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itsnotrequired

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i know duders that have gotten tickled with 480 volt, no worries. by logic of higher voltage, they should have burst into flames.

bottom line, always treat electricity with respect. assume a wire is live unless you have personally verified it is not and don't work with energized conductors. 120 volt, 240 volt, it doesn't matter. to suggest one is 'safer' is bad mojo.
 

augiedoggy

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No I'm not and attempting to belittle practical safety advice is somewhat childish. You should treat electricity with respect, and characterising it in proper terms is the correct thing to do.

And you are still wrong, 120V will kill you just as fast as 240V. Again, it's the current that matters and where it travels. Not the voltage.
ok so what doesnt make sense about a smaller HOUSEHOLD 240 30a circuit being more dangerous than the largest 20a a 120v circuit?

Its funny because I work with voltages up to 380v on a weekly basis and my employer makes me watch all these presentations and take all these quizes every 6 months on the importance of lockout tagout electrical safety, and the gravity of the fact that larger voltage circuits are usually larger amperage as well and are tremendously more dangerous than smaller household circuits or even static electricity which can be 10,000 volts but down in the mili amps therefore not as dangerous.

You tell me I should ignore all that..

You all are purposely missing the point that I assume the person thinking of doing his own work might have been zapped before and if he wires up his 240v circuit thinking hell get the same "tickle" as someone normally would with 120v he wont be doing himself any favors... Its smart to respect them all as being deadly but also wise to KNOW that 240v doesnt care how you see it... exposure usually will be more deadly. I made a simple comment about 240v being more dangerous and this turns into this pissing match.
 

PeteNMA

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No. I'm telling you that you shouldn't tell people that 120v isn't dangerous.

And yet again. The voltage is not what's dangerous. The current is what's dangerous.

And lock out tag out applies to systems where the power cannot be reliably isolated by an individual working on a system. It does not have any stipulations about voltage or current or anything. It's about protecting service personnel from third parties turning on the power to equipment which is being worked on.

And as you note yourself, higher voltage circuits are often higher current. Static electricity is incredibly high voltage but minuscule current. It's the current that's dangerous...

Your work presentations and training precisely reinforce what I am saying so we are in agreement
 

augiedoggy

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No. I'm telling you that you shouldn't tell people that 120v isn't dangerous.

And yet again. The voltage is not what's dangerous. The current is what's dangerous.
I believe I clarified that statement three posts ago when I said it was dangerous and could kill you and that was never what I meant?

No one is arguing with the statement you keep making about amps being more dangerous than voltage I know this .. very aware of it.. But lets put this into the perspective of the intended application again.
240v household circuits CONTAIN AT LEAST TWICE the amount of amps as a 120v household circuit if not 3 to four times more current.

a homebrewer is going to be dealing with at least 30amps if not 50 amps of 240v power which is more dangerous than the 120v 15-20a circuits he has likely dealt with in the past. That's all I was trying to say. since he or she is not an electrician I feel they should be warned a zap from this 240v circuit is going to be more dangerous than what they might have experienced in the past. I felt it was important to mention and still do.

Its like im seeing the glass half full and your arguing it cant be because its half empty..

Every time electrical gets brought up the thread spirals into an off topic argument..
 

PeteNMA

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There is no need to shout. Perhaps don't make misleading statements about dangerous stuff and no one will pick you up on it.

RDWHAHB
 

augiedoggy

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There is no need to shout. Perhaps don't make misleading statements about dangerous stuff and no one will pick you up on it.

RDWHAHB
You want them to believe working with 240v is the same as 120v despite the huge current difference you yourself keep pointing out as an important difference and im the one misleading here? :tank:

And I wasnt shouting... I still believe you must keep missing that point so I made it easier to see .. There was no exclamation points or anything to indicate I was shouting.
 
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Nope. It's all about the path of the current through the body. You can easily be killed by 12V applied such that the current travels across your chest. Voltage is not what matters when it comes to electrical safety, current is what kills you. And even 15A off a standard residential circuit can be plenty.

240V will certainly hurt a lot more if you make contact in a "safe" manner (sadly I write this from experience), but 120V circuits should be accorded the same level of respect, even if they hurt less on minor contact.

This is not correct. First off, you need to know how one is killed by electricity. We are not talking 120 kilovolts, by which one is literally fried, we are taking 240V. It is sudden cardiac arrest, which is induced by a disruptive current across your heart causing ventricular fibrillation (vibrating rather than squeezing) that is the concern. Victims die from lack of perfusion of oxygenated blood through the brain and organs. Not by being "cooked". Anyway, I digress.

12VDC will do nothing across your hands, even if they are wet and highly conductive. 12VAC would still be nearly impossible to induce arrhythmia.

Voltage and current are related linearly and cannot be dissociated, per ohms law. Given a fixed resistance, a higher electromotive force (voltage) induces higher current. The resistance of your body in the circuit and current path through your body determine the potential for injury. Whether a person shorts themself in a 15 or 100 amp feed circuit is of no consequence. The current flowing through depends on the voltage and resistance of the body as part of the curcuit. Ultimately if the voltage is high enough, the current will be high enough, and especially for AC power, a threshold is crossed where VF can be induced, causing death.
 
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jbedell2

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Uh....maybe I'll just buy...
Haha!! OP here, thinking the exact same thing!

Just to bring things back around, my original question was about whether it's really that much cheaper to DIY compared to buying a pre-built system. There have been many helpful replies that actually addressed that question.

My takeaway is that, yes, it's possible to save a few bills by shopping around, buying used, building panels, etc. But the savings is not tremendous. It seems that the true advantage of building a system from scratch is the enjoyment of the process, knowing your system inside-out, and having full control over all design decisions. These are all totally valid reasons.

However, I think that ultimately, for me, I just want to make delicious beer. With my work and family schedule, finding time to build a panel and source all those parts would take months. Not to mention building a ventilation system, running 240 GFCI (which I would NOT do myself!), etc. So I think I've come down on the side of "Buy."

Over the last few days, I've read the entire 69-page Grainfather thread, and it sounds pretty great. Yes, I would lose the ability to do 10g batches. Yes, it takes longer to heat to temp. BUT, I would be able to brew in my basement, kitchen, back yard, friend's house, etc. And I appreciate the slick, all-in-one design. I have seen TexasWine mention the Brau Supply system in several threads, and it looks like a possibility as well, although I'll admit the design aesthetic of the Grainfather might be worth the $200 difference to me. We'll see...

Thanks again for everyone's (mostly helpful) posts.
 

Beavdowg

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Man, I apologize for asking the electrical question. I had no idea it would become its own animal. Again, my apologies for causing the original post to go off the tracks. Good luck to you jbedell2 in your quest for a system that meets your needs!

Cheers!
 

FuzzeWuzze

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Haha!! OP here, thinking the exact same thing!

Just to bring things back around, my original question was about whether it's really that much cheaper to DIY compared to buying a pre-built system. There have been many helpful replies that actually addressed that question.

My takeaway is that, yes, it's possible to save a few bills by shopping around, buying used, building panels, etc. But the savings is not tremendous. It seems that the true advantage of building a system from scratch is the enjoyment of the process, knowing your system inside-out, and having full control over all design decisions. These are all totally valid reasons.

However, I think that ultimately, for me, I just want to make delicious beer. With my work and family schedule, finding time to build a panel and source all those parts would take months. Not to mention building a ventilation system, running 240 GFCI (which I would NOT do myself!), etc. So I think I've come down on the side of "Buy."

Over the last few days, I've read the entire 69-page Grainfather thread, and it sounds pretty great. Yes, I would lose the ability to do 10g batches. Yes, it takes longer to heat to temp. BUT, I would be able to brew in my basement, kitchen, back yard, friend's house, etc. And I appreciate the slick, all-in-one design. I have seen TexasWine mention the Brau Supply system in several threads, and it looks like a possibility as well, although I'll admit the design aesthetic of the Grainfather might be worth the $200 difference to me. We'll see...

Thanks again for everyone's (mostly helpful) posts.
Just keep in mind that by going buy you are slave to their support. Most of them use proprietary PCB electronics that you cant just go buy if the board goes out. Worst case they go out of business in a few years and your setup dies your pretty much **** out of luck. This is really the only downside to buying certain setups premade, although some like HoseHead or others are literally just off the shelf parts shoved into a box and wired that can easily be fixed yourself with some knowledge.
 

itsnotrequired

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Just keep in mind that by going buy you are slave to their support. Most of them use proprietary PCB electronics that you cant just go buy if the board goes out. Worst case they go out of business in a few years and your setup dies your pretty much **** out of luck. This is really the only downside to buying certain setups premade, although some like HoseHead or others are literally just off the shelf parts shoved into a box and wired that can easily be fixed yourself with some knowledge.
kal's panel and the ebrewsupply panels also use off the shelf components, pretty easy to replace parts if necessary. for ebrewsupply, this only applies to their pid panels. they also offer bcs panels so if the bcs board goes out, a whole new one is required.
 

FuzzeWuzze

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kal's panel and the ebrewsupply panels also use off the shelf components, pretty easy to replace parts if necessary. for ebrewsupply, this only applies to their pid panels. they also offer bcs panels so if the bcs board goes out, a whole new one is required.
I meant more the Grainfather's of the world and the other all in one BIAB setups than something like Kal's which your right is just off the shelf parts. I have no idea whats in a Grainfather but im assuming atleast a good portion if it is custom designed electronics.
 

BadWolfBrewing

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Here is an alternate perspective.

I built my own, loosely modeled on Kal's panel (except with DIN). 3 stout-tanks kettles, HERMS, 2 chuggers, the whole shebang. I did all the home wiring, made a ventilation system, and set up a dedicated brew space.

If I had to do it again, I'd get a small off-the-shelf system. I have a doctorate in engineering (electro-mechanical controls) so I'm quite comfortable with electricity (loved the argument about risk vs voltage, btw), and enjoyed the building process. However, because it was me doing the designing and building, everything got a little out of hand. It is a giant system, with a lot to clean, and control features I don't use. In the next year or two, if I can find a local buyer for a reasonable price, I'll probably do just that. Or DIY a much smaller, simpler system.

As for the cost of DIY, its a strong function of how crazy you want to get. You can get a SS kettle for a hundred bucks, a heating element for 25, another 35 for hotpod/cord. 50 bucks to make a SSVR voltage controller (no temp control), and you are all set. If you are just recirculating (no heat exchanger), a 24v DC pump is super cheap too. So, maybe 250 total, if done on the cheap. Insulate the crap out of the kettle (a bunch of reflectex) and you can get by with a 20a 120V GFI protected circuit (most kitchen outlets from non-super-old homes).

Also, add in whatever eBIAB bags/baskets cost, I don't know much about that.

That's no temp control, and very little wiring. Bare bones recirculating eBIAB.
 

xandersaml

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Just my opinion, but I feel the Brau Supply system I have is an example of a better value and more robust system when compared to the Grainfather. Again, just my opinion. I know folks love their Grainfathers and I'm not trying to ruffle their feathers.

The Brau Supply at $665 versus the Grainfather at $900, at almost double the wattage (2 x 1500 vs 1 x 1650), and the fact that the Brau Supply is completely serviceable by me but the Grainfather has parts that aren't even accessible, is controlled by a PID (with a timer and alarm) instead of an analog controller. All this weighed heavily in my decision.

Hope this helps clarify what I was driving at.
I was asking because I am looking to get into electric/auto brewing system and wanted to know what you had found.
I see the Unibrau systems at Brau Supply. I see nothing at the price you mention with specs you mention.
So far, I'm sold on the Grainfather. I think the Brewie looks awesome too; though it almost seems too automated.
Thank you for the info.
 

TexasWine

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I was asking because I am looking to get into electric/auto brewing system and wanted to know what you had found.
I see the Unibrau systems at Brau Supply. I see nothing at the price you mention with specs you mention.
So far, I'm sold on the Grainfather. I think the Brewie looks awesome too; though it almost seems too automated.
Thank you for the info.
Well, looks like they've changed some things up since the last time I visited their site! Now there's a cheaper option with a Ranco controller ($565) and a more expensive option with a 20 amp controller ($765). They're no longer selling their 15 amp PID based controller that I purchased.

Based on that, I'd still go Brau Supply and get the Ranco for more than $300 in savings when compared to the Grainfather.
 

Kampenken

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I've decided to move from outdoor, propane-fired BIAB to a basement recirculating eBIAB setup. Thanks to everyone here for all the great threads I've been digging through in recent weeks.

I know there are plenty of threads comparing various systems (Brew-Boss, High Gravity, CO Brewing Systems, Grainfather, etc.), but all of these threads seem to contain a few posts along the lines of "just build your own for 1/3 the cost." The thing is, I don't understand how anyone could actually build a system for much less than these pre-built systems cost.

Consider this basic parts list:
Kettle - Bayou Classic, Amazon, $153
Element - BoilCoil, High Gravity, $170
Pump - Chuger SS, Amazon, $140
Panel - eBIAB kit, ebrewsupply, $385
Various Fittings - bargainfittings, $50-100

So this is about $950. The panel would still take at least a few hours to assemble, I'd have to drill the kettle, etc. I could probably save a little money with a traditional element, but when you add the housing, cord, plug, etc., it's not that much cheaper.

How could one build a quality system from scratch for much less than this? I also need to add a utility sink, vent hood, GFCI breaker, etc., so trying to manage costs wherever possible.

Thanks!
Same boat, that's why I bought the Grainfather. I like diy, but it ended up being a no brainer when I figured just building the RIMS tube setup would set me back about $400 (I was using propane- 1 v, cooler mash tun, was thinking a slow build towards 3v). All in this looks great, works great and I'm quite pleased. Good luck with whatever you decide. Enjoy brewing!
 

adventurtons

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Get a cheap concord kettle on ebay for $100, $50 in savings.

Don't use the boil coil. Get hot water heater elements for a fraction of the cost. That would save you $125 or so by the time you buy an enclosure like the Hot Pod.

Use a 24v DC pump instead. That should save you another $100.

So there ya go, I just trimmed $275 off your project!

Personally, I bought a premade system from Brau Supply. For me buying rather than assembling made more sense. And my 2¢, I don't think the Grainfather is worth what they're charging. You can buy a much more robust system than the Grainfather for a fraction of the cost.

What system did you get from brau supply? Do you have thoughts / review on it? Thoughts on the controller?

I was looking at the mini as I was looking to do smaller 2 gallon batches and it seems like a decent deal. The pump is not the best (but perhaps it doesn't need to be amazing for a small batch) but overall looks good.

What I like best is that with the 120V 2000W element I could still do everything in the kitchen and utilize my existing hood and water supply without having to have those items installed in my basement as if it was 240V.
 

DarkStormBrewing

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I went with build. I wanted the challenge of building my own, and understanding how to troubleshoot. I saved a ton by building. I think I'm $600 into my panel. Including all gfci and rtd probes.

Being a Journeyman Electrician (Local Union 606), I understood point to point control wiring far better than the networking involved with BCS systems. I also opted for din rail mounted breakers and terminals.

I ended up building a 3 pid controller, slightly modified from electricbrewsupply's kit. I like the detailed wiring diagrams which helped more than I thought. I sourced most parts locally, got a great fiberglass box for $30 too. I took my time and made sure I understood how it operated as I built it.

Every time I get the itch and start looking at the Zymatic or Grainfather or other systems, I think back to those days in the garage building my panel. It grounds me and keeps me loving my 3v HERMS. I'll probably never sell it.

I love kals build and owe a lot to his design. I just went a simpler route.
 

kal

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As others have mentioned, if you can build yourself, it's a great learning experience and gives you a lot of knowledge you can use in the future if troubleshooting is required.

That said, I anyone has any doubts on their abilities, by all means buy pre-built. There is nothing worse than the feeling of not being able to finish something because you've bit off more than you can chew.

If considering DIY, read over the build instructions in detail (assuming they're available) and ask yourself truthfully "can I do this" every step of the way.

The other thing to factor in with many kits is tool cost: What tools are needed? What do you already have?

If my panel was available today pre-built, I would have bought pre-built. Funny enough, I didn't want to have to build one myself. I just couldn't find anything that met my criteria so I had to design/build my own.

I love kals build and owe a lot to his design.
Thanks! Glad it helped.

Kal
 

jrcrilly

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I haven't added it up yet, but my controller box can't have cost me $200. It has four PIDs (those were about $100), though one is being used only for temperature display. The system is gas fired, so no contactors or SSRs. Just some switches and indicator lights. There is external overhead for three burners, solenoid valves and pilots so another $200 there (bought those used; everything else was new). Plus the PT100 sensors, but everyone needs those.

panel1 with legend.jpg
 

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