I seemed to gather some interest when I posted in another thread showing the housing for my elements that had switchcraft's outlets installed in them. I received a few PMs asking questions about them and in a thread asking what regrets people had after going with an electric system I saw more then one person wrote the power cords off the kettles get in the way of clean up.
Two major pluses: they are a lot less expensive then the ubiquitous twist lock plugs and outlets at about $6 and $4 respectively and they are very small allowing them to be mounted on just about any element enclosure.
So here we go. I'll go over making the cords that go from the control panel to the element housing; it's not really difficult and I'm sure that if you had the parts in front of you it would be smooth sailing. I'm more doing this so people can see the parts and consider if they might work in one's set up.
These are the exact Switchcraft ones I used :
502-HPCC4F (cord plug)
502-HPCP41F1 (Panel mount outlet)
Are rated to 50 A (for the Fast-on terminal type, which these are) and 1500 VAC rms and are intended to be used for power supply. I was going to get them from mouser.com but on the day I was ordering everything they were back ordered so I got them from an amazon.com vendor.
Here are the parts I'll use to make the power cords
The cord is 8 feet of 10/3 SOOW Neoprene-Jacketed Power Cable from Home Depot
6 fast-on type terminals a.k.a blade terminal.
This is the cord plug disassembled (wow, very bad image... Sorry).
They supply two extra rubber sleeves to use with thinner cord, if you are using 10/3 or 10/4 you won't need them. I don't think these cord plugs could be used with cord thicker then 10/4 but I've never tried.
Before cutting the insulation I lay out the parts to see how much to remove.
Use a razor blade to cut and remove the insulation.
I don't own a proper pair of wire crimps for this job so I crimp with a big pair of channel locks and then solder the wire to the fast-on terminals and then solder the terminals to the cord plugs blades. Regardless of how you attach the terminals to the wire I think it's a good idea to soldering the terminals to the blades of the cord plugs, my thought is that over dozens of times of coiling and uncoiling the cords it possible they might work them self off or more likely when you're assembling them. The compression ring on the back should prevent this from happening but I really don't want to have to take them apart to check them ever. There are no images of me soldering because I'm doing this all with my phone and I can't soldier with one hand...
This is the back/inside of the plug
it looks exactly like the back side of the outlets and each terminal is marked with:
My advice; make yourself a diagram of what each will be because the markings are very small (could not get them to show up in the photo) and as after attaching your first terminal you will have a hard time seeing the markings.
It doesn’t matter which one you choose to be the ground, hots, or neutral just make sure you are consistent all the way through.
Once the terminal are attach the to the wires, slide on the compression ring, then the plug’s body, then the plug seal, then the shrink wrap on each one.
I had to use a little lube to get the parts to slide down the rubber cord on one of mine but the other had no problem, one cord was not round…
Hit the shrink wrap with a little heat. Since there are for my elements a neutral is not needed, that is the bare terminal you see.
Then slide the body up (this is why I solder, if you slipped then all the terminal might come off) holding the plug head still screw the body on (not the other way around), holding the head and body screw the compression ring on.
Repeat on the other end making sure that you match up your 1’s, 2’s, pluses and minuses.
With this I think you can figure out how to install the outlets, make sure that you keep you diagram and as with any plug> outlet set up check everything with a multi meter for continuity before powering up.
The panel mounts outlets need a .093" dia. hole, I think I used a 7/8th hole saw and it was a nice very tight fit but check this first
Here are my element enclosures, I went with single all weather j-box but I’m sure these could be mounted on a PVC pots. I’ve never put my hands on any of the tri-clamp type enclosures if you have them and give it a try I’m sure people would like to hear about it.
Here is my control panel made from a pelican case that I had. As you can see they look great next to the XLR outlets. I power my control panel with a 16 foot run of 10/4 SOOW Neoprene-Jacketed Power Cable from a spa panel that is hangs on the wall of my brewery. I put a panel mount outlet that supplies the power to my control panel on the very top of the right hand side of the case, I’m very confident that I will not confuse these because of their placement and my power supply plug has red tape on it. I set up everything before I brew, I do have an idea if someone ever wanted to make it impossible to plug the main power in to the power outlets but for me I don’t think it’s needed.
Hit me up with your questions or thought.