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Building an expandable electric system

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jmgreen7

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First off, i'll apologize for this question b/c i'm
sure it's all been covered before. There's so information, and i'll be honest, i'm overwhelmed. I read up on electricbrewery.com, but it's way to big of a project (size and cost) than i can deal with right now. I've been on https://leaningman.com/2016/05/automated-brewery/, but it seems to missing important steps that seem critical. I keep finding myself going in circles. Anyway, here goes...

What i have:
I was gifted all the equipment to do a 5 gallon all grain setup on propane, though i haven't done so. I have and for the near future, will continue to do extract.

- raspberry pi 3 b+ board
- 2 Berme SSRs (BEM-1 4840DA)
- 2 Hilitchi DS18B20 temperature probes.

What i'd like to do:
I'd like to move to electric 5 gallon extract for the time being. I'd like to use something like craftbeerpi to help control my boil and monitor temperature.
I'm fine with running of of 120V for the time being, with the expectation that i can move into a full 5500W heating element.

So, having said all that...

Is there a step-by-step build thread? Parts list? Once again, i apologize.

Thanks all.
 

doug293cz

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If you want it to be expandable, you need to design and wire it for 240 volts from the beginning. You will be able to operate from 120V using a pigtail adapter (short cord that has a 120V plug on one end and a 240V socket on the other end. You need to think about how many elements you want to run eventually, so you can have a large enough enclosure for all of your SSR's, heatsinks, contactors, switches, etc. If you stick with an RPi controller, you don't need to allow extra space for more controllers for more elements.

Here's a design similar to what you want to do, but based on an EZBoil controller. To use an RPi, just connect an output and ground from the RPi to the SSR instead of the EZBoil. You will also need to have a 5V power supply in your enclosure for the RPi. Your SSR's are the same as called out in the design, just with different branding.

DSPR120 1-Pump 1-Aux Dual Voltage Input contactor.PNG


If you want to control the pump and/or element enable contactor from the RPi, then the switches just need to be replaced with 120V contacts/5V coil relays. Personally, I'd leave the element power contactor controlled by a manual switch.

Brew on :mug:
 

CodeSection

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@doug293cz, if you would be so kind to comment. I am finalizing my two vessel K-RIMS system similar to Bilchmann's BrewEasy. It will be a 240v 30A system. Initially, I was only going to have one heater element. But after reading a little about brewhouse efficiency and then your post above about thinking ahead if one feels the need for potential expansion, I am considering some changes in design. With that said, I have no idea if I will ever need another heating element. My hope is to stay with the K-RIMS system and not expand.

I do know I need one DSPR (I chose 310D), two pumps, and I want an external alarm. On another thread, it was suggested by many a second sensor coming out the outlet valve on the MT would be helpful. So, another DSPR was added. Since I want the external alarm connected to it, I had to go from the DSPR120 model to the DSPR300 model.

If the cost is roughly $88 more to increase the enclosure, increase the heat sink from 40A to 60A, add a second SSR, an a DIN rail, add an additional mash element switch, and add an additional L6-30R heating receptacle worth it? Again, I have no plans on needing it. But thought about the flexibility in the future. Perhaps I'm making this more complication than what is needed.....

Thanks for your help!

Controller.jpg
Controller With Expansion Features.jpg
 

doug293cz

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Only you can answer whether or not the additional cost is worth it. But, $88 doesn't seem like a lot compared to what you will already be spending. You don't have to add all of the extra items in the $88 parts list during the initial build, you just need to be sure the enclosure is big enough for your planned expansion. If you can put all of the required holes/cut outs in before the original build, you won't have to worry about having to take everything apart to add the new holes. I'd be very hesitant to add holes with components inside, because you don't know where all the metal shavings are going to end up. You would need some way to cover the unused holes in a cosmetically acceptable way.

Brew on :mug:
 
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jmgreen7

jmgreen7

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Hey all. I'm sorry that i didn't reply/acknowledge your responses. I thought i had notifications turned on, but apparently not.

Anyway, my followup would be concerning the heating element. Would it matter what heating element i have at the end? Based on the 20amp 120V, i was looking at https://www.amazon.com/dp/B018S4AP5Y/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20 - which is a 1500W heating element. Since i'm only doing 5 gallons, it seems sufficient, but not ideal. would it still work in this setup?
 
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doug293cz

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If you're going to be using a 20A, 120V circuit, I would recommend a 2000W heater. A single 1500W heater is going to result in very long heat up times.

Brew on :mug:
 
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jmgreen7

jmgreen7

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I'm sure many of you are no strangers to this, but i decided to say eff it, and plan for a full 30A cable run. As i understand it, people are typically going to a 50A spa panel as their secondary shutoff, correct? I'm going to do a temporary cable run so i can brew outside my garage, then rerun it all when i go to finish my basement.
 

CodeSection

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I'm sure many of you are no strangers to this, but i decided to say eff it, and plan for a full 30A cable run. As i understand it, people are typically going to a 50A spa panel as their secondary shutoff, correct? I'm going to do a temporary cable run so i can brew outside my garage, then rerun it all when i go to finish my basement.
Due to my situation and space, I chose to use a 30A extension cord that plugs into a GFCI 30A receptacle that was installed below a sub panel. Here is the link to Home Depot where I bought the extension cord. They come in various lengths.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Reliance-Controls-40-ft-30-Amp-Generator-Power-Cord-PC3040/202216500

Hopefully, this will help your situation. Good luck!
 

LittlejohnBrew

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Due to my situation and space, I chose to use a 30A extension cord that plugs into a GFCI 30A receptacle that was installed below a sub panel. Here is the link to Home Depot where I bought the extension cord. They come in various lengths.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Reliance-Controls-40-ft-30-Amp-Generator-Power-Cord-PC3040/202216500

Hopefully, this will help your situation. Good luck!
Can get a better price online. This was the best I found at $78 for 40 feet. May be able to find cheaper on E-bay

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01JNWZN66/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
 
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