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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Brew Stands > Stove assisted eKettle
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Old 01-11-2012, 02:11 AM   #1
ekjohns
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Default Stove assisted eKettle

I live in an apartment and only have access to one 120V 20A GFCI outlet. My apartment is also pretty old so I don't feel comfortable pushing the limit the wiring can handle. The thought of using a heat stick also scares the crap out of me so that's out. With all of this in mind, I built a very simple, super cheap electric kettle that uses and electric stove to help with the boil. Because this is stove assisted the element is full on, all the time and I can adjust the boil using the burner dial.

1500W HWD element (lowes)
2X Nylon Washers (ace Hardware)
12g wire (lowes)
1" Stainless Locknut and o-ring kit (Bargain Fittings)
Plug (Lowes)
PVC Cap (lowes)
valve cover grommet (autozone)
Step Bit (harbor freight)
J-b Weld (Lowes)
spare o-ring
12g wire rings

First step was to build the heating element mounting. I started by J-B welding 2 nylon washers together. Nylon has pretty good strength and heat resistance. I chose to use nylon washers here for 2 reasons. 1. This will allow me to get a good seal for the PVC cap (shown latter) while also getting a good seal to the element preventing leaks, and 2. because I am also using the stove, the bottom of the kettle will get hotter than 212F because of the stove coil. The heat resistance of nylon will help shield the wiring from unknown amounts of heat.



After the nylon washers have been glued together, I then glued them to the element to make it 1 solid unit and with the orange o-ring will provide a water tight seal.

not glued yet

not glued yet

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Old 01-11-2012, 02:30 AM   #2
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Next up was wiring the cap. Because of the Nylon washers, there is little heat transfer to the back of the element so I used a PVC cap to encase the wiring. The first thing I needed to do was drill a hole on the back of the cap and 1 small hole on the side for grounding. I then used a valve cover grommet (used for cars) to make a seal of the power cord going out of the PVC cap. Regular grommets will not work because the PVC is too thick. After feeding the cord through (nice tight fit), I clamped on 12g wire rings to power the heating element.



As you can see in the picture I used a regular screw to connect the ground wire externally. To do this make sure to use lock washers and a small o-ring on the outside to make a seal. I decided to ground the kettle this way to limit the amount of holes I had to drill in my new kettle. Right now the PVC cap is just electrical taped several times then wrapped a few times with duck tape. It would probably be a good idea to J-B weld on the cap but I like to have access to check that everything is holding strong.





On the inside of the kettle the locknut directly touches the kettle and the element grounding the whole system. There you go! nothing fancy but works awesome. The best thing is that when I move into a place with a 240V hook up, all I have to do is buy a new heating element and 2 nylon washers and I am good to go. Sorry for not having item numbers. If I get time I will visit all the stores and get part numbers for everyone.

!!!!If you plan on building this please read about max power ratings of your system. Also it is a good idea the first brew day to monitor temperatures of the PVC cap and the plug into the wall. Your stove may heat up the kettle hotter than mine and wall fires and melting PVC is BAD NEWS!!!!

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Old 04-21-2012, 05:13 PM   #3
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I was wondering how well this setup works. I just found out I can't do propane at my new apartment, and I think the only 240 v plug is the stove, so I have been toying with this idea of supplementing the electric brew pot with the stove.

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Old 04-21-2012, 06:54 PM   #4
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It works great. On brew day I heat up my strike water with the kettle then batch sparge into another pot since I use my ekettle to heat up the sparge water. Once I got all the wort everything gets transferred into the eKettle and boiled for 90 min. I just plug in the element then turn the stove on high. Once I get to a boil I turn the stove down to med-high and boil till I'm done. Super easy and efficient. When done I unscrew the element from the kettle and clean everything up for storage.

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Old 07-15-2012, 04:30 PM   #5
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Thanks for posting your setup! I'm looking to do build a similar stove-assisted e-kettle, is there anything that you would change about your design after using it for a while now? How long does it take to heat your water? I have 20amp outlets and breakers in my kitchen so I could go with a more powerful element, but if the 1500v unit works ok, then I figure why bother.

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Old 07-15-2012, 05:16 PM   #6
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The only thing I would change is getting a longer element. Right now I am using a short 1500W HWD element and would switch it to a 1650 LWD element. The reason for this is that the element only covers 1/2 the kettle so the boiling is focused to one side. I still boil off a gallon per hr so I have a nice roiling boil. The LWD element is longer and should get a larger boil area. Not a big problem just perfecting what I have now. Other than that I LOVE it. I just plug in the element and control the intensity of the boil with the stove dial. I raise ~8 gallons of water 10 degrees every few min. To take the wort to a boil from 165 F is about 20-30 min. Not on par with 4500W elements but I don't have easy access to 240V and it beats the 1 hr it takes with the stove alone.

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Old 07-15-2012, 06:12 PM   #7
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ekjohns,

You mentioned upgrading to 240v someday. Do you have plans for a control panel to moderate the power of the element, and would this upgrade eliminate the need for the stove top element?

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Old 07-15-2012, 08:41 PM   #8
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Yeah when I move up to 240V I will probably get 4500W which will need a controller. There are 2 options. The first is a PWM for under $20 that acts as a dial like the stove or the other option is a PID. I will probably get a PID and start doing some brew in a bag. Because of the way this is made all I have to do is build a 240V heating element similar to the 120V. I found some SS grating at the junk yard to make a false bottom with the element mounted underneath. I then can do eBIAB and recirculate with my pump. This will allow me to mash without worrying about temps or even step mash. I am not a stickler on efficiency so I don't see much downside

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Old 07-29-2012, 08:02 PM   #9
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thinking bout doing something similar to this. have a few questions

1 - how would i go about grounding this with an aluminum kettle

2 - any way to do this without an gfci outlet, like a gfci plug is that a viable option

3 - what did all the stuff cost for the element installation

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Old 07-29-2012, 08:59 PM   #10
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1 - it can be grounded just as I have shown it. Aluminum can conduct electricity

2 - does not have to be a GFCI outlet but there needs to be one somewhere. If you buy a portable GFCI at home depot or lowes that would be fine as long as it is rated for 20A.

3 - Cost is minimal. I don't have an exact number but because everything is so simple it is not expensive. Maybe around $30 total for everything.

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