Author Topic: How can you control a heating element in a boil  (Read 1938 times)

Offline ntabb

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How can you control a heating element in a boil
« on: January 08, 2011, 07:32:43 AM »
I'm thinking about converting my setup to an electric system. My question is how do you control the boil with a 5500W element? If I wanted to brew a small 6 gallon batch I would have to imagine the boiloff would be too much without some type "dimming" solution. Thanks for any input.

Offline ntabb

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Re: How can you control a heating element in a boil
« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2011, 07:41:48 AM »
I do have one thought. I run my current system with a BCS-460, so could it be as easy as setting the element to turn off when the boiling water hits 213F or 214F and then turns on again when it drop below 212?

Offline beerocd

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Re: How can you control a heating element in a boil
« Reply #2 on: January 08, 2011, 07:44:40 AM »
The BCS is great, but for a cheaper solution look into getting a PID and SSR.
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Offline abraxas

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Re: How can you control a heating element in a boil
« Reply #3 on: January 08, 2011, 07:55:45 AM »
Not sure how this will fly on here, but there are quite a few simple circuit solutions and discussion in this thread here: http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3342

Many of them use a dimmer driving an alternistor.  Just adjust the dimmer to the level of boil you would like.


« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 07:57:46 AM by abraxas »

Offline beerocd

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Re: How can you control a heating element in a boil
« Reply #4 on: January 08, 2011, 09:19:12 AM »
Not sure how this will fly on here, but there are quite a few simple circuit solutions and discussion in this thread here: http://homedistiller.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=3342

Many of them use a dimmer driving an alternistor.  Just adjust the dimmer to the level of boil you would like.




I think your way is WAY more expensive and WAY slower. First I gotta go to college to get a EE degree....  :P
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Offline onthekeg

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Re: How can you control a heating element in a boil
« Reply #5 on: January 08, 2011, 09:33:01 AM »
I do this exact thing, but do 10+ gallon batches.  Originally I wired up the 5500w element at 240 with a switch, then I wired in the neutral to another switch, so i would run at 1200w on 120v by shutting down the other leg of power.  This worked quite well, but I couldn't boil where I needed with the volume I had in the kettle.  I was flipping the switches to go back to 240v every 5 minutes for a minute or two. 

I spent about 100 dollars and run it with an SSR and heatsink now.  Here is where I purchased the PLC, but a BCS or a Brewtroller can do all this for you as well.  http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=14
I run it in limit control to switch the ssr's off and on.  I only throw one leg of power off and on with the PID, and when I am done, I shut off the breaker since there is still power to the element on the other leg.  2 SSR's would solve that permanetely if you are concerned.
Here is the SSR and heatsink links
http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=30
http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=2&products_id=77


I did it the cheaper way and am aware of the danger. 

Offline onthekeg

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Re: How can you control a heating element in a boil
« Reply #6 on: January 08, 2011, 09:37:24 AM »
On thing I didn't mention and didn't do that I wish I did was purchase this PLC.
http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=1&products_id=4

This could do your whole boil for you, whereas you could tell it to do a 90 minute boil, and it would alarm every 30 minutes or whatever to remind you to throw in your hops.  Then at the end of the 90 minutes, it would shut off the element and alarm.  Pretty much hands free.  This will be my next upgrade.

Offline ntabb

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Re: How can you control a heating element in a boil
« Reply #7 on: January 08, 2011, 10:00:36 AM »
Well, I think I found the answer for my situation. Since I already own the BCS-460 I can add an SSR and use the Duty Cycle feature thats included. I'll have to do some experimenting to see what % of cycle for how many gallons of wort.

http://www.embeddedcontrolconcepts.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=6&t=6&sid=dd3769ec17f3ee6f8c590310 656515fb

Thanks for all the replies

Offline beerocd

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Re: How can you control a heating element in a boil
« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2011, 10:05:40 AM »
 ;D I didn't notice the second reply was you talking to yourself. So, using what you already own would be the best way to go.
« Last Edit: January 08, 2011, 10:09:03 AM by beerocd »
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Re: How can you control a heating element in a boil
« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2011, 10:56:31 PM »
could it be as easy as setting the element to turn off when the boiling water hits 213F or 214F and then turns on again when it drop below 212?

Unless you live below sea level, the wort will never reach 213°F.
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Offline onthekeg

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Re: How can you control a heating element in a boil
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2011, 09:27:42 AM »
I do have one thought. I run my current system with a BCS-460, so could it be as easy as setting the element to turn off when the boiling water hits 213F or 214F and then turns on again when it drop below 212?

I haven't had any luck with the controller going be temperature in the boil.  I believe it is due to the gases of the boil interfering with the reading of the probe.  It would either simmer or boil too hard, that is why I have it running on duty cycle rather than temp.  YMMV

Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: How can you control a heating element in a boil
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2011, 07:00:18 PM »
I do have one thought. I run my current system with a BCS-460, so could it be as easy as setting the element to turn off when the boiling water hits 213F or 214F and then turns on again when it drop below 212?

I haven't had any luck with the controller going be temperature in the boil.  I believe it is due to the gases of the boil interfering with the reading of the probe.  It would either simmer or boil too hard, that is why I have it running on duty cycle rather than temp.  YMMV

I think that with Auber PID Controller you can say I want let say "70%" (percentage) of power when you are boiling.
At least that is my understanding.
We will see in a few weeks  ;).
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Offline jptheelder

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Re: How can you control a heating element in a boil
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2011, 07:17:13 PM »
maybe get a smaller element. I use a 3500W for doing my 10 gallon batches and it is just about perfect. a nice hard boil but the wort, for the most part, stays in the kettel.