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Old 01-01-2013, 11:27 PM   #1
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: santa clarita, ca
Posts: 32
Default Seeking advice on a very simple PID controller to control bucket heater

Hi All,
I am hoping to get some advice on a simple control box for controlling a 1000w bucket heater that will be used to fire up my 42qt kettle for 3gal batches. Initial goal is to use it to get my strike temps up to speed without much of my involvement of babysitting temps. Secondary goal is going to be controlling either a 1500w or 2000w element in the kettle for both mashing and boiling.

Heres what I have already:

-Plastic Tool box to house it all
-40amp SSR (overkill, but should work fine) and heatsink
-a couple cheapy on/off switches (im not sure they are heavy duty enough, so if someone can recommend a simple on/off switch that I can pickup at home depot that would be great (i.e. for killing power to the whole unit)
-15amp GFCI receptacle
-Also have a 20amp GFCI receptacle that I bought to use if 15a isnt sufficient
-A non gfci receptacle
-8 way terminal block
-Extension cord to be used for main power cord as well as internal wiring/jumpers.

This box used to be setup for my BBQ pit controller, so its a bit half-baked already for brewing as its the same concept instead of turning on a little fire stoker fan, it will be turning on a bucket heater or electric element.

The way its ran is:
1. Main power from a standard outlet comes into the box and runs into the GFCI outlet. Comes out of the GFCI outlet and powers the PID as well as supplies power to the SSR.
2. There is an inline basic on/off switch inline between the GFCI outlet and the PID (for killing power to the PID) there is also one inline between the LOAD leg of the SSR and the standard outlet it powers up (to kill the fan or heater while leaving PID running)

Some of the questions I have:
- Advice on switches? I know everyone seems to use the super fancy ones from kals build with the contactor setup, etc. Can I just use a very basic light switch to sit inline from the hot leg?

- Is this method of running the power through a gfci outlet inside of the box a valid method to get gfci protection? I'm not sure if it will always be plugged into a gfci outlet so definitely want to have the box protected just in case.

-Is using cutup extension cord wiring for internal wiring acceptable?

Thanks all,

jd-santaclarita is offline
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