US Blichmann BrewCommander in Europe - is it possible?

Homebrew Talk - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Forum

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Benson Brewhouse

Basement Dwelling Homebrewer
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
23
Reaction score
10
Location
Falls Church
I'll try to keep this short.

I have a US purchased Blichmann BrewCommander that runs off 240v through a Nema L6-30 locking plug. The pump accessory runs off of a standard US 120v receptacle. The underside of the controller states it requires 240v 50/60hz for the main power supply.

My question: Can I take this controller to Europe and plug the power supply straight into the wall with some sort of adapter? Or is there a transformer required? Or is this not possible at all? I've heard conflicting information about this and I'm looking for clarification.

Some assumptions I've made
  • The country I would be moving to typically uses the Type F outlet, 230v at 50hz. This is the common EU plug.
  • Most circuits are 16amps, this means roughly 3680 max watts available
  • I would need to downgrade from my 5500w element to something around 3500w
  • I can run the 120v pump accessory through a 220 to 120 transformer
There is an adapter here, that "appears" to be exactly what I need - it's a Schuko (Euro plug) to Nema L6-30R. What I don't understand is how/if the 240v can even work? USA uses 2 hots and a ground versus the EU uses 1 hot, 1 neutral and 1 ground. Hopefully the graphic below clarifies my situation.

Thanks in advance!
Brewcommander.png
 

RufusBrewer

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2015
Messages
684
Reaction score
442
Location
Nashville
I would say you have a very good chance that it will work.

However . . . . .

I would double check with Blichmann tech support. Do your research and let them know the type of 240 VAC the country you are going to. 240 VAC. E.g. 240 V Hot, Neutral & Ground. Ask for f it makes a difference which one of the two original 120 VAC lines you call the new 240 VAC neutral.

Confirm the 120 VAC pump circuit can handle the higher 240 VAC. You might loose that utility.

Eta. You might void your warranty using it contrary to the spec.
 
OP
OP
Benson Brewhouse

Benson Brewhouse

Basement Dwelling Homebrewer
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
23
Reaction score
10
Location
Falls Church
Thanks for the feedback all.

After quite a bit of research I was pretty positive this would work, but I ended up submitting a ticket to Blichmann support anyway and immediately heard back from one of their design engineers. I sent the attached pic and asked if they could confirm this would work, as well as a handful of questions to clarify.

The basic summary:
  • Yes, I can use my US BrewCommander in the EU - no mods necessary, with the help of an adapter that goes from L6-30R to the host country (in this case Type F Schuko plug).
  • The adapter mentioned above will power the controller and element (more on the element below) at 230v 50hz.
  • The stock BrewCommander requires 120v input to run the pump. They confirmed that I would need to pull 120v from a step down transformer. My pump is 120v 50/60 hz - so it will be safe, but they said it will run a little slower than normal.
  • Regarding the element:
    • Most EU circuits are 230v - 16amp - so the max wattage available to me is 3680watts
    • At 240v a 3500W element has a resistance of 16.64 ohm. If I change voltage (in this case to 230v), the resistance stays the same, but I will have a different power output, below
    • Ohms Law - 230v @ 16.64ohm's = 3214W and 13.97amps
    • What does that mean? It means if I take a US 3500watt element to the EU, it will only output 3214watts of power.
    • They suggested to get max power from a 230v 16amp circuit would be to find an element with a resistance of 14.4 ohms and around 3680 watts - after doing the math, this is essentially a US 4000watt element - not sure where to find one of these, or if they even exist? But I'll be on the lookout.
    • All of this changes, however, if the house I move into happens to have a 32amp circuit. This would be amazing, but pretty rare - I won't know until I'm there.
 

Attachments

  • Brewcommander.png
    Brewcommander.png
    150.4 KB · Views: 2
Top