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Old 04-08-2014, 04:56 AM   #1
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Default Three Kettle Electric Addition

I've been looking for a way to take advantage of solar energy...yet retain the ability to brew remotely using propane. The answer came today in a box shipped from Bobby M. They are EXACTLY what I needed! . These will allow for a heating element to be installed in each of the 15 gallon pots. With 70 amp service to the garage and two separate 30 amp grounded circuits; two controllers should get the job done. These enclosures will be installed on this system with 4500w elements in the mash tun & boil kettle. A 5500w element will be installed in the HLT.

Having the ability to remove the heating elements & cap the kettles using TC fittings for a propane brew day is a brilliant idea! . Things should come together in the next few weeks...

Cheers

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Old 04-09-2014, 01:58 AM   #2
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brewing with solar panels?

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Old 04-09-2014, 04:37 AM   #3
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Default Using Solar REC's

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brewing with solar panels?
To clarify...Using electricity produced from solar panels to brew with. We took advantage of solar incentives last year.
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Old 04-09-2014, 12:27 PM   #4
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To clarify...Using electricity produced from solar panels to brew with. We took advantage of solar incentives last year.
yea i figured as much; but how are you getting enough energy? I don't know much about solar but you must have a pretty big array of panels/batteries to supply sufficient 5kw of power; do you have more details on that part of the setup?
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Old 04-09-2014, 12:32 PM   #5
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Basically what he's saying is that he installed a grid-tied solar panel system which effectively eliminates net electricity usage. Even if during a brew day the system is supplemented by utility provider power, the other non-peak power generation makes up for it. When you have a PV system, it makes less sense to use propane or gas.

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Old 04-10-2014, 08:28 AM   #6
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Default 10KW Solar System

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Originally Posted by Mellman View Post
yea i figured as much; but how are you getting enough energy? I don't know much about solar but you must have a pretty big array of panels/batteries to supply sufficient 5kw of power; do you have more details on that part of the setup?
Similar to what Bobby M explained above, we are supplying solar power to the grid. We took the plunge & purchased a 10KW stand alone solar system with over 30 panels. We signed a twenty year contract with our utility provider to sell them everything the system produces at X cents per kilowatt hour monitored on one outgoing meter. We receive a check each month from our utility provider from that meter. A second meter registers our usage & is what is used to bill us; or credit us in the form of what are called REC's. This meter is a digital meter with five digits. Visualize 00000 as the starting point when the solar system is first turned on. When we are pulling power from the grid on a cloudy day the meter moves in the positive direction. Let's say we use 30 kwh of energy that day. The meter would read 00030. On the second day it's cloudy again, & we've decided to brew using electricity. It jumps up to 00130. That's not good as the utility company bills us on everything above 00000 on the billing date. On day three the sun comes out & we "solar gain" 30 kwh, so now the meter reads 00100. A little better. Lets say the sun shines for another five days straight & produces 30 kwh each day for a total of 150kwh. The meter now reads 99950.

As the meter turns backward or goes in the negative direction; REC's or "renewable energy credits" are "banked" in our favor and can be drawn upon as needed for the duration of the contract. Hope this helps...
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Old 04-14-2014, 04:45 AM   #7
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Default Step One

After some careful thought; I did it today. I punched a 1.5" hole into the backside of one of my perfectly good & functional 15.5 gal Bayou Classic pots.

I'll be taking it to a friend who makes a living TIG welding on stainless in the food industry. Instead of a lengthy description of how my day went I took a few pics......more forthcoming...

img_1746.jpg   img_1747.jpg   img_1756.jpg   img_1750.jpg   img_1751.jpg  

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Old 04-14-2014, 04:52 AM   #8
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Default More Pics

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img_1753.jpgAll I can say is that everything fits perfect!

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When all said & done it looks like this on the outside. Very nice & simple procedure thus far...
img_1754.jpg  
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Old 04-18-2014, 03:05 AM   #9
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Default TIG Welding Lesson

I stopped by my welder's house on the way home from work. He had two pots completed & was working on the third. I'm glad I did; because I had no idea of how TIG welding differs from wire feed or stick. I came away with a whole lot more respect for anyone who is a TIG welder.

In short he welded from the outside of the kettle while purging the inside of the kettle with Argon.img_1758.jpg

He used my false bottom & some cardboard from an empty case of beer to seal the lower portion of the kettle so he didn't have to purge the whole 15 gallon volume of the kettle.img_1759.jpg

He also welded the fitting flush to the inside of the kettle for sanitary reasons & also to allow me to use the original false bottoms for those brew days when propane will be usedimg_1761.jpg

He explained how important it is to get the weld to go thru to the inside. The Argon purge helps the weld pattern or "weave" on the inside to become smooth instead of like broccoli or sugar. It is critical that there are no pinholes or gaps for bacteria to gather. He inspects his weld with a mirror & found a pinhole so wouldn't release the third kettle until he has a chance to tweak it a bit more tomorrowimg_1764.jpg

The thinner kettle & the thicker fitting presented a challenge. He told me that if he had to do it again he would have preferred the hole size in the kettle to be the same as the inside diameter of the fitting. He would have then "tapered" the outer edge of the fitting so the thickness of the contact point was thinner for better heat control. Since I punched all three kettles there was no going back. Looks pretty darn good to me...img_1770.jpg

I'll pick up the third pot tomorrow & start mocking things up for chord length & such. Dave at "High Gravity" is building me two controllers & sending three unwired heating elements. I've decided to go with one 5500W element for the HLT, one 4500W element for the mash, & one 4500W element for the boil kettle. More later...

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Old 04-26-2014, 04:04 AM   #10
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Default Heating Elements Mocked Up

I received the controllers & heating elements earlier in the week. Had a chance to mock the elements up. This is the boil kettle with the pickup tube turned a little to the side. I've got some ideas in regards to using it for whirlpooling. This is one of the 4500W elements installed in position
img_1792.jpg

This one's the mash kettle with the pickup tube in normal position. It's also the 4500W element
img_1793.jpg

Here's the 5500W element in the HLT. It sits real close to the kettle sidewall & almost touches the side. Any of you more experienced electric brewers see a problem with this? Thanks in advance
img_1794.jpg

Here's the new false bottom I'm going to use that sits above the element. I experimented with it two weeks ago with the propane setup & no other false bottom. I brewed up a ten gallon batch of Black IPA with a 27 lb grain bill & sparged like normal into the boil kettle. I used 1.5 qts water per lb of grain to compensate for the added space to clear the element. I recirculated the whole time during the mash & hit my numbers almost spot on. It also filtered the wort going into boil kettle very nicely
img_1795.jpg

Looking forward to trying everything out in about a week if all goes well...

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