Indirect Electric Log

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Indirect Electric Log

Postby snowman_fs » Tue May 23, 2017 5:53 pm

Hey guys,

I'm working on a small electric (pseudo) indirect boiler and figured I would share the beginning since I don't see anyone else using band heaters like this. It's been tough motivating myself to deal with my 15G boiler so maybe this will help at a measly 5.16 Gal size.

I have four 1800w/240v band heaters installed on the lower half. Since 7000w at 240v in parallel is probably overkill I'll switch and team them such that I can work with series/parallel combinations and maybe also use 120v at times. My PID and SSR can handle the full 7000w and with 2s PWM duty cycle I should have plenty of range and control. Full power is 46 watts/in^2 which is less than the ULWD immersion elements and 1/4 power is a measly 11.5 watts/in^2 (2 in series or 1/2 voltage). Brute power and delicate heating should be possible with power delivery down to the bottom 1.5" of the keg if I need to. With 5 Gal capacity, it's also a big enough batch vessel to operate as a 15psi steam generator, high temp extraction vessel, pressure cooking tank or rapid aging tank. Many choices here and all with a smooth sanitary interior of a strong tank.

I'm contemplating opening the top sankey fitting (2" tri-clamp) to a true 3" tri-clamp for better seals and easier filling and emptying. Especially since with a tri-clamp fermenter cap I can envision my dream goal of cooking, fermenting and stilling in one vessel with no transfer. I'd be limited to about 3.75 Gal to do this single pot, run on the grain but it sure seems simple. Even when 2/3 full these kegs are not hard to move and a 3" opening should be plenty big enough to dump grain filled backset with a wash hose.

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Re: Indirect Electric Log

Postby rgreen2002 » Wed May 24, 2017 6:05 am

Thats the best steam punk boiler EVER!

Snowman.. Interesting idea for sure. I think 7000W on a 5-gallon keg is beyond overkill though. I barely use 5000 on a 25-gallon wash starting from room temp and the heat up time is quick (30-40 minutes.) After heat up I barely use 2000W to do the majority of a run. That thing will come to boil so quick, and the pressure build up could be disastrous... (maybe the physics oriented folks will chime in here...)

Here is a little calculator to help with guestimation ( ... ulator.php ). Just remember you are not boiling water and not to 100C.

My advice on the 3" opening... save your money. My guess (and I could be wrong....) is that you will soon find that 5 gallons is so small, 15 gallons would be better. It's called the "rabbit hole" and we all seem to fall into it at some point!

Good luck, Be safe. :mrgreen:
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Re: Indirect Electric Log

Postby sltm1 » Wed May 24, 2017 7:01 am

Very cool idea!! What are you going to use as protective covers on the contacts? Something along the line of car battery post covers?
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Re: Indirect Electric Log

Postby Tomb » Fri May 26, 2017 7:30 pm

Saves the hole in the kettle, but (being the "cheap is better" bent) worried about the premium?

Are these not about $150 each?

(A hole costs only so much)

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Re: Indirect Electric Log

Postby NZChris » Fri May 26, 2017 8:57 pm

You are not the only one using a band. Someone was here not so long ago asking why he was getting burn on above the level of the charge. I expect you will have problems with burn on unless you only heat using the bands below the surface of the wash.

My fast aging experiments have all been heated from below so that convection currents are generated through the wood. i don't believe that heating the sides will work well, especially with chips, as the wood would help to trap a heavy cold layer below the bands.

There is no way I would consider fermenting in the same boiler I was going to strip with. It is way too much time waiting for the fermenting to get done to provide enough low wines for a spirit run .... and if you are running a column, or thumper, the output from that sized run of wash isn't a lot, especially if you are hoping to fill a cellar with aged likker and still have some to drink while you wait.

I hope it works for you.
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