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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Last few years, I've done the heating box with an electric heater fan to heat up our pales / barrels.
I'm sure people have tried dropping in heating elements. How do they work?

 

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I have used Ultra Low Watt Density (ULWD) elements to heat mash when brewing. I would definitely look for a SS one. If you use those with a Pulse Width Modulator (PWM) device, you can get very gentle heat. If I were going to try this, it would be something like this one that has a tri-clamp fitting, and then a PWM unit like this one would work. If you get a 220VAC element and run it on 110VAC, you will halve the wattage.

I have never tried it on honey, but the mass is similar. We recirculate mash when we do it, but like I said, keeping the modulation down low would work as well.
 

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Band type heaters work very well, don't forget to stir the bucket.
 
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Band type heaters work very well, don't forget to stir the bucket.
Yes a much larger contact area than a 1300 watt immersion heater. Ok in water; its viscosity is low enough it needs no stirring! Honey, especially if cold or partially crystallized is orders of magnitude higher viscosity. Problems arise in microwaving honey in glass jars. Spot heating can break glass containers with honey. It does not circulate away from an intense heat source.
 

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Band type heaters work very well, don't forget to stir the bucket.
I agree that would probably be safer. I was only answering the question about the element's use (I went all nearsighted on the question.)

Problems arise in microwaving honey in glass jars.
Oof, yeah, BTDT. That was one messy cleanup.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Okay so definitely I was on the wrong track there. lol.

Currently I have a 2" foam box with a space heater that self regulates the temperature.
Takes about 3.5 days to melt the15G barrel though.

Would something like this roof heating cable work like a band to speed things up? I have a temp probe in the honey that can turn on/off the heating cable, my own little microcontroller setup.

 

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Another way of doing this would be to use the immersion heater to heat a container of water and then a small pump like an aquarium pump or fountain pump to circulate the warm water through tubing in the honey. The temperature of the water is easier to regulate and no risk of locally overheating the honey.
 

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Would something like this roof heating cable work like a band to speed things up? I have a temp probe in the honey that can turn on/off the heating cable, my own little microcontroller setup.
It would - but I think you have the same challenges - that of the honey not moving fast. Your probe would have to be in the honey close to the edge to avoid overheating the honey, and you would have to rely on conduction through the rest since convection would be pretty minimal in that - especially given it's either cold and/or crystalized which is why you are heating it to begin with.

What are you using as a controller? I have several Arduino, ESP8266 and ESP32 projects either released or in flight. I seem to do a lot with temp control.

Another way of doing this would be to use the immersion heater to heat a container of water
I really like that idea - and you could use a sous vide device which has its own pump and controller, plus about 1000W of power so it would not take forever.
 

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The heating cable would be a good way to apply a more diffuse source of energy to avoid localized hot spots in the honey. I have used an old electric blanket. The temperature controller would be a good move. Just bypass the thermostat presently wired in on the cable. I have a cobbled up PID controller with 25 amp relay. It is fitted with a standard 120 receptacle and a fairly long thermocouple probe. Have not got around to putting a polarized receptable in for the thermocouple so it is handily transferrable from device to device. They can be bought ready made from Inkbird.
 

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I like simple. Put a Sous Vide in an ice chest filled with water. Set the bucket in the ice chest. A plastic tub will work if you don't have an ice chest that is large enough, but it's not insulated. Set at 105°. Patiently wait and let the laws of thermodynamics do the work for your.
 
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