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Old 01-08-2011, 01:52 PM   #1
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Default How to control the boil with a heating element

Guys,

I'm building an electric setup very close to Kal's, but I'm using the BCS-460 instead of a control panel. (by the way Kai, I'm going to owe you alot of beer for that info) My question is how do you control the boil with a 5500W element? If I wanted to brew a small 6 gallon batch I would have to imagine the boiloff would be too much without some type "dimming" solution.



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Old 01-08-2011, 02:43 PM   #2
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I do have one thought. Could it be as easy as setting the element to turn off when the boiling water hits 213F or 214F and then turns on again when it drop below 212?


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Old 01-08-2011, 03:08 PM   #3
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It doesn't quite work like that. Water comes to the boiling point (212F +/- depending on altitude & atmospheric pressure) and boils at that temperature until ...
The temperature is the same throughout the entire time. You control the strength of the boil by regulating the amount of energy being delivered to the water.

I know how to do this with a PID but someone else will have to chime in regarding the BCS-460.
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Old 01-08-2011, 03:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NTabb View Post
If I wanted to brew a small 6 gallon batch I would have to imagine the boiloff would be too much without some type "dimming" solution.
Boil off is not you're worry, getting burned is. My 4500 watt element will throw a 6 gallon boil in yo face in a 15 gallon pot if you don't crank it down.
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Old 01-08-2011, 03:21 PM   #5
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Any suggestions on what PID I could use?
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Old 01-08-2011, 03:27 PM   #6
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My friend is trying to put together an e-kettle and this is his question as well - do you need a control panel or something fancy like that to regulate a 4500w/240 element? No such thing as a " heavy duty dimmer switch" type of thing to regulate power?
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Old 01-08-2011, 03:42 PM   #7
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Someone on the BN site just pointed me to to this product. Little expensive, but will do exactly what I'm looking for.

http://www.highgravitybrew.com/produ...r-306p3084.htm
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Old 01-08-2011, 03:56 PM   #8
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When boiling, you don't care about temperature. You need to control the duty cycle of the heating element, which is a fancy term indicating the % time it's on.

For example, if your element was turned on for 7 seconds, then off 3 seconds, that's a duty cycle of 70% (7/10). Another fancy term is Pulse Width Modulation (PWM), which is simply controlling the power to something by controlling the duty cycle.

You probably are wondering "why not just lower the power to the element"? Regulating that much power is not simple due to the huge heat dissipation that would result. Alternatively, turning it on and off (i.e., PWM) is really simple.

You need a PID with a manual mode (i.e., Auber SYL-2352) or a simple PWM ckt. These things allow you to set the duty cycle. Either way, this controller needs to be connected to a solid state relay (SSR), which is a big electronic switch that can be controlled with a small signal.
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Old 01-08-2011, 04:03 PM   #9
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thanks, that's what we needed to know.
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Old 01-08-2011, 04:04 PM   #10
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Passesdpawn,

Would the Electric Kettle Controller http://www.highgravitybrew.com/produ...r-306p3084.htm work as well? My understanding it treats the heating element like a stove. You can just limit the amount of power going to the element to maintain a nice boil.


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