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Old 10-28-2009, 11:15 PM   #1
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Default Alternative electric solution.

Just shooting an idea out there.

The idea is to use TWO electric stove top elements to heat a kettle.

The twist is using two of them interlaced. Basically the coil could be spread enough so that two elements could be put together, one inside the other.

A custom holder would be made to keep the elements spread and supported.
Standard stove top controls could be wired in (220 volt) and manually adjusted. I suppose they could be wired and controlled with a love controller or such.

Pros: No issues with drilling the kettle or leaks.
Pot can be removed to be cleaned. No wires attached to it.
Elements won't burn out like immersion if dry fired.

Cons: Limited to ~5000 Watts total: 2200 watts per element or 2600 watt canning elements.
Possible damage from spreading the element.
Less efficient than an immersion element.
Possible scorching in the kettle?

Ok anyone see any problems?

I'm watching craigslist for a free stove to prototype it.


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Old 10-28-2009, 11:26 PM   #2
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I would be interested in the efficiency.

Gas burners waste about 60% or more of thier BTUs, making them very inefficient.

Immersed electric elements apply 100% of their BTU output directly to the water or wort, not the air or kettle.

I would like to see this. I wonder though if the project of creating this mammoth stove burner would be more labor, time, and $$$ intensive than a simple immersed element.

With the 1" SS nut that you sell on your site, my element seals perfectly just using the supplied seal that came with the element.

I would like to see someone do this... I use a CIP process, so removing the kettle and the wires attached, is no big deal. It takes me about 3700W to maintain a boil that provides 1.3gal/hr boil off in an uninsualted keggle.

This has merit, I am just thinking that it is much easier to build an immersed element than to build this.

One can build a 5500W immersed element quite easily and cheaply.

$18 for element
$10 for cord and plug
$1 for CPVC coupler
$5 for JB Putty
$5 for JB Weld
$9 for SS nut from Bargain Fittings

$48 Total

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Old 10-28-2009, 11:30 PM   #3
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Sounds like an interesting experiment. Because of the direct contact, electric transfers more of the thermal energy directly to the pot than a flame can. You just need to be able to get enough juice running and it should heat up rather quickly.

I was trying to figure out a way to use a large magnetic induction element a while back. The obstacles there are price, needing a grade of SS with a magnetic component, and fragile nature of the induction top surface for the weight of a full brewpot on standalone induction burners.

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Old 10-28-2009, 11:41 PM   #4
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I do appreciate the low cost of installing the immersion elements. This is mostly a mind game at the moment.

The idea here is to scrounge all or most of the needed stuff from a stove.

Most of the parts could be reused from the stove: the controls and elements. Maybe enough wire to go from the controls to the elements.

I guess it will depend on me finding a stove to play with.

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Old 10-28-2009, 11:44 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zen_Brew View Post
Sounds like an interesting experiment. Because of the direct contact, electric transfers more of the thermal energy directly to the pot than a flame can. You just need to be able to get enough juice running and it should heat up rather quickly.

I was trying to figure out a way to use a large magnetic induction element a while back. The obstacles there are price, needing a grade of SS with a magnetic component, and fragile nature of the induction top surface for the weight of a full brewpot on standalone induction burners.

This is true, but there is only about 1/3 to 1/5 the BTUs produced as a gas burner.

I wonder... if a heating element like that is rated at 2000W... and only ONE side of the element is touching the pot, does this mean only 1000W is directly applied?

I also wonder to what degree the need to heat the bottom of the kettle before it heats the fluid would affect the time to reach a boil.
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Old 10-28-2009, 11:47 PM   #6
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This is the same principal as an electric frying pan. Don't see why it wouldn't work.

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Old 10-29-2009, 02:50 PM   #7
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Pol
The element is easy to do but what about controlling it? Is the base of the element zinc? I really see a market for a homebrewer tool being sold as a finished piece.
-Ben


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Originally Posted by The Pol View Post
One can build a 5500W immersed element quite easily and cheaply.

$18 for element
$10 for cord and plug
$1 for CPVC coupler
$5 for JB Putty
$5 for JB Weld
$9 for SS nut from Bargain Fittings

$48 Total
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Old 10-29-2009, 04:48 PM   #8
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I think that controlling it via. PID and SSR is easy... I can see how it could be daunting to some. But once wired, it is very nice.

The benefits are that you have a thermocouple in the kettle, and if you chill in that kettle, you get a constant digital readout of the current kettle temp. I am utilizing this in my new closed system wort cooling.

You also are able to set the PID to auto to maintain about 180F during the sparge, which allows you to reach a boil in 7.5 gallons in 5 minutes flat after the sparge ends.

I do think there is a market for those that want to do electric brewing. I wonder how much a guy is willing to pay though. Many people also shy away from electricity due to the need to have 240VAC available, moreso than them passing it up because they dont want to build it. As long as the 240VAC barrier is still there, the market will be very limited.

I would like to see this done, I would like to see it work and see some real #s. This is basically the same idea as an electric skillet, but my point is that if you have 5000W of power heating the ambient air and the kettle, I wonder how this will compare to 5000W directly applied to the wort.

One 5500W element is surrounded on all sides by the meduim that it is heating. A 5500W wire element will be less then 50% in contact with the kettle that in turn has to transfer the heat to the meduim you are heating.

The one aspect that allows me to reach a boil so fast with 18,700 BTUs is the fact that I am getting 100% of those BTUs applied to the meduim I am heating. Propane burners are about 35-40% efficient at doing this.

I would love to see an ugly prototype from which to pull some #s.

I mean you could actually do a proof of concept by using one element and half the volume of fluid as you intend to use in the full sized project.

Use one 2000W stove element and use it to heat 3.75 gallons to boiling instead of 7.5 gallons. Essentially all we are talking about is doubling the power and doubling the volume here. Proving the capability and acutally getting some good heating times (within mayeb 10%) would be easy. Building it is another story.

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Old 10-29-2009, 04:51 PM   #9
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Someone put 3.75 gallons on your 2000W stove element and tell us how long it takes to get from 70-boiling and from 160-boiling please.

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Old 10-29-2009, 04:55 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Pol View Post
I wonder... if a heating element like that is rated at 2000W... and only ONE side of the element is touching the pot, does this mean only 1000W is directly applied?
Air is a lot less conductive to heat then SS. so the side in contact with the kettle will conduct its heat a lot faster. Heat is just energy and will then move to were every it is most out of equilibrium. so the element will constantly produce 2kw of energy, most of which will conduct to the kettle.
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