Controlling 5500 W...

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Beer_Pirate, Dec 6, 2018.

  1. Beer_Pirate

    Beer_Pirate Active Member

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    So I've found a great deal on a 240 V, 5500 watt heating element and am considering switching to electric brewing. What is the best way to control this? I've seen the Tower of Power from Blichmann and found another pre-built brew controller on Amazon. For the prices I've found those items it would just be cheaper and easier to buy an induction surface since my pot is induction capable. Does anyone have a good DIY for stuff like this?
     
  2. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Most basic controller you can get: http://stilldragon.com/index.php/diy-small-controller.html
    I built a full on temp-controlled unit based around that and a simple PID from Auber instruments. There's a Pid that'll do everything for a reasonable price. You just have to get the switching and relays figured out. And the temp probes, of course.
     
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  3. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    what size is your pot
     
  4. Beer_Pirate

    Beer_Pirate Active Member

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    @OMB: The pot is 10 gallon. The element may be a little overkill but it's "rippled" so the watt density is only 60 WPI.

    @JA: A buddy of mine just recommended this controller. I'll probably stick to just controlling it with the potentiometer for now since the pot has a built in thermometer that's accurate enough for me, but a PID controller, probes, and relays are likely not far in my future :D
     
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  5. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    a 5500 is overkill for that size pot, if its induction ready I would go with a 240v induction plate, I have a 115v version and it won’t boil 6 gallons it's only 1800w so 240v is needed, you can do a lot of things but in my experience instead of upgrading several times and buying things twice or three times, save and get the best and only buy once
     
  6. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    As far as I've found in the minor research I've done is 2400watt 240v is ample to bring 25-30 LT to the boil. Wow 5500watt that's some power!
     
  7. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    I've got the 5500 watt on my 15 gallon pot. I usually finish sparge before starting to heat for boil so that I can get a more accurate pre-boil volume reading. When I'm all in, I set my temp control for a few degrees short of boiling and put the lid on and walk away. Within about 20 minutes, I'm at set temp and I can boost the setting, skim break material and baby-sit the power control, dialing back as it comes to a boil to keep it from getting too energetic while the pot is really full.
    It may be overkill, but you can always dial it back.
    "It heats too fast!" said no one, ever. :D
     
  8. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    I have a 5500 w in my HLT and I like it- it gets the water up to temp easily and allows the HERMS to bring the temp up quickly, allowing step mashing or getting up to mash out temps. I have it set up with a PID in my control panel. It used to be in my boil kettle but when I got the new control panel, I changed to a 4500 w in my boil kettle, controlled with a PWM.
     
  9. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    #9 HighVoltageMan!, Dec 7, 2018
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2018
    Not really. Yeah you wouldn’t want the full 5500 watt on all the time, but with a PID the power will be varied or “ modulated” as needed. The power on a 5500 watt element controlled by a good PID can be dropped to 1% or 55 watts.

    My advice would be to get a PID right off, a good RTD and be done with it. You’ll get 5500 watts to get things heated up quickly and you can feather the power by adjusting the the boil temp and get the exact boil your looking for. It will last for years, decades even and makes brewing easier and more enjoyable because you’re not baby sitting the boil.

    Just set it and forget it.
     
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  10. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    I guess that was what I was trying to say, badly. I love the 5500 watt, because I can change temperature rapidly, or hold a temperature easily, all automatically with the push of a button. Even so, it takes about 30 minutes to go from 45 degrees to 180 degrees when I turn it on in the morning with 14 gallons in it. But then, it holds at 180 perfectly until I change it. (That's my temperature to add to my MLT to preheat).

    For bringing wort from 156 to boiling is fast, so when I batch sparge I don't even need to mash out. Then it can be dialed down to 60% to maintain the boil in smaller batches. A PID is the way to go for ease of use for sure, and 5500 w will do 5 gallon batches to 15 gallon batches easily.
     
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  11. Beer_Pirate

    Beer_Pirate Active Member

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    The nice thing about it is that I can only buy this once, and if I upgrade pot/batch size, I'm only buying a new pot instead of a higher output induction heater. It's overkill, but I likely won't be running it at 100% ever (even for getting water up to mash temps, I just don't like pushing electrical equipment to its limits).
     
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  12. Beer_Pirate

    Beer_Pirate Active Member

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    Would you recommend PID or PWM? And any specific model you like? I'm used to using omega autotune PIDs for work but they're usually ~$300-500, and at that price point I'll just deal with slight temperature variations between batches haha.
     
  13. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    This is the one I'll be upgrading to... https://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=53&products_id=670
    and Auber has several from $35 to $75 that'll handle temp settings and more.
     
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  14. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    I have that one and I love it for ease of use, I also have the cheaper 2 and they do the same except no automated step mashing
     
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  15. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    I use a Watlow PID, it’s about $175. High quality, made in the USA. There are ones cheaper, but I highly recommend it. It’s the only one I found with an open collector/emitter output. If your familiar with that configuration, it’s very flexible.
     
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  16. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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  17. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    Now I have both- the PWM for the boil kettle and the PID for the HLT after changing everything around.

    I prefer the PID, and wish I would have spent a little more for a PID for the boil kettle as well. The other thing the PID shows is the temperature. I didn't think about that when I reconfigured things, and I miss that during chilling.

    I'd have to pull out the stats on the models- I did this about 10 years ago(?) and don't remember the details.
     
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