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Old 07-28-2009, 09:43 PM   #1
Brewpastor
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Default 57 gallon electric HLT build

I have received my new HLT vessel. It is basically a 57 gallon keg, just like those JohnBeer has in his post about his new brewery build.

I am wanting to modify the unit and want some help and input. I want to heat electrically, and am thinking two elements might be needed. I will have a propane burner as back-up and supplement as well. So, I am thinking I want my welder to attach:

One or two 1" coupler for the heating elements (I am not sure)
One 3/4" coupler for the outlet
One 1/2" coupler for a sight-glass and thermometer combo
One 1/2" coupler for a thermo-well

Anything else?

I have a 220 outlet but can't say what amp it is. I am certain I can upgrade the breaker if needed. I don't really know what I need in the way of elements to get the job done on this project, but between Lowes and Grainger I can get most anything locally. I don't need instant heat, but then again I don't want to wait around forever. My brew length is 20 - 25 gallons and so this vessel will be able to supply both mash and sparge water without refilling. I will need to bump the water up from mash-in to whatever steps and then to sparge in a reasonable time. What input do you all have as to size and number of elements? If a single element will get the job done then I would be happy.

What else am I forgetting. The welder charges $45 per hour in full hour increments so I want to get all I can out of this in one shot.



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Last edited by Brewpastor; 07-28-2009 at 09:45 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 07-28-2009, 10:46 PM   #2
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I can't think of anything else... Hell, I a, still stalled on my 100q E-HLT... Way to burst my bubble here...

Looking forward to seeing how it works out...



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Old 07-28-2009, 10:51 PM   #3
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Before you upgrade the breaker you need to see what size wire is supplying that outlet. You dont want to put in a breaker with more amperage than the wire can safely carry. I would put in 2 1" bulkheads, an upper and lower like a dual element water heater may be a good idea. Limits thermal stratification. If you choose to use one element you could put a 1" stainless plug in the second opening. Cause, you know if you don't put it in there you will wish you had later.

Good luck man, sounds like a fun build!

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Old 07-28-2009, 11:00 PM   #4
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I don't remember exactly where I got it from, but there is a spreadsheet floating around named "Electric Heat.xls" that will do some calculations for you.

To take 57 gallons of water that starts at 60 degrees up to 180 degrees will take:
5500 watts 3h 12min
11000 watts 1h 36min

With some quick googling I couldn't find any element larger than 5500 watts, but maybe there is on the commercial side of things

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Old 07-28-2009, 11:12 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bokonon View Post
I don't remember exactly where I got it from, but there is a spreadsheet floating around named "Electric Heat.xls" that will do some calculations for you.

To take 57 gallons of water that starts at 60 degrees up to 180 degrees will take:
5500 watts 3h 12min
11000 watts 1h 36min

With some quick googling I couldn't find any element larger than 5500 watts, but maybe there is on the commercial side of things
5500W at 220VAC will draw 25A... two of them will use 50A, requiring at least a 60A breaker. That is a lot of power... a heluva lot of power.

Even if you would find more wattage, your useful amperage in your residence may be lacking FWIW.

Looks like you would def. need (2) 5500W elements to heat in a reasonable amount of time, also consider the size (surface area) of the vessel. There will be copious amounts of heat loss unless you insulate well.
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Old 07-29-2009, 12:19 AM   #6
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First off the OP states 57 gallons, this to the brim which is not a realistic
total brewing volume correct? Sounds to me like 40 gallons while brewing away with
30 or more net in the Corny's to tap off later at the most. JMO's here don't shoot me on
on my guessing here.

Try these at the bottom of my reply, great forums and information to work off.

There is another forum with the temp rise vs gallons used plus it will tell you the needed
wattage to match the time you want to hit a set temp. This forum at the moment is lost
with my old computer as it had a total HD failure. I am stll looking for this forum maybe
another brewer has this forum and post it. It was great to punch in numbers and get times
in minutes or watts required.
There are 6KW watt elements and higher out there your not
limited to 4,500, 5,000 and 5,500 watts.
I have found 5.5KW the highest in ULD elements.
Even at two 5.5KW elements your drawing 45.8 amps
a 50 amp breaker is already at 91.6% of it's rating without adding
any control power, lights or pumps.
With the 80% maximum rule should you follow it ok, (i'll get reamed out mentioning anything related to the NEC code book but then it's your house and not mine that the fire investigators will look thru the ashes then drop your fire insurrance policy if found wired wrong). Ok now your looking at a 60 amp breaker then your at 76% of the breakers rating as well the wiring and the cord to your brewery sized to handle this amperage.
Once you go over the 50 amp breaker zone you must face the bigger dollar cost of the socket and plug to plug in your brewing system, even 50 amp twist-lock's are not cheap price them out. Your into pin socket and plug cord cap zone this into the $300 plus range for both on up in cost. Price out a Crouse Hines or a Killark 100 amp plug not alone a socket and you'll go thru a 6 pack of toilet paper within seconds or sticker rectal shock.

This will get you into the same above forum to work out times, watts and temp rise.

http://www.rackers.org/calcs.shtml

AND
http://www.brewmation.com/Elements.html

Hope this gives you some ideas and a direction. Carl.....

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Last edited by BrewBeemer; 07-29-2009 at 01:56 AM.
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Old 07-29-2009, 12:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
With the 80% maximum rule should you follow it ok, (i'll get reamed out mentioning anything related to the NEC code book but then it's your house and not mine that the fire investigators will look thru the ashes then drop your fire insurrance policy if found wired wrong). Ok now your looking at a 60 amp breaker then
If you are saying I can not load my 50 A or any other installed breaker at 100%, any home owner would need a device installed telling him the load is exceeding 80%.
Whats wrong with my interpretation?


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Old 07-29-2009, 01:11 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaudiusB View Post
If you are saying I can not load my 50 A or any other installed breaker at 100%, any home owner would need a device installed telling him the load is exceeding 80%.
Whats wrong with my interpretation?


Cheers,
ClaudiusB
Some one quoted the NEC handbook in which that the 80% load rules applies to continuous loads, which is defined as 3 or more hours by the NEC, was it you?
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:39 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClaudiusB View Post
If you are saying I can not load my 50 A or any other installed breaker at 100%, any home owner would need a device installed telling him the load is exceeding 80%.
The device telling you the load exceeds 80% is the breaker itself. Breakers have internal thermal protection, and they will trip on load and heat buildup. Heat is directly related to load. Run a breaker at 90% for very long and the thermal protection will trip.

Size your breaker for 125% of continuous load (i.e. load = 80% of breaker rating) and all will work as expected.

As for the cost of a 60 amp breaker and outlet, you could always install 2x30A
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Old 07-29-2009, 01:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pldoolittle View Post
As for the cost of a 60 amp breaker and outlet, you could always install 2x30A
Not too mention you would need 4 gauge wire for a 60 amp circuit... KA-CHING$$$

I recently installed a 30A outlet to my garage for my brewing needs... Wasn't that huge of a deal... 100' of 10g wasn't that bad... The breaker was already there and the outlet wasn't too expensive...



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