My eHERMS (mostly) Kal Clone Home Brewery

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MrSaLTy

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So I have been brewing since 2006 when I first joined here and have been thinking/planing to move to a better system for years. (and saving) :) I had first planned on going with a Brutus system until electric systems started to become more popular a few years ago and decided electric was the way to go for me. This would allow me to brew in the house which appealed to me a lot seeing as I never could really brew in the winter months.

My new brewery will be a dedicated room I will build in my basement with a (mostly) clone of Kal's rig. I will try to document things as I move along. I have been already working at this for a few months. It took me almost 2 months to source and buy all the control panel parts I wanted. I am currently getting all the kettles and hardware for the build. I am still in the early stages of planning the brew space in the basement which I haven't done much yet.

You can also follow my build more in depth and with more pictures on my blog at:

http://rottensebrewery.blogspot.com/

Also more info on how I built the LED Logo (see below) is here:

http://rottensebrewery.blogspot.com/2013/06/led-logo.html

Ok enough yakin here are pictures.

All the control panel parts


Power Cable parts and finished cable.



Temperature probe parts and finished probes Probe kits from Kal



Control panel is std 16x16x8
Holes cut for SSRs yeah not that straight but is doesn't matter because heatsink covers it.


Connection holes


Laying out components


3/8" holes drilled for the Greenlee 2" conduit knockout punch, the punch and the cutout bits and finished holes.




Ready for primer


I decided to do a little side project and do a LED edge lit version of Kal's electric brewery logo to go on the front of the panel. took way to long to do but it turned out sweet. It is hard to get good picture of it because of the light and it really looks better in real life. The panel is not painted yet (doing that now) so it will look a bit different when its done.





Again you can see how I built the logo here on my blog.
http://rottensebrewery.blogspot.com/2013/06/led-logo.html

I am in the process of painting the panel now. More pics later when that's done and as I progress. Much thanks to all of you for everything on this wonderful site. Without all of you, I would not be doing this. More to come!
 
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MrSaLTy

MrSaLTy

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I am going to use some Stilldragon element guard kits for the 5500w heating elements. Got the kits and some 2" ferrules. I got a couple 90 degree cable glands I'm going to try to use for these instead of the ones that come with it because I think space will be tight. Here are a couple pics of the guard kits and ferrules.




Got in some other hardware too, will post more pics later. Painting the control panel now which is a PITA. I'm going to try to experiment with using some water slide decals for the labeling on it and see how that goes. If it doesn't work out ill fall back to using the plastic tags.
 

NewBrewB

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The backlit design is dope. Im sure there are more pictures on your other site but one pic of the back here would be cool, (or maybe one process picture with that component half-done?)
 
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MrSaLTy

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Ok a few more pics of the logo being built. It is powered by a 12v 'wall wart' power supply from an old linksys cable router. The power supply will be inside my control panel.



 
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MrSaLTy

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I got in most of the stainless hardware and the kettles and the HERMS coil. I got the coil from Stainless Brewing. It is 50 foot of 1/2" stainless tube coiled at 14" diameter with 2 90 degree bends and was $96. He has many options on sizes though. Really a great deal and would recommend them to everyone. Now I just have to finish the stupid painting and get this stuff together.




 

sasky7777

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I like the LED backlit logo. I have been kicking a similar idea around myself. Forgive my ignorance, but my thoughts were to add another converter and doorbell set-up like Kal uses for the volt and amp meters and then run 12V LEDs off that. Is this crazy?
 
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MrSaLTy

MrSaLTy

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I like the LED backlit logo. I have been kicking a similar idea around myself. Forgive my ignorance, but my thoughts were to add another converter and doorbell set-up like Kal uses for the volt and amp meters and then run 12V LEDs off that. Is this crazy?
You can do that if you want to. Anything that can supply 12v DC will work. I just used a old wall wart power supply from a linksys router that was 12v 500ma (more than enough for what I need). It was free cuz I had it but it also may be cheaper to buy one then the transformer and PS setup you are talking about. You can get one for like 7 bux on amazon.

You may even have a few laying around the house from and old router or phone charger. If you click this image and look at the full size pic you can see the writing on is saying its 12v .5A (500ma) and it tells you the polarity on the post. You can then note which side is positive and which is negative and use a continuity tester to see which wire is which. The just cut off the connector and wire it straight up.



But adding another transformer and PS should work fine if you are more comfortable doing that.
 

sasky7777

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Ok that makes sense, stupid question though. How do you power the cord. In my house I plug it into a receptacle do you just wire a standard 120v receptacle into the inside of your panel to keep it hidden away. Stupid question I guess but something I have always wondered. I'll stop hijacking your thread now.
 
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MrSaLTy

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Ok that makes sense, stupid question though. How do you power the cord. In my house I plug it into a receptacle do you just wire a standard 120v receptacle into the inside of your panel to keep it hidden away. Stupid question I guess but something I have always wondered. I'll stop hijacking your thread now.
Not a problem. There are a couple ways to do it. My panel will (its not done yet) have both 120 and 240. It is supplied by a 4 wire dryer cord with 2 hots, a neutral and a ground. You can use the neutral and one of the hots for 120v which is what I will do. This way I will power the PIDs, pumps etc off of a 120v bus or terminal bar. Now if you use DIN mount components and have DIN rail they make DIN mount receptacles that you can wire to the 120v and neutral buses. You could also just wire in a regular receptacle if you wanted. I am just going to tie wrap the wall wart down to the backplane and then use some spade terminals on the wires to connect to the spades on the power supply and then cover them with heatshrink tube. The spade terminals fit perfectly on them. I'll post a picture when I actually get to that part.
 
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MrSaLTy

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Didn't get much done over the weekend as I had an old friend in town and we mostly just spent time *drinking* beer. I got my kettles back from being welded. I had a 2" ferrule and a 1/2" half coupler welded to the BK and a 2" ferrule welded to the HLT. The welding was done by fellow HBTer Colebeer78. I think he did a great job, I'm happy with the results and he was only about 15 min from my house in Chicago south burbs. Look him up if you are in the area and need welding. Here are a few pics. The first two are how I got them and the rest are what they looked like after about 10 min with some Bar keepers friend. Last pic is the BK (half coupler is around the back). Now to start hooking up the elements.








 
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MrSaLTy

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Painting the control panel is almost done. Just buffing out the finish at this point for a deep mirrored look. I built a sort of a 'jig' to hold the panel while buffing it so I didn't have to set the panel on a finished side while working on the other side as this tended to mar the surface. Assembly should start soon.




Also finished working on the element wiring. Really like how it turned out. Camco 5500W ripple elements, 90 degree cable glands, some braided cable sleeving, and stilldragon element guards.







 
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MrSaLTy

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I have been working on the control panel and have quite a lot of it finished so far. Lettering on the panel is water slide decals that I then covered with clear coat paint. The panel has a deep mirror finish and is hard to take good pictures without glare. The black background on the lettering seems to reflect the flash from the camera and shows up in pictures a lot more then it does in real life. Really like how the panel is coming out so far. Here are some pictures.







Here are some pictures of the beginning of the wiring and the inside. I will post more pictures as I progress on the wiring.




 

BrewIt

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It looks bad ass so far! Great work. Cant wait to see more updates. Where are you located it Chicago?
 
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MrSaLTy

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It looks bad ass so far! Great work. Cant wait to see more updates. Where are you located it Chicago?
Homewood. South burbs. Thanks for the comments guys. This project has been a ton of work (not to mention $$) but it has been SO fun to do.
 

BrewIt

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Homewood. South burbs. Thanks for the comments guys. This project has been a ton of work (not to mention $$) but it has been SO fun to do.
Oh. Your pretty far south. I'm up by O'Hare.
 

Docbruw

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Yes it looks very good. Speaking of all the $$ you spent. About how much did you drop on the control panel with all the parts, wire etc...? If you had to do it again would you just buy the DIY kit from Kal?

I'm in the planning stage now and I can save a bunch of $ by using different plugs besides the twist-locks and hard wire the main line in. But my time and shipping from different suppliers cost money also.

Don't want to hijack your build post anymore. I'm enjoying it!
 
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MrSaLTy

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Yes it looks very good. Speaking of all the $$ you spent. About how much did you drop on the control panel with all the parts, wire etc...? If you had to do it again would you just buy the DIY kit from Kal?

I'm in the planning stage now and I can save a bunch of $ by using different plugs besides the twist-locks and hard wire the main line in. But my time and shipping from different suppliers cost money also.

Don't want to hijack your build post anymore. I'm enjoying it!
Not a problem Doc. I wanted to do a few things different then Kal but still mostly like Kal so that's why I didn't get the kit. Id say I came in about $150 less then Kal's kit and that's with a more expensive power meter but with the added shipping it's probably a wash. I got exactly what I wanted though. Kal's kit is great and if you like it the way it is not sure you can beat the price. It definitely will save you time and hassle. It took me about a month to source and acquire all the parts.
 
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MrSaLTy

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Wiring is now finished. Not the messiest wiring but certainly not the best either. Was a lot of fun doing this. Still want to trace it all out again to make sure its right before I fire it up. Still don't have the 220v run in the house so I have some time to make sure its all correct. Here are some pictures of the finished wiring. Looking forward and a bit nervous about turning it on. :D





 

Docbruw

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You didn't use the 2 pole din mount breaker in the control box? What wiring schematic did you use? I do like the power meter for no other reason than you don't have to mess with the door bell transformers and power supply's. It looks great.
 
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MrSaLTy

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You didn't use the 2 pole din mount breaker in the control box? What wiring schematic did you use? I do like the power meter for no other reason than you don't have to mess with the door bell transformers and power supply's. It looks great.
Na I thought 25A may be cutting it too close and 30A would be redundant and I'd have to buy one if I needed it anyhow. I'd have used the 2 pole breaker if it was a 50A circuit but I'm at 30A. I didn't really have a full out schematic. I sorta used a combo of Kal's designs and my own head. I broke things down into sorta subsections to make them easier work out. If I ever get some extra time I may try to throw something together. Whatever your needs are I'm sure you can find something close from P-J.
 
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MrSaLTy

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Made a few 'coasters' to go under the kettles. They are round table tops they sell at home depot for 6 bucks each. Saw another HBTer using them and liked the idea. They are 17 3/4" in diameter which is almost exactly the size of the kettles. Here is a link to them....

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Unbrande...-Pine-Table-Top-680435/202017011#.UkppLz-IpEM

They are unfinished so I hit the edges with some wipe on polly and then covered them with some cork. Here's a couple pics....


 

NewBrewB

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Made a few 'coasters' to go under the kettles. They are round table tops they sell at home depot for 6 bucks each.
Great idea. I thinset a couple of 18" tiles back to back for each of my coasters but this would have been much lighter and less fragile.
 
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MrSaLTy

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Haven't had a lot of progress lately but I do have the kettles pretty much done now. They are pretty much Kal ripoffs except for the heating element mounting. Now I'm working on pump mounting. Hope to have that knocked out in a few days or so.

Here are some pictures of the 3 kettles.

Boil Kettle





HLT






Mash tun



 

steveoatley

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Mr Salty

Very nice build ! Looks great !
Love that HLT ! and the way you mounted the Camco's

Any chance you have a Parts list & Vendor list for the HLT ?

A Question, if I might,
why does the Brew Kettle have a direct Temp probe into the Kettle
and the HLT has the temp probe on the OUT port ?

Thanks
Steve
 
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MrSaLTy

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Mr Salty

Very nice build ! Looks great !
Love that HLT ! and the way you mounted the Camco's

Any chance you have a Parts list & Vendor list for the HLT ?

A Question, if I might,
why does the Brew Kettle have a direct Temp probe into the Kettle
and the HLT has the temp probe on the OUT port ?

Thanks
Steve
For the temp probes, the HLT COULD have a prob through the kettle but since the water is being recirculated with a pump constantly to maintain a uniform temp in the HLT, adding out to the output is easier. Why go through the trouble and expense in this case. The boil on the other hand is not constantly recirculated so it was necessary to go through the kettle.

As for a parts list no I don't have that but it's mostly the same as Kal's design from The electric Brewery . The differences are the way I mounted the elements and the HEX coil I used. I mounted the elements with Still Dragon element guard kits (you need a 2" ferrule welded on the kettle for this) and I got the 50' 1/2" OD stainless coil with 2 additional bends from Stainless Brewing. There are pull down select tabs there to choose the size etc. Most of the stainless hardware I got at Adventures in Homebrewing

Hope that helps.
 

steveoatley

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Thanks Mr Salty

I really appreacite the info, and the links.:mug:

And give a Shout out to Adventures in Home Brewing as well !

My wife bought the kit that got me started 10 yrs ago at AHB.
Jay is a great guy ! Very Helpful crew !

I have all ready talked to him about welding on the ferrel for the Element.

Thanks for the help !
Steve
 

hunter306

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Very Nice work on the panel, that paint looks amazing :)
 
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MrSaLTy

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Thanks Hunter, I wish I had a better camera cuz with mine its hard to get good pictures. Everything is too dark or has glare. I have actually been following your build as well and am jealous about how quickly yours is coming together. Things are just taking way too long to finish for me. :D
 

rmoody

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What's the ratio on your current transformer? 50:5 or 100:5? I went 100:5, read somewhere that it should be double the max expected current. Dunno.

Were you able to power the meter off the hot/neutral combination without issues reading the system voltage? Or do you know yet?

Your build is just sick man.
 

Rockn_M

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This is AWESOME!

It's pretty much what I have started to do. Right now I'm in the learning and planning phase.

How long has this taken you to get this far and is there anything you did\didn't do that you wish you had\hadn't?
 
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MrSaLTy

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@rmoody I used the 50:5 or 10:1. This way if it is pulling 25 amps it will see 2.5 amps and all I have to do is move the decimal point over 1 place. I'll try to get a close up of the wiring later tonight. I have not powered the panel yet as I still have to get 220 run. Basically it's 110 from hot bar, neutral and ground for power. 110 from each hot for voltage and 2 wires from the CT for amps.

@Rockn_M It has been about 11 months since I decided to pull the trigger and started sourcing parts. I have had delays for many reasons most of which were not build related just other things going on. As for things I'd change, lemme post that later tonight as I don't have much time here I'm on lunch. :D
 
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MrSaLTy

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Been a while since I posted and wanted to get these up here. Finished the pumps and stand a while ago and just haven't posted them. Here are some photos of the pump stand and pumps. The pumps are chugger pumps.

The stand is basically a copy of Kal's and others from his site. Started with 3/4" MDF for the base. Painted metallic silver with a gloss finish. Added grommets to the pumps mounts and rubber feet for the stand, as well as some handles for easy moving. Added new plugs and cable sleeve to the power cords. Added a couple 24ga stainless steel covers for the pumps. Here are the pictures. Hope you like it.








 
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