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My Brutus to Electric Conversion

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Joined: 04 Feb 2017
Posts: 7

PostLink    Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 1:51 am    Post subject: My Brutus to Electric Conversion Reply with quote

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I figured I ought to post my results since this forum has been a huge help and Kal's site invaluable. Back in 2009 I built a Brutus RIMS system fired with propane. I thought it was the bomb at the time. After a few years of brewing I got a bit sidetracked with life and family and then about a year ago got back into brewing on it. I consistently always had challenges maintaining my mash temps. I brew in the garage and my keg based MLT is not insulated. Long story short, I've never been able to make the same beer twice. I attribute most of my challenges to my inability to pay attention and a poor pilot light implementation, but I realized a smarter setup could help. Plus, I'm slowly working my way into the basement where I'm hoping I can further improve consistency. For now, I'm a happy camper. Kal's setup is awesome, super reliable and the build was a blast.

In hindsight I should have ordered a kit from Kal, however I couldn't afford to buy everything at once, so over the last year I acquired parts - mostly via Kal's links - and eventually had what I needed. In addition to using the links to buy most of the hardware, I bought Kal's wiring kit, a few thermocouples, and the PDF version of the build instructions. All an excellent buy.

So here's what I came up with. I was shocked that for the most part everything worked on first power up.

Here's my original rig back in 2009. Learned to weld and at the time this was super challenging.

Here's the inside of my panel. I used different Volt and Amp meters which made installation very straightforward. There was something therapeutic about the wiring phase. I took my time and it took about a week of 3-4 hr nights. I ran a tad short on 14 gauge black wire - mostly because I probably wasn't super efficient at routing. So if you see a white or red wire here and there where there should be black...

Here's the panel installed on the old Brutus frame. I ripped out the old gas lines and burners. I mounted the panel with a TV mount strapped to a steel pipe that was u-bolted directly to the frame. Super easy fix and it looks great. I love the articulating mount. I had to upgrade my wheels as the grey rubber wheels started to disintegrate with age and extra weight.

Panel on first power up. My only issue was I wired the Volt meter using hot and neutral so it initially read 120v. Easy fix. My pumps were wired backwards too so I just changed the labels on the power cord side.

My HLT required the most modification. Pretty tight fit but once the coil was installed it was smooth sailing. I also took the opportunity to upgrade from my old McMaster Carr brass quick disconnects to camlocks. Stainless quick disconnects were too pricey - I prefer the quick disconnects due to one handed operation over the camlocks, but the camlocks are pretty solid still. I had to swap out the element due to rust - put the wrong one in.

I had to hack up a cheap TV mount - the mounting bracket wouldn't easily fit the mounting holes on the panel. I probably missed something obvious but it was straightforward for the most part.

I love how much quieter this setup is. It really is fantastic. Thx again to Kal for sharing all his hard work with us mere mortals!!!
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Joined: 21 Sep 2011
Posts: 198
Location: Central Florida

PostLink    Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Excellent job! I did the same thing as you a year ago and converted and I love mine!


"Perfection is unobtainable, but if you chase perfection you can catch excellence"- Vince Lombardi
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Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 11090
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle, Mild, Pliny the Younger, Belgian Dark Strong, Weizen, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

PostLink    Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 2:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nice! Thanks for sharing! PM sent!


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My basement/bar/brewery build 2.0

Last edited by kal on Thu Feb 09, 2017 5:46 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Joined: 23 Dec 2014
Posts: 103
Location: Tennessee

Drinking: barrel-aged Foreign Export Stout

Working on: Helles

PostLink    Posted: Wed Feb 08, 2017 5:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

nice job
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