I'm new to this forum, even though I have been aware of electricbrewing for quite a bit. The time has come to built our brewery, which is in Europe in the island of Crete to be precise. And we are getting a 600litre brewing system (from Switzerland) and I would like to buy the control panel from theElectricBrewery to drive it.
What do I have to look out for to see if there will be any compatibility problems:
We will have two temperature probes: one for mash tun and one for HLT/Boiler. Two power cables (400V, 18KW) each vessel. And a power cable for the stirrer (400V, ca. 1.5KW).
I am not really convinced for the automatic control they provide plus it is way expensive. So I thought, to check out your control panel.
Joined: 12 Dec 2010 Posts: 10196 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
Link Posted: Fri Mar 30, 2018 9:34 pm Post subject:
Welcome to the forum!
600L would make it a 158 gallon setup, or 5 bbl. So 18Kw of heating elements in each vessel? Is that correct?
Our largest 50A control panel for 30+ gallons as designed can handle up to about 11000 watts of power, enough to effectively boil 2-3 bbl (31-93 gallons) and possibly more depending on kettle configuration/insulation, ambient temperature, use of a kettle chimney, etc. For some examples, take a look at our testimonials page where we show some running this panel on various sized setups up to and including 3.5 bbl. See: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/testimonials
The larger the volume, the longer it takes to heat up and get to boil. The more power you have, the faster you can heat water or wort. There are online calculators available that you can plug numbers into to see what sort of power you would require to heat in the amount of time you deem acceptable. Here are a few examples:
Using the second link, 11000W of power would heat 3 bbl (93 gallons) at a rate of 0.77 degrees per minute, and 2 bbl (62 gallons) at a rate of 1.15 degrees per minute.
To heat faster, a larger power control panel to drive more heating elements would be required. At this time custom orders such as this are simply not possible as we need to focus on our core products. You may of course use the links on our website to order some of the parts you need and build your own custom control panel based on our design if you like. Keep in mind that parts rated for more than 50A are considerably more expensive and harder to find as they are specialized (not standardized). For example, there is no NEMA standard for plugs/receptacles above 50A. So a control panel above 50A typically need to be hard-wired which itself introduces complexities and other concerns such as electrical permitting as now the control panel becomes part of the building wiring.
If you do decide you need more power for a substantially larger setup, one option that many brewers use is to use our 50A control panel to maintain hot liquor temperature and boil, but temporarily add extra power with one or two separate 5500W heating elements on a separate 30-50A circuit. All that is required is one or two 30A outlets and a breaker box located near the kettles to turn them on and off. Any electrician can wire this up. These breakers control the separate elements with the breaker box and turn them on to heat up the hot liquor tank water faster or to get to boil faster. Once close to target temperature, they're turned off and then the heating elements driven by our 50A control panel are used to maintain temperature/boil. While maybe not as elegant, this is a more cost effective solution than building one massive control panel to handle more than 50A of power.
Now all that said, I see you mentioned 400V as well. So I presume this is 3-phase? Our control panels, as designed, use single phase 240 VAC and 120 VAC as is found in standard home dryer and stove outlets in North America. We do have 50A control panel kits meant for use in other parts of the world where only 220-250V may be available.
You may use a single phase of a 208V or 400V 3-phase system however to power our 50A control panel: On most 3-phase 208V power systems 208V is available between any two of the phases (HOT lines) while on most 3-phase 400V power systems 230V is available between any of the phases (HOT lines) and NEUTRAL. Best to confirm with your electrician to be sure what is possible. Note that on most 3-phase 208V power systems 120V will also be available between any of the phases (HOT lines) and NEUTRAL so our standard control panel design can also work as both 208V and 120V would be available.
Keep in mind that the heating elements are normally run at 240V so at 208V the power output will be reduced slightly. For example, the 5500W / 240V heating element will only output 4133W when powered with 208V. Using two of these on the 50A control panel for 30+ gallons still gives you enough power to boil 1 to 2, or possibly even 3 bbl.
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