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Thinking of Going Electric


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#1 LeftyMPfrmDE

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Posted 11 October 2017 - 09:32 PM

Just like Bob Dylan in the 60s, Ive got the idea to turn my system to all electric. A HERMS system in particular. It seems like a fairly simple project; having an electrical background and all.

My question is to the masses is are there any regrets going to an electric system?

Constantly buying propane and the lag times for boiling, even for a 5 gallon batch is becoming a hassle. I would go with a 240v/5000w system ,fused at 50 amps so two elements can be ran at the same time, if need be. It will be PID/SSR controlled. Pros? Cons?
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#2 JKor

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 04:12 AM

Electric is awesome.  The ability to implement control is far higher plus, of course, you can brew inside.  The only downside I see is that the initial heat-up is longer.  My propane burner probably heated the strike water in half the time, or so.  After that the time to heat isn't a huge concern.  It depends on your process, I guess.  Going from mash to boil in a no sparge system will take longer, too.  Historically, I've sparged so I can heat the wort as the sparge is going and it comes to a boil close to when the sparge is done so no time is lost.


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#3 matt6150

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 04:22 AM

No regrets here. I love it. My system is exactly as you just described. The PID I have for the HLT has a timer so it can start heating at a set time. As I usually brew first thing in the morning I set it at night and wake up to hot water. If you do a search for electric I'm sure you will find more threads about it. I had a big one going about my system build.
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#4 drez77

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 04:46 AM

I was one of the first converts to electric many years back and have had about 3 versions of my system and I have 0 regerts.  I love the control over propane and really enjoy how quiet it is.


Electric is awesome.  The ability to implement control is far higher plus, of course, you can brew inside.  The only downside I see is that the initial heat-up is longer.  My propane burner probably heated the strike water in half the time, or so.  After that the time to heat isn't a huge concern.  It depends on your process, I guess.  Going from mash to boil in a no sparge system will take longer, too.  Historically, I've sparged so I can heat the wort as the sparge is going and it comes to a boil close to when the sparge is done so no time is lost.

I can not remember how long it took to heat water with propane but I do get mine heated pretty quickly by utilizing my RIMS as a second heater and pump back into the HLT.


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#5 LeftyMPfrmDE

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 05:24 AM

No regrets here. I love it. My system is exactly as you just described. The PID I have for the HLT has a timer so it can start heating at a set time. As I usually brew first thing in the morning I set it at night and wake up to hot water. If you do a search for electric I'm sure you will find more threads about it. I had a big one going about my system build.


A concern was about the time it took to get strike water to temperature. Same idea, get everything ready, turn on the hlt,go to bed, and wake up and hit the ground running.

Thats all the arm twisting i needed! Just wish 2 pole 50 amp GFI breakers didnt cost an arm and leg.
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#6 drez77

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 05:26 AM

I have an excel spreadsheet that you can enter values in and it will give  you approximate times to boil or certain temps.  I did not create it but saved it long ago from another forum.  It works well and if you would like it send me a PM with an e-mail address.


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#7 LeftyMPfrmDE

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 05:57 AM

I have an excel spreadsheet that you can enter values in and it will give you approximate times to boil or certain temps. I did not create it but saved it long ago from another forum. It works well and if you would like it send me a PM with an e-mail address.


Awesome. Thank you! PM on the way!
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#8 jayb151

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 06:08 AM

I would go with a 240v/5000w system ,fused at 50 amps so two elements can be ran at the same time, if need be. It will be PID/SSR controlled. Pros? Cons?

 

Wait, I do not have an electric background. Can you run two elements off one connection?


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#9 drez77

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 06:12 AM

Wait, I do not have an electric background. Can you run two elements off one connection?

If everything is sized correctly you can.


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#10 LeftyMPfrmDE

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 06:28 AM

Wait, I do not have an electric background. Can you run two elements off one connection?

 

If everything is sized correctly you can.

 

Just have to bump up your breaker and wire size for the line side of the controls first. Some quick and dirty ohm's law says a 5000 watt element at 240 volts draws 20.8 amps; two elements will bump you up to 41.6 amps. General rule of thumb is, that a circuit breaker shouldn't see any more then 80% of its face value amperage; this means a 50 amp breaker will suffice*. now, 80% of 50=40. Heating elements generally are steady amperage loads, so pay no mind with that 1.6 amp discrepancy. :)


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#11 JKor

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:10 AM

yeah, 50A will be fine for a resistive load unless you're a code inspector.


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#12 BlKtRe

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:16 AM

Love my E-Rig. It's a joy to brew on. So many people here to thank during my build. 


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#13 JKor

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:18 AM

No regrets here. I love it. My system is exactly as you just described. The PID I have for the HLT has a timer so it can start heating at a set time. As I usually brew first thing in the morning I set it at night and wake up to hot water. If you do a search for electric I'm sure you will find more threads about it. I had a big one going about my system build.

 

Yes, you can take care of the strike water issue by setting a timer with electric.  Technically you can do that with propane or NG, too, but that's a much more expensive/in depth design.

 

Anywho, I've never bothered because I end up doing most of my prep work during the heat up time anyway.


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#14 BlKtRe

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:26 AM

Yes, you can take care of the strike water issue by setting a timer with electric.  Technically you can do that with propane or NG, too, but that's a much more expensive/in depth design.

 

Anywho, I've never bothered because I end up doing most of my prep work during the heat up time anyway.

 

Sort of worked on this with Matt when I built mine. It's an area Id like to go back and visit. But the thing is I never make time to weigh out and mill the night before anyways. On brew day, 10g of my strike water is waiting on me by the time I'm weighed and milled so the timer for preheated water really won't do a thing for me. 


Edited by BlKtRe, 12 October 2017 - 09:27 AM.

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#15 drez77

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 09:59 AM

I bought the timer and a key switch and what not but still have not installed it.  Mine heats up quick enough where most days the water is ready before I am.


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#16 djinkc

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 03:50 PM

I probably have the simplest electric setup here.  I've been very happy with it and really have no desire to brew over flames again.  Kettle is direct plug in with the SSR running full time (4500W), it just works.  EHLT/EHERMS, Timer - Ranco - SSR - EHLT.  The kettle and EHLT are plug in -  no box with switches etc.  Unplug one, plug in the other.  And a switch to turn the 240V off/on

 

I did put a LED on the box holding the SSR to let you know when the relay is closed.  So I have one nice green light.  B)

 

Days when I didn't prep are fine.  Set up takes about the same time as water heating.

 

I had a NG line plumbed for an outdoor burner or the Weber.  Propane free zone here.


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#17 JKor

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 11:15 PM

Sort of worked on this with Matt when I built mine. It's an area Id like to go back and visit. But the thing is I never make time to weigh out and mill the night before anyways. On brew day, 10g of my strike water is waiting on me by the time I'm weighed and milled so the timer for preheated water really won't do a thing for me. 

 

 

Yup, that's what I'm saying.   By the time the grain is weighed/milled and I've fooled around with all my salt additions, etc. The water is ready.  If I was on the ball and prepared all the stuff beforehand the time would really help...but let's be realistic here.


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#18 BrewerGeorge

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 09:59 AM

I think I was also one of the first to go electric, and I do like it. The few frustrations I have with it are, I think, because I don't remember brewing with propane.

I've never seen a 5000W low density element, though. 4500W and 5500W,but never the middle. Make sure you're looking at low density.

#19 LeftyMPfrmDE

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 04:48 PM

I think I was also one of the first to go electric, and I do like it. The few frustrations I have with it are, I think, because I don't remember brewing with propane.

I've never seen a 5000W low density element, though. 4500W and 5500W,but never the middle. Make sure you're looking at low density.


Already on it.

http://www.theelectr...WD-RIPP-element
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#20 drez77

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 05:42 PM

Already on it.

http://www.theelectr...WD-RIPP-element


Did you look at the SS ones at Brewers hardware?
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