Posted by Moonshiner Chuck on

We're going to talk about heating options for stills because there are several, the most direct is probably one that most people are familiar with is propane. You know the turkey fryer, where you hook your bottle of propane up and you turn your turkey fryer on. Most of those standard turkey fryers about 35,000 bt use 35 to 50,000 bt use of course you can get the banjo cooker. It shoots up as high as 150,000 bt uses all that really means is that you use a little bit more propane you've got a little bit more control to overheat.

It 35,000 bt use it takes a long time to heat up about five gallons, which is pretty much standard, so you know those are on the lower end of the threshold but they work extremely well because once you get them warm or your kettle hot, adjusting that heat is relatively simple. Now also remember that if you're going to use propane or any kind of flame source, make sure that you have no leaks because this stuff is extremely flammable, you're better off, don't do that inside, do it outside. Additionally, remember that he is a little bit more direct. With flame, when if you turn it up and you see the flame go up, it's pretty much instantaneous, the temperature starts to go up, when the flame goes down, the temperature starts to go down. Because it's different when it comes to electric a little bit more lagging. So if you're on a stove, you've got set to three on your dial, when you turn up to five on your dial, your heater element takes a little time to heat up. 

So you got that lag between your indicator what you can get out of it. If you're at five and you turn it down to three. That heater element is still five It takes a while for it to cool down. So you got that lagging indicator, just remember when you're tracking your temperatures, you start to make those turns as instantaneous as a flame. The flame is a little bit more instantaneous. But here's what is the beauty behind it is you have so many options. You got propane, you got a stove, and we will show you the new wave cooker or the new wave cook top and then you got all-electric heating elements.

Now the new wave cooktop. The new wave, pick titanium, and it's listed at 1800 watt. It's extremely good, this was different between the newer and the older models. The older models were in 10-degree increments. This one's adjustable in five-degree increments, so you're not going to get that fine-tune of 179 you might set it to 180 or 190 or 185 or 191 95. It's in five-degree increments. What's unique about this is that the mighty mini does fit on it and it will work. At least it works on mine. I'm not going to guarantee that it works on yours. I can just tell you that on my pick titanium new wave, it does work. My only concern is it takes time for the warm-up. 

The warmer you start, the shorter the period of time it is to get to a bowl is a slight indent on the bottom so you don't have full contact except around the edge. It takes a little bit longer for it to heat up but it will work. Normally it will work. It's not as useful as a matter of fact if you put eight gallons, it just about covers the whole new wave, there's a small indent around the edge so the bottom of the pot is not directly in contact with the new wave just around the edge. I wouldn't recommend the eight-gallon model because that's just a lot of weight and they're not designed to carry that much weight or at least set that aside because that's just one option for you. 

There's another option arm and you know we carry both miles high and the brewhouse still and they're both equally great products both of them are of high-quality stainless steel. There are some slight differences between the two models in two companies in the brewhouse, a brewhouse has a wider pot that's a little bit shorter, it doesn't take up as much room as opposed to the eight-gallon milk cans style that Mile High carries. Therefore they have a 1500 watt heater band that goes around the outside and tighten it down on the outside so you're heating from the outside of the kettle to the inside instead of from the bottom to the top. 

There are some advantages to that but the only thing is that it only fits 13 inches in diameter and the milk cans are not that larger, diameters are a bit taller, so a little bit more slender. So this will it fit on the mighty mini so that's not even a consideration. Brewhouse does have another option which is in these are very, very neat. These are 1500 watt heater element probes that screw into the side. If you had the coupling on the outside of the adapter. You can also put into a mile high still or into the brewhouse still and then it's got the 120-volt plug on the end that your plugin.

Now you would plug this into some sort of a control element because you want to be able to control the amount of heat going through your 1500 watt element. You don't want to just 100% of the time. Then last but not least, are the other options that you have in your water heater elements. And your water heater elements are designed to do exactly what they do and that is to heat Don't water in. Some of them are designed to do it a lot faster and a lot more efficiently than others are. Were going back to the differences between the two models Mile High, all of their kettles come equipped with this two-inch connector on the outside, with a two-inch clamp, you have a two-inch access port on the outside. 

What's really unique about that is adapters you'll notice that they got a hole in them in their one inch to two-inch flange with a one-inch threaded hole in that one-inch threaded hole receives a water heater element or the element you can buy from brewhouse and get them through a Maha union and then screw in. I should have probably screwed that in before I put that on.

So now you have a kettle with a water heater element in it and that water heater element just lays inside your kettle. All you got to do is apply electric power and a control source something to control it, whether that's a p ID controller, or whether it's a variable controller, you could probably even sit there with a switch and put a switch on it, then you'd have the on-off, that will work. You're going to challenge in balance and temperature but that will work.

Let's talk a little bit about relevance and about electricity. We're going to be really smart at the end of this. A water heater element is merely a piece of metal that takes electric current through the use of resistance known as ohms, which is the measurement for resistance. It becomes very hot when electricity is passed through it. The more electricity you have, the more intensity that you can pass through, and voltage water gets. It all measured in watts. You'll notice that a 240 volt or 208 volts and it's 4500. What’re 240 volts or 3500 watts at 208 volts? remember your higher wattage elements get a lot hotter. 

They also do that a whole lot quicker. So if you're going to heat up five gallons with a 4500-watt heater element, you'll heat that five gallons a whole lot quicker with 4500 watts as opposed to 3500 watts or as opposed to 2500 watts. You have Electricity ohms law is so simple. And it's so applicable throughout your entire life. You'll be able to figure out why things aren't working in the house the right way. If I get a marker that would work right each and every time I used it is Ei, r, e ir or Yeah, it's er, I was gonna use something else. e ir electromotive force which is volts electromotive force. AI is your amperage.


Ai stands for intensity in R is your ohms, which is your resistance that's the basic formula. e ir or VA or however you want to lay it out. Electromotive force, the symbol for that is V volts and there'll be other AC or DC that's not critical right now. Your intensity, the eye portion is known as amps indicated by the letter A amperage. Your resistance is indicated by a symbol and the symbol is we're going to change that R and we're going to write the symbol that's an ohm equals one Ohm of resistance. Now there's a lot of different formulas that you can get. 

Don't get tied up into all the formulas, because they're not listening. It works like volts divided by amps equals resistance. You got dead volts divided by amps equals resistance. Let's take once I find my calculator because it's a lot easier to do with a calculator. Let's take, for instance, you've got 120 volts, that's a standard household item 120 volts and you know that it's pulling 10 amps. 120 volts divided by 10 amps equals 12 ohms of resistance.

Why do I need to know that? because all of the formulas start to, they start to feed off of each other. So we can get to a point where if you want to know, for instance, we know what an ohm is a measure of resistance. 

You want to know if your heater elements working,  just need to know a few things that I've got it written, that a 3500-watt heater element is about if it's working correctly, should be about 15.5 ohms. For a 4500 watt element should be about 13 ohms in a 5500-watt element about 10 ohms. Notice the correlation proportionality there as the ohms go down. The power in the wattage goes up. Remember that as the ohms go down, as your resistance drops, your wattage and your power goes up, which means the intensity is increasing.


So that's why if you grab a plug, and you have resistance, or if you cross the two wires, and we call that a short circuit, you get a spark and it'll throw the fuse. It does that because the resistance dropped so dramatically and so fast. As it drops the intensity of your electromotive force the volts, the intensity shoots up extremely high and exceeds the value of your fuse. So it goes out so there's that you see that proportionality. Keep that in mind when you start to select your own water heater irrelevantly. 

Now in order to test, I'm going to use a digital multimeter, all you do is you place your selector lever at the point where all of them are the same, it'll either say ohms, and it may give you a range like 10 to 5050 to 100, it may give you a range, just get into that go to the zero to 25 hit that mode, It just may be a point on the dial that shows you. 

When you connect the two leads, in between any objects that are metal, it'll measure the resistance between point A and point B. I know I've lost anybody it because this is really so basic and the understanding of basic electricity will help you if you put together your P ID if you put together a variable controller or feature Trying to troubleshoot something is going on in the house. Your water heater goes out you want before you take everything, pull it all apart, you want to make sure that it's the element and it's not something else. 

So let's test the water heater element. Take the wires off and you've got the two screws that are available. And that's an in and out for 120 it's an internet in which really isn't in and out that we're getting too technical. If you measure the resistance you put one pin on this screw this lug, it goes in it goes through this element comes back out this screw. So you're going to measure the resistance of this piece of metal which is the element itself. 

If you place one lead on one element in one lead on the other element it will give you the reading. 12.4 ohms of resistance distance in the heater element, which tells me that since this is a 3500-watt heater element or 4500-watt heater element, depending on what voltage I'm using, within the range of it's working, because it says it should be about 13 ohms, what's 12.4? So it's a little bit less, just a little bit more powerful than designed. So that's one way you can check. 

Now if you put that on, you get a bunch of zeros. If you just receive a bunch of zeros on your own meter, that's just like putting two together, which means there's no resistance whatsoever. It's a short circuit that means there's something wrong or If you put this on the two screws, and you receive no reading whatsoever, and your dial doesn't move at all, if you're using an analog and that means that there's a break, somewhere, and the electricity is not passing through there. 


So it can't measure the ohms. 

That means it is your heat irrelevant, pull that out, put a new one in screw the connectors on and you're back in business. You'll have different levels it will have resistance times one resistance times 10, the resistance times 1000. We're going to go back to resistance times one. If I cross the two, that's a short circuit. You'll notice it goes all the way over it sweeps all the way over. But if I fi connected to the element that element will read if you look at the appropriate scale of 12.4 ohms. You hook it up and your multimeter does, it lays back at zero, and then you can't get it to do anything. Well, that means that there's a break somewhere in your element. That brings us back to the heater element itself. 

Let's say, for instance, you go down and you're trying to find in a 2000 watt heater element and an eight gallon still is phenomenal. Because how many amps is it going to take to run a 2000 watt heater element in on 120 volts? Well, there's got to be a formula for that what there is a matter of fact. Another one that's relatively straightforward because it all falls under ohms law. You'll be able to do this standing in the aisle looking really smart. You're cool points shooting up skyrocketing. We know that we know these values. We're going to find out now as we'll find out, how many amps Is it a 2000 watt heater element at 120 volts 2000 watts at 120 volts. In order to find out what the wattage is if you take 2000 watts and divide that by 120, you're going to run at 16 16.6 amps. 

If their heater element is a 2000 watt heater element at 120 volts and it's running at its max capacity It's going to pull 16.6 amps. It means that if we're on a 15 amp system or circuit breaker we're pulling 16.6 amps, as soon as that 2000 watt heater element gets up to max is going to trip that circuit breaker. So it's nice to know that ahead of time, he's going to look inside your panel, find out the circuit you're on, isolate that circuit. I mean by that is to unplug everything else we'll get to that there's a reason why unplug everything else from that circuit. It makes sure that that circuit is in excess of 15 amps in the norm is 20 to 30 amps and a lot of circuits but there are some 15 amp circuits. So make sure you've got a 20 amp circuit that will handle 16.6 amps.

Now let's say just for the sake of argument, we're going to run that same 2000 watt heater element, it was under 240-watt volts. Well if we're going to run that on 240 volts how are we going to do is the math divided by 240 volts. We're only running now at 8.3 amps there's a big difference between 120 volts and 240 volts and we'll get to running them reversed in a moment and figure out so if you're looking at Home Depot and it is a 240 volt 4500 watt, a 40. to 4500-watt heater elements that operate at 240 volts. This is 4500 watts divided by 240 volts. 

That rascal is going to run on 18.75 amps. I need to ensure that I've got at least a 20 amp circuit breaker on that circuit that 220 the 240-volt circuit. You're not going to run that on 120 volts at that rate.

We should be clarifying some of Mystique off of the outside. What's electricity? What age voltage amperage, we should be pulling some of that away. Isolate a circuit and go through and pull start unplugging things. So you got one isolated circuit that you can work with. What we don't want to have happened is for you to get in the middle of heat upcycle, and it spikes and you're constantly running over and re tripping the circuit breaker, which is not a safe thing to do. 

You've already exceeded the amperage and that's your safety mechanism. You've already exceeded the amperage for that circuit, you need to find out how to isolate that circuit or find a circuit that has a higher rating on and that rating will also come along with the wire that is capable of carrying that those amps as well. If you've got a line of sight, just, for example, we've got six outlets in the house. And that's run off of a 20 amp fuse.

he combination of all of those exceeds two amps, which is the intensity that force intensity of electricity, if any of those exceed, the fuse will trip and it will kill all of those.  That's your safety mechanism, mathematically that and I'm going to say it and then I'll explain it to someone in a parallel circuit, the sum of the circuit drops is always less than the lowest resistance. Example we have a 2000 watt heater element or we got the 3500-watt heater element, we've got 15.5 ohms then under this one we've got seven ohms hairdryer running. Let's say we've got another 10 ohms running the washing machine and then online last one you've probably got 16 ohms run into radios or whatever the case may be the sum of the in a parallel circuit, the sum of the drops will always be lower than the lowest.

You'll notice we've got a seven, that means if we add that all there's an inverse relationship in a parallel circuit, please don't get too wrapped around it needs to be explained in a parallel circuit. The sum of the drops will always be lower than the lowest one, because there's an inverse relationship. Whatever the answer is going to be over one reversed again, which will bring it lower than seven. In this particular case, it's going to be lower than seven. So it's five ohms. If that's the case, your intensity goes up. 

That's why if you have a whole bunch of stuff plugged into a circuit, the circuit breaker trips, the circuit breaker trips because it mathematically when you start adding up the drops in each one by what they're pulling, it's always going to be equal to the lowest one, which means that all of a sudden everything shoots up because of that inverse relationship. If you need to back up a little bit and catch this again, it is relatively straightforward. By a parallel circuit, I'll leave the rest of that up there. You've got a parallel circuit where something hooked is light and it continues on and it hooks up to another light here in here. That would be a parallel circuit. So if one light goes out the end light still works in a series would look like same three light bulbs.

The sum of the drop will be equal to all added together, directly straightforward. But the only difference is and here's why we don't have Siri circuits in the house is if this light goes out, this light won't work. Not affected this light goes out this light won't work because this has to come all the way back. We have parallel circuits maintain power in a switch and or device. Regardless if one in the middle is  unplugged pulled out wrong, broke whatever the case may be.

Let's say that we have a 15 amp, we only have 115 amp circuit out there in that shed. And we don't want to change the circuit. But we know we got a 15 amp circuit we got 120 volts going to that we can isolate that we know that's the only one we got out there. What's the max wattage we can use? Because wattage will equal IE times I electromotive force times intensity will give you the max wattage that you can use. So we will be at first we had a 15 amp circuit and we're running 120 volts 15 times 120 we're good if we run an 1800 watt that circuit will handle 1800 watts constant.


So that'll give you an idea when you go looking way too many watts, so I need to find ones a little bit lower so you're not wasting money at the same time trying to try something it doesn't work. 

Let's say, this is 120 volt 2000 watt heater element. You cannot hook it to a 240 volts system. If you do, you're going to burn it. You'll burn it up. In most of these, you can't dry fire and dry fire means you put it in and turn it on and look into seeing if it gets hot. If you dry fire these in a lot of cases, unless they're really, really high quality they're going to snap or in some cases are going to crack somewhere they're going to go. So you got to have fluid in there before you turn them on. 


But let's say you were looking for an 1800 watt element and you couldn't find one. But you can find a 240 volt 4500-watt element, can you hook that to 120 volts? and the reason you can't is that you're not going to exceed the voltage capacity. But remember, is it if you've got one that's rated and made for 240 volts and you'd want 120 volts through it you're now supplying less energy. You may be supplying it at an intensity level that's a little higher, but it's less energy. Which means your wattage is going to change and it will change dramatically. 

The formula for that, let's say for instance, we're going to take a 240 volt heater element that we purchased, we're working on 120 volts. It won't work the other way around. That's dangerous. But we take the 240 volts, we're going to connect 120 volts to it. We do is we take 120 volts divided by 240 volts. The formula for that is that squared. If you divide 120 by 248 equals this first computation will equal point five. Now, that square point five times point five. That's what the squared means. multiplied by itself. point five times point five equals point two five. Now, 1.25 is this will operate at 25% of its rated value. Instead of 4500 watts, it's only going to operate at 25% of that 4500 watts times point two, five means that at 120 volts, this will operate at 1100 and 25 watts. So we need probably something a little bit stronger, let's take 50 501.

That would be if it was a 5500-watt element, a 240 element and we're going to run it on one time. That would run at 1300 and 75 watts. So it's only going to run at 25% that capability of what it would have run if you run it on 240 volts. Let's say, for instance, you got two of these in one kettle and you're running to 1300 and 75 or 1100 and 25-watt heater elements, it's gonna get hot a whole lot quicker and is gonna be a little bit more efficient, push come to shove, just get the right one. Now when wiring, keep this in mind you got two types of wiring that go with the hundred and 20 volts which is a black or white and a ground. So this is the black, white, and ground.


Normally in household wiring black is the hottest White is the neutral. The blacks carrying 120. The difference between the two lines is 120 volts, formulating your mind that is 120 volts. And it's neutral, which gives the flow of electricity a place to go. It completes the loop. The difference between the line and the other line is 120 volts. That's the potential difference between those two. A standard household wiring is 120 volts. Let's say for instance, you had a 240 or 220. And there's a whole lot of reasons why there's a bunch of different numbers just for sake of simplicity. 


Let's use 240. You got a 240 volt drop. That means that you've got to 120 volts legs that are out of phase. Because AC electricity is positive, but it's going both ways. If you get them out of phase, you have the potential difference of 120 volts twice, You're going to have a hot on a lot and you're going to have a ground.


One is to be 120 volts, the other is going to be 120 volts and the other one's going to be the ground. The way that works is that because of the way it works in a cycle, your electricity goes positive, negative, positive negative. When you've got the opposite one, you've got it. So you've got to add the two together. 


That means you've got 120 volts and 20 volts and the potential difference between these two lines are going to be 240 volts. That's as simple as we can get it to understand, and then you'll have one ground. That's for safety, that just kind of makes sense. That's the only difference between 120 and 240 volt systems. When you hook up a water heater element, you're going to notice that there are no marks on the pins as positive or negative or white or black, or hot and hot, there's no marks because it doesn't really matter. 


You're going to go in one way and come out the other. So if you had 120 volts, you have black wire, white wire and in ground wire somewhere. And if you go 240 volts, you'd have hotwire hot wire and ground wire somewhere. It's about as simple as it gets, not that difficult to understand. You've got two points, you got two wires, there's got electricity on them.


One goes to one, one goes to the other then you've got that extra wire left over which to be your ground, you can ground that to the side of the kettle, or you can ground it to the element itself. But that's your safety wire. So you've got either to 120 going in, which equals 240, and your element or you've got a 120 in and a neutral. That's going to be 120 volts. That's why if you did hook up a 240 to a 120 system, you reduce the power by half. Then the inverse relationship that takes place in resistance is going to cause it to operate at 25%. Man, I hope I have not confused anybody. You're gonna wire your own p ID controller, or whether you're going to wire your own variable controller, or whether you're going to place a switch where you can switch it. 


Don't want to switch it off. Just understand how the electricity works, how resistance works and as resistance goes down the intensity or the amperage goes up. As the resistance goes up the amperage or the intensity goes down, understand that and then understand how to go out and select the proper one you need. That comes in a multitude of varieties and a lot of times we're not concerned about you know, the makeup because you can open that up and you can clean. Remember that the length of your element is also very important because you can't put a 13 inch element in a 12 inch pot. It's just a little bit too long. So keep that in mind.