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Old 01-08-2007, 02:25 AM   #1
torpshootr
 
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I am building a home brewery and am considering the addition of a RIMS heater. My preference is to use RIMS vice HERMS. Based on my reading, it seems that the most prevalent argument against the use of RIMS is the possibility of scorching the wort since most RIMS heaters use a water heater element that is in the recirculated wort flow. So, I was thinking that instead of using a water heater element in direct contact with the wort, I could possibly use flexible heating strips wrapped around the outside of the heating chamber. The heater would be controlled via a temperture controller (possibly a Ranco ETC) with its thermistor on the outlet of the chamber.

Has anyone used this method or know of someone who has? If so, does it work? Any lessons learned that I could make use of?

Cheers,
Ken

 
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Old 01-08-2007, 09:43 AM   #2
brewman !
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You could use heat tape and such. That would certainly help on the issue of scorching the wort. Anything to increase the surface area of the heating element and limit the surface temp to 200F ish will help.
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Old 01-08-2007, 04:36 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brewman !
Anything to increase the surface area of the heating element and limit the surface temp to 200F ish will help.
My thought was to construct the heater of 1/2" SS pipe. Most RIMS heaters seem to be made of 1 1/2" pipe so that they are large enough to insert the water heater element. With my idea of wrapping the pipe with heating tape, the chamber itself (ie. the pipe) becomes the heating element for the wort. By using smaller size pipe a greater percentage of the wort is maintained in contact with the heating chamber, which should increase its efficiency.

Cheers,
Ken

 
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Old 01-08-2007, 10:49 PM   #4
brewman !
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"My thought was to construct the heater of 1/2" SS pipe."

You have to watch that you have enough surface area to transfer the heat. Copper is a much better conductor of heat than SS is.

"Most RIMS heaters seem to be made of 1 1/2" pipe so that they are large enough to insert the water heater element. With my idea of wrapping the pipe with heating tape, the chamber itself (ie. the pipe) becomes the heating element for the wort. By using smaller size pipe a greater percentage of the wort is maintained in contact with the heating chamber, which should increase its efficiency."

The other issue with heat tape is finding stuff that will work to the desired temps (200F?) and having enough pipe to get enough on to get the required wattage. (Power actually...) I wouldn't build anything less than 1 or 1.5KW, especially if you intend to do step mashes.
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Old 01-09-2007, 12:13 AM   #5
kladue
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Have you taken a look at the open coil water heater elements that fit inside the pipe as an alternative to external heating elements. These type of heating elements are available from plumbing supply and online sources with wattages to [email protected] VAC, and if i remember correctly they used to fit inside 1-1/2" pipe that passed through the water heater tank.

 
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Old 01-09-2007, 12:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kladue
Have you taken a look at the open coil water heater elements that fit inside the pipe as an alternative to external heating elements. These type of heating elements are available from plumbing supply and online sources with wattages to [email protected] VAC, and if i remember correctly they used to fit inside 1-1/2" pipe that passed through the water heater tank.
I'm either not following you or you are suggesting exactly what I am trying to avoid.

Ken

 
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Old 01-09-2007, 01:02 AM   #7
brewman !
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The problem with using a lot of open coil water heater elements is that the power level per square inch is too high and it scorches the wort <if run at full power>

Look on McMasterCarr's website for info. They list watts/in^2 for all their heaters.
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Old 01-09-2007, 01:43 AM   #8
kladue
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The open coil heater goes inside a 1-1/2" copper tube with a 2" copper tube around it to contain the wort. This should spread out the output from the open coil heater to the entire length of the inner copper pipe~ 12". As long as the flow is kept around .75-1 gpm the wort temperture should not reach the point of scorching as the surface area and limited wattage should limit liquid temperature rise. Down side of this method is the slow response of heater on state to temperature rise and overshoot after heater is shutdown from residual heat.

 
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Old 01-09-2007, 02:39 AM   #9
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What kind of coil is it again ? Do you have any pictures ? I'd love to see it.
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Old 01-09-2007, 03:11 AM   #10
kladue
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Here is an example from a RV parts sales outlet, these elements are quite common in the rv industry as burnout resistant water heater elements.
http://www.rvwholesalers.com/catalog...productid=2186

 
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