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Old 05-02-2008, 08:24 PM   #1
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Default Planning an Electric HLT / Boil pot. Need advice on elements & controllers

I've been searching for hours, but still can't find the answers I'm looking for. Can anyone help me out with Electric water heating for Dummies?

I want to build an electric HLT / Boil Pot. I want to use 240V. I love the All in 1 simplicity and cost of the Ranco controller and the ability to wire directly to the heating element, but as I understand it will only handle a 2000 watt element. That's not going to cut it.

The Love controller that John Beere uses here is better, but I think I'd like to go bigger than 3500 watts.

What controllers can directly handle a 4500 or 5000 watt element? Or will I have to use additional relays, etc. to go this big? I saw during searching that 4500 watts will pull 19 amps, how about a 5000 watt element?

Also what is the difference between High density and low density elements?

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Old 05-03-2008, 01:28 AM   #2
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Okay, You are going to need a controller with a DC output to drive 2 solid state relays, one for Line 1 and Line 2.
A 5000W element will draw 21A at 240.
A low density element is longer than a regular element and folded onto itself. So if you compare a regular element and a low density element of the same Wattage the low density element will have twice the surface area. So you will have half the wattage per inch on the low density element. ultra low density are longer than the low density but they have a wave shape to them.

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Old 05-05-2008, 07:48 PM   #3
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Cool Thanks. The more I think about it sticking with a 3500 watt element & Love controller is sounding like a better route for me. I could have a simpler setup by avoiding the relays, and the 3500 watt elements are too cheap.

1. If I get a Love controller like this one I can wire the 3500 watt direct. If I decide later on to move up to 10 gal batches or just want more power, I can still use this controller and just add the SSRs, and a larger element, correct?

2. Is 3500 watts enough to get a decent boil on a 6-7 gal boil?

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Old 05-05-2008, 08:00 PM   #4
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I wouldnt recomend using that one to directly control the element. For starters it only has one spst contact which means you can only switch one side of the 220v. Plus you will be drawing 15 A continuous off of it, yeah its rated for it but I would strongly advise against it.

Ontop of that, you will only have full on or full off capabilities. If you try to run a PID system with it that relay is going to ch@ttering like a mother and probably wet the contacts after a few cycles.

You could drive an SSR with it but you will still have the same problem with the relay ch@ttering. You want a solid state DC output to drive an SSR with. Do it the right way man, you'll thank yourself later.

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Old 05-05-2008, 09:17 PM   #5
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I thought that was the PID described in this thread, thats the only reason I mentioned it.

I did just find this thread which seems like a pretty straight forward diagram, which I can handle.

How about this:
1. PID
2. 2 of these SSRs
3. One of these
4. Hooked up to a 5000 or 5500 watt Extra Low Density Element like this

Does this look like a winner?

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Old 05-05-2008, 09:38 PM   #6
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That PID will work well for you. The original one you showed used mechnical contacts so it would only be good for a hysteriesis type control. ie Turn on at 150F Turn off at 152F. The PID actually lets you control the output of the element 0-100% by rapidly switching on and off. You cant do that with a mechanical relay.

That SSR would work but you need a heat sink to disipate the heat due to switching. Here is something more in line, a little cheaper too.
http://cgi.ebay.com/DC-to-AC-SSR-Sol...QQcmdZViewItem

You could wire it up like the diagram you posted but the only difference would be that you will run the control signal from the PID to both SSRs. You will then run line 1 and line 2 through their own SSRs to the element. You can get away with just one SSR on one Line but if it fails it could leave the circuit energized. An extra SSR is cheap insurance.
That thermocouple would work too but you may want to find one that has 1/4" NPT threads on it so you can install it into the side of your vessel. I dont think you can submerge that one up to the braid. good luck!

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Old 05-05-2008, 09:56 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Virtuous View Post
I wouldnt recomend using that one to directly control the element. For starters it only has one spst contact which means you can only switch one side of the 220v. Plus you will be drawing 15 A continuous off of it, yeah its rated for it but I would strongly advise against it.

Ontop of that, you will only have full on or full off capabilities. If you try to run a PID system with it that relay is going to ch@ttering like a mother and probably wet the contacts after a few cycles.

You could drive an SSR with it but you will still have the same problem with the relay ch@ttering. You want a solid state DC output to drive an SSR with. Do it the right way man, you'll thank yourself later.
I'd go with a long cycle time off the controller. 1 minute minimum. I've used ssr's on short cycle, and the whole house was like a strobe light. Not good for electronics.
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Old 05-05-2008, 09:59 PM   #8
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I do like that PID since it has the actual temp vs. set temp readout.

Here's a different probe

Ya, I forgot to list the heatsinks earlier. So the 25 Amp SSR will be big enough? I figured that would be cutting it close, especially if I end up with a 5500 watt element. This link mentions up to 15 amp without forced air cooling. I'm definitely going to be over 15 amps, and I don't want to get into forced air cooling, so I'll go with the bigger SSRs if needed.

Damn I always forget to check eBay, that is cheaper.

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Old 05-06-2008, 01:23 AM   #9
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Sorry, thought you were still talking 3500, yes you will want the 40A SSR. 5500 is almost 23A

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Old 05-06-2008, 03:27 AM   #10
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Hey, great info in this post. I have been thinking of moving to an indoor, electric brewery -- but I see I have some homework to do on electrical systems.

What I want to know is why ch@ttering (*******ing) is a banned word???? WTF

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