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Electric kettle build up started

OK, I am starting my build up today. I ordered from brew hardware their 5500 watt integrated TC element. I have an eye on a controller, which I will peruse tomorrow. As I go along I will post what I will purchase, and as the stuff comes in, I will take pictures too! Sneezles61

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Looks good. 240 right? Weldless or welded in?

Yes, 240, Its for a try clover fitting, which I will have on a new kettle. I look at controllers and have 2 options. 1, is like a rheostat style, but for high voltage and up to 10,000 watts, 60 amps… or 2 PID and SSR type… hhhhmmmm. Sneezles61

In my 2 kettle system I’d have one of each. rheostat for the boil so I could dial it up and down as needed and PID/SSR to set and maintain mash temp.

I will only be using one kettle. Tomorrow I will visit a brewing friend whom has a rheostat style element controller… I think the biggest piece of this set up is temperature monitoring… I am looking at that new gizmo Blichmann has out. I know I could do all that with a PID, but, its spendy to get into the PID/SSR style controller. I will think no matter which way I control it, I will be asking myself why didn’t I do the other…. Weigh in those of you with an electric brew system… Sneezles61

I control my 5,500 Watt heating element with a silicon-controlled rectifier ($18). It is not actually a rectifier. It simply blocks a portion of the sine wave. It does heat up a bit, but a computer fan on the heat sink keeps it cool enough to prevent problems.

This is the item: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MFEA5AE/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o07_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

The only problem I’ve had with my SCR was when someone, who shall remain nameless to protect the guilty, left the computer fan unplugged! There was no damage to me, the heating element, or the SCR.

If you’re interested in complicating your life, you can use the SCR with an STC-1000 and a relay ($10.18, Amazon.com) to turn the heating element on and off and maintain a water bath/heat exchanger for a HERMS.

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I use an SSVR for my BK. Very simple setup. Auber Instruments are very reliable. See link below.

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I was at brew buddies place and looked at his controller, and its what old dawg employs, and his fan unplugging helper…:grin:. I also see what brewdvm uses too. I like the way the SSRV and its pot are separate, for my plans to put in a box, and I can locate as I chose, with respect to heat and heat sinks… I will do some looking as to the difference betwixt the two. I will not persue PID/SSR at this point. Sneezles61

Alright, I looked a CD automation UK, they gave what the difference betwixt SCR and SSVR. I will go with the SCR. I dont know how to paste the address so I could post what I read, sorry…. I like what old dawg posted and will purchase that gizmo… Thank you! Sneezles61

Well, know I’m rethinking a 20 gallon kettle, maybe a 15 would do just as good. I can do 10 gallon batches in my keggle… Any thoughts? Sneezles61

I just want you to be happy :grinning:

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If you’re going bigger than a 5 gallon batch inside, than you’re really going to want a hood or some other way to vent out all that moisture from boil-off. I do 5 gallon batches and run a fan next to my BK to dissipate the moisture throughout my dry house in the winter. I would say within 3 hours, the moisture levels are back to nonexistent again. If you’re going to boil bigger batches though, moisture in your house is going to be a problem leading to mold.

My kettles are 16gal and I do 10 gal batches easily. Of course I don’t full volume mash.

I brew by a window, fan pulling air out about 3’ from propane fired kettle… Way many batches… I’ll be trying to rid ourselves of the CO, and extra hassle. Controller did arrive today… Element should be soon too… I have yet to reach out to Spike kettles… This W/E… Sneezles61

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OK, so I have a SCR controller, heating element, and in the works to get a spike kettle customized. I have metal box to house the the guts in. I will use 220, 3 wire plus a ground. I can split it in the box with terminal strips, so 110 is accessible. I will put a main switch, DPDT to disconnect power. I’ve started gathering up wire and other items needed to build this up, so once I do, I will take some pictures and post. This will be a great set up and I believe alot safer than as I have done in the past… Sneezles61

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Sounds like a great start! I too added terminal strips for 110 access. I run a 110v computer style exhaust fan in the control box to cool the heat sinks. Make sure you ground everything. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to have a GFCI DPDT breaker in your main panel. Water and electricity don’t mix! I have a 50 amp GFCI DPDT in my main panel with 6 gauge, 3 wire cable plus ground running from it to a 50amp outlet. Then I have a small subpanel attached and hardwired to my electric brewing system control box with 2 30amp DPDT breakers, one for the HLT running on a PID system and the other for the BK running the SSVR. This way, I can run both kettles at the same time if I need. You won’t regret going electric!

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Do you have your build documented/photos any plance? This sounds exactly like what I want to do!

Pics or it didnt happen!

Danny, here’s a link to the original build from last year in this forum: My Electric Brewing Cart. I realized that I posted this before the Forum format change, and now it looks like the pictures aren’t there anymore. I’ll repost some of the pictures here.

I have 2 PID’s hooked up, but the second one only serves to monitor my mash temp and making sure my strike water temperature is correct before adding the grains. The middle device is a timer delay for the HLT PID in case I want to set up the night before and wake up to the strike water already heated and at temp. The subpanel with the 2 30amp DPDT breakers is attached to the bottom of the control box (you can just see a bit of it under the display panel). A wiring diagram would probably be very confusing with the number of wires I have in there, but with the control box open, you can see the terminal strips behind the PID’s (under the bar), then the SSR and SSVR with accompanying heat sinks to the left of the terminal strips. The fan is attached to the side panel at the top of the picture right next to the heat sinks. Immediately to the left of the SSR is a contactor for additional safety and other purposes. This is a big electromagnetic switch that is controlled by one of the PID relays. I set the relay “alarm” on the PID to go off when the HLT temperature is reached as the PID itself is not great at stopping at an exact temperature on the SV (Set Value) setting. The contactor also shuts off power to both of the 220v hot wires to the outlet for the HLT for safety when the alarm temperature is reached. All the way to the left (at the back of the control box) are the outlets for the plugs for the HLT and BK. In between those is a 110v outlet to run a pump. I’ve made changes to it since, but this is still the same basic set up. I run 4500w heating elements in my kettles for 5 gallon batches, but you can easily run 5500w with a 30 amp setup and probably have enough power to do 10 gallon batches.

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See I keep thinking I can build something like this…then I see that first picture with all the wires and my eyes glaze over…

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