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Old 02-25-2010, 01:45 AM   #1
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Default Electric burner - need feedback on this idea

Planning to go electric and want to try "Bargain Fittings" method of placing 3 electric coils close together to heat my BK. I got a Whirlpool stainless drop-in cooktop on Craiglist - 2 large coils rated at 2600 W each and two small ones at 1500 W each. I plan to use one large and two small for a total of 5600 W. While trying to plan how I'm going to mount these, I had a crazy thought. Instead of doing all that work, what would happen if I had a sheet of thick aluminum (say, at least 1/8 inch thick) large enough to cover all the coils in their present location and set the pot on top of that - let the metal sheet conduct the heat from the coils to the pot? There are some obvious potential problems that I see and maybe some I don't see:
1. the metal may warp, losing contact with the burners
2. the metal is going to radiate a lot of heat, so does anyone know if there is some kind of spray-on insulation that would take this kind of heat - I would put some on the top side on all metal not contacting the BK and on the bottom in the center on metal not contacting the coils
3. 1/8 inch may not be thick enough, driving up the cost to an impractical level (sheet would need to be about 24 by 21 inches)
4. aluminum may permanently deform or weaken due to the heat - is there a better (reasonably priced) choice?

Does anyone have any experience with something like this? I really don't have a feel for this at all, but thought I'd throw the idea out there for some feedback.

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Old 02-25-2010, 02:33 AM   #2
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I would guess that this might be rather inefficient. The coils need to heat the plate...then heat the pot...then heat the wort. That is a lot of handshakes. I would just immerse an element in the wort. But that is just MO?

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Old 02-25-2010, 03:01 AM   #3
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I just don't understand why people keep wanting to build stovezilla, when it is so cheap and simple to mount elements through the bulkhead or via heat-stick.

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Old 02-25-2010, 03:25 AM   #4
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I just don't understand why people keep wanting to build stovezilla, when it is so cheap and simple to mount elements through the bulkhead or via heat-stick.
Agree, and stovezilla is frigging funny. I rarely say this, but: LOL.
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:36 AM   #5
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I just don't understand why people keep wanting to build stovezilla, when it is so cheap and simple to mount elements through the bulkhead or via heat-stick.
The reason is due to some of the problems I've been reading about on this forum:
possible scorching of the wort
unknown effects of zinc plating on the elements
plating coming off of the elements after the first brew
interference of the element with an immersion chiller
bumping and possibly damaging the element during stirring
how to properly ground the element
possible leakage from the mounting hole
and for heat sticks, JB weld flaking off into the wort

and one I haven't read about, but wonder about - how do you clean beerstone or mineral deposits off the bottom of the kettle under the element or off of the element itself?

Stovezilla avoids all the above problems, real or potential
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Old 02-25-2010, 03:51 AM   #6
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I did it just because. Obviously i could install the element. I even have the immersion elements sitting on the shelf.

Stovezilla. I like it.

Edit: Did not contribute an answer. I think it will be inefficient to heat the plate and then the kettle.

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Old 02-25-2010, 04:11 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by DeafSmith View Post
The reason is due to some of the problems I've been reading about on this forum:
possible scorching of the wort
Just did a batch of pale ale with a 5500W HIGH density element, going to send it off to a few BJCP judges for comments. I can't discern a difference from previous batches with the 4500W ultra low density element.
unknown effects of zinc plating on the elements
get incoloy elements if the idea of zinc bothers you.
plating coming off of the elements after the first brew
Do a white vinegar and water boil for an hour to break in
interference of the element with an immersion chiller
it is a problem, a CFC or plate chiller is a good solution
bumping and possibly damaging the element during stirring
use a plastic or wooden spoon if it helps you feel better. The elements really are pretty durable
how to properly ground the element
just ground the pot. should be done any how
possible leakage from the mounting hole
Bargain fittings 1" nut and O-ring are the shiz! That has been the one problem free bulkhead I have on the system. The others are great unless I take it apart, then they are fickle about the pressure on the o-ring.
and for heat sticks, JB weld flaking off into the wort
I don't want jbweld in my beer either
and one I haven't read about, but wonder about - how do you clean beerstone or mineral deposits off the bottom of the kettle under the element or off of the element itself?
never been an issue really, I CIP with oxy clean for a half hour at 170.
Stovezilla avoids all the above problems, real or potential
Not trying to talk you out of it, just addressing some of your concerns with what I know to be true and a little bit of personal opinion .

Brew on!
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Old 02-25-2010, 04:14 AM   #8
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Stovezilla. I like it.

Edit: Did not contribute an answer. I think it will be inefficient to heat the plate and then the kettle.
That was my feeling, too. With a nice flat bottom pot like a Megapot, the contact between the pot and plate should be pretty good, but I'm doubtful of the contact between the coils and the plate. Figured it was worth trying to get some other opinions. Oh, well, at least now I've got a name for my stove.
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Old 02-25-2010, 04:26 AM   #9
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CodeRage - thanks for the reply. Some useful info. there - maybe I'll try an element in my HLT and see how that works.

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Old 02-25-2010, 04:31 AM   #10
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I look forward to your Stovezilla thread . I wasn't trying to talk you out of it, I'm going to boil with propane on my new rig, despite having 50A of 220VAC available. I hope you don't feel this thread was only good for naming your stove, I was just throwing out the reaction I've had to previous attempts .

I think my frustrations with my current electric stove contribute to my distain of using them to boil.

CodeRage already pointed out the responses I would have had to a couple of your potential issues, and a lot more. I do know there are a lot of people on HBT boiling with elements and making some damn fine beer.

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