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Old 03-07-2013, 03:42 AM   #1
millsware
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May 2010
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I'm looking to convert to electric. I currently brew 5 gallon batches. I would like to build an electric HLT/BK and use a cooler mash tun in between. I'm looking for the simplest setup, and was thinking of using an element plugged into a variable controller so that I could just install a 4500 or 5500 watt element and manually control the output. The cost difference between the high wattage and low wattage elements is a few dollars, so I would like to just go with a high wattage element to begin with in case I want to upgrade later. I would also like the flexibility of being able to plug into a dryer plug in case I move later.

Somebody was kind enough to point out this, which seems perfect, but is awfully expensive.

I was also looking at these, but they are 120V. There is one on ebay for 240V, but it is only rated to 8 amps.

Question time:
1) Has anybody put something like this together, and how did it work?
2) Does anyone have suggestions on components, or how to build a box like that?
3) I don't see myself doing much more than 5 gallons in the future, should I just go with a 3000W element and just go with on/off?

Thanks a lot.
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Old 03-07-2013, 03:57 AM   #2
CalypsoCowboy
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Nov 2010
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Search for PWM, they can be built pretty cheaply. Look through this forum, there are lots of builds similar to what you want.

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 04:14 AM   #3
thargrav
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Dec 2009
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millsware View Post
Somebody was kind enough to point out this, which seems perfect, but is awfully expensive.
Before assuming that $144.95 is expensive, I suggest you do some shopping around on the net & do some price comparisons.

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 02:09 PM   #4
wilserbrewer
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millsware View Post
I don't see myself doing much more than 5 gallons in the future, should I just go with a 3000W element and just go with on/off?

Thanks a lot.
This would be my advice, unless you add temperature control, the higher wattage will just improve your ramp time during heat-up. Elements are so cheap that there is no big set-back $ to try one and build as you go. Stick a 3000w in your kettle, a larger wattage in your HLT if you like and brew a batch in manual mode.

Lots of folks here build wonderful sophisticated electric systems, but the bells and whistles are really optional IMHO.

And of course you know to use GFCI!

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 05:57 PM   #5
fermenter
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Jul 2011
lakeville, mn
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What about this: http://www.stilldragon.com/diy-controller.html I used this SSR setup (Solid State Relay) with a PID to control how often the element is "ON" works great!

I just ran some 10 gauge wire from a 30A double pole GFCI breaker into the unit above then outputted from the unit into a 30 amp plug.

I plugin in my kettle/5500W 240V element and use the PID to control the "power" of the element. let me know if you have questions or want some pics?

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:02 PM   #6
alien
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Apr 2012
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fermenter View Post
What about this: http://www.stilldragon.com/diy-controller.html I used this SSR setup (Solid State Relay) with a PID to control how often the element is "ON" works great!

I just ran some 10 gauge wire from a 30A double pole GFCI breaker into the unit above then outputted from the unit into a 30 amp plug.

I plugin in my kettle/5500W 240V element and use the PID to control the "power" of the element. let me know if you have questions or want some pics?
That's a bizarre set up, and not what the OP was after.

The kegkits controller is actually the cheapest readymade that I have seen. I doubt Mr Hargrave is making that much out of selling them. The chunky locking socket would probably cost about $15 on its own. 4' is maybe a bit short for the cable but hey.

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 06:53 PM   #7
fermenter
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Jul 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alien View Post
That's a bizarre set up...


Works great for my needs and was much less pricey then other options I found for variable temp control. A SSR simply cut's power to the element so for example if you set the PID to 50% it would allow the element to be on 1/2 the time, thus you have your variable power.

But yes I am also mostly unclear as what the OP wanted to accomplish.

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:32 PM   #8
alien
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Your own post wasn't that clear either. Sorry if I misunderstood it.

PID on manual control with an SSR sounds fine but accomplishes the same thing as the Stilldragon controller, so I don't see why you need both.

 
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Old 03-07-2013, 07:41 PM   #9
millsware
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fermenter View Post
What about this: http://www.stilldragon.com/diy-controller.html I used this SSR setup (Solid State Relay) with a PID to control how often the element is "ON" works great!

I just ran some 10 gauge wire from a 30A double pole GFCI breaker into the unit above then outputted from the unit into a 30 amp plug.

I plugin in my kettle/5500W 240V element and use the PID to control the "power" of the element. let me know if you have questions or want some pics?
If I'm understanding it correctly that link looks like what I want.

To clarify, I would like to have one element in a kettle. I would like some kind of control knob that I could set to 100% to heat quickly, and then turn down to say 50% to maintain a boil. I don't want on/off 50% of the time, I want 50% power.
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Old 03-07-2013, 08:07 PM   #10
fermenter
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Jul 2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millsware View Post
If I'm understanding it correctly that link looks like what I want.

To clarify, I would like to have one element in a kettle. I would like some kind of control knob that I could set to 100% to heat quickly, and then turn down to say 50% to maintain a boil. I don't want on/off 50% of the time, I want 50% power.
alien - Sorry I was not clear, the Stillgragon in the link is just a PID + SSR + Housing. just one per heat stick I do not have two SSR.


millsware - If you do not want "I don't want on/off 50% of the time" then the link I posted is not for you, you would need some sort of rheostat to lower the voltage. As I did not set mine up that way I am of no help.

I can say the SSR route works super well! but I still need full power to boil, but I use less just to heat up the wort via sparging.

 
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