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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Electric Brewing > A 3-Vessel 2-Tier 1-Pump E-RIMS for 30A
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:39 PM   #11
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So I have here an attempt at creating a ladder diagram for the brewery. I usually draw schematics so this is a little different for me to try.
Ya, the emergency stop switch and PID wiring looks good. Though, I feel the power limiting/balancing circuit may be a bit overkill and will likely conflict with the PID programming (e.g., PID is tuned for 22A ramp-up and is being limited to 10A).

Most of us an ammeter to monitor amperage draw when multi-tasking (e.g., heating sparge water while recirculating via the RIMS). The 30A GFI unit is able to handle temporary power spikes of ~40A without tripping.
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Old 11-18-2010, 08:44 PM   #12
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Does a shopvac really work for cleaning the MLT?
Yes, works well with a commercial quality hose. Obviously, you'll still have to wheel out the shop vac to dump the grain/trub/water but the kettles don't move.
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Planned: Lambic, American IPA
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Old 11-18-2010, 09:10 PM   #13
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Ya, the emergency stop switch and PID wiring looks good. Though, I feel the power limiting/balancing circuit may be a bit overkill and will likely conflict with the PID programming (e.g., PID is tuned for 22A ramp-up and is being limited to 10A).

Most of us an ammeter to monitor amperage draw when multi-tasking (e.g., heating sparge water while recirculating via the RIMS). The 30A GFI unit is able to handle temporary power spikes of ~40A without tripping.
Insightful comments as always.
I was hoping to tune the PIDs at low power and only use high power when ramping to higher temperatures.

Yes, the switch interlocks may be a bit overkill. I am usually able to refrain from RDWHAHB, but not always. When I do indulge my IQ drops through the floor and I may be turning switches that I shouldn't. I have jeopardized a few batches already with far fewer ways of screwing up. And honestly, I had fun with the switches. It's perhaps the only original thing in the circuit.

Ammeter yes! I have a dual ammeter of my own design in the works.

Whoever discovered the $49 spa disconnect at HD is a genius! I have seen references to this in posts but not paid attention, until now. Instead I've been trying to wring a 30A GFCB out of Ebay for little coin, but it is hopeless. New ones go for over $100, used for $80+, and it is hard to tell if any of them will fit my panel. I will stop at HD tonight and see if I can pick one up.
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Old 11-18-2010, 09:32 PM   #14
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Might consider a more portable option: 30A GFI Cable.

They used to be available on eBay for $80 but a quick search came up empty. A company out of Canada make the cable. They have a website but their name slips my mind.

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Old 11-18-2010, 11:41 PM   #15
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Might consider a more portable option: 30A GFI Cable.

They used to be available on eBay for $80 but a quick search came up empty. A company out of Canada make the cable. They have a website but their name slips my mind.

OK thanks, I'll look, but I meant to pick up a $49 spa disconnect at HD. It has the GFI circuit that I need. I can still use my regular 30A breaker in the panel. I scored 26' of SJOOW 10/4 at the grab-and-go shelf a few days ago (pre-cut cable returned to HD, even though HD has a no-return policy on cut cable). So all I need, assuming I have a spa panel, is a 4 pin plug and a receptacle for it.

Edit: I see what you mean now. The GFI cable is portable whereas the spa doohickey is not. I will have to think about that a little. I have no other 4-pin outlet in the house that I can use, at least for now.
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Old 11-19-2010, 05:32 PM   #16
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I got the spa disconnect last night. Being only $49.00 I thought it could not possibly have a circuit breaker in there, 50A and all. I thought perhaps they had a GFI without the over-current protection. But it does have a 50A circuit breaker with GFI! And then you get all that box and buses and stuff too. How can they do that when the circuit breaker alone is normally twice that?

I also picked up 16' of 10/3 with ground for fixed installation from the grab-and-go shelf. I got a 30A/50A convertible plug and a 50A outlet. I did not think this through all the way, I should have gotten a 30A outlet instead because I will be feeding this box from my 30A circuit breaker. I will exchange it today.
Here's an electric code question. What would an inspector say if he finds this 50A GFCI sub panel fed from a 30A breaker in the main panel, via a 10 gage 4-conductor cable? I think it is OK, but will the inspector?
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Old 03-02-2011, 10:39 PM   #17
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I think I will revive this old thread to become my build thread.

So what is different with this brewery? Mainly it is this: I run two 5500W ULWD heaters (HLT, BK) and one 3000W LWD heater (RIMS) from a 30A circuit breaker, all at once or in various combinations. This is possible because each heater can run at either 100% power @ 240V or 25% power @ 120V. Lockout switches ensure that I cannot overload the breaker by using combinations with too high current. The idea is that 100% power is used to raise the temperature while 25% power is used to maintain temperature.

I spent the entire Holliday break developing a Google Sketchup model of the brewery. It is close to completion now. I have also begun building it, but it has not progressed as far yet. I am almost done with the control panel.

Today I will show only images from the Sketchup model. Click on each image to go to the gallery for a larger image. The first picture shows an overview of the brewery. The frame is constructed from 1.5x1x.072" rectangular steel tubing. I plan to paint it in a silver metallic color. The top of the frame is covered in aluminum diamond plate. On the top left is the HLT, a converted Sanke keg. It is used to heat strike water also and can drain into the 10 gallon Rubbermaid MLT. The MLT drains into a grant with float switches that control the pump. The pump empties the grant into the BK.

(I am not able to view the full-size images, anybody knows why or how?)

Next up is a view from inside the HLT. Clockwise from left we have a PT100 temperature sensor which is poking through the sight glass fitting from BrewHardware.com. A s.s. float switch disables the heater if the water level is too low, to prevent dry firing the element. A 5500W ULWD heater is attached to a soldered locknut on the outside of the vessel. A copper dip tube is attached to a s.s. compression fitting, which in turn is screwed into a soldered 1/2" coupling. The tube has a 45° elbow to clear the heater.


Here is a detail view of the sparge system. The large valve is used to drain strike water from the HLT into the MLT. A smaller vinyl tube feeds a float valve which keeps the liquid level constant during sparging. This tube will need a valve also to shut off the float valve when not sparging. The float valve, and a s.s. pipe used while recirculating with the RIMS tube, empty into a octagonal s.s. tray. The seams of this tray are not welded or soldered, it is OK or even good if they are a little leaky. I can set the tray just under the surface using the handle nut and the steel rod. The RIMS tube can be seen to the left of the MLT. I will make it easy to remove the RIMS tube to drain and disassemble the heater. A kitchen timer/thermometer sits in its steel holder, held in place by its magnets in the back. The timer will be used to time the mash, sparge, and boil times. The temp probe can measure any interesting temperature within reach, for example the temperature of the mash.


A view of the lower front of the brewery. A grant is made from a two quart s.s. food container from Dick's Restaurant Supply in Bellevue, WA. It has a notch in the lid where I will run in a plastic tube from the MLT drain. More on the grant later. A Little Giant 3 MD-MT-HC is used for RIMS circulation, draining the grant, recirculating the boil through the CFC, whirlpooling, and for draining the BK into a fermenter. My homemade counter flow chiller can be seen under the BK. It is constructed from 20' of 3/8" copper tubing and a garden hose. I will attempt to heat-sterilize the CFC during the last few minutes of the boil time. The hose is probably not rated for boiling temperature, but there will be zero pressure and no water in it at that point. If it cannot stand up to the heat then I will have to reconsider my options, but the proof is in the pudding so to speak.


This is an X-ray view through the grant. A s.s. half coupling is soldered to the bottom and a male Camlock fitting is threaded into it. This will connect to the pump during sparge, moving the wort to the BK where it can be heated early because of the 25% power provision mentioned earlier. A curved float switch signals that the grant is full. A relay pulls and it start the pump. The pump drains the grant until another float switch signals that the grant is almost empty, and at that point the relay drops out and the pump stops. The only manual part of the sparge process is to regulate the drain flow out of the MLT into the grant, the system takes care of keeping the MLT liquid constant, temperature of the HLT constant, the grant from overflowing, and starting to heat the drained wort in the BK. So why am I bothering with a grant in the first place? I want to avoid having the pump sucking liquid from the MLT so that it cannot set the grain bed. During recirculation I will let the pump suck from the MLT, but I will stir the MLT before I start sparging to close any channels it may have generated and return the grain bed to its undisturbed state. By only allowing gravity to drain the MLT, the sparge process is very similar to the method I have used up till now, which I have had good success with. The grant sits in a swing-out holder that can be moved out of the way for storage.


This is a view from below the floor where we can see the back and bottom of the brewery. A pair of hinged legs can swing down to provide extra stability when the vessels are full. The legs will be a few thousands longer than just touching the floor. The idea is to take some weight off the casters and to prevent the rig to roll on its wheels. We can also see the three outlets for the heaters on the bottom of the electric panel, as well as cable glands for the input power cable and the pump cable. I have not decided yet how to cover the heater elements, but I am leaning heavily towards an idea I saw here on HBT; gluing conduit elbows to the elements. This allows for access to the element terminals, should they ever need retightening, yet providing a waterproof enclosure. The casters are 4" diameter from Harbor Freight tools, a fixed pair at the far end and a swivel pair at the near end.


This is the upper section of the front control panel. The enclosure is a Rittal fiberglass unit with dimensions 400x600x200 mm, or about 16x24x8 inches. It is painted in copper hammer finish which looks a lot better in real life than in this model. An emergency stop doubles as the on/off switch of the system. The power light comes on when the E-stop is pulled out. To the top left we see my custom made dual bar graph ammeter. Two stacks of 20 LEDs each indicate the total current drawn by the brewery. Since the PIDs work by pulsing the SSRs, a numeric ammeter readout will be a little hard to read, especially if more than one PID is active. I think a bar graph will be easier to read in a pulsing system. I have built the ammeter on a perforated prototype board and it is working well. If there is enough interest I am considering putting together a kit with a PCB to sell. At that point I will offer a video to demonstrate its workings. You probably recognize the IKEA ATTEST drawer pulls, a nod to Kal who showed us the way with his electric panel. Three Auber Instruments PIDs control the three heaters. The PIDs will all be powered as soon as the E-stop is pulled out. This allows the PIDs to show the temperature in each vessel. Each element has a three-position power switch that can be set to off, low, or high power. Each heater also has two pilot lights, a green that indicates that the heater is on (low or high) and a blue that indicates that the heater is running on high power. I have available a PDF of the wiring diagram version 1.2, not previously shown here.
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Reason: Updating enclosure dimensions
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Old 03-02-2011, 11:15 PM   #18
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Here is the lower section of the front panel. When first powered on, the heaters and the pump are disabled. To enable them we must push the white Enable button which pulls a relay. The Enable button has lockouts so that it works only if all three heater power selector switches are set to off. The pump does not need to be off to enable the system because this LG pump can run dry for up to eight hours without damage. When the heaters and the pump are enabled then the green lamp lights up. The red push button disables the heaters and the pump. A selector switch selects Off, Grant, or On for the pump. In grant mode the pump is operated by the two grant float switches described earlier. In On mode it runs continuously. I make the labels myself on a Brother label printer. These labels are printed on 19mm transparent laminated tape with white ink. The ink is laminated inside the label so that it cannot rub off.


The control panel with the door opened. I will not show wiring in this model. From the bottom, the back panel contains the three jacks for the heater elements. Above those we see two Hall effect current sensors, then a 35mm DIN rail with terminal blocks, circuit breakers, and two 24VAC 2P2T relays. All relays are operated by 24VAC to reduce danger since this control voltage goes out to the float switches. It would be quite dangerous to have 120VAC on the float switches. Let's switch to a close-up to finish the control panel.


Above the DIN rail we see the three SSRS for the heater element. I am using two 40A and one 25A SSRs, each attached to a beefy heat sink. I think that not too much heat will be dissipated here, and there is quite a large surface area of the enclosure that will be able to dissipate enough heat without forced cooling. I will monitor the temperature in the enclosure to see if I need to take any further action on the cooling. Above the SSRs we see a 75VA 24VAC control transformer. In the same row are three 2P2T 30A relays which select either 240V or 120V for the heaters. The NO contacts are rated 30A, but the NC contacts are rated at only 3A! I did not realize this large difference when I ordered the relays. This is why I will be running the two poles in each relay in parallel, to bring the NC contacts up to 6A. This is still not quite enough, but I think I will get at least a couple of brews out of them before I need to find suitable replacements. Above the three relays are the three 50A contactors that can switch off each heater's power. Two-pole contactors could have been used if I rearranged the wiring diagram so that the relays appear before the contactors, but I liked it better this way as the contactors break both legs of the 240V power as well as the neutral that is used in low power mode. In the upper left is a triple power supply, +/-15VDC and +5VDC, which powers the current sensors and the ammeter. If I design a PCB for the ammeter I will include a +/-15V switching power supply so that the end user only need to supply 5V power, from for example a wall bug transformer.


I have almost all components for the brewery except the rectangular steel tubes and the diamond plate. The control panel is almost finished. I need to move the bottom plate into the enclosure and wire up the door and it will be ready for a test drive. I will post build pictures in a little while.
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Old 03-03-2011, 06:11 AM   #19
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What? That is some serous model work! Nice job. It looks like you're well on your way.
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Old 03-03-2011, 06:46 AM   #20
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What? That is some serous model work! Nice job. It looks like you're well on your way.
Thanks. Things have not been moving particularly fast with family and farm work demanding some of my free time, but I have found that I enjoy the modeling and planning of the brewery as much as building it. As I see it, as long as it is fun then it is OK if it takes time. I am seriously deprived of brewing though, and I will have to address that soon with the brewery only partially finished.
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