Noob Electric Brewer with questions

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BuckyBrewing

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I have been lurking here for several weeks and I have learned a lot just by reading everyone's posts.

I have a question for you electric guys out there. I am thinking that I am going to build myself an electrical set up but I have a couple of questions. What kind of outlet(s) will I need? I am planning on brewing in the basement and need to wire a new outlet but I do not know if I should do a 20A circuit, or will I need a 30-amp one? I want to wire it for 220V service but if I use a 20A circuit, what type of outlet should I use? I know that there are several ones available and was wondering what is more common. If anyone has pictures of their setups that would be helpful.

I am planning on only brewing 5 gallon AG batches right now. I do not have any plans on moving up to larger batches so I was thinking of just wiring up 20A circuit, but wanted everyone's opinion before I do.

Thanks
Dennis
 

AiredAle

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You're asking the last question first. What wattage will your heating elements be? Once you know this, you can determine the ampacity of your circuits, and then what outlet/plugs you will use. You probably will end up using an outlet designed for electric ranges or clothes driers, at a guess, but you need to start at the hot end and work backwards to design your system.
 

diatonic

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If you're doing an electric boil, you'll need at least a 30 amp 220 circuit. a 5000W 220v element will pull about 23A. A 5500W element will pull 25 amps. If you can work within 30 amps, I would use a NEMA 6-30R receptical. You can google it. I'd also recommend using a GFCI breaker on the circuit since it will be an element submerged in water. I'd probably go ask a local electrical supply place if you're unsure what you need.
 
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BuckyBrewing

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OK I guess I forgot to mention the heating element wattage. Sorry about that. I have not built mine yet, but I was thinking of using a 3800W element. Do you think that this will be too small? What do most people use 3800W or 5500W?

I guess that would bring me to another question, do you think it would be better to mount the element directly to the kettle or would I be better off building a heat stick?
 
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BuckyBrewing

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I also forgot to mention this but I will be using a GFCI no matter what. I don't want to kill myself.
 

DrKarma

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You can use the formula P=U*I to get an idea (even if it isn't 100% accurate on AC)
So that would be I = P/U = 3800/220 = 17 AMPS
So I = P/U = 5500/220 = 25 AMPS
 

skarude

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I have been researching this quite a bit because I am in the middle of building an electric system right now. I won't comment on which element you should use because I think that is really up to you. What I will say is if you decide to use a 3800w 240v element you could get away with a 20 amp circuirt. If you went this way you could use a 20 amp AC outlet and cord. This outlet looks like a 20 amp 120v outlet only the sideways side is on the oposite side. That said you might be better off running a 30 amp outlet and splitting it out in your control box.
 

tdiowa

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I hate to toot my own horn but in January I posted a very detailed post on how to build a Electric Kettle that I am now using. You might want to look at that post before reinventing the wheel. About half way down the post is a download link for the plans. If it doesn't work and you are interested PM me with your email address and I will send it out to you.

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

TD
 
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