# Electric brewery plans - need help

### Help Support Homebrew Talk:

#### Aristee

##### Member
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
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
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

##### It's about the beer.
Lifetime Supporter
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

##### It's about the beer.
Lifetime Supporter
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.

#### kbh36

##### New Member
the 15 / 16 amps was ment as an example..

#### ejluttmann

##### Well-Known Member
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.

P-J

#### Aristee

##### Member
Thanks guys, I undertand better now.

#### Aristee

##### Member
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
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
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
If your still in here i wanna thank both you and nostaliga with the brew panel ideas finished mine last weekend!

OP

#### Tiber_Brew

##### It's about the beer.
Lifetime Supporter
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

OP

#### Tiber_Brew

##### It's about the beer.
Lifetime Supporter
If your still in here i wanna thank both you and nostaliga with the brew panel ideas finished mine last weekend!
Cheers to a successful project!

#### Brewjitsu

##### Well-Known Member
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
That wire from the emergency shut off to the bus should be 8g instead of 10g?

OP

#### Tiber_Brew

##### It's about the beer.
Lifetime Supporter
That wire from the emergency shut off to the bus should be 8g instead of 10g?
10g should've been fine. There appears to have been more current flowing through it than it's rated for, but my question is why didn't the breaker trip? Or did it?

#### thekraken

##### Well-Known Member
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
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:
OP

#### Tiber_Brew

##### It's about the beer.
Lifetime Supporter
It looked to me like there was damage on the jacket on the black wire. Or is that a shadow?

Shadow.

#### Brewjitsu

##### Well-Known Member
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
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
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
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

##### It's about the beer.
Lifetime Supporter
Ah, my mistake, then. I thought that 10g black wire had burnt along the length of it, which could mean a whole other problem in itself.

#### Brewjitsu

##### Well-Known Member
For curiosities sake what is that issue Tiber_Brew.

OP

#### Tiber_Brew

##### It's about the beer.
Lifetime Supporter
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
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
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
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
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.

OP

#### Tiber_Brew

##### It's about the beer.
Lifetime Supporter
The way I was taught was to strip wire 2X length of terminal, fold wire over, insert into terminal, crimp, then solder the connection.

#### itsnotrequired

##### Supporting Member
HBT Supporter
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
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
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.

OP

#### Tiber_Brew

##### It's about the beer.
Lifetime Supporter
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

OP

#### Tiber_Brew

##### It's about the beer.
Lifetime Supporter
Can you fit a doubled over 10awg wire in the barrel of a 10awg terminal anyway?
No. You can with 18AWG, etc. And it fits better.