Insulating the Elektra A3's boiler

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Bob Barraza

#1: Post by Bob Barraza »

I recently bought an Elektra A3. I had heard that the 6 liter boiler generated a lot of heat. So, I decided to try to insulate it before I set it up. I ordered the ceramic material previously posted on this site (http://www.infraredheaters.com/insulati.htm). It was a bit intimidating, but with some patience, the process wasn't too bad.

Removing the cover revealed the copper octopus.



I took rough measurements of the width and diameter and cut out some newspaper patterns. From there I started taking more measurements for the fittings and making trial placements on the boiler.




The complete pattern set turned out looking like this:



The insulation material is pliable, but fairly rigid. It was not too difficult to cut with regular scissors, but fine detailed cuts were not possible. Fortunately, since the material is pliable, it can be stretched and compressed a bit to make it fit nicely.




I used 28 gauge copper wire to 'stitch' the pieces together. Although not a professional fit, the final results are quite effective. The sides of the machine are barely above room temperature, and the cup warmer is only warm towards the front of the machine, keeping the cups at about 130 deg. F. The insulation helps retain heat when the machine is turned off, reducing the recovery time when turned back on.

In hindsight, the only thing that I would do differently is to wear latex gloves while handling the insulating material. It is quite brittle, leaving sharp debris that handles and feels like crushed glass. It took a couple of days of wiping the counter before all remnants disappeared.
Bob Barraza

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mhoy

#2: Post by mhoy »

I just took a look at the 1/2" melamine foam that I ordered from McMaster-Carr. OMG is this stuff going to be nice to use. The late BradS brought this up in Array/forums/more-on-boiler-insulation-t4293.html, he was right on the money with it. It's going to be a dream to work with. Kinda like a thick mouse pad without the shiny stuff on the front.

It looks like a 24" x 48" will be enough to do 3 Elektra boiler (if I don't make a mistake cutting). Material + shipping to my place it was about $32. So about $11 for each system (assuming local pickup). The payback on this electricity should be pretty darn quick.
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Mark

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mhoy

#3: Post by mhoy »

Even easier than I thought to work with. A sharp pair of scissors will cut this like butter. Layed out my template, and I used a beer bottle cap to cut rounds for all the smaller cutouts. I then hunted around the cupboards for something that approximated the other circles I wanted to cut. Voila, from template to cutout in 5 minutes. I chose to put join of the sheet near the bottom, this left me with a joint from a couple of the circles on the top since I didn't want to undo any of the copper lines. There is cut from the edge to the two circles, up to the next one and then a final cut (hard to see) to the HX cutout. The other three smaller circles that are in a row fit nicely over the fill, pressure and vacuum probes.




Now carefully wiggle the sheet around the boiler, it does tear fairly easily.




Now grab something that won't burn and can handle high temperature to keep it in place. I used some of the inner wires from Cat5 cable. You'll need 4 wires about 2 1/2 feet long. Keep the foam in place with these wires.



=-=-
Mark

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mhoy

#4: Post by mhoy »

Look around for something that fits into over the foam at the end, a small plate of mine pretty close, I cut a circle about 6 1/2 inches around. Gently place it in the end of the opening, it should stay in place. (A little over exposed, sorry about that, it's dark out and the automatic flash is a bit close).




Now for the end with the heating element I decided to not get too close the over temperature cut-off. I cut out a 1/2 circle and placed it. I then tore off pieces until I had some space around the cut-off.




Voila, done. Plenty of extra left, looks like easily enough for two more Elektra boilers.




This write up took almost as much time as insulating the boiler. :D
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Mark

SylvainMtl

#5: Post by SylvainMtl »

Nice and clean!

I could use some of your leftover material.

Sylvain

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shadowfax

#6: Post by shadowfax »

So, Mark, what was your boiler cycle time before and after? I used melamine to augment the insulation on my Vetrano, as I felt like having the top uninsulated was retarded. I ended up saving about 25-35% on the boiler cycle time, as I recall.
Nicholas Lundgaard

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mhoy

#7: Post by mhoy »

Alas, I don't actually use my Elektra yet. It doesn't fit under my counter. I'll either remove some bracketing stuff on the cupboard or more likely remount the stainless cover lower on Elektra. Once it does, I'll run write down my power usage via the killawatt meter I have attached.

Mark

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shadowfax

#8: Post by shadowfax »

... you know you want to just take out the cabinets! :shock:
Nicholas Lundgaard

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cannonfodder
Team HB

#9: Post by cannonfodder »

Saws-all, that will fix them cabinets.

Nice job on the insulation. I used a wool/fiber blanket to insulate my boiler. I left the heater side open.
Dave Stephens

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mhoy

#10: Post by mhoy »

cannonfodder wrote:Saws-all, that will fix them cabinets.
It would also fix me. :D

Next weekend should be the time for testing her out.

Mark