Get your HBT Growlers, Shirts and Membership before the Rush!


Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > Thinking about going electric
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 03-15-2013, 08:07 PM   #1
wbyrd01
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Gilbert, AZ
Posts: 147
Liked 17 Times on 12 Posts
Likes Given: 7

Default Thinking about going electric

Like the title says, I'd like to go electric. Tired of getting propane and with summer coming I'd like to get away from the heat that propane brings with it. I do want to do this as cheap as possible though. I'm thinking of using my current 36 quart stainless pot as an HLT (refilling and reheating additional water after mash in as needed), a cooler for my MLT, and buying a keg to make a keggle. I want to use one 5500 watt heating element in the HLT and one in the keggle. I don't care to automate temp control since the cooler won't lose much heat over the course of a one hour mash. If I can use a rheostat in place of a PID temp controller then I would like to go that way, unless the rheostat is somewhat close in price to the PID controller. I don't think I would need to regulate the element in the HLT since I can just turn it off once I hit the temp I need. So I think I would only need to regulate the element in the keggle to control the boil.

I used to build custom motorcycles and had a large TIG welder so I already have a 240v 50 watt panel in my garage. Here are pictures of what my electricity supply looks like:






And this is a sketch I made of what I would like my setup to look like. On my sketch of the control panel I have a controller for the HLT element but I don't think I'll need it.



My plan is to just use one pump to move liquid, changing connections as needed.


I've been looking through quite a few of the build threads but I don't think I've seen any that use a rheostat to control the power on the elements. I appreciate any input on whether or not my ideas will work and possibly a list of what components I will need.

Here are a couple of questions I've come up with so far:

Can I use a rheostat to control the power to the elements?
Does it hurt the elements to have the power received reduced?
Will I need a heat sink in my control panel?
Do I need a spa panel or is what I have already taking care of that?


Thanks all!

__________________
wbyrd01 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-15-2013, 08:19 PM   #2
Walker
I use secondaries. :p
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Walker's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Cary, NC
Posts: 11,236
Liked 89 Times on 79 Posts
Likes Given: 11

Default

If your goal is to do this as cheaply as possible, then you could just implement this system with a single electric kettle.

Use it as your HLT to heat mash water.
Move that water to MLT and mash in.
Use it again as an HLT to heat sparge water.
When mash is done, move the hot water to some third tank for a moment, move wort to e-kettle, move the held hot water in for sparge.
Drain the remaining wort to the e-kettle.
Use it as a boil kettle now.

All you added to the process was the one transfer of water.


A rheostat that can handle a 5500W is going to cost you a small fortune, so you are going to want to go with an SSR and either a simle PWM (pulse width modulator) to control the boil strength, or a PID that supports manual mode.

__________________
Ground Fault Brewing Co.
Walker is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-15-2013, 08:24 PM   #3
Walker
I use secondaries. :p
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Walker's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Cary, NC
Posts: 11,236
Liked 89 Times on 79 Posts
Likes Given: 11

Default

Oh, and you need a spa panel. You currently have no GFCI protection, and you will want to add it.

__________________
Ground Fault Brewing Co.
Walker is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-15-2013, 08:42 PM   #4
wbyrd01
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Gilbert, AZ
Posts: 147
Liked 17 Times on 12 Posts
Likes Given: 7

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker View Post
If your goal is to do this as cheaply as possible, then you could just implement this system with a single electric kettle.

Use it as your HLT to heat mash water.
Move that water to MLT and mash in.
Use it again as an HLT to heat sparge water.
When mash is done, move the hot water to some third tank for a moment, move wort to e-kettle, move the held hot water in for sparge.
Drain the remaining wort to the e-kettle.
Use it as a boil kettle now.

All you added to the process was the one transfer of water.


A rheostat that can handle a 5500W is going to cost you a small fortune, so you are going to want to go with an SSR and either a simle PWM (pulse width modulator) to control the boil strength, or a PID that supports manual mode.
I was actually thinking of doing the one electric kettle thing at first, just to get me started until I can piece together the rest.

A PID that supports manual mode would be like this correct? http://www.amazon.com/Dual-Display-D...I3S9TY4PYME5A1

Is there a way I could add GFCI protection to what I already have without using a spa panel?
__________________
wbyrd01 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-15-2013, 08:51 PM   #5
voltin
Beholden to the Yeast
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
voltin's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: Lubbock, TX
Posts: 416
Liked 13 Times on 11 Posts
Likes Given: 7

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by wbyrd01 View Post
I was actually thinking of doing the one electric kettle thing at first, just to get me started until I can piece together the rest.

A PID that supports manual mode would be like this correct? http://www.amazon.com/Dual-Display-D...I3S9TY4PYME5A1

Is there a way I could add GFCI protection to what I already have without using a spa panel?
I don't think that PID has a manual mode. You want one in which you can specify a duty cycle, so that you can control the boil. Many people on these forums, myself included, use one from Auber Instruments (http://www.auberins.com/index.php?ma...&products_id=3).

The only other way to add GFI is to swap out the breaker which is probably more expensive than the spa panel.
__________________
My eBIAB Build | Texas Blues and Brews Festival

On Deck: Motor Oil Barleywine, Cider Trials, Vanilla Cream Ale, California Blonde
Primary: Cotton Blossom Traditional Mead, 1744 Porter (Ale-ian Society Club Brew), Old Ale
Secondary: Peach Wine, Cranberry Cider
Kegged: Nothing :(
On Tap: Nothing :(
Bottled: Yup still nothing...
voltin is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-15-2013, 08:55 PM   #6
Walker
I use secondaries. :p
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Walker's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Cary, NC
Posts: 11,236
Liked 89 Times on 79 Posts
Likes Given: 11

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by wbyrd01 View Post
I was actually thinking of doing the one electric kettle thing at first, just to get me started until I can piece together the rest.

A PID that supports manual mode would be like this correct? http://www.amazon.com/Dual-Display-D...I3S9TY4PYME5A1
Nope. That TA4 PID does not support manual mode, but the TD4 from the same manufacturer does. You can get it for a pretty good price on amazon, bundled with an 25A SSR that could handle the 5500W element:
http://www.amazon.com/Temperature-Co...ords=mypin+pid

I've seen it bundled with a 40A SSR for pretty much the same price, but I can't find that one with 30 second of searching, but poke around. Also, that one I linked to is Celsius, but I think they can be found for Fahrenheit, too.



Quote:
Originally Posted by wbyrd01 View Post
Is there a way I could add GFCI protection to what I already have without using a spa panel?
Sort of. Your current service is 50A and 240V, but it doesn't have a ground. That type of outlet (if wired properly) provides hot, hot, and neutral. I think you *might* be able to swap out the breaker and put in a 50A GFCI breaker, but the fact that you have no ground is kind of ugly.

But, more importantly, I can tell you from experience that a 50A GFCI breaker for your panel (which is the same as my own) will run you well over $100 unless you get lucky and find a bargain. The Spa panel is almost always the cheaper route to go to get GFCI. $50 at home depot.
__________________
Ground Fault Brewing Co.
Walker is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-15-2013, 09:04 PM   #7
alien
Feedback Score: 1 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Posts: 1,235
Liked 65 Times on 58 Posts
Likes Given: 61

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker View Post
I think you *might* be able to swap out the breaker and put in a 50A GFCI breaker, but the fact that you have no ground is kind of ugly.
I think code allows GFCI without a ground, but you are supposed to label the receptacles to say that they are ungrounded.

I have the same thing in my garage, a 50A 3 prong welder outlet, but I just put in the spa panel. It was cheaper than buying a breaker anyway.
__________________
Magic Smoke brewhouse and grill

Arduino PID controller - Automatic Smoker - Cooler MLT - Counterflow Chiller - SSR demo - PWM timer - Folding Brew Table
alien is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-15-2013, 09:17 PM   #8
Spintab
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: Atlanta, Georgia
Posts: 470
Liked 36 Times on 27 Posts
Likes Given: 2

Default

Just to be clear. When you guys are talking about changing out that 3 prong with a spa panel you still have a a breaker in the main box correct. So you'd have main breaker -> spa panel w/gfci breaker -> 4prong plug?

__________________

Primary: Honey Kolsch Take 2
Kegged: Alt
Kegged: meBohPils
Bottled: Belgian Gold

Spintab is online now
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-15-2013, 09:19 PM   #9
jCOSbrew
HBT_SUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 620
Liked 38 Times on 34 Posts
Likes Given: 8

Default

In addition to the GFCI, I would install a 240v 4-wire outlet so that your panel has the Neutral for 120v pumps and the Gnd for the 240v elements.

Search for "voltage resistance SSR" for a simple analog power control for the element.

If you want to run both elements at once (using full 50amp service) then consider using 4500W for one or both elements.

__________________
jCOSbrew is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 03-15-2013, 09:21 PM   #10
wbyrd01
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Gilbert, AZ
Posts: 147
Liked 17 Times on 12 Posts
Likes Given: 7

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Walker View Post
Nope. That TA4 PID does not support manual mode, but the TD4 from the same manufacturer does. You can get it for a pretty good price on amazon, bundled with an 25A SSR that could handle the 5500W element:
http://www.amazon.com/Temperature-Co...ords=mypin+pid

I've seen it bundled with a 40A SSR for pretty much the same price, but I can't find that one with 30 second of searching, but poke around. Also, that one I linked to is Celsius, but I think they can be found for Fahrenheit, too.



Like this?

http://www.amazon.com/Temperature-Co...ywords=snr+td4
__________________
wbyrd01 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply



Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Thinking of bulding electric keggle?? christpuncher123 Electric Brewing 10 12-29-2012 03:10 AM
Thinking about electric, need advice. jdpx4c Electric Brewing 2 09-19-2012 03:37 AM
Thinking about electric Varroa Electric Brewing 3 11-10-2011 04:43 PM
Some times I just don't know what I was thinking .. or not thinking Jcmccoy Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 4 03-10-2011 07:49 AM
I'm new to kegging- Thinking of doing a H2O test run- am I over thinking this? Mikethepoolguy Bottling/Kegging 16 09-17-2010 02:21 AM



Newest Threads

LATEST SPONSOR DEALS