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Old 06-08-2013, 02:31 PM   #1
reuliss
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Default RIMS Build: Some Questions

First off, I want to thank everyone for their help so far. I take none of you for granted and this community continues to amaze me about how helpful everyone is to people like me who are still searching for a clue. I know it takes time to read and respond to posts like this, and I promise to pay it forward (mostly with brewing advice which I'm good with--I don't see myself dispensing electric advice any time soon! )

Now, with that introduction, there are some lingering questions about the RIMS controller I'm currently working on. The major concepts and such I have down, but as I continue to drill down deeper into finer detail, I find myself coming up with some additional questions. First off, this is the build that I'm planning on

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/hel...roller-412746/

Here are my questions:

1. The notes say that the element must be a low density 2000W. I want to use a 1500W low density element instead. I can't tell if the wording of the notation on the wiring diagram is saying the element needs to be low density or that it needs to be 2000W. A bit ambiguous. So, am I okay with the lower wattage element? I'm no expert, but intuition tells me that I should be okay going with a lower wattage element than called for in the design rather than vice versa.

2. I'm confused how the wiring diagram is telling me to wire the E-Stop button. The terminals on the switch don't seem to match the diagram, and the diagram does not label the terminals the way the actual switch does. At the very bottom of this post is a picture of the back of the E-Stop switch.
Can someone provide some additional guidance about which wires go where on this switch?

3. I purchased all 14 gauge wire. Are there any places on the diagram (again, assuming I'm using a 1500W element) where I should go with something like 12 or 10?

4. My enclosure doesn't have a grounding post. Is that a problem? I'd think that it should and perhaps it would suffice is a drilled a hole and added a bolt to which I can add some ground wires. And, on a related front, the wiring diagram itself doesn't seem to indicate precisely how to ground the enclosure. Is that typical?

Thanks again in advance for everyone's insight.

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Old 06-09-2013, 01:03 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reuliss View Post
Here are my questions:

1. The notes say that the element must be a low density 2000W. I want to use a 1500W low density element instead. I can't tell if the wording of the notation on the wiring diagram is saying the element needs to be low density or that it needs to be 2000W. A bit ambiguous. So, am I okay with the lower wattage element? I'm no expert, but intuition tells me that I should be okay going with a lower wattage element than called for in the design rather than vice versa.
The text says to use an LWD (low watt density) 2000w-120v and should be made of Incoloy. Available from Boston Heating Supply at http://bostonheatingsupply.com/SP10868GL.aspx

Note to P-J: You need to update the URL for the element in your schematics.

You can use a lower watt density element, but the amount of heat you'll be putting into your system is less than it was designed for. It will hold temps for 5 and 10 gallon batches, but don't expect to be able to do step mashes.

Search in this forum for a spreadsheet fill called "electricheat". It does calculations on how long it takes a specified volume of water from one temp to another temp. You can use that to see the effect of your decision before you buy.

Why would you want to go lower? I don't recall seeing how big a batch you're planning on making, etc?

Quote:
Originally Posted by reuliss View Post
2. I'm confused how the wiring diagram is telling me to wire the E-Stop button. The terminals on the switch don't seem to match the diagram, and the diagram does not label the terminals the way the actual switch does. At the very bottom of this post is a picture of the back of the E-Stop switch.
Can someone provide some additional guidance about which wires go where on this switch?
The e-stop switch is designed to trip your GFCI breaker by leaking a very small amount of current (I think 0.06 amps). This leakage will cause the GFCI breaker to trip an thus cut power to the panel, elements, pumps, etc.

The switch you chose to perform this function must have a normally open contact set - review the diagram and you'll see the switch drawing is open. The switch in your photo has both a normally open ("NO") and normally closed ("NC") contact set. Wire it up using the NO contact set.

From the hot terminal, run a wire through a fuse block (or inline fuse holder) rated for 1 amp (choose a 1 amp fast blow fuse) then to another piece of wire, then solder in the two resisters in series with each other to another piece of wire to one side of your EPO switch. Then take another piece of wire from the other side of the EPO switch and run it to ground.


Quote:
Originally Posted by reuliss View Post
3. I purchased all 14 gauge wire. Are there any places on the diagram (again, assuming I'm using a 1500W element) where I should go with something like 12 or 10?
Have you read the "Electrical Primer for Brewers"? You should be well aware of the ratings for various sized wiring and how to determine the load (amps) you're going to be using. Wire is cheap. You can use wire larger than required, but do not use wiring that is too small for the load.

You mentioned you were going to use a 1500w element on a 120v circuit. watts/volts=amps 1500w/120v = 12.5 amps if your 120v is really 110v then the amperage is 13.6. If you used a 2000v element at 120v (well, you can do the math now).

14ga wire is good for 15 amps, however, you're at 83% of the wire rating for the 1500w/120v (12.5amps/15amps=.83 or 83%). It might get a little bit warm. I would use 12ga wire for any wiring runs carrying the load of the elements. Wire is cheap. Buying the next size up is easier then melting something.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reuliss View Post
4. My enclosure doesn't have a grounding post. Is that a problem? I'd think that it should and perhaps it would suffice is a drilled a hole and added a bolt to which I can add some ground wires. And, on a related front, the wiring diagram itself doesn't seem to indicate precisely how to ground the enclosure. Is that typical?
What is your enclosure made of? If it's plastic or fiberglass you need a grounding terminal strip for the components, but not for the enclosure. If your enclosure is metal then yes, you can put a screw and nut or bolt a piece of wire from your ground terminal strip to your enclosure.

Good luck with your build. Load pictures of it when you can and keep asking questions.

Paul
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Old 06-09-2013, 02:48 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stlbeer

The text says to use an LWD (low watt density) 2000w-120v and should be made of Incoloy. Available from Boston Heating Supply at http://bostonheatingsupply.com/SP10868GL.aspx

Note to P-J: You need to update the URL for the element in your schematics.

You can use a lower watt density element, but the amount of heat you'll be putting into your system is less than it was designed for. It will hold temps for 5 and 10 gallon batches, but don't expect to be able to do step mashes.

Search in this forum for a spreadsheet fill called "electricheat". It does calculations on how long it takes a specified volume of water from one temp to another temp. You can use that to see the effect of your decision before you buy.

Why would you want to go lower? I don't recall seeing how big a batch you're planning on making, etc?

The e-stop switch is designed to trip your GFCI breaker by leaking a very small amount of current (I think 0.06 amps). This leakage will cause the GFCI breaker to trip an thus cut power to the panel, elements, pumps, etc.

The switch you chose to perform this function must have a normally open contact set - review the diagram and you'll see the switch drawing is open. The switch in your photo has both a normally open ("NO") and normally closed ("NC") contact set. Wire it up using the NO contact set.

From the hot terminal, run a wire through a fuse block (or inline fuse holder) rated for 1 amp (choose a 1 amp fast blow fuse) then to another piece of wire, then solder in the two resisters in series with each other to another piece of wire to one side of your EPO switch. Then take another piece of wire from the other side of the EPO switch and run it to ground.

Have you read the "Electrical Primer for Brewers"? You should be well aware of the ratings for various sized wiring and how to determine the load (amps) you're going to be using. Wire is cheap. You can use wire larger than required, but do not use wiring that is too small for the load.

You mentioned you were going to use a 1500w element on a 120v circuit. watts/volts=amps 1500w/120v = 12.5 amps if your 120v is really 110v then the amperage is 13.6. If you used a 2000v element at 120v (well, you can do the math now).

14ga wire is good for 15 amps, however, you're at 83% of the wire rating for the 1500w/120v (12.5amps/15amps=.83 or 83%). It might get a little bit warm. I would use 12ga wire for any wiring runs carrying the load of the elements. Wire is cheap. Buying the next size up is easier then melting something.

What is your enclosure made of? If it's plastic or fiberglass you need a grounding terminal strip for the components, but not for the enclosure. If your enclosure is metal then yes, you can put a screw and nut or bolt a piece of wire from your ground terminal strip to your enclosure.

Good luck with your build. Load pictures of it when you can and keep asking questions.

Paul
Thank you for those thorough responses. As far as my decision to use the 1500w element, I'm planning to use it to hold temps only. Any step mashes I'll do with second infusions. I know this is debatable, but I'm my mind I don't like the idea of a RIMS tube for step mashes for two reasons: first, I think it would take too long to reach the target and would affect the wort's fermentability; second, and more importantly, I'm not convinced that step mashing with a heating element wouldn't denature the enzymes. The lower element allows me to have comfort that the system won't overheat my wort. I want to be as gentle about it as possible.
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Old 06-09-2013, 11:24 PM   #4
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That's fine. I was asking so we'd have all of the information on your system.

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Old 06-10-2013, 01:26 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stlbeer
That's fine. I was asking so we'd have all of the information on your system.
Thank you stlbeer. Your help is much appreciated. Also, I realized that I never answered your question regarding batch size-- I'm sticking with 5 gal.
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Old 06-12-2013, 01:27 AM   #6
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Okay, started wiring tonight. I put a heat sink below the SSR. This made me wonder how hot that heat sink will get. Any chance it could melt neighboring wires? It seems almost impossible to keep any wires from touch the heat sink.

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Old 06-12-2013, 11:13 AM   #7
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Typically the heat sink is mounted outside of the enclosure, where fresh, cool air can move across the fins and remove the heat. If you chose to mount it inside the box (perfectly acceptable) you should provide some form of air movement through the box (IE a fan and a vent) to get the hot air out of the box. Doubtful that it will get hot enough to melt wires, but I've never actually performed any stress-tests on an SSR to see how hot they get. Suffice it to say they get hot enough that without air movement and a well-seated heat sink, you can expect a short life for the SSR.

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Old 06-12-2013, 05:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BadNewsBrewery View Post
Typically the heat sink is mounted outside of the enclosure, where fresh, cool air can move across the fins and remove the heat. If you chose to mount it inside the box (perfectly acceptable) you should provide some form of air movement through the box (IE a fan and a vent) to get the hot air out of the box. Doubtful that it will get hot enough to melt wires, but I've never actually performed any stress-tests on an SSR to see how hot they get. Suffice it to say they get hot enough that without air movement and a well-seated heat sink, you can expect a short life for the SSR.
How hard would it be to incorporate a fan into my wiring diagram.
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Old 06-13-2013, 10:26 AM   #9
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If you find a small, 120v fan - very easy. If you can only use a 12v computer fan, then you'd need to install a transformer of some sort (a wall wart works well) and then install the fan. All in all, it'd be simple enough. Just more holes to cut in the box.

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5gal Scottish Wee Heavy
5gal Saison
15gal American Pale Ale
20gal Belgian Wit (10 dumped)


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Keg 2: Belgian Wit (Failure)
Keg 3: American Pale Ale
Fermenting: Belgian Wit (Take 2)
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Old 06-18-2013, 12:54 AM   #10
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So far, no good. Thought I was all ready to go and plugged her in and . . . Nothing. Anyone see anything obvious that I've messed up?

image-229850957.jpg



image-116502093.jpg

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