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Old 05-15-2013, 04:38 PM   #1
reuliss
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Default Control Panel Purchase

All:

I'm in the planning stages of a hybrid electric/propane HERMS system. My system would include only one heating element around 1500 to 2000W. The rest would be propane.

I need a control panel that will include space for one PID controller for the element and two on/off switches for two pumps that I plan on incorporating. I thought I might build this, but I don't really have the know-how. Is there a commercial vendor who sells something like this at a reasonable price? I checked out "high gravity's" panels, but they are more than I need and the price is kinda high.

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Old 05-15-2013, 04:50 PM   #2
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I didn't have the know-how either, but I built one, and it's beautiful.

Are you really saying, "I'm just too lazy" or are you doubting your skills in learning new things?

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Old 05-15-2013, 04:52 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by LandoLincoln View Post
I didn't have the know-how either, but I built one, and it's beautiful.

Are you really saying, "I'm just too lazy" or are you doubting your skills in learning new things?
Definitely not too lazy, just overwhelmed from information overload. There's so much information on these forums, and all of the builds are more than I'm looking for, so I'm having trouble distilling what I need to know to do it myself. To be honest, I'd prefer to do it myself. Just a bit frustrated I guess . . .
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Old 05-15-2013, 05:20 PM   #4
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Yes, it's overwhelming, but once you study the diagrams and read up on the stuff, it's a lot simpler than it looks.

A 120v 2000w heating element would draw 16.7 amps.
Your typical march or chugger beer pump draws about .4 amps.

So you could run this thing on a single 120v 20a circuit.

You have to run power to the PID to power that up, and the power for that should have a 1a fuse to protect the PID.

You also run power to the solid-state relay (SSR), and that will provide power to the element, but only when the PID tells it to.

The SSR then gets connected to the element.

And then you connect some wires from the PID to the SSR so the PID can tell the SSR when to send power to the element.

And then you run some power to each of the outlets for the pumps, and usually you include some switches in those circuits to turn the outlets on or off.

And that's the basics. There's plenty of people in this section that can help you with a wiring diagram or answer questions that you have.

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Old 05-15-2013, 05:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LandoLincoln View Post
Yes, it's overwhelming, but once you study the diagrams and read up on the stuff, it's a lot simpler than it looks.

A 120v 2000w heating element would draw 16.7 amps.
Your typical march or chugger beer pump draws about .4 amps.

So you could run this thing on a single 120v 20a circuit.

You have to run power to the PID to power that up, and the power for that should have a 1a fuse to protect the PID.

You also run power to the solid-state relay (SSR), and that will provide power to the element, but only when the PID tells it to.

The SSR then gets connected to the element.

And then you connect some wires from the PID to the SSR so the PID can tell the SSR when to send power to the element.

And then you run some power to each of the outlets for the pumps, and usually you include some switches in those circuits to turn the outlets on or off.

And that's the basics. There's plenty of people in this section that can help you with a wiring diagram or answer questions that you have.
Thanks, Lando. I appreciate the encouragement, and when you put it that way, it sounds easy. Who do you recommend I reach out to for help with diagramming? I suppose even I can copy a picture
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Old 05-15-2013, 05:37 PM   #6
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I would go to the Electric Brewing section and look up diagrams that P-J made. He's really good at making diagrams that are pretty easy to understand.

I could help you work out a diagram too if you can't find anything.

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Old 05-15-2013, 08:51 PM   #7
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I think this might be close:

http://www.pjmuth.org/beerstuff/imag...-5500w-30c.jpg

But I'm not sure how much it would differ given that I only need one element and that the element would be 2000W rather than 5000W. Would revisions need to be made to it?

That matter aside, I guess is seems pretty simple, though I have to admit that I don't know what some of the devices are that are depicted here.

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Old 05-15-2013, 09:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reuliss View Post
I think this might be close:

http://www.pjmuth.org/beerstuff/imag...-5500w-30c.jpg

But I'm not sure how much it would differ given that I only need one element and that the element would be 2000W rather than 5000W. Would revisions need to be made to it?

That matter aside, I guess is seems pretty simple, though I have to admit that I don't know what some of the devices are that are depicted here.
This is a 240 volt 30 amp drawing, but yeah, it could be modified for your needs.

Those things in the upper left corner are called "bus bars." They allow you to connect a single wire to multiple wires. It's a better way than connecting wires with a wire nut, but for your purposes, you might be able to get away with just using wire nuts.

Here's how you might modify this diagram to suit your needs. I've never worked with 120v elements before, so you'd need some verification on this.



I left in the extra switch (switch 4) which allows you to turn the PID on and off. It's handy to have that in case you want to stop the element from firing while you're draining the boil kettle.

Another little goodie you might like to add is a little LED indicator light that connects to the power line between the SSR and the heating element outlet. It will let you know when the heating element is firing.

Anyway...this will give you a good head start. Good luck!
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Old 05-16-2013, 12:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LandoLincoln

This is a 240 volt 30 amp drawing, but yeah, it could be modified for your needs.

Those things in the upper left corner are called "bus bars." They allow you to connect a single wire to multiple wires. It's a better way than connecting wires with a wire nut, but for your purposes, you might be able to get away with just using wire nuts.

Here's how you might modify this diagram to suit your needs. I've never worked with 120v elements before, so you'd need some verification on this.

I left in the extra switch (switch 4) which allows you to turn the PID on and off. It's handy to have that in case you want to stop the element from firing while you're draining the boil kettle.

Another little goodie you might like to add is a little LED indicator light that connects to the power line between the SSR and the heating element outlet. It will let you know when the heating element is firing.

Anyway...this will give you a good head start. Good luck!
Thanks again, Lando. Two follow-ups. First, the fuses--they get "wired" in? I've never seen that before. Do I have that right? Second, what about those Auber PIDs that have integrated SSRs? Is that a better way to go?
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Old 05-16-2013, 01:13 AM   #10
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Yeah, they sell "in-line" fuses. It's basically a wire with a fuse holder in the middle of it. It's easier to change out an in-line fuse than a fuse that's sitting in a block. You can buy them at Radio Shack for pretty cheap or practically any place online that sells things like that. The Radio Shack guy will say, "like...for cars?" and you say, "Yeah, like for cars. The glass cylinder fuses, not the little plastic blocks."

Personally, I'd advise against a PID that has an integrated SSR. SSR's can wear out, and if your SSR is integrated with your PID then you have to replace both, which would suck.

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