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Old 11-19-2010, 03:28 AM   #1
Dgonza9
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Default My new Control Box...

Thanks for all the help. I still have to program the PID and test, but so far things look good. Might brew an Amarillo IPA this weekend if my system tests okay.

Thanks guys!

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Old 11-19-2010, 01:44 PM   #2
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Nice!

Do you have build pics?
What kind of enclosure is that?

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Old 11-20-2010, 03:30 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SweetSounds View Post
Nice!

Do you have build pics?
What kind of enclosure is that?
Unfortunately, work has been kicking my arse so I didn't take too many build pictures. But I'm going to work on a bit of a tutorial as I learned a lot building it and got a fair amount of help (as always) from HBT.

I had originally purchased an enclosure at Home Depot, but I couldn't find a plastic one and wasn't sure how I'd cut a square for the PID. People get it done with milling machines, which I don't have access to or with a variety of drilling, jigsaws, dremels and files. In the end, for about $28 I bought a project enclosure from Auber with a pre-cut square for the PID and returned the HD enclosure.

I got the illuminated switches from automation direct. I hadn't counted on how different industrial switches were to wire, though. Not complicated once you understand it, but I had to get some help here first. I had first wired the red switch between the PID and the SSR, but I had bought a 120v switch, so it barely lit up. I wound up wiring it before the PID so I could have an on/off switch for the element.

Of course, the SSR could fail closed leaving my element on, but I can always unplug it from the control box and the control box itself plugs into a switched GFCI outlet.

The hardest thing to do for me was to cut holes for three outlets in the back of the box, one for the element, one for my pump, and one for the exhaust system. I only had a 1 1/8" step bit and needed about a 1 1/2" hole. I wound up using a kind of rotary rasp attachment on my drill. Many have said that a 1 3/8" Step bit is the right size, so that's something to consider if you're doing a similar project.

Then I spent a good 2-3 hours trying to auto tune the PID. My RTD was way off. Turned out I had to tell the PID I was using an RTD and not the default type K thermocouple. Once I had that auto tune worked great.

Anyway, I'm going to work on a detailed guide for anyone attempting this with a similar level of expertise to mine. I'm an English teacher so a number of things became obstacles to get around. Although most of what I needed to know was in the PID manual, I didn't really read it all because so much of it was over my head. Hysteresis band, etc. Wound up skipping the part that told me the default thermocouple settings.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to inaugurating this puppy this weekend. And, humiliating as it will be, writing a detailed step by step for us non engineering types.

Cheers guys!
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Old 11-20-2010, 03:48 AM   #4
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Nice build. What did the total cost end up being, if you remember?

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Old 11-20-2010, 04:01 AM   #5
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Big Black Beer Box. Nice.

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Old 11-20-2010, 01:26 PM   #6
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Here's a parts list on the control box:

Auberins PID Controller $41.95

RTD Thermocouple $23.95

Project Box with pre-cut square $28.97

Illuminated 120v switches $23.95 each

40 amp SSR
$19.00

40 amp heat sink $19.00

I bought two terminal blocks and some terminal spades at Home depot. I used velcro to stick the SSR and terminal blocks down in the box.

I used the parts list from this thread for my RIMS TUBE: Murray equipment was a great tip on Stainless pipe fittings on the cheap.




Grand total: $280 for control box and RIMS TUBE. You could probably get it down to $250 or less without the fancy illuminated switches.

I don't know that I'd spend the extra money on expensive switches if I was doing this again. They are pretty cool to look at, but they were pricey.

I got great advice on wiring my switches from THIS THREAD.

More to come. I hope this helps someone with their project!

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Old 11-20-2010, 03:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dgonza9 View Post
I used velcro to stick the SSR and terminal blocks down in the box.
No, No, No! That is a real hazard. Get the velcro off the SSR/Heatsink and Terminal Blocks and MECHANICALLY affix them to your enclosure.
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Old 11-20-2010, 07:01 PM   #8
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Thanks, Sawdustguy. I will mechanically affix them. The SSR is attached mechanically to the heat sink and has thermal grease. But I did stick it down to the project enclosure with the velcro. I figure at most I'll have 12.5 amps going thru a 40 amp SSR and 40 amp Heat Sink.

Can you explain what causes a hazard? I had used the velcro at first to try to get things in positions I thought I wanted them in. I was going to go back and screw them down, but then decided to leave it as is. Does the velcro need to be removed or do you just advocate more permanently fixing things down?

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Old 11-20-2010, 08:11 PM   #9
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You don't want the SSR to move around and possibly short against the box or other metal inside. I assume that's what Sawdust was talkin' about.

I plan on building a second beer set up and was planning to use almost the same equipment you chose minus the switches and Velcro!

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Old 11-20-2010, 09:16 PM   #10
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Quote:
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You don't want the SSR to move around and possibly short against the box or other metal inside. I assume that's what Sawdust was talkin' about.

I plan on building a second beer set up and was planning to use almost the same equipment you chose minus the switches and Velcro!
Exactly!! The SSR and Heat Sink are going to get hot no matter what they are rated at. The SSR with the help of the heatsink can take the heat that is dissipated, but if it is mounted inside of your control panel and there are no vent holes, the heat has nowhere to go and the velcro adhesive could soften and the SSR and the heatsink could move and short out. I would also permanently affix the terminal block also. I just don't want to see anything happen. You took your time and built a nice control panel, I want to see it give you good service for many years to come without incident. Actually the velcro was a good idea during layout but now you have everything where you want it it needs to be mechanically affixed to your chassis.
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