How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark II

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How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark II

Postby BigYin » Sat Aug 09, 2014 16:14

Following on from my original How To on the Tesco Value kettle the design of the value kettle sold by Tesco has changed.

I recently had to replace the elements in my boiler and so that seemed like the perfect opportunity to revamp the How To.

If you read the first guide there was a bit of wiring required, but the good news with the new kettle is the wiring is restricted to the power supply - thankyou Tesco!!

So, this guide is all about how to butcher a perfectly good and cheap (£6 at the time of writing) kettle and use the kettle element and power lead in your home brew boiler.

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Tools :

Phillips screw driver
Needle nose pliers
Wire cutters
Hack saw
Soldering Iron & Solder
electrical insulating tape

** DISCLAIMER ** Electricity and water are a DANGEROUS mix - Please understand a few important points - I - and the Forum - will NOT be held responsible if you electrocute yourself!!!

Take your time, take care, never leave your boiler unattended when it's on - if it boils over it could create a dangerous short!!!!


Now, onto the build :mrgreen:

First, remove the two screws at the base of the handle :
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Then remove the two screws at the top of the handle :
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Then pull the base of the handle away from the body of the kettle, and it should unclip, removing the outer part of the handle and the lid.
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Undo the two screws securing the switch:
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Then insert a screwdriver between the switch and the housing, give a little twist and remove the switch.
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The wires for the little light pass through the switch base, I just cut through the easiest part of the switch base with some wire cutters, being careful not to catch the wire
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then manoeuvre the wires through the cuts - this took a little bit of bending of the plastic rather than placing any stress on the thin wires.
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With the switch assembly all out of the way, remove the 3 screws holding the element to its socket
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pop the silicone seal out of the kettle body, and that's all the useful bits removed from the carcass of the kettle.
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The frame that held the switch (and has a bi-metalic disc that is meant to switch the kettle off once it reaches the boil) can be removed with a hacksaw.
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Now, onto the base
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Lever the plastic cover off - it's just held on by two little clips - it snaps off pretty easy :D

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Pull off the wires
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Open up the connectors and get them on to the element socket
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Now, it's up to you how to connect the power cable to the element socket.

1. - solder the wires directly to the pins on the socket
2. - use locking crimp connectors to connect the wires directly to the pins
3. - use a suitable euro plug that will push onto the pins (make sure it's suitable for both the current draw and the heat)


I prefer option 1 - solder them on - it's the cheapest (assuming you already have a suitable soldering iron!) and it's pretty permanent.
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and insulate them with electrical insulating tape - or better still, use proper heat shrink insulation
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Bend up the little plate so it'll still be touching the back of the element - this needs to be bent out of shape, or it will 'pop' back at boiling point and turn the element off.
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Now, to the boiler....

You will need to drill a neat 38mm hole centred approx 6cm above the base of the boiler - Note that the height is up to you! I put mine at this height to allow the hop filter to fit underneath, and to keep a little distance between a hot element and the plastic base of the boiler...
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Fit the silicon seal into the element hole, offer up the element from inside the boiler and attach the socket to it with the 3 screws.

Fill the boiler with cold water and check for leaks. If you see any leaks, empty the boiler, check the hole is smooth, and make sure you tighten up the element properly.

Time to test the element -
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Cover up the electrics with something - I've used bits of tube from an old silicon bathroom sealant - fits nicely and it's free :mrgreen:

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And finally, test! - Make sure not only that it will reach the boil, but also that it'll maintain it - if it cuts out it's most likely that pesky little metal disc not bent up enough.
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Appendix

Looking after your kettle elements


After a brew day, and an hour and a half of boiling sweet sticky wort, the elements will have lost all their gleam and look all furry
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I give them a generous dose of citric acid and fill up with hot water to just above the elements<br>
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I get the citric acid in 1kg amounts, usually through ebay or amazon - search for Citric Acid 1kg, I'd recommend getting food grade - e.g http://www.amazon.co.uk/1kg-Citric-acid-grade-quality/dp/B00AP09SSK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1361816833&amp;sr=8-1

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Leave 10 mins or more, swift brush over with a nylon kitchen brush, and nice clean elements again :mrgreen:

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Last edited by BigYin on Thu Oct 27, 2016 21:50, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby bobsbeer » Sat Aug 09, 2014 16:25

Glad to see these getting posted back up. Well done Mike. :clap:
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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby johnsaunders » Sat Aug 09, 2014 16:57

That's a really excellent guide. Thanks.

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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby LeithR » Sat Aug 09, 2014 17:09

Good to see this guide again.

I can vouch for this excellent guide. I've used it to install a pair of elements in my mango boiler.

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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby Pjam » Sun Aug 10, 2014 11:42

Brilliant Guide. Thanks. :)

Have they change the design again though? I noticed in my recent build the indicator light is easily removed without any cutting!

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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby Springer » Sun Aug 10, 2014 14:01

Yes good guide BY. :thumb: Hope you don't mind if I add another way of making the holes for the elements, rather than starting another thread, it will keep all the info together.

I know there have been problem for some making the holes for the elements the right size, essential to get a good seal. I have never used one of those bits, but for sure the spade bits are NOT the way to go.

The way I did it does not involve any special bit and can be used to make any size of hole, in any type of material.

First draw out the hole size on a piece of paper and a guide circle to drill on, plenty of free drawing packages or us the old fashioned compass. Stick it on the vessel.
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Drill holes close together then a size larger to break out the center, use a knife or pliers, to sort any bits not joined up.

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I then used the totally unsuitable rasp to remove most of the waste.

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For the plastic barrel I then used a piece of course emery paper wrapped around a bit of brush handle to sand to the line, working around the hole, progressively closer to the line. Obviously will need a file on stainless.



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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby vacant » Sun Aug 10, 2014 19:07

BigYin wrote:3. - use a suitable euro plug that will push onto the pins (make sure it's suitable for both the current draw and the heat)

For this option, search for "Kettle C15", A rewirable socket is about £3.50 and a socket with a short cable and plug is about a fiver delivered.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEC_60320# ... 16_coupler

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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby Pjam » Sun Aug 10, 2014 21:05

These are only about 1.50 ;)

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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby Aleman » Sun Aug 10, 2014 21:25

Yes, but you need a dozen blue containers before you get a decent circular hole that the element will actually seal without leaking

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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby Pjam » Sun Aug 10, 2014 21:30

Aleman wrote:Yes, but you need a dozen blue containers before you get a decent circular hole that the element will actually seal without leaking


With care you'll be OK........... or I got lucky. I did 6 holes like this with a slow turning drill.

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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby Springer » Sun Aug 10, 2014 22:37

Well if it worked for you P, thats good. :D You are either very skilled or lucky. :hat:
I certainly wouldn't try it.........................again :) :lol: I did actually try, with care, a spade bit, but ended up using my usual document method as above. There is not much margin of error to get those elements to fit and seal.
Always more than one way of doing a job. :D
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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby maggs » Mon Aug 11, 2014 15:10

You can do it with a spade bit, admittedly it's not the right tool for the job, but if it's all you have it can be used.
You need to drill a pilot hole, then go very very slowly. I used a bit of pressure, but not a lot, and took several minutes to do each hole.

I cocked up my first barrel, so I used it as a practice barrel, and after the initial mistakes of going too fast and too heavy, I have a barrel with about 10 perfect holes created by a spade bit. I might put more holes in and turn it into a fancy planter...
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How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark II

Postby Ciderhead » Mon Aug 11, 2014 15:57

vacant wrote:
BigYin wrote:3. - use a suitable euro plug that will push onto the pins (make sure it's suitable for both the current draw and the heat)

For this option, search for "Kettle C15", A rewirable socket is about £3.50 and a socket with a short cable and plug is about a fiver delivered.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IEC_60320# ... 16_coupler


+1 The leads that come with the kettle are not designed to be used continuously for 60-90 mins.
Also there is no need to cut the switch off, I use it to power on an off the element once its on the side of the vessel.
A little tip also is if you get leaks if to cut out a washer from a silicone baking tray.
Very handy for Keggles as per the one I did for a mate yesterday with 2 from argos (Note the earth for a metal boiler!! and yes the Keg was purchased from an official source!).

Image

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Great post tho thanks for sharing wish I had that years ago when I did my first.

Could I be cheeky and ask to show a few more pics of the toolbox, interested as I am just about to do the same and curious if you needed a fan or vents and how you wired it??

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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby Oldstunty » Sun Aug 17, 2014 19:44

Cracking how to.. Remember it from TOPOS. :thumb:
just had a look see on Tesco's site, but they don't list them.
Will the Argos value kettle be the same, or even Currys own brand?
http://www.currys.co.uk/gbuk/household-appliances/small-kitchen-appliances/kettles/essentials-c15jkw13-jug-kettle-white-20582445-pdt.html?intcmpid=display~RR~~.

Sorry about the long link, haven't figured out how to do the 'CLICKY' yet :thumb:

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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby Frogfurlong » Sun Aug 17, 2014 19:55

The Argos kettle is identical, or at least was when I got mine :thumb:

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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby Oldstunty » Sun Aug 17, 2014 20:06

Argos it is, then.
Mind you, for a fiver, i might get the currys one and see if it's the same.

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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby Ciderhead » Sun Aug 17, 2014 20:09

They are the same, elements in my pic are argos, but Strix is the manufacturer of the important bit and does a standard economy product.

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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby Oldstunty » Sun Aug 17, 2014 20:25

Nice one!
I've got an element in my mango tub (haven't done a brew yet, still building), had a bit of money spare so I bought a 2750 W one- cost
£20 and came with a plug.
Just thought that another element would give peace of mind, and a faster boil.

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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby ciaran.mooney » Sat Aug 23, 2014 17:48

Hi,

A warning to those who go and get a Tescos Kettle for £6, you may have a few prolems. My kettle wasn't branded "Value" but I think they are phasing out the brand so it's the same kettle.

Anyway the screws on the bottom now are of the 3 point variety. Which means your stuffed unless you have the appropriate bit. I went for the brute force and ignorance method and drilled them out.

The lid has also been re-designed so that you can't easily access the phillips screws with the lid open. After drilling through the bottom ones, I just drilled in though the lid to make a hole to access the screw. I suggest you use a big (10mm) drill bit so that you don't have to worry about accuracy.

The screws holding the element in are not very good quality. I rounded the first one I tried to undo and (guess what) drilled that bugger out too. Hopefully I'll get another screw with the same thread at work. The rest came easily by first putting the screw driver in and appling only enough force get the first "snap" of the thread breaking free. They came out easily after that.

Good luck all.
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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby johnsaunders » Sun Aug 24, 2014 22:46

So would a Wilcos or Youngs plastic fermentation vessel be okay to use with these elements. The plastic walls are the thickest on these barrels.

Also. Could I get away with only using one element or do you absolutely need two for a rolling boil when doing a 20L AG?

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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby vacant » Mon Aug 25, 2014 08:33

Maybe as a HLT but they'll go soft and wobbly as a boiler. One element is OK for a 20L rolling boil, that's what I started with. I fitted a second element to get to a boil faster, to be able to boil off faster to concentrate the wort and to be able to keep going if an element fails. Once I had to transfer mid-boil to fix the element when I just had the one.

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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby LeithR » Mon Aug 25, 2014 08:39

@vacant,
Off Topic
I'm intrigued by your signature line "What the hell, let's "sudo rm -rf /*"" - I can see that its a Linux command but what does it do please?

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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby vacant » Mon Aug 25, 2014 09:02

It's a self-destruct.

rm = the command to remove files
-r = recursive, delete files down through sub-directories, also delete directories
-f = force, never prompt
/* = starts at the top of the filesystem
sudo = run the command as the super user (highest privilege/access, may prompt for "root" password, but after that, off it goes)

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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby johnsaunders » Mon Aug 25, 2014 09:11

vacant wrote:Maybe as a HLT but they'll go soft and wobbly as a boiler. One element is OK for a 20L rolling boil, that's what I started with. I fitted a second element to get to a boil faster, to be able to boil off faster to concentrate the wort and to be able to keep going if an element fails. Once I had to transfer mid-boil to fix the element when I just had the one.


Thanks vacant.

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Re: How to use the Tesco Value kettle heating element - mark

Postby Pjam » Mon Aug 25, 2014 09:12

vacant wrote:Maybe as a HLT but they'll go soft and wobbly as a boiler.


Mine does rock and roll a bit but I put it down to rolling boil and the lightweight pot. I usually use 2 elements to get it boiling then swap elements every 10 mins.
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