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Made a big step towards my goal of going fully electric today. The HLT is now using two 10 amp feeds with two elements and it looks like I have enough power to give a decent boil.

The initial driver to add more power was the 95 minutes it took a single 2kw element to heat about 40 litres up to mash in temperature which is a big delay at the start of brew day. Normally I just heat about 20 litres for mash in which is closer to 40 minutes but I was trying out no sparge so needed all the water up front. So the extra heating time wasn't worth the time saving at the sparge end (and my mash tun limited the brew to a single batch). Back to [lazy] batch sparging for now.

It looked like adding a second feed to the existing control panel would be fairly easy (i.e. cheap) since all the relays were double throw but on closer checking the small 30 amp relays I bought were getting rather hot with only 9 amps so I upgraded to completely overkill 80 amp relays. Those are big relays. Fitting them into the existing control panel was awkward but managed to get them in while still leaving room for a third relay to drive the kettle.

Trying to fit the two elements into the keg has been the biggest hurdle. Offsetting the elements vertically isn't an option since combined with the ridge on the keg would mean not being able to turn them on with less than 25 litres in the keg. Plus I would need to move the float switch. So at least one of the elements needs to be less than ~180mm.

In the HLT there is currently a Camco 2kw high density element (about 1800w @ 230v) and a 2kw@220v medium density element from AliExpress (about 2200w). The AliExpress element is about 220mm long so I can't use two.

For the HLT using high density elements is fine but planning ahead for the boil kettle it would be nice to get a lower density element. The current plan is to get another AliExpress element and use a Camco 2500w element for the second element. The 2500w element should draw less than 10 amps at 230v. I don't want to use two of these elements since one of the feeds needs to have headroom to run pumps, fans etc.

Testing out the HLT today 45 litres heated at about 1 degree a minute. Raising 60 degrees to boiling took 42 minutes which seems fine for use in the boil kettle too. It was interesting to see the high density Camco element gives a much more vigorous boil than the lower density AliExpress element.

So looking good to move ahead with converting the kettle over..... except I've realised a kettle full of elements is not very compatible with my immersion chiller. So the upgrade is on hold for a bit.

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