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Old 11-28-2012, 06:05 PM   #21
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FWIW/FTR, here's the response I received from Switchcraft:

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I hope the statement below from engineering will answer your question.

"The HPC series connectors can be used at 125-240 VAC. The HPC series connectors are not UL recognized components. The connectors are not intended to be used to interrupt or disconnect power, i.e. power must be turned off before connecting or disconnecting the connectors."
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Old 11-28-2012, 06:34 PM   #22
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Interesting, thanks for that.
So, in/by designed they are rated in accordance to UL 1977 but were never submitted for recognition/approval.
Again, thank you for clarifying with them, after seeing it on their specs sheet I didn't think to double check that when I emailed them.

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Old 11-28-2012, 08:57 PM   #23
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Hopefully no one would be connecting and/or disconnecting these things with the power on anyway

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Old 11-29-2012, 06:06 PM   #24
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For what it's worth here's some pictures of my finished switchcraft plug-based solution. (Be careful when ordering; the Mouser website incorrectly listed some female connectors as male and vice-versa... really check the EXACT switchcraft connector that you're ordering.)

I used the StillDragon TC element cover option and a short length of 10/4 wire (DON'T use 10/4 wire; use 10/3 -trust me on this) connected to a Female Switchcraft Fast-on cord connector (50amp rated version). Then I made a 9-10 ft 10/4 cable with a male Switchcraft Fast-On cord connector and this will connect from my control panel (which has a female control panel Switchcraft Fast-on connector) to my electric element.

I really, REALLY love this setup. I don't have any long cables hanging off of my HLT or kettle, I can quickly and easily remove the elements to scrub them if necessary, I can quickly and easily get access to the electrical connections if necessary, the whole thing is grounded end-to-end (fully tested), and it looks and functions great. I also don't have to worry about the cable twisting and unplugging itself (rare but possible with twist lock); it's also quite water resistant (esp with some strategically placed beads of clear silicone). The plugs are also super cheap compared to the alternatives.

The negatives:
1. Wiring the Switch Craft fast-on cord connectors is TOUGH -it is very hard to make the blade connections inside the connector because if they're long enough that you can actually install them with your hands/ a screwdriver you're going to have the cable sheath sticking out and you're DEFINITELY going to have to use heat shrink wrap; the alternative is to cut the wires very short (very small margin of error with these things), align them perfectly and then just push down really really hard and hope that they all went on correctly. (and of course test with a multi meter to confirm.) It took me hours and hours and a bunch of ruined blade connectors to figure out the right internal wire length.
2. Safety Concern The StillDragon TC element kits come with pure copper "blade" wire connectors without any external insulation on them-this includes for the two hot wires. They do come with shrink wrap but on my elements just fitting the TC over the finished wires rubbed through the heat shrink stuff enough that both hot wires were making an electrical connection with the TC itself- when I was testing the grounds with my multimeter I noticed that both of the hot wires AND the ground were "grounded" to the TC connector and then took it apart and confirmed my suspicions. (This was after bending the blade connectors at an almost 90 degree angle.) Everyone should be buying insulated blades for the two hot legs and I'd say some heat shrink tubing over that to connect the hot wires. I really have to completely recommend against using the included copper connectors.


Picture of one finished element with Switch Craft Fast-On "Pig Tail" solution: (If anyone else has done this yet, I certainly haven't seen it.)

Here's a close-up of the SwitchCraft connector:


Here's the two elements and power cable all in a single shot:


I'm considering using another set of SwitchCraft connectors to go from my spa panel box to my control panel box (I'll just switch the male and female ends around there so that my power-in and power-out plugs are different) but they're honestly so much work to wire and I just want to make beer so I might just go with a twist-lock there...



I seriously don't think there's a solution out there that I'd be happier with over all. The connectors are frustrating to wire and the StillDragon elements DO require getting a TC ferrule welded into your tank (which has been a multi-week ordeal for me so far with my flakey welder) but it looks drop-dead gorgeous, is very reasonably priced, super functional, should last basically forever, and with the aforementioned replacement of the copper blade connectors (and of course GFI protection), is incredibly safe.



Adam

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Old 11-29-2012, 06:58 PM   #25
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First off very sexy, I now feel shame with my simple J-boxes housings.

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Originally Posted by biertourist View Post
The negatives:
1. Wiring the Switch Craft fast-on cord connectors is TOUGH -it is very hard to make the blade connections inside the connector because if they're long enough that you can actually install them with your hands/ a screwdriver you're going to have the cable sheath sticking out and you're DEFINITELY going to have to use heat shrink wrap; the alternative is to cut the wires very short (very small margin of error with these things), align them perfectly and then just push down really really hard and hope that they all went on correctly. (and of course test with a multi meter to confirm.) It took me hours and hours and a bunch of ruined blade connectors to figure out the right internal wire length.
But I'm trying to follow negative #1
Do they not come apart like the male cord plugs I used (this image has the fast-on on the plus's blades)?




If not and there's only a the compression ring on the back that would very very hard because even so it's tricky because you have to start all the connections and slowly slide all in at the same time but only 5 minutes not houses.
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:17 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runs4beer View Post
First off very sexy, I now feel shame with my simple J-boxes housings.



But I'm trying to follow negative #1
Do they not come apart like the male cord plugs I used (this image has the fast-on on the plus's blades)?




If not and there's only a the compression ring on the back that would very very hard because even so it's tricky because you have to start all the connections and slowly slide all in at the same time but only 5 minutes not houses.
Wow... Your bottom picture clearly shows the cable sheath INSIDE of the Switchcraft connector. -I used 10/4 wire instead of the 10/3 wire that I should have and the diameter of the cable sheath is so large it actually won't fit inside of the connector even after removing all the internal rubber bushings. -It sounds like it was such a pain simply because I used the larger diameter 10/4 wire.

(If you wanted to use the SwitchCraft connectors between a spa panel disconnect and a control panel you'd need the 4 conductor wire and you'll run into this problem again but if you're just using the SwitchCraft connectors for your control panel "power out" going to the elements you can use 10/3 and it looks super easy to wire.)


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Old 11-29-2012, 07:29 PM   #27
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Very nice. So that's another method to differentiate inputs from outputs on these things, when the panel mounts are only available as female. Use pigtails with whichever end (male or female) you want.

E.g., power in at the control panel uses a pigtail male, power out at the control panel uses a panel mount female, male to female cable goes to element, element power in uses a pigtail male.

I wonder if there is any way to "jury rig" the male connector to make it more of a panel mount. E.g., could you use the rightmost piece in runs4beer's last picture, with the threads going through the panel and secured by adjacent piece inside the panel?

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Old 11-29-2012, 07:45 PM   #28
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I do have 10/4 from my spa panel to my control panel and the switchcraft plugs on on the end of the 10/4, it was tight but I put a little olive oil (was doing it in the kitchen so it was right there) on the sheath and slid it right in.
edit:
Please don't quote this out of context (he he).

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Old 11-29-2012, 07:58 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffmeh View Post
Very nice. So that's another method to differentiate inputs from outputs on these things, when the panel mounts are only available as female. Use pigtails with whichever end (male or female) you want.

E.g., power in at the control panel uses a pigtail male, power out at the control panel uses a panel mount female, male to female cable goes to element, element power in uses a pigtail male.

I wonder if there is any way to "jury rig" the male connector to make it more of a panel mount. E.g., could you use the rightmost piece in runs4beer's last picture, with the threads going through the panel and secured by adjacent piece inside the panel?
I'm strongly considering just putting a wrap of colored electrical tape over each cable end and where it needs to be plugged in. -Yes it's not "fool proof" but "green goes to green" and "red goes to red" isn't too complicated. And I'm certainly not going to let anyone else use my brewery without me.


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Old 11-29-2012, 08:00 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runs4beer View Post
I do have 10/4 from my spa panel to my control panel and the switchcraft plugs on on the end of the 10/4, it was tight but I put a little olive oil (was doing it in the kitchen so it was right there) on the sheath and slid it right in.
edit:
Please don't quote this out of context (he he).
Wow, REALLY?!? Ok, you convinced me I'm going to use another set of switchcraft plugs to go between the control panel and the spa panel -if it's as easy as just using a bit of olive oil it's definitely worth staying with the switchcraft connectors.


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