DIY boiler - safety?

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JamesH
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DIY boiler - safety?

Post by JamesH » Wed Sep 18, 2019 8:50 pm

Hi,

I am currently making a boiler from an old FV and a couple of old kettles. I followed a couple of YouTube videos and it has been pretty straightforward so far.

My question is on finishing off the outside of the elements. They currently look like this (hope the image link works):

https://drive.google.com/open?id=1Nk83F ... Wk7SetW3hj

It looks a bit risky to me to have all the wiring out on show - is it advisable to enclose it all somehow (once I add the final cable)?

Also, I ripped out the wiring with the light on it as I thought it would not be important. Is this a mistake? I can just buy another cheap kettle if I have messed up.

Thanks,

James.

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LeeH
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DIY boiler - safety?

Post by LeeH » Thu Sep 19, 2019 6:55 am

You most certainly need to cover up all the exposed live connections. The neon is not important.


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Re: DIY boiler - safety?

Post by JamesH » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:18 am

Thanks,

Any advice on what to use to cover it up?

James.

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Re: DIY boiler - safety?

Post by LeeH » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:05 am

I don’t know, didn’t the kettle have a shroud?

IMHO it’s not worth dicking around if you cannot make it safe.

https://www.angelhomebrew.co.uk/en/kett ... t-kit.html

If you shop around on Ali express I’m sure you can get the same above for less.


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Jim
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Re: DIY boiler - safety?

Post by Jim » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:25 am

As said above, very important electrical connections are well protected in brewing gear - there tends to be a lot of liquid splashing about.
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Kev888
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Re: DIY boiler - safety?

Post by Kev888 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 9:42 am

Normally the donor kettle body will be shaped in such a way as to form a shroud around the contacts, though whether you could cut and fit it to the DIY boiler might be a different matter.

When connected, the contacts are covered by the plug, but when the plug is being put on or taken off then parts of them will be exposed whilst live. The shroud just guards against fingers etc reaching them at these stages, and also adds a tiny amount of splash protection. Thats probably the useful minimum, so anything you can fix on as a cover to offer just a plug-sized hole would likely work.

I haven't used such elements for years (the designs seemed to get harder to neatly bypass the overheat cut-outs). But in the past I cut the bottom out of an IEC panel or chassis socket to leave just the flanged plastic shroud if that is of any use - i.e. one of these:
Image
Another approach is to solder a bit of suitable flex permanently to the prongs and cover/seal everything up.

Splashes and boil-overs can still get past most shrouds, so if your socket isn't on an RCD protected circuit then you can get RCD adaptors to usefully offer additional electrical protection. Though normally that would be in addition to the shroud, it shouldn't be the main/only protection against touching contacts.
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Re: DIY boiler - safety?

Post by Sorcerer » Thu Sep 19, 2019 11:16 am

I used SWA cable shrouds to cover the kettle connectors. (You can pick them up in electrical suppliers) I have always thought the stripped down kettle elements looked lethal, much better to use a proper kettle element plus note the C15 kettle connector, which is rated higher for temperature and current than the usual C13 computer type power connector. The C15 connector has a nick removed opposite the earth connection. I also used a banana plug and socket to earth the keggle with a link from the flex supplying the element. [IMG]//uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201909 ... 45b7eb.jpg[/IMG][IMG]//uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201909 ... 720db1.jpg[/IMG][IMG]//uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/201909 ... f42fd2.jpg[/IMG]

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Re: DIY boiler - safety?

Post by Horden Hillbilly » Thu Sep 19, 2019 7:53 pm

I've got to be honest here, I wouldn't consider using a fermenting bin for a boiler, I don't consider them up to the job.


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Kev888
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Re: DIY boiler - safety?

Post by Kev888 » Thu Sep 19, 2019 8:44 pm

Yes, good point. Such plastic buckets can be adequate (as the plastic electrim models show) but not all are equal and fermenters certainly need not be. If it is going to be done at all then IMO make sure it is at least a few mm thickness of polypropylene (PP).

There are examples of high density polyethylene (HDPE) containers being used successfully (typically blue barrels) but these are 'far' thicker than any normal fermenting bucket would be, and even then it is inadvisable since they are being used well past their rating. Under no circumstances would I use thin polyethylene, as some (e.g. wine) fermenters are made of.

Though if the overheat/boil-dry protection of re-purposed kettle elements is bypassed, then all bets are off should 'any' thermoplastic boiler be run dry. The introduction of (relatively) cheap Bergland stainless stock pots (e.g. from the malt miller or brewbuilder) has offered a better option than was available during many older topics, if such can be afforded. Or given long enough and a bit of luck then sooner or later used stainless 30L/33L tea urns and wash boilers can come up on ebay for very little - especially if only offered for local collection.
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Re: DIY boiler - safety?

Post by JamesH » Sat Sep 21, 2019 1:42 pm

Thanks for the responses. Have decided to sack this idea off, bin all the stuff and look out for a cheap second hand boiler.

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Re: DIY boiler - safety?

Post by Oldstunty » Sat Sep 21, 2019 5:00 pm

I started off with one of these https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/60L-Litre-Op ... xyFjNSNxDF.
I fitted two 2.5Kw bain marie elements and a drain valve. great for BIAB.

Cheers,
Jon.

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Re: DIY boiler - safety?

Post by Kev888 » Sun Sep 22, 2019 9:45 am

Yes, those are the blue HDPE containers mentioned. People generally tend to get away with it, and of course are free to choose them. Though they aren't rated for boiling and a small number have sagged or cracked, so very much down to the individual to decide.
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Jim
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Re: DIY boiler - safety?

Post by Jim » Sun Sep 22, 2019 10:01 am

JamesH wrote:
Sat Sep 21, 2019 1:42 pm
Thanks for the responses. Have decided to sack this idea off, bin all the stuff and look out for a cheap second hand boiler.
I reckon that's probably the best idea.

I used a Electrim plastic boiler for years, but I never felt as if it was really safe when it was boiling. Stainless steel is so much better and lasts forever.
"Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away" - Philip K. Dick

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