Here's how I mounted the 5500w Camco element. I knew a few things going into this:
- I wanted to use a silicone o-ring and the 1" NPS lock nut that most people use because I like the groove in the lock nut that retains the o-ring. O-rings that are not retained in some kind of groove make me nervous because they can squeeze out.
- I wanted zero chance of water getting anywhere near the element connections. It must be 100% waterproof.
- The element does not have to be extremely easy to remove, but easy enough in case of failure (I plan on cleaning in place with PBW between brews).
- Everything must be TIG welded.
I began by removing the hex on a portion of the lock nut and beveling the edge. I then made a big hole in a 3" tri clamp end cap, re-contoured the inside surface a little bit, and beveled that edge, too.
This is how they will fit together:
Fresh after fusing the end cap to the lock nut. The tri clamp ferrule was put in place and locked down to minimize warping of the end cap. A piece of aluminum welding rod was bent into a circle and put where the silicone gasket would normally go to take up the slack. You can see it peeking out at 12 o'clock. The silicone would have fried and probably wouldn't have prevented warpage because it's not rigid:
Here's what it looks like with the element in there. You can see two ferrules in this pic. They will eventually be welded together. Another end cap will go on this end with a liquid tight strain relief for the element power cable.