Heating element orientation

In our view 30 gallons and under is considered hobby size. Do not bring anything larger then this to our site

Moderator: Site Moderator

Heating element orientation

Postby PapaSquatch » Mon Jan 28, 2019 1:54 pm

I have a 15.5 gallon keg I plan on mounting a pair of electrical elements into, and have been studying the various builds here. Most seem to be a variation of the top image with the elements at slightly different elevations. I am considering mounting mine like in lower image, at the same elevation and as low as is practical. This should allow me to run a smaller quantity before risking exposing the elements to air. I realize it will be more work to fit the ferrules to the keg, but are there any other drawbacks I am not seeing?
Attachments
boil1.jpg
Everyone called me a worthless nut for years, so I moved to OHIO and made it official!
User avatar
PapaSquatch
Novice
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:26 am
Location: My shack on the edge of the Black Swamp (NW Ohio)

Re: Heating element orientation

Postby still_stirrin » Mon Jan 28, 2019 4:51 pm

4500kW element.jpg
orientation for element install
This is the way I have mine installed. Of course, one is above the other. But both are as low as they can go yet stay above the chine of the keg.

5500kW element.jpg
element install
This is the way I'd orient them if installing the 5.5kW wavy elements. Again, separation between the elements and as low as you can go. But consider if you have to screw them into the adapter. I use a T/C mount so they can go in easily and be clamped into position. If you're threading them in, then you've got a little more "considerin'" to do.
ss
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
What is a Proof & Traille hydrometer: Alcohol-meter
Enzyme info: SebStar
HD Google search info: HD Google-how to
All about mashing grains: Braukaiser
User avatar
still_stirrin
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 6724
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:01 am
Location: where the buffalo roam, and the deer & antelope play

Re: Heating element orientation

Postby Fruit Squeezer » Mon Jan 28, 2019 4:52 pm

Bare in mind that the bottom of the keg tapers inward, resulting in the element pointing up slightly if flush-mounted to the side.
I wish I had foreseen this oversight, and compensated by grinding down a ferrule or pipe coupling, to insert the element lateral to the bottom. I went the cheap way, and used a stainless locknut welded to the side.
So it points up a little... 4 gal of wash covers it by an inch or so. Theres always 10 gal or so left after a 12 gal run anyway.

Before I ever add a 2nd element, I'm just switching to 240v.
User avatar
Fruit Squeezer
Bootlegger
 
Posts: 118
Joined: Mon Jan 30, 2017 6:57 pm
Location: Left of the Atlantic

Re: Heating element orientation

Postby still_stirrin » Mon Jan 28, 2019 5:17 pm

PapaSquatch wrote:...This should allow me to run a smaller quantity before risking exposing the elements to air...

Food for thought...

On mine, the lowest element is T/C mounted with a 2" ferrule sanitary welded in place by my contractor. It is just above the lowest weld where the skirt attached to the bottom head. It is mounted to the cylindrical side, not any tapered or dished portion of the bottom. With it, the minimum liquid needed to keep the element submerged is less than 3 gallons...more like 2-1/2 to 2-3/4 gallons (I measured it with water to see exactly how deep it needs to be). The upper element is about 1-1/2 inch higher.

So, when running I always calculate the expected backset to be left behind and make sure there is enough liquid in the boiler to ensure that it will always stay wetted. But this isn't a problem because I usually fill the vessel with at least 6 gallons of charge which will ALWAYS leave at least 3 gallons in the boiler at the END of the run. Unless I'm running low wines with higher than 40%ABV (which I DON'T do), the backset will always be at least 1/2 of the initial charge.

If I need to run smaller charges than 6 gallons, like when making gin or any other macerated spirits, I use my gin still...a 16 quart potstill I made from a stock pot. It (the gin still) is heated with a modified hotplate. So, I can run it easily with 2 liters of charge and still not run it dry.

So, when you build your keg still, just put the lowest element as low as you can. And for the 2nd element, put it 1-1/2" higher. And remember, you'll probably only use 2 elements when stripping and/or heating a wash up to production. After that, you'll more than likely shut one off. Just make sure it's the top element when you do.
ss
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
What is a Proof & Traille hydrometer: Alcohol-meter
Enzyme info: SebStar
HD Google search info: HD Google-how to
All about mashing grains: Braukaiser
User avatar
still_stirrin
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 6724
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:01 am
Location: where the buffalo roam, and the deer & antelope play

Re: Heating element orientation

Postby NZChris » Mon Jan 28, 2019 10:51 pm

My sparky told me to bend my elements to fit my still, so that's what I did. I've had one bent element fail in thirty years of distilling and that would have been over twenty years ago and I'm still using the element that I bent to replace it.
User avatar
NZChris
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 5689
Joined: Tue Apr 23, 2013 2:42 am
Location: New Zealand

Re: Heating element orientation

Postby PapaSquatch » Wed Jan 30, 2019 11:04 pm

Thank you all for the sage advice. I do tend to overthink things sometimes.
Here is the heater I have chosen:
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B077Z8ZLM5/?r ... lv_dp_ov_d
A pair of these should provide more power than I should ever need, and are scaleable in 2 KW steps.
Everyone called me a worthless nut for years, so I moved to OHIO and made it official!
User avatar
PapaSquatch
Novice
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:26 am
Location: My shack on the edge of the Black Swamp (NW Ohio)

Re: Heating element orientation

Postby still_stirrin » Thu Jan 31, 2019 6:40 am

That element looks fantastic.

It is 3 series connected elements mounted in a tri-clamp housing, ready for installation in your boiler. The TC mount alone would cost you $30, or so. So, to get the element (stainless steel) and the mount as an assembly is a bargain.

But since the heat element is 3 individual elements, you have a very low watt density which will improve heat transfer and minimize the potential for scorches (if your wash isn’t very well cleaned).

All you need is a PTFE gasket and you’re ready to go. But use at least 10 gage copper wire for the power cord, as anything smaller will get hot during the run.
ss
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
What is a Proof & Traille hydrometer: Alcohol-meter
Enzyme info: SebStar
HD Google search info: HD Google-how to
All about mashing grains: Braukaiser
User avatar
still_stirrin
Master Distiller
 
Posts: 6724
Joined: Tue Mar 18, 2014 7:01 am
Location: where the buffalo roam, and the deer & antelope play

Re: Heating element orientation

Postby OtisT » Thu Jan 31, 2019 9:48 am

Hi papasquach. The answer the original question, the parallel would be fine if the elements fit and you have a big top opening so you can deal with the ferrule edges inside of the boiler. It would be more work. You could get the ferrule ground close to the angle you need, tig from the outside, then knock down the rough edge from inside by TIGing them. Then clean up the welds with a angle grinder and finishing flap wheel. I have done this welding drains in a keg through a 6” top opening, before welding on the top ferrule. It’s a tight fit, and tough to see through that small opening. With my old eyes, I need to take pics from inside with my phone to inspect welds, cleanup. 8” opening would make it easier.

I do like the way your power Lines would be parallel with the parallel elements.

Some have talked about elements being angled up due to a tapered edge of the keg toward the bottom. Use a level and don’t rely on a ferrule edge being even with the wall surface. A TIG weld will easily knock down any minor high spots inside.

The cross method works too, and is a bit less work.

Otis
Otis’ Pot and Thumper, Dimroth Condenser: Pot-n-Thumper/Dimroth
Learning to Toast: Toasting Wood
Polishing Spirits with Fruitwood: Fruitwood
Badmotivator’s Barrels: Badmo Barrels
OtisT
Site Donor
Site Donor
 
Posts: 1596
Joined: Sat Oct 24, 2015 11:59 am
Location: Pacific Northwest

Re: Heating element orientation

Postby PapaSquatch » Thu Jan 31, 2019 12:51 pm

Looks like another instance of me waiting too long to pull the trigger. When I found that heater, there was a 6000 W 220 V option. If you study the pics closely, the individual elements are connected in parallel. I intended to control each individually, giving me (6) 2000 W elements drawing 9 amps each. A 6c 12awg sjo cable to each from my control box would be manageable. The 4500 W (the only 220V now shown) would bring the current down to under 7 amps per element - I could run 14awg for that.
I wonder how much a 25KW 220 - 380 boost transformer would cost? :mrgreen:
Everyone called me a worthless nut for years, so I moved to OHIO and made it official!
User avatar
PapaSquatch
Novice
 
Posts: 9
Joined: Wed Jan 02, 2019 4:26 am
Location: My shack on the edge of the Black Swamp (NW Ohio)

Re: Heating element orientation

Postby Sparky » Tue Apr 09, 2019 3:34 pm

On my first Keg I drilled the holes at the same distance from the bottom not thinking that I would want 2 elements. I figured one for the element and one for a drain.
When I decided to go with 2 elements I simply had the 2" SS Ferules welded at a slight angle opposite of each other and the elements ended up almost 2"apart.
It looks a bit funny but works for me.

I guess if you wanted a bit more separation you could weld the ferrules one up a bit and the other down a bit. Just be sure before you weld.

Sparky
User avatar
Sparky
Novice
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Sat Mar 24, 2018 7:49 am


Return to Boilers



Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest