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Old 06-28-2010, 02:51 PM   #1
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Default 240VAC Toolbox Control Panel with Pics

I built this on Father's Day to replace a super ghetto metal box. I had gone with the metal because I thought I could use the case as a heat sink for the SSRs, but that didn't turn out to be such a good idea (box got hot, PID did not like that) The metal is hard to work with, and the result was not pretty.

I saw someone else on this forum make a box similar to this one (probably the same exact box, but I can't find that thread). This toolbox was $9 at Lowes (or HD). I used a dremel with little cutoff wheels for all square cutouts. Round ones were either drill or hole saws.

One thing that makes this box unique is the single PID to control two elements. I have a 3P3T switch that selects which element and thermocouple is being used; the switch has a middle position that selects neither (both off). Because of amperage limitations, I can't run two elements at the same time, so there was no point in 2 PIDs, In fact, If I used 2 PIDs I would probably trip the breaker all the time by accidentally turning both on. This design eliminates that problem. There's an attached schematic in PDF/ZIP for anyone interested.

Two important things to mention here: 1) Although the schematic shows a 4 prong outlet supplying this box, I only have a 3 right now. Soon to be corrected. 2) I'm running thermocouples through a switch. This will create some error due to the way thermocouples work (I do use thermocouple wire tho). Quick testing showed maybe a few degrees, but I have to test more. Probably will switch to thermistors or RTDs.






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Old 06-28-2010, 03:17 PM   #2
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I like it, nice and compact! Are you using a GFCI Breaker with this? Have you been able to brew with it yet?

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Old 06-28-2010, 03:27 PM   #3
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looks good, but I have one concern...what size wire are you using? it looks pretty small (12 gage ?). What size breaker do you have protecting it?


any pics of the heating element mounting?

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Old 06-28-2010, 03:29 PM   #4
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I love the 240 in a box setup. I am looking to do the same thing by running an extention from my dryer outlet. What type of extention wire/cord did you use from the house to the box? How much does that stuff cost? I thought it was pretty pricey, and I am needing at least 25', preferrably longer. Just hoping it doesn't become cost prohibitive.

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Old 06-28-2010, 04:29 PM   #5
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Nice, looks like the box I picked up at Target for my portable RIMS. I think I got it for a little under $10 on clearance.



What did you use for the text you put on the switches?

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Old 06-28-2010, 05:03 PM   #6
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This is cool.

+1 on 10AWG wire...though the more I zoom, the more it looks to be 10 gauge.

I see that you put your switch to the elements after the terminal blocks. Any reason why you decided not to put it before the whole circuit, kind of like an e-stop?

How hot does this get?

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Old 06-28-2010, 05:11 PM   #7
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Are you actually using the BK to heat water to some specific temp at some point during the session, or are you just boiling in it?

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Old 06-28-2010, 08:52 PM   #8
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I like it, nice and compact! Are you using a GFCI Breaker with this? Have you been able to brew with it yet?
I put a 30A 2-pole GFCI in my breaker box.

I just finished this box last night. Electrically, it is almost identical to my last crappy box, which I brewed with at least 20 times, so I know the schematic is sound.

Quote:
what size wire are you using? it looks pretty small (12 gage ?).
Mostly 12 gauge solid core. I had 10 gauge before, but I like the solid better for routing. 12 gauge is fine for chassis wiring of 25A.

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any pics of the heating element mounting?
Glad you asked (I think this is what you are looking for... click on thumbnails for bigger pic)




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What type of extention wire/cord did you use from the house to the box? How much does that stuff cost? I thought it was pretty pricey, and I am needing at least 25', preferrably longer.
30A dryer cord from Home Depot. It is about 6' and cost about $10 (I think). It's probably 10 gauge. This is fed through my attic from my breaker box, probably about 50'. At least. I probably lose 75W over that length.

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looks like the box I picked up at Target for my portable RIMS ... What did you use for the text you put on the switches?
Yes, looks like same box ... Brother P-Touch labeler - I use it for everything.

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I see that you put your switch to the elements after the terminal blocks. Any reason why you decided not to put it before the whole circuit, kind of like an e-stop? How hot does this get?
That's a good point about the switch. My intention was to be able to turn off all power to elements, which it does. I don't want to turn off power to the PID, so it will probably stay where it is.

I ran a quick test this morning and the inside of the box hardly got warm (I just ran about 5 gallons of water to boiling). I was really surprised. I had considered a fan, but I don't think it needs it (yet). I need to do some real testing. I finished the wiring last night!

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Are you actually using the BK to heat water to some specific temp at some point during the session, or are you just boiling in it?
BK only boils. HLT uses PIDs auto mode, then I have to set the PID to manual for BK PWM mode. I sense there is some underlying second question here, but I can't guess what that is.
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Old 06-28-2010, 09:14 PM   #9
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BK only boils. HLT uses PIDs auto mode, then I have to set the PID to manual for BK PWM mode. I sense there is some underlying second question here, but I can't guess what that is.
If you are only using the manual mode on your BK, then you don't even need a temp probe in the BK. The PID needs a probe connected to it to work (I think), but in manual mode the probe could be anywhere.... doesn't need to be monitoring the BK at all.

That would save you the error introduced by the Probe selector switch. You can just leave the HLT probe hard-wired to the PID at all times.

edit: unless, of course, you intend to monitor the BK temp during chilling via the PID display. If so, you can ignore my rantings.
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Old 06-28-2010, 09:23 PM   #10
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If you are only using the manual mode on your BK, then you don't even need a temp probe in the BK. The PID needs a probe connected to it to work (I think), but in manual mode the probe could be anywhere.... doesn't need to be monitoring the BK at all.

That would save you the error introduced by the Probe selector switch. You can just leave the HLT probe hard-wired to the PID at all times.

edit: unless, of course, you intend to monitor the BK temp during chilling via the PID display. If so, you can ignore my rantings.
You are right on everything you said. A connected sensor is necessary (or the Auber PID won't output), but it doesn't serve any useful purpose except to see the temp of the chilling wort. I'm going to brew this wkend and I'll see how much error the switch adds. It was within a few degrees from ambient to boil this morning, which was a surprise.
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