NEED some "electrical" heating element help!

Discussion in 'Electric Smokers' started by flyweed, Oct 30, 2015.

  1. flyweed

    flyweed Smoking Fanatic

    Hey Guy,

    I know this isn't the "home brewing" forums..but figure I've been talking to you guys for so long, about wiring and such, I'd post this question here as well, rather than asking a "newby" question over on the Brewing forums.

    Anyway, I just bought a 1/4 barrel keg, and gonna be using it to make...... E85 for my vehicle  :)

    Anyway, I am wanting to make it electrically heated, rather than a turkey burner under it.

    I purchased a 2000watt, 120vac water heater elment.  NOW, I just want to build a SIMPLE "potentiometer" type of control for it, so I can CRANK the heat up to full to get the liquid up to temp, but then dial it down once specific temps are reached.

    Now, I have built PIDS for smokers before, BUT I dont need anything that also reads temps as well..just a simple way to turn heat up or down.

    I was thinking a Potentiometer, SSR or SCR, and that's about it.

    If you guys could point me to some components to help me build this sucker, I would be grateful!

    Thanks much

  2. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I know I'm spouting the obvious, but a 2,000 watt element at 120VAC, is a draw of around 16.66 amps. Are you set up for that?

    As for the temp control, are you wanting to build or buy! Auber has some hi amperage units that would run the 2k watt unit.
  3. flyweed

    flyweed Smoking Fanatic

    sorry...guess I could have stated more info.  MOST of my circuits are 20 this case, I have a 20 amp circuit available, I also have a dedicated 30 amp, 120vac circuit as well.  I'd love to utilize the 30 amp plug in..I assume since it's still 120v, I could run any 120v controller just use a 30 amp plug in.

  4. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The relay rating will be the deciding point. A SSR rated at 25 amps will work with most any PID, display or not.

    Now, being a safety guy here, which is what I've done for 25 years, are the wires rated at the same amperage as the breaker? Most homes do not have 20 and 30 amp breakers for 110vac. People do change out the breakers, but not the wiring. At that point the wiring is the weak link, and also the fire starter.

    Just checking, not making accusations.
  5. flyweed

    flyweed Smoking Fanatic

    Well, I ran most of the wiring in my garage...I know for a fact that the "camper" plug in has a 30amp, 125v circuit breaker in the basement..and appropriate wiring run to the garage recepticle.  Also, garage plug ins are all 20 amp, 120vac breakers, with appropriate wiring as well.
  6. crankybuzzard

    crankybuzzard Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Sounds like you're in business then.
  7.  Go to any home distilling page and you will find info about making a still from a stainless beer keg. The most popular set up is the dual element like you find in the oil-filled type of electric heaters where you have a 600W element and a 900W element made into the same screw-in type unit. You wire it with two switches to turn on 600W (switch A on B off) or 900W (switch A off B on) or 1500W (switches A & B on).

  8. bill1

    bill1 Smoke Blower

    I'm no brewer or distiller but if you're looking for a replacement for a gas turkey fryer, 2000 W electric may not cut it.  But if you take efforts at insulation and controlling other heat loss, I guess it will eventually get to temperature.  

    Electric smoker people tend to control temps with a thermostatic (frequently a more electrically complex PID-based) controller that cycles the heater on and off.  As CB notes, make sure you use a separate SSR capable of at least 25A.   

    But if you want "control" as in adjusting the constant 2000 W to a constant 1234W, you could look into router speed control units.  They control the waveform going to the heater so it heats at a reduced level.  Beware the under $20 units are only rated 15A; the 20A units are closer to $50.  Still if you were to buy components (especially the box) and build from scratch, you'd probably pay more than that.  
  9. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Do not forget to get your Federal License for a still.... and you will have to pay the federal taxes, as if it were drinking alcohol, on what ever you make.... OR the gummint will provide your housing and meals for a very long time....
    They may not care what kind of e-mail server you have but if you don't pay your BATF taxes, you are in deep poop....
  10. bill1

    bill1 Smoke Blower

    Vintners are friendly folks, they seem to welcome anyone making wine. (Out here in California, they all intermarry too.)   Beer breweries appear welcoming, since they've found the craft brews have helped maintain interest in the overall product, but they seriously limit the amount of beer an amateur makes.  Distilleries are the meanest of all.  As Dave says, they'll try to lock you away for a single bottle.  
  11. dcarch

    dcarch Smoking Fanatic

  12. bill1

    bill1 Smoke Blower

    Thanks dcarch.  Yes, this will work as well as a router speed control unit for a lot less money, just needs proper packaging for electrical safety.  

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