Voltage controller with an urn?

A section for all electrical discussions, including controllers, elements, wiring diagrams & schematics.
Forum rules
By participating in this section you acknowledge you are aware of aussiedistiller,com.au forum rules, policies & disclaimer.
If you are not aware please go to the rules section "before" you continue in this area of our forums.

"you expressly agree to hold aussiedistiller.com.au, Administration and moderator team, harmless for any property damage, personal injury and/or death, or any other loss or damage that may result from your use of the information or service provided here in and through out our forums"

the information found in our forums, are from many sources, qualified and un qualified as is the nature of the internet, and as such you use this information at your own risk. No liability directly or indirectly will be accepted by aussiedistillers.com.au, administration, the mod team or their heirs, whatsoever.


aussiedistiller team.

Voltage controller with an urn?

Postby Hefty » Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:42 pm

Hi all,
This relates to a question I had in my intro/welcome post the other day.
I have a 40L 2400w exposed element urn that I've got rigged up for mashing (I'm a beer brewer from way back) using an STC-1000 for temp control.
Now, having done some more reading on here, I understand that this sort of controller isn't suitable for running a boiler.
However, if I can rig it up as a pot still and get a good seal around the rim then can I get/build a voltage controller for the urn, if I set its internal thermostat to full? or do I absolutely HAVE to bypass the internal thermostat circuitry to control its voltage?

Posts: 9
Joined: Sat Sep 01, 2018 11:30 am
equipment: Building a pot still, I'm here for your advice!

Re: Voltage controller with an urn?

Postby PeterC » Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:11 pm

Hi, Controllers that use a thermostat usually switch on/off around the temperature set point. Voltage controllers modify the voltage to run at a fixed value. This means you can supply a steady power level which in turn creates a steady rate of vapour production. You set the controller to give the rate you want. In a pot still you control the rate of production. In a bubble plate still you control the amount of reflux that is happening. Too low and you get low reflux or the plates may not load up. Too high and you may push past the reflux condenser or get plate flooding. It is great to have the control to run the still at a the right balance and every still is different.

You could maybe still use your boiler. Just leave the internal thermosat to full but get an external voltage controller which fits on the power lead to the boiler. I am not an electrician so I could not comment if the voltage controller would affect the thermosat electrics.
Last edited by PeterC on Wed Sep 05, 2018 11:15 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 114
Joined: Sun Feb 05, 2017 12:20 am
Location: Perth WA
equipment: An 18gall. (80L) keg with 2x2000W elements. A 4 plate, 4 inch glass column + 500mm packed section just learning to drive. Plus other bits.

Re: Voltage controller with an urn?

Postby JayTee » Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:12 am

I use a voltage controller in the way that PeterC suggests very successfully. No issues at all with the boiler thermostat
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:09 am
equipment: T500 with copper fractional column head + copper Alembic dome

Re: Voltage controller with an urn?

Postby JayTee » Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:52 am

I should add that you don't want the urn thermostat triggering during distillation, so its temperature threshold should be raised accordingly.
Posts: 36
Joined: Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:09 am
equipment: T500 with copper fractional column head + copper Alembic dome

Re: Voltage controller with an urn?

Postby username » Thu Sep 06, 2018 12:13 pm

I use a crown urn with concealed element for BIAB.
I have not modified the thermostat, and have measured (admittedly questionable accuracy) 110 degrees on full rolling boil, i haven't had the thermostat kick in.
I wouldn't expect a wash boiling off alcohol to have a higher rolling boil temp than malty water.
I suspect you are better off the leave the thermostat unmolested and check what temp it kicks in at?
Posts: 22
Joined: Thu Nov 24, 2016 1:12 am
equipment: 2" Pot on keg, gas driven.

Re: Voltage controller with an urn?

Postby warramungas » Thu Sep 06, 2018 12:37 pm

Set your urn to full noise and use a voltage controller to supply the power to through its normal plug. I used a birko for years this way with a sutronics burst fire controller and if that didn't blow it up one if these more modern jobbies wont.
And you're right. An stc1000 is completely wrong for it. Its basically an electronic thermostat which the urn already has.

Edit: Keep in mind though I had a nightmare of a time sealing mine though.
Last edited by warramungas on Thu Sep 06, 2018 12:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Posts: 1348
Joined: Sun Oct 18, 2015 9:38 pm
Location: Nor Perth
equipment: 180 litre fermenter x 2
30 liter boiler
2" four plate modular bubbler
2" one meter long LM column
110 liter boiler with 25 liter (max) inline thumper
4" x 4 plate bubble cap still

Return to Electrical Hardware

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest