4500w Element
Well, my HERMS build is moving along. One of the biggest hurdles with the system was figuring out how I was going to GFCI protect it. 50a GFCIs are $100+, and the range won't run properly on one. 30a GFCIs are $65, and the dryer won't run properly on one either. Also, since we rent, I don't want to make any permanent changes to the condo. The plan was to buy a 50a GFCI Spa Panel. Use a 50a range cord to connect it to the wall outlet, and another 50a range cord to go from the spa panel to the control box. That would have cost around $125 just to get power into my control box, and I would still have to pull the range out from the wall, unplug the cord(that's all the way down by the floor), and plug in the spa panel every time I brew.

Outlets for the kettle and HERMS heat exchanger
Thank the lord, I found an 18ft long 10/4 30a cord with a typical 4-prong dryer plug on the end. It has a built in, 30a GFCI, and the best part? $25!!!! The cable is worth three times that, let alone fact it has a $65 GFCI built in! 18ft is more than long enough to reach the dryer outlet(4 prong 240v/30a) from my kitchen, so everything is coming together nicely. I'm deciding whether to run the cable directly into the control box, or buy some twist-lock connects for it. An 18ft cable could be a little unwieldy, but a 240v/30a plug and receptacle cost around $50. So that may be a forgone luxury.

Pump Box
In terms of the control box and pump. I picked up two plastic toolboxes from the Depot. One will house all the electronics, and the other will house my march pump. The plan was to buy another pump (probably Chugger), but it's sole purpose in life would have been to recirculate ice water through my counter flow chiller. I ended up finding a 270gph submersible pond pump at Harbor Freight for $15. Sure it's a cheap piece of crap, but it will get the job done until I have a three-vessel system and need another brewing pump. I also mounted the element-out power outlet on the toolbox, as well as both PIDs.

Cheap submersible pond pump
My el cheapo 8-gallon aluminum brewing kettle went under the knife this weekend as well. We drilled holes for the ball-valve, 4500w element, temp probe, and whirlpool return fitting. The weldless bulkheads worked great, and it tested leak free. I also wired and potted the element with JB Weld. All that's left is to figure out a way to keep wort from pouring out the whirlpool fitting without having to use a ball valve.

My 8 gallon Walmart-Special
For now, I'm more or less at a standstill until we get Greg's control panel up and running. Then I can cannibalize the current toolbox for the parts I need to finish mine. So for the time being, I'll focus on brewing some beer (crazy concept huh?) Forecast calls for high gravities and substantial hoppiness, with a slight chance of Hop Knot ;)


  1. I just found your blog this morning. You're doing fine work, my friend, and I look forward to exploring your recipes.
    Now how the hell did you get your hands on a 10/4 GFCI extension cord, nevermind for $25?

    1. The company was Hosfelt Electronics, but a quick google search shows they are out of business now. It was a steal of a purchase at the time. They were pretty common parts on older copy machines, so if you scour the internet for parts, or your local copy machine repair store, you might be able to score one pretty easily.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...


Privacy Policy | Copyright © 2011-2016 Bertus Brewery |. Powered by Blogger.