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Can you "dim" an electric element with a Variac?

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kezgin

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i still say try a stove control. i've got one that i pulled off a stove to try this with, it's rated for 2350 watts at 240v. haven't gotten around to hooking it up yet, but i don't see why it wouldn't work
 

willynilly

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It will, there is a guy here actually using a crazy electric setup made from stove top electric elements.

The problem is that 2000W or 2500W is really too weak to boil with alone. Which then means you would need at least (2) elements, and (2) controls etc.
 

kezgin

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It will, there is a guy here actually using a crazy electric setup made from stove top electric elements.

The problem is that 2000W or 2500W is really too weak to boil with alone. Which then means you would need at least (2) elements, and (2) controls etc.
does he have them submerged in the wort?
 

wyzazz

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i still say try a stove control. i've got one that i pulled off a stove to try this with, it's rated for 2350 watts at 240v. haven't gotten around to hooking it up yet, but i don't see why it wouldn't work
It WILL work, and well if you can grab another one and install a second element/build a second heatstick. For 5gal batches it just isn't enough to boil alone, and for precise temperature control a PID/SSR is just a better solution.

Just my $.02. Brew on!
 

kezgin

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It WILL work, and well if you can grab another one and install a second element/build a second heatstick. For 5gal batches it just isn't enough to boil alone, and for precise temperature control a PID/SSR is just a better solution.

Just my $.02. Brew on!
yeah i figured 2k watts wouldn't be enough, especially not for 10 gals like i usually brew. when i do have the cash to go all electric, i'm probably just going to use ssr's with a brewtroller setup
 

willynilly

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Why would you even bother with any dimmer or other control if you're only interested in the max load anyway?
What? Max load? You mean max output? Because people typically dont boil at max output.

I am not interested in this at all, I have a control solution.
 

wilserbrewer

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The problem is that 2000W or 2500W is really too weak to boil with alone. Which then means you would need at least (2) elements, and (2) controls etc.
willy,

I figure one element running full at 2000w, with a second 2000w element controlled w/ the one 20 amp controller below. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130370376427

2000 - 4000 watts available to boil. I'll report back w/ results. Seems as if this may be a very simple way to regulate a boil up to 10 to 12 gallons. I am currently using two elements at 2000w resulting in vigorous boil at 4000 and a low boil at 2000.
 

willynilly

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willy,

I figure one element running full at 2000w, with a second 2000w element controlled w/ the one 20 amp controller below. http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130370376427

2000 - 4000 watts available to boil. I'll report back w/ results. Seems as if this may be a very simple way to boil up to say 10 gallons. I am currently using two at 2000w resulting in vigorous boil at 4000 and a low boil at 2000.
Yes, yes, I should have realized this... one would run at 100%, the other would be adjustable. Youd need at least a 40A circuit, or run on (2) 20A circuits
 

lustreking

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Since the HF says the speed control is good for "15 amps and under", and a 120 volt 2kw element is about 18 amps, I really don't think we need the Mythbusters for this one.
I use one of those speed controls to throttle back one of my 1500 watt heat sticks. It seems to work well.
 
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Jknapp

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To report back on this.. I ended up testing a boil whilst using 2 x 2kw elements. One running 100% and the other controlled by a 2kw variac.

To be totaly honest, I didn't see the variac as being much of a value add. I used the variac to 'dim' the boil down a bit and sure it worked fine, however, it just didn't make that MUCH difference to the funtionality of my brewery.

I scrapped the variac concept and now run my 2 x 2000w elementails 100% wide open & use a fan to control boil overs. I don't see the variac as being necessary. Gucci factor was high, but due to the cost and lack of availability to most people.. FAIL.
 
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