Author Topic: Going Electric  (Read 3336 times)

Offline weithman5

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1668
  • naperville, il
    • View Profile
Re: Going Electric
« Reply #15 on: January 17, 2013, 02:03:58 PM »
I think you can see there are a lot of variations in going electric and overall it would depend on what you are trying to accomplish. either way, i think electric brewing for me has given me a lot more flexibility. i can go from garage to back deck.  the very first test batch i was outside. thunderstorm came. i unplugged it put it on a towel on the counter and finished.  all the rest of the issues on size, pumps, etc are similar to what other brewers battle as they expand.  (in my case contract)
Don AHA member

Offline kgs

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 754
  • San Francisco, CA
    • View Profile
Re: Going Electric
« Reply #16 on: January 18, 2013, 08:50:10 AM »
I am contemplating this route as well, at least for the boil. Our deck is a great place to brew, except for one thing: the wind. We're on the top floor of a house on top of a hill and keeping the propane burner lit is hard on all but a very few days per year. Plus with a mobile stand I could always roll it back indoors if the weather degraded.

My biggest hesitation is not trusting this old house (or rather, its sketchy electrical system with its amateurish "upgrades" over the years--you would not believe some of the things we've found). Even with a GFI and careful practice, I think I would bring in an electrician just to confirm that I could use the outlets I plan to. That was why I haven't used my March pump as much as I wanted. I love it, and it introduces efficiencies and safety steps (no more up and down a stepstool with gallons of hot water!), and I can see using two of them as part of a mobile stand, but I'm hesitant. "Smoked librarian" is not a tasty beer adjunct.
K.G. Schneider
AHA Member

Offline a10t2

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3163
  • Ask me why I don't like Chico!
    • View Profile
    • SeanTerrill.com
Re: Going Electric
« Reply #17 on: January 18, 2013, 09:21:29 AM »
That was why I haven't used my March pump as much as I wanted.

The standard March pump is 1.4 A. If you feel safe running two light bulbs on the same outlet, you're fine.
Beer is like porn. You can buy it, but it's more fun to make your own.
http://seanterrill.com/category/brewing/

Offline weithman5

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1668
  • naperville, il
    • View Profile
Re: Going Electric
« Reply #18 on: January 18, 2013, 10:20:11 AM »
kgs.

i use a 1500watt element and i fill my 4g kettle to the top when i prep water for my mash. it will boil smoothly at 3gallons.  this only draws 12.5 amps.  most circuits are good to around 20a.  i plug mine in to a separate gfi power bar after a few hours the chord may be a little warm but nothing worrisome. i have not gotten a valve on my kettle but i would be happy to even send it out to you to try.
Don AHA member

Offline kgs

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 754
  • San Francisco, CA
    • View Profile
Re: Going Electric
« Reply #19 on: January 18, 2013, 11:22:59 AM »
I'll do a little separate due diligence but you're both putting me at ease. I too have a GFI power bar.

Btw I did drill my kettle for a ball valve (3-piece SS, looks very sharp too :-) ) and drilling for a heating element would be easy. It was so easy adding the valve once I got my nerve up to do it I felt a little disappointed I didn't have other things to tackle with my step bit (though I did use it for making more fermenters and a new bottling bucket).
K.G. Schneider
AHA Member

Offline weithman5

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1668
  • naperville, il
    • View Profile
Re: Going Electric
« Reply #20 on: January 18, 2013, 11:47:47 AM »
when you put in the element just make sure it is high enough for the nut to fit on. i used the same basic assembly as the electric brewery website in terms of o ring and ss nut. however i did not use the large gang box as it is bulky. i used an all weather extension which is smaller and open on both sides so it was easier to tighten the element and to wire.







The first picture is the extension box, the second is the final assembly, the third shows the cover plate that goes against the kettle.  then the outside is another cover plate with no hole in it.  note the power cord is not oppressively long. it makes it easy to pick up kettle and rinse out, etc.  i wish i would have made it a little longer by about 6 inches. also note that there is no fancy electronic controls i just plug it in and check temp manually.
Don AHA member

Offline Slowbrew

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1657
  • The Slowly Losing IT Brewery in Urbandale, IA
    • View Profile
Re: Going Electric
« Reply #21 on: January 18, 2013, 12:00:48 PM »
I don't have an electric brewing system so I won't try to act like I know anything about actually using one. 

That said... Have you considered installing a switch in the cord so you don't have to plug/unplug to control it?  A medium duty switch seems like a good addition to what looks like a nice setup.

Just thinking out loud.  8^)

Paul
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?

Offline weithman5

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1668
  • naperville, il
    • View Profile
Re: Going Electric
« Reply #22 on: January 18, 2013, 12:14:25 PM »
i did but decided against it for a few reasons. my power bar has a switch on it that i can turn on and off. second, when i brew on my deck it is plugged into a timer for my deck lights that i can control on and off with a remote switch.  so it really wasn't worth the effort (though trivial) and would have made it one more thing to keep from getting wet etc when i am cleaning.
Don AHA member

Offline Slowbrew

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1657
  • The Slowly Losing IT Brewery in Urbandale, IA
    • View Profile
Re: Going Electric
« Reply #23 on: January 18, 2013, 12:23:11 PM »
That makes sense.  I hadn't thought about the power bar having a switch.

Paul
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?

Offline kgs

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 754
  • San Francisco, CA
    • View Profile
Re: Going Electric
« Reply #24 on: January 19, 2013, 09:16:46 AM »
kgs.

i use a 1500watt element and i fill my 4g kettle to the top when i prep water for my mash. it will boil smoothly at 3gallons.  this only draws 12.5 amps.  most circuits are good to around 20a.  i plug mine in to a separate gfi power bar after a few hours the chord may be a little warm but nothing worrisome. i have not gotten a valve on my kettle but i would be happy to even send it out to you to try.

I should add, my issue is not overloading the circuit but about feeling confident the GFI will work (i.e. detect that current is flowing along an unintended path... like my body).
K.G. Schneider
AHA Member

Offline mabrungard

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1097
    • View Profile
    • Bru'n Water
Re: Going Electric
« Reply #25 on: January 19, 2013, 10:48:11 AM »
I have high confidence in my GFI's.  My old system just used a normal 120v GFI that I wired into a heavy-duty extension cord and enclosed in a junction box.  It still works fine, but I've upgraded my whole system to operate at 240v.  The photo shows my old GFI beside my new unit (a 50a Spa GFI).  They will protect you.  Of course, make sure that all your equipment is properly grounded. The Vari-Speed thing is the exhaust fan controller.

   
Martin B
Carmel, IN

BJCP National
Foam Blowers of Indiana (FBI)

Brewing Water Information at:
https://sites.google.com/site/brunwater/

Like Bru'n Water on Facebook for occasional discussions on brewing water and Bru'n Water

Offline kgs

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 754
  • San Francisco, CA
    • View Profile
Re: Going Electric
« Reply #26 on: January 21, 2013, 11:43:05 AM »
I believe in my GFI. It's the outlet I don't trust.
K.G. Schneider
AHA Member

Offline whitemancanhop

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 12
    • View Profile
Re: Going Electric
« Reply #27 on: January 28, 2013, 07:20:48 PM »
I used to run on natural gas.  Since I have moved I ONLY have electric service.  I went with 5500W elements in my kettle and HLT.  I installed a 50A GFI breaker to service the heating elements.  I enclosed the elements with an aluminum project box I bought of DigiKey.  Very compact and tidy IMO. 

-Tyson
I can explain it to you, but, I can't understand it for you.