First of all, I apologise for any spelling mistakes or unclearness as English is not my native language.
I am trying find a way to (semi-)automatically control an 2000W immersion heating element for distillation purposes. As I am more of a mechanical person, I don't have a lot of experience with electronics. I have been playing with my Arduino for some time now but this will be the first serious project. I've done some reading and found a few options but I am not sure if they are suitable for me. Oh, and I'd like to, if at all possible, avoid burning my house down :D
I am not really interested in temperature based control as my liquid will be heated to and remaining at its boiling point. So adding more power will not raise the temp, but it will influence the rate of evaporation. And that, I am interested in. 2kW is nice to get to boiling temp fairly quickly but after that it will have to be lowered.
Option 1: I've found some people use this Solid State Relay with a potentiometer as a manual power controller.
Option 2: Some other people use another kind of SSR, like this one with a fancy PID controller which can give the 4-20mA output. (something called a current loop, I believe?)
Option 3: And lastly there is the option of using a simple on-off SSR and varying the time it is on. ( 250ms on+750ms off = 25% power, 500 + 500 = 50%, etc)
Option 1 is simple and self-contained, but it requires an operator to turn the pot to adjust power. All I've been able to find on that is: 'attach a servo'-solutions. Seems not very efficient to me.
Option 2 would require getting the Arduino to output in the 4-20mA range or use some voltage-to-current converter. I've been unable to find any (simple enough) solutions.
To me, Option 3 seems appealing as it looks quit a simple solution an I feel I could write the code for it without too much trouble. But will it control the power the same way the other options do?
I am also concerned about causing electrical interference at such a high load, which I'd like to avoid as much as possible. Is this a problem with any of the options?
So basically the summary of my questions are: - What would be the best option for my applications? Have I missed other suitable options or solutions for the problems mentioned above?
Hope it makes sense :confused: Thanks in advance!
P.s.: don't know if it matters but I'm in Europe, my mains are 230V@50Hz