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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > My two 5500 watt element 1 PID and SSR build
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Old 11-17-2011, 02:41 PM   #21
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Looks like you need some of my control panel decals. I just sent a couple orders out this week so maybe you already ordered?
I was thinking about ordering them from you Bobby, and did visit your site a few times, but I'm probably going to just use the label maker I bought from Sprawlmart a while back. I'm just waiting until my wife has a chance to help me with it because I can never peel off the backing from the adhesive labels. She has longer nails so it's easier for her.
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Old 11-17-2011, 03:15 PM   #22
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The e-stop switch I am using is a momentary spring loaded switch so running the power thru the NC contact would cut power to the contactors and PID temporarily if the switch were hit, but it would come back on again after it was released. The reason the GFCI option is used is because if something goes wrong power is completely shut off to the entire panel when the GFCI trips, not just to the kettles. It will stay off until I reset the GFCI back in the spa panel. I plan to regularly check both the continuity of the kettles and control panel to ground, and also to regularly test the e-stop button and GFCI at the spa panel. If either become ungrounded or the GFCI stop worky, then me stop brewy.
I'm assuming you never enter any home jacuzzis then, because I'm sure many of them use spa panels and it's a pretty safe bet that most homeowners never test the GFCI in it. I think the GFCI is as safe an option as any - it's not a guarantee of safety by any means, but if it's regularly tested I am comfortable with it.

EDIT: After thinking about it on my way to work, it wouldn't hurt to run the power thru the NC contact on the switch. That way if for some reason the GFCI were to fail I'd at least be able to temporarily cut off power to the PID and kettles by holding in the e-stop button. It would only take a few minutes to re-route the power thru the NC contact. I've got nothing against redundancies when it comes to safety. I think I'll add that to my list of follow ups for next week. Thanks
I think the GFCI e-stop is smart! NO system is 100% failproof. The operator needs to know the system and how to properly use it. Testing the GFCI should be a regular event. Using the GFCI as an e-stop is really no different than a shunt trip breaker. We use these all the time for the big panic button at gas stations.

Instead of running the contactor control power through the momentary switch, you could add another toggle as a secondary safety. My controllers are set up this way with a contactor that kills the main feed to the box.
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Old 11-17-2011, 05:13 PM   #23
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EDIT: After thinking about it on my way to work, it wouldn't hurt to run the power thru the NC contact on the switch. That way if for some reason the GFCI were to fail I'd at least be able to temporarily cut off power to the PID and kettles by holding in the e-stop button. It would only take a few minutes to re-route the power thru the NC contact. I've got nothing against redundancies when it comes to safety. I think I'll add that to my list of follow ups for next week. Thanks

Is your e-stop momentary or is it the type that is push and stay, then twist to release? That style will keep power off to the contactors until pulled... I assumed that was the style, if it is not, then what you say is correct, adding the PID to the switch will give you a few seconds before the PID boots..

Alternatively, with a momentary e-stop, if you had a start button that activated a relay, and the relay contacts also provided power to it's own contacts, that would be a sealing circuit, and you could use the NC contacts to break it for another style e-stop.
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Old 11-17-2011, 05:17 PM   #24
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To all of you that have built cool electric heating with control panels systems. Please come to my house and do this for me. Thanks.

(I really want to incorporate electric brewing - but really technically illiterate when it comes to electricity and wiring)

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Old 11-17-2011, 05:55 PM   #25
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looking sweet! maybe one day I will have something that nice to post... until then I will continue to live through you.

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Old 11-17-2011, 06:24 PM   #26
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I think the GFCI e-stop is smart! NO system is 100% failproof. The operator needs to know the system and how to properly use it. Testing the GFCI should be a regular event. Using the GFCI as an e-stop is really no different than a shunt trip breaker. We use these all the time for the big panic button at gas stations.

Instead of running the contactor control power through the momentary switch, you could add another toggle as a secondary safety. My controllers are set up this way with a contactor that kills the main feed to the box.
Now that I think about it, I already have a secondary safety toggle, since my DPDT toggle switch that I use to control the HLT or BK contactors is a On-Off-On switch, so if the E-stop doesn't work for some reason I can just flip the toggle to the center and power is cut off to both contactors.

It doesn't kill power to the box though, so it's not quite the same as yours, but I think I'm OK with it as is.
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Old 11-17-2011, 06:28 PM   #27
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To all of you that have built cool electric heating with control panels systems. Please come to my house and do this for me. Thanks.

(I really want to incorporate electric brewing - but really technically illiterate when it comes to electricity and wiring)
No problem, I'll be right over

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looking sweet! maybe one day I will have something that nice to post... until then I will continue to live through you.
I'd been drooling over other's systems for about 6 months and finally decided to jump in and join the fun.
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Old 11-18-2011, 05:26 PM   #28
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I did another test run last night with 7 gal of water - the water temp started at 63 and hit 150 in about 21 minutes with my pump recirculating the whole time. It was overshooting by a couple degrees, so I bumped up the set value to 165 and ran auto tune. After about 15 minutes AT finished and held the temps perfectly at 165 - I was impressed.

I'm glad I did the second test because I had a small leak at the thermometer that I missed on the 4 gal test. It was my fault because I forgot to use teflon tape on the thermometer threads, so that was an easy fix.

One other thing I forgot to share with others who may be drilling kettle holes with a step bit - wear long pants and shoes when doing it. If you wear flip flops like I was you get smoking hot shards of metal covered in lubricating oil flying off the step bit and landing on your feet (even at low RPMs). It's not a lot of fun.

Below is a parts list for the control panel and elements. I recommend not cutting corners on the PID or SSR and order from Auber (and not eBay) so you know what you are getting, but that's your decision. IMO, Home Depot has a better selection of electrical receptacles, plugs, ring terminals and cheaper wire/cable than Lowes, so if you have the choice I'd start your shopping at HD (YMMV).

For your more obscure parts (like resistors and cheap indicator lamps) you can nerd it up at Radio Shack. Just be aware that they will follow you around the store trying to sell you a cell phone plan - bring a big stick to club them with if they don't leave you alone.

I had a pretty good idea of what online prices were on stuff, so if I found things close to the same price I bought it locally, else I ordered online.

The list doesn't include the new kettle I bought, cable I used to run power from the house to the shed, breakers in the main panel, or any of the kettle upgrade parts I got from Bargain fittings, but I think it should cover most of the control panel and element parts. For more details on the Elecdirect parts, Ischiavo has a parts list on one of his threads that includes hyperlinks to most of the parts (it's a link in the 1st post of the thread linked here).

Thanks goes to P-J for the original parts list - I just changed it up with some of the parts that I added or substituted.



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Old 11-19-2011, 11:43 PM   #29
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Not only does it look cool, it makes beer too! Brewed a blonde ale test batch with Centennial and Amarillo hops, and hit all my temps and gravities. It took me a little bit to figure out how to run the boil in manual mode (finally figured out you have to hit Set to change the display, then you can change the % power), but when I did it worked great. I also figured out the magnetic back on my timer sticks nicely on the control panel face, so now my timer is almost integrated into the panel.

I got my Bargain Fittings order today, so when the batch of brew was finished I built a wood stand for my kettle and then drilled out and wired up the element, probe, sight gauge, and installed the ball valve on my keggle HLT. The dip tube I bought won't fit since the element is in the way, so I'll need to modify it tomorrow.

Here's a few pics from the brew session - the next set of pics (next week) should be of the completed e-brewery.

Setting up the grain mill


Heating strike water




Boil time!

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Old 11-20-2011, 02:13 AM   #30
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winner winner chicken dinner! good work.

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