Jimbo's Electric Conversion

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Jimbo's Electric Conversion

Postby Jimbo » Fri Nov 29, 2013 6:37 pm

Tired of buying propane, and freezing in the winter with the door open, so after much research here on HD and at HomeBrewTalk Forums where there's a lot of electric brewers I made the leap. When Im stillin I like to double up and do a second something to make best use of my time. Either a beer, or heating water to start the next batch of whatever Im making. So I needed a double setup. And being the impatient sort I wanted lots of power to get things up to temp fast.

I settled on 2 Camco 5500W elements. http://www.amazon.com/Camco-02963-Screw ... acmo+5500w Not only are they high power, but these have an added benefit of being Ultra Low Watt Density. That means the element is very long, an S curve that doubles back on itself, so the watts per centimeter density is low. That is good to avoid scorching any solids suspended in the wash. To mount these I went with stainless nuts. http://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Fitting ... d_sim_hi_1 Initially I intended to silver solder these to the outside of the kegs, but that didnt work out too good, they slide around too much. Since the Camco element shanks are long enough to reach through the keg, I hammered a flat on the keg for the nut and element flange to sit flat, and used a step bit to drill the inch and whatever size hole. These bits are 17 bucks for a 2 pack, large and small, at Harbor Freight. It was easy to reach in and tighten the nut on the keggle since the top is cut out. It was damn tricky in the still. i ended up using a couple dabs of hotmelt gluestick. Nontoxic and benign stuff, I chewed a bit and it was flavorless. I presssed the nut into the glue, using my finger reaching up into the hole, then used a torch to the outside to reflow the glue again to be sure the nut came down flush to the keg. For seals I used the ones that came with the elements, on the outside of the keg up against the element flange to avoid any contact with the hooch. The elements sit at the 3 gallon mark in the kegs. So minimum run size is around 5 gal.

The controllers are 10,000W SCR's. 20 bucks ea on fleabay shipped from HongKong. http://www.ebay.com/itm/10000W-220v-Adj ... 2c7271bb5a They seem to work great, adjusting voltage from 0 to 240 as expected. The heatsink only got slightly warm across differnet power settings.

The box I mounted it all in was srounged out of the scrap bin at work. I mounted a 12V computer fan, powered by a simple wall wart power supply zip tied inside the box, The air is directed through the heatsink fins with exhaust holes drilled on the opposite side.

The elements will draw close to 30A each at full tilt, so power comes from a dedicated 60A breaker on 240V, via 8/3 wire to the box and 10/3 wire to each element. A female twist lock connector is on the hot side of each feed. The wire nuts that break out the mains into each controller are not your standard wire nuts. Those have a brass insert with threaded splice to tighten down all wires together with a screwdriver (like a bussbar), then the brass insert threads into the plastic wirenut shell. Very heavy duty.

Well, thats enough yak, the pictures tell the rest. Holler if you have any questions. I test drove each side into 5 gallons cold water. At full power it didnt take any time to bring the water to a boil (I didnt time it, but it was fast).






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