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URGENT - Please Help with Electrical Inline Water Heater with Temperature Controller

Hi everyone!

I am a koi hobbyist living in Montreal, Canada. I have an 8000 gallon outdoor pond in which I have 24 koi, ranging in size from 12" to 24". I could or should I say "should" leave them outside for the winter, but I've opted to bring them inside now for many years. I used to have 3000 gallons in my basement winter set up, split between two tanks. One, which was a 1700 gallon above ground pool developed several leaks over the years, so I trashed it last summer leaving me with the one tank, a 1200 gallon capacity. Needless to say, this year fish are very stressed due to being overcrowded. I could give you plenty of more details as to how I care for them,may need for a hospital tank, but I'd rather get straight to my question. :)

Two fish have developed two small ulcers which I am currently treating, but I need to raise the water temperature from its current 60 degrees F to 76-77 degrees F.

I'm on a restricted budget (unemployed), so I am not in the position to purchase an expensive inline spa water heater or anything else in the same price range.

I've attached a couple of videos of DIY inline heaters, easy to make for under $100., but need to know what supplies I would need to change up if going with a higher watt system. I would like to use either a 1500 or possibly 2000 watt element. I'm assuming that the first video below is a 1000 watt or less, because nowhere is wattaged mentioned (unless I missed it). Second video is well under 1000 watts.

So if any of you have experience with these type of DIY devices, kindly advise the correct parts required, meaning: element, size of thermostat controller and If I need a solid state relay? The relay part has me confused as I have never used one in any electrical application. Remember, this is for a 110 outlet, which already has a 1/4 horsepower pump and a hefty air pump plugged in to. What amps should I have on this circuit? (maybe I need to call a licensed electrician to increase amps at my electrical box?)

So here are the a couple links for the general idea.
Please answer ASAP as my two sick fish need more warmth in order to heal.

Chris


https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YQ8vUUpwYgU
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=QWZ3qQ3R8_A

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Thanks Steve and Pieter! Much appreciated for your help thus far... (Thus being the operative word!;))

Steve,

The grounding issues has me worried. The temperature controller doesn't have a ground screw or terminal. I went online and Googled "Grounding an STC Temperature Controller" and found the following video ( see link below). I'm not as smart as you and Pieter when it comes to electrical work, but I think this set up with gang box built in electrical receptacle would be better??? Having the built in plug would offer me a "ground" for the temperature controller (mine is the exact same model as in video) and if I used a heavy duty cut off extension cord to length, I could then soldier the ground wire to the exposed stainless steel nut on the element, and if feasible plug into the "heat" portion of the electrical receptacle installed on the faceplate of gang box. I would off set plug to one side of the box (his is in center) to provide room inside box for ssr and heat sink.

So, what do you think? If you think this is a better option for me, especially since it offers grounding within the gang box, then I THINK I would need to alter the wiring between controller / ssr / and built in electrical receptical in some fashion?

Sorry to give you more work so close to finish line .... Maybe you'll be makin' that trip to Putin's!!!!

Thoughts from you or Pieter would be greatly appreciated!
Chris
Video link:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SrdOpk10MkE
It's Monday so you guys must be at work... Or headed to Russia!

In the meantime, I decided to install a GFCI wall receptacle in fish room where everything will eventually be plugged in. I had procrastinated for a number of years about installing one.

After GFCI installation, I used a diagnostic tester that lights and all wiring is correcttly Installed. So as I went to plug back my air pump and water pump, I noticed that the ground prong on the water pump had been broken off. Guess I removed it a few years back when using it outside with an old two pronged extension cord. So my question is, the fact that the ground is broken off, doesn't this matter??? Will the outlet still trip if anything goes wrong with pump, or should I reinvest in a new cord with a 3 pronged plug?

Let me know...

Hi Chris.  Yes, back to the grind. 

I would replace the cord or the end to get a good ground.  GFCI should help for protection, but ground plug is best.

The stc-1000 in your instance will be powered by the plug going to the wall and then will switch the 12v dc from the wall wart then go to the SSR.  It isn't switching the 110v that will run the heating element.  So they won't share a 110v cord.  

Like I said the STC-1000 isn't so essential to ground.  Unless the controller falls into the water it has very little risk of shock.  

Thanks Steve,

Did you read my previous post with new video (2 post up) regarding a slightly different setup?

Here it is if you missed it. Just let me know either way witch method is is best... I just want to insure proper grounding of the heating element and thought this new video setup would offer a better solution? You decide for me, then I can get cracking.

Chris
Permalink Reply by Chris 4 hours ago
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Thanks Steve and Pieter! Much appreciated for your help thus far... (Thus being the operative word!;))

Steve,

The grounding issues has me worried. The temperature controller doesn't have a ground screw or terminal. I went online and Googled "Grounding an STC Temperature Controller" and found the following video ( see link below). I'm not as smart as you and Pieter when it comes to electrical work, but I think this set up with gang box built in electrical receptacle would be better??? Having the built in plug would offer me a "ground" for the temperature controller (mine is the exact same model as in video) and if I used a heavy duty cut off extension cord to length, I could then soldier the ground wire to the exposed stainless steel nut on the element, and if feasible plug into the "heat" portion of the electrical receptacle installed on the faceplate of gang box. I would off set plug to one side of the box (his is in center) to provide room inside box for ssr and heat sink.

So, what do you think? If you think this is a better option for me, especially since it offers grounding within the gang box, then I THINK I would need to alter the wiring between controller / ssr / and built in electrical receptical in some fashion?

Sorry to give you more work so close to finish line .... Maybe you'll be makin' that trip to Putin's!!!!

Thoughts from you or Pieter would be greatly appreciated!
Chris
Video link:

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SrdOpk10MkE

That is the way the stc is intended to be used.  although the addition of the SSR increases the current load that it can control.

Once you start wiring the three devices together i think it will prove clear how they are separated.  Get started and follow the drawing i sent you and if you get stumped, send  me a snapshot of what you have so far.  

Remember, I am kind of thick....

I'm pretty clear on our origanal design as shown in first video, but second video found toady has the added receptacle built into the faceplate, which I could use by using a cut off extension cord running to the contact leads on the heating element. I would then take the ground on plug wire and solder it onto the stainless nut on outter part of heating element, completing the ground... I think?

So, before I start I need to know how many cutouts I am making, one or two (original design vs new design).

The original plan only had one cutout for controller, containing controller, the ssr/heat sink and wall wart. The new set up found today on YouTube would have TWO cutouts containing the same devices as above but with the addition of an electrical receptacle on the face of gang box. Isn't this better? If it is, I'm just unsure about how this addition of electrical receptacle would change wiring among all four components inside box?

So to recap, kindly confirm If I am going with one cutout , original design or two cutouts, new design.

Here are project differences shown by video links and photos.

I apologize for being such a difficult student.
Chris
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=YQ8vUUpwYgU
Or
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=SrdOpk10MkE
Attachments:
Second pic, the new design.
Attachments:

I see what you are asking.  if you connect the power from the plug to the stc-1000 and then carry the ground and common over to the receptical.  (Second hole in your box correct)  And then take the hot lead 110v to one side of SSR and then from other side of SSR to the hot screw on the receptical, you will effectively create a regulated/switched plug that you can then plug any heater into. Then use an old cord to go from plug to your element and attach ground to it.



Yes!!! Exactly... Then everthing should be grounded correctly and more streamlined. Just wanted to double check whether or not this was feasible. Your directions up above sound rather clear, but when working with your diagram, I may lose it...lol.

So, do we agree then, two cutouts? One being the electrical plug plugged into faceplate which runs to contacts on heating element, then from that same wire, soldering the ground to stainless nut then completing the ground back to the plug mounted on faceplate?

Just give it a once over in thought and then give me the final go ahead for the two cutouts.

This has been a good excessive for me.... For you, not sure sure! Lol!
Thanks!
Chris

You got it.  Yes to two cuttouts.

You may be better off just making a big loop of your gruond wire and puting it under the stainless nut.  Soldering it to it won't likely hold

Yes, I had read that it would be hard to solder.... I thought of under the outside of stainless nut, but the thought of it being sandwiched between the threaded polypropylene bulkhead and underside of steel nut got me worried.... If I can't get a tight seal between the two, can I just wind more ground wire around between the two to tighten the seal?

I'll get things going tomorrow morning. I'm sure I'll need some SIMPLE clarification regarding any wiring changes....

Be sure to go to bed early and get your rest!!

Chris
... After looping ground wire under the stainless nut, and if it should come in contact with moisture or water due to being under nut, will this present a hazard in any way... I'm thinking not but would like you to weigh in just the same.
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