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Old 12-10-2012, 04:42 AM   #1
May 2011
Magnolia, NJ
Posts: 55
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Noob question.

I was wondering if I could hook a dimmer switch to the elements to control temps? I currently have a two tier propane rig, with 3-keggels that I want to move to the basement. I'm comfortable hooking up electric for 220v. I recently purchased two 5500w elements that I would like to put in my HLT and Kettle. I was wondering if I would have my plugs on a dimmer between the outlet and element?

I'm not currently in a position to buy a controller (unemployed) so I'm looking for another alternative.

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Old 12-10-2012, 04:48 AM   #2
runningweird's Avatar
Dec 2009
State Line, PA, Pennsylvania
Posts: 2,068
Liked 92 Times on 68 Posts

look up a pulse width modulator (PWM)

There is a thread on here about them - cheap and easy to build
My 6 Tap Long Draw Tower Build:

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Old 12-10-2012, 04:57 AM   #3
lschiavo's Avatar
Sep 2009
Upper Peninsula of..., Michigan
Posts: 4,871
Liked 1133 Times on 768 Posts

Yeah, if you are handy with soldering, a PWM kit (or from scratch) is pretty easy. You will still need some components to put it all together though. A standard lighting dimmer will not work here.

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Old 12-10-2012, 01:09 PM   #4
BadNewsBrewery's Avatar
Oct 2012
Severn, MD
Posts: 1,244
Liked 129 Times on 103 Posts

I have yet to see a wall dimmer rated for 220v and 30a... it won't work. The PWM is your best bet, short of you plugging in / unplugging the element yourself to maintain temps - that's the cheapest option around!
Building a Bad News Brewery - eHERMS

2014 - 70gal
2015 - 72gal

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Old 12-10-2012, 05:11 PM   #5
Feb 2012
Colorado Springs, CO
Posts: 619
Liked 38 Times on 34 Posts

The other option is a phase angle SSR. search for voltage resistance SSR on ebay or amazon. The end result is the same, adjust the power delivered to the heating element.

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Old 12-12-2012, 05:22 PM   #6
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wilserbrewer's Avatar
May 2007
Jersey Shore, New Jersey
Posts: 9,791
Liked 1505 Times on 1147 Posts

Or you can use smaller elements and power at 100% without a controller. 3500 - 4500w depending on variables involved, ambient temp, 5gal or 10 gal batch, etc. 5500w would have the wort jumpin!

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