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Old 02-07-2011, 10:09 PM   #1
bruin_ale
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Default BCS user control panel question

So I'm heavily leaning towards using a BCS for my build. I've done alot of research - I like the expandability and the interface. The PID route is nice also, but I'm a computer engineer so using a state machine just makes sense to me. In any case, after drooling over Kal's control panel and then starting to design my own I realized that there's really not much that I need to put on there - no PID display, I don't want to bother with separate power supplies for volt/amp meters, and even auto/manual switches seem unnecessary - if the BCS isn't working I wouldn't be able to PID or PWM the heating element so controlling a boil would be difficult.

So here's my question(s) for those with a BCS based system:
1. What's on your control panel ?
2. If you put switches for manual control - do you use them at all or do you just use the web interface switches. Do you find the switches unnecessary?
3. Anything on your panel that you absolutely wouldn't give up? I think an e-stop is about the only thing I see as an absolute necessity for my panel, otherwise maybe just a light to show which heating element is on would be a nice visual.
4. Did you mount the BCS in your panel or are you using cat-5 or some other method to route control signals? I'm thinking of mounting the BCS on the wall and running cat5, that way I can have a BCS-460 do double duty of fermentation control and brew-control.
5. I'm thinking the size of the enclosure can be significantly smaller than Kal's since there only needs to be a couple distribution bars, an SSR for each element and pump, and an e-stop switch. But I haven't started wiring so maybe I'm wrong - what size enclosure did you use?

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Old 02-07-2011, 11:06 PM   #2
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Photos of finished panel in post #294
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/electric-question-153310/

I'm pretty happy with the design and use all the switches.

Good luck,

Ed

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Old 02-07-2011, 11:15 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruin_ale View Post
So I'm heavily leaning towards using a BCS for my build. I've done alot of research - I like the expandability and the interface. The PID route is nice also, but I'm a computer engineer so using a state machine just makes sense to me. In any case, after drooling over Kal's control panel and then starting to design my own I realized that there's really not much that I need to put on there - no PID display, I don't want to bother with separate power supplies for volt/amp meters, and even auto/manual switches seem unnecessary - if the BCS isn't working I wouldn't be able to PID or PWM the heating element so controlling a boil would be difficult.

So here's my question(s) for those with a BCS based system:
1. What's on your control panel ?
Nothing! I use the PC only (but may put some on/off/auto switches later).

2. If you put switches for manual control - do you use them at all or do you just use the web interface switches. Do you find the switches unnecessary?
I'd like the switches for manually cycling the pump off during a process for priming purposes (I usually cycle it on/off/on/off/on for priming purposes).

3. Anything on your panel that you absolutely wouldn't give up? I think an e-stop is about the only thing I see as an absolute necessity for my panel, otherwise maybe just a light to show which heating element is on would be a nice visual.
Nothing

4. Did you mount the BCS in your panel or are you using cat-5 or some other method to route control signals? I'm thinking of mounting the BCS on the wall and running cat5, that way I can have a BCS-460 do double duty of fermentation control and brew-control.
I have my BCS mounted in an alarm enclosure on the wall. 3 SSR's inside the enclosure are used for running my kegerators and fermentation fridge. I have 3 cat 5's that run to data jacks on the wall where my stand plugs into it. One cable for temp probes, one for SSR's to control the 3 pumps and 3 gas solenoid valves and one cable that goes to a relay board controlling 6 ball valve actuators.

5. I'm thinking the size of the enclosure can be significantly smaller than Kal's since there only needs to be a couple distribution bars, an SSR for each element and pump, and an e-stop switch. But I haven't started wiring so maybe I'm wrong - what size enclosure did you use?
I used a 14"x14" alarm panel enclosure.
See answers in BOLD above.
Also see my signature for links to my BCS system.
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Old 02-07-2011, 11:17 PM   #4
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Switches -
Main ON/OFF
RIMS OFF/AUTO
PUMP OFF/ON/AUTO
PUMP OFF/ON/AUTO

Having manual pump switch is very handy when priming or cleaning. I use a larger plastic Home Depot box because it was just easier to fit things in and leave room for expansion. My first generation was a tiny box which was too small.

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Old 02-07-2011, 11:30 PM   #5
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I use a 12 x 12 enclosure and would not go any smaller.
I just use cat 5 for the signal wires, this makes it easy to switch between projects...

For switches:
Main ON/OFF, Boil Kettle/OFF/HLT
I also have switches to allow manual control of my pump/anything else

For the lights, I have two lights per element (energized/firing)

Have fun, the BCS-460 is a pretty cool gizmo!

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Old 02-08-2011, 12:41 AM   #6
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Here's some pics of mine. BCS is in the box with the switches (that I can use manually or auto) One small cable from there to the main box on the stand.




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Old 02-08-2011, 12:55 AM   #7
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You need to abandon the BCS system completely, if you ask me, and go with playoffs and a real championship like the NFL does!

Oh wait, wrong BCS system...

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Old 02-08-2011, 02:36 AM   #8
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Wow! What a system! Did you make the cart too?

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Old 02-08-2011, 02:45 AM   #9
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Really nice guys, this is very helpful. Great picture of the BCS there Layne, I was wondering what it would look like if I put the BCS in a separate box and then have a bunch of RJ45 to hook that all up - sort like a wrapper around the BCS.

So, with that in mind I'll definitely add a switch for the pump to my list.

The one I'm debating on is the switch to decide between HLT and BK for the heating element. Obviously we want to avoid turning on both at the same time, and this is one sort of safety to avoid that. I'm sure there are those who chose not to bother - anybody have any feedback on that particular item?

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Old 02-08-2011, 05:09 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bruin_ale View Post
Really nice guys, this is very helpful.
Glad I was able to be of assistance!
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