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Old 01-03-2013, 12:22 AM   #1
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Default trying to get 185F water from 115v

Is this possible?? I have a vulcan heating element in my 35gal HLT. It's a single loop element and will hold the tank at around 150F... Not quite hot enough for strike water.

my question is simple. Is it possible to get my HLT up to 185F and hold it there using just a 115v heater??

Okay, thanks!
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:39 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squ1rrel75 View Post
Is this possible??
Hi Squ1rrel,
Need to know the following:
- wire size (gage) and/or circuit (amps) of the ciruit (outlet you are using).
- kettle size (volume)
- spec on that heater you are using (watts)

If you are using a 20amp (12 AWG) circuit, that is good for 2,400Watts (MAX).
If it is a 15amp (14 AWG) circuit, that is good for 1,680 Watts (MAX).
Now, your breaker will most likely trip at those levels. But, want to see what element size you have and how big a kettle are you heating. May be able to adjust things to make it work (ie - run a larger gage wire for bigger circuit or pick up a different heating element).
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:29 AM   #3
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I checked, it's a 20amp breaker. The power cord to the heating element is wired right now with 14/3. The service to the shop is 100amps and tthere is 230v in there though I would prefer to keep it 115v in case I ever have to move the brewhaus to a location without access to 230vac. The tank is a 35gal pressure rated reaction vessel previously used by a manufacturer of vaccines. I have since run 2 CIP cycles and a number of test runs with the flash boiler recirculating to see how fast I could get 1bbl of h2o up to 190F... as I stated the electric heater will not hold that temp though the insulation is good enough to keep a tankful of 195F water above 170F for several hours (like 5-8hrs. depending on ambient temps)

the vulcan heater I have in the tank looks almost like this one but a little bigger. I don't know if this one is adjustable or if it is how to perform the adjustment to determine the temp setpoint. I do know this one turns on and off because I can hear the rumble of the water subside and also I can feel the plug where it goes into the wall cooling off when it cycles off.

I'm so happy to have found this forum, supercool!


p.s. I got the tank 4 years ago from a surplus dealer on ebay who had about 100 of them... at that time the bulk deal was a pallet of 4 tanks for $1000 with the heater and some oddball fittings. Now they are up to $800 each, but still a good value for a nice insulated 1bbl HLT

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Old 01-03-2013, 04:46 AM   #4
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With enough insulation, you could boil with your element. When that element turns on, you add heat to that pot. As heat accumulates, the temp goes up. The only thing to stop it from rising is if heat is leaving the pot at the same time.

So, get some more insulation on it, and cover it with an insulated lid, too. If it is sitting on a floor, put a nice layer of insulation under it.

Since you're running the element off 20A breaker, it can't be more than 20*120=2400W. It's probably 2000W since that's a common value. You could measure the resistance of it, but probably not important.

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Old 01-03-2013, 05:38 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squ1rrel75 View Post
I checked, it's a 20amp breaker. The power cord to the heating element is wired right now with 14/3.
The 20 amp breaker is one thing, but that 14/3 is (theoretically) the weak point. That is 14 gage wire, rated at 15 amps.

Okay, beyond THAT, a couple things:
- as mentioned by Passedpawn, insulating the kettle will most likely get you up to your desired temp.
- I checked that link and I need to know the model number so I can determine what size heating element you have - ie watts on that element. Then, I will know what you have.
- Alternatively, I can walk you through how to setup a beefier system that is robust and will not cost you an arm/leg/and/or vat of homebrew to the electric forum.

More info, please, so we can provide more info/advice.
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Old 01-03-2013, 07:34 AM   #6
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well, I can unwire the dry side of the element and test it's resistance--- not sure if that is a good way to determine my actual draw though V/R = I right? but only if R is constant... is R constant in these types of heaters?

Okay--- I can get some 12/3 awg and re-wire the power plug no problem.

Sparky, I wouldn't mind upgrading the heater but since this is such a classy vessel, I plan to continue to use it for my HLT. The bulkhead fitting the heater flange threads into looks to be a standard type so I believe replacing the heater would be a snap... I will re-wire and up the thermal insulation to see what I can make it do as it first.

thanks you all for your first-rate help with this stuff

JR

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Old 01-03-2013, 12:49 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Squ1rrel75 View Post
well, I can unwire the dry side of the element and test it's resistance--- not sure if that is a good way to determine my actual draw though V/R = I right? but only if R is constant... is R constant in these types of heaters?

Okay--- I can get some 12/3 awg and re-wire the power plug no problem.

Sparky, I wouldn't mind upgrading the heater but since this is such a classy vessel, I plan to continue to use it for my HLT. The bulkhead fitting the heater flange threads into looks to be a standard type so I believe replacing the heater would be a snap... I will re-wire and up the thermal insulation to see what I can make it do as it first.

thanks you all for your first-rate help with this stuff

JR
I think resistance is a constant. I measured the resistance of mine and it came very close to the correct wattage

Watts = V^2 / R
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Old 01-03-2013, 04:55 PM   #8
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The best I believe you can do is put a 2000w element in there as long as the 20amp outlet is dedicated to it. However, if you're putting 20+ gallons of water in there, I'd be all over a 5500w/240v element.

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Old 01-03-2013, 06:27 PM   #9
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what are the dimensions of a 5.5kW element?

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Old 01-03-2013, 06:54 PM   #10
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Quote:
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Okay--- I can get some 12/3 awg and re-wire the power plug no problem.
JR
Well, if you can rewire from the panel to the plug-in (or hard wire) location, you have lotsa options. May as well run 10 gage wire so you can do what you want. What size kettle do you have (you asked about element size)?

Or, just go all out and install a 240V, 60amp circuit. Why wait?
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