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Old 03-19-2012, 03:55 AM   #1
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Default Control panel layout critique/ideas

Slowly getting there with the electric build. I got this panel for free! It's 16x20x8 so it should be plenty big enough. I'm having some trouble coming up with a layout that looks right with the latch. I'm all about having symmetry in the panel and the latch throws this off. My thoughts are to have the panel open up instead of to the left/right. See next post.

2012-03-18_19-22-15_895.jpg   2012-03-18_19-22-58_955.jpg  
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Old 03-19-2012, 04:03 AM   #2
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This is what I've come up with so far. The big blue area at the bottom is the latch so I can't put anything there. Everything should be to scale.

Since some things are blurry, here's what everything is:
Top row - main power switch (probably key switch) with indicator light, volt meter, e-stop, amp meter, alarm indicator light (lit when alarm is set) and light/buzzer combo.

Middle row - HLT element switch with indicator light (lit when switch is on) and red light to indicate when power is actually going to element, HLT PID with alarm switch, MLT PID with alarm switch, Timer with alarm switch, BK PID with alarm switch, BK switch/lights same as HLT.

Bottom row - pump switches with indicator lights. I was thinking about putting a logo between the pump switches by either using something magnetic (is this a bad idea??) or just having two small hooks to hang a nameplate on.

Am I missing anything? Anything you would recommend changing? I have the space to add more stuff. I just wasn't sure what else to include and don't want to just fill the panel for the sake of filling it.

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Old 03-19-2012, 05:35 AM   #3
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I like it. Did you put the timer in the middle on purpose. Not sure which one you're choosing but even the Auber timer doesn't match the Auber PIDs. If Symmetry bothers you you'll be better off putting it to one side of the pids.

The only other thing I can think of is beware of the actual opening size of the box, the usable opening. The panel door often doesn't reflect your usable size. The reason I'm saying this is your top components look fairly close to the top edge. If that's the edge of your panel door then it may interfere with the panel opening.

Looks like you're open to the option of having both elements firing at the same time? 50 Amps? Just an observation.

Oh, and make sure you have at least 2 1/2" from center to center of your PIDs. This leaves the minimum space to allow connections using crimp connectors.

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Old 03-19-2012, 12:21 PM   #4
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Thanks for the comments. After I posted, I realized that I didn't say what I was trying to accomplish. It's going to be a HERMS system similar to Kal's design except 50A. Hopefully I'll be able to fire both elements at the same time.

I couldn't decide where to put the timer and have everything balanced. I thought by putting it in the middle, I'd at least have the HLT and BK PIDs and controls the same on both sides. I'm going with the Auberins timer (using the built in reset - that's why there's no button for that). I know it doesn't look the same but didn't know what else to do. I did another version with the panel opening to the left and put the timer to the left of the latch. The top looked a little tight with everything above the latch.

Good call with the top components. I didn't account for the opening being smaller than the cover when I added the power on light. I'll shift everything down some to make sure there's clearance.

There's just over 2.5" between the PIDs now...as long as I scaled everything correctly, it should be good to go.

I've been following your build. Lookin good. Can't wait to see it in action!

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Old 03-24-2012, 04:06 AM   #5
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I think I have a good idea of how I want my panel to look. I'm just having some trouble with some of the interior components and the wiring. I know what I want for the switches/lights/PIDs but I'm not sure what exactly to get for the internal stuff (relays, fuses, circuit breakers, etc...).

Most of my panel should be pretty self explanatory but here are a few things that I've customized:

Element switches will turn on the yellow lights. When the element is actually getting power, the smaller red light will be on.
The alarm switches will turn on the red alarm indicator and the alarm buzzer/light will turn on when the alarm is triggered.

Also, I'm planning on going with Auberins PIDs (2352) and timer. I know I've seen a wiring diagram for a 50A setup with both elements firing at the same time but can't seem to find it.

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Old 03-24-2012, 01:15 PM   #6
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Much as I like symmetry in a design I would look more at function. Grouping of controls for each section of the brewery would be more important to me than having them spaced out symmetrically. Grouping the controls in a manner that control flows from one side of the panel to the other as the brewing progresses would possibly make for fewer mistakes during the brewing. I'd also go with putting space between the groups for BK, Mash and Boil for clarity of operation.

I would also put the e-stop button in either the lower right or upper right corners for ease of getting to it in a real emergency. Just being able to slap your hand at a corner of the box to shut everything down is very important when bad things start to happen.

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Old 03-24-2012, 02:45 PM   #7
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I know you're trying to be symmetrical, but you are going to hate having the panel door situated such that you have to have a prop rod any time you open it. That is a very roomy panel box. There will be plenty of room for the components. Create a new symmetry within the panel layout with the door situated for a horizontal swing. You can do it! Revise your idea of symmetry to not focus on the latch.

PS: forget the amp meter and volt meter. You don't need that information and what are you going to do with it if you have it? Its a waste of your time and money.

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Old 03-24-2012, 06:41 PM   #8
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All good comments. As far as how the panel opens, I figured that once I have everything installed and working, there really isn't a need to be opening it very often. And during the build, it wouldn't be mounted so it wouldn't matter how it opened. With that said, last night I was contemplating an option that opens to the left. Either way, the components are basically the same. I'm really trying to nail down the internal parts so I can get everything ordered. Then I can physically put the parts on the panel to see how I like it.

Here's my alternate idea (blue is latch area, gray would be brewery logo sign). Too busy in the top half? I'll also have to watch the power light. Might be too close to the top.

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Old 03-24-2012, 06:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mabrungard View Post
PS: forget the amp meter and volt meter. You don't need that information and what are you going to do with it if you have it? Its a waste of your time and money.
I know these aren't necessary but it doesn't cost that much in the big scheme of things and it adds to the bling factor. My panel is big enough too so I figured why not. I'm not one to just throw money away either. Are they useful at all in troubleshooting? Does knowing how many amps you're pulling help in any way?
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Old 03-24-2012, 07:58 PM   #10
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I'll agree, it is cool to have those meters. With the pulsing of the SSRs, I wonder if the amp meter is going to be able to provide useful information.

I know with Kal's original build, he was limited to a 30a circuit. He had to switch the power to each circuit manually and couldn't run two circuits at the same time. Maybe he was interested in seeing if the amperage stayed within limit if more than one circuit was operating?

In my case, I bumped the system to 50a and can run two 5500w heaters for short periods. I couldn't justify the need for amp monitoring for my system.

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