Electric setup

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sictransit701

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I plan on doing 7 gallon boils. Will a 120v element be sufficient?
 

NewJersey

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This would be! Lol
120v could work tho. Seems many on here also insulate to help with boil
 

odie

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yes sufficient. Mine is only 120v and works fine. A layer of reflectix will help but will boil without it anyway.
 

NTexBrewer

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You can have two 120v elements plugged into two different circuits. I have one element that is controlled by a PID and maintains the mash temp. That element is plugged into the kitchen counter outlet that is GFI. My other element is plugged into the outlet that my sink disposal is plugged into (unplugging the disposal). I can then use the disposal switch to turn that element on. I use this element to ramp up mash temp and during the boil. During the boil the PID element is set to 44%. I do 5.5 gallon batches no problem.
 

renstyle

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I've run my Anvil foundry on 120v and it works.

Sure, heat does take longer to ramp up, and the boil is never more than "gentle", but it is a boil.

I've ran my rig at both 120v and 240v, as the unit works on both with the flick of a switch, and a GFCI-adapter cable to my dryer outlet. Difference is night and day AFA performance.

But she does work fine on 120v. Made several batches that way. Double insulated, akin to the reflectex suggestions for other kettles.

A 7 gallon boil is prolly top end on capacity for 120v on a single outlet.
 

IslandLizard

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I plan on doing 7 gallon boils. Will a 120v element be sufficient?
As said before, yes you can.

Keep an eye on power (watts) and watt density.

How many watts?
1500-1650W (on a 15A circuit) or
2000-2250W (on a 20A circuit)?
- The higher, the faster it heats.

What's the watt density (Watts/Surface area of the element)?
- The lower, the less potential of scorching.
 

Nathan Graen

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How many watts?
1500-1650W (on a 15A circuit) or
2000-2250W (on a 20A circuit)?
Not quite, most circuit breakers are only rated for 80% of their nameplate rating.

A 15A circuit is good for a heater up to 1,440W, a 20A is good up to 1920W.
 

Dancy

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Before buying a Brewer’s Edge Mash&Boil, I used an 8G kettle on an 1800W portable induction burner ($50). Used reflectix. On mine, 7g boils was barely doable but 6 was good.
3F94F673-7521-4CA2-86EA-D63098AF804F.jpeg
 

rburrelli

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Not quite, most circuit breakers are only rated for 80% of their nameplate rating.

A 15A circuit is good for a heater up to 1,440W, a 20A is good up to 1920W.
I have my doubts about this statement. I was in the electrical supply distribution business for 43 years and have never heard this. I don’t see how they could rate a breaker for less than its indicated amperage. It would mess with any and all calculations used in the NEC.
 

Bobby_M

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Not quite, most circuit breakers are only rated for 80% of their nameplate rating.

A 15A circuit is good for a heater up to 1,440W, a 20A is good up to 1920W.
This is an incorrect statement that is constantly perpetuated. There is a very specific article in the NEC regarding circuits that serve hard-wire, constant use appliances but it has nothing to do with breakers or circuits on branch circuits with portable plugs.
 

renstyle

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I have my doubts about this statement. I was in the electrical supply distribution business for 43 years and have never heard this. I don’t see how they could rate a breaker for less than its indicated amperage. It would mess with any and all calculations used in the NEC.
Perhaps not the breakers, but it is common to see the 80-85% derate capacity applied to the wiring itself. 14ga for lighting on a 15A circuit, 12ga for 20A circuits (wall outlets).

I ran into this when determining what Guage wire was needed for my 240v-GFI adapter for the Anvil.

100% of a breakers rated capacity should not be maintained for extended periods of time.

How many watts?
1500-1650W (on a 15A circuit) or
2000-2250W (on a 20A circuit)?
The quoted power for 15 and 20A above has a derate baked in.
 
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Bobby_M

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100% of a breakers rated capacity should not be maintained for extended periods of time.
Says who? The breaker manufacturer? Not if the breaker is UL

Continuous Current Rating The continuous current rating of a circuit breaker is the maximum current in amperes (dc or rms ac at rated frequency) which a device will carry continuously without exceeding the specified allowable temperature rise. Sometimes referred to as the ampere rating or handle rating of the circuit breaker, the continuous current rating relates to the system current flow under normal conditions. UL and CSA require that circuit breakers must be able to carry their continuous current rating indefinitely at 40°C in free air in order to achieve a UL Listing/CSA Certification.



NEC article 100:
Continuous Load. A load where the maximum current is expected to continue for 3 hours or more.

422.10Branch-Circuit Rating
Generally, the rating of the circuit must be at least that of the total rating of the appliance for an individual appliance branch circuit and in accordance with Section 422.62. Motor circuits not having a marked rating must be in accordance with Part II of Article 430. If the appliance is to be continuously loaded (not a motor), the branch circuit must be rated at least 125% of the appliance unless the branch-circuit device and assembly are rated for continuous loading at 100%, in which case the branch circuit cannot be less than 100% of the appliance. Branch circuits for household cooking appliances are to be rated as provided in Table 220.19. If the branch circuit supplies an appliance and other loads, use the provisions of Section 210.23.


If you read that and think you shouldn't run a 1650w element (13.75 amps) on a 15 amp circuit, that's fine. However,

1. The NEC doesn't define what you might plug in to general household receptacle when you move into the house. The prescriptive text is about installing new circuits to location where a planned appliance is going to installed, such as a rough in to a kitchen for a cabinet mount microwave.

2. It would be a rare situation where your electric kettle would be running at full load for 3 hours even IF this article was applicable.



If you want to understand this topic, https://library.e.abb.com/public/df...d1fc4/61914333_circuit_breaker_ratings3-5.pdf
 

BarryBrews

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I plan on doing 7 gallon boils. Will a 120v element be sufficient?
At 120 volts, plan a very long brew day with an unsatisfactory under performing boil. A 15 amp circuits at 120 volts has a max of 1800 watts, whereas one 15 amp circuit at 240 volts has a max of 3600 watts. It is actually cheaper with the 240 volt due to the shorter brew time and hence less heat loss, ok that's minor, but the time does add up.

May I recommend an extension cord to reach a 30+ amp, 240 volt existing outlet (dryer, hot water, or circuit breaker box with new outlet added). Purchase at $1.18 per foot 10/3 SJEOOW (2% voltage drop for 60ft at 30amp & 240v) (wireandcableyourway.com), replace existing breaker with matching amp GFI circuit breaker for ~$80 (amazon), and about $20 (amazon) for plugs and you will be much happier. Besides, you are going to make more than one beer? Also, some of the best options for heating elements and kettle connections can be found at brewhardware.com.

Alternatively, many kitchen outlets and other outlets around the home are of different electrical phases (all homes have 2 phases, 180 degrees apart), that is they have the 240 volt potential between the two hot lines. Amazon and others sell plug in adapters which combine these two phases for a 240 volt outlet. The power is limited by the lowest rated circuit breaker and is subject to the same matching amp GFI replacements in the breaker box for safety, but you get twice the power into your heating element. Never use a higher amp breaker then was originally installed in your breaker box. Danger Will Robinson, double the voltage, quadruple the danger!

For those who don't know, electric brewing is far cheaper, no trips for propane, indoor brewing, quiet, and offers far easier temperature control. Depending on your choices I would think the payback would be less than 40 brews for a $500 investment. Electric is like easy street.

I run, and have for years, two 1650w elements on separate circuits for both my hlt and bk. I have never popped any breakers while brewing. Both circuits are 15a. Am I risking a fire?
Please read the above comments. Your two circuits might power one 3300 watt element at a time in each kettle. This would greatly expedite your brew day. If the force is with you...I mean phases!

The wire size determines the maximum safe current and the circuit breaker determines the maximum circuit current. Why stand on the edge of the abyss? Giving yourself a 20% leeway prevents problems, period.
 

sicktght311

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1650 watt element in a 10 gallon kettle doing 7 gallon boils on my heavily dryhopped beers. I have no problem boiling. You have to keep the lid on but cracked, but its no problem regarding DMS or anything. The last few degrees from like 208 to 212 take forever, but it gets there
 

sicktght311

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1650 watt element in a 10 gallon kettle doing 7 gallon boils on my heavily dryhopped beers. I have no problem boiling. You have to keep the lid on but cracked, but its no problem regarding DMS or anything. The last few degrees from like 208 to 212 take forever, but it gets there
Plus my brew days arent ridiculously longer than 240, since most of my heatup time is initial heating. Heating from mash to mashout/sparge only takes about 25 minutes, and then from mashout to boil takes roughly another hour, so what am i adding on my actual brew day compared to 240v? 30 minutes tops?

For the initial heat up i just plan my brew day around when i want to mash in, not when i turn my system on. So if i'm starting my brew day at 10am, i just make sure water is in my kettle the night before, and i flip the system on at 7 or 730 and then go about my morning making breakfast and running errands. Isnt that the positive of electric vs propane? Its not about time, its about ease. I dont have to babysit a flame
 

BarryBrews

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For the initial heat up i just plan my brew day around when i want to mash in, not when i turn my system on. So if i'm starting my brew day at 10am, i just make sure water is in my kettle the night before, and i flip the system on at 7 or 730 and then go about my morning making breakfast and running errands. Isnt that the positive of electric vs propane? Its not about time, its about ease. I dont have to babysit a flame
I apologize if this seems like bragging, but would like to show you my brew day using a 5500 watt BK element in conjunction with a 1650 watt RIMS element for all the heating. It's taken me years to concoct this setup, changing one or more things every brewday. I think once you're sure homebrewing in your thing, moving to electric is worth the money.

Usually start at 7AM.
30 minutes to setup brew cart, install the hood, and pump strike water to BK.
40 minutes to reach strike temperature. Usually about +100F rise.
90 minutes to perform the mash profile.
45 minutes to pump wort at mash out temperature to BK, bring wort to rolling boil, and starting the boil clock with the hops addition.
90 minutes for boil.
5 minutes to cool to 160F.
20 minutes to whirlpool aroma and flavor hops.
20 minutes to cool to pitching temperature. I settle the wort in the BK overnight before transferring to the fermenter. I use only clear wort.
Total time is usually less than 6 hours. With about 4 hours of that time sitting on my butt watching the temperatures and contemplating what change will improve the process. During this same period the grain is weighed and crushed, all the documentables are recorded, and the mash tun equipment is cleaned and dried.
 

Bobby_M

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Plus my brew days arent ridiculously longer than 240, since most of my heatup time is initial heating. Heating from mash to mashout/sparge only takes about 25 minutes, and then from mashout to boil takes roughly another hour, so what am i adding on my actual brew day compared to 240v? 30 minutes tops?
Erasing initial heat up is only fair if you always have errands while you wait but let's grant that.

My ramp on 5500 watts to mashout is about 6-7 minutes. Ramp to a boil is 15 minutes. So, your brew day is at least an hour longer not including strike heating.

That doesn't mean you can't get it done. I'm just saying it's more than 30 minutes for people still weighing options.
 

BarryBrews

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My ramp on 5500 watts to mashout is about 6-7 minutes. Ramp to a boil is 15 minutes. So, your brew day is at least an hour longer not including strike heating.
Well, this is definitely a plus for the BIAB technique! I see how the mash is heated that quickly with 5500 watt element plus the quick lautering process of removing the grain from the wort. I mash out the wort via the RIMS at about 1 gallon/minute which comes out to 18+ minutes and then there are the slow drippings for another 30+ minutes (I don't lift and squeeze bag). I'd give BIAB at least a 25 minute advantage between mash end and the boil start. But you know me, I like a clearer wort in my BK.
 
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sicktght311

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Erasing initial heat up is only fair if you always have errands while you wait but let's grant that.

My ramp on 5500 watts to mashout is about 6-7 minutes. Ramp to a boil is 15 minutes. So, your brew day is at least an hour longer not including strike heating.

That doesn't mean you can't get it done. I'm just saying it's more than 30 minutes for people still weighing options.
Ok 30 minutes might be a stretch. But still, i feel like unless i'm in a professional situation, if an hour is going to make or break my day, why am i taking in a hobby that takes over 4 hours minimum? My longer ramp times are somewhat beneficial, as yes my brew day is longer, but i have longer breaks in between brewing steps allowing me to step away. Heres my typical brew day

7am - Turn on controller (i typically fill the night before), go about my morning, errands, whatever. Typically water is heated within 2 hours, but i'm gonna use 10am as a round number
10am - Everything is ready, my grains were milled the night before, so i mash in
10:15am - Everything is circulating and my bed is set, so i can now walk away for another hour
11:15am - Turn controller up to 168 for mashout
11:30-11:35 - Mashout and Sparge start, i'm now babysitting my brewing system for the next 45 minutes to an hour
12:30 - Sparge done, i turned my boil kettle element on once it was covered, so i'm now heating up to a boil. I pop back in once its ready to boil, but nothing is needed from me until the boil begins
1:15-1:30 - My wort is officially boiling. Now for the next hour depending on recipe, i either have to poke my head in at certain intervals just to drop hops in, or i'm not needed again until its time to sanitize the chiller and pump
2:30 - Chill begins. I have to babysit this for the next 30 minutes while i chill and knock out to the fermenter. If i'm whirlpooling, add 30 minutes, but its 30 minutes i'm not there.
3/3:30pm - My brew day is done. If i didnt clean the mash tun at any point before this, i'm emptying the tun, spraying down, shop vacc'ing the remaining water, and doin gthe same for the boil kettle. If i cleaned the mash tun during the brew day, then now all i'm doing is cleaning the boil kettle, which takes me even less time, but even with cleaning the mash tun, its 30 minutes max

So of my roughly 5 hour total brew day (7 if you include actual heating time at the beginning), i've physically been standing at my brewing system for maybe 2 hours TOPS. Mashing in, turning the controller up to mash out, sparging, putting in hops during boil, and then chilling/sanitizing, transferring, cleaning.

If i was running faster ramp times, and more power, yes my times would be faster, but i'd also be spending more time physically standing at the brewing system continuously.

The brew day is the exact same whether its 120v and slow, or 240v and fast. The physical brewing steps where you're standing at your brewing system all take the exact same amount of time. Its just that time in between that gets dragged out with 120v, which allows me to step away and get something done that takes a half hour or 45 minutes, vs 5-10 minutes where i'd have time to step away for maybe a sandwich

My point is theres a trade off and neither are better. I have a baby, i have a house that requires things, i have a job, i have a dog, i have a wife, and on many occasions i've had brew days where i tended to all of those things at once. I like that my brew days are fun, but dont require me to be standing in my basement for hours on end, or in a cold garage. I like that everything is precisely controlled, and self sufficient during many steps, and predictable. And isnt that what electric brewing again, is all about? Not necessarily shaving an hour or two off a brew day which is longer than a simple hobby to begin with, but rather being controllable, repeatable, and predictable?
 
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sicktght311

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And for the record, i dont intentionally mean to offend anyone here. I think theres just a lot of "120v is worthless" feelings amongst this forum, and people throw out endless reasons why they believe thats so, but when you break things down to its basics, its just another way to skin the cat. It works for many of us, so theres no need to make it seem like its not the right way to do things. If it works, its right, period
 

sicktght311

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Also another hack i have to reduce time on my total brew day, is filling the kettles the night before, turning the system on and bringing the HLT and Strike water in the MT up to around 185 degrees. Then i turn it off before i head to bed. When i wake up the next morning, i've lost heat, but im well over 100 degrees and my heating time before starting my brew day is cut in at least half. Takes me 10 minutes to fill the kettles, throw in potassium metabisulfite, and walk away until its bed time. I'll do my water treatments the next day right before mashing in.
 

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A cool trick I have been using is a smart wifi plug to preheat my water before I wake up to brew. I run the wire that would close the contactor on the heating coil through a normally open contact on a relay and back to the contactor. When the outlet turns on, it energizes the relay and closes the normally open contacts, turning on the heating element.

I fill my kettles the night before, plug in the smart plug into a garage outlet and plug a power strip into the outlet. I then plug my recirculation pumps and the jumper wire to the relay coils into the power strip and set the timer on the smart plug. Ready to mash in when I wake up.
 

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I think theres just a lot of "120v is worthless"
My RIMS has a 120 volt 1650 watt element that is at the heart of my system and would make no sense to change it, you know with scorching and all. I think the OP was just rattling the cage. We are all the captain of our own ship and master of our brew. The point here was that the 240 volt vessels sail faster. hehe
 

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I've been brewing 240v the last couple years and have another 240v system otw (spike solo) but I actually am kinda surprised there aren't more builds with 2 120v elements. (One pid controlled and one on/off). The dual 120v seems like it'd satisfy those who don't wanna mess with 240v and wanna spend a lil less.
 

sicktght311

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I've been brewing 240v the last couple years and have another 240v system otw (spike solo) but I actually am kinda surprised there aren't more builds with 2 120v elements. (One pid controlled and one on/off). The dual 120v seems like it'd satisfy those who don't wanna mess with 240v and wanna spend a lil less.
A cool trick I have been using is a smart wifi plug to preheat my water before I wake up to brew. I run the wire that would close the contactor on the heating coil through a normally open contact on a relay and back to the contactor. When the outlet turns on, it energizes the relay and closes the normally open contacts, turning on the heating element.

I fill my kettles the night before, plug in the smart plug into a garage outlet and plug a power strip into the outlet. I then plug my recirculation pumps and the jumper wire to the relay coils into the power strip and set the timer on the smart plug. Ready to mash in when I wake up.
If i'm understanding correctly, you could basically have a small box inline of your power supply for your brewing controller, with Input/Output for the 240v high power to the brewing panel, inside the 240 lines are running through a contactor, and then the contactor coil runs to a120v plug out to a smart plug in your wall? ie: power is disconnected to the brewing panel when the contactor is open, and then once the contactor's coil sees the 120v from the now turned on smart plug, it completes the path and the controller turns on? Pretty smart!
 

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If i'm understanding correctly, you could basically have a small box inline of your power supply for your brewing controller, with Input/Output for the 240v high power to the brewing panel, inside the 240 lines are running through a contactor, and then the contactor coil runs to a120v plug out to a smart plug in your wall? ie: power is disconnected to the brewing panel when the contactor is open, and then once the contactor's coil sees the 120v from the now turned on smart plug, it completes the path and the controller turns on? Pretty smart!
I don't switch the power to the brewing panel at all. It stays on all night. The hot wire that would pull in the contactor for the boil kettle element is run through the relay and back once the smart plug turns on. I attached a rough sketch.

The nice thing about this is you can use a small interposing relay since everything is low current. The higher current 240V from the boil element works exactly as it would with or without the time delay smart plug.
 

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NewJersey

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If i'm understanding correctly, you could basically have a small box inline of your power supply for your brewing controller, with Input/Output for the 240v high power to the brewing panel, inside the 240 lines are running through a contactor, and then the contactor coil runs to a120v plug out to a smart plug in your wall? ie: power is disconnected to the brewing panel when the contactor is open, and then once the contactor's coil sees the 120v from the now turned on smart plug, it completes the path and the controller turns on? Pretty smart!
I meant just two separate elements on two different circuits/outlets altogether. Only one of them being PID controlled (as you'd only need one on a PID)
 

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I've been brewing 240v the last couple years and have another 240v system otw (spike solo) but I actually am kinda surprised there aren't more builds with 2 120v elements. (One pid controlled and one on/off). The dual 120v seems like it'd satisfy those who don't wanna mess with 240v and wanna spend a lil less.
I build about one dual 120v element kettles/BIAB rig a week so it's not uncommon at all.
 

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Also another hack i have to reduce time on my total brew day, is filling the kettles the night before, turning the system on and bringing the HLT and Strike water in the MT up to around 185 degrees. Then i turn it off before i head to bed. When i wake up the next morning, i've lost heat, but im well over 100 degrees and my heating time before starting my brew day is cut in at least half. Takes me 10 minutes to fill the kettles, throw in potassium metabisulfite, and walk away until its bed time. I'll do my water treatments the next day right before mashing in.
A lot of controllers have a delay start timer built in to them. The Blichmann Brewcommander can delay start up for up to 24 hours. Any controller with the Auber EZboil DSPR-3xx brains can do it also.

The super cheap way to do it is to get an appliance grade timer that can handle 15 amps and just have it come on an hour before brew time.

Hundreds of people also buy my drop in HotRod heat sticks to cut their heat times in half.

If you are happy with your heating times, that's great. A lot of people ask me what I would build and I have to be honest that once you brew on 240v, you will never want to go back. If you haven't, you don't know what you're missing so no problem there.
 

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I brew first thing in the morning. My Anvil Foundry allows me the set the start time the night before and I am ready to mash in. The 240v system saves me a lot of time getting it up to boil.
 
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