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Old 07-07-2011, 02:25 AM   #1
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Default Switchable hybrid 110v/240v system possible?

I was wondering if it is possible to make a system (like the countertop brutus 20) that is switchable from 110v to 240v depending where you are brewing? I'd like to build one last system that I can use for the next few years where I am (240v) until I retire and move (110v). Also, portability to brew like @ the LHBS. Obviously I'd need to have removable power cords but I was wondering if it'd be possible to have switch(s) to convert from one to the other, and are PIDs and SSRs switchable or strictly 110v or 240V? Would my only choice be to build two separate control boxes or a mirrored box with one side 110v, the other 240V? Any ideas would be appreciated!

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Old 07-07-2011, 02:37 AM   #2
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PID doesn't care. Problem is the elements. a 4000W 240V element will only give you 1000W on 120. Might need to change elements too.

You wouldn't have to do anything to make it work on 120. Literally, change the cord and wire the 120 neutral to one of the hot legs on the 240. That's it.

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Old 07-07-2011, 02:48 AM   #3
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What I mean is, short of opening the box and rewiring, would it be possible to set it up to just change the cord and use a switch or two to change it up? Kinda like the best of both worlds. Also, I understand the element issue but I plan on a small system like JKARPs. I figured a 4500w element would give me enough heat in a smaller system to boil

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Old 07-07-2011, 02:51 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by wimpy View Post
What I mean is, short of opening the box and rewiring, would it be possible to set it up to just change the cord and use a switch or two to change it up? Kinda like the best of both worlds. Also, I understand the element issue but I plan on a small system like JKARPs. I figured a 4500w element would give me enough heat in a smaller system to boil
You don't need a switch if you rewire when you change the cord. I don't think a switch is a good idea.
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:02 AM   #5
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My system currently uses 2 120v circuits/elements, which can go to most kitchens with an up to code electrical system (2 120v GFCI 20 amp circuits.) I want to add 240v to my system to do 10 gal batches, and to just speed up 5 gal batches. What I was thinking was to make a 240v box that only had the SSR, and a 30amp DPDT switch, which I would plug into a 30 or 50 amp 240v gfci protected outlet. Then I would change out my 120v elements, for a blank plug and a 240v element. The 240v element would plug into the box with the SSR and switch. Finally all I need to do is wire this new SSR to the SSR control circuit in my old control box with some kind of detachable connection, and my old control box will now control the 240v element.

This way all I have add to my old system is some kind of DC outlet to connect to the 240v box. I then am able to use the same RTD, PID, and Pump controls etc that I can still use for 120v brewing just by switching back to the old elements.

HTH, it make sense in my mind....

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Old 07-07-2011, 04:24 PM   #6
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If your system is built such that one of the hot lines goes to your element and no other place, then you could make an adapter that would let you plug in your 240V plug into a female receptacle and then have a standard 120V male plug on it to connect to the wall. Inside that adapter, that hot line that drives only your heating element would just get tied to neutral.

Seems more trouble that it's worth, though. If you are going to move to a place with 120V and just stay there, then you might as well crack it open and re-wire it. (I'd personally have 240V installed in my new place, though.)

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Old 07-07-2011, 05:10 PM   #7
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I have gone over this with my buddies for my control panel and we decided that it would be best to open it and rewire. When I wired my control panel, I did not tie down the 4 conductors, so they can be easily disconnected and removed.

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Old 07-08-2011, 12:05 AM   #8
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Seems more trouble that it's worth, though. If you are going to move to a place with 120V and just stay there, then you might as well crack it open and re-wire it. (I'd personally have 240V installed in my new place, though.)
I would but when I retire it's to my mobile home in northern Michigan and as it stands now there is only a 60 amp service installed. I'd bet that SWMBO wouldn't be happy if I was causing brownouts brewing while she was watching NCIS reruns




Thanks everyone for the help, I'll build it 240v, then just rewire later on. Now if P-J would be kind enough to help me with a diagram for what I need, I'll start the build!
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:26 AM   #9
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...
Now if P-J would be kind enough to help me with a diagram for what I need, I'll start the build!
Give me a good description of what you really want to accomplish & I'll give it a shot. I might have one that already fits or at least one that would be easy to modify for you. If not, No sweat, we'll get there.

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Old 07-08-2011, 12:58 AM   #10
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Thanks P-J, just basically a JKARP (countertop brutus 20) only 240V 4500w element and a bit more blinged out with an amp meter and a volt meter. Also possibly a timer to go with the Auberins PID and whatever else you can suggest. Thanks again P-J!

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