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Old 24-06-2013, 11:23 AM   #1
jonnymorris
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Default Kettle element regulator

HI,

I'm in the middle of brewing an American Honey Pale Ale. I have two 2.4kW kettle elements in my lagged 50L SS boiler but only use one when the boil is reached. The boil is on... and then some. The wort is nearly climbing out of the pot and I'm thinking it would be useful to be able to regulate the element, i.e. turn it down a bit.

I'm guessing the electrics are pretty basic but I could do with a steer as to what such a regulator might be called or how I might go about building one. A potentiometer? Does this work for AC too? My DIY is good but I'm no electrician. Anyone?

Thanks.

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Old 24-06-2013, 12:01 PM   #2
Swift Pint
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Default Re: Kettle element regulator

Have you tired / are you able to turn one of the elements off once you've reached a boil?

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Old 24-06-2013, 12:14 PM   #3
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Default Re: Kettle element regulator

IIRC you can use something called a burst fire rectifier to control the power input to the element, I believe Aleman used/may use one

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Old 24-06-2013, 01:02 PM   #4
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Default Re: Kettle element regulator

Quote:
Originally Posted by Swift Pint
Have you tired / are you able to turn one of the elements off once you've reached a boil?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jonnymorris
...but only use one when the boil is reached.
Yep, I do this but since I've been boiling with the lid mostly on (as opposed to no lid at all) the boils are particularly vigorous.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vossy1
a burst fire rectifier
That sounds suitably technical. I'll look into it, thanks.
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Old 24-06-2013, 01:05 PM   #5
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Default Re: Kettle element regulator

There was a post on here about someone who made a power controller & meter, recently.
You have to build it rather than buy it, but it isn't too expensive to make. (2 units pre-made in a box)

I have one I am in the process of boxing - once I decide on the box.
It will control an element and show the power used (Voltage & Amps used)

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Old 24-06-2013, 03:59 PM   #6
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Default Re: Kettle element regulator

I use one of these to control my 3kw boiler

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Adjustable-3800W-AC-0-220V-Voltage-Regulator-Dimming-Light-Lamps-Speed-Control-/330889485882?pt=UK_BOI_Industrial_Automation_Contr ol_ET&hash=item4d0a8cde3a

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Old 24-06-2013, 04:16 PM   #7
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Default Re: Kettle element regulator

@hairybiker,
Are you planning a "how to" when you have completed your exercise? I'm certainly interested in something similar for my 60L Mango kettle currently in build.

@theboytony,
Had a quick look at this on ebay, slightly concerned in that it talks about controlling light and speed but not Power. Did you get a spec sheet for it? What is its power rating? your set up takes about 12.5 Amps

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Old 24-06-2013, 04:32 PM   #8
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Default Re: Kettle element regulator

The power rating is 3800w or 3.8kw. Can't remember if I got a spec sheet but it was a while ago. It does say in the description that it can be used for water heaters, electric furnace, electric iron, etc all things that basically use an element for heating. I've used it for 20+ 90min boils so far and its worked great.

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Old 24-06-2013, 09:42 PM   #9
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Default Re: Kettle element regulator

Why don't you use a PID controller? You can turn down the boiling like you turn down the gas.

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Old 26-06-2013, 07:23 PM   #10
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Default Re: Kettle element regulator

Be careful using the dimmer switch, lighting circuits are typically rated at much lower amperages than the ring mains with your 13 Amp sockets on them, run 13 amps through one for long and it could start to get hot.

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