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-   -   Nonmetallic control panel enclosures (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/nonmetallic-control-panel-enclosures-380362/)

hot_carl 01-10-2013 07:44 PM

Nonmetallic control panel enclosures
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I recently decided to move to electric brewing from propane and in looking over many builds, I see alot of people using steel enclosures for their panels. The steel enclosures seem heavier, more expensive, and harder to cut holes in than the ABS and fiberglass type (which I just picked up from BUD industries). Is there any reason why the nonmetallic type arent more prevalent? They carry the same NEMA specifications regarding water/dust ingress and are more than strong enough for our use...they also seem safer in the very unlikely event that a hot lead comes into contact with the enclosure since they wont carry current (Well, I guess that would trip the breaker since the case is grounded...so that makes the safety thing a moot point, but still). There seem to be lots of issues around cutting holes, most all of which are much easier to deal with in a softer medium like ABS. Am I making a mistake by using one of these enclosures, or just not following the norm?

machfive55 01-10-2013 07:50 PM

I'll be following this thread.

jeffmeh 01-10-2013 08:24 PM

Very reasonable choice. Which one did you get, and what will you use for a back plate to mount the components?

hot_carl 01-10-2013 08:44 PM

I used the BUD Industries NBF-32026, it is roughtly 15x11x5.75 internally and less than $50 shipped from here:

I dont know if it comes with a backplate or not, although I'm pretty sure that you can buy them separately...I'll have to check and see when I get home if the UPS man left me presents! If not, I'll just cut some sheetmetal from HD or even plastic plate as I have some lying around. Most all of what is going on the backside is DIN rail mounted, so I may end up just making a track system on each side and mounting the horizontal DIN rails to that, we'll see once I have a chance to dive in. I'll keep you guys posted and post pics when I get the panel mocked up.

jeffmeh 01-10-2013 08:49 PM

Great. Depending upon what you are trying to do, you may find the 5.75" internal height a bit tight, particularly if you add a back plate. I'm interested to see what you come up with.

hot_carl 01-10-2013 08:54 PM

I goofed, its ~6"(5.98) inside, so that gives a bit more space, but you're right, it may be a bit tight especially if you have large contactors or deep PID's and switches. They are made in lots of sizes however, so if wanting a deeper, wider, taller, whatever panel...you can get those just as easily.

jCOSbrew 01-10-2013 09:47 PM

I used a smaller version for eBIAB and it worked great, much easier to modify than steel.
Mine did not come with a back plate but has internal bosses for one. I ended up mounting all components to a DIN rail and didn't use a back plate. Mine also came with mounting brackets and HW. I don't see any downside to this type of NEMA rated ABS enclosure.

biertourist 01-10-2013 10:29 PM

The bud box does NOT come with a back-plane; has to be ordered separately. The room IS tight if you have a 3 contactor build for sure; see my pics in this FB album: http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fb...type=3&theater

You can't use plastic boxes as heatsinks for your SSRs (You'll need a real heat sink) -that's a downside.
They're more easily scratched -that's a downside.
The whole box itself can't be grounded, but then again it's not conductive... I'm not sure whether this is an upside or a downside yet.

I'm pretty happy with mine, I wish bigger NEMA 4 plastic boxes existed.


inhousebrew 01-10-2013 10:44 PM

I've seen posts with people using plastic toolboxes. That sparked my interest. But then I saw one in which someone was just using a storage box you can buy from walmart or target. For four bucks I gave that a try and it's working fine so far. Super easy to cut.

NewBrewB 01-10-2013 11:14 PM

My buddy used a plastic storage box. After a few brews, the plastic was weakened enough to crack near the SSR. He still uses it... I will say his is a fairly simple BiAB setup so he doesn't have a ton of components in there. Only one PID, etc.

I made my kal clone with the enclosure he recommended... Ordered the 1616x8 on ebay for $100. They were out of stock so they sent me 20x20x8. Space was still really tight. I actually ended up turning it 90 degrees to make more room between components on the door. Now I can't open the door easily to show people because it lifts upward. I digress....

The point is space was tight, even with the 20x...

Be safe!

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