Brewery Upgrade Phase 2

In the upgrade process, phase 2 is running the 240V line to run the heating elements.  This is a hard post to make exciting, because it’s basically all about a wire.  And at one time after reading about the death of craft beer on some linkbaitey website (damn you Gose!!! :-D), I thought that I should only make posts that are informative or truly funny, and occasionally respectfully opinionated.

This post is about a boring orange wire.

IMPORTANT NOTE: NOTHING IN THIS IS ADVICE OR A HOW-TO.  The voltages involved with an electric brewery are extremely dangerous, and doing things wrong can result in FIRE or DEATH (and it will hurt like Hell the entire time you are dying).  

2015-01-04 16.12.15

Yay, a boring hole in the insulation.

2015-01-04 16.54.22

A boring hole with a wire. I couldn’t get conduit behind the drainpipe above, and that drainpipe is NOT getting moved, so I wrote on the insulation that there is a wire there.

2015-01-04 16.54.27

And… a wire. It’s pulled down near the circuit breaker panel in preparation to be run in the panel to a breaker.

I sometimes have good ideas.  Like bolting this piece down to a scrap piece of 2x4 to drill it for a cable connector.

I sometimes have good ideas. Like bolting this piece down to a scrap piece of 2×4 to drill it for a cable connector.

All wired in!

All wired in!

Finish up.

Finish up.

2015-03-01 11.06.05

Around this point, I shut off the power and installed the 50-amp breaker.


2015-03-01 11.19.24

Drilling the enclosure for the side of the kettle.


2015-03-01 11.52.33

Installed heating element. This took three or four tries to get it installed, and ultimately the wrong washer was the one that came with it and the correct one was a red 1 11/16 o-ring I bought from Amazon.

After this, I decided to turn things on. Unfortunately, I was greeted with a shit ton of sparks.

Not good.  Lots of sparks

Not good. Lots of sparks

2015-03-01 12.11.30

Bottom side of sparks.


2015-03-01 12.17.02

After shutting stuff down and looking into WHY I had a little explosion, I found that I must have pulled the cable too tight and sliced into one of the hot wires. When it connected to ground… BOOM.


2015-03-01 12.20.27

This is the strain relief that the cable was sliced through. This did come right out, fortunately, as the heat from the arcing was enough to do some damage to the threads. Had it been longer, it could have welded in place.


While a large part of this post was quite boring (seriously, it’s a wire!), I’m really excited about it.  Not the wire (even I think the wire’s pretty darn boring), what will happen when I get the rest of the stuff wired in and I can brew beer in the basement.