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Hillbilly Still 5500 Controller + Element

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I am trying to get my 26 Gallon Hillbilly Still going for some test batches while I wait for my boiler gets fired up and I am having a huge issue with my controller only able to function at 18.5 AMPs. It should be able to pull at least 24-26 amps. Currently when testing with water its taking me 2 hours at full throttle to bring up my mash to full temp. I am using water to test and it took 2 hours to not even boil water.

Back story! I am in Ontario, Canada and am in an industrial building. I have 3 phase 200 amp service with 208 voltage. The controller calls for a 30 amp breaker and a dryer plug. I have a licensed electrician install it and he even double checked it was wired using 2 hot wires etc. I called around and everyone says I need to purchase a 30 amp step up transformer which is isolated to my 30 amp breaker to run my element at the correct amperage. I was also told that if i keep running my element on my current voltage i am starving the element and it will burn out fast. 

When quoted a step transformer CSA approved is upwards of 1000$. This is only for a test still which we planned on testing small batches with before going to the large productions.

Any help quickly would be greatly appreciated! I have Rum fermenting and nothing to still it with =/

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Is it a 5500w element for 240 running on 208?  If so, you will only get about 4000w on the 208 and 19 ish amps is correct.  

 

I have a be the same issue.  5500w elements run at about 19a.  The easy fix is add more elements.  

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5500w/240 V = 22.9 amps max. If you can only get up to 18.5 amps then 18.5a x 208V = 3848w.

 

You will need a stepup transformer to get anywhere near 5500w unless you can find an element rated 5500w @ 208v .

This might get you close https://www.heritageparts.com/Manufacturers/Hubbell-Electric-Heater/HUBBELL-ELEMENT,-5000W,-208V/p/HBLC1315-4?gclid=CjwKCAjw4sLVBRAlEiwASblR-wA_VV59-EktAPSeGs_vM2jS5x4Ph3gMgI2nWH0cpqCo3ixS97CphxoCwNoQAvD_BwE

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11 hours ago, bluefish_dist said:

The easy fix is add more elements.  

What he said, add another element.  It doesn't need to be controlled, simple on/off for heat up.  Once you approach target temp, shut down the auxiliary element and only use the control element.  Welding on another ferrule and some additional wiring is going to be a whole lot cheaper than that step-up transformer.  Not to mention, it's going to be a whole lot faster if you are throwing closer to 8kw at it.

 

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By the way, this is false:

I was also told that if i keep running my element on my current voltage i am starving the element and it will burn out fast. 

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2 hours ago, Silk City Distillers said:

By the way, this is false:

I was also told that if i keep running my element on my current voltage i am starving the element and it will burn out fast. 

What he said. Running elements at lower voltage/current should actually extend the life of the element. Elements are simple, power lost is converted to heat, no efficiency concerns. By the way, thermal cycling can actually reduce lifetime, so you are better off running at a feedback-controlled lower voltage/current.

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My setup uses multiple elements and only one has a controller.  The others are on/off only.  I can run from 0-100% by a combination of elements and the one controlled element.  

For my 35 gallon still, I use two 5500 on 208 for 8000w total and I can warm up in an hour, then throttle back to get the right vapor speed for my 4" column.  

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Thank you everyone for the info! I overnighted 2x 5500 watt 208v elements and tomorrow i will try again! Appreciate it again. 

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18 hours ago, prcdc said:

Thank you everyone for the info! I overnighted 2x 5500 watt 208v elements and tomorrow i will try again! Appreciate it again. 

PRCDC.  208 elements at 5500 watts may be a bad idea.  It depends on the amp rating of the breakers SSRs and wiring etc in the controller.  So the 5500 watt 240v elemnts on 240v single phase power will draw 22.9167 amps.  5500 watt 208v element will draw 26.442 amps. Fallowing the NEC your equipment needs to be rated at 20% over the actual amp draw of the elements.  So this means that the breakers, relays and wiring in your panel must be good for 33 amps for each element and the whole panel must be wired to a fused disconnect or breaker of at least 66 amps.  Since there is no such thing as a 66 amp breaker or fuse you would go to the next common size up which is 75 amps.

 

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I ran it today and the meter said i was getting 25 bang on amps. Boiled a full (to the brim) 26 gallon of water is about 1.5 hours. Didn't have any issues that i know of. I only have 1 element running.

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you need to make sure your running 220 volts.  I have had a few customers call about this lately. I am having my manufacturer of these to check and see if anything has changed. These are all bench tested at the facility to make sure they pull 22 amps.. Please let us know if you continue to have problems.

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