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Old 06-01-2010, 04:14 PM   #1
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Default Alternative to water heater elements?

Has anyone ever tried using a cartridge heater? The kind used in molding and other industrial processes? They seem to be available anywhere from 200 watts up to 2000+ And they are designed to be inserted into a hole in a molding block or something like that. I was thinking maybe they could be installed in a thermowell? Or directly through a compression fitting? They are cheap on eBay, and look to be pretty versatile.

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Originally Posted by Ecnerwal View Post
What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!
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Old 06-01-2010, 06:03 PM   #2
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We use them for our humidity biolers on our environmental chambers. They are essentailly the same thing as the water heater elements only they are wrapped in a stainless package. They are also quite pricey when bought new. I would be leary of buying used ones as they do go bad after long term heavy industrial use plus you never know what they were used for.

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Old 06-01-2010, 06:16 PM   #3
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I agree, but there are several on ebay that say they are NIB, and less than $10 each I was thinking about putting them in a 5 gallon corny HLT through a compression weldless fitting...

I really like that they are sealed, and they have leads instead of the trouble we have to go through to mount a water heater element.

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Originally Posted by Ecnerwal View Post
What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!
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Old 06-01-2010, 07:11 PM   #4
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give 'em a try and let us know!

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Old 06-01-2010, 07:15 PM   #5
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I'm using something like that in my RIMS (link below). I don't know where to get more of these though. I like that it's all ss touching the wort.

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Old 06-01-2010, 07:51 PM   #6
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I'm using something like that in my RIMS (link below). I don't know where to get more of these though. I like that it's all ss touching the wort.
How many watts is your element rated for, and how does it perform? That's pretty much exactly what I'm wanting to do. Though I find myself torn (again) between a big RIMS and no HLT, and an HLT with something like this in it...
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Originally Posted by Ecnerwal View Post
What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:11 PM   #7
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Those shown are 200 watts. You'd need 8-10 to make it worthwhile. A 2000 watt element is less than 20 bucks.

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Old 06-01-2010, 08:16 PM   #8
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Those shown are 200 watts. You'd need 8-10 to make it worthwhile. A 2000 watt element is less than 20 bucks.
Yea, I know. I just grabbed those as an example. They are available upwards of 5kw each, and in various lengths.
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Originally Posted by Ecnerwal View Post
What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!
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Old 06-01-2010, 08:22 PM   #9
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Without parroting the concerns listed beforehand, yeah they would work. Like a regular water heater element, they need to be in direct contact with the water so a thermowell would be a no go.

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Old 06-01-2010, 08:28 PM   #10
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Without parroting the concerns listed beforehand, yeah they would work. Like a regular water heater element, they need to be in direct contact with the water so a thermowell would be a no go.
I'm no expert, which is why I asked the question, but...
I did a little research on these, and one of their primary applications seems to be in die cast and injection molding, where they are inserted in drilled holes to heat the molds. In fact, I found a chart that showed the maximum watt density for an element, based on how tight the tolerance was between the heater and the mold block. At .005" the density was very high, and decreased as the gap between the element and the mold increased. That is why I was wondering about insertion into a thermowell - It would make it a lot less important to know where they came from and what they did in a past life.

Regardless, I get the impression they will work. Which answers my question. Now I just gotta decide what I want to do
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Originally Posted by Ecnerwal View Post
What does the primary pressure gauge on the tank tell us? That's right, the temperature. Put it on a scale if you want to know how much is in it...
Put some duct tape over the gauge - Or better yet - Replace the high pressure gauge with a plug - High pressure gauges are useless!
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