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-   -   Control box build discouragement (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/control-box-build-discouragement-379874/)

Fizzycist 01-09-2013 03:32 AM

Control box build discouragement
I'm currently buying parts for a scaled down version of the BK and control box from www.theelectricbrewery.com . Scaled down, cuz d@mn, that thing is overkill. But anyway, even chopping out half the unnecessary stuff I'm still spending a couple hundred dollars on parts and it just feels ridiculous. Anyone else feel like they were wasting time and money while building their setup? I'm gonna finish, I can't quit now, but I could use some encouragement.

tjpfeister 01-09-2013 03:46 AM

Nope. It will be paying for itself for a few more years, but it beats huddling around the turkey fryer all winter. Boil overs will become a rare occurance, you will be able to drop the word "about" when discussing volume of boil-off, the wind will never rob another BTU from you, and forget worrying about how much LP is left in the tank. Nosy neighbors? Take it indoors!

Electric rocks. Once you get over the up front investment (time, money, and a bit your sanity) you will never look back; stay the course!

Fizzycist 01-09-2013 10:48 AM

That was some quality encouragement, thanks!

milesvdustin 01-09-2013 01:06 PM

Yes keep at it! I was super excited after I cut holes and mounted components. Once the wiring began, I started to get discouraged because it seemed like so much to do. But the feeling I got when I powered it on for the first time and everything worked was great!!! Just follow your schematic and make sure you are in the right spots. You will have success!

rangrr4834 01-09-2013 03:52 PM

Thanks for the positive motivation. I have had to take a break from the build to recoup financially from xmas with all the kids. I needed the reminder once the bills get paid.

CorgiBrew 01-09-2013 04:20 PM

My darling wife often reminds me that:

1) brewing is a hobby;
2) all hobbies cost money;
3) at least this hobby results in something we can drink!

I am just embarking on the Mark II version of my control box, after happily using the Mark I version for a couple of years. What the other posters said is true, in spades. Minnesota in winter is no place for outdoor brewing! Have fun!

mbauer013 01-09-2013 04:26 PM

I was at the same spot, but I am a cheap SOB so it is taking me forever. I don't buy anything unless I can get a deal on it. I have some awesome finds (Hoffman enclosure for $20), but it takes forever. Luckily to keep my motivation up I have other hobbies I pepper in here and there. Right now I am rebuilding an old guitar to pass the time while I search for some more components. Keep positive and yes remember it is a hobby, you don't have a deadline!

ComeOnNow 01-09-2013 06:39 PM

I am in the same boat as you, my build is easily starting to turn into a money pit, and it gets quite frustrating at times.

Feel free to laugh at some of my mistakes:

-No, a weldless kettle wall mountable RTD probe will NOT screw into an NPT sight gauge Tee, better find a SS plug online! Don't forget the o-ring!
-No, that home depot load center is NOT large enough to fit your PID, outlet, e-stop and terminal blocks (figured that one out after cutting various shapes in it)
-Oops, did you forget to include a 1" inch SS shim washer in your McMaster-Carr order? Well home depot doesn't sell those! Enjoy more online shopping shipping charges!
-Sorry, you don't own any step bits, bi-metal hole saw, bi-metal jig saw blades, knockouts, and other assorted hardware - But you will once you realize you need them!
-Last, but certainly not least, working with 10ga wire is a tremendous pain in the b@lls

A few weeks ago I was feeling like a horse's patoot for not just saving up and buying one of Highgravitybrews systems pre-built, but when it is all said and done, I will have a system that is built exactly to how I want it, is expandable to add another vessel later on, and will hopefully allow me to brew faster, and with more control.

Plus, I imagine it will be a kind of pride thing, knowing that I build the whole thing myself. I'll let you know if I ever get there.

mvanwie 01-09-2013 06:56 PM

Overkill is a word I've used.

I bought a 10"x10" pull box from HD for around $28, but I used smaller LED's (16mm vs 25mm, IIRC), stripped out the PID's (replaced with a single Arduino), alarms, volt/amp meters, and used some cheapie toggles from Radio Shack on the panel. Sure it's not NEMA-whatever, but it's far enough away from the rig that water/dust/steam infiltration isn't a concern. Frankly, the space of a larger box would have been nice, but not for 2-3x the price.

kal 01-10-2013 06:09 PM


Originally Posted by Fizzycist (Post 4763773)
Anyone else feel like they were wasting time and money while building their setup?

Nope. Not at all.

If you feel you're wasting time and money, you need to do it differently. It's a hobby afterall. Hobbies are supposed to be enjoyable. You need to find the balancing point that works for *you*. You can make beer with much less than $100 of equipment, or spent $10,000 or more. Neither is the "right" one. Neither is the wrong one. It depends on you. It doesn't matter what others think.


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