The Wiring to my EBIAB Element Fried - Help

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Jmarsh544

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So about 45 mins into the boil of my last brew session my temp dropped to about 201 and wouldn't climb. I messed with everything I could think of and let things limp across the finish line without figuring anything out. After things cooled down I pulled things apart, I found the insulation on the wires that connect to the element were partially melted (see photo below) and smelled burned. I have run this system over 15 times without incident and I can't figure out why this happened. Any thoughts or input would be very helpful. Some quick stats: 120v system, setup to handle 30 amps, wiring is 12 awg (I think). I was running the entire system off an extension cord (12 awg), I wonder if that could have caused it.

View attachment ImageUploadedByHome Brew1429488119.314048.jpg
 

Owly055

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Cheap ass crimp connectors........... Solder the darn things. These look like automotive style split connectors which do not make a good reliable connection. I don't know if you are using stranded or solid wire, but in either case I believe in solder SOLDER............. These crimps are garbage, but in any case you are depending entirely on the surface of the crimp connector against the surface of the wire to carry the current. A little bit of electrolysis / corrosion and it's going to heat up. The cute little plastic sleeves serve ONLY to keep you from being to examine the connection well. If you use this kind of garbage.... expect these results!!

H.W.
 
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Cheap ass crimp connectors........... Solder the darn things. These look like automotive style split connectors which do not make a good reliable connection. I don't know if you are using stranded or solid wire, but in either case I believe in solder SOLDER............. These crimps are garbage, but in any case you are depending entirely on the surface of the crimp connector against the surface of the wire to carry the current. A little bit of electrolysis / corrosion and it's going to heat up. The cute little plastic sleeves serve ONLY to keep you from being to examine the connection well. If you use this kind of garbage.... expect these results!!

H.W.
When you talk like that, you're not effective. Be nice - don't call another person's gear "garbage". I agree with your message, but really nobody finishes reading a post like that.
 

Owly055

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When you talk like that, you're not effective. Be nice - don't call another person's gear "garbage". I agree with your message, but really nobody finishes reading a post like that.
I apologize if I've offended anybody.......... I work with this kind of stuff all the time....... Always the same story........... Perhaps calling a spade is spade is NOT politically correct, but politically correct speech is NOT my forte. Garbage by any other name is still garbage!!

How can we prevent people from making this same mistake over and over???

No crimp tool will solve this issue without at least using quality UNSPLIT crimps and some silicon dielectric grease............. solder is the ONLY way I use these in this kind of application.

H.W.
 
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Jmarsh544

Jmarsh544

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Thanks for the reply's guys. I don't have thin skin so no offense taken. I purchased this system so i am still figuring out what the original owner did. I should have taken the time to build it so I would know it better, but I jumped at a great opportunity to buy a previously assembled version. I will solder it and see if that fixes it right up. Thanks!
 

cas3439

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Figure out what size wire you do have since 12 AWG is only good for 20 amps. If you have a 30 amp breaker you should be using 10 AWG.
 

iijakii

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I apologize if I've offended anybody.......... I work with this kind of stuff all the time....... Always the same story........... Perhaps calling a spade is spade is NOT politically correct, but politically correct speech is NOT my forte. Garbage by any other name is still garbage!!

How can we prevent people from making this same mistake over and over???

No crimp tool will solve this issue without at least using quality UNSPLIT crimps and some silicon dielectric grease............. solder is the ONLY way I use these in this kind of application.

H.W.
You dont think a nice crimped ring terminal would solve it? I think saying it has to be soldered is a bit dramatic.
 

doug293cz

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It was either a poor quality crimp, or the terminal screw loosened causing a poor connection. Screw connections should be checked for tightness periodically, as the heating/cooling cycles can cause them to loosen.

Edit: Looking closer at the pic, it appears that this is wired with solid core romex type wire. So, it's likely a crimp problem.
Brew on :mug:
 

wilserbrewer

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Edit: Looking closer at the pic, it appears that this is wired with solid core romex type wire. So, it's likely a crimp problem.
Brew on :mug:
Yes your absolutely correct, obvious when someone points it out :)

The sharp bends on that 12awg wire likely loosened the crimps. I would redo it w/ stranded wire.
 

Owly055

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Yes your absolutely correct, obvious when someone points it out :)

The sharp bends on that 12awg wire likely loosened the crimps. I would redo it w/ stranded wire.
Crimp connectors with a split barrel do NOT make a reliable connection, particularly on solid wire unless soldered.... It takes all of a few seconds and a dab of solder......... is that so difficult??
 

orangehero

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Crimp connectors with a split barrel do NOT make a reliable connection, particularly on solid wire unless soldered.... It takes all of a few seconds and a dab of solder......... is that so difficult??
What kind of small insulated crimped connector doesn't have a split barrel?

Going by this site, I don't see how solder would help a properly crimped split barrel connector? It looks to me like it should be crimped into one solid mass.

http://www.aeroelectric.com/articles/terminal.pdf

http://www.aeroelectric.com/articles/CrimpTools/crimptools.html

Everything I've read from aviation sites says properly crimped terminals don't need solder and actually are degraded for certain applications. Granted a control panel isn't high vibration, but solderless is better for an even more demanding application. I'm happy with my crimps made with a mil-spec crimper but maybe I should redo them with solder?
 

nhamilto40

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Absolutely typical overheating/fire due to improper crimp terminal for the application. This type of crimp terminals are strictly for stranded wire. Probably also improperly crimped.

This type of crimp terminal can be used safely but not in this application. They require stranded wire and a proper crimping tool.

To the OP: You need to rewire/replace/inspect all the electrical connections on this rig. Where there is one problem there are most likely more.

How to properly use crimp terminals: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=523430
 
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Jmarsh544

Jmarsh544

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To the OP: You need to rewire/replace/inspect all the electrical connections on this rig. Where there is one problem there are most likely more.



How to properly use crimp terminals: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=523430

Thanks! I will get to it this weekend. When you say re-wire, if I pull the cord, cut 8" off and everything looks good, should that be ok to re-install. Or are you thinking I should put on a whole new power cord in addition to checking and inspecting all of the components?
 

wilserbrewer

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Thanks! I will get to it this weekend. When you say re-wire, if I pull the cord, cut 8" off and everything looks good, should that be ok to re-install. Or are you thinking I should put on a whole new power cord in addition to checking and inspecting all of the components?
What you have is not a cord, it is solid copper romex wire intended to be permanetly installed in a wall of a building. Solid core wire is not meant for flexing like a stranded cord. I think it best to use stranded wire as a cord.
 

Owly055

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What kind of small insulated crimped connector doesn't have a split barrel?

Going by this site, I don't see how solder would help a properly crimped split barrel connector? It looks to me like it should be crimped into one solid mass.

http://www.aeroelectric.com/articles/terminal.pdf

http://www.aeroelectric.com/articles/CrimpTools/crimptools.html

Everything I've read from aviation sites says properly crimped terminals don't need solder and actually are degraded for certain applications. Granted a control panel isn't high vibration, but solderless is better for an even more demanding application. I'm happy with my crimps made with a mil-spec crimper but maybe I should redo them with solder?

To each is own........... I've been using crimps for over 30 years, and I have good equipment and lots of experience. I have a box of aviation crimps that are NOT split which I often use where it matters. The issue with solder and crimps is people who don't know how to solder them properly. It takes very little solder, and you do not want the solder to wick beyond the crimp or you get a brittle spot that will fail if there's a lot of motion... as in aircraft which if you fly, you know often vibrate a lot. Solder makes a better electrical connection by far than just pressure. The two conductors are physically bonded with a conductor, and corrosion in the area that's carrying the current is impossible. It's of course sealed to eliminate environmental factors. It is absolutely foolish to try to use unsoldered crimps on solid wire.
The best way to crimp a connection and make sure it's reliable is to throw away the silly little decorative plastic pieces so you can visually inspect the crimp, and use a piece of heat shrink tubing. The little plastic pieces serve no purpose except to identify which crimp to use on which wire size. I frequently......... though not always use a dab of solder on the end away from the wire. The suggestion that this somehow degrades the connection is laughable at best. Many commercially crimped fittings have a tiny amount of solder as you will find if you pry them apart.
I also solder under wire nuts when they are on stranded wire, and especially if they incorporate both stranded and solid...... again it's best to use minimal solder... you don't want the stranded wire beyond the connection to get brittle.

H.W.
 
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