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Old 03-26-2012, 02:03 AM   #1
Zamial
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Default Ebay RIMS is tested and works!!!! (Super Budget Build)

Yep, you read that right. I built a SUPER budget RIMS system. This thing works fantastic on its 1st brew day(Technically I am still brewing need to add more hops in 15 minutes!)

Pics? Yes, after I am all done brewing I will post some. Parts list? Yes that too.

The super simple description is: I mounted a ELD 110v hot water heater element into a 2" SS Tee. The wort comes in from the other side of the tee and then exits out the top. It then goes through a 1/2" SS cross that has 2 3/8" compression fittings and exsits the top. The compression fittings hold the SS tube that has the probe/sensor that is filled with JB weld and then goes into the silicon tubing. (This makes it so the wort does not pass across the JB weld.

It took 55F water to 112F all by itself in 15 minutes. I use it with my propane burners and I got hose temp water to strike temps in 15 minutes! From strike to boiling in 15 more. Once boiling, I turned it off and let the propane run, I did not like all the air bubbles in the line from the boiling wort and the pump was not really happy pumping boiling wort.

Many people here said this could/should not work. I am here to tell you it does just fine.

G2G add more hops be back later.

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Old 03-26-2012, 03:06 AM   #2
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Can i see a picture please, i would consider trying this.

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Old 03-26-2012, 04:43 AM   #3
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Parts list:

All Stainless Steel:

1 - 2" Tee
1 - 2" to 1" reducer/bushing
2 - 2" to 1/2 reducer/bushing
1 - 1/2" nipple
1 - 1/2" cross
2 - 1/2" to 3/8" compression fittings

(You will also need either 2 - 1/2" hose barbs or Quick disconnects.)

1 - Extra Low Density 120V / 1500 watt water heater element (I think it is 4" long I did NOT measure it and to do so would require me taking apart the RIMS tube which is a PITA to do so prob not gonna happen.)

1 - Control box
1 - 110v outlet, cover plate & box
1 - STC-1000 AKA The Ebay controller
2 - 110v 20amp switches.
1 - 110v 30amp multicolor switch red/green
2 - electric "home security" wire blocks

Multiple different solderless connectors and some good wire.

I had an old computer that I salvaged the 3 prong plug input from and the power cord from a server.

That is about it for parts.

As for the build and pics, you may want to brace yourself. I am NOT a master craftsmen and almost all of my equipment is designed to work, not be pretty. I also am NOT a photographer...

This is a decent shot of the RIMS tube with the thermo well.


This is my control box: I bought it at Goodwill for $2 and I had the plexi glass left over from a different project. I use 1 switch as a main power switch, 1 switch for the pump, and the multi-color switch for the RIMS element.

This is the electric box. I broke the tabs off the outlet so that each one is separate, I feared drawing to much on either side may be hard on the controller and wires.

Security blocks. I show 3 in the pic. There is no ground wires needed for anything other than the outlet so it was a waste. 20/20 hindsight...

This is my overall shot. Note the smaller kettle is not mine.


The STC-1000, when the element can be turned on, powers the bi-colored switch and it will light up red, when I turn it on it turns green. This makes it easier to instantly know what is happening.

FWIW I run the system off a 20 circuit.

SPECIAL NOTE: I am in no way saying that a thermo couple, PID and controller is on par with this. That is the correct way to build a RIMS system. What I have works and is MUCH cheaper but it is not perfect, if you stray away from my build this may not work for you, IMO you absolutely must use an ELD element, no exceptions! I am not responsible for anyone that is burned, electrocuted or starts a fire with this set-up.

I would like to thank the people that posted up all the great articles here on RIMS systems, I have probably read them all. Truly invaluable and inspiring!

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Old 03-26-2012, 03:10 PM   #4
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My dopplebock seems to have turned out great! I was about 1 hour behind my friends that came over to brew that day as well. I used the least amount of propane I ever have and am confident that the bottle neck in my system has now moved to something else.

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Old 03-26-2012, 04:26 PM   #5
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Very nice cheap build...

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Old 03-26-2012, 05:02 PM   #6
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So, if my calculations are right, that heating element is 13.64 amps and the stc-1000 has relays rated at 10A?

Sounds like something I might not want to try for extended periods!

EDIT: Sorry, not meant to bash or anything. Just pointing out something that might be destined for failure. I think this is still do-able if you trip a separate, higher rated relay with the STC-1000... SSR would be ideal.

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Old 03-26-2012, 05:28 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by krazydave View Post
So, if my calculations are right, that heating element is 13.64 amps and the stc-1000 has relays rated at 10A?

Sounds like something I might not want to try for extended periods!

EDIT: Sorry, not meant to bash or anything. Just pointing out something that might be destined for failure. I think this is still do-able if you trip a separate, higher rated relay with the STC-1000... SSR would be ideal.
Those stats are are horrible, and written in Engrish. The reality that I believe is as follows: The circuit was designed to run on 220v @ 10a. This means that the circuits should be able to handle 110v to around 20a. I do not think I would want to try to draw 20a from the STC-1000. Also the heating element is rated to the high side. I also believe that the ELD draws less at a time but I could be wrong.

None of the wires get warm or hot to the touch so I am declaring it safe at this point. I will have more brew days in the future and will continue to report back with success or failures.

I fully am aware that it is not a good idea to second guess electrical ratings but in this case, I have proven it works just fine. I have run the element "on" for 20-25 minutes straight and while it does get a little warm (to be expected) it does not get hot.
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zamial View Post
Those stats are are horrible, and written in Engrish. The reality that I believe is as follows: The circuit was designed to run on 220v @ 10a. This means that the circuits should be able to handle 110v to around 20a. I do not think I would want to try to draw 20a from the STC-1000. Also the heating element is rated to the high side. I also believe that the ELD draws less at a time but I could be wrong.

None of the wires get warm or hot to the touch so I am declaring it safe at this point. I will have more brew days in the future and will continue to report back with success or failures.

I fully am aware that it is not a good idea to second guess electrical ratings but in this case, I have proven it works just fine. I have run the element "on" for 20-25 minutes straight and while it does get a little warm (to be expected) it does not get hot.
not trying to start an argument, just sharing...
when a device is rated for AMPs, thats the rating. the voltage will change the total POWER in a system, but the heat dissipated in any one component relies exclusively on the amps, and the resistivity of that component. safety guidelines dictate that thses things are usually underrated, so they may safely handle more then the 10 amps it says, but its important to understand that you should not assume 10A @ 220 V mans that that 20A @ 110v is safe.
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Old 03-26-2012, 06:40 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by mattmauriello View Post
not trying to start an argument, just sharing...
when a device is rated for AMPs, thats the rating. the voltage will change the total POWER in a system, but the heat dissipated in any one component relies exclusively on the amps, and the resistivity of that component. safety guidelines dictate that thses things are usually underrated, so they may safely handle more then the 10 amps it says, but its important to understand that you should not assume 10A @ 220 V mans that that 20A @ 110v is safe.
NP. I was not trying to say it was. I guess that I really wanted a RIMS system but had a very limited budget. I had an extra STC-1000 laying around so I gave it a go based on some decent research and the fact that the unit is designed to run a heater.

I also understand what you are saying as well as the power ratings involved. I also did a fair share of computer overclocking and customization. I am still using the same computer that I overclocked to fairly incredible stats 6 years later and it is still better than most new computer towers you can walk into a store and buy today.

It is entirely possible that the life span of the STC-1000 will be shortened but that is why I am going to use it until it dies. If I get 2 more full brew sessions out of it it will still be cheaper than a propane bottle refill to replace... I suspect that I will get MANY brew sessions as it is only in use a short period of time a few days a month.

The bottom line is this is working and I feel it is an excellent entry point into RIMS on a tight budget. I can always buy a thermocouple, SSR and PID later if I want to move further into the world of electric brewing. For now, at least, I am 100% satisfied with this build.
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Old 03-26-2012, 07:18 PM   #10
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1
If used for long periods of time the heat produced will eventually wield the contacts together where the spring in the relay will not be able to release it.
2
If it is cycled often the sparks produced will scar the contacts where it eventually will not make contact.

Avoid these two things and it should work fine for a long while.
If it is a UL or CSA device it is probably underrated anyway.

Other than that it looks like a solid build.
A few questions:

Have you inspected your element after the first run?
I would be curious if you caramelized any wort on it with the design that you chose.
You will have more contact time with the element.

Does the element have a SS base?
Mine is developing rust after just a few uses. I remove it after every brew now; clean and dry it. Plan on coating it with some keg lube to stop the rust. Looking for a new one if anyone has suggestions.

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