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Thinking of going with the BoilCoil? Potential Cons?

 
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drew



Joined: 24 Feb 2013
Posts: 5



PostLink    Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 2:05 pm    Post subject: Thinking of going with the BoilCoil? Potential Cons? Reply with quote


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As the title says I'm thinking about going with the Boilcoil 30 instead of the standard 5500 watt camco elements. My question on here is since the BoilCoil 30 is 5750 watts which works out to be about 1 AMP more draw does the Camco would this be a problem with the 30 setup?

Also can anyone think of any downfalls to the Boilcoil that I may be missing? Seems like a nice looking product that I would like to implement into my setup.


Thanks

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foomench



Joined: 21 Feb 2012
Posts: 710
Location: Longmont, CO

Drinking: Pinot barrel aged quad

Working on: Flanders oude bruin in barrel, Flanders red fermenting to refill the barrel


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Boilcoil includes the plug box and cord, and is probably easier to install. But it looks to cost more up front, and if that element dies, you are out more vs. losing the Camco: $185+shipping for a somewhat custom product which might take 2-3 weeks to replace vs. the Camco element is ~$26 (with possibly free shipping), and in a pinch you can run down to your home improvement store and buy something that fits in the same socket and costs even less.
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busted knuckle



Joined: 28 Feb 2011
Posts: 29
Location: Denver, CO


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 4:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes. Anytime you buy something that has a proprietary component, you are not only paying more for it up front, but also to replace.
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drew



Joined: 24 Feb 2013
Posts: 5



PostLink    Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 6:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I can see where you guys are coming from. I wonder if blichmann will have a option to purchase just the element from them in the case of failure? this is going to be a hard decision for me since i already have the camco setup, just have not punched the holes in my kettles yet.

I also have a hop spider that would be able to sit lower in the kettle with the blichmann design which is a plus.

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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9886
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jun 18, 2014 6:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been asked a lot about the Boil Coil, so here are my thoughts as I've kept a close eye on this product for a long time now (details were announced more than a year before it was available):

- Our control panel will work with any heating element as long as you stick to the recommended maximum wattage (see our control panel order page for details). So yes, the Boil Coil will work with our control panel. Any heating element from a toaster, to a hot water tank element, to a boil coil will work. It doesn't matter. They all present the same sort of resistive load to the control panel. (Though I don't recommend putting a toaster in your HLT). Wink

- All heating elements (including the standard hot water tank elements and Boil Coils) can be damaged if they are "dry fired" (run when not immersed in water or wort). A replacement heating element such as the ones we use is about $25-40. A replacement Boil Coil is about 5-7 times that price. While we don't meant to dry fire our heating elements, accidents can happen.

- If installing more than one per kettle, Boil Coils need to be stacked while our heating elements can be installed at the same level. So if using more than one Boil Coil in the HLT (such as when using our 50A control panel for 30+ gallons) you will have to install the HERMS coil higher such that it may not be completely immersed after you transfer over the strike water. For this reason we do not recommend more than one Boil Coil in the HLT.

- The heating solution I use requires one standard heating element sized hole in the kettle, the Boil Coil requires two smaller holes, making it a proprietary solution. If you need to replace a Blichmann Boil Coil and Blichmann is no longer in business or the product is no longer available (you never know what may happen - they discontinued their G1 kettles with no notice at all), you would need to replace the kettle too as the 2 holes that were needed are specific to their heating element and will not work with any other heating solution. At a very minimum you'd need to find a way to plug those holes.

- The solution I recommend uses an industrial grade L6-30 plug with a tough nylon body that resists damage from impact, abrasion and chemicals. It is the quality you'd see in a plant floor environment. The plug can be removed/opened/replaced by the user (if required). To keep manufacturing costs as low as possible, the Boil Coil uses an inexpensive non-industrial (consumer grade) rubber molded plug that is integrated with the power cable. The two parts cannot be separated.

- The heating solution I use and recommend is not proprietary like the Boil Coil. I use standard commercial grade off the shelf parts for everything. There is nothing proprietary or "patent pending". If in 2 years (or even 20 years) I need to replace a heating element I can do so easily as the parts are standard and are used in hundreds of thousands if not millions of other installations (most of which are not brewery related at all - for example, the heating elements are used in hot water tanks). This was one of my design goals behind our products: Provide an "open" system that cannot be made obsolete, with complete service manuals and parts list available for everything (for free).

You can read more here as to why I think not using proprietary parts is important:
http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/FAQ#Does_your_control_panel_use_any_special_or_proprietary_parts_

- In the boil kettle, installation of a Boil Coil limits where the temperature probe can be installed. The temperature probe should be at least a few inches away from the heat source to allow the hotter wort to naturally mix for accurate temperature readings (just like the analog temperature probe that Blichmann includes on their kettles). This means that it usually has to be installed above which may limit the batch sizes you an brew. A standard water heater element doesn't have this limitation.

- The Blichmann Boil Coil kettle connector is not waterproof like our design. A metal plate is used on the Boil Coil to try and minimize liquids but it is not sealed in any way. A boilover can get into the connection points of a Boil Coil which may present a shock hazard. Our solution is completely waterproof. While we all try and avoid boilovers, they do happen. (I had one happen recently after 60 mins of boiling during a massive hop addition because I wasn't watching. The outside of the kettle and heating element box were completed coated in hop bits. The inside stayed dry. Had I been using a Boil Coil this sticky sweet wort would have seeped into the high voltage/high current connection points).

- The Blichmann Boil Coil cord length is set at 12 feet which may not be long enough depending on your kettle and control panel placement. This is especially true if using larger kettles such as with 1 bbl+ setups. Our heating elements are available in any cord length you like. You can also make any length you like.

- The Boil Coil is made out of stainless steel while the black heating rods on the heating elements are made from the highest Grade Nickel and Chromium Incoloy. Both are suitable for the application as they are both high temperature and corrosion resistant. (Nickel and Chromium Incoloy is essentially a mix of premium grade nickel and stainless steel. The Incoloy in our recommended heating elements is about 8 times more expensive, lighter, and more corrosion resistant than standard 304/316 stainless steel).

- Both are as easy (or hard) to clean. I use a soft sponge to wipe down the heating element in the boil kettle. No scrubbing required. The one in the HLT never needs cleaning as it only ever comes in contact with water.

- Both are ULWD (ultra low watt density) which means the heat produced us 50W per sq inch (7.8W per sq cm) or less. This prevents the wort from being scorched or caramelized.

- Some say that being able to disconnect the Boil Coil at the kettle is useful, but I find if you design your brewery layout well you won't ever have to unplug the heating elements (ever). I don't. It also means that you have one less point where disconnection could occur by accident (the Boil Coil kettle end connection isn't locking). If you lay out your setup per my design, the Hot Liquor Tank (HLT) only ever has water in it so no cleaning is ever required. The Mash/Lauter Tun (MLT) only has a temp probe connected at the output that is easily disconnected. This is the only kettle I move when cleaning: It is placed on the table to the left of the sink and turned sideways into the sink and sprayed/cleaned with the wash arm while I'm boiling. Finally when boiling is done, the boil kettle is tilted into the sink too as it sits on the other side of the sink directly beside it, no wires are disconnected (the heating element and temperature probe cables always stay connected). The trick is to have the sink directly beside the boil kettle, and more room on the other side of the sink for the MLT. I only use locking connectors too for all cables to ensure that nothing ever gets disconnected by accident or worse, partially disconnected which causes great heat which can melt plastic connectors and cause charring on electrical connection point, which in turn creates further heat.

Summary:

While the Boil Coil didn't exist when I designed my setup in 2008 (a sign of how things come and go), if I had to do it all over again today I'd still build the same thing with the same standardized (non-proprietary) parts. I put way too much time and money into this to have to redo a large chunk of it down the road if something dies and needs replacing. This is the same reason I chose standardized parts for the control panel. I get zero thrill out of tinkering with my setup - I just wanted something that would work well and be easy to maintain essentially forever if something needed replacing down the road.

Not everyone will have the same needs of course, but it's something to keep in mind.

If you'd like to order a Boil Coil (or any other products) and support our site at no additional cost to you, you may do so using these links:

Adventures in HomeBrewing
More Beer!
High Gravity

Thank you! Your support is appreciated!

Good luck and happy brewing!

EDIT: As per your original question - if the extra 1 amp draw is allowed or not depends on how you interpret the electrical code. Our control panel can drive up to 30A. With a 5500W element and a couple of pumps running you're still under the 80% load rule (~24A). Add one amp and it'll go over. Will it still work? Yes. Is it allowed? Most would say say, but talk to your electrician if you have a concern.

Kal

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Last edited by kal on Wed Aug 19, 2015 2:34 pm; edited 23 times in total
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rmoody



Joined: 28 Dec 2013
Posts: 34



PostLink    Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was quite excited about the BoilCoil and disregarding Kal's advise right up to the point that JB discontinued the G1 kettles and replaced them with the largely incompatible G2. If John is willing to drop the G1 kettle after the new BrewEasy system was announced, what's to stop him from discontinuing or radically changing the BoilCoil. Called that one Kal. Back to water heater elements. I'm just glad I got my 3 kettles before the G2 was announced.

Kal are you going to leave your site as is or do a new build with the G2 kettles or another brand of kettle? Certainly the section on why you chose the Blichmann kettles is rather redundant now.
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9886
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Tue Aug 19, 2014 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rmoody wrote:
Kal are you going to leave your site as is or do a new build with the G2 kettles or another brand of kettle?

While I haven't used the G2s, I prefer my G1 kettles as I like having real (standard) ball valves.

See here: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=27425

The changes to the build are minor. No need to do a new build.

Quote:
Certainly the section on why you chose the Blichmann kettles is rather redundant now.

Why? The important stuff remains: The fantastic false bottom and the sight glass. Nobody else (IMHO) does those two things as well. If I had to buy again today it would likely be Blichmann again.

The new handles do not matter from a process standpoint, and the new valve will still work. Whether you like the new valve more or less is up to the user. (see the link above for further details).

The only update that would be needed is to turn their valve sideways to attach the Tee on the MLT and HLT, and using a $5 elbow on the boil kettle. \If they prefer real ball valves they can replace the existing ones per the instructions in the link above.

I don't intend on rebuilding my own setup. It works great.

People can use whatever kettles they like at the end of the day - many do not use Blichmann but other brands (see our testimonials page for some examples). The instructions are somewhat universal and the electrical parts (control panel, temp probes, heating elements) will work with any vessel, barrel, or kettle.

Kal

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Last edited by kal on Tue Nov 18, 2014 9:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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underhill_brewer



Joined: 12 Nov 2014
Posts: 2
Location: Wichita, Kansas


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 6:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Has anyone had any experience yet with the boil coils on this set up. I already have them along with the 15gal Kettles is why I ask
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captacl



Joined: 30 Sep 2014
Posts: 37
Location: Bethlehem, PA USA


PostLink    Posted: Tue Nov 18, 2014 11:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually do have boilcoils in 15gal kettles with a setup similar to kal's. I am using high gravity's controller and the HERM's coil is only 25' of 3/8 copper. The end result is similar but I will probably be swapping out the copper coil and installing one like kal's for better performance. I have about a 8 degree difference between HLT temp and mash temp. The boilcoils themselves are wonderful and I am glad I got them. I use a 50' coil of 1/2" stainless steel as an immersion chiller and it fits in the center of the coil with no problem. The only thing I may need to be cautious of is the placement of the ends of the HERMS coil when I upgrade it. I think that both the in and out would need to be at or near the top so it doesn't interfere with the boilcoil. Otherwise you would need to have the HERMS coil so high it would not be completely covered once you transfer your strike water. When the time comes I plan to have the folks at stainlessbrewing.com build my HERMS coil and they should be able to customize it so it will work with the Boilcoil without issue.

I hope this helps. I have only brewed with this system once so far and since it was my first brew ever I had a lot of things on my mind. My next brew day is on Friday so hopefully I will be able to make more detailed observations. If you have any further questions I would be happy to try to answer them.

Happy Brewing!
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underhill_brewer



Joined: 12 Nov 2014
Posts: 2
Location: Wichita, Kansas


PostLink    Posted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks. I went ahead and ordered the coil form the website with the control panel. I just started to worry about the coils not matching the expected performance. Ill have to see how the HERMs coil works when I get. sounds like there is a pretty decent lead time on orders from the TEB 10 to 12 weeks as of Nov 15th
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701pilot



Joined: 10 May 2016
Posts: 40
Location: northern california

Drinking: Bohemian Pilsner,Caribou Slobber, Munich Helles, Weissbier, Black Bute Porter, RIS, Irish Red Ale

Working on: Milk Chocolate Stout


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 5:19 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

After reading the comments about using the Boilcoil I agreed with Kal about using a proprietary item that could potentially be discontinued. But because it would better fit my system I thought I would investigate a little more. I called the LHB store that sells the Boilcoil and asked of they could get replacement coils if I wanted to have a spare part on hand. They said they would ask Blichmann. After a week and no call back, I called and they said they had not received an answer from Blichmann. So I decided to e-mail Blichmann my self. Its been another week and no response.

This should be a no brainer for Blichmann, you either sell replacement parts or you don't. So I have decided to go with tested standard hot water heater coil. I have no time for snooty companies to decide if they are going to support the products they sell.

On to the rest of my build. Panel done and tested, on to the kettles.

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Mark
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kal
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 9886
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jun 29, 2016 5:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the feedback Mark and good luck with the rest of your build! (Feel free to start a thread and post pictures if you'd like!)

Kal

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cuzinred



Joined: 16 Nov 2011
Posts: 4



PostLink    Posted: Thu Jun 30, 2016 6:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Mark,

I'm not sure why you haven't received a response. I had asked the same question about a year or so ago. Here is the response that I had received:

Quote:
Hi Brian - thanks for contacting us! YES - we'll be selling replacement elements! I can't recall the price off the top of my head but it'll be in the neighborhood of 60% or so of the cost of the kit. We expect the life to be many years. This is actually a pretty light duty application and they are very low watt density. Your water heater runs frequently 24/7 and they last for years. A brewery runs maybe a couple times per month for just a few hours.

John B


I ended up buying the BoilCoils. Haven't used them yet but that something I hope to rectify within the next couple months.. Smile

Brian
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daboyce67



Joined: 15 Aug 2014
Posts: 43
Location: Hayward, Wisconsin


PostLink    Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 2:48 pm    Post subject: Location of plug on Boilcoil? Reply with quote

I have a question for any who have implemented the Boilcoil. If you installed the coil yourself, is there any restriction as to where the hole for the electrical plug need be other than its height? In the pictures for the Blichmann kettles with the Boilcoil installed the plug appears to be about 45 degrees left of the valve. In order to "cleanup" my setup and place power cords to the rear, is there any reason the hole for the plug couldn't be anywhere from 90-180 degrees removed from the front? Or, at the very least, is there a bit of latitude as to where you install the plug - again, other than the height from the bottom of the kettle?
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ElectricJosh



Joined: 21 Jul 2016
Posts: 6
Location: Woodland Hills, Ca


PostLink    Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 7:32 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I actually had this same question as I wanted my plugs to be towards the rear of the kettle. Follows is the interaction:

On Mon, 15 Feb at 2:21 PM , Josh Wagoner <josh@evolti.net> wrote:
Hello Blichmann Team! I was looking at the installation instructions and it says it is critical to use the position near valve for placement of the coil terminals. I wanted to have the plug towards the back of my kettle and cannot see a functional reason why it can't work in that position as well. I just wanted to check if I am missing something and if there are any specific reasons aside from it being the easiest placement using the valve as a template guide. Thank you in advance for your help!
Josh

On Tue, 16 Feb at 8:21 AM , Support [support@blichmannengineering.com] wrote:
You should be fine, the biggest reason is we don't want people to drill the holes in an area that would interfere with the valve or slight glass.
You may have a slightly interference with the dip tube but you should be able to adjust the coil after installed to clear it.

Thanks
Doug"
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I used the template provided to get the correct space from the bottom, but placed them to the back of my kettles. My newest system isn't complete, but pump test work fine and I see no reason why any issues will arise.

Just FYI my HLT/Boil are 20 and 30 gal G1 respectively.
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