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Old 09-15-2013, 02:51 AM   #1
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Question Troubleshooting first electric build, no power to element?

Hopefully there haven't been too many 'what's wrong with this' threads, because I need to ask what is wrong.

I have built out my first electric control panel and I managed to get past the first power on test without losing any magic smoke. The problem I have now is that while the system indicates that the SSR is switching and that there should be power to the element plug...my test set up isn't working right.

ebrew_board.jpg

In the picture I have two items plugged into the outlet to test the system. The outlets are separate because I have pulled the tabs off them so they are each powered independently. Both plugs have their own indicator lights to show if they have power/circuit closed. The plug on right is my pump power and has the light switch for on and off. The power strip to the far left is plugged into that and you can see that it's indicator light is on.

The problem is the plug on the left, that will be my heating element outlet. It has power coming directly from the SSR and the SSR is wired into the power bridge. The plug in that outlet is the desk lamp over on far left. That lamp never comes on. The LED on the SSR will light, the PID appears to be showing output (see other thread about panel not being labeled right), and the indicator light does fluctuate and get brighter when the SSR appears to be on.

My test have been to lower the set point to about 85 degrees. The RTD is sitting about 76 in basement. I can see the PID and SSR cycling. Then when I breath on the RTD so that it gets up over 86 degrees the cycling stops. It comes back on again as the temp drops. That whole time the desk lamp never lights up.

I found this on youtube, and seems he was trying same thing. Test the system before hooking up to the actual brew hardware. To me it says that my approach to testing should have worked.
(

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Can anyone help?? Would love to finally get this project wrapped up.
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Old 09-15-2013, 03:00 AM   #2
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This may sound kinda stupid and I don't want it to sound condescending, but have you checked the lamp bulb to make sure its not a simple problem like that? I do remodeling for a living and I can't count how many times a customer says "I just can't figure out why this light is not working", I change the bulb but tell them it was a loose wire or something so not to make them feel stupid. If I were you I would use a multimeter for any tests on this system, a light bulb will work for a wide range of voltages where your electronics need 110-120. It will also help to isolate problems with neutrals and such.

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Old 09-15-2013, 03:11 AM   #3
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Nope, I should have mentioned that. I have unplugged it from board and into wall half dozen times as I constantly wondered if I even had the lamp turned on. It has a switch on the cord and every 5 minutes or so doubt would set in. So, yes I have tested the lamp itself plugged straight into wall.

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Old 09-15-2013, 03:47 AM   #4
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Interestingly...and this is where my complete lack of electricity math skills comes into play...if I run a quick jumper wire from the left outlet to an open neutral then the desk lamp lights. ?!? The red indicator light does not light anymore (even though still connected).

What I was wanting was to indicate when the elements were actually on...when they were heating. But it seems (???) the LED indicator is my problem somehow. If someone could put it in very simple layman's terms, I might be able to re-arrange and still achieve what I need?

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Old 09-15-2013, 03:18 PM   #5
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Ok, so messing with any project just like I program..."wonder if". Since jumpering around the indicator light made the desk light fire. I tried to figure out how to get the indicator light to work, but move it out of the line of the outlet circuit.
This temp work around appears to do the trick. I have desk lamp lit and indicator LED. They both turn off when the SSR LED turns off.

So...question...I am assuming it is ok to run the indicator and the power to outlet in parallel like this? I wouldn't be drawing too much power away from the element in the end?

ebrew_board_v1-1.jpg  
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Old 09-15-2013, 11:39 PM   #6
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Ok, upon your further explanation and looking at first picture again I see your problem. You are putting the led lamp in line with the 12v input to the SSR, essentially dropping that current by the power usage of the lamp. Ohm's law states that w/v=a, using its watts at that low of voltage is dropping it enough that the SSR is not recognizing it. Try putting it inline after the SSR in the 120v line, less drop and the element won't even notice.

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Old 09-15-2013, 11:54 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by k_mcarthur View Post
Ok, upon your further explanation and looking at first picture again I see your problem. You are putting the led lamp in line with the 12v input to the SSR, essentially dropping that current by the power usage of the lamp. Ohm's law states that w/v=a, using its watts at that low of voltage is dropping it enough that the SSR is not recognizing it. Try putting it inline after the SSR in the 120v line, less drop and the element won't even notice.
To me it looked like he had the LED in series with the lamp in the first picture, then swapped it out to parrell in the second. both times it is on the 120V side of the SSR.
Not thinking too much into this response so anyone feel free to rip it apart, but remember that an LED is a diode and will only pass current in one direction, therefore the first picture setup would have cut half the AC sine wave of the output (i.e. power on for only half the time but really fast so you don't really notice it).
I don't know why this would stop the lamp from working though, I would expect that it would only be not as bright. Only thing is if the filiment was not able to get hot enough, but I find that unlikely

sablesurfer - do you have a wiring diagram that you are using for this build, it would be much easier to trouble shoot what is going on with that compare to photos that can be a bit unclear of what is actually going where sometimes.
Cheers!
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Old 09-16-2013, 11:58 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mattd2 View Post
To me it looked like he had the LED in series with the lamp in the first picture, then swapped it out to parrell in the second. both times it is on the 120V side of the SSR.
--------------------
sablesurfer - do you have a wiring diagram that you are using for this build, it would be much easier to trouble shoot what is going on with that compare to photos that can be a bit unclear of what is actually going where sometimes.
Cheers!
I will have to scribble something up. It turns out that in a real test of the pump it fails the same way. I can only assume because I also have that indicator LED in series with the pump outlet.
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Old 09-16-2013, 03:07 PM   #9
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Wire your indicator lights in parallel with the load.

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Old 09-16-2013, 08:15 PM   #10
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That will be fun the first time there is a real need to slap the e-stop button and you lay your hand right on those terminal strips with mains running through them.

Also, I agree with jeffmeh. See below for what the diode does to the voltage through your lamp.



However, you should still be able to run the lamp on this chopped voltage, you would just need double the wattage of bulb to get the same light output...

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