In the meantime, there are strong indications that the company making the Brewie has gone out of business. I'm hopeful those are just rumors, but there are a number of facts that suggest otherwise. Although their web site is still active, their tech support system reports "Account suspended" if you try to post a case or ask a question. Their support email address, if you email it, comes back as non-existent. Right now, eBay is filled with a number of broken "customer return" systems that you can purchase inexpensive for parts. (These are the older "Brewie" model rather than the "Brewie+" but that doesn't seem like a good sign.)
I have a friend who enjoys repairing broken devices and appliances. He wanted a crack at the Brewie+ in my basement, so last night we cracked it open and had a look. If nothing else, when the repair parts arrive from the Brewie folks, we'd have a good idea how to install them.
Here's the bottom of the kettle, with the heating element removed:
|Bottom of the boil kettle|
And the heating element itself:
|Close-up of the heating element connections|
|Evidence of burning at the heating element|
So you can see that during one of the previous brew sessions, issues with the wiring attached to the heating element and the thermal cut-out switch caused the wiring to burn out at the connector end. This happened badly enough on the side with the thermal cut-out switch that the terminal broke right off that switch. I'm probably fortunate that there wasn't a serious fire.
For those curious about what the inside of a Brewie+ looks like, I'm sharing some other photos, taken during parts of the disassembly.
|The Brewie+ partially disassembled, to allow access to the heating element|
|Close-up view of the plumbing - dirty because I couldn't run a cleaning cycle in it after it failed|
|Close-up of connections that had to be unhooked to get to the heating element|
|Close-up of the wiring on the boil side of the Brewie+|
I bought one of the original Brewie units for sale on eBay. It turned out to have suffered a serious drop and showed a lot of mangled metal. The mash compartment was misshapen, the base plate was damaged, the lids no longer lined up, etc. It also failed its power-on self-test, possibly due to a power supply issue. Here are a few photos of that broken one:
|The customer-returned broken Brewie (original)|
|Inside the bottom plate of the original Brewie|
|Power and control boards inside the original Brewie|
|At left, what I think is a pump with the lid broken, off, on the mash side|
|Close-up view of the internals on the boil side, note the plate chiller at bottom|
|Close up of the broken pump(?)|
|Two lights indicate a successful self-test, I presume one indicates only a partial success|
The Brewie and Brewie+ share a number of internal components, which makes the older machine a good donor parts system for the new one. I may buy another broken one on eBay and see if we can't get it working with parts from this one.