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Old 02-13-2011, 06:52 PM   #601
Veritas
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Last November, I was looking to build my very first brewing system, and stumbled upon this thread (which has been an amazing resource, by the way...) and decided to build a RIMS using the original plans and specs. The system has been flawless; no leaks, holding temps, fast step-times, and great efficiency. I've brewed a couple of ales, a helles, Ed Wort's IPA, a Dortmunder, an Alt, and a few others.

After my first brew, I started to notice a slight off-taste in my system, and was concerned that my water was too chlorinated, or perhaps I was over-sparging and my phenols were out of whack. Eventually, after trying spring water, "hyper-cleaning" everything, and still having off-tastes, I removed my 110v 1500w ld heating element, and discovered a caramelized, burnt mess on the element.

Reading through this thread, I've only noticed one or two others who have had this happen. I'm open to any thoughts, questions, suggestions to figure this out.

A few factoids; I am using a 2" pipe system, auber instruments 60mm RTD, 2352 PID, 25 amp SSR (with heat sink), and a control box built under the guidance of my stepfather, who is a master electrician. Each control (master, PID, element, and pump) are all on individual circuits. And yes; although the element is not connected to the pump switch on the hot end (to ensure that the element doesn't run "dry"), I have never accidentally fired the heater when dry.

I posted pics of my system after my build and first brew. Here's a link for pics:
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f36/than...uccess-212499/

I'm going to try a 4500w ld element at 110 to see if that helps. Any ideas? Maybe I just had a bad element? (I did auto tune the PID, temps were spot on, checked against a thermometer placed in the mash. It never "spiked" or ran hot.)

Thanks for taking the time to help me out with this.

 
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Old 02-13-2011, 07:00 PM   #602
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I always take my element out after each brew and clean it off. I scorched a batch once and will never make that mistake again.
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Old 02-13-2011, 07:11 PM   #603
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That'll be part of my routine now, too. Any thoughts on how this could happen? (Seriously, I've never "dry-fired" my element.)

 
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Old 02-13-2011, 07:14 PM   #604
weirdboy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Veritas View Post
That'll be part of my routine now, too. Any thoughts on how this could happen? (Seriously, I've never "dry-fired" my element.)
Maybe you closed the valve on the RIMS so it wasn't circulating for a while?

 
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Old 02-13-2011, 07:31 PM   #605
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Interesting thought, weirdboy. I don't recall doing so, but you're right; one moment or two of stopping the flow from the march pump into the RIMS chamber would do it. That's a definite possibility.

I'm wondering, though, if the RTD would have picked up the sudden increase in heat and shut off the element if that happened?

 
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Old 02-13-2011, 10:48 PM   #606
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If you are using a standard water heater element they are coated with a zinc plating to protect the element when in a water heater. It doesn't help the element when brewing. I simply rubbed it off with a scrubby until I got to bare copper. I wonder if the zinc is causing an off taste. Then again it could be anything and not related to the RIMS at all.
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:09 AM   #607
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Elements are pretty cheap. I'd buy a SS Incoloy type element and try that. I've not experienced the issue you describe. My element is on a tri clover fitting so I can remove it after use and clean if needed beyond the Oxyclean recirculation that I do. Usually all I am wiping off is some white residue which I assume is Oxyclean.

 
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Old 02-14-2011, 12:36 AM   #608
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i don't have a RIMS, heck, right now i don't have a real brew structure but am converting 3 kegs and trying to decide what kind of structure/system i want to build. reading everying i can until that happens, although that seems to be confusing me more. Anyway, what about some type of flow senser? being familiar with cooling systems that use flow sensers to detect lack of flow to shut down the system or at least give an alarm when the flow rate is below a set point. Would this type of senser help with the worry of burning up an element? Not even sure one is availible or cheap enough to use but its something to think about.

 
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:40 AM   #609
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Honestly, burning up the element, especially while brewing, is extremely unlikely to happen. And if you have a LWD element, you don't have to worry about burning it up due to a dry fire. I've had mine glowing yellow and it still works just fine.
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Old 02-14-2011, 01:44 AM   #610
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Hey Sawdustguy, thanks for the reply... interesting comment regarding the zinc coating. The "caramelized funky mess" that was once my heating element no longer has the zinc coating on it. You might be on to something there. Any thoughts about what might have caused the scorching in the first place?

 
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