Electric brewery plans - need help

HomeBrewTalk.com - Beer, Wine, Mead, & Cider Brewing Discussion Community.

Help Support Homebrew Talk:

Aristee

Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
Location
Saguenay
For most devices the voltage and current ratings are "This Device Will Operate Properly and Safely As Long As You Do Not Exceed This Value."

A 40 amp contactor can open/close and turn on 0-40 amps. You could use it to switch 1/2 an amp, if you wanted. Hypothetically, at 40.01 amps you are exceeding the safe operating area for that contactor and at risk of damaging it.

In the example of the combination of contactor and receptacle, the receptacle 30 amp rating limits the associated circuit and you should not exceed 30 amps.

Some devices the voltage and current ratings is what they require to operate properly. One example is a 100 watt light bulb. It is telling you it will draw 100 watts of power. Therefore the circuit and it's associated components should be rated for 120 VAC @ ~1.0 amp.

Ok I understand better now. So does it mean that I can use 16 amp circuit breakers instead of the 15 amp as per the plan ? Because I found these and am not sure if I can use it.

As for the emergency switch, do I need a normally open one ?
 

kbh36

New Member
Joined
Jun 2, 2015
Messages
4
Reaction score
1
If you draw 15 amps, then a 16 amp breaker is not enough, you have to expect some spikes in the current.
Look at this site: http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-Amperage-of-Circuit-Breaker
Conversely, you can determine the maximum current a circuit breaker can pass continuously by multiplying the circuit breaker's rating by .8 to determine 80% of the rating (a 15 amp breaker can pass 15 x .8 = 12 amps and a 20 amp is 20 x .8 = 16 amps). Do not connect loads that exceed this 80% calculated value.
 

Aristee

Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
Location
Saguenay
If you draw 15 amps, then a 16 amp breaker is not enough, you have to expect some spikes in the current.
Look at this site: http://www.wikihow.com/Determine-Amperage-of-Circuit-Breaker

Ok. Looking at the electric diagram of the first page of this thread, it seems that the 15 amps breakers are wired to the pumps, the PIDs and the contactors' coils. The pumps I have are the March 809 HS-C, with 0.29kW at 115V, so 3.1 amps max. Don't know about the contactors tough.

So why 15 amps are needed in the first place ?

And are you guys using circuit breakers (UL489) or supplementary protectors (UL1077) in your panels ?
 
OP
Tiber_Brew

Tiber_Brew

It's about the beer.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
2,542
Reaction score
276
Location
Upper Peninsula
I have a question about the emergency kill switch. If I understand correctly the diagram, if you push the button, you close the circuit wich sends currant directly to the ground bus, tripping the GFCI circuit breaker. So does it mean that the switch has to be Normally Open? The one I bought is a NC switch and I am not sure anymore if it's the right one...
Yes, it should be normally open.
 
OP
Tiber_Brew

Tiber_Brew

It's about the beer.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
2,542
Reaction score
276
Location
Upper Peninsula
Ok. Looking at the electric diagram of the first page of this thread, it seems that the 15 amps breakers are wired to the pumps, the PIDs and the contactors' coils. The pumps I have are the March 809 HS-C, with 0.29kW at 115V, so 3.1 amps max. Don't know about the contactors tough.

So why 15 amps are needed in the first place ?

And are you guys using circuit breakers (UL489) or supplementary protectors (UL1077) in your panels ?
I use 15 Amp breakers for the pumps, PIDs, and illuminated switches. 25 Amp breakers for the element circuits. The 15 Amp breakers are to protect the circuitry involving the 120V wiring and components, which is what the components and wiring are rated to. 15A is more than the load they see in normal use, but the breakers are there to protect against damage/fire in the event of a short.
 

ejluttmann

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 31, 2012
Messages
105
Reaction score
28
Location
Meridian
In general, breakers are meant to protect the wires from overheating and causing fire/damage. You need to make sure the wire is adequately protected by an fuse or breaker based on its rating. If I switch to a smaller wire size after a breaker, I'll protect it with a fuse.
 
  • Like
Reactions: P-J

Aristee

Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
Location
Saguenay
Finally, I got to test my system today. I followed the exact wiring of the first page of this thread. I filled my BK with water and fired on the element. My PID was set to just below boiling. Everything worked fine for about 10 minutes. Temp was raising steadily. And then I heard the contactor click, and the element switch's light turned off, as well as the element. I'm at a loss here. What could have been wrong ? I doubled checked my wirings, and all is fine.

I think I need help here...
 

FuzzeWuzze

I Love DIY
Joined
Jun 19, 2012
Messages
3,140
Reaction score
457
Location
Newberg
Finally, I got to test my system today. I followed the exact wiring of the first page of this thread. I filled my BK with water and fired on the element. My PID was set to just below boiling. Everything worked fine for about 10 minutes. Temp was raising steadily. And then I heard the contactor click, and the element switch's light turned off, as well as the element. I'm at a loss here. What could have been wrong ? I doubled checked my wirings, and all is fine.

I think I need help here...
Wait...why would you contactor be clicking period if you arent touching the switch?

Does the contactor open and close when you toggle the switch as you expect?

The contactor toggling off can only happen if its losing voltage across its input pins which should only happen if you turn your switch off.
 

Aristee

Member
Joined
Jul 16, 2014
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
Location
Saguenay
I think I found something. I tried with an old switch I had instead of the one installed in the panel fot the element, and it worked. I bought lighted switches on ebay, and it may be that I just got what I paid for :(
 

Brewjitsu

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2015
Messages
51
Reaction score
8
If your still in here i wanna thank both you and nostaliga with the brew panel ideas finished mine last weekend!
 
OP
Tiber_Brew

Tiber_Brew

It's about the beer.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
2,542
Reaction score
276
Location
Upper Peninsula
I think I found something. I tried with an old switch I had instead of the one installed in the panel fot the element, and it worked. I bought lighted switches on ebay, and it may be that I just got what I paid for :(
Yup. I recommend good quality ones from automationdirect.com or my friend's shop ebrewsupply.com
 

Brewjitsu

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2015
Messages
51
Reaction score
8
So this just happen up stream i have a 50 amp spa panel to the emergancy shutoff. Then i have a marine 50 amp bus bar with 10 g wire to 30 amp breakers. As you can see the 10g wire is fried. My question is what caused this and do I increase the gauge of the wire?

View attachment 1449099643897.jpg
 

Brewjitsu

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2015
Messages
51
Reaction score
8
That wire from the emergency shut off to the bus should be 8g instead of 10g?
 

thekraken

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2014
Messages
1,957
Reaction score
449
Location
DFW
So this just happen up stream i have a 50 amp spa panel to the emergancy shutoff. Then i have a marine 50 amp bus bar with 10 g wire to 30 amp breakers. As you can see the 10g wire is fried. My question is what caused this and do I increase the gauge of the wire?
Scary. How confident are you in the quality of your crimps? What crimp tool are you using?
 

FuzzeWuzze

I Love DIY
Joined
Jun 19, 2012
Messages
3,140
Reaction score
457
Location
Newberg
Scary. How confident are you in the quality of your crimps? What crimp tool are you using?
I can almost already tell just looking at the picture its the crimper. I can see zero marks on those jackets.

All of the scorching appears to be on the ends with crimped on connectors which probably means it was arcing or something because of a bad connection.

As an example if you look in the middle of this image from my build to the middle contactor left pin you can sort of see what the crimper did, it has two giant indentations where the crimper came down. You can also see on the left most contactor what the connectors look like before crimping..which honestly look exactly like his...they dont even look crimped. Im guessing he just had really bad crimpers, or tried to just crimp them using pliers or something like some people do.

I recommend that he buy a set of ratcheting crimpers and remake all his crimped connections properly. I used these from Amazon for dozens and dozens of connections and they work great.
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002STTSY/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Brewjitsu

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2015
Messages
51
Reaction score
8
So i bypassed the bus and used 8g to the 30amp and 10g from one pole to the 10amp. I re crimped any loose wires and retightened any screws.i know its all white but i checked several times not to cross poles.
 

thekraken

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2014
Messages
1,957
Reaction score
449
Location
DFW
So i bypassed the bus and used 8g to the 30amp and 10g from one pole to the 10amp. I re crimped any loose wires and retightened any screws.i know its all white but i checked several times not to cross poles.
How many of them were loose? This is making *me* nervous for you. For the sake of your home and family maybe you should pull those wires out and try again with a better crimping tool?
 

Brewjitsu

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2015
Messages
51
Reaction score
8
I went to harbor frieght and got the one suggested watched youtube videos on how to use it.i had plenty of extra terminals and applied new ones as neseccary.
 

Brewjitsu

Well-Known Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2015
Messages
51
Reaction score
8
thanks for your concern. I took the initiative to check other screws and terminals because of the intial issue. Now that i know the screws and terminals are well placed. I feel i can breath easier. I also thank everyone whose helped me with my problem.
 
OP
Tiber_Brew

Tiber_Brew

It's about the beer.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
2,542
Reaction score
276
Location
Upper Peninsula
For curiosities sake what is that issue Tiber_Brew.
If that were the case, it may suggest that there would be something drawing more current through that wire than it is rated for, causing it to heat up enough to melt the insulation. This is usually a result of a short circuit, but there could be other causes. This is what circuit breakers are designed to protect from (preventing fire hazards). That's why I had asked if your breaker tripped.

But, it appears that the other commenters have a keener eye than I do, and noticed that the issue was with the wire terminals.
 

augiedoggy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2013
Messages
10,284
Reaction score
2,278
Location
North Tonawanda NY
Harbor Freight crimper and crimps?! Now I'm really nervous for you. Oh boy.

http://toolmonger.com/2007/02/16/test-to-destruction-crimp-terminals/
A lot of their tools are fine... Especially something as simple as a crimper... they sell cheapy ones and the better style ones that are leaps and bounds better as well..

I bought a $40 "thorsen" brand torque wrench from my local autostore only to find the exact same wrench made made the same people in china sold at harbor frieght for $9 with a case which the $40 one did not have. after buying them both to compare side by side I returned the $40 one.

coincidentally harbor freight sells the same style smaller electrical pin crimps as my employer pays over $300 a piece for....
 

thekraken

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2014
Messages
1,957
Reaction score
449
Location
DFW
A lot of their tools are fine... Especially something as simple as a crimper... they sell cheapy ones and the better style ones that are leaps and bounds better as well..
Indeed, but it's a gamble. I just personally wouldn't gamble in this instance. I mean... it's already failed here multiple times! He's lucky he caught it.

I bought a $40 "thorsen" brand torque wrench from my local autostore only to find the exact same wrench made made the same people in china sold at harbor frieght for $9 with a case which the $40 one did not have. after buying them both to compare side by side I returned the $40 one.
I actually have the HF torque wrench too! :rockin:
 

FuzzeWuzze

I Love DIY
Joined
Jun 19, 2012
Messages
3,140
Reaction score
457
Location
Newberg
A lot of their tools are fine... Especially something as simple as a crimper... they sell cheapy ones and the better style ones that are leaps and bounds better as well..

I bought a $40 "thorsen" brand torque wrench from my local autostore only to find the exact same wrench made made the same people in china sold at harbor frieght for $9 with a case which the $40 one did not have. after buying them both to compare side by side I returned the $40 one.

coincidentally harbor freight sells the same style smaller electrical pin crimps as my employer pays over $300 a piece for....
I think the key is to get a ratcheting crimper. Without it you have no idea if your crimping properly. I'd want another closer shot, but based on the one that he showed us none of them look crimped at all. They should look flattened to hell.
 

augiedoggy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2013
Messages
10,284
Reaction score
2,278
Location
North Tonawanda NY
I think the key is to get a ratcheting crimper. Without it you have no idea if your crimping properly. I'd want another closer shot, but based on the one that he showed us none of them look crimped at all. They should look flattened to hell.
Agreed
I didnt use a ratchet crimper but then again I remember I had very sore hands from squeezing the crap out of my cheap crimps.. and I gave them all tugs to ensure they were tight.
 

itsnotrequired

Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
Joined
Sep 3, 2015
Messages
1,327
Reaction score
491
Location
Plover
The way I was taught was to strip wire 2X length of terminal, fold wire over, insert into terminal, crimp, then solder the connection.
terminal manufacturers provide specific instructions on how to properly install their devices. i personally would not deviate from their directions.
 

thekraken

Well-Known Member
Joined
Aug 18, 2014
Messages
1,957
Reaction score
449
Location
DFW
The way I was taught was to strip wire 2X length of terminal, fold wire over, insert into terminal, crimp, then solder the connection.
I was taught not to do that because the solder wicks into the wire and stiffens/hardens it, making it much easier for the connection to fail from bends or vibrations.

Can you fit a doubled over 10awg wire in the barrel of a 10awg terminal anyway?
 

FuzzeWuzze

I Love DIY
Joined
Jun 19, 2012
Messages
3,140
Reaction score
457
Location
Newberg
I was taught not to do that because the solder wicks into the wire and stiffens/hardens it, making it much easier for the connection to fail from bends or vibrations.

Can you fit a doubled over 10awg wire in the barrel of a 10awg terminal anyway?
Maybe ...but thats why your not supposed to do it. :mug:
 
OP
Tiber_Brew

Tiber_Brew

It's about the beer.
Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Apr 21, 2010
Messages
2,542
Reaction score
276
Location
Upper Peninsula
I used one size higher when I folded the wire for some connections. Some I was able to fit the folded wire into the same terminal size. Note: this was only for the 120V connections, i.e. ~18AWG
 
Top