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Old 01-17-2013, 06:14 AM   #21
Koffie
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OK, perhaps the taptwater system in USA is deifferent from what whe have here in the Netherlands.



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Old 01-17-2013, 06:34 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by Koffie View Post
OK, perhaps the taptwater system in USA is deifferent from what whe have here in the Netherlands.
The United States is big with many different environments and climates that results in different water conditions.
There isn't anyone using a water softener in my area.
I also try to flush my hot water heater at least once a year. If you do get sediment, it can shorten the life of the water heater.

Great thread. I'm intrigued.


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Old 01-17-2013, 10:42 PM   #23
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Excellent idea! I just happen to have an Amazon gift card I need to use up, and couldn't decide what to get. May have to use it on these, make my day a little easier!

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Old 01-24-2013, 02:43 PM   #24
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Well I gave this a shot this morning. Set the timer to heat my water for 2:15 (according to spreadsheet) and shut off right at 7:00am when I went out to dough in. And....my strike water was a bit higher than expected. Like, >200F instead of the ~165F I was planning for. Not a huge problem, as it gave me some time to resolve some other stuff I had going on (I was baking a loaf of bread simultaneously) while I recirculated the strike water and cooled it down. Finally mashed in around 7:30am.

I guess I need to look at the numbers in the spreadsheet again and figure out exactly how I overshot by so much. Maybe the initial water temp was higher by as much as 5F or so, and I suppose the heat loss could have been lower, but that seems kind of strange. I could do a design of experiments to get those parameters dialed in, but more likely I am just going to keep adjusting a little bit at a time until I hit my intended targets.

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Old 01-24-2013, 03:01 PM   #25
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I just ordered a 1 kW heater and timer. I got a simpler 15A analog timer for $10 cheaper since I don't need the complicated programming of the digital one.

Once I get a hang of the timer, I'll probably inline a Ranco controller in case I sleep in, and to avoid overshoots.

Thanks for posting this! Apparently a common solution, but the simple DIY made me aware.

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Old 01-24-2013, 07:19 PM   #26
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Weirdboy - What are all your parameters? Volume, starting temp, insulation will all have an impact. What did you use for the thermal loss value?
The calcs on the spreadsheet are all exact and based on the amount of energy to raise 1L of water by 1 degree C (4186 Joules). The only place I see for any need to experiment at all is the thermal loss.

It sounds like your timer went on a lot earlier than I would expect. Please hit me back with all your numbers and I'll see what I can figure out.
For me this has been bang on once I corrected for thermal loss (prior to that I was coming up 5-10 degrees cool).

Cheers

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Old 01-24-2013, 07:21 PM   #27
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Lockwom - I tried an analog lamp timer I had a few times and kept waking up to cold water. It very well could have been my timer not triggering right, but I decided it was worth the $10-15 extra to know for sure it would kick on when needed. Let us know how it works out!

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Old 01-24-2013, 10:13 PM   #28
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Weirdboy - What are all your parameters? Volume, starting temp, insulation will all have an impact. What did you use for the thermal loss value?
The calcs on the spreadsheet are all exact and based on the amount of energy to raise 1L of water by 1 degree C (4186 Joules). The only place I see for any need to experiment at all is the thermal loss.

It sounds like your timer went on a lot earlier than I would expect. Please hit me back with all your numbers and I'll see what I can figure out.
For me this has been bang on once I corrected for thermal loss (prior to that I was coming up 5-10 degrees cool).

Cheers

Here's what I used:

Volume: 7.5 gallons
Starting water temp: 55F
Desired Temp: 165F
Thermal Loss: 1.11 (Blichmann 15 gallon pot, with cover on)
Heating Element: 1000W (same as in your link)
Mash-In Time: 7:00am

It showed 2:14 hours needed to heat, making the power-on time 4:45am. I programmed it to turn on at 4:45am and turn off at 7:00am. Admittedly, I may have screwed something up programming the timer, but it seemed pretty straightforward. Using the calculator, it looks like I'd have to be off by an hour to get the temps I saw.

It's possible my starting water temp was a bit higher, maybe as high as 60F or so. It came out of the tap at about 61F when I prepped it last night, but then the temp dropped to low 50's for several hours overnight before it turned on.
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Old 01-24-2013, 10:43 PM   #29
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I use one of my STC 1000 fermentation temp controllers and two of these NORPRO 559 Immersion Heaters for Sous Vide cooking. I know for a fact they will heat water to 170°.
Going to use it in my HLT this weekend.
How much water are you heating with those two? They look pretty small?

This definitely sounds like something I'm interested in...
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Old 01-24-2013, 11:01 PM   #30
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That's strange.. First time I read your post, I thought you meant for the timer to come on at 2:15 AM, which would be way too long. Now I realize you meant for it to heat for 2:15 hours:minutes.

Is there a chance you set the timer wrong (I.E. to come on at 2:15 AM)? I will admit, I needed to follow along with the directions to set mine.

One other thing to consider would be that 7.5 Gallons of 61F tap water is not likely going to cool that much that quickly sitting there in your garage in the 50's, I would think you'd need a much bigger temp differential for that mass of water to cool off that quick.. I don't know if there's a way to measure that, but I would say the safest thing is start with the coldest tap water you can (assuming the ambient temp is lower). If I had to guess, I'd say your water was in the high 50s before the heater kicked on.

I have tested mine out in a 5-gallon bucket, and in my 15-gallon boilermaker and while each has a different thermal mass, they are consistent.

At worst, you're in a position where you experiment a couple of nights and keep close records of it, then figure out your thermal mass for each vessel (remember that will change if your volume is dramatically different also, since a larger mass of liquid holds its temp better than a smaller mass of liquid). The beauty of that fudge factor is that it's a straight percentage. IE a thermal mass of 1.11 implies you lost 11% of the heat that went into the vessel, and you only got 89% of your expected rise in temp. This is independent of celsius versus fahrenheit and gallons/litres. Let us know how you're doing with it... Anyone else prepared to chime in with their results? Remember, first time may be off a bit until you nail your thermal mass. In any event, for me running my burner for 5 minutes to make up a 10-degree shortfall is far better than 45 minutes!



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