Have been a big fan of all the great resources on this website for a while, but only just joined the forum today. I recently moved to Germany from the UK, where I had been using a "Brew in the Bag" set-up. Now that I need to buy all new kit anyway, I thought it would be a good opportunity to upgrade to an electric set-up!
We'll be living in a moderately sized rental apartment, although luckily it has a basement storage compartment. This means I'll need to customise my build in some places. I've only started looking into it in detail today, so any thoughts and suggestions are most welcome!
Here's my rough plan:
- Change electronics to work with 230V supply, as detailed in the sticky thread in this forum.
- Use 3kw/240V heating elements, so that I can run the system from a 16A wall socket (no opportunity to put in a new higher current socket as the apartment is rented).
- Split the set-up into several trolleys, small enough to fit in the elevator in my apartment block, so that I can easily move the kit between the apartment and basement storage compartment.
- Still deciding on kettle size, currently leaning towards 50L as a good balance between decent batch sizes while keeping everything compact.
I'll try and keep this page updated with progress for those who are interested. Although it'll be a slow start as we don't move into our apartment for a few weeks yet, and I expect some parts will be tricky to get hold of at the moment with all the lockdown measures.
Link Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2020 8:00 am Post subject:
Thank you for the warm welcome Kal!
From my research so far, I have a question that I'm wondering if any other European users have faced and found a solution for. This was briefly discussed on the 240V conversion thread, but I didn't see any conclusion there.
In Germany, the standard wall plugs that I'll need to use are Type F:
It's possible to insert these either way round, so you can't control which wire will be the "live" and which will be the "neutral". Grounding is achieved with contacts at the top and bottom, that work either way round.
I do have some basic electrical knowledge, but am no expert so would definitely appreciate feedback from anyone else who's encountered this. From what I can gather, this should be no problem for function with AC devices. Where I think I'll need to be careful, is switching, as I can't rely on knowing which connection will be "live" and which will be "neutral". If I just switch both simultaneously in situations where this would be important, then I think I should be OK though (I need to go through the control box design in a bit of detail to find out where this applies).
Any inputs appreciated, I'll also try and share my findings here when I've had a chance to look into the details.
Link Posted: Sat Apr 25, 2020 3:06 pm Post subject:
Unfortunately this isn't an option for me. I'm going to be moving into a rental apartment, so will have to make do with the wall sockets that are already fitted. Therefore, I need to make sure that the control box design that I use is tolerant of both possible polarity inputs.
Not sure if any other forum members will already have faced this, as I would expect it to be a common problem in Europe with so many people renting and therefore unable to install bespoke circuits. Unfortunately haven't found much from my searching yet.
I could mark a "this way up" on the plug for my own reference, but I don't like this option as it's not particularly fool-proof.
Link Posted: Sat May 02, 2020 1:57 pm Post subject:
OK, only a minor update, as can't do too much on this till we move into the new place.
Having thought more about this, I think at first my plan is to make a single vessel/single pump kit, built in a way that it can be expanded into a three vessel one later, depending on if I feel I need the additional process controls and if I can make enough space for it.
For this I'll essentially build the boil kettle and use this as part of a brew-in-a-bag system. My thinking is that the wort recirculation feature usually used for whirlpooling can also be used during the mash stage (at a lower flow rate) to help maintain a more constant temperature and allow this to be maintained by controlling the heater element as it drops. Obviously I'll need to make sure the kettle is big enough that my grain bag doesn't get too close to the heater element.
I'll design a basic control unit based on Kal's design to allow PID control of the heater element, ensuring during the design that everything will work with reversible polarity from the plug.
Joined: 15 Oct 2014 Posts: 43 Location: Linköping, Sweden
Link Posted: Thu Oct 08, 2020 12:15 pm Post subject:
Well, a time since this was posted.
Im a homebrewer in Sweden and have faced this problem and also solved it. Now I can identify the neutral all the way into the control panel.
I live in an apartment and the stove in the kitchen has a 5-pole 3-phase outlet. Three live/hots, one neutral and one ground, The type of outlet is called Perilex and maybe this is used in Germany too. The circuitbreakers on the panel for the apartment are at 16A.
I have made an adapter from Perilex to C19 so can have 230V 16A to the control panel. It is done in a way so the stove can be used too.
I use C19 and C20 on the control panel and on the cables. They can handle 16A. I have bought the C19:s and the C20:s from the german internet store Conrad, e.g. "C20 Stecker und C19 Buchse"
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