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How to setup heating element to heat 2 gallons of water? Answered

Hi All,

I have a thought on something that I'd love to build, but I'm having some trouble figuring out the best way to do it.  I'm new to everything electricity, so please bare with me on my lack of knowledge on the subject.

What I'm building is a coffee maker that you can take with you as you leave the house.  I need to figure out how to create a way to heat up the coffee to roughly 60-80 degrees, then once done you can detach it and take unit with you.  

Now, here is the catch.  I don't want to rely on the battery source to heat the water, ideally I'd be able to setup a removable plug that both charges the batteries and heats the element that gets the water up to 60 degrees while plugged in.  Once the water is heated, I'd then like the ability to detach the cord, and you can take the coffee maker with you.  The batteries at this point just need to keep the water warm/hot, not heat it from scratch.  

Also, I'd like to figure out how to have a timer on this with an LCD screen.  That way, just like with any coffee maker, you can set the time before you go to sleep and have it ready by the time you go on your commute.

Any help on how I should set this up, battery sizes, places that I can find parts I would need would be a gigantic help!  I've been searching the internet for a few hours but cannot find anything.

Thanks in advance.


Jack A Lopez

5 years ago

I found a thermostatically controlled coffee mug at a thrift store one time. This gizmo was powered via cigarette lighter plug. It required a car to power it, a few amperes of current, but that would be no big deal if you happen to commute by car.

If you take the train to get to work, then, in that case, it might be more difficult to find a place to plug it in. Perhaps that is why you are imagining something powered by batteries?

I'm also trying to guess what part of the world you're from, where volume is measured in gallons, and temperature is measured in degrees Celsius. I mean, you are wanting your coffee at 60 to 80 C, right? Because 60 to 80 F is like room temperature, and it would probably be very easy keep coffee at that temperature.

Actually, room-temperature coffee tastes good to me, but I think most people prefer it warm, or hot, for some reason.


5 years ago

We use the Camco #02963 5500W 240VAC ultra low watt density (ULWD) RIPP element (shown installed in our pre-assembled Heating Element Kit in the picture at left). This heating element has proven to be very popular amongst home brewers with electric setups. One element provides enough heat to bring a typical 10-20 gallon batch to a boil within a reasonable time frame.

The element is ultra low watt density (epo elisa kit http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/heating-elements ) which means that the heat produced per square inch along the element is very low which reduces the chance of scorching or caramelizing the boiling wort. These elements are typically folded over on themselves making the effective length twice as long as a regular element. This particular element uses a zig-zag pattern to make it even longer still, further reducing the amount of heat produced per square inch.

Is ULWD really required however? In discussions with many other electric brewers who use 'standard' density electric elements, the whole idea of scorching or caramelization seems to be mostly Internet folklore. We haven't come across one concrete example where this has happened, but we feel it's better to be safe than sorry, especially considering that the cost of ULWD elements is minimal compared to 'standard' elements.

There is however one very good reason to use ULWD elements over regular elements: They won't break as easily if fired up "dry" (not immersed in water). When a regular element is fired up "dry" the element will pop fairly quickly (usually before you notice your mistake!) as there is no water to dissipate the heat. While nobody means to fire up an element like this, mistakes do happen. Using ULWD elements provides you with a little bit of insurance against these human errors. Popping an element is about the last thing you want given that you've likely already milled your grain and have everything ready to go.

mgallo121Josehf Murchison

Answer 5 years ago

Josehf, that could actually work!

My thought around that though is if I want to productize (Is that a word?) something like this, then I'd need to be able to at least build a few replicas. Due to Patent reasons, I'm assuming I'd need to be able to build this product from scratch...

Josehf Murchisonmgallo121

Answer 5 years ago

productize is a word and you used it right.

I would just patent the added circuitry to the coffee percolator and then sell the design to a percolator maker and let them do the rest of the work.

Have you seen Dragons Den something like what they do on that show.

If you were to design the whole coffee percolator patent it put it in production market it you would be dealing with the same people and doing all the work as well taking all the risk. Plus you would need a lot of start up money.

If you design it and sell or lease the percolator maker the rights they do all the work and you get to go fishing as the money comes in.


5 years ago

How about a thermos bottle?