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Old 03-11-2013, 03:12 AM   #1
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Default HEX Redesign

I thought I'd post a couple pics of my redesigned standalone HEX for my eHERMS system. The original was based on a small Rubbermaid cooler (I believe it was 2.5 gallons) and the new one uses a 2.25 gallon Bain Marie pot. The coil is 10' of 1/2" I.D. copper tubing (same size and length as the old one). The weldless fittings are the Blichmann-style described by Kal on his site, theelectricbrewery.com. I still need to order a 1/4" stainless fitting for my temperature probe (the lone brass piece in the pic), but other than that it's good to go. It does have a lid as well even though it isn't in the pics.
bainmarie4.jpg
finishedhex.jpg



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Old 03-11-2013, 03:34 PM   #2
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this is awesome! i saw the small cooler HEX and decided to try it, but i was thinking of using a small stock pot just like this. thanks for posting!



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Old 03-11-2013, 07:15 PM   #3
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this is awesome! i saw the small cooler HEX and decided to try it, but i was thinking of using a small stock pot just like this. thanks for posting!
No prob and I'm glad you found it useful
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Old 03-11-2013, 07:58 PM   #4
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Hey microbusbrewery, this couldn't have been posted at a better time. I am in the process of trying to build the exact thing. I had imagined using an old cornie keg but this looks like it might be easier to work with. I also was going to just "drop in" the coil similar to a small wort chiller but I love the way yours goes through the walls. Could you please post a parts list and or any lessons learned during fabrication. Did you have any problems coiling the copper? any leaks? Have you tested the efficiency yet (ramp times)? Do you worry about any stratification? Sorry to question you to excess but I would like to know everything about this that is possible to complete my own build.

Thanks

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Old 03-11-2013, 08:53 PM   #5
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Duuhh! I finally clicked the link and voila. There the info is. I am still interested in the performance of this thing though. Do you have any pics of the element enclosure and top of the pot?

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Old 03-12-2013, 01:14 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by rodduley View Post
Hey microbusbrewery, this couldn't have been posted at a better time. I am in the process of trying to build the exact thing. I had imagined using an old cornie keg but this looks like it might be easier to work with. I also was going to just "drop in" the coil similar to a small wort chiller but I love the way yours goes through the walls. Could you please post a parts list and or any lessons learned during fabrication. Did you have any problems coiling the copper? any leaks? Have you tested the efficiency yet (ramp times)? Do you worry about any stratification? Sorry to question you to excess but I would like to know everything about this that is possible to complete my own build.

Thanks
The copper wasn't too hard to coil. Copper work hardens so you just want to take it slow to make sure you don't kink it. It comes coiled and I started off slightly tightening the coil by hand, then I formed it around the crock of a mini-crockpot, then I formed it around a roll of duct tape for the final diameter.

As for leaks, the pot never leaked in my testing but I had a couple very small ones in the fittings themselves. These were fixed by tightening the fittings a bit.

Re perfomance, I just finished it last night so I haven't had a chance to brew with it yet. It's about the same size as my old HEX, so I'd expect the same performance. Both the old and new version use a 110V 1500watt element. In the past I've been able to a raise the temp by a little more than one degree F per minute. For example, if I was mashing at 154F and raising to 168F for mashout, it would typically take around 11-14 minutes to raise the temp to 168F. That's based on measuring the temp of the wort exiting the HEX. I'm going to brew a Pale Ale next weekend so I'll post back if I notice any performance differences.

As for stratification, I'm sure there's some but considering it's such a small vessel and that I'm measuring the temp of the wort itself as it's exiting the HEX, I think it's negligible.

Sounds like you found the parts list on Kal's site. He does a great job of stepping you through everything so I'd definitely recommend checking it out. Speaking of his site, the element enclosure is basically the same as his; an outdoor double gang box with 3/4" fittings.

The lid is just a basic Bain Marie lid. I'm going to try to find a flat saucepan lid that will hopefully fit it better. Here's a side view that shows the electrical box and you can kind of see the lid. I did a little write-up on my blog too, http://www.microbusbrewery.org/2013/03/heat-exchanger-redesign.html
finishedhex2.jpg
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:28 AM   #7
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A small 12vdc motor on the lid would spin the water just fine. Moving the water will make it much more efficient.

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Old 03-12-2013, 04:42 PM   #8
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I'm going to steel your design ... oh the flattery!

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Old 03-12-2013, 11:50 PM   #9
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You can save quite a bit on fittings if you just solder the copper through flared holes in the pot (if you can assemble the flaring tool for cheap).

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Old 03-13-2013, 01:27 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Monster Mash
A small 12vdc motor on the lid would spin the water just fine. Moving the water will make it much more efficient.
The current lid doesn't fit tight enough to do that; it would probably rattle and drive me crazy. I was thinking about using a small DC pump to recirculate the water in the HEX but like I said the original one worked very well so I don't anticipate any issues with this one. Sure it would be more efficient if the water was moving but if it works fine without it then I'm going to keep it simple.


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