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Old 02-21-2010, 03:19 PM   #1
Suicided1954
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I want to build an e-keggle. I have 240v (220V?) available. I am going to use a 50A GFCI breaker in the main panel, a 30A breaker and a 20A (120V) in a sub-panel. I wanted to use a 2000w 120V in my HLT and a 4500 or 5500W in the brew kettle.

What is the purpose of the SSR and PID? is it just temp control? Boil-off control?
Does running the 4500w element 100% burn the wort?

I'm not trying to get off cheap and not use these items. I am just trying to understand their purpose.

 
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Old 02-21-2010, 03:26 PM   #2
bf514921
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SSR and the pid are the electric version of the control vavle for a gas burner. You open it up to get to the full boil then reduce heat to maintainboil. the pid and ssr cycle the heating element to reduce input heat to maintain boil.

 
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Old 02-21-2010, 03:34 PM   #3
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The SSR (Solid State Relay) is what switches power on and off to your element. You can use a mechanical relay (contactor), but the benefit of the SSR is that it can rapidly change states without the mechanical wear of a physical relay.

The PID controller monitors temperature and tells the SSR when to turn on and off to maintain the set temperature. We call them PIDs, but for BK/HLT use, you don't want to use PID control. The reason so many people use PID controllers for this is that many of them also have on/off and manual modes. The on/off mode is useful for heating a HLT, where PID control can have a more difficult time with the slow ramp rate. Manual mode is useful for the BK, where you want to set a fixed percentage output, and the controller modulates the on/off cycle of the SSR to match the output you have set.

I still use a contactor to physically break the hot supply to the SSR so that I can override the PID output, but that's just a safety thing and has nothing to do with temp control.

Does that help?
MrH

 
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Old 02-21-2010, 03:35 PM   #4
Suicided1954
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That's what I thought. Thanks


I have another question. Will the 50A GFCI do it's job if I have other breakers in front of it?

 
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Old 02-21-2010, 03:45 PM   #5
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Yes. Just make sure you ground everything well all the way back to your spa panel. This is much more important than the GFCI.

Oh, and I think the wort scorching myth has been busted fairly recently. I think it's more important to use stainless elements, regardless of the density (eaiser to clean). I used to have a 4500W incoloy (black) element in my RIMS chamber and I never could keep the thing clean. Beerstone stuck to it like crazy. I've since replaced it with a stainless 6000W element. Haven't gotten to try it yet (first wet test this afternoon), but it should keep clean a lot better.


MrH

 
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Old 02-21-2010, 04:34 PM   #6
Bobby_M
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It's not so much about scortching but rather wasting energy. You don't have to run a 5500 watt element at 100% output to maintain an aggressive boil.
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Old 02-21-2010, 05:07 PM   #7
AiredAle
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MrH,

Where did you get your stainless element?

 
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Old 02-21-2010, 06:11 PM   #8
Suicided1954
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Lowe's has a 5500W stainless element.

 
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:26 PM   #9
AiredAle
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Just searched Lowes website, under "water heater element" they didn't list any stainless ones, did have an incoloy 5500, is this the one you mean?

 
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Old 02-21-2010, 10:34 PM   #10
Suicided1954
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I don't know about their site but I was carrying it around my local store yesterday trying to decide what I wanted to do. It was 18 and some change. I have been waffling between hard mounted elements and heat sticks... hard mounted elements are winning just cuz there are no submerged wires involved...

it was stainless. I saw the other one also.


 
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