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Old 01-27-2011, 11:06 PM   #1
thelorax121
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Default On/Off Power Controller?

I am in the process of putting together a big bad heatstick, and I am looking for a way to control the power output so that I can turn it down for boiling, basically something similar to the PID run in manual mode (10%, 20% power etc). Is there a simple controller that can perform this if I don't need the temp control?


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Old 01-28-2011, 02:33 AM   #2
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Do a search for PWM Controller, or Variac.


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Old 01-28-2011, 02:44 AM   #3
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Do a search for PWM Controller, or Variac.
After you see what the price of a Variac is, you might want to look into a cheap PID and an SSR, mount them in a simple electrical box. Could probably get it done for under $100.
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Old 01-28-2011, 04:29 AM   #4
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I can't imagine it is that expensive to build, otherwise these would be a lot more expensive.

btw - I'd consider just buying this and save yourself the trouble, by the time you did a pid/ssr/box/wire, element/heatstick you are close to that price.
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Old 01-28-2011, 05:39 AM   #5
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A 20 amp 120 volt Variac can be had from $50 to $89 ebay items.
They also work great as a poor man's buck boost X-former pushing 120 ac
over long distances recovering from VD. I would go with a PWM system first choice.
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Old 01-28-2011, 06:16 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by samc View Post
I can't imagine it is that expensive to build, otherwise these would be a lot more expensive.

btw - I'd consider just buying this and save yourself the trouble, by the time you did a pid/ssr/box/wire, element/heatstick you are close to that price.
I was assuming OP already has a heat stick or parts to build one.
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Old 01-28-2011, 12:30 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Chefkeith View Post
After you see what the price of a Variac is, you might want to look into a cheap PID and an SSR, mount them in a simple electrical box. Could probably get it done for under $100.
Yup. An Auberins PID, SSR, heat sink and a project box is right at $100. The balance of the bits and pieces (an extension cord to cut up?) are probably already laying around (or a least very cheap).

PID
SSR
Heat Sink
Project Box

The best part of doing it this way? Down the road when system changes and improvements are made, you already have the right stuff. You spent the money and are not throwing it away.

IMHO
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Old 01-28-2011, 12:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samc View Post
I can't imagine it is that expensive to build, otherwise these would be a lot more expensive.

btw - I'd consider just buying this and save yourself the trouble, by the time you did a pid/ssr/box/wire, element/heatstick you are close to that price.
I assumed that when the OP said "Big & Bad" he meant 240v...
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And I'd like to see my 1.080 beers ready from grain to glass in a week, and served to me by red-headed twin penthouse pets wearing garter belts and fishnet stockings, with Irish accents, calling me "master luv gun," but we can't always get what we want can we? :)
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Old 01-28-2011, 02:32 PM   #9
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Alrighty, so after some debate and seeing that these contollers are about the same $ as PID's I think I am going to set up my system as follows:

I was originally going to install a 1500W in the HLT run through a PID and then have the heatstick with switch or controller on a separate 30A 240V outlet to expedite heating times in both the HLT and the BK. My idea was to have a HERMS system capable of running on just 120V if necessary, supplemented by the propane burners already installed.

Now I am thinking I will wire the control panel with two power inlets, a 120V and a 240V, then wire the system with a three way switch (BK - OFF - HLT) to choose which PID will contol the heatstick depending on what vessel I move it to. This way, I can run my pumps through the control panel, have the benefit of full 240V power, and if I ever do need to use 120V power only, the heatstick element can simply be switched out. Does this seem logical (or clear) to everyone? Is it possibly to use two PID's to contol a single element like this, and are there any benefits to having an additional 1500W element installed into the HLT rather than just one 5500W mobile element that I am not seeing? Thanks as always everyone!
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Old 01-28-2011, 02:38 PM   #10
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I'd make the 240V 5500W Heatstick and just run it with 1 PID. Why would there be a need to drop down to 120V? Even still, if you wanted to drop that 5500W element to 120V it will run at 1375W so you could do that easily enough.

I don't see the advantage to using 2 PID's in your situation, unless I am missing something.


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And I'd like to see my 1.080 beers ready from grain to glass in a week, and served to me by red-headed twin penthouse pets wearing garter belts and fishnet stockings, with Irish accents, calling me "master luv gun," but we can't always get what we want can we? :)
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