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Old 01-25-2013, 06:14 PM   #1
Kayakr1988
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Default Starting an electric brewery

So as the title says i am starting an electric brewery.

This being said in an ideal world I would just splurge and buy everything i need. But this being reality i can only afford ordering part by part until i complete this wonderful endeavor.

To start off ill fill you in on what equipment i currently have.

3 S.S. Keg pots set up with HERMS coil in my HLT. my MLT has a false bottom in it. And my Kettle... well it has a valve to release the wort after brewing. I use the HERMS coil to cool the wort down to temperature.

Currently i am using a Namco 1000 watt bucket heater to Heat/keep temperature in my HLT. This takes quite a while to do if im making a 10 gallon batch. Usually i will heat some water on the stove and pour it in to the HLT then pour some out and repeat until i reach my target temp.

This is a PITA but it gets the work done in about an hour to hour and a half.

For my MLT i wrapped it in Aluminum heat tape for hot water heaters. I also wrap a thick shipping blanket over it to keep my mash temp up. This works great and i usually only loose about 4 degrees max and thats on a cold rainy day.

My Kettle is currently heated by a, pardon my french, propane burner. i know some people like them but for me it is a hassle between running out in the middle of batches to not wanting to catch anything on fire when i have to brew under a pop-up tent when it rains.

Now eventually i would like a full electric brewery that i can use indoors and would be similar to Kal's design. I dont want to bother with 120 volt because i would soon be upgrading to 240 volt.

I have very easy access to my dryer outlet so that is not a problem. I know i will need the spa panel as well.

I am going to start off with the HLT and move forward with the Kettle eventually. So i need an element for the HLT i was thinking a 5500 watt but would like some input. Also i am wanting to do a step and be able to brew, then add something and be able to brew.

I know i dont have the money to afford the PID and components yet so is there a way i could brew with a spa panel, switch, and element(the element would be installed in a waterproof box).

I would have to manually turn it on and off and use a stick thermometer but it will work right?

This would be the first step for me if its not to dangerous.

Thanks in advance for your help.


Andy

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Old 01-25-2013, 07:46 PM   #2
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If you already have the dryer outlet available, why would you need a spa panel?

What do you mean by, "a step?" Step mashing? Easily done with Kal's design.

I wouldn't do this partial setup myself, sitting there flipping a breaker box doesn't seem exactly safe and might make controlling temps difficult. If you are really dead set on doing this though, have a GFCI breaker installed for the dryer outlet at the minimum.

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Old 01-25-2013, 07:54 PM   #3
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Well the Spa Panel is cheaper then the breaker. Atleast this is what i have seen.

The "step" part is not what type of mash its like a step in the building process.

Also i would have a 240 watt 30 volt switch near the outlet that is then connected to the spa panel. that way i won't be flipping the breaker just the switch.

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Old 01-29-2013, 05:11 PM   #4
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Does the spa panel come with a GFCI? My 30amp GFCI cost me $70 so it wasn't too expensive and allows for a clean install instead of having another panel 10 feet away from my main panel.

A pid figures out temp rise and then functions the element on and off as it approaches the target temp to keep from overshooting which a 5500 watt element could easily do. Manually switching seems like it would be hard to get good temp control. Not saying its impossible as I have no experience doing it...just something I would personally avoid. Obviously I am as I have pretty much everything for my build but am still using propane until I can get my panel put together.

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Old 01-29-2013, 10:21 PM   #5
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Yes the spa panel has a gfci 50 amp breaker in it. I bought one off ebay from this seller and it is the exact one you get from HD for less. Even though I had a problem with the original breaker not tripping with the test button he was prompt to send me a replacement breaker. The biggest thing I can suggest is to sit down and make a complete list of parts you will need for your build so you don't end up having to order multiple times from one vendor and get hammered by shipping costs.

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Old 01-29-2013, 10:56 PM   #6
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Some good advice given already. The main thing I will say is PATIENCE. I just converted to electric (Kal Clone) and love it. I don't really think I would do it different than the way I approached it. Much like you it seems money was an obstacle I had to work with. I started with my control box and worked towards my kettles. The last thing I did was blow holes in my kettles for my elements. That made it so I could brew beer during the building phase. A checklist (as someone mentioned earlier) was made with parts/suppliers so I didnt get hammered on shipping. I broke things down so I didnt exceed 200$ per time (most were much less) One word of caution...once you start it will take a massive amount of will power to stop at certain stages. Good luck

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Old 01-30-2013, 08:28 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chrisl77 View Post
Yes the spa panel has a gfci 50 amp breaker in it. I bought one off ebay from this seller and it is the exact one you get from HD for less. Even though I had a problem with the original breaker not tripping with the test button he was prompt to send me a replacement breaker. The biggest thing I can suggest is to sit down and make a complete list of parts you will need for your build so you don't end up having to order multiple times from one vendor and get hammered by shipping costs.
I know that that panel has been brought up in other threads, but that price seems too good to be true. How did it work out?

Kayakr1988-

Sounds like you have some of the spendiest items out of the way (wiring, kettle). Shouldn't be too bad to get the electrical componants. PIDs can be had for less than $50.
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Old 02-06-2013, 05:41 PM   #8
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So i convinced the OWMBO to let me spend some of the tax return on "whatever" I want.

I was looking around and found a control panel design that i like although i have a few concerns with it.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/one-more-brew-controller-254514/

I already have a very similarly sized Pelican box which i can use to make it so that is one less expense.

DMFA200 has this control panel up but i was wondering about heatsinks. I dont see any in there and wonder if i would be able to safely make something like this.

What do you guys think?

Also i would start out with only one PID and one Pump but will have room to expand later on.

Thanks

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