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Old 01-09-2012, 02:46 PM   #1
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Default Heatstick be trippin'

I recently built a second heat stick using these instructions. I probably used 2 tsp acetone to thin out the jb weld to pour into the chrome drain pipe to seal off the electrical connections. After about 36 hours, I tested the heat stick and after about 20 minutes it started tripping the gfi breakers. I tried a second breaker and it tripped it immediately. I thought I had a leak, even thought I could not detect any after removing the cap.

Two days later I decided to cake on jb weld in and around the chrome slip reducer nut to seal every possible leak. After another 24 hours I tested this and again after 20 minutes the gfi breakers trip. As a side note I'm using another heatstick a bud made for me. No problems with this one.

My theory is the acetone/jbweld mix is "liquefying" in the hot water. Immediately after the gfi tripped I moved the heat stick to a pot of 60 degree water. After sitting in cold water for 10 mins I put it back in hot water and powered it up. It lasted about 10 mins before tripping again. I moved the heatstick back to the cold water for about 10 mins before moving it back to the hot water. Same thing, lasts about 10 mins and trips.

Is it possible the acetone/jbweld mix is the cause for this? Will this mix eventually harden to the point where it will not be an issue? I'm thinking at this point I may need to scrap what I can and build a new heatstick.

Thanks ahead of time for any assistance.

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Old 01-09-2012, 03:43 PM   #2
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Quote:
Will this mix eventually harden to the point where it will not be an issue?
you should have waited long enough for the JB weld to have fully cured before using it. adding acetone will increase the cure time considerably as the acetone has to evaporate before the expoxy can finally harden.
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I'm thinking at this point I may need to scrap what I can and build a new heatstick.
most likely. since you used epoxy, you would have to destroy the thing in order to disassemble it.
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Old 01-09-2012, 04:29 PM   #3
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I also used the acetone method to build my first heatstick; after 3 days curing, it kept tripping the GFCI. I tore it apart; the J-B Weld in the center around the terminals was still soft. I then used this method to seal the terminals -> http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/heatstick-awesome-142803/index28.html#post1839989 only in place of pvc, I just used heavy duty tape wrapped around the terminals to contain the j-b weld while curing. I then used plumbers epoxy to seal the element to the drain pipe. Several batches later it still works great.

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Old 01-09-2012, 04:38 PM   #4
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Heatsticks are great when they work. I've got one that worked spectaularly for 6-8 batches. Now it will run for 30-40 minutes fine and then, eventually, trip the GFI, which is way back at the breaker box. I can reset the GFI and it will run for a couple of minutes then trip again, doesn't matter which outlet I'm on. I need to find another GFI ciricuit to test it on, as everything in my house is wired into the one GFI breaker in the box.

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Old 01-10-2012, 12:53 AM   #5
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Thanks for the feedback guys. I'm on my way to Home Depot. I'm going to follow your advice djt17. I'm sure we have the same issue. That looks like a solid solution.

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Old 01-10-2012, 02:12 AM   #6
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I think the acetone/pouring JB weld method is down right ridiculous. Here's what i came up with. It has worked flawlessly.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/my-method-sealing-heatstick-220198/

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Old 01-10-2012, 04:19 AM   #7
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Thanks Gritsak. I was looking at that earlier. Unfortunately I could not fit the 1" coupling in the chrome drain pipe. So I took the cardboard roll from paper towels and cut it to fit around the connections and filled with jb weld. I'm looking forward to the finished product. I'm confident this will last a long time.

Oh a side note, I cut my old heat stick apart so I could use the good parts. I found the mixture of acetone and jb weld created some type of thick foam. I'm able to pick it apart with a screwdriver with little effort. Found that interesting.

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Old 01-10-2012, 10:49 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uniconfis View Post
Thanks Gritsak. I was looking at that earlier. Unfortunately I could not fit the 1" coupling in the chrome drain pipe.
There is some small variation in the OD of the coupling, i had to test fit a few before i found one that fit. When it does fit, it's super tight. I had to tap the coupling in with a rubber mallet on one heatstick i built.
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Old 01-10-2012, 05:57 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gritsak View Post
There is some small variation in the OD of the coupling, i had to test fit a few before i found one that fit. When it does fit, it's super tight. I had to tap the coupling in with a rubber mallet on one heatstick i built.
I'll keep that in mind. I didn't think about looking around. I just tried one. But this build is looking solid. The electrical connections are completely encased in jb weld. And I have applied jb weld all around the slip reducer too.
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Old 01-10-2012, 06:47 PM   #10
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Nice idea w/ the O-ring Gritzak. I believe that cleaning the backside of the element w/ rubbing alcohol prior to potting w/ epoxy is worth the effort to insure a clean surface and good bond. Just a slight bit of moisture under the JB weld will cause the GFI to trip.

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