Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

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untrackable
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Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by untrackable » Sat Aug 03, 2013 12:26 pm

I am very handy but one thing I don't know is electric. I was wondering if you can help me. In my apartment I have one 240 volt 20 amp outlet. I would love to use this to bring the mash to temperature.

I used a volt meter and stuck it in the outlet and it measured 220 Volt. It is connected to two 20 amp circuits breakers in the breaker box. I have a milehigh 13 gallon boiler with 1" NPT and 1/2" NPT.
breaker
breaker

I was going to get a 4500 watt 240 volt screw in immersion heater to the 1" NPT - cost like $10 at HomeDepot.



I figure that would be 18.75 AMPS and hopefully my 20 amp will hold. I didn't want to get a 3800 watts 240 volt heater because I wanted to use the same heater for refluxing. I figure 4500/4 running on a 120 volt would be 1125 watts for refluxing. Is that enough? Mile high only comes with one 1" NPT fitting.
1 inch npt
1 inch npt
I couldn't find one already made with a NEMA 6-20. Actually couldn't find many wired immersion heaters.

I just made a VM column about 4 feet tall after not liking and trying mile high's CM system. Picture attached.
My Still
My Still


Anyway, how do I connect the heater. I figure I buy 12/2 with ground wire, usually comes in yellow - even though I would like black.
12-2
12-2
0000000046156.jpg (33.09 KiB) Viewed 3788 times


After researching I think I have a NEMA 6-20 outlet so I brought the male at Home Depot b/c I couldn't find a plug with this outlet.
male 6-20
male 6-20
outlet
outlet
The heater only has 2 places for wires and the outlet and wire has three. I'm guessing the white and black wire go to the heater since they are both hot and the ground is wrapped in paper. I guess some how I have to find a way to get the ground on something like the boiler? I saw someone cut a little piece of round copper with a hole after the gasket and soldered it to the copper. Do I need to ground it?


Once again, I know nothing about electricity. I did all my research online and this is what I came up with. Please offer insight before I something goes wrong.

How do you make it water proof? Should I just electric tape everything? God forbid liquid overflow or something stupid. I saw someone use PVC is that the best option or should I just tape it?

Let me know if this plan is 100% correct and constructive criticism is always encouraged. Ideally, I would like a cheap heater for the 240 Volt that is wired already that I could adjust the power but I couldn't find it and I definitely don't have the skills do do that.

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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by untrackable » Sat Aug 03, 2013 1:21 pm

Element
Element
mG4eyzFbaiRpxWD7DVPUcuw.jpg (3.4 KiB) Viewed 3782 times

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acfixer69
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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by acfixer69 » Sat Aug 03, 2013 3:15 pm

Ok constructive critic. First yes, you need the ground, it is the most important thing for safety. A cover is needed for short circuits maybe you touching or the pup licking it get the idea. Next you mention nothing about a controller. You will have flooding without one. That would be with any still. Also when you get this sorted out a few bucks more and you can get a low density element which is more user friendly for what we do. One more note the elements are NPS not NPT that is why the gasket comes with the element. But that's another song.
Hope this helps ya

AC

edit as midcarolina stated said high and meant low or ultra low element :oops: posting while sippin
Last edited by acfixer69 on Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:13 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by OBX Phantom » Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:47 pm

acfixer is right, you will need a controller. You can find a do it yourself controller kit through http://www.stilldragon.com" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow for $31.00 it comes with everything you need except wire and plugs for the ends.... also I would use no. 10 wire instead of the no. 12 you have pictured. I used a No. 10 extension cord that I already had. An extension cord is better because it is more flexible than the hard wire you have pictured. I will try to take some pix of what I have and post them as soon as I can. oh and yes you DEFINATELY need to ground your boiler.
If you are not living on the "Edge", then you are taking up too much space!!!

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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by midcarolina » Sat Aug 03, 2013 4:50 pm

acfixer69 wrote:Ok constructive critic. First yes, you need the ground, it is the most important thing for safety. A cover is needed for short circuits maybe you touching or the pup licking it get the idea. Next you mention nothing about a controller. You will have flooding without one. That would be with any still. Also when you get this sorted out a few bucks more and you can get a high density element which is more user friendly for what we do. One more note the elements are NPS not NPT that is why the gasket comes with the element. But that's another song.
Hope this helps ya

AC
AC I think you prolly meant low density or ultra low density right............ :D

untrackable............. I am not trying to be a dick, but you said more than once in your post that you know nothing about electricity!!

If you are serious you may want to call in a favor from a friend or hire an electrician..... just sayin...............
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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by S-Cackalacky » Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:00 pm

I was kind of in the same boat, but did a lot of reading and finally sort of figured things out. At least well enough to get my heating element installed.

If you can't find enough info here on this forum to get you through this, I would suggest you put down your screw driver, back away, and look for a new friend with the nickname, "Sparky".

Seriously though, there are any number of threads here that discuss the installation of a heating element and even specific techniques for attaching a ground wire. If your boiler already has a threaded connection for the heating element, you already have a leg up. Making a hole in the boiler and preping it for installing the element is probably the most difficult part of the installation.

I think you may be looking at the wrong electrical cable. I think most references I've seen recommend 12/3 - that's 12 guage, 3 wire.

Hope this helps,
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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by OBX Phantom » Sat Aug 03, 2013 5:57 pm

130803_0006 (600x800).jpg
130803_0003 (600x800).jpg
130803_0002 (1) (600x800).jpg
If you are not living on the "Edge", then you are taking up too much space!!!

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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by OBX Phantom » Sat Aug 03, 2013 6:09 pm

I think you may be looking at the wrong electrical cable. I think most references I've seen recommend 12/3 - that's 12 guage, 3 wire.

Hope this helps,
S-C[/quote]

He has the right no. of wires in that pack 12/2 would have 3 wires a black a white and a ground which is all you need. hook the black to one side of the circuit breaker the white to the other side of the circuit breaker and the ground to ground to thr ground bar.

Or in his case black to one prong of plug white to othe prong of plug and of course ground to ground.

If you buy 12/3 wire you will have 4 wires black, white, red, and ground. They don't count the ground when they list the no. of wires on the package.

But I still recommend using a 10 gauge extension cord
If you are not living on the "Edge", then you are taking up too much space!!!

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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by untrackable » Sun Aug 04, 2013 5:50 pm

acfixer69 wrote: First yes, you need the ground, it is the most important thing for safety. A cover is needed for short circuits maybe you touching or the pup licking it get the idea. Next you mention nothing about a controller. You will have flooding without one. That would be with any still. Also when you get this sorted out a few bucks more and you can get a low density element which is more user friendly for what we do. One more note the elements are NPS not NPT that is why the gasket comes with the element. But that's another song.
Hope this helps ya

AC

edit as midcarolina stated said high and meant low or ultra low element :oops: posting while sippin
Okay I will def. ground it to the enclosure box.

I didn't think I needed a controller because I was just going to use the 4500 Watt to bring it to a boil and then plug it in to my 120 V which should bring a quarter of the the power 4500 watt / 4 = 1125 watts. Right? 1125 watts for refluxing I thought would be too little if anything. I heard people running 2000 watts on their 2 inch column. I was running a 1500 watt hot plate on my friend's mile high 2 inch which is only like 3 feet total with the condenser and only turn it back a little from the highest setting. So I still need a controller? This goes against what I was reading in "The Compleat Distiller" (pg 84).

I thought it was ultra low - "high" made my mind blow.
I was going the cheaper route because I heard a lot of people say that scorching never really happened. But I'll get the ultra low watt density if you say it's better.
I think I will get this heater from Amazon. It is 4500W 240V Screw-In Lime Life Foldback Water Heater Element - Ultra Low Watt Density for about $21 dollars.
http://www.amazon.com/Camco-02923-Screw ... +in+heater" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

The Heater will still screw in to the fitting even if it is NPS right?

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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by Aussiedownunder01 » Sun Aug 04, 2013 5:57 pm

Sorry but looking at your posts you have nfid I would pay someone who knows just to be safe

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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by untrackable » Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:03 pm

OBX Phantom wrote:
The attachment 130803_0006 (600x800).jpg is no longer available
The attachment 130803_0003 (600x800).jpg is no longer available
The attachment 130803_0002 (1) (600x800).jpg is no longer available
That is sweet! I like how that doesn't have a extension cord sticking out because it is a female. I didn't even think of that. I want to keep my still as a display piece when not in use and this would be a sure way to hide all the wires! I couldn't find a Nema 6-20p to 6-20p cord - I might have to make my own if a controller is not necessary.

I could always upgrade to a controller. But I don't think a controller would help much if it is only 4500 watt / 4 = 1125 watts for refluxing. I have to wait for the final verdict. I don't really want to use the 240 volt outlet for refluxing as it is away from a water source and drain; I just want to use it to bring it up to a boil.

Is the box on the boiler water tight? I see holes. Is it important to be sealed? No electric tape needed?

The box with the tuning switch is that similar to the controller kit from stilldragon?
controller
controller
I found this from their forum. But someone said that the picture was a little wrong and could cause problems. Is this how you connected the controller? I hope it comes with directions.
diagram
diagram

Thanks for uploading the picture.

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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by untrackable » Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:09 pm

OBX Phantom wrote:
He has the right no. of wires in that pack 12/2 would have 3 wires a black a white and a ground which is all you need. hook the black to one side of the circuit breaker the white to the other side of the circuit breaker and the ground to ground to thr ground bar.

Or in his case black to one prong of plug white to othe prong of plug and of course ground to ground.

If you buy 12/3 wire you will have 4 wires black, white, red, and ground. They don't count the ground when they list the no. of wires on the package.

But I still recommend using a 10 gauge extension cord
I thought it was the 12/2 wire from my reading. I wouldn't know what to do with 12/3 and a red wire.

I already have the circuit breaking in 20 amp 220 v install from my AC outlet (Nema 6-20r)

Okay I'll get a 10 gauge extension cord - I read that for 20 amp 12/2 was up to code. Better safe than sorry.

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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by acfixer69 » Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:23 pm

If you think you can run with out a controller and switching voltage you are just setting your self up for a batch of crap. A school boy drink OK but the quest here is a drink better then the bottle store swill.
Cheers
AC :D :D

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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by untrackable » Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:25 pm

Aussiedownunder01 wrote:Sorry but looking at your posts you have nfid I would pay someone who knows just to be safe
You are right! I have nfid !! That's why I'm trying to learn on this forum. I'm handy just never messed with electricity.

It's hard to find good work - let alone at a decent price. My experience with contractors is that don't follow code and/or don't do a good job and/or don't finish the job or take too long. Last guy I hired for electric didn't even use wire with the metal around it - which is code in my state I found out later. And he "doesn't patch holes". So I paid a lot of money for something not up to code with 8 holes all over my kitchen!

It didn't think it would be that hard since I have a 20 amp 220 v outlet already installed. I also have a 1" NPT on my boiler. I know how to screw a screw type heater in. I just don't know about electricity. As you can see I tried to do a lot of research on my own but I had a few questions. I'm hoping I will do it up to code and perfect 100%. I'm not sure even if I hire someone would they do it right because they probably never did this before. I wouldn't be surprise if they never installed a potentiometer before. Not only that I always wanted some electric experience. And who doesn't want to be self-sufficient in a hobby or know how everything works in the hobby?

I caught that it should be low density rather than high. I also thought it was 12/2 wire rather than 12/3 wire. Not bad for someone with no experience in electricity. The biggest shock to me is that I need a controller if I plug it into a 120v outlet.

How about before I plug it in I take pictures and you let me know if it looks good.... before I kill myself.
:lol: :thumbup:

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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by acfixer69 » Sun Aug 04, 2013 6:40 pm

Your bad choices in contractors is not our responsibility. I was a contractor for over 40 years and never left a customer holding the bag on any job. So I don't like the trashing as if we are all crocks and thief's. Do it yourself and burn ///// WTF are you wanting ?? Come over and do it for you :esurprised: :esurprised:

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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by Prairiepiss » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:02 pm

OBX Phantom wrote:
130803_0006 (600x800).jpg
130803_0003 (600x800).jpg
130803_0002 (1) (600x800).jpg


Sory need to point out a safety problem with this setup. Having a female plug on the element. Means a male plug will be on a potentialy hot wire coming from the controller. Having exposed conductors on the end of a potentialy hot wire is not safe. The controller wire going to the element should have a female plug on the controller side. And a male plug on the element side.

I would use 10-3 flexible cable. Like what extension cords are made of. They sell it by the foot at most big box home improvement stores.
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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by S-Cackalacky » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:17 pm

Don't get discouraged! About the only electrical experience I had coming into this was changing out a light switch. There are alternatives available for controllers. You can order a Chinese one off of ebay for about $20 and all you'll need to do is connect the wires for your electrical service (in) and to your heating element (out). But first, you need to decide how you'll be running - 220V AC, or 110V AC. Changing over from one to the other isn't something you can do on the fly. If you plan to run a reflux column, I would suggest going with 220V with a controller. If you can't do 220V for some reason, buy a 5500 or 6000 Watt element and that will give you 1375W or 1500W on 110V service.

Here's a controller you can use with either 110 or 220:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/10000W-220v-Adj ... 3791wt_886" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
It is way overpowered for your application which gives it more durability.

About the power cord - the one I bought and canabalized for use with my element was labeled 12/3. I don't know, maybe extension cords are labeled different than house wiring. It has 3 insulated wires - white, black, and green (ground).

Here's a link to my thread with my dumbassed questions about controllers:
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... 15&t=40702

Take a step back, do a lot more reading and figure out what you want to do, what you need to do, and what you can do. Once you get your bearings, then focus on the solution. Don't give up and don't be intemidated! As with anything new, we all start out as dumbasses.

Just sayin',
S-C
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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by Prairiepiss » Sun Aug 04, 2013 7:50 pm

SOOW portable cable rated to 600V is a stranded multi conductor cable. With a rubber jacket. Made for power cords for equipment. And or extension cords. It's more flexible then the others. And it is marked different then others like romex. For a reason. 10-3 is a 10 gauge 3 conductor cable. But all conductors have their own insulater. Where a romex 10-3 has 3 insulated conductors and one non insulated ground conductor. So it has 4 total conductors. 10-2 would be a 3 conductor 2 insulated one not. Romex is also solid core wire. So its not a good choice for this use.
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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by untrackable » Sun Aug 04, 2013 10:22 pm

acfixer69 wrote:Your bad choices in contractors is not our responsibility. I was a contractor for over 40 years and never left a customer holding the bag on any job. So I don't like the trashing as if we are all crocks and thief's. Do it yourself and burn ///// WTF are you wanting ?? Come over and do it for you :esurprised: :esurprised:
Ouch! :esurprised:

I don't want this to turn into a pissing contest. I was talking about MY past experience. No personal offense to you. I never said I hired you.

I'm trying not to "burn" or "kill myself" and learn from more experience people.
I'm not asking you to come over and do it for me, unless you are in the neighborhood :D I wouldn't mind the help as you can see :wink:
I had questions and wanted it to be answered so I do it safe and correct.
I hope by documenting this in a thread many others without electricity experience could learn. Isn't that what a forum is for?
Thanks for your input on the ground wire.

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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by untrackable » Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:12 pm

S-Cackalacky wrote:Don't get discouraged! About the only electrical experience I had coming into this was changing out a light switch. There are alternatives available for controllers. You can order a Chinese one off of ebay for about $20 and all you'll need to do is connect the wires for your electrical service (in) and to your heating element (out). But first, you need to decide how you'll be running - 220V AC, or 110V AC. Changing over from one to the other isn't something you can do on the fly. If you plan to run a reflux column, I would suggest going with 220V with a controller. If you can't do 220V for some reason, buy a 5500 or 6000 Watt element and that will give you 1375W or 1500W on 110V service.

Here's a controller you can use with either 110 or 220:
http://www.ebay.com/itm/10000W-220v-Adj ... 3791wt_886" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
It is way overpowered for your application which gives it more durability.

About the power cord - the one I bought and canabalized for use with my element was labeled 12/3. I don't know, maybe extension cords are labeled different than house wiring. It has 3 insulated wires - white, black, and green (ground).

Here's a link to my thread with my dumbassed questions about controllers:
http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopi ... 15&t=40702

Take a step back, do a lot more reading and figure out what you want to do, what you need to do, and what you can do. Once you get your bearings, then focus on the solution. Don't give up and don't be intemidated! As with anything new, we all start out as dumbasses.

Just sayin',
S-C
Thanks for your encouraging words! Nice to hear you completed it when you didn't know much about electric either - gives me hope.

See I wanted to go as simple as possible since I don't know what I was doing. But I'm willing to put a controller in - I was just a little afraid given that I have no experience. I think I will do that given everyones' input.

When I used a 13 gallon still using a 1500 watt hotplate it took so long to get 10 gallons to a boil I just used my stove top to get it to a boil then switched to the hotplate for refluxing.
My electric tea kettle boils water so fast - way faster than my stove. That's what made me want to go electric (along with many other reasons).
But bringing the 10 g mash to a boil on a 1500 watts screw heater doesn't seem any better. I also can't use gas to bring it to boil if I have wires. I figure I can use my 240 volt outlet to bring it up do a boil way faster then just plug the heater in to my 120 volt for refluxing. Damn books teaching me wrong!

I thought once I get the 240 volt heating element wired to a NEMA 6-20 plug I could simple choose between 240 volt and 120 volt simple by using an adapter. Something like below. Should have known - seemed to easy.
adapter
adapter
4662.jpg (6.32 KiB) Viewed 3608 times
http://www.stayonline.com/detail.aspx?id=332" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

Thanks for all the info and links.

Things I learned thus far and plan to implement:
1. Definitely ground the wire to the boiler. (I wasn't sure since I saw only two places for wire on the heater and no place to ground)
2. Get a controller. (probably from SD since it looks more simple)
3. Don't use Romex 12/2 but use a cord with 3 wires which might 12/3 for extension cords.
4. Use 10 gauge instead of 12 gauge for 20 amp.

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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by untrackable » Sun Aug 04, 2013 11:31 pm

Prairiepiss wrote:
OBX Phantom wrote:
130803_0006 (600x800).jpg
130803_0003 (600x800).jpg
130803_0002 (1) (600x800).jpg


Sory need to point out a safety problem with this setup. Having a female plug on the element. Means a male plug will be on a potentialy hot wire coming from the controller. Having exposed conductors on the end of a potentialy hot wire is not safe. The controller wire going to the element should have a female plug on the controller side. And a male plug on the element side.

I would use 10-3 flexible cable. Like what extension cords are made of. They sell it by the foot at most big box home improvement stores.
I don't understand the electric part but does that mean I shouldn't/can't have a female on the element? That looks pretty damn sweet.

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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by S-Cackalacky » Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:46 am

untrackable wrote:
Prairiepiss wrote:
OBX Phantom wrote:
130803_0006 (600x800).jpg
130803_0003 (600x800).jpg
130803_0002 (1) (600x800).jpg


Sory need to point out a safety problem with this setup. Having a female plug on the element. Means a male plug will be on a potentialy hot wire coming from the controller. Having exposed conductors on the end of a potentialy hot wire is not safe. The controller wire going to the element should have a female plug on the controller side. And a male plug on the element side.

I would use 10-3 flexible cable. Like what extension cords are made of. They sell it by the foot at most big box home improvement stores.
I don't understand the electric part but does that mean I shouldn't/can't have a female on the element? That looks pretty damn sweet.
I think what Mr. Piss is trying to say is, the connection on the element should be the male receptacle. The danger of having a female receptacle on the element is that the cable you plug into it will be MALE and if you have the other end of that cable plugged into your electrical service, you could touch the male prongs on the opposite end and be electricuted. If it's the other way around with a female on the business end of the cable, there is nothing to accidentally touch. Otherwise, you would need to remember to make your connection to the element before plugging the cable into the electrical service outlet.

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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by Prairiepiss » Mon Aug 05, 2013 6:15 am

Yes for safety reasons you should not have a female plug on the element. The element should have a male plug on it.

Sources of electrical power should always have a female plug.
While loads or users of electrical power should have the male.
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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by Soggy Bottom Boy » Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:34 pm

:esurprised:

Your topic title says it all! "Help with Electric before I kill myself please."

From what I have read in this thread, I am of the opinion that you should absolutely not attempt this project by yourself, or with any of your mates who are not competent at electrical work! You lack the very basic essentials of safety with electricity if you think that a female receptacle on your boiler element "looks pretty damn sweet".

Do yourself a favor, please find someone that is qualified to do this for you, or buy one already made. You risk, at the very least, a "shocking" surprise, serious injury, or even death. It is not worth it just to save a few of your country's "fun coupons".

You need way more than book-learning or web-advice on how to make this project safely, IMNSHO.
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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by OBX Phantom » Mon Aug 05, 2013 4:22 pm

Yes I know that having the male plug on the business end of the cord is dangerous, but I have been around electricity all my life and I always make sure that
1: the circuit breaker is turned off
2: the potent meter is turned all the way down
3: that I plug the still end in first when setting up
4: that I don't turn the circuit breaker on until after everything is set up

I should not have shown that to someone that knows nothing about electricity.
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Aussiedownunder01
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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by Aussiedownunder01 » Mon Aug 05, 2013 9:30 pm

That's what I said :?

likkerluvver
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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by likkerluvver » Mon Aug 05, 2013 10:06 pm

OBX Phantom wrote:Yes I know that having the male plug on the business end of the cord is dangerous, but.....
No BUTS about it.

Murphy's Law applies here: "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong".

Anyone who knowingly wires a male plug where there is ANY chance of those connectors being live DESERVES to kill himself. Trouble is, he might not be the poor sucker on the receiving end of 240v someday.


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janee
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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by janee » Tue Aug 06, 2013 4:19 am

all most everyone has been around electricity all there life, and most know its just plain stupid to wire a hot plug

Prairiepiss
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Re: Help with Electric before I kill myself please.

Post by Prairiepiss » Tue Aug 06, 2013 8:52 am

janee wrote:all most everyone has been around electricity all there life, and most know its just plain stupid to wire a hot plug
Not true. Although most people use electrical appliances. Many if not most have no clue the dangers of electricity. I know quite a few people that think its just magic. And a few that work on stuff all the time. That have no business doing so. So much it scares me and I have to leave. Now days its really hard to get bit when plunging in something. With grounded plugs and GFCI circuits. Not that it won't happen. It will eventualy. So many will never experience that. When I was growing up. We had plugs that would bite the crap out of you. And a switch that would get you every time. If you were touching the pole next to it. I guess there is a reason I ended up in an electrical field.

All we can do is point out unsafe things. And give safe suggestions. What they do with it. Is their problem.
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