Electric BK

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McCuckerson

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I have read many threads regarding electric BK, HERMS, RIMS and so on. I do not want to get caught up in the "hey look at my system" trap. The only thing I want to do is put an electric heating element into my BK so that I don't have to constantly fill a LPG tank and damage my hearing while I brew. I have a 220v, 30amp 4 prong dryer outlet that is available. I just dont know how to connect it. All the elements I have seen have 2 terminals, so how would I connect a 4-prong plug to that?????? I don't want to control it, I was just going run it full bore plugged in for a vigorous boil. I need some help with this, thanks guys.
 

wilserbrewer

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For five gallon batches, 2, 2000 W, 120 V elements work pretty well. Both on to achieve boil, one to maintain. Problem w/ using one element w/ no control is that you either have a long heat time to boil, or a crazy vigorous boil.
 

CodeRage

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Okay, I suggest you get a sound understanding of the basic principals of AC power before starting.

replace the circuit breaker in the breaker panel for your dryer with a gfci breaker of the same rating. This is what will save your butt in the event you try to electrocute yourself. I recommend you get an electrician to come out and provide/install it if you are not comfortable working in your service panel.

The 4 prong plug provides two legs of ac power, one a 180 deg out of phase from the other. a neutral, and a ground.

The element only has 2 terminals because it only needs the two legs of ac power. the neutral and ground are not needed by the element.

so get a 30 amp rated extension cord and wire the two legs to the heating element. Then take the ground and bond it to to the BK. If it is a keggle drill and tap a whole along the bottom skirt and anchor the ground using a screw. if it is a regular pot drill a hole at the top and use a nut and bolt to anchor the ground.

Should something happen and one of the legs start leaking through the element or for what ever reason the pot its self becomes energized this will cause the gfci to trip. Otherwise the kettle could stay energized and you wont know it till you go to stir it with a stainless spoon or grab it.

do not exceed a 5kW 240v element, that will put you close to the maximum current that circuit is designed to run at safely.

Be careful.
 

sjlammer

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The element only has 2 terminals because it only needs the two legs of ac power. the neutral and ground are not needed by the element.
I'm glad I saw this today, as i am hooking up my element tonight. This brings about two questions.

1) If a 240V element has two teminals (one for each hot leg), why does a 120V element have two terminals?

2) My understanding is that a GFCI trips when the amps going out the hot leg and the amps returning through the neutral are not equal. Now i wouldn't rest my life on this definition, but i really think that neutral needs to be connected somewhere, no?
 

CodeRage

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for 110V AC you measure from Leg 1 or 2 to neutral. For 240V AC you measure from L1 to L2. In a 240V system current travels between the Legs, hence why a neutral is not used. Visualize the ac voltage traveling out of one leg like a sine wave, then the second leg is 180 deg out of phase from the first leg. Or, when leg 1 is at max then leg 2 is at 0.

240v gfci measures the current leaving and returning through both L1, L2, and Neutral. This way you can split the circuit for 110 and 240 at the point of use. If the cumulative current leaving does not equal what is returned +/- a couple miliamps then the gfci trips open.

make sense?
 
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McCuckerson

McCuckerson

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The element only has 2 terminals because it only needs the two legs of ac power. the neutral and ground are not needed by the element.

so get a 30 amp rated extension cord and wire the two legs to the heating element. Then take the ground and bond it to to the BK. If it is a keggle drill and tap a whole along the bottom skirt and anchor the ground using a screw. if it is a regular pot drill a hole at the top and use a nut and bolt to anchor the ground.
Red and Black go to element, and ground goes to the pot right? then what do I do with neutral? Nothing because its tied in the box to ground?

Would 2 110v elmts be safer, with black and white to the element and ground to the pot? or no different? Does it really need a gfi?
 

psyber

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do not exceed a 5kW 240v element, that will put you close to the maximum current that circuit is designed to run at safely.

Be careful.

Humm, this makes me wonder if the popular 5.5KW ripp elements are are good idea on the dryer circuits that everyone seems to use.

BTW how did you calculate 5kw as the max wattage for the circuit? Shouldn't it be close to 7200w ? 240v * 30a = 7200w
 

freddyb

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Humm, this makes me wonder if the popular 5.5KW ripp elements are are good idea on the dryer circuits that everyone seems to use.

BTW how did you calculate 5kw as the max wattage for the circuit? Shouldn't it be close to 7200w ? 240v * 30a = 7200w
Usually a circuit shouldn't be run above 80% of the rated max.
 

Yorg

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stumbled onto your post,but just quickly.
You don't want a "full bore" element giving you a vigourous boil.
Not sure why this misconception persists, but a 'rolling' boil is about turning over the wort from bottom to top, it is not about 'vigourous'. In fact, head retention can be affected by over vigourous boiling.
I used to vigorously boil, and couldn't understand why my evaporation rate was 30%, when sources said it should typically be around 15%.
You need to be able to throttle it after getting to boil as quickly as possible.
 

CodeRage

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Humm, this makes me wonder if the popular 5.5KW ripp elements are are good idea on the dryer circuits that everyone seems to use.

BTW how did you calculate 5kw as the max wattage for the circuit? Shouldn't it be close to 7200w ? 240v * 30a = 7200w
You only want to run low voltage breakers at 80% capacity when using continuous current. A detailed explanation:
http://www.netaworld.org/files/ItemFileA189.pdf

80% @240v is 5.7k. I originally calculated it at 75% in case you decide to put some other devices on the same circuit giving you a little wiggle room.
 
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McCuckerson

McCuckerson

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stumbled onto your post,but just quickly.
You don't want a "full bore" element giving you a vigourous boil.
Not sure why this misconception persists, but a 'rolling' boil is about turning over the wort from bottom to top, it is not about 'vigourous'. In fact, head retention can be affected by over vigourous boiling.
I used to vigorously boil, and couldn't understand why my evaporation rate was 30%, when sources said it should typically be around 15%.
You need to be able to throttle it after getting to boil as quickly as possible.
The more vigorous the boil the less DMS will remain in the wort. I would much rather boil vigorously and lessen my boil time, than have a weak boil and have my blonde ale tatse like popcorn. Again, as I stated when I started this thread, I do not want to get into a pissing contest over who's HERM is better and who's HERM shoots fireworks for the kids while they brew, and who's HERMs makes them a rueben sandwich while they brew in case they get hungry. I simply want to devise an alternative boil method.
 

whitehotdawn

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You only want to run low voltage breakers at 80% capacity when using continuous current.
The National Electrical Code (NEC) defines a continuous load as one that continues for three hours or longer. Most homebrewing applications will not require one to run a heating element continuously for three hours. Restricting yourself to the 80% rule will not inherently make your system safer. These restrictions are usually applied to industrial or commercial applications where one has a device running continuously all day (perhaps 24/7). The best way to protect yourself and to build a safer electric brewing system is to understand the principles of electricity and to make sure that a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is properly installed.

I bring this up point because we have a lot of people who are getting interested in electric brewing reading these forums and it is not always clear what exactly the rules are and why they are in place. The 80% rule, in particular, brought me much confusion when I was first designing my system. I not even sure why this part of the NEC was brought up in the first place on these forums. And while the 80% rule has been explained on HBT in the past for some reason it seems to always reappear and applied to situations for which it was not intended.

Note: I'm not an electrician, just a fellow homebrewer who wants to educate.
 
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McCuckerson

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Can 2 gfi outlets with different hots share a neural and ground?
 

whitehotdawn

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Can 2 gfi outlets with different hots share a neural and ground?
GFCI can not share the loads for which they are monitoring. They compare the exiting and returning current to make they are equal (and trip if the currents do not match). These devices will not properly work and potentially save your life if they are installed incorrectly.

The grounds can be shared. Everything shares a common ground which is there to make a path for current that has (through a short) found its way to a place it should not be.

McCuckerson and anyone interested in making an electric brewing system, I recommend that you go to your local library and check out an electrical book. It is best when working with electricity to not only understand what to do but why things are done. The basics are important and will give you a better understanding, appreciation, and respect for electrity.

One last point: Since we have been talking about 240V elements, as it has been stated before, there are two hot legs and no neutral. The neutral is only used if you want to run 120V off a 120/240 outlet. If you are not running 120V on that circuit there is no need to have a neutral connection.
 

CodeRage

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No, not at all. Just be careful, don't take short cuts and, if you don't understand something, ask or go find the answer. The more you understand about the whole process, the safer you will be.
 

Chosenwon

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I just finished my Electric Boil Kettle up, the bottom line, as most agree here is don't mess with electricity that can kill you if you are not confident that it is done right. Take the safety precautions and if you are unsure of anything, ask around, read, do research and be confident in your system before you go anywhere near plugging it in.

Good luck.
 

tdiowa

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For those thinking about building a Electric Kettle you may want to take a look at this link. Not a newer mousetrap just a different type of one.

https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/electric-kettle-instructions-100737/

I came up with this idea and have been using it for the last four years. I am currently on my 4th generation Kettle. For the record I am not a electrician and was able to do this and not electrocute myself.

If you have any questions I would be more than happy to help.

TD
 
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