80 Litre Thermo Pot-HLT Conversion

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jubby
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80 Litre Thermo Pot-HLT Conversion

Post by jubby » Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:24 pm

I have converted an 80 litre thermo pot into a heated HLT with sight tube and temp gauge using Vossy's idea, from his thread here: viewtopic.php?f=6&t=10326 but with a few changes. I have pinched loads of great ideas from this forum, so i decided to follow Vossy's example and post the conversion for anyone that might want to do the same. As Vossy said, it's not a 'how to' but more to offer up some ideas. There's probably better ways of doing it, but this is what i chose to do.
Here's the finished item:

Image

Tooling I used:
60mm hole saw (to cut the outer skin holes for the two kettle elements and the temp gauge)
73mm hole saw (used this to cut a circle out of the bottom outer skin. It's not necessary if you use an angle grinder to cut a square hole as Vossy did, but i had it already)
40mm Q-max cutter (for the kettle elements inner skin)
28mm Q-max cutter (for the sight tube elbow)
22.5mm Q-max cutter (for the tap hole)
Pipe bender
4" Angle grinder with a thin steel cutting disc
Tin snips (or a dremmel if you like that sort of thing)
I used a pillar drill, but any fairly substantial drill will do when using the larger hole saws and the speed should be kept low with plenty of water to prevent the cutting edge overheating and losing it's edge.

Parts required:
80 litre pot form Ebay France £104 delivered http://shop.ebay.fr/catering-service-fr ... ksid=p4340
15mm polycarbonate tubing £25.09 delivered (2m length min order. I used 500mm) http://www.theplasticshop.co.uk/polycar ... 568-0.html
1\2" BSP skin fitting for the HLT drain. £7 (ish) delivered http://www.foxsonline.com/acatalog/info_AF2-70000.html
Two Backer kettle Elements £30 delivered http://www.heatingelementcompany.co.uk/default.asp
Two Backer cables £6 delivered (Ebay)
Two KM8 bearing lock nuts £10.34 delivered. (these are to secure the Backer elements as the plastic threaded shrouds supplied with them are not up to the job. (Thanks to scooby for the pointer!) http://www.bearingboys.co.uk/product.cg ... &x=18&y=14
4" Mashmaster temp gauge £33.43 delivered (or £52 with the customs charges :evil: :evil: ) http://mashmaster.com.au/

Plumbing fittings:
All from here: http://www.bes.co.uk/products/156.asp
1X P/N 6691. 1/2 BSP female-15mm compression elbow £1.38
2X P/N 17633. 1/2 BSP male-15mm compression straight £0.53 ea
1X P/N 16829. 1/2 BSP stainless steel tap £6.98
1X P/N 14558. 1/2 BSP stainless steel hose tail £2.35
1X P/N 19199 1/2 BSP winged female-15mm pushfit £2.98
1X P/N 7716 15mm single ring clamp (munson clamp) £0.60

Sundries:
Lead free solder and flux.
500mm 15mm copper pipe
1X 15mm end feed tee. (end feed = no solder)
PTFE tape. (use about 15 turns of tape on all of the threaded fittings)
JB weld or a washer. (it will become clear later)
2X 25mm long spacers with 5mm I/D hole, 2X 4mm screws, nuts and washers-35mm long

TOTAL COST (WITHOUT TOOLING & SUNDRIES) AROUND £245 :shock:

Here we go then.

Image
First job was to find the center and drill the large 73mm hole in the bottom. (I had the hole cutter already, it's not necessary as you can cut a square hole with the angle grinder) Then mark out and cut a 'pie slice' big enough to allow the plumbing to fit. Note that the positioning of the tap, sight tube and temp gauge are determined by the the HLT position in my brewery. This will need to be changed to suit.

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Remove the insulation with a sharp knife. (you may want to get a grown up to help. I should have; as i nearly lost a finger tip!)

Image
The outer wall of the pot is rolled together with the bottom. This has to be cut along the rolled edge and removed. I used the angle grinder to cut the rolled edge and tin snips. You could use your dremmel here.

Image
22.5mm Q-max cutter in place to cut the hole for the skin fitting.

Image
This is the skin fitting cut to the correct length so that it fits into the female brass elbow.

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Here's the bits laid out for the tap and sight tube fitting. The lower part of the photo is the S/S tap with hose tail fitted. Moving right is a straight 1/2BSP-15mm compression, then copper pipe and tee, then the cut down skin fitting with brass 1/2 BSP female-15mm compression elbow. The upper part of the photo is the winged 15mm push fit-1/2 BSP female with the second of the straight 1/2 BSP male-15mm compression fittings already assembled.

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Holes marked out for the tap and sight tube fitting.

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Holes cut. The left hole cut with the 28mm Q-max for the sight tube fitting along with the two 5mm holes either side for the screws to secure it. The right hole cut with the 22.5mm Q-max for the tap.

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Tap and sight tube fitting installed.

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Pipework assembled and soldered. Gave it a good soak to remove flux etc (more pipe bending practice required :roll: ) The whole lot was assembled at this point. You will need arms like a gibbon, or an assistant to fit the skin fitting, which is screwed into the brass elbow from inside the pot. I used JB weld on the mounting flange of the skin fitting. A washer would do the job, but it would raise the fitting slightly inside the pot which would mean a bit more unusable liquor.

Image
Cutting the 60mm hole in the outer skin for the kettle elements.

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Cut the inner skin hole with the 40mm Q-max cutter and fit the element. The second element is fitted in the same way on the opposite side of the pot. They are secured temporarily with the supplied plastic shrouds. These will be replaced with the KM8 bearing nuts when they arrive.

Image
This is the 'single ring' or 'munson' clamp which will hold the sight tube. The left one has been cut to the correct depth. Install the sight tube then mark and drill a hole to take the countersunk self tapper about two thirds of the way up the pot. Fit the clamp and secure the sight tube.

Image
All done.

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With a nice shiny plate to cover it all back up. A bit sad......maybe, but i wanted to keep it looking nice.

The temp gauge was fitted in the same way as the kettle elements. 54mm outer skin hole, but a 22.5mm hole on the inner skin. It took about 8 hours to make, but i don't rush.
Last edited by jubby on Sun Mar 07, 2010 4:55 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mr Nick's Brewhouse.

Thermopot HLT Conversion

Drinking: Mr Nick's East India IPA v3 First Gold & Citra quaffing ale
Conditioning:
FV:
Planned: Some other stuff.
Ageing:

Scooby

Re: 80 Litre Thermo Pot-HLT Conversion

Post by Scooby » Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:33 pm

Very very tidy, both in the ideas and the execution :wink:

adm

Re: 80 Litre Thermo Pot-HLT Conversion

Post by adm » Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:55 pm

Lovely work Jubby! That's a cracker....gives me inspiration for ordering one of these and hacking it apart.

No integrated PID controller and timer? :twisted:

(Edit: I originally congratulated Boingy for Jubby's HLT! That's what you get trying to read JBK in a restaurant at Heathrow airport while the bring your dinner.... :oops: )
Last edited by adm on Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:02 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: 80 Litre Thermo Pot-HLT Conversion

Post by WishboneBrewery » Mon Mar 01, 2010 6:58 pm

very nice neat work :)
is that a lathe I see in the background, do you have a lathe in the garage?

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jubby
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Re: 80 Litre Thermo Pot-HLT Conversion

Post by jubby » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:11 pm

adm wrote:Lovely work Jubby! That's a cracker....gives me inspiration for ordering one of these and hacking it apart.

No integrated PID controller and timer? :twisted:

(Edit: I originally congratulated Boingy for Jubby's HLT! That's what you get trying to read JBK in a restaurant at Heathrow airport while the bring your dinner.... :oops: )
:lol:

Ta. No timer. I tend to prepare my liquor the night before brewing and heat it to near boiling. Stick the lid on and it loses about 15C overnight (in this weather) so only a few mins to get it to strike. the temp never drops more than a degree during the sparge, so i don't use a controller either.
That's what you get trying to read JBK in a restaurant at Heathrow airport while the bring your dinner
Off anywhere nice?
pdtnc wrote:very nice neat work :)
is that a lathe I see in the background, do you have a lathe in the garage?
Yes, but it's in the workshop. The garage is for brewing only :!:
Mr Nick's Brewhouse.

Thermopot HLT Conversion

Drinking: Mr Nick's East India IPA v3 First Gold & Citra quaffing ale
Conditioning:
FV:
Planned: Some other stuff.
Ageing:

adm

Re: 80 Litre Thermo Pot-HLT Conversion

Post by adm » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:17 pm

jubby wrote: Off anywhere nice?
Berlin now, then on to Dublin on Thursday, back home on Friday evening.

Which means.....Weissbeer for the next few days (but not Berliner Wiess) followed by Stout.

But other than that.....a shedload of miserable, soul destroying work, meeting with Lawyers, Tax Analysts, Investment Bankers and other Corporate vermin.

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jubby
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Re: 80 Litre Thermo Pot-HLT Conversion

Post by jubby » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:22 pm

adm wrote:
jubby wrote: Off anywhere nice?
Berlin now, then on to Dublin on Thursday, back home on Friday evening.

Which means.....Weissbeer for the next few days (but not Berliner Wiess) followed by Stout.

But other than that.....a shedload of miserable, soul destroying work, meeting with Lawyers, Tax Analysts, Investment Bankers and other Corporate vermin.
Weissbeer & stout sounds good (not in the same glass though) but the rest sounds pants. Good luck :)
Mr Nick's Brewhouse.

Thermopot HLT Conversion

Drinking: Mr Nick's East India IPA v3 First Gold & Citra quaffing ale
Conditioning:
FV:
Planned: Some other stuff.
Ageing:

boingy

Re: 80 Litre Thermo Pot-HLT Conversion

Post by boingy » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:29 pm

adm wrote:I originally congratulated Boingy for Jubby's HLT!
Fank yew, fank yew, fank yew folks.
I found it pretty easy.
In fact, it was nothing.
No, really. It was nothing.

Jubby, mate, that truly is a thing of beauty. Nice one.

I have a question:
What was the thinking behind mounting the tap and sight gauge below the lowest point of the inner pot as opposed to mounting them an inch or two higher and not having to cut out that pie shape from the base? Not that I am critisising your pie. it's lovely! Is it just so you have a single outlet from the pot and so you can get every last drop out of it?

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Re: 80 Litre Thermo Pot-HLT Conversion

Post by jubby » Mon Mar 01, 2010 7:44 pm

boingy wrote:
adm wrote:I originally congratulated Boingy for Jubby's HLT!
Fank yew, fank yew, fank yew folks.
I found it pretty easy.
In fact, it was nothing.
No, really. It was nothing.

Jubby, mate, that truly is a thing of beauty. Nice one.

I have a question:
What was the thinking behind mounting the tap and sight gauge below the lowest point of the inner pot as opposed to mounting them an inch or two higher and not having to cut out that pie shape from the base? Not that I am critisising your pie. it's lovely! Is it just so you have a single outlet from the pot and so you can get every last drop out of it?
Thanks Boingy. My existing 50 litre HLT has a tap on the side like you say and one of Garth's sight tube kits. The sight tube can"t indicate anything below 4 litres or above 38 and there's always 4 litres left in the HLT unless you tip it up. Also i use a gravity fed set up and climbing up steps to get the dreggs out of the HLT and rinse it is a pain in the arse. This HLT was a lot more work, but i can see the entire contents of the HLT and use it without tipping it up.
Photo of old HLT so you can see what i mean:
Image
Mr Nick's Brewhouse.

Thermopot HLT Conversion

Drinking: Mr Nick's East India IPA v3 First Gold & Citra quaffing ale
Conditioning:
FV:
Planned: Some other stuff.
Ageing:

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Re: 80 Litre Thermo Pot-HLT Conversion

Post by OvenHiker » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:10 pm

That's very impressive work there jubby.

That design was almost exactly the sort of thing I had in mind for a thermopot HLT. I was also planning to take the sight glass below the base of the tank as you have - a thought I had after what you said about your old 50 litre HLT when we were brewing Evil Twin at your place last year.

Is there a good reason to put the drain in the centre of the tank? Perhaps you have shaped the floor of the tank toward the drain? I was planning on putting the drain close to the wall. This would mean slightly less cutting and slightly less pipework and would also allow the HLT to be placed on a slight incline to aid draining if desired.

How do the Backer kettle elements perform? I guess that being 2750W, you can use a normal 13A plug and socket rather than the 15A sockets recommended when using 3kW immersion elements? Plus you have the boil dry protection built in.

If you have any bits left over, I know of a good home for them? :) Oh, and if you are ordering stuff in for a new boiler let me know. We could split the postage and could also try for a discount?

leedsbrew

Re: 80 Litre Thermo Pot-HLT Conversion

Post by leedsbrew » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:29 pm

Cracking work Jubby! I take it the 80L TP's don't have a tap on the side like the smaller ones? :D

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Re: 80 Litre Thermo Pot-HLT Conversion

Post by OvenHiker » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:34 pm

leedsbrew wrote: I take it the 80L TP's don't have a tap on the side like the smaller ones?
Not that I've seen. 70 litre does.

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Re: 80 Litre Thermo Pot-HLT Conversion

Post by jubby » Tue Mar 02, 2010 12:57 pm

OvenHiker wrote:That's very impressive work there jubby.

That design was almost exactly the sort of thing I had in mind for a thermopot HLT. I was also planning to take the sight glass below the base of the tank as you have - a thought I had after what you said about your old 50 litre HLT when we were brewing Evil Twin at your place last year.

Is there a good reason to put the drain in the centre of the tank? Perhaps you have shaped the floor of the tank toward the drain? I was planning on putting the drain close to the wall. This would mean slightly less cutting and slightly less pipework and would also allow the HLT to be placed on a slight incline to aid draining if desired.

How do the Backer kettle elements perform? I guess that being 2750W, you can use a normal 13A plug and socket rather than the 15A sockets recommended when using 3kW immersion elements? Plus you have the boil dry protection built in.

If you have any bits left over, I know of a good home for them? :) Oh, and if you are ordering stuff in for a new boiler let me know. We could split the postage and could also try for a discount?
Ta OH. I remember the conversation and thought at the time, my next HLT will have the tap and sight tube lower. Lots more work, but it's only got to be done once.
I haven't tested the elements yet (still waiting for the bearing nuts), but i guess they should heat a full pot within an hour. I will let you know.
There's no reason for placing the skin fitting in the middle, but there's not a lot of room for the plumbing so it might be a bit tight squeezing it all in too close to the edge. I'm sure it could be done though.
I agree, the Backer elements are a good choice. You could just about get by with 3kw heaters in a standard decent quality socket that's not worn, but not recommended for any length of time though.

Got some bits left. Lots of the plumbing stuff i already had. You might want a length of the polycarbonate tubing as the postage costs the same as the tube :shock: I will be selling 3X 500mm lengths for cost price on here soon as the min order was 2m. I will save you a length if you want. Won't be ordering anything in the near future. Ordering a couple of temp gauges from Aus would have been a good idea. Then you could have shared the ridiculous customs and post office charges with me :evil:
leedsbrew wrote:Cracking work Jubby! I take it the 80L TP's don't have a tap on the side like the smaller ones? :D
Thanks lb. As OH said, the taps are fitted to the 70 litre, but also the 38 and 25. Not sure if there are any others.
Hope you haven't quaffed that beer yet :!: still not ready. It's better but not to my taste........yet.
Mr Nick's Brewhouse.

Thermopot HLT Conversion

Drinking: Mr Nick's East India IPA v3 First Gold & Citra quaffing ale
Conditioning:
FV:
Planned: Some other stuff.
Ageing:

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Re: 80 Litre Thermo Pot-HLT Conversion

Post by OvenHiker » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:14 pm

jubby wrote:Ta OH. I remember the conversation and thought at the time, my next HLT will have the tap and sight tube lower. Lots more work, but it's only got to be done once.
I haven't tested the elements yet (still waiting for the bearing nuts), but i guess they should heat a full pot within an hour. I will let you know.
There's no reason for placing the skin fitting in the middle, but there's not a lot of room for the plumbing so it might be a bit tight squeezing it all in too close to the edge. I'm sure it could be done though.
I agree, the Backer elements are a good choice. You could just about get by with 3kw heaters in a standard decent quality socket that's not worn, but not recommended for any length of time though.
I take your point about the lack of space for the plumbing and I think you've convinced me on the Backer elements. Would they be as appropriate for a boiler? GW's book suggests immersion elements are better than kettle elements in boilers.
jubby wrote:Got some bits left. Lots of the plumbing stuff i already had. You might want a length of the polycarbonate tubing as the postage costs the same as the tube :shock: I will be selling 3X 500mm lengths for cost price on here soon as the min order was 2m. I will save you a length if you want. Won't be ordering anything in the near future. Ordering a couple of temp gauges from Aus would have been a good idea. Then you could have shared the ridiculous customs and post office charges with me :evil:
Coo, thanks jubby! Yes, I'll happily take a couple of lengths of the polycarbonate tubing off your hands. I'll send you a PM.

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Re: 80 Litre Thermo Pot-HLT Conversion

Post by jubby » Tue Mar 02, 2010 1:33 pm

I take your point about the lack of space for the plumbing and I think you've convinced me on the Backer elements. Would they be as appropriate for a boiler? GW's book suggests immersion elements are better than kettle elements in boilers.

GW doesn't give a reason other than "technical reasons". I would guess that the bigger surface area of an immersion is better and that they are designed for continuous use. I think that the kettle elements used for boiling wort tend to form a film of beer stone which needs to be cleaned off, otherwise the elements can burn out. I don't know if this problem is the same for immersion heaters. Not sure really. My old HLT is fitted with an 11" immersion heater which works very well. Fitting two of these would be a bit tight which is why i went for the kettle elements.
Mr Nick's Brewhouse.

Thermopot HLT Conversion

Drinking: Mr Nick's East India IPA v3 First Gold & Citra quaffing ale
Conditioning:
FV:
Planned: Some other stuff.
Ageing:

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