Old 03-05-2012, 05:12 PM   #7
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Quote:
Is there a problem buying a 50 or 60 amp spa panel on my 40 amp circuit for now so I don't have to buy another 50 or 60 amp later. (maybe running 2x 5500w or 4500w element + 2 march pump)
the only problem with putting a breaker that is too large in the circuit is that it will no longer protect the wiring behind it from overheating. if you are concious about not overloading the wire between the breaker and heating element, then it shouldnt be a big problem (besides not being up to code), but you have no safety net. if you accidentally pull too many amps, you can start an electrical fire as the breaker wont trip before the wire gets too hot.

you can put a 60A GFCI breaker behind a regular 40A breaker in the box- that would be OK (although harder to install, and also probably not up to code). it would atleast mean you couldnt burn your house down as easily....
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Old 03-05-2012, 05:37 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audger View Post
You can put a 60A GFCI breaker behind a regular 40A breaker in the box- that would be OK (although harder to install, and also probably not up to code). it would atleast mean you couldnt burn your house down as easily....
He bought a spa panel which is a sub panel being fed from the main. There are hundreds of us here that use the 50 amp GE spa panel sold by Home Depot to protect us from electrocution. My spa panel plugs into my dryer outlet which is protected by a 30 amp breaker. There is nothing wrong with that at all. What you said is akin to not being able to plug a GFI protected 1/2 amp floor lamp into a 15 amp branch. In a nut shell, GFI is GFI no matter what the current running through it is (within the design limits of course).

And, I'm guessing that 99% of our eBreweries don't follow the NEC to a "T" anyways, with the exception of the many electrical engineers and electricians on the board.
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Old 03-06-2012, 12:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audger View Post
the only problem with putting a breaker that is too large in the circuit is that it will no longer protect the wiring behind it from overheating. if you are concious about not overloading the wire between the breaker and heating element, then it shouldnt be a big problem (besides not being up to code), but you have no safety net. if you accidentally pull too many amps, you can start an electrical fire as the breaker wont trip before the wire gets too hot.

you can put a 60A GFCI breaker behind a regular 40A breaker in the box- that would be OK (although harder to install, and also probably not up to code). it would atleast mean you couldnt burn your house down as easily....
I'm confused. If he has a 30 amp breaker in the main panel feeding the spa panel, the main breaker will trip if more than 30 amps is drawn, no? So what difference does it make how many amps the breaker in the spa panel is?

Or are you saying that the wiring leading to the element is not rated as high as the main breaker? In that case, a fuse could protect the wire, no? but that element will draw 25 amps or so, right? So why wouldn't he use 10 gauge wire?
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Old 03-10-2012, 02:14 AM   #10
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I just received the breaker today I got the 50 amps but the break isn't installed in the enclosure. Not a problem I saw someone post how to install it. I wonder however is it normal that when I genlty shake the breaker it feels like small pieces are moving inside. Also, the test button is pushed.

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