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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > Water heater element Amperage
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Old 09-25-2013, 05:43 PM   #11
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why in the hell would anyone do that? I use 120v in my setup and I use 2000w, if I could get 2500w more heating power just by running a #10 home run and 30a breaker I would do it all day long.
The primary reason for doing this is to reduce the watt density of the element. Less power per square inch of element surface means lowering the likelihood of scorching the wort. This way you can take a high watt density element that's rater for 220v and run it at 110v and it will effectively be low or ultra low watt density.
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Old 09-25-2013, 06:34 PM   #12
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The primary reason for doing this is to reduce the watt density of the element. Less power per square inch of element surface means lowering the likelihood of scorching the wort. This way you can take a high watt density element that's rater for 220v and run it at 110v and it will effectively be low or ultra low watt density.
Yes.
This is the only reason I know of for doing this.

Also, its way-easier to calculate the resistance of any given element from its published specifications rather than having to actually buy/borrow one and measuring the resistance.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:17 PM   #13
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..... An element that is meant for 220v can be run on 120v, but it would need to be on a 50a circuit using #8 lead conductors.....
This is false. A 240v element will draw half of its rated current with 120v applied. Unless, of course, its a 240v/100a/24000w element.
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Old 09-25-2013, 07:31 PM   #14
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This is false. A 240v element will draw half of its rated current with 120v applied. Unless, of course, its a 240v/100a/24000w element.
Upon further reading about I understand now I was wrong. I was thinking that wattage stood alone from voltage. I am really trying to understand this, I am not electrical illiterate. I worked for an electrician for a couple of years, but in residential wiring you never use appliances outside if their giving ratings. To be fair, the math wasn't wrong. If you want a 120v element to run at 4500w it would take 37.5a, that just doesn't apply here. This is what I love about homebrewing, learn something new everyday.
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:52 PM   #15
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FWIW, in theory, a 4500W/240V (12.8ohms) element should draw about 18.8amps with 240V applied.

That same element should draw about 9.4amps with 120V applied, and provide about 1125w of heat.
My mistake - I havent looked at the element in ten years or so - it's a 5KW @220vac element.

5KW / 220vac = 22.72 amps

220Vac/22.72a = 9.7ohms

120vac/9.7ohms = 12.3amps - about what I was measuring

12.3amps X 120vac = 1476VA, approximately 1476 watts assuming a purely resistive load.
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Old 09-25-2013, 08:53 PM   #16
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This is false. A 240v element will draw half of its rated current with 120v applied. Unless, of course, its a 240v/100a/24000w element.
and the wattage will be closer to one quarter the 240V rating...
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Old 09-26-2013, 01:08 PM   #17
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Thanks to everyone for this refresher course electrical engineering! The main reason I will be running a 240v element on 120v is that I and trying to fit my element in a much smaller vessel and the choices for 240v elements are much more varied. I also don't have a dedicated 240v line and I was very worried about overloading my 15A breaker.

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