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Burco Boiler temperature accuracy

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Burco Boiler temperature accuracy

Postby Kev888 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:14 pm

Oh my word. I was passing a 'pre loved' shop when i noticed a shiny silver thing sitting on top of a fridge. It turned out to be a burco 33L boiler, and I liberated it for just £30 :D

I've a question though; its got a variable temperature control but I can't see a thermostat so I'm suspicious about how well it knows what the temperature is. Does anyone know how it does this, or (probably more importantly) has anyone any experience in the accuracy of these things?

I'm thinking of using it to get my mash and sparge water to the right temperature when I go all-grain later in the year. If its not likely to be accurate enough I've got a tank thermostat with an alledgedly +/- 3degC accuracy that I could use if that would be better.

Cheers,
Kev
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Re: Burco Boiler temperature accuracy

Postby Brotherton Lad » Wed Apr 28, 2010 2:37 pm

I'd do some googling with the model number, there'll be a plate somewhere on the boiler. Failing that, I'd fill it up, turn it on and start testing it with a thermometer. Sounds like quite a bargain.

Is it a boiler or a tea urn? I understand that the urns don't get up to a rolling boil but hold 95C or so.
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Re: Burco Boiler temperature accuracy

Postby Kev888 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 3:23 pm

Yeah, I had a look with the number (F33) but couldn't find much - guess they're not usually used for sensitive stuff. Out with the thermometer it is, then! Can't complain either way, I couldn't even find a stainless pot for that, let alone one with an element.

It is a boiler, not sure how much of a rolling boil it'll do, perhaps still cut in and out around boiling point. I don't think that'll matter for the mash and sparge temperatures, though, and I guess I could bypass the control if i ever needed continuous heat at boiling.

thanks for the thoughts,
Kev
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Re: Burco Boiler temperature accuracy

Postby Tony01 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 3:48 pm

I use a baby burco as a boiler - not an HLT. It comes to full rolling boil and then needs to be just taken of the 'max' mark to maintain that. Never tried it on anything other than a boil I'm afraid - and never needed to as I use a separate HLT.

Good luck - sounds like a good find. I had to replace the tap on mine. I have some pics of how I removed the old tap somewher and will hook them out if you need them anytime.
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Re: Burco Boiler temperature accuracy

Postby Kev888 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 4:07 pm

Thanks Tony, thats interesting. i hadn't really planned to use it as a boiler (years ago I found a converted beer keg at a car boot that i use to boil stuff), but I its nice to know that its an option.

The tap seems okay at the moment, but I may get a new/spare element - the current one looks like its had a lot of hard use.

Cheers
kev
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Re: Burco Boiler temperature accuracy

Postby stu-le-brew » Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:03 pm

Kev888 wrote:Thanks Tony, thats interesting. i hadn't really planned to use it as a boiler (years ago I found a converted beer keg at a car boot that i use to boil stuff), but I its nice to know that its an option.

The tap seems okay at the moment, but I may get a new/spare element - the current one looks like its had a lot of hard use.

Cheers
kev

Hi Kev888,

In the past I have used a Burco boiler both as a HLT and as a copper/boiler, there is a controller built in which is a simmerstat (which means it controls the electrical current somehow and thus controls the temperature - but I am beyond the limit of my knowledge already.

On a practical front it worked well for me in both uses, but as a boiler over time there is a buildup of beer on the element and this reduces its effectiveness (can be cleaned with acid).

There are several types of element, mine was shaped like a butterfly's wings more modern ones have a flat element I think. When new mine had a cover over the element (presumably to prevent clothes getting burnt) I used to have a problem as a boiler with hops getting under this cover but solved after I removed it which is simple.

One final point after many years of use the element on mine wore out and shorted to earth - which meant even though turned off it was heating - so replacing the element is a good place to start

good luck
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Re: Burco Boiler temperature accuracy

Postby Kev888 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:37 pm

Yay! Thanks very much for all the info - that sounds very encouraging. I seem to have a better bargain than I realised!

I wondered about that strange cover thing, think i'll follow your advice and remove it - it'll probably make cleaning easier too.

I'll definately get a new element then - the old one looks well used and so is unlikely to last much longer, and after your experience it probably isn't worth risking it. I found a supplier who does them for about £25 or so, which seems fair enough as the rest of the boiler is in good shape.

I'll have a go at cleaning the old element with acid cleaner afterwards, if it survives then it may be worth keeping as a backup. Hopefully as an HLT I won't be getting the new element too caked up, but I'll keep an eye on the scale - thanks for the warning!

Cheers,
Kev
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Re: Burco Boiler temperature accuracy

Postby stu-le-brew » Wed Apr 28, 2010 6:58 pm

Just reflecting on how old my Burco is and it is at least 28 years - bloody hell and only replaced the element once !! not a bad life - now retired and replaced with some sexy stainless
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All stainless system, thanks supplier on EBay France
100ltr Copper gas powered
80ltr insulated Mash Tun (Thermopot)
70ltr electric HLT with home made digital temp controller (with PID and SSR)
pumped sparge system and pumped stainless immersion chilling system for summer use (using a ice/water-bath)
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Re: Burco Boiler temperature accuracy

Postby Kev888 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:29 pm

Great stuff - they must be well made. Hope mine lasts as long!
Why do people believe that a lack of planning on their part should automatically constitute an emergency on mine? I have an answer, but it would probably get me sacked.
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Re: Burco Boiler temperature accuracy

Postby StrangeBrew » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:50 pm

Hi Kev,

I use a 30ltr Burco as an HLT (just done my first brew :D ) and found it to do the job very well.
As you can see from the pic below, I've fitted a dial thermometer to give a more accurate temp reading. These dials can be calibrated via a screw on the back.
When it reaches temp just turn back on the Burco control knob and with trial and error you will soon get to know where it needs to be to maintain your strike temp.
If you're only using it for an HLT you won't need to maintain a rolling boil.

Good luck moving over to the Dark Side!

Andy.

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Re: Burco Boiler temperature accuracy

Postby Brotherton Lad » Wed Apr 28, 2010 8:58 pm

I reckon my Burco is about 50 years old. Found it in a skip. Takes 10 gallons. It has low, medium and high settings. Low is good for the mash liquor, high does a decent rolling boil, medium is OK for washing terry nappies.

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Re: Burco Boiler temperature accuracy

Postby Kev888 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:30 pm

That looks smart, Andy. I like the idea of the thermometer (and also the clear tube you have there). I guess if the thermostat isn't especially repeatable it would still get it about right and I could use a thermometer for manually tweaking it.

Thanks for the encouragement!

Cheers
Kev
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Re: Burco Boiler temperature accuracy

Postby Kev888 » Wed Apr 28, 2010 10:42 pm

My, 10 gallons - thats a big one! Looks quite solid though. Mine is only 22L between the tap and max marker but there's also a generous headroom over the max level so it'll be just about right for my HLT needs. I think its about 33l all told.

Thanks for the temperature/dial-setting info - should help me get closer to begin with, then I can fiddle around with a thermometer to fine tune it. I guess making a mark on the dial for the important temperatures would make brew days easier.

Cheers
Kev
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