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Old 01-18-2012, 11:02 PM   #1
Mk010101
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Default What element can I use?

I am thinking of building a simple heatstick that mostly can be used to heat strike water and more importantly use it periodically to keep my mash temps from dropping too far.

I have basically two options where I brew. A dedicated 120v/20amp plug and a dedicated 240v/20amp plug. I would prefer to use the 240v plug, but if not, no big deal. (there is a possibility of someday to have a 240/30amp, but that may come later if I like electric brewing better than propane.)

My question is, what is my maximum element watt size I can get? From reading here, I know I can use a 2000W element on the 120v plug. But is there something on the 240v that would be better, or because it is also only 20amps, it doesn't matter? As you can see, I am electrically challenged other than knowing how to shock myself!

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Old 01-19-2012, 12:33 AM   #2
Dgonza9
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Divide the watts by the volts to get the amps.

4000w at 240v can handle 16.7 amps. That's about right.

But if your main concern is the mash, I have several suggestions. First, 4000W is way more than you would need to stir your mash. Go with 2000W at 120. Secondly, I don't recommend stirring the mash with a heat stick. That's just my experience. I had a lot of hot pockets that way and it was not easy to control how much temps raise.

The better way to control mash temps is with RIMS or HERMS setup, which would require more parts than a heat stick, but I imagine that once you start down the round of shoving a heat stick in on the mash, a RIMS setup is not too far ahead.

Good luck.

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Old 01-19-2012, 02:09 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dgonza9 View Post
Divide the watts by the volts to get the amps.

4000w at 240v can handle 16.7 amps. That's about right.

But if your main concern is the mash, I have several suggestions. First, 4000W is way more than you would need to stir your mash. Go with 2000W at 120. Secondly, I don't recommend stirring the mash with a heat stick. That's just my experience. I had a lot of hot pockets that way and it was not easy to control how much temps raise.

The better way to control mash temps is with RIMS or HERMS setup, which would require more parts than a heat stick, but I imagine that once you start down the round of shoving a heat stick in on the mash, a RIMS setup is not too far ahead.

Good luck.
Yeah, it's true I am opening a can of worms by using a heat stick. However, I am relatively happy at the moment with my setup and want to give electric brewing a kind of test run, while also saving some propane.

Ok, wow, I didn't expect the possibility of a 4000W element. That opens this up to more possibilities. I've seen other electric brewing posts that say they use x% of their element when boiling. Is that only controlled with a PID or is there a way to add a knob that can regulate the amps or watts going into the element?

As to stirring the mash with a heat stick. It seems others have done it and if the constantly stir, then they will be ok. What you say about hot spots, is something to consider, though. Maybe a 3000-3500W would be a compromise for that.

I am not sure I can go all electric as I see no way to do decoction mashes. So maybe a modified system in the future.
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Old 01-20-2012, 05:00 PM   #4
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so taking the time to search some more, yes, you are probably right about doing step up mashes with a heatstick. Better to take some wort away from the mash, heat it up and then add it back. Scorching may be an issue as it seems some have had problems and some not, even with a smaller 1500W element. The key seems to be mash thickness.

As to controlling it, would an infinite switch be useful for a 240v element? It sure would be great to have some sort of control on these sticks.

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Old 01-20-2012, 05:06 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mk010101 View Post

As to controlling it, would an infinite switch be useful for a 240v element? It sure would be great to have some sort of control on these sticks.
http://www.google.com/url?q=http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/pwm-show-us-how-221301/&sa=U&ei=_awZT9iSBYrXtwe5-sSLCw&ved=0CAQQFjAA&client=internal-uds-cse&usg=AFQjCNG0TGJ2oiVdO0YqOMMmY-7zl0gNVQ
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