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Old 04-19-2010, 12:19 PM   #1
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Default Definitely fired my SSR now more curious as to the why and the how

Last brew session, my bk electric element failed right while I was sparging to the BK. Fortunately my HLT is closely identical to my BK and I was able to still finish my brew session.

I tested the voltage on my SSR and found that I was getting a full 119v on the connection to my element even when the PID was off. So I'm aware that it's not supposed to be this, but shouldn't the element still run at full 4500w 240? Or is the voltage slipping through but there amps are there to produce the proper wattage?

I'm ordering a new SSR but would love to get anyone's opinion or experience with SSR failure.

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Old 04-19-2010, 12:29 PM   #2
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When you say "tested the voltage", from where to where did you test? The SSR output lug to ground?

I'm assuming the system is 240v. Is the other leg of the element hot all the time? If so, then you'd always read 120v from the output of the SSR to ground because of the voltage going through the element from the other leg.

What voltage do you read across the two lugs on the element?

-Joe

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Old 04-19-2010, 05:29 PM   #3
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I'll have to redo my testing with your questions in mind. I'm not 100% sure.

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Old 04-19-2010, 11:41 PM   #4
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Here's the voltage when testing across L1 and T1. On the SSR that will fire the element up, the voltage is minimal, maybe 0-3 v fluctuating at most. On the SSr that won't fire the elements, I measured 240v when testing across L1 and T1

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Old 04-19-2010, 11:50 PM   #5
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I think we'd need a wiring diagram to say for sure. Testing across L1/T1 won't tell you much, since that's just the power side of the relay. I still wouldn't expect to see 240v there, which is why I'd like to see a wiring diagram of your system.

You should be able to check if the SSR is working at all by disconnecting L1 and T1 from power entirely and checking the resistance between L1 and T1. It should be infinite if the SSR is off, and a very low resistance if the SSR is switched on.

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Old 04-20-2010, 01:33 AM   #6
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You will always measure voltage across the load leads of an SSR. SSRs switch current, not voltage. Even in an off state, SSRs leak a few mA. Enough for a sensitive instrument like a multimeter to read the voltage.

Use a proper load to test an SSR, like a table lamp, for instance.

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Old 04-20-2010, 11:45 AM   #7
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So I load tested using the 4500 240v camco ripp element. SSR that read 240v across L1 and T1 would not fire up the element. SSR that fired up the element read very little voltage across L1 and T1. I'll test resistance when I get home tonight however I'm pretty sure that it's toast.

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Old 04-20-2010, 12:00 PM   #8
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Again, you cannot measure voltage across L1 and T1 as a meaningful test. SSRs do not switch voltage. If the SSR did not fire a known working element while an input signal was being applied then it sounds like it's dead. That is unusual as SSRs generally fail closed (the element would always fire regardless of input signal).

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Old 04-20-2010, 12:21 PM   #9
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Yeah, I got that with your last post, and I'll definitely test resistance tonight. I would say that based on your note about the SSR failing(edit) open makes sense if I'm seeing 240v between the two poles on the failed SSR. One hot runs through the lead to the element and back to the SSR measuring 119v load to ground. Other side of the SSR measures 119v load to ground. So in theory testing the two poles on the SSR would be just like testing the two hot leads directly from the breaker.

In regards to measuring resistance, my multimeter has a number of settings, which one should I use?

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Old 04-20-2010, 03:24 PM   #10
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Sorry flananuts but you're not getting it. In a working OR failed SSR, you should ALWAYS read voltage. SSRs do nothing to voltage whatsoever.

The reason you saw "very little" voltage across the working element / SSR was you set up a circuit called a voltage divider. Your element has just a few ohms of resistance whereas your meter has nearly infinite resistance. The electricity prefers the path of least resistance, giving you the "very little" reading on your meter.

The fact is, you very likely don't have the necessary equipment to electronically test an SSR. Most hand-held multi-meters can only handle an amp of current at most - not 40-50. Testing resistance is also completely meaningless. SSRs need a minimum load for switching to occur.

Fortunately, you don't need a meter to properly test an SSR. Just use a lightbulb. In your case, you'll need to find a 240V bulb unless you've got access to the neutral wire. Your SSR is only switching one leg of 240V which is also 120V to neutral. So, if you instead wire one lead of a 120V light socket to neutral and the other to your SSR, you should have a nice, instantaneous visual indication of whether your SSR is responding correctly to input signals.

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