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Old 04-02-2013, 06:23 AM   #21
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You are correct. The switches are all the same; most are only using one of their two contacts. There's also a third connection for each switch--which may not be completely clear from the diagram--that supplies power to the LED inside each button to illuminate it when it's in the "on" position.
Cool, I wasn't exactly sure!

Just a few last questions. Why do you have a contactor after your main power switch? I brought this up with Kal, and he (I think) agreed that if everything is on a 120V circuit, you can use a switch that can handle the 15-20A without the use of a contactor.

With your second contactor- the one immediately before the element- why do you feel it is necessary? Is it just another safety precaution? The way I see it, is that it will switch as soon as the SSR switches. If that's true, why would you use a type of relay that isn't supposed to be switch on as much as an SSR? (I've heard that contactors are only supposed to swtich a couple times over an extended period).

Thanks for the help,
Jay
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:43 PM   #22
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My switches are not rated for the current that is drawn by the the control panel...hence the main contactor. The second contactor is a way for me to cut off power to just the heating element while leaving everything else on. For example, when transferring wort from MLT to kettle during the sparge, or during the boil. I could have just turned off the PID but there are instances where I want to monitor the temp of recirculating wort (with the PID display) when the element is off. Plus, I read that SSRs can often fail and when they do, it is usually in the "on" position. In that situation I want to be able to cut off the element manually...via the contactor.

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Old 04-02-2013, 01:55 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by EvilBrewer
My switches are not rated for the current that is drawn by the the control panel...hence the main contactor. The second contactor is a way for me to cut off power to just the heating element while leaving everything else on. For example, when transferring wort from MLT to kettle during the sparge, or during the boil. I could have just turned off the PID but there are instances where I want to monitor the temp of recirculating wort (with the PID display) when the element is off. Plus, I read that SSRs can often fail and when they do, it is usually in the "on" position. In that situation I want to be able to cut off the element manually...via the contactor.
That makes a lot more sense. I'm going to be using 20A toggle switches, which means I don't need the first contractor. I'm going to include the second one for safety, as Kal (and you) said, SSR fails in the 'on' position while a contact or fails in the 'off' position.

Thanks for your help EvilBrewer!
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Old 04-08-2013, 03:59 AM   #24
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Thanks for all of the information and pictures in the post. I am going to order my parts this week. One quick area of clarification. I am new to complex electrical diagrams so I will lean on a friend to help put this together.

However I did have a question. From what I can tell I need to order two of the Contracters (To enable the pump to be run independently but otherwise pair the motor with the heating element). It appears from the pictures that only one SSR is needed. I wanted to be sure I only need one SSR. I guess I don't understand why you don't need to pair the SSR with each contracter. From the Electric Brewery pages it appears they pair a SSR with a mechanical relay.

Thanks for sharing all of the information. It's very helpful.

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Old 04-08-2013, 04:26 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by AuTrappiste
Thanks for all of the information and pictures in the post. I am going to order my parts this week. One quick area of clarification. I am new to complex electrical diagrams so I will lean on a friend to help put this together.

However I did have a question. From what I can tell I need to order two of the Contracters (To enable the pump to be run independently but otherwise pair the motor with the heating element). It appears from the pictures that only one SSR is needed. I wanted to be sure I only need one SSR. I guess I don't understand why you don't need to pair the SSR with each contracter. From the Electric Brewery pages it appears they pair a SSR with a mechanical relay.

Thanks for sharing all of the information. It's very helpful.
If you are using one element, you technically only need a single SSR. However, the contractor downstream of the SSR is used as a secondary safety, as SSRs tend to fail closed (allowing electricity to pass through it. A mechanical relay will prevent this.

You will need another contractor (not another SSR) if your switches are not rated for the current drawn by the element. (Or that's at least how the EvilBrewer explained it to me).
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Old 04-08-2013, 04:30 AM   #26
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Awesome - Thanks for the help JayMac. One other question. When mashing do you just leave the valve from the mash tun to the pump & RIMS tube open so the PID will control things without monitoring. I assume this is what must be done unless one were to get an automated value.

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Old 04-08-2013, 04:32 AM   #27
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Contactor = mechanical relay.

You don't need two contactors. In fact you don't need any contactors. On the other hand, if you're using a switch for the element that isn't rated to 20A then you'd need the switch to control a contactor that is rated to 20A. Supposedly this provides some measure of additional safety as you don't have to physically touch a switch that has full voltage running through it (assuming the switch can handle the current), but this argument is used for 240V systems and higher amperage heating elements. In this case 120V is at both element and switch, regardless of the use of a contactor.

IMO the contactor for main power is unnecessary...it's a safety feature (if you can think of a situation where you'd need it), but probably more for bling and extra buttons. It's a design feature from kal's panel (he argues it's so he can keep kids from using the panel or whatever, but he uses a key operated switch)...a lot of people copy it, even down to the ammeter and voltmeter, but it's not necessarily the best design.

A 20A/120VAC toggle switch is $4 from home depot. If you want to use those fancy switches, then it gets more complicated.

One more criticism of this design: although it's designed so the SSR doesn't receive a signal unless the pump switch is on, a better design would be to couple the hot line for the element contactor with the pump switch instead, as that would also account for a situation where the pump isn't on but the SSR is failed open.

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Old 04-08-2013, 04:42 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AuTrappiste
Awesome - Thanks for the help JayMac. One other question. When mashing do you just leave the valve from the mash tun to the pump & RIMS tube open so the PID will control things without monitoring. I assume this is what must be done unless one were to get an automated value.
Although I'm currently in the midst of receiving my parts, I can answer your question from what I've gathered from other posters.

You keep the valve on the outlet of the MT fully open, and slightly open the valve on the OUTLET of the pump. It's the valve on the outlet that will allow you to control your recirculation rate, at the start of recirculation, you want to barely open your outlet valve. If you open it a lot, the bed will compact and give you a stuck sparge.

There is no need for automated valve, as the flow meter would never be able to tell you how much the bed is compacting. Plus if everything is automated, what's the fun?!

Remember, ball valve goes on outlet of pump, not inlet!
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Old 04-08-2013, 02:14 PM   #29
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That's the advantage of magnetic drive. Back-pressure on the pump won't burn it out.

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Old 04-09-2013, 03:47 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by AuTrappiste
Awesome - Thanks for the help JayMac. One other question. When mashing do you just leave the valve from the mash tun to the pump & RIMS tube open so the PID will control things without monitoring. I assume this is what must be done unless one were to get an automated value.
I think your questions have been answered by others but lemme know if anything was overlooked. Also here's my $0.02...

With a RIMS, the wort must always be flowing when the element is on...stopping the flow of wort can cause the "stationary" wort to boil inside the RIMS tube (not good) and unfortunately this can't be automated--ok...within reason. The RIMS won't have power when the pump is off, true...but you could have the pump on (and element activated) and accidentally leave one of the valves closed...hence stopping wort flow and boiling inside the tube. You can run the element dry in almost the same way. I did that on RIMS brew session #2...it sucked but luckily I had bought a backup element

And as others have said, use the outlet valve on your MLT to throttle wort flow, rather than the outlet valve on the pump.

SSRs...saw it mentioned already but yes it is there for the sake of the element. It can cut power on/off much faster than a contactor...and it is meant for doing just that.
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