Quantcast

HPDE Electric HLT

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

jcaudill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
990
Reaction score
86
Location
VA Beach
Hi,

I'd like to talk to someone with some experience building an electric HLT - preferably from HPDE but I imagine anyone with electric brewing experience can help.

Basically what I want to do is build a 20-30 gallon tank with an electric element. Day before the brew I'd like to filter water into it and then set it to strike temp so when I come back 12-24 hours later I'm ready to go into the mash tun and get brewing so I'm not waiting for water to heat up. This doesn't look like a particularly complicated project. What I don't have experience with is the correct element size and in this particular case - time is not of much concern because I'm probably looking at temps of 120-150 and there is at least 12 hours time for it to heat up. So I'd prefer to keep energy consumption down.

Also curious how well HPDE holds temps - or if it needs to be insulated.

Thanks in advance!
 
OP
jcaudill

jcaudill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
990
Reaction score
86
Location
VA Beach
Thanks that is helpful! Now if I could just talk to someone who's built this from HPDE so I understand how to mount the element I am good to go. Can you simply drill a hole, insert the element and use a gasketed locknut on the other side? I'll have full access from the top.
 

Mojzis

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2012
Messages
1,289
Reaction score
156
Location
Rochester
Thanks that is helpful! Now if I could just talk to someone who's built this from HPDE so I understand how to mount the element I am good to go. Can you simply drill a hole, insert the element and use a gasketed locknut on the other side? I'll have full access from the top.

Yes, but you should ground the element. I myself follow Kal's electric brewery website and the instructions on how they mount the elements to the kettle. These boxes provide protection from water and live wires and would allow you to ground the element.

You can insulate it, it will save a lot of energy. Time to heat depends highly on starting temp and element wattage. I suggest the camco 5500 ripple if your running 240.
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
24,901
Reaction score
3,661
Location
Whitehouse Station
Yes, you can treat it like a pot as long as the wall thickness isn't over 1/8". More than that and you may have issues catching the thread with the locknut. It sounds like you don't care how long it takes to heat up so you get away with a pretty low wattage element but if you want it to be efficient, it should be insulated heavily.

Question. Why only 120 - 150F? If you strike at 170F, that's what you should shoot for in the tank so there's no time spent heating more. It's not a big deal, but if you're trying to cut time you might as well go all the way.

The controller can be done a lot of different ways. Probably the cheapest is to use an ST-1000 if you don't mind figuring in celcius but since the relay contacts are only good for 10 amps, you'd want to use 240v volts. You could use a 240v / 2000w element and it would draw 8amps. 2000w should get 30 gallons from 60F to 170F in about 5 hours. If you want to use 120v, you could use the ST1000 along with a relay with a 120v coil and a 20amp rated switch contact. Figure $35 total. Extra bonus for putting a float switch in so the element can't fire when the water level drops below the element.

Since even a low wattage element can do this in 4-5 hours, you may think about using a PID controller with a built in delay start timer like this one:
http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=239

Set the timer so that it fires up 5 hours before you want to brew and then insulating it wouldn't be as big a concern since you're not holding temp for a full day.


Nit picky: it's HDPE (High Density PolyEthylene)
 
OP
jcaudill

jcaudill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
990
Reaction score
86
Location
VA Beach
Yes, you can treat it like a pot as long as the wall thickness isn't over 1/8". More than that and you may have issues catching the thread with the locknut. It sounds like you don't care how long it takes to heat up so you get away with a pretty low wattage element but if you want it to be efficient, it should be insulated heavily.

Question. Why only 120 - 150F? If you strike at 170F, that's what you should shoot for in the tank so there's no time spent heating more. It's not a big deal, but if you're trying to cut time you might as well go all the way.

The controller can be done a lot of different ways. Probably the cheapest is to use an ST-1000 if you don't mind figuring in celcius but since the relay contacts are only good for 10 amps, you'd want to use 240v volts. You could use a 240v / 2000w element and it would draw 8amps. 2000w should get 30 gallons from 60F to 170F in about 5 hours. If you want to use 120v, you could use the ST1000 along with a relay with a 120v coil and a 20amp rated switch contact. Figure $35 total. Extra bonus for putting a float switch in so the element can't fire when the water level drops below the element.

Since even a low wattage element can do this in 4-5 hours, you may think about using a PID controller with a built in delay start timer like this one:
http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=239

Set the timer so that it fires up 5 hours before you want to brew and then insulating it wouldn't be as big a concern since you're not holding temp for a full day.


Nit picky: it's HDPE (High Density PolyEthylene)
Nit pickyness accepted :) I did realize after a while I messed up but too late after making the posting!

Strike at 120-150 because that is my typical strike range depending on what I'm brewing. Weizens I have a protein rest - most beers I'm in the high 140's or maybe low 150's. 170 would be nice for sparge water but too hot for mash. I have a BG-14 under my HLT so it won't take long to get to 170 while I'm mashing.

For a controller I will probably end up using a TC-9102 because they are inexpensive and pretty solid. Although I have to admit it would be nice to have a timer - I'll mull this one over a bit.

You are right - time is not as much of a concern but I think I probably will still get a higher wattage element in the event I need to heat up some water faster. I could see wanting to do some cleaning so I need to have some water in a few hours time. I was thinking initially I would get a low wattage and who cares but I don't want to have to build this twice if I change my mind!

Bobby I was thinking I would get your weldless enclosure to protect the end of the element. Any reason I shouldn't do this? Also how would you go about grounding it with your enclosure?

Thanks for the feedback!
 
OP
jcaudill

jcaudill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
990
Reaction score
86
Location
VA Beach
It looks like the wall thickness of the HPDE tanks is 1/4" - based on what you said I'm going to have problems. So what is my next option?
 
OP
jcaudill

jcaudill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
990
Reaction score
86
Location
VA Beach
I have - the problem is let's say I need 150 and in the winter my city water is 60. That means I need a 90 degree increase. The kind of tankless water heater I'd need for that kind of increase and flow is expensive, and requires a beefy circuit (most of the ones I saw required 60 amp 220 circuits). That is big problem! Now of course if I had natural gas nearby that would be less of an issue - but I don't have a line nearby.
 

Mojzis

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 31, 2012
Messages
1,289
Reaction score
156
Location
Rochester
Shot in the dark here, maybe Bobby could say if it could work or not.

How about 1-1/4" hole with this hex bushing:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003H05DTI/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

Inside is 1" for the element to screw in. The inside of the tank would need a locknut 1-1/4":
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003GXF5EY/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

Of course you would need a very large gasket. Like the one below maybe.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000FMUW7O/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

Then again you could just build a large heat stick...
 
Last edited by a moderator:
OP
jcaudill

jcaudill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
990
Reaction score
86
Location
VA Beach
Yep I saw that too - I just don't feel comfortable with an LP tank running in my garage for whatever reason. Just makes me nervous!
 
OP
jcaudill

jcaudill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
990
Reaction score
86
Location
VA Beach
Shot in the dark here, maybe Bobby could say if it could work or not.

How about 1-1/4" hole with this hex bushing:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003H05DTI/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

Inside is 1" for the element to screw in. The inside would need a locknut 1-1/4":
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003GXF5EY/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

Of course you would need a very large gasket. Like the one below maybe.
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000FMUW7O/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

Then again you could just build a large heat stick...
Certainly seems reasonable in terms of the plumbing. Not having familiarity with the heat sticks it would be good to hear from Bobby on this one.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
OP
jcaudill

jcaudill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
990
Reaction score
86
Location
VA Beach
So, just thinking about this, unless I'm missing something, all I really need is a 1" bulkhead (which is looks like most are made of PP) and the element would just thread right into it. Anything I'm missing here?

220v circuit goes in tomorrow!
 

fpweeks

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 24, 2011
Messages
757
Reaction score
38
Location
shohola
I think they are different threads? The element doesn't have npt, I think they are tapered threads. So it may not seal.


Sent from my iPhone using Home Brew
 
OP
jcaudill

jcaudill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
990
Reaction score
86
Location
VA Beach
Ok right I see one is NPS and one is NPT - which by all standards are the same except one is straight and the other is tapered. So good point thanks!
 

MSPEROS

Active Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2014
Messages
26
Reaction score
0
I hope you realize that HDPE tanks are only rated for a maximum temperature of 120 f. A small 25 gal tank may be ok but it will soften.

WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE THAT YOUR TANKS WILL WITHSTAND?
Linear polyethylene (HDLPE) storage tanks have a maximum storage temperature of 120 degrees F. Cross-Linked polyethylene (XLPE) storage tanks have a maximum storage temperature of 130 degrees F. Note: Standard tanks are designed based upon ambient conditions or 100 degrees F.
 
OP
jcaudill

jcaudill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
990
Reaction score
86
Location
VA Beach
I hope you realize that HDPE tanks are only rated for a maximum temperature of 120 f. A small 25 gal tank may be ok but it will soften.

WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE THAT YOUR TANKS WILL WITHSTAND?
Linear polyethylene (HDLPE) storage tanks have a maximum storage temperature of 120 degrees F. Cross-Linked polyethylene (XLPE) storage tanks have a maximum storage temperature of 130 degrees F. Note: Standard tanks are designed based upon ambient conditions or 100 degrees F.
Those temperatures are in Celcius - not Fahrenheit. HPDE is good up to 120dC. Source: http://www.dynalabcorp.com/technical_info_hd_polyethylene.asp.
 

MSPEROS

Active Member
Joined
Jan 30, 2014
Messages
26
Reaction score
0
Those temperatures are in Celcius - not Fahrenheit. HPDE is good up to 120dC. Source: http://www.dynalabcorp.com/technical_info_hd_polyethylene.asp.
jcaudill is online now

No they in F for a tank. not just the material but how it reacts with the gravity of the water against a wall at temperature. The following is a quote from Norwesco tanks

WHAT IS THE MAXIMUM TEMPERATURE THAT YOUR TANKS WILL WITHSTAND?

Polyethylene storage tanks have a maximum storage temperature of 120 degrees F. Contents with a temperature in excess of 120 degrees F-even for a short period of time-can weaken the tank's structural integrity and make it susceptible to deformation

http://www.norwesco.com/page.cfm?menu=50

Other sites show it to 60 dc so a max of 140df.

I have been selling industrial plastics for 15 years. You may not have a problem at only a 25 gallon tank but I just thought I would point out that at 140df you are exceeding certain tank manufactures specifications.
 
OP
jcaudill

jcaudill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
990
Reaction score
86
Location
VA Beach
Ok I see - but correct me if I'm wrong: I also see this appears to be the specification for HDLPE whereas HDPE has a higher rating. It appears as though it has something to do with how the tank is actually manufactured?

Maybe I need to look at PP instead?
 

wilserbrewer

BIAB Expert Tailor
Joined
May 25, 2007
Messages
11,235
Reaction score
2,783
Location
New Jersey
The HDPE 15 gallon drums that my LHBS gets their malt extract in are pretty sturdy barrels!

I would be surprised if they couldn't handle HLT temps.

I think the temp ratings for tanks may be for pressure applications.


Sent from my iPhone using Home Brew
 

mattd2

Well-Known Member
Joined
Sep 23, 2009
Messages
3,816
Reaction score
334
Location
Papamoa
The HDPE 15 gallon drums that my LHBS gets their malt extract in are pretty sturdy barrels!

I would be surprised if they couldn't handle HLT temps.

I think the temp ratings for tanks may be for pressure applications.


Sent from my iPhone using Home Brew
Plus the tanks are a lot bigger and built to A tank standard which would limit the design strength at raise temps. I agree that what The OP is looking at is a 30 gallon drum and there is going to be no issue with stregth of the drum at 150°F.
 
OP
jcaudill

jcaudill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
990
Reaction score
86
Location
VA Beach
Plus the tanks are a lot bigger and built to A tank standard which would limit the design strength at raise temps. I agree that what The OP is looking at is a 30 gallon drum and there is going to be no issue with stregth of the drum at 150°F.
No doubt this could be true - but to be safe I think I'm going to go ahead and stick with Polypropylene. I'm going to get a 55 gallon open tank with a lid and then put a series of bulkhead fittings in it - a 2" for the element, a 1 or 1-1/2" for a drain, and probably a 1/2" for a temp probe. I'll put it on a base with casters so I can easily move it if necessary. I'll use the Camco 4500 watt element which should be able to heat 30-40 gallons in no time.

The tanks really aren't the expense - it's the damn freight that kills you! I guess due to the size and maybe the fragile nature they have to be freighted.

So plan formulated, now I just need to get er done!
 

fpweeks

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Oct 24, 2011
Messages
757
Reaction score
38
Location
shohola
So here's something else to consider.......when I first had a DIY HLT that I made out of an igloo cooler, I had issues with temperature stratification. The water would basically be boiling around the element and not elsewhere in the tank. I do a constant recirculation with a pump to keep the water at a consistent temp. I have the rtd on the tank discharge ( pump suction).



Sent from my iPad using Home Brew
 

Bobby_M

Vendor and Brewer
HBT Sponsor
Joined
Aug 3, 2006
Messages
24,901
Reaction score
3,661
Location
Whitehouse Station
A 1" bulkhead may work fine for an element. Being made of plastic, you may be able to thread the 1" NPS into them all the way. Either way, I'd use plenty of teflon tape on the threads for the seal. If you use my EWL1 enclosure, you'll get the earth ground into the element base and then into the water through that.
 
OP
jcaudill

jcaudill

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 2, 2010
Messages
990
Reaction score
86
Location
VA Beach
So here's something else to consider.......when I first had a DIY HLT that I made out of an igloo cooler, I had issues with temperature stratification. The water would basically be boiling around the element and not elsewhere in the tank. I do a constant recirculation with a pump to keep the water at a consistent temp. I have the rtd on the tank discharge ( pump suction).



Sent from my iPad using Home Brew
Yep this makes sense. It is the same when you direct fire.

In this case - I don't care as much about it because I have some tolerance. I have to transfer from the tank to the HLT and MLT and I figure I'm going to have some temp loss there. In the end - even if I'm a few degrees off it is SO much better than waiting an hour plus for temps to come up and even though I use low pressure burners it's still wasting propane!

I did decide to go with your approach in the end: 2" PP bulkhead, 2" NPT to 2" TC adapter, and a 2" TC to 1" NPS adapter. This will assure I have no clearance issues. And I went ahead and got the foldback version of the Camco element as opposed to the ripple to make sure I don't have any clearance issues with all this extra hardware. I will keep the heating element low - and I'll probably go with the probe somewhere around the middle of the tank or middle of my usual volume so I get kind of an average between top and bottom.

Only bad thing now is I have to wait 2 weeks for the tank to be made :(
 

Latest posts

Top