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Old 10-20-2010, 07:48 PM   #21
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I started off with a steel breaker-box style enclosure that I got off ebay for cheap. About 1/3 of the way into the project, a buddy at work found me some control hardware that had failed our manufacture burn-in testing. Now instead of a control system run by 3 home made PIC microcontroller boards, I have a legit industrial-grade control system with thermocouple and relay modules, an ethernet port with a built-in web-server, a dedicated serial port, a real-time processor and an FPGA. That's not really important to the thread, but I'm excited.

Either way, I had to rethink my box because the new controller is much larger than the original control hardware. I went with one of the plastic boxes from Home Depot for the second time around. The point of my rambling is that it is MUCH easier to work with the plastic box than it was to work with the steel. I would hands-down suggest the plastic box unless you have a good drill press, are really accurate with a jig saw and like using a file.

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Old 10-20-2010, 10:04 PM   #22
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I started off with a steel breaker-box style enclosure that I got off ebay for cheap. About 1/3 of the way into the project, a buddy at work found me some control hardware that had failed our manufacture burn-in testing. Now instead of a control system run by 3 home made PIC microcontroller boards, I have a legit industrial-grade control system with thermocouple and relay modules, an ethernet port with a built-in web-server, a dedicated serial port, a real-time processor and an FPGA. That's not really important to the thread, but I'm excited.

Either way, I had to rethink my box because the new controller is much larger than the original control hardware. I went with one of the plastic boxes from Home Depot for the second time around. The point of my rambling is that it is MUCH easier to work with the plastic box than it was to work with the steel. I would hands-down suggest the plastic box unless you have a good drill press, are really accurate with a jig saw and like using a file.
Thanks for that suggestion. I'm thinking that's going to be my route.
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Old 10-22-2010, 02:34 AM   #23
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How do you guys do these cutouts in the metal boxes?
Bridgeport Milling Machine....
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Old 10-22-2010, 03:18 AM   #24
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This is what I use, but it's impossible to get a clean small square hole without lots of filing and cursing.

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Old 10-22-2010, 04:37 AM   #25
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Bridgeport Milling Machine....
I used a CNC mill, though not a Bridgeport. It made easy work of my steel enclosure.

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Old 10-22-2010, 06:58 AM   #26
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I use a rotozip, dremel, jig saw, drill, rifler files, greenlee punches, unibits, whatever that's on my workbench that will make the right size/shape hole.

B

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Old 10-22-2010, 01:01 PM   #27
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Old 10-23-2010, 03:54 PM   #28
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You could build one out of wood for that matter. It doesn't have to be of any specific rating unless you're trying to employ it in a commercial setting and have to get inspections.
Correct.

Ratings are only required for commercial settings that have to undergo regular inspections as they are required to have safe workplaces for their employees like you mentioned.

In most locations you can build and use anything you like as long as it is not permanently connected to the rest of your house. That does not mean however that it will be safe for you to use (only you can be the judge of that).

If you're the only person using a control panel that you built and designed yourself, feel free to do whatever you want.

But no matter how well you design and build something, accidents do happen so I chose to build my control panel to try and be as safe as possible. That means following industry protection standards as much as possible.

People can do what they want. They need to decide for themselves.

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I doubt you pulled a residential permit to install your brew house.
I did, by the ESA (electrical safety authority) which does inspections in Ontario Canada. This was for the electrical outlets and lights that are permanently attached to the house in my brewery. There wasn't much: The 30A dryer outlet, a couple of regular 15A sockets, and some overhead lights. All installed in conduit since the brewing room was already tiled. They don't (and didn't) care about the control panel since it's not part of the house structure.

I basically paid the $80 to get an "all clear" sticker stuck to my breaker panel which in the end is really only good for insurance purposes (if something that was to happen and the house burnt down due to faulty wiring I did on this circuit, the insurance company could not say I was negligent since I had it inspected).

It was the biggest waste of $80 I've ever done ... the inspector basically said "You seem to know what you're doing... here's your sticker" without actually looking at anything. He then proceeded to ask me a ton of questions on my control panel and the brewing process.

Kal
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Old 10-23-2010, 03:58 PM   #29
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It is in progress. Kal has posted some teaser images for the schematics / wiring in the thread about Part 1.

I know that I keep checking the site daily hoping for it to be there each morning.
It's now online. See: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/control-panel-part-2
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Old 10-23-2010, 04:47 PM   #30
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Kal- That sticker may have been a waste of $80, but as you mentioned....getting your insurance company to pony up is a pretty huge deal As they say, do it right the first time!

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