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Non-Rims/Herms E-Build?

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TravelingBrewer22

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I pretty sure that I want to go electric with my new single tier stand instead of propane or natural gas - and that this may be a redundant or stupid question - but I would appreciate any help/advice you guys can offer me. Is it possible to have an electric setup that is not necessarily rims or herms? All I'm thinking that I want (and can afford!) is a simple automated system with a basic control panel to regulate heating elements and pump. Thoughts?
 

missing link

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Since you can't put the heating element in the mash, you need to remove the wort from the mash to heat it and then put it back. Rims / herms or other will all have that same basic function.

Linc
 

Zeppman

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I'm working on a herms system myself, and the first thing that comes to mind is how will you maintain your mash temps? My guess is you would need some kind of insulated vessel, like the igloo cooler that a lot of non-electric people use. People use rims/herms to control and maintain temps because an element in direct contact with grain will burn the grain.
 
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TravelingBrewer22

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yeah, im def a moron with a one track mind. Not sure why but I was only thinking of the BK and totally forgot about the mash. I have 3 keggles that I need to outfit for the e-build which is why i'm trying to figure out what setup will work the best. I know the RIMS setup has a ss tube that the wort circulates through. What about HERMS?
 

Gussymo

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Can't put an element in the mash? I have one in mine. It is under a false bottom. I've only brewed 2 batches with it so far but it is working great. No scorching at all. You have to continuously recirculate.
 

chefmike

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Just use a cooler for your mash. Heat an HLT, pump to the cooler, then drain to BK. I guess you could pump to a BK if you set it up right. Or do a 2 tier.

That would work, right?
 

Zeppman

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A good example of a 3 kettle herms system can be seen at theelectricbrewery.com, but that is not the place to look if you are trying to do it on the cheap. It will show you how a herms system works though.

I would guess that a BIAB electric system would be your cheapest route. I'm not too familiar with that method, but maybe someone else can chime in, or do a quick search.
 

Walker

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You can use an insulated cooler for an MLT and use a PID+element to heat water and boil. You don't need to build a circulating mash system if your MLT is well insulated.

Buddy of mine just built a PID-controlled electric kettle, and that's how he brews. The electric just replaces propane for him and the PID gives him the ability to heat water to a precise temp and control the strength of his boil.
 
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TravelingBrewer22

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@walker. I guess that's what I was hoping to do in both the BK and MLT. Under a false bottom is an interesting idea too. i have absolutely no electrical knowledge which is why i need a basic ebuild.

ive checked out kal's site but the $$$ is too crazy for me plus i have no idea what the hell is going on with all the wiring and stuff
 

Walker

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ive checked out kal's site but the $$$ is too crazy for me plus i have no idea what the hell is going on with all the wiring and stuff
I hear you. I like Kal, and his system is definitely pretty sweet, but I am sometimes floored when people come on here asking for help with an electric system and they are then instructed to look at Kal's site as a reference. There's WAY too much going on in his system.

i think of Kal's system as a "finishing point" and not a "beginning point". :D
 
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TravelingBrewer22

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For sure. Is there any way you could get me the specs on your buddy's E-Kettle situation? I would love to know what parts etc he went with. Thanks!
 

Walker

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Pretty simple. His system uses one e-kettle and is powered from his dryer outlet.

Camco 5500W heater element (link)
Auber 2352 PID (link)
RTD temp probe (
link)
XLR quick connector for temp probe (
link)
240V/30A light switch from Home Depot (cannot find link to it right now) - this is a master kill switch for the element
40A SSR + heatsink (
link)
Length of 10/3 cable (link)
Locking connector set between panel and kettle (male, female)
Dryer plug (link)
GE brand Spa Panel (link)
weldless heater element install kit (link)
weldless temp probe install kit (link)

That's the major pieces of it. The spa panel he has is not the exact same as that one, but is similar. It was big enough to actually install the PID and SSR inside of it, so no other enclosure was used.

Spa panel has a long cord on it that goes to his dryer outlet and a short cord that coes to the kettle.

That's about it.
 

Zeppman

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The OP wrote, "I know the RIMS setup has a ss tube that the wort circulates through. What about HERMS?" I referred to Kal's site to show just that.... how a Herms system works, because to me, his "how to brew" tutorial explains it the best. Much better than how I could of explained it, and with pictures. His site is also one of the reason's that I thought it was possible for me, someone with very little ebrewing experience, to be able to build an electric brewing system. I feel he explains it in a "eBrewing for Dummies" method, even though his control panel is rather complicated. I know of several people who looked at that site, and used it to make a very basic herms sytem for probably 1/5th the cost (especially if you already have the kettles)... so that's why I suggested it. So don't be "floored" :)

And to the OP, no matter how you go about this, it goes without saying (and everyone here would probably agree), is to make sure you have a gfci installed, and have an electrician do it.
 

Walker

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it goes without saying (and everyone here would probably agree), is to make sure you have a gfci installed, and have an electrician do it.
Agreed. GFCI is a must.

but, it's often significantly cheaper to buy a spa panel and make your own "GFCI adapter" than to have an electrician come in and put a new GFCI breaker and circuit in.
 

hatfieldenator

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Yep, what walker said is dead on. that's the simplest solution you could have with an electric set up. You wouldn't even have to use a pump if you didn't want to, you could make it a gravity fed system. Heat up water in your HLT, drain it into mash tun. Sparge from your mash tun to the BK using the remaining water in your HLT and boil in your BK. You'd need either a heatstick that you can transfer from your HLT to your BK or 2 elements (one in the BK and HLT).
I personally think its worth going the extra step and making it a HERMs set up, but I can understand if you're trying to save money.
 

BeerMe21

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Pretty simple. His system uses one e-kettle and is powered from his dryer outlet.

Camco 5500W heater element (link)
Auber 2352 PID (link)
RTD temp probe (
link)
XLR quick connector for temp probe (
link)
240V/30A light switch from Home Depot (cannot find link to it right now) - this is a master kill switch for the element
40A SSR + heatsink (
link)
Length of 10/3 cable (link)
Locking connector set between panel and kettle (male, female)
Dryer plug (link)
GE brand Spa Panel (link)
weldless heater element install kit (link)
weldless temp probe install kit (link)

That's the major pieces of it. The spa panel he has is not the exact same as that one, but is similar. It was big enough to actually install the PID and SSR inside of it, so no other enclosure was used.

Spa panel has a long cord on it that goes to his dryer outlet and a short cord that coes to the kettle.

That's about it.
That is awesome, I am planning to do pretty much the exact same setup. Except I bought a cheapo ebay PID (I hope it works!) and I am using a 3kw heating element (limited by breaker)
 
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TravelingBrewer22

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Thanks for the list Walker - this made it a lot less intense to try and gather myself. A couple of other questions for you. When you mentioned making a GFCI adapter were you saying that the Spa panel acts as that adapter or is there something else i need to pick up for that? I'm an avid ebayer but typically stay away from overseas (chinese) made parts and items. Are these ones cool?
 
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TravelingBrewer22

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Forgot to mention that I have 3 keggles, a pump, plate chiller, and all the necessary QDs and tubing if that makes a difference in terms of converting to electric.
 

alzale

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Make sure you get a PID temperature controller that has the manual output mode. (http://www.auberins.com/index.php?m...s_id=3&zenid=a1c9fd32ddcae06c5d613da105fd5457) That way you can set it to 100% power till you get to the boil and then drop down to ~70-80% (or whaterver you need) to maintain without boilover. You can't use the PID control for the boil because the kettle is 212 degrees at the start of the boil as well as during a boilover.
 

Walker

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That is awesome, I am planning to do pretty much the exact same setup. Except I bought a cheapo ebay PID (I hope it works!) and I am using a 3kw heating element (limited by breaker)
Which ebay PID did you get? Some of the REALLY cheap ones are pieces of 5hit and the ebay listings are flat out lies. A friend of mine bought one that was advertised as Fahrenheit or Celsius and Voltage Pulse output for SSR control.

It ended up being Celsius only (not a huge deal), but it did not have the voltage pulse output (but that's something you can hack if you want to).

One thing that all of the ebay PIDs have in common is the lack of a "manual mode" of control. You cannot use them to control the strength of a boil. But sSince you limited to 3kW element, you probably won't need to control it anyway and can just run it wide open for your boil.
 

Walker

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Thanks for the list Walker - this made it a lot less intense to try and gather myself. A couple of other questions for you. When you mentioned making a GFCI adapter were you saying that the Spa panel acts as that adapter or is there something else i need to pick up for that?
Yeah, the spa panel can be used as a GFCI adapter. In the systems that a couple of my friends use, the spa panel gets a cord attached to it so that it can plug into a non-GFCI protected power source (like a dryer outlet) and then the spa panel has a receptacle added to it, which is now GFIC protected, and the brewery plugs into it. So, basically, the spa panel sits between the brewery and the outlet in your house and adds GFCI protection.

I'm an avid ebayer but typically stay away from overseas (chinese) made parts and items. Are these ones cool?
The probe, SSR, and connector are the exact same ones that I myself use, and they work fine. You have to wait a long time for parts to arrive from ebay. That's the one big downfall.

You can certainly buy equivalent SSRs, probes, and connectors from auber instruments if you want to buy locally, but it costs a lot more.

Ebay:
SSR + heatsink = $13.50
Probe = $18.00
Connector = $1.59
TOTAL w/o shipping = $26.09
TOTAL w/ shipping = $30.09

Auber:
SSR = $19.00
Heatsink = $9.65 (comparable heatsink to the one from ebay)
Probe = $32.55
Connector = $3.65
TOTAL w/o shipping = $63.85
TOTAL w/ shipping = $71.35
 

Walker

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@hatfield/walker -

If i double this list for my HLT will that be sufficient for a HERMS setup?
There's a at least a thousand ways to build a system. You should not need to double everything to make another electric kettle. Only one spa panel is needed since it's function is to add GFCI protection. You only need one of those.

Unless you plan to run both electric kettles at the same time, you really don't need to double anything except the heater element and power cord. (In fact, unless you have 50A or more available, you won't be ABLE to run them both at the same time anyway).

One of my friends just unplugs his HLT when he is done with it and plugs in his boil kettle.

He has no temp probe in the boil kettle because he doesn't need it. Boil kettles are not controlled based on temperature. The temp of gently boiling wort is the same as the temp of violently boiling wort.
 

Walker

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Durability.

I bought the cheaper one when I first built my system. Exactly same one that you linked to.

It worked fine, but my probe is attached to my HERMS coil, and I move my coil around a lot. The connection of the wires to the probe became very flaky and unreliable.

I then replaced it with the one I linked to in my previous post. That motherf*cker is big and burly and damn near bullet-proof. I was kind of blown away by how big and heavy it was when I received it.



edit: if you won't be moving and messing with the probe very much, the first one will probably work fine. It just wasn't suitable for me.
 

Walker

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Oh.. one more thing. The cheaper one has a 1/4" threaded part. The bigger one has a 1/2" threaded part.
 

Namocsid

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This sounds like exactly what I'm looking to build. One electric kettle either for BIAB or using a future cooler for a MLT.

Walker, thanks for your list, it is quite helpful.
 
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