My two brews on my new electric system gave me a pretty big issue with hitting my strike temperature. I've been missing my mash temp by a good 10*. But, being the pantless brewer that I am, I just went with it. Used to be when I brewed with propane I would heat my strike water 6* over my target temp, take a gallon container and dip it in my kettle and pour it into my mash tun. The way my electric system is set up I cannot get a pitcher in it so I have to open the valve and run water into the pitcher. Typically, I strike around 3.5 to 4 gallons. When I get down to 3 gallons the element shuts of, and a 2 gallons I have to tip the kettle to get the rest of thew water out. Between all that mess it turns out I am about 12* lower than my strike temp. So, say my strike temp is 162*, I would add 6* for thermal mass and strike 168*. Worked like a dream on propane every time. So, I transfer that over to my electric system. I hit 168* and by the time it all makes its way to the mash tun, I'm actually at 154*, then add the grain and I'm way down there.
So, the lesson I learned is that is I need 3.5 gallon of 168* I need to heat 7 gallons to 172*. This will give me my temp, and the element will stay on. Also, then I replace the volume I used to strike, and by the time the sach rest is done, my 7 gallons is up to 180* to sparge.
Needless to say, I just ordered a pump.