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Old 03-07-2008, 06:00 PM   #1
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Default Electrical Question, Electricians if possible!!!

Hey guys, I have a dedicated electrician question for you who are in the trade. I am rigging up my brew stand with electrical outlets so I can plug in my various equipment and wondered a few things. Here's a drawing so I can understand your answers based on what I gave you. I'm not good with all the terminology and things so we can stick to A,B,C,D,E..... LOL, here she is.


Ok, the plans are (and here's where you come in to tell me what more is needed or if this will work) to power the stand by construction grade extension cord (do not know if I need more than one???). The cord/cords "E" will be wired to the switches controlling the receptacles so I can have on/off control over my various equipment.

The First switch to be wired goes to the stir-fan on the HLT "A". This will be a simple fan powerful enough to stir the water for even heat distribution and control of my HLT water. I am planning to wire an extension cord just hanging out of the top of the brew-stand so I can unplug the fan and easily remove the HLT lid when I need to. This will probably stay on almost the entire time I am heating or maintaining heated water in the tun.

Then comes "B", which is the switch/receptacle for the motorized mash mixer (Rival ice cream machine motor) for the MT. This will be a "as needed" thing for mixing during doughing-in, step infusion water additions, returning decoction fractions, and stirring after batch sparge additions.

Next, is the switch/receptacle for the Ranco ETC and Heating element controlling the HLT "C". This switch will be turned on once the HLT is full of water and then the Ranco will be set to desired temperature. I will switch it off before emptying, then I will refill my tun with water and switch it back on again. So while the switch is on, it should only draw power when the Ranco tells the element to power up for heat (I am thinking but dunno).

Last, we have "D". This is the switch and receptacle for my March pump. I'm using an in-line rocker switch right now and will love having the pump controlled by a normal light switch when all is said and done. I only put one switch/receptacle in my drawing at this location, even though I will have a second garden pond pump going during wort chilling. At wort chilling time, I figured I would have another receptacle open to plug the second ice water recirculating pond pump into.

I am looking for worst case/most thorough information, just in case I do have everything powered at the same time. Can you guys help me out with, "If it were me" type answers. I really want to keep this at regular 120V outlet powered type stuff so please no 240V talk . The system is almost up and going I just thought instead of having a ton of different extension cords running to my brewery I would clean it up and make it this much more professional. Looking forward to some knowhow/knowledge on this subject from you guys in the trade.

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Old 03-07-2008, 06:37 PM   #2
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You're gonna need to quote the current draw of the various motors too. The heating element is near 12 amps alone so a 15 amp circuit would be very tight even if you know it's not used by anything else. Do you have any spare breaker positions in your panel to add a dedicated 20amp circuit?

You could simplify the work by putting a 20 amp receptacle right near the panel and use 12/3 SJ cord to the stand but I'd also make sure you use a 20 amp plug/recep on the cords to keep from plugging the stand into a 15 amp receptacle.

Of course, against your request, I'll suggest that if you touch the panel, you ought to go 220v. It wouldn't be much different other than the fact that you'd be able to heat your strike right in the HLT. Let's say that's not your end goal at all. Another reason to consider 220v, even if you're fine with 2000 watts of heating, is that it would only take an 8 amp draw on your panel for 2000watts while your 120v/1375 watt setup now is 12 amps. Ok, forget I said it.

Disclaimer: I'm not an electrician by trade but I feel that I know enough to contribute. I worked as an apprentice in my teens, sales at an electrical supply house, EE degree, and work in telecom now. </resume'>

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Old 03-07-2008, 07:22 PM   #3
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If it were me, I would run the HLT heater at 240v, and the rest at 120, assuming the Ranco controller can handle 240. It probably can, I don't know, I've never looked at one. But that's me. You say you don't want to mess with 240, so that's OK.

Like Bobby said, I don't know what your motor current draw is, but I'm assuming it's minimal. I would run TWO 20 amp circuits, one just for the power for the heating element, and one for everything else. I would have dedicated circuits for this-with no other outlets anywhere. Make sure EVERYTHING is GFCI protected, either on the tower of your rig or on the wall or in the panel. Perhaps you could put GFCI breakers in your panel and use 20-amp twist-lock receptacles/plugs so that nothing else could be plugged into your brewing power. Just a thought. Any more Q's, fire away

Maybe you could mount cord reels on the bottom of your rig so you're not always winding up extension cords, if there's room for them.

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Old 03-07-2008, 07:38 PM   #4
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I will have to get all the draws for the equipment. I am looking for something I could move anywhere and not have to worry about plugging anything into the wrong amp outlet. I checked my circuit breaker box and we have 20 amp everywhere and higher on other things. I just don't want to have to wire anything other than this stand. If it would take multiple extension cords (2) to make it work on regular 120V, I am willing to do that as well.

So, I figured up I am drawing 11.45 Amps from my heating element in the HLT. Is this right? 240V 5500W ran 120V 1375W? I'll get more draws in a bit, might take a while to collect all that data prior to posting.

Lets just assume (in the case it can't be done otherwise) two extension cords for powering the stand. As long as I keep the draw on whatever each extension cord is powering below 20 amp total, I should be ok right? I should just be able to plug in both extension cords powering the stand into normal wall outlets "anywhere" and power the brew stand?

Edit: Sorry Bernie, I started my post before you got yours up. Yeah, I am not doing 240V no matter what. I also was thinking about the cord winder .

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Old 03-07-2008, 07:51 PM   #5
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Well, the idea is to keep the two cords on two different circuits, and that goes all the way back to two different breakers in the panel. If you plan on plugging both into the same duplex receptacle, then it defeats the purpose.

You are correct when you get 11 1/2 amps on the element. Your motor draws will probably not be more than 1 or 2 amps apiece. Let's assume 2 for now. You will probably never run more than two of the motors at any given time, since you will have your HLT and MLT motors off well before you need your chiller and March pump motors. So that's about 15 amps.

If all you were considering was the rig, you'd probably be OK. But you say you want to be able to plug this in anywhere, so there's other things that are plugged in elsewhere to consider. It would be much better if you could dedicate an outlet for your brewing. Don't you brew in the same spot every time??

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Old 03-07-2008, 08:01 PM   #6
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I may be moving and want this where I can take it anywhere and just plug in. I just want a simplistic, easy to use for anyone type of plug in system. From the sounds of it, I may not exceed 20 amps on a single extension cord and should be able to plug directly into a duplex outlet and be fine. This is of course assuming nothing higher amps gets plugged into my brew stand during it being powered from the outlet, and nothing else gets plugged into the duplex outlet while my stand is powered up from it. Is this way of thinking right? I was hoping to find a pre-duplex outlet GFCI adapter to use on the end of my extension cord, where I can take it anywhere and be secure in a resettable breaker.

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Old 03-07-2008, 08:08 PM   #7
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So far, pond pump = 120V 1.25A, March pump = 115V 1.4A, Element = 120V 11.45A. All I lack is the ice cream machine motor and the small fan (both of which I don't have right now or know about electronically). Total draw on the circuit so far = 14.1 amps. Think I will get lucky on the remaining 5.9 amps left on both of these last "to get" parts needed?

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Old 03-07-2008, 08:09 PM   #8
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Well, sort of. Normal household circuits don't go to just one receptacle. If you have 15 amps plugged into one 20 amp receptacle(which is the MOST I would do) what if your SWMBO is running a vacuum cleaner or something on the same circuit in another room? And what if your kid is on a computer doing homework somewhere else? The breaker pops, and everyone in the house is p!ssed at Dad. That's why I would run a dedicated circuit to the outlet at the spot where you will be brewing. And if you move, do it again.

And yes, you could make a GFCI adapter, or you could just put GFCI receptacles on your post.

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Old 03-07-2008, 08:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WortMonger
I will have to get all the draws for the equipment. I am looking for something I could move anywhere and not have to worry about plugging anything into the wrong amp outlet. I checked my circuit breaker box and we have 20 amp everywhere and higher on other things. I just don't want to have to wire anything other than this stand. If it would take multiple extension cords (2) to make it work on regular 120V, I am willing to do that as well.

So, I figured up I am drawing 11.45 Amps from my heating element in the HLT. Is this right? 240V 5500W ran 120V 1375W? I'll get more draws in a bit, might take a while to collect all that data prior to posting.

Lets just assume (in the case it can't be done otherwise) two extension cords for powering the stand. As long as I keep the draw on whatever each extension cord is powering below 20 amp total, I should be ok right? I should just be able to plug in both extension cords powering the stand into normal wall outlets "anywhere" and power the brew stand?

Edit: Sorry Bernie, I started my post before you got yours up. Yeah, I am not doing 240V no matter what. I also was thinking about the cord winder .
Here is my Two cents. Your actual draw from the element will be around 11.5 amps, the draw from a March pump is about 2.5 amps, and the Ice Cream mixer, well that is a good one. I have looked at a couple of those and they run anywhere from 1.5 all the way up to 11 amps. 12 amps is 80% of a 15 amp breakers rating. This is important because this could be on for more than 3 hours. This is considered a continuous load and is the maximum amperage at continuous loading. It is something to consider. If all of this equipment is not running through out the process, then you could run a demand factor load calc. to see where you would end up. This is performed often for automation because everything does not need to be on at once.
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Old 03-07-2008, 08:21 PM   #10
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Quote:
f all you were considering was the rig, you'd probably be OK. But you say you want to be able to plug this in anywhere, so there's other things that are plugged in elsewhere to consider.
What Bernie is saying here is that the circuit you are plugging into may have other draws on it while you are brewing. For example, most new houses have 1 or 2 rooms on each breaker, so you may have a microwave, garage door, etc plugged into the same circuit even though they are in a different part of your house.

If you live in an old house, like me, you may find that the ridiculous people who lived there before you wired the entire damn house into 2 15 amp breakers

Honestly, from the other projects you have done, I think you are capable of putting in a new circuit. If it is in the garage or at least has easy access to the panel, it would only take ~$40 and a couple hours to wire up a dedicated circuit.

Disclaimer: I like Bobby am not an electrician by trade, but do have an engineering degree and quite a bit of experience with electrical wiring and circuit design, both for houses and control systems.

:EDIT: Sorry you guys beat me to the punch.
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