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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > Recommendations for a portable box?
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Old 02-21-2013, 04:16 PM   #1
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Default Recommendations for a portable box?

As I'm designing my eBrewing BIAB setup, I'm looking to make sure it's super modular and portable since I brew at home, friends' homes, and sometimes do classes at the LHBS. Does anyone have recommendations for a control box that's designed to be hauled around? Spa boxes are nice, but don't really seem to lend themselves to being lugged around.

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Old 02-21-2013, 04:34 PM   #2
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plastic tool box.

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Old 02-21-2013, 07:00 PM   #3
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I'm building a controller from a metal toolbox. Not quite done, but I'm happy with the look of it and its easily portable. Can't link to the thread from my phone, but will try later from home so you can see the pics.

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Old 02-21-2013, 08:15 PM   #4
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Besides the physical box, the other issue is electrical compatibility. For example, if you build it as a 240v, 30a system with a NEMA 14-30 plug, the remote location would need a NEMA 14-30 receptacle. You might be better off making it a 120v system, with two inputs, but then you would need to find two separate circuits at the remote location. 1500w elements can run off common 15a circuits, 2000w elements would require less common 20a circuits. In all cases, you will need to provide GFCI protection, or you are playing with your life.

It might be helpful to gather some information as to what electrical service is available at the remote locations you are likely to visit.

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Old 02-21-2013, 09:15 PM   #5
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Besides the physical box, the other issue is electrical compatibility. For example, if you build it as a 240v, 30a system with a NEMA 14-30 plug, the remote location would need a NEMA 14-30 receptacle. You might be better off making it a 120v system, with two inputs, but then you would need to find two separate circuits at the remote location. 1500w elements can run off common 15a circuits, 2000w elements would require less common 20a circuits. In all cases, you will need to provide GFCI protection, or you are playing with your life.

It might be helpful to gather some information as to what electrical service is available at the remote locations you are likely to visit.
I was thinking on basing the box on 14-30 and making a few small adapter cables (14-30 to 14-50 for instance), but I would definitely scout a place out for adequate power before hand. I had thought about about the dual 120V, but chances are that if it came down to that, finding different 15A circuits that had little to nothing on them would be challenging to say the least. Worst case scenario, I pull the element out of the pot (a la Brewers Hardware element adapter), put a end cap on, and proceed with using a propane burner. I guess I hadn't considered a scenario where someone would have 240 and not have it on a GFCI, but I guess that's possible and it's better safe than sorry. I did a search and don't seem many people building them into their control boxes. What's the recommended solution for that?
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:33 PM   #6
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The ubiquitous spa panel you see in builds is used because it is a GFCI, and it is generally less expensive than a GFCI breaker alone (go figure). There is also a Xerox GFCI cord that has become harder to find (no longer in production, I believe), although that is really designed more to protect the equipment than human life, based upon the time to trip.

Incidentally, most 240v circuits in homes are for electric dryers or ranges, and GFCIs on these are not common.

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Old 02-21-2013, 09:34 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by uberg33k View Post
I was thinking on basing the box on 14-30 and making a few small adapter cables (14-30 to 14-50 for instance), but I would definitely scout a place out for adequate power before hand. I had thought about about the dual 120V, but chances are that if it came down to that, finding different 15A circuits that had little to nothing on them would be challenging to say the least. Worst case scenario, I pull the element out of the pot (a la Brewers Hardware element adapter), put a end cap on, and proceed with using a propane burner. I guess I hadn't considered a scenario where someone would have 240 and not have it on a GFCI, but I guess that's possible and it's better safe than sorry. I did a search and don't seem many people building them into their control boxes. What's the recommended solution for that?
A thought for you. Most every home has a dryer outlet available. They are powered as either a 3 wire 240V 30A circuit or a 4 wire 240V 30A circuit.

Now comes the task of design. Purchase a Spa Panel from Home Depot and set it up as a plug in device with an output outlet in place for your brewery.

You can build several input power cords for it so that it can be used with most every home dryer connection.

The output of the panel would then become the GFCI protected power source for your brewery.

Just something to think about. (Plus it now becomes part of your portable brew rig.)

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Old 02-21-2013, 09:41 PM   #8
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Incidentally, most 240v circuits in homes are for electric dryers or ranges, and GFCIs on these are not common.
That seems odd for dryers considering almost all of them sit next to washing machines that have water spigots and drains. Don't get me wrong, I'm sure you're right, it just seems like the opposite of what you would expect.
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Old 02-21-2013, 09:44 PM   #9
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A thought for you. Most every home has a dryer outlet available. They are powered as either a 3 wire 240V 30A circuit or a 4 wire 240V 30A circuit.

Now comes the task of design. Purchase a Spa Panel from Home Depot and set it up as a plug in device with an output outlet in place for your brewery.

You can build several input power cords for it so that it can be used with most every home dryer connection.

The output of the panel would then become the GFCI protected power source for your brewery.

Just something to think about. (Plus it now becomes part of your portable brew rig.)

P-J
Yeah, that seems like the cheapest option. I just wish it was a bit more compact. The inline stuff out there seems insanely priced.
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