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Old 09-07-2010, 04:22 PM   #1
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Default need advice on stir paddle for HLT

I have an electric HLT with a 4500W 220V heating element. The element is installed in the side of a keggle about 6" off the bottom. The first time I used it I was really surprised about how well the water separated into layers. Natural convection above the element kept everything really well mixed, but I was amazed that the bottom section of the water didn't get heated at all.

So I need to stir it somehow, and since I'm automating nearly everything else I figure I might as well automate this too. I have a old cordless drill and a 12V power supply that should do the trick, and I can add speed control if I want to get fancy. I've also been looking for a cheap ice cream maker.

However, what do you guys use as a paddle? I'd like to make something simple and cheap, but I'm not sure about the best place to start.



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Old 09-07-2010, 04:30 PM   #2
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I used a domestic water pump. I think it is rated to 240 degrees. The pic is the bottom of the HLT. My output and inlet is all through one fitting on the bottom of the keg. The pump draws off the bottom and returns through a fitting on the top. I have a 90 fitting on the inside of the keg that sort of whirlpools the return. This works great for my HERMS coil.



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Old 09-07-2010, 05:32 PM   #3
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That's a solid plan, but I'd rather not purchase another pump just to circulate my HLT. I have a 2-tier setup with gravity feeding from the HLT into my mash tun. That's why I'm leaning toward some sort of in-pot agitation.

I've read that people use a fish tank air pump to bubble and cause agitation. Does that really work well enough to keep a keggle mixed?

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Old 09-07-2010, 05:48 PM   #4
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This is the only way I have ever stirred my HLT so I cannot say how other methods may work. I picked up the pump on e-bay for about $60. I can tell you that with this system, what I set my controller at is the temp I get out. It works great!

I started with a different pump that wasnt handling the temps very well. When I was planning this I posted a thread that someone had mentioned using an aquarium pump.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/hlt-stirring-159623/

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Old 09-07-2010, 05:54 PM   #5
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Yah, I saw that. I was hoping that someone who commented about the aquarium pump stirring might also respond here.

I do have a pump sitting around that I bought for aeration but haven't used very much. I tend to just let it splash into my fermenter when it comes out of the CFC. Then I shake the living daylights out of it. I tried it both ways (air pump and shaking) and didn't see an appreciable difference, so I gave up on the pump. If it works, that would be a cheap solution to the stirring since I already have the hardware sitting around.

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Old 09-07-2010, 06:04 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bblack7489 View Post
However, what do you guys use as a paddle? I'd like to make something simple and cheap, but I'm not sure about the best place to start.
mcmaster: 34935K66
and whatever motor you have to make it go round.

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Old 09-07-2010, 06:07 PM   #7
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Well if you have the pump, It wouldnt take much to test it. I had a hard time believing that the little stream of bubbles that those pumps put out would do much but I may be wrong. Give it a try...I would be curious to find out how it works.

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Old 09-07-2010, 06:21 PM   #8
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I may give it a test with the aquarium bubbler tonight or tomorrow night. I need to test my seals on the thermocouple mounting port that I made, and I might as well test the plumbing on my filter system while I'm at it. I'll let you know what I find.

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Old 09-07-2010, 06:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
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Does the 2.5" paddle really have enough umph to get enough mixing to stir a keggle? I guess that if the stream of bubbles from an aquarium pump will stir it, then this will definitely do the trick.
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Old 09-07-2010, 06:52 PM   #10
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A simple plastic paint stirrer works wonders and it's designed to work with a drill, cost about 4.00.http://image.ec21.com/image/terryngb/OF0009422936_3/Sell_stirrer.jpg



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