Show me your cheap electrical enclosure

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Dgonza9

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So the next phase of my brewery is a RIMS tube and a control panel. Looks like I'll be acquiring parts for a bit. I was surprised to see how expensive the electrical enclosures people used for their control panels are. $300? Hadn't planned on that.

I do want to keep safety in mind, but can anyone suggest or post pics of your cheap enclosure? (by cheap I mean no $300).

Look forward to seeing what the creative members of this board have come up with over the years.
 

Ohio-Ed

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So the next phase of my brewery is a RIMS tube and a control panel. Looks like I'll be acquiring parts for a bit. I was surprised to see how expensive the electrical enclosures people used for their control panels are. $300? Hadn't planned on that.

I do want to keep safety in mind, but can anyone suggest or post pics of your cheap enclosure? (by cheap I mean no $300).

Look forward to seeing what the creative members of this board have come up with over the years.
I paid $50 or $60 plus shipping for the enclosure in my avatar from a user here on HBT. It was used and needed a little attention but worked our great.

I have the enclosure in the pics below that I planned to eventually put in the classified section. It is a new Hoffman box (A12N106) with a back panel (7561k871). I think I have about $35 in this box... PM me if you would be interested in it.







Ed
 

Sawdustguy

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So the next phase of my brewery is a RIMS tube and a control panel. Looks like I'll be acquiring parts for a bit. I was surprised to see how expensive the electrical enclosures people used for their control panels are. $300? Hadn't planned on that.

I do want to keep safety in mind, but can anyone suggest or post pics of your cheap enclosure? (by cheap I mean no $300).

Look forward to seeing what the creative members of this board have come up with over the years.
What???????? Are you kidding?? You havent looked very hard have you? There are tons of brand new enclosures on Ebay for less than $100.
 
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Dgonza9

Dgonza9

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What???????? Are you kidding?? You havent looked very hard have you? There are tons of brand new enclosures on Ebay for less than $100.
I'm just curious to see what people have used and if I can get the pros and cons on some of these enclosures. Do I really need one certified to deflect 60 gallons of water per minute? Some have gone with this type. I'm sure others have done it for $50 or less.

I'm definitely willing to do my research on this. Thought it would be a fun thread, though.
 

Bobby_M

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You could build one out of wood for that matter. It doesn't have to be of any specific rating unless you're trying to employ it in a commercial setting and have to get inspections. I doubt you pulled a residential permit to install your brew house.
 

Tiber_Brew

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How big of an enclosure do you need?

I've got a spare 10 x 12 x 6 metal enclosure with no holes in it that I could sell to you for $30 + shipping.

PM me if you're interested. I have pictures.

TB
 
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Dgonza9

Dgonza9

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Nice idea, there, Klyph. Thanks for posting those enclosures, guys. I'm probably not buying anything just yet, though. I may make a wooden box to start or get something ultra cheap. I'm going to start slow with just the PID, a pump switch and maybe a timer if I can get one on the cheap.

Keep 'em coming, though. I started the thread to see what people have done besides those really awesome, but expensive ones. Like this.



You know your control panel rocks when it requires parts from IKEA!:rockin:
 

jcb317

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This is my panel, i made it with one of those $20-$25 gray electrical enclosures they sell at home depot.



 
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Dgonza9

Dgonza9

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This is my panel, i made it with one of those $20-$25 gray electrical enclosures they sell at home depot.



Nice panel on the cheap! Looks great. How do you guys do these cutouts in the metal boxes? Or is this one plastic? Anyway, that's real nice. I might do the same thing.:rockin:
 

jcb317

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Nice panel on the cheap! Looks great. How do you guys do these cutouts in the metal boxes? Or is this one plastic? Anyway, that's real nice. I might do the same thing.:rockin:
Thanks, this one is plastic. I used hole saws for all of the circles, for the rectangles i drilled out the four corners and cut the straight lines with a jig saw.
 

Jud

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I can see this happening to my brew rig, but not any time real soon. Think I am going to start buying parts and putting in a box with a check off list until I get enough to build it.
 

SweetSounds

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I've got a bunch of panels on the Classifieds.

Otherwise, you can usually get a pretty good deal on eBay if you really dig around.

The plastic ones at your favorite home improvement store will work too, if you aren't installing a lot of components.
 

lschiavo

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Stop by a local electrical contractor. We tear out enclosures quite often. Some we save others go in our scrap pile out back. That is where I got mine.



Nothing fancy but the price was right.
 

bblack7489

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I started off with a steel breaker-box style enclosure that I got off ebay for cheap. About 1/3 of the way into the project, a buddy at work found me some control hardware that had failed our manufacture burn-in testing. Now instead of a control system run by 3 home made PIC microcontroller boards, I have a legit industrial-grade control system with thermocouple and relay modules, an ethernet port with a built-in web-server, a dedicated serial port, a real-time processor and an FPGA. That's not really important to the thread, but I'm excited.

Either way, I had to rethink my box because the new controller is much larger than the original control hardware. I went with one of the plastic boxes from Home Depot for the second time around. The point of my rambling is that it is MUCH easier to work with the plastic box than it was to work with the steel. I would hands-down suggest the plastic box unless you have a good drill press, are really accurate with a jig saw and like using a file.
 
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Dgonza9

Dgonza9

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I started off with a steel breaker-box style enclosure that I got off ebay for cheap. About 1/3 of the way into the project, a buddy at work found me some control hardware that had failed our manufacture burn-in testing. Now instead of a control system run by 3 home made PIC microcontroller boards, I have a legit industrial-grade control system with thermocouple and relay modules, an ethernet port with a built-in web-server, a dedicated serial port, a real-time processor and an FPGA. That's not really important to the thread, but I'm excited.

Either way, I had to rethink my box because the new controller is much larger than the original control hardware. I went with one of the plastic boxes from Home Depot for the second time around. The point of my rambling is that it is MUCH easier to work with the plastic box than it was to work with the steel. I would hands-down suggest the plastic box unless you have a good drill press, are really accurate with a jig saw and like using a file.
Thanks for that suggestion. I'm thinking that's going to be my route.:)
 

klyph

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This is what I use, but it's impossible to get a clean small square hole without lots of filing and cursing.

 

bad coffee

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I use a rotozip, dremel, jig saw, drill, rifler files, greenlee punches, unibits, whatever that's on my workbench that will make the right size/shape hole.

B
 

kal

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You could build one out of wood for that matter. It doesn't have to be of any specific rating unless you're trying to employ it in a commercial setting and have to get inspections.
Correct.

Ratings are only required for commercial settings that have to undergo regular inspections as they are required to have safe workplaces for their employees like you mentioned.

In most locations you can build and use anything you like as long as it is not permanently connected to the rest of your house. That does not mean however that it will be safe for you to use (only you can be the judge of that).

If you're the only person using a control panel that you built and designed yourself, feel free to do whatever you want.

But no matter how well you design and build something, accidents do happen so I chose to build my control panel to try and be as safe as possible. That means following industry protection standards as much as possible.

People can do what they want. They need to decide for themselves.

I doubt you pulled a residential permit to install your brew house.
I did, by the ESA (electrical safety authority) which does inspections in Ontario Canada. This was for the electrical outlets and lights that are permanently attached to the house in my brewery. There wasn't much: The 30A dryer outlet, a couple of regular 15A sockets, and some overhead lights. All installed in conduit since the brewing room was already tiled. They don't (and didn't) care about the control panel since it's not part of the house structure.

I basically paid the $80 to get an "all clear" sticker stuck to my breaker panel which in the end is really only good for insurance purposes (if something that was to happen and the house burnt down due to faulty wiring I did on this circuit, the insurance company could not say I was negligent since I had it inspected).

It was the biggest waste of $80 I've ever done ... the inspector basically said "You seem to know what you're doing... here's your sticker" without actually looking at anything. He then proceeded to ask me a ton of questions on my control panel and the brewing process. ;)

Kal
 

ScubaSteve

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Kal- That sticker may have been a waste of $80, but as you mentioned....getting your insurance company to pony up is a pretty huge deal :mug: As they say, do it right the first time!
 

klyph

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It was the biggest waste of $80 I've ever done ... the inspector basically said "You seem to know what you're doing... here's your sticker" without actually looking at anything. He then proceeded to ask me a ton of questions on my control panel and the brewing process. ;)

Kal
I'm sure as soon as he saw that control panel, he said to himself "Damn, this guy knows more about electricity than I do, better just give him the sticker so I don't insult him."
 
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Dgonza9

Dgonza9

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I started off with a steel breaker-box style enclosure that I got off ebay for cheap. About 1/3 of the way into the project, a buddy at work found me some control hardware that had failed our manufacture burn-in testing. Now instead of a control system run by 3 home made PIC microcontroller boards, I have a legit industrial-grade control system with thermocouple and relay modules, an ethernet port with a built-in web-server, a dedicated serial port, a real-time processor and an FPGA. That's not really important to the thread, but I'm excited.

Either way, I had to rethink my box because the new controller is much larger than the original control hardware. I went with one of the plastic boxes from Home Depot for the second time around. The point of my rambling is that it is MUCH easier to work with the plastic box than it was to work with the steel. I would hands-down suggest the plastic box unless you have a good drill press, are really accurate with a jig saw and like using a file.
I couldn't find any plastic enclosures at home depot. Are they not in the electrical department? I think I recall someone using something from another department in HD.
 

Reelale

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Got this one on ebay for 30 bucks or so. It's a NEMA 3, fiberglass. Plenty of room for PID, DC voltage source, and switches.

 

ScubaSteve

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Very nice. I went with a stainless steel toolbox....it's thin enough that a dremel/step bit, etc should make short work of it.
 
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