First of all, big thank you to all of the people that post to this board. I've been dreaming up an electric brewery for 2+ years now. Researching, planning and collecting parts (I bought a spa panel when I read they went on sale 1.5 years ago. It was just wired on Saturday). I originally wanted to do a BCS or brewtroller build, then a more complicated PID build like theelectricbrewery. As time went on, I kept deciding to scale back. I ended up with a very simple toolbox control panel Brutus 20 system. My plan is to build on as time goes on.
I finally had my first brew on the new system yesterday and it went great!
My wife was due to give birth to our first child on the same day, so I'm glad I got it in when I did.
Link to my control panel description
Bad picture of everything mostly put together:
Passedpawn - you were right on about the switch. There were times I really wished I had one to just shut it off without switching to manual mode on the PID and taking the % down to 0. I'm going to install the switch you suggested before my next brew.
The heatsink seemed to be okay in the box. I opened my box a few times during the boil. The heatsink itself was hot to to touch, but the temp in the box never got above 100 degrees.
Boiling looked pretty strange with an electric system. It seems like I needed to have a very vigorous boil to keep it constant. If I turned it down to a nice rolling boil, it would bubble up when the element switched on and go flat when the element was switched off.
What percentage are others setting their PID on with a 5500 watt element and ~ 6.5 gallons pre-boil? I tried a range between 45 - 80%. I don't feel like I ever hit the sweet spot. Does anyone have a good video of what their boil looks like?
I also had some trouble with condensation on my hood. I got a nice deal on a 36" stainless steel 550 CFM Broan hood. The problem is that I had to reduce it from 3 1/4 X 14 down to a 4" round dryer vent outlet in a glass block window. It takes most of the steam out, but I get a lot of water build up on the hood itself. It drips back into the pot and on my stand throughout the boil. Good thing I decided to build the stand with treated wood.
I'll probably raise the hood to see if that helps with condensation. If it continues to be a problem, should I be concerned? As long as the hood is clean, do I need to worry about water dripping back into the kettle?
All and all, it was the easiest and most enjoyable all grain brew that I've done. I love being able to brew inside with all of my stuff at my fingertips. No more running inside and down the stairs to grab something I forgot.
Thanks again everyone!