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Blown Element.......bugger.

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bignath

"Grains don't grow up to be chips, son"
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Was doing a single batch today with my new biab rig, and when i had finished draining to the cube, i noticed one of the two elements was black.

Initially i thought it was scorched wort or something, but then when it came time to clean the vessel, i plugged it in and it kept tripping the fuse box.

She is dead.

Just wondering about the pattern that the burnout has left on the element. Anyone seen anything like this before? I have no idea how it happened.

It looks to me like it has been on when it hasn't had fluid over the top of it (half sticking out dry above the water line), but i'm not sure how that's possible, because as long as there's ten litres in the pot, she's covered.

A bit perplexed.

Luckily, i have a spare to swap it over with, and i also have an immersion element too.
I was wondering why the boil that is usually quite vigorous was more of a gently simmer, but as the lights on the element body were still on, i put it down to the cold weather outside.

Blown Element;
blown_element.jpg
 

QldKev

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Not good news, but when I saw you had build the vessel with these I though with such a high heat density for boiling wort I wonder how long they will last. I did think you may get a couple more brews before having issues. IMHO I think kettle elements are great for non wort contact, such as HLT and HERMS, but keep them away from wort. Finger crossed it was just a bad element and the replacement lasts a while.

QldKev
 

bignath

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Yeah, im hoping it was just a dud because ive used these elements in other parts of my brewing before without issue. I used to have a 30lt aluminium pot as a boiler, and had two of these elements in that and i got several years out of it. Actually the elements didnt die at all, i just upgraded and offloaded the pot...hence i didnt hesitate to use them for this build.

What has me stumped is the pattern it created when it blew. Looks a lot like a waterline, as though half the elements was out of the wort. I did notice throughout the mash that the level in the sightglass fluctuated a lot, but i cant imagine it dipped that low. Maybe there was a distribution of wort return problem and the kettle sucked itself dry for a short time during the mash.

Im clutching at straws and guessing with that though. But im sure the damage was done during the mash because it never reached the type of boil ive had previously.

I think it will actually be better with a double batch which for me is regular size as there is more liquid involved, and am starting to wonder if most of the liquor under the mash ended up in the mash basket and couldnt get out easily for a bit and maybe the element saw this as a boil dry???
 

Edak

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I had one of these start tripping the safety switch after only 2 uses in my sous-vide. It was ALWAYS covered with water so I have no idea why it stopped working... Being sous-vide there is only water in there so not wort related. It didn't go brown so initially I thought something else had gone wrong. I replaced it and has been working fine now.

These kettles are only $8 from kmart at the moment so I think I might buy a couple of spares (and build another sous-vide)
 

bignath

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I had one of these start tripping the safety switch after only 2 uses in my sous-vide. It was ALWAYS covered with water so I have no idea why it stopped working... Being sous-vide there is only water in there so not wort related. It didn't go brown so initially I thought something else had gone wrong. I replaced it and has been working fine now.

These kettles are only $8 from kmart at the moment so I think I might buy a couple of spares (and build another sous-vide)
Thanks mate, im really hoping it was just a dud element. I found the fluctuating water level in the sightglass throughout the mash process interesting, but i'm sure it wasn't low enough to expose the element.

The elements are covered if there 10lt's or more fluid in the vessel. My sightglass starts at 10lt's and is calibrated in 2lt increments. I KNOW for a fact that i saw the sightglass level drop to around the 18-20lt mark whilst recirculating the mash, when there is 32lt's (full volume biab starting volume) in the vessel, but unless it sucked dry when i had my back turned for 5mins, it didn't get lower than the elements.

Im not sure why the level changed so much as this is only my second ever recirculating mash, but im reasonably confident that this issue didn't blow an element so fingers crossed it's just a lemon of an element. Will go and get another couple of kettles today as spares....

For those that recirculate, (in any form of mash brewing) do you find the level in the sightglass if you have one, is often different from the actual level inside the vessel?

On a side note, if these elements start giving me trouble regularly, are there elements available that will be able to be used in the existing holes, or will i have to leave these elements in there, and install some better ones? Just thinking about any uprgrades that i may be forced into down the track. I don't want to have any more "holes" in my vessel than it already has...

If any one who is following the build of the rig (link in my signature), i guess the good thing about now having an elevated support for the grain bag, is that now i could potentially fit some CB, Keg King etc style elements in the side of the pot, as they can slide in underneath the mash, whereas before using the colander, this wouldn't have been possible.

For the time being, i guess i'll grab a couple more kettles as spares, and monitor the situation.
 

Edak

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On a side note, if these elements start giving me trouble regularly, are there elements available that will be able to be used in the existing holes, or will i have to leave these elements in there, and install some better ones? Just thinking about any uprgrades that i may be forced into down the track. I don't want to have any more "holes" in my vessel than it already has...
There aren't any other elements with a 40mm hole as far as I am aware. Even if you had to buy up 5 of these kettle elements for spare (and I think that this one was just a dud) you will still have plenty more life than one of the keg king elements.
 

seravitae

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Only thing I can think of is that if the build quality of the element was low, then perhaps as part of the element started to die it conducted more and burnt out, successively burning out more around it. It's an interesting 'death pattern' but if you are as sure as you say you are about the element being totally immersed, then I can only think of the above reason, and the death pattern is just coincidental.

I do not want to get involved but you may want to read the recent keg king element thread for review of your next brand of heating element.
 
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