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Old 11-30-2008, 11:05 PM   #1
The Pol
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Default 3500W, 4500W or 5500W

If you are boiling 7.5 gallons down to 5 gallons and do not have a PID, which one would best suit this need?


I should be able to get my wort boiling from 155F after the sparge in about 20 minutes with a 3500W element, 15 minutes with 4500W and 12 minutes with 5500W. I am just thinking that without a PID and all that junk, I will be looking at too much heat with 4500W and up if I am not controlling the duty cycle.


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Old 12-01-2008, 01:39 AM   #2
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I would wait and get the PID process worked out before you commit.


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Old 12-01-2008, 01:45 AM   #3
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Im a little confused. A PID isnt going to help you much when it comes to boiling wort. I mean if you set it to 212 deg either two things are going to happen depending on the controller, you are either going to get very little boiling or you are going to eventually get 100% duty cycle any how. For a boil kettle I wouldnt even bother with a PID. Just turn it on and forget it. Now I am not sure if you have to worry about scorching using a hotter element. Considering a 5500 and 7500 element are roughly the same size so you will have a higher wattage to surface are ratio on the 7500. I would try a 5500 and see how yah like it. If you want a shorter boil time and risk scorching a batch use the 7500. Its only 20 bucks for another element and make a cheap batch to test with.

Edit- You have a 50 Amp 220V circuit to use a 7500 W element?
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Old 12-01-2008, 02:16 AM   #4
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Actually an arduino board is cheap and will maintain your duty cycle if you have the program correct.
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Old 12-01-2008, 02:30 AM   #5
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If your talking a real PID Loop I guess I am not sure why you need that type of control on a boil kettle, I mean your talking phase angle and in rush control. All you need is a johnson control and a relay. Thats all I use (sort of) on my HLT. I would go with the biggest one you have power for.
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Old 12-01-2008, 02:48 AM   #6
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Well, I am either going to use 3500W or 4500W. I am adding a separate breaker and circuit in my garage for this application, so I am setting it up for 240V and 30A. 3500W will easily boil the wort... so will 4500W. I am ONLY going to use low to ultra low density elements.

I only brew 5 gallon batches, so 3500W will DEFINATELY boil the heck outta that. I have boiled water in my HLT with 1500W.
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:18 AM   #7
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Have you considered heat sticks? I experimented a little over the weekend, and 3000 combined watts brought 6.5 gallons of water (starting at 170 degrees) to a nice boil in under 15 minutes. I'm thinking about building two 120v, 1500 watt low density heat sticks, using both to get the boil, and then turning the one off after I reach the boil.

I like the heat stick idea because I won't have to run a 240 v circuit, come up with a controller to throttle a 240 volt element, or probably most importantly, modify my current kettle. If I mounted a 240 volt element in it, I would no longer be able to use it on a propane burner if I wanted to.
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:33 AM   #8
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I want a clean install... that is why I am planning to insert the heating element into the keg. I may just run a 4500W and see how that goes, may get a 3500W and see how that works out. I will initially set it up to run at 100%, maybe down the road do the whole duty cycle thing, but I dont know if it will be necessary.
I will be building a control panel for my mixer, HLT, pump and BK... to make it cleaner and easier to manage. I have 6 kegs of beer on hand, so I have time and $$ to toss into another upgrade on my rig.
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Old 12-01-2008, 03:34 AM   #9
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Has anyone used the guts out of a stove to control temp manually, kind of like what a PID (or potentiometer for lack of a better way to put it) would do?

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Old 12-01-2008, 04:32 AM   #10
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The oven element control? They don't throttle temperature. When you set the temp it heats up to that temp and then turns off, then back on after a set hysteriesis. Plus I dont think they are designed to handle that kind of wattage.

I have a 4500w in mine with 5 gallon batches and dont have any issues. It is tantamount to turning the gas up REALLY high on a burner. I run low density elements on mine and haven't had issues. Though I am not very sure if it makes a difference. Common sense would suggest it though


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