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Old 12-10-2012, 04:42 AM   #1
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Default Electric without a controller?

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
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look up a pulse width modulator (PWM)

There is a thread on here about them - cheap and easy to build

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Old 12-10-2012, 04:57 AM   #3
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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
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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!
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Old 12-10-2012, 05:11 PM   #5
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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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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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