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Old 02-08-2010, 07:26 PM   #1
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Default RIMS, SSR, PID, Oh my!

OK, I'm about to start ordering parts for my RIMS, but even after reading the numerous posts on electricity, SSRs, PIDs, & RIMS tubes I still have a few lingering questions. I don't know much about electricity and just want to make sure I'm safe and also ensure I won't end up frying newly purchased brew-toys. Here goes...

If I use a PID to control my RIMS, is a SSR necessary?

What purpose does a SSR serve, to make the circuit safer for the user or to protect the equipment, or both?

My heating element will prob be a 120v 1500W LD and I have a March 809HS-PL pump, can I just plug both of these into the same outlet or do they need to be on a separate circuit? (I think its the amps that matter here: 1.4A for pump and 12.5 for the element, so a 15A circuit is OK?)

It's the circuit breakers & gauge of wire in the panel that define max amperage of the circuit, right, so I can just look at the breaker to determine the rating of the circuit? (I'm at work but can post a pic of my house's main panel if that helps)

I know these are prob rudimentary questions, so thanks in advance for any assistance.

PS - Waiting to see how SawDustGuy's blinged out tri-clover RIMS tube works out and if the extra tee or extension is needed to make the tube longer, so will prob copy that design for ease of cleaning...great idea SDG!


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Old 02-08-2010, 08:46 PM   #2
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You want an SSR (solid state relay) to take the low voltage signal from the PID to switch the high voltage element on and off. Ideally you would use no more than 80% of the circuits rating so I think you are cutting it close with 15A. (I'm no expert and I'm learning this as I go, myself)
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Old 02-08-2010, 08:50 PM   #3
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My understanding (to test if I have this correct) is that the SSR keeps the juice away from the PID (a small computer). The PID can handle control some power, but not the amount this system is taking. Hence the heat sinks often on SSRs: they are doing the heavy work. The PID is the brains (better than straight on/off... it trys to steady the throttle control).

That is pretty max for a 15 amp circuit... I will wait to see if anyone is doing it on that. The parts of my 1970s house I have not wired I would not trust to it!

You can look at the panel to determine the amperage of that leg of power, but you also need to take into account anything else that is on the leg. Especially if you are asking it to max out... cut the leg and see if it also runs those ceiling fans in the living room and 2 lamps on the way to the garage...

I will keep up with this to see what I got right! I am trying to get it all straight. You are reading the right threads it sounds like!
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Old 02-08-2010, 09:03 PM   #4
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IMHO you need a larger circuit than 15A for the March and the element. The element alone is 12.5A and then you have the Martch at 1.4A, but that does not include the inrush when you start the pump.

Some PIDs have internal relays, but I dont know what PID you are looking at and if it has an internal relay, and if so... how many amps it will handle. Id have to say, yes you need an SSR. Dont be afraid of SSRs though, they are easier to wire than a ceiling fan.

If you are going RIMS, are you using a straight up 1500W element? Or are you using a 240VAC element on 120VAC to lower the watt density? The reason people tend to go that route is because it is hard to find LWD or ULWD 1500W elements. It is easier to get a 4500W element, run it on 120VAC and get 1125W out of it with super low watt density.

Carry on.
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Old 02-09-2010, 02:05 AM   #5
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The SSR allows the PID to rapidly switch the element off and on to simulate a 0 to 100% heat output over a given time period. If you did this with a mechanical relay it would do 2 things. One, make one hell of a racket. Two, probably weld the contacts shut or pit the heck out of them from the arc that switching generates.

You will more than likely trip that breaker, especially if you have the element on and then turn on the pump. Inductive loads need a little more overhead.

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