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Electric brew kettle options

I saw a YouTube video of an English fellow who make his kettle electric simply by running an element through a potentiometer (rated for 240v) is this a good method? Seems cheap and appeared to work well. I want to go electri without going bankrupt.

Here is the power controller.

http://m.ebay.com/itm/370986823398?nav=SEARCH
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I built an electric kettle (following The Electric Brewery’s instructions) controlled with an STC-1000 for hitting mash temps, but it’s too much heat for the boil. It sounds like the potentiometer is what I need to control the boil.

Just ordered one.

Can you send me the link for the STC-1000 for the HLT? I just built a dual stage fermenter with the STC

The latest Brew Magazine has an example of a setup using hot water heater elements.

Just a potentiometer would not be good for controlling power to a high current device like a water heater element, as it would have to dissipate too much power (it’s essentially just a variable resistor and would heat up just like the element in the kettle).

Two approaches are:

  1. variac (variable transformer) (fairly large and expensive for this amount of power)
  2. pulse width modulcation (PWM) or phase control of element

an example (although I’m not recommending this in particular)

http://www.ebay.com/itm/10000W-Adjust-S ... 3f4093f12b

In the second case, the potentiometer controls how much time the circuit conducts and supplies power to the element (duty cycle) without adding an extra load to the circuit.

I’m sure others who have build these will have more helpful concrete recommendations.

With respect to a controller for a kettle, this one is nice and its inexpensive. It’s worked well for me. Hook it up to a set of properly-sized SSRs and you are in business.

That looks perfect. Thanks. Btw, what are SSR’s?

You can go to: http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from=R4 … 0&_sacat=0

or search for STC-1000

Google “stc-1000 wiring” for videos, diagrams, photos of the setup.

The output will be 120V you can use to activate a relay to switch a 240V relay.

http://www.webstaurantstore.com/avantco ... 8*240.html

Here is how I went electric. All you need are a 240v outlet and an induction ready kettle (which you may already have). Probably total cost for me was a little over 200 bucks when I factor in buying electrical wire. I only do 6 gallon batches, but it boils 8 gallons just fine.

SSR: Solid State Relay (aka: an electronically-controlled on-off switch)

I recommend purchasing SSRs with a 40 amp rating if you are going to work with 240v power. Stay away from Fotek SSRs since they are often counterfeit. Crydom and Opto22 are my preferred SSR manufacturers.

Lots of good ideas for controlling an electric brew pot. I’ve been delaying buying an SSR controller and SSR because I’m a cheapskate and was appalled at the costs of the systems described in The Electric Brewery. I also didn’t know about SCRs, so I’ve been manually switching between 240V and 120V to control my boil. It works, but I’ve been getting an insipid boil. I’m looking forward to getting the SCR.

Bucket pointed out that a potentiometer would generate a lot of heat, but it turns out that the controller referenced by the OP is an SCR (Silicone Controlled Rectifier), so it will not have to dissipate the heat that a resistive rectifier would generate. I notice that it has a heat sink, so I guess there’s still no free lunch, but I’m assuming it won’t be too much to handle - especially since I will have it in a ventilated electrical wiring box and won’t have to handle it. I’ll advise when the SCR arrives and I’ve taken it for a test drive.

Hey Beerginner, is it fair to say that a megapot is induction ready? This sounds like a direction I may go. How long does it take for you to get 6 gallons to the boil? Is it as fast (or close) to a propane burner?

Mabrungard, please excuse these dumb questions, but I don’t know an awful lot about wiring or electricity. Anyway, I like the Auber controller. so I will need te controller, a SSR and the element? Any other equipment? Can it control the heat do strike water for a HLT?

I use a megapot myself, so I know it works. Boil times are comparable, but I would say this particular burner is slower than propane by 1-3 minutes. It will go to 3500w but I don’t like to max it out so I don’t go higher than 3100w. :cheers:

[quote=“twotacotuesday”]Mabrungard, please excuse these dumb questions, but I don’t know an awful lot about wiring or electricity. Anyway, I like the Auber controller. so I will need te controller, a SSR and the element? Any other equipment? Can it control the heat do strike water for a HLT?[/quote]That’s basically all you need. Of course you would need wire, plugs, an enclosure, main disconnect, etc.

You could use it for your HLT although you would have to manually shut it off when you reached your desired temperature. That control only adjusts the output to the heating element, it isn’t capable of maintaining a specific temperature like you would need for a RIMS or HERMS set up, you would need a PID type controller for that. That said, if you’re okay with a manually operated HLT you don’t really need any control other than a means to turn the element off and on and just run the element at 100% until you reach your desired temperature.

What’s nice about the control Martin linked to is that when using it on a boiler you can start it out at 100% until you get a nice rolling boil then dial it back to wherever you need to in order to maintain the boil.

For an HLT could you replace the controller with a temp controller and the other parts remain the same?

Just came across this interesting link.

http://m.instructables.com/id/Electric-brewing-system/

Yeah the parts would be the same. The solid state relay doesn’t have any preference to what is switching it on and off as long as the input voltage is correct. For instance, if your temperature controller has 110V AC output you want to make sure your SSR input is rated for AC voltage not DC. Mine have an input range of 80-230 VAC.

[quote=“Glug Master”][quote=“twotacotuesday”]Mabrungard, please excuse these dumb questions, but I don’t know an awful lot about wiring or electricity. Anyway, I like the Auber controller. so I will need te controller, a SSR and the element? Any other equipment? Can it control the heat do strike water for a HLT?[/quote]That’s basically all you need. Of course you would need wire, plugs, an enclosure, main disconnect, etc.

You could use it for your HLT although you would have to manually shut it off when you reached your desired temperature. That control only adjusts the output to the heating element, it isn’t capable of maintaining a specific temperature like you would need for a RIMS or HERMS set up, you would need a PID type controller for that. That said, if you’re okay with a manually operated HLT you don’t really need any control other than a means to turn the element off and on and just run the element at 100% until you reach your desired temperature.

What’s nice about the control Martin linked to is that when using it on a boiler you can start it out at 100% until you get a nice rolling boil then dial it back to wherever you need to in order to maintain the boil.[/quote]
Ya that’s what I had In mind. Stopping it manually. Thanks everyone. This is the route I’m going to go.

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