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Old 11-16-2010, 03:52 AM   #1
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Default Various E-Herms Questions

I'm looking to start building my E-Herms setup and a few questions that I can't seem to find answers for by internet and HBT.com.

1. My house was built in 1971 and my main breaker in the electrical panel is a two pole 60 amp rated breaker. Does this mean I am limited to only 60amps? This dosen't make much sense when I can easily run my AC (20A 240V), Dryer (30A 240V) and 2000W heat stick (~16A 120V) and anything else in my house that I want including computers, TV, Fridge all at the same time with no problems. Perhaps I should test this tomorrow and turn all of these on plus more but maybe that's not a very safe test. Is there a way for me to determine how many amps these loads are actually pulling?

2. What is the amperage rating for a chugger/march pump?
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Ideally I am looking to run an E-Herms with the following loads:
A: 5500W element in boil kettle (23A)
B: 4500W element in HLT (19A)
C: Two Chugger pumps (unknown amperage) (My guess is 2 amps)
D: PID and SSR (unknown amperage)

Added all together this comes to roughly 48 AMPs and I would therefore need a 60Amp spa panel. Granted I most likely wouldn't be running all of these at the same time but a 60Amp spa panel is only $15 more than a 50amp. The big question is can my main electric supply handle this???

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Old 11-16-2010, 03:52 AM   #2
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If I have time tomorrow I'll try to get a few pictures of my electrical box.

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Old 11-16-2010, 04:25 AM   #3
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Well, you likely won't be running all 48amps together at the same time. You'll be doing your HERMS first and your boiling second right? So, I don't see why you'd ever need to run both together (unless you start a second batch while the first one is boiling).

You don't necessarily need a seperate panel for all that either. I just added a 30amp circuit to my brewing room off the main electrical panel and it is used to run my 5500 watt HERMs set up too (including 1 march pump and 2 PIDs). I currently do my boiling outside with propane, but if I wanted to I could get a second heating element and do my boiling inside too (of course only AFTER my HLT element was turned off).

But anyway, I think most new homes have at least 100amp service. It wouldn't be a bad idea to consider upgrading your home's electrical service to a more modern box. It would be a good selling point if you plan on moving.

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Old 11-16-2010, 04:34 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scut_Monkey View Post
I'm looking to start building my E-Herms setup and a few questions that I can't seem to find answers for by internet and HBT.com.

1. My house was built in 1971 and my main breaker in the electrical panel is a two pole 60 amp rated breaker. Does this mean I am limited to only 60amps? This dosen't make much sense when I can easily run my AC (20A 240V), Dryer (30A 240V) and 2000W heat stick (~16A 120V) and anything else in my house that I want including computers, TV, Fridge all at the same time with no problems. Perhaps I should test this tomorrow and turn all of these on plus more but maybe that's not a very safe test. Is there a way for me to determine how many amps these loads are actually pulling?
There is something fishy about this. My home (1972) has two panels, one for electrical heat and the other for everything else. Each of them has 200A main breakers. And we don't have AC up here as a rule. Still, I only plan to draw max 30A for my rig. Could there be a second panel somewhere? Is it a duplex home (town house)?
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Old 11-16-2010, 12:54 PM   #5
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There is something fishy about this. My home (1972) has two panels, one for electrical heat and the other for everything else. Each of them has 200A main breakers. And we don't have AC up here as a rule. Still, I only plan to draw max 30A for my rig. Could there be a second panel somewhere? Is it a duplex home (town house)?
It's definitely the only electrical box. It's a smaller house that uses gas for water, heat and stove. I'm unsure if the breaker is the limiting factor with only a 60amp breaker or if the entire service is indeed only rated for 60amps. I'm not sure how to tell what it would take to upgrade to 100amp service if I truely only have 60amps now.

I guess if I only run one element at a time I would be ok so long as I don't use the dryer (30A) while brewing.
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Old 11-16-2010, 03:16 PM   #6
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It's definitely the only electrical box. It's a smaller house that uses gas for water, heat and stove. I'm unsure if the breaker is the limiting factor with only a 60amp breaker or if the entire service is indeed only rated for 60amps. I'm not sure how to tell what it would take to upgrade to 100amp service if I truely only have 60amps now.

I guess if I only run one element at a time I would be ok so long as I don't use the dryer (30A) while brewing.
Ah, gas, that explains it. I wish I could have a gas range. All my stuff runs off electricity. I guess that's why I get this horrendous utility bill.

I think I'd just try it, run the dryer too. If the breaker pops it pops, then you'd know where the limit is. You'd be back brewing within seconds with the dryer off. Hm, all your clocks and computers would go down too. Maybe not so good after all.
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Old 11-16-2010, 03:25 PM   #7
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Take a picture of the box and show us. That is the easiest and safest way. Do you really want to test for failures on your old house's suspect electrical power???

We'll be able to tell you what you are working with.

A chugger/march pulls 1.3A IIRC.

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Old 11-16-2010, 03:37 PM   #8
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Take a picture of the box and show us. That is the easiest and safest way. Do you really want to test for failures on your old house's suspect electrical power???

We'll be able to tell you what you are working with.

A chugger/march pulls 1.3A IIRC.
I am hesitant to test the limits of a 40 year old main breaker for fear that my house will burn down. However, I'm going to be testing the limits as well with a E-Herms setup and I would rather it burn down before I finish my build.

I'm wondering how many amps my dryer actually pulls. Is there a way to determine this? I can take a picture of the box later tonight when at home.
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Old 11-16-2010, 03:41 PM   #9
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The backplate of the dryer should list the electricity usage.

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Old 11-16-2010, 03:51 PM   #10
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I just thought about something. Just because your dryer has a 30A breaker does not mean it is actually consuming that much current. Of course, it would be better not to run the dryer while brewing, but if you could borrow a clamp-on ammeter you could clamp it around one of the lines entering or leaving your main breaker (if you can get to it), and observe it with various loads. That would give you a better idea of what the loads really are. Another trick I have used is to time the spinning disk on the electricity meter and compute the current or wattage from that. There is some information on the meter that shows what a revolution means in terms of WHr. Or you can just read the current off the name plates of your appliances and play it conservative.

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