correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

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correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby SchmuBrew » Wed Sep 06, 2017 10:58 am

currently building a pot out of an old 15 gallon ss keg,

right now it only has one threaded port for an internal element.

initially considered a single 1500 watt element (so that I can run off 110v) but concerned if it will get to temp or not (i don't care if it takes 2 hours, but will it get the job done?)

now thinking running a 4000 watt element @ 220v for heating and dropping to 110 volt (1000 watt) once up to temp

alternative is to add another element port (but that means waiting and the welder is ready to do the job)


thoughts and opinions greatly appreciated, and thank you in advance
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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby LWTCS » Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:19 am

Why not run a 5500 watt with a controller?
The 5500 will be priced the same as a 1500.
And the controller will allow for precise control that you will not get with a DPDT switch or multiple elements.

Can pick up a kit for 40 bux, Plug ends about 20 bux each, service cord bout 2 bux a foot.
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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby bluefish_dist » Wed Sep 06, 2017 11:21 am

5500. Then add a controller. Also it's only 5500 on 240. On 208 it's 4000.
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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby SchmuBrew » Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:26 pm

Is there a disadvantage to using an off the shelf cheapo controller? rated 10,000 watts, under $30

I'm not trying to put jack daniels out of business, just want something simple that works and (hopefully) doesn't melt.

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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby zapata » Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:57 pm

That picture doesnt work for me, but I don't know of an OTS controller that cheap.

I have done low watt 120v runs before for various reasons, it will work, very slowly, and insulation will be really important. That being said, I think its too slow. Not just in terms of time, but I think the product kinda suffers from straggling out like that. Maybe not, maybe it was just those runs. So to your specific question, yes it will work.

1500 watt reflux runs are more reasonable for a 2" column, but again slow.
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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby SchmuBrew » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:13 pm

Not sure what's up with the photo,
But the piece I am referring to is eBay # 112510127724
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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby shadylane » Wed Sep 06, 2017 6:35 pm

I think this is the controller your asking about
http://www.ebay.com/itm/AC220V-10000W-S ... Sw5n5ZhNN9
I've heard from others that has used it
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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby SchmuBrew » Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:39 pm

Thats the one, among many other similar options.

Was thier feedback positive?
Or were there issues?
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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby shadylane » Wed Sep 06, 2017 9:51 pm

I can't recommend for or against the controller.
I would recommend using a small fan to cool the heat-sink :ewink:
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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby Pikey » Thu Sep 07, 2017 2:45 am

I use a couple of cheapo chinese versions of the one listed. You need to be over specified or it is likely to burn out (Ask me how I know :roll: ) , but 10k for 5k load sounds about right.
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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby SchmuBrew » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:20 am

The info listed on the item advises to run at 1/2 of listed capacity,
For the price I will order 2, and post a review here once I have some mileage on it.
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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby Swedish Pride » Thu Sep 07, 2017 6:24 am

shadylane wrote:I think this is the controller your asking about
http://www.ebay.com/itm/AC220V-10000W-S ... Sw5n5ZhNN9
I've heard from others that has used it


I have this one installed , only done 8 runs or so but works fine.
make sure you have big enough gauge cable as my fist controller melted a bit due to the cable overheating.
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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby nuntius01 » Wed Sep 13, 2017 3:12 pm

i have a 15 gallon still. i use a 5500w element. can heat 13 gallons to boil in an hour. as to the controler. not sure. i built my own. there are a few schematics on this site to help you build one. biggest thing is making sure you have sufficient power. i have a dedicated 100amp service that i pulled for mine. make sure your wire and service can handle the load.
I'm just the bank and the mule

post your still pics here
viewtopic.php?f=16&t=66917
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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby Johnnywhiskey » Thu Sep 14, 2017 10:34 am

I don't think 1000w or 1500w will cut it for a 15g boiler. I typically run my still (15g keggle) at ~3000w in pot / no reflux mode when I am collecting. Get the 240v / 5500w element and put the controller on it. Don't forget to put a GFIC on your power supply also.

I used this controller -- https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01CCK56QS/ref=oh_aui_search_detailpage?ie=UTF8&psc=1

It has a fan and I like the dial rather than digital controller--but costs a little more also.
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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby zapata » Thu Sep 14, 2017 2:45 pm

2nd gfi protection, I wouldnt touch an electric rig without it.
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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby Antler24 » Thu Sep 14, 2017 6:07 pm

Swedish Pride wrote:
shadylane wrote:I think this is the controller your asking about
http://www.ebay.com/itm/AC220V-10000W-S ... Sw5n5ZhNN9
I've heard from others that has used it


I have this one installed , only done 8 runs or so but works fine.
make sure you have big enough gauge cable as my fist controller melted a bit due to the cable overheating.


I'm using the same controller. 15g with 5500w element. It's been working fine for me for 2.5yrs. can't complain about it at all.

I will add that before my controller arrived I did a spirit run without it. I wired up the element directly to the power cord for full 5500w until the column got hot, then I rewired it on 120v with an old extension cord, giving 1375w. It was slow, but it got me through my first spirit run.
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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby JohnsMyName » Fri Sep 15, 2017 6:19 am

I have a 4500w internal element on 220v that draws 26amps. I can go from cool tap to boiling 13 gallons of water in about 25min on high.

For actual runs I get it up to about 140 in the kettle on high and turn it down to 8-10 amps until the head gets to about 160 then turn down to 6amps for most of my run, only needing to go up when I get into the tails. The initial heat up using the "slow" method is about 45-50 for first drops.
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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby Antler24 » Fri Sep 15, 2017 10:50 am

JohnsMyName wrote:I have a 4500w internal element on 220v that draws 26amps. I can go from cool tap to boiling 13 gallons of water in about 25min on high.

For actual runs I get it up to about 140 in the kettle on high and turn it down to 8-10 amps until the head gets to about 160 then turn down to 6amps for most of my run, only needing to go up when I get into the tails. The initial heat up using the "slow" method is about 45-50 for first drops.


That's very fast. Takes me 45-50 minutes to get 12g of room temp wash up to first drips. That's with 5500w/240v
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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby LWTCS » Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:19 am

Loose rule of thumb would be 70 watts per liter for a 1 hour heat up.
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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby JohnsMyName » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:51 pm

Antler24 wrote:
JohnsMyName wrote:I have a 4500w internal element on 220v that draws 26amps. I can go from cool tap to boiling 13 gallons of water in about 25min on high.

For actual runs I get it up to about 140 in the kettle on high and turn it down to 8-10 amps until the head gets to about 160 then turn down to 6amps for most of my run, only needing to go up when I get into the tails. The initial heat up using the "slow" method is about 45-50 for first drops.


That's very fast. Takes me 45-50 minutes to get 12g of room temp wash up to first drips. That's with 5500w/240v


What part is fast, boiling water in 25 min or my actual run dripping in 50 min?
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Re: correct size element for 15 gallon keg pot still ?

Postby Antler24 » Wed Sep 20, 2017 4:38 pm

JohnsMyName wrote:
Antler24 wrote:
JohnsMyName wrote:I have a 4500w internal element on 220v that draws 26amps. I can go from cool tap to boiling 13 gallons of water in about 25min on high.

For actual runs I get it up to about 140 in the kettle on high and turn it down to 8-10 amps until the head gets to about 160 then turn down to 6amps for most of my run, only needing to go up when I get into the tails. The initial heat up using the "slow" method is about 45-50 for first drops.


That's very fast. Takes me 45-50 minutes to get 12g of room temp wash up to first drips. That's with 5500w/240v


What part is fast, boiling water in 25 min or my actual run dripping in 50 min?


Boiling water in 25 minutes.
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