I am in the planning stages for making an electric boiler (for 5 gallon batches, 6.5-7 gallon boil volume) and I'm stuck on the control aspects. I am planning on going with 2-1500Wx120V elements (on seperate GFCI circuits) for the boiler. I suspect that one element won't quite be enough for the boil, but that both elements firing full blast will be a little too much. So, I was thinking of running one element full blast and throttling the second element to get the desired boil rate.
So, my question is, what is the simplest way to throttle the second element to control the boil rate? Cost is a major issue and as such I don't really want to invest in a PID/SSR setup at this time. So, does anyone have any simple ideas for throttling the power for a single 1500Wx120V element? Some of the ideas I was considering:
1) Using a kitchen range surface element control (as per CD's OLD Electric Wort Boiler
). The local eco-station always has a few dead ranges kicking around that I suspect I could hack out one of the contollers.
2) Using a light dimmer switch. Not sure if these dimmers can handle the amperage (~12.5 A) that these elements will require.
Any thoughts or suggestions? Which of the above 2 ideas is the most likely to work? Are there any other cheap solutions that any of you have come up with to accomplish this task?
Thanks a bunch.