Need help with control panel
I am aware that searching this question would turn up a lot more posts than this thread will probably get in replies, but I want to make absolute certain that what I buy/build will be functional and won't start a fire/any other disaster, so I am asking here to get the specifics of my system in place to customize a control panel around it. I'm also not looking to break the bank. Keeping the control panel as close to $100 as possible would be ideal, anything under that would be incredible but if it has to be much more expensive, I'll suck it up. No need to factor in the cost of an actual case for the panel, I'll be making that myself.
I'm building a 10-gallon electric system with a 5500W heating element in each the BK and HLT. So far I have everything together except for the control panel. Heating elements are even in place on the keggles waiting to be plugged into something. I would like to get away with only having a single PID if at all possible, but we'll see what you all have to say.
I would like to be able to only have one outlet for the kettles on the control panel, so when the BK needs to be used as opposed to the HLT, I unplug the HLT from the control panel and plug in the BK rather than using a switch. This is just because I already have the one outlet and would rather not have to buy another. The same doesn't have to apply to the temp probes, but would be fine if it makes it easier (I don't have the temp probes yet).
I plan on plugging this whole thing into the dryer outlet in my basement. Is is safe to assume it is already safe to use with this type of system, or do I need to get something else to make sure nothing goes wrong? Everyone's always talking about GFCI breakers, is this specific to putting a brewing system on a 220V outlet, or is it something that should be standard on those outlets?
I guess I'm ultimately asking is:
What do I need/what is the wiring diagram for a control panel to power 2 separate 5500W heating elements using only one PID, and one 220V outlet, and do I need to protect the outlet any more?
I also have a 1500W heating element on a separate kettle unrelated to the brewing system but would like it controlled by the same panel if this is at all possible.
I'd like the parts list/diagram for just the 2 5500W system at least, the 1500W kettle would just be extra if it can be done easily.
I am in the planning stages of my all eBrew system, and I would have to say the $100 seems pretty low.
If you don't have a GFCI breaker That alone will put you at $50+ (if you go the spa panel route) You can go the ebay route for the PID, but as other will point out you get what you pay for, and will have trouble finding one that does SSR output manual mode and displays in Fahrenheit. So if you go the Auber route there is another $45 plus shipping.
While I wouldn't necessarily do a search on control panels, go to the Electric area of the forum, and read a few other folks eBuilds, you will get great ideas and costs along with quite a few amazing circuit diagrams.
My reason for asking these questions is because I have searched the forums and read extensively on DIY control panels, and I still don't understand the science behind it, so altering any of the plans I see to fit my system isn't something I think I can successfully and safely do on my own. I haven't seen a diagram for what I plan to build, I've seen things close, but once again I don't want to risk changing those plans without knowing what I'm doing.
Also, having the display show Fahrenheit vs Celsius isn't an issue for me, I prefer C anyway. Also, what does "SSR output manual mode" mean in reagards to the PID? I don't know what that is/why it is important.
Also, cost really isn't a factor. I would like to keep it cheap, but if necessary, I have a lot of room to play with my budget for this build. I have been able to build the HLT, BK, and MT extremely cheap (~$100-$150 per kettle) and the brew-stand is cheap too. The most expensive parts in the stand are the pulleys for the make-shift 3-tier system (platforms that the BK and MT sit on that raise and lower to allow gravity feeding on a single tier system since I have low basement ceilings). The rest of the stand is made from up-cycled wooden pallets and sheet metal from craigslist. I set a budget of $800 for this project, and I have about $300 to play with right now. So, even though I have that budgeted, I love going under-budget, and I'd like to keep it as under-budget as possible.
Your plan can be done. I've drawn many diagrams that are close to what you are trying to achieve.
Please let me answer the GFCI issue. I believe this is a very critical component for your brewery. Your system will be in a wet area by the simple nature of brewing. With a dryer, the machine is isolated and the dryer cabinet is totaly grounded. Additionally it is not in a wet area. The power feed to it is not GFCI protected. Yes, there is a washing machine next to it but it is not a "wet" area.
Please do not play "You Bet Your Life" by not planning on GFCI protection. PLEASE.!
I believe that you can build what you want to achieve for about $350 +/- including a GFCI Spa Panel.
You can do a search for some of my diagrams in this forum or I can make one for you once you decide what you want to do. Here is an example of one diagram: Any diagrams or opinions for this EBIAB build? - Post # 3
Please play it safe & do it right.
In my mind, the only big ticket items for this control panel are the PID/SSR, and the GFCI, and those should combine to about $100 based on prices I've seen other people talk about. What is making up the other $250 in your quote?
In the diagram you linked me to, there's a lot of buttons/switches, and wiring for pumps (which I don't have). Is there a way that can be stripped down to not have those buttons and wiring for pumps, and just simply have the power in to the temp controller and the power out to the kettle? I'm sorry if that's a simple step to take from the diagram you linked, but like I said, I have no idea what I'm doing and need all the help I can get. (To clarify, I mean that I have no idea how to design a circuit diagram. I can read diagrams and build it fine, I just don't know how to make it from scratch.)
Also, thanks for the GFCI info. I wasn't planning on not having one, I just wasn't sure if I already did or not, and based on what you said, I don't.
Here is a rough guess (as I saw it) of the costs on the build:
Plus about $55 for the Spa Panel.
You certainly can cut out items as you choose. Just let me know what you want as your final (+/-) plan and I'll diagram it for you.
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