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Thread: Elements controld only

  1. #1
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    Elements controld only

    I'm going to be using a small 2 or 3 bbl system. The 11k quote for a control package cost more than the brewing equipment. I'm a hands on brewer. I don't need the extra bells and whistles.

    Is there any vendors that can produce a very simple UL rated control panel that allow turning off and on individual elements and controlling the power going to them?


    Thank you
    Jay

  2. #2
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    Moab, Utah
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    Control choices

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Newbie View Post
    I'm going to be using a small 2 or 3 bbl system. The 11k quote for a control package cost more than the brewing equipment. I'm a hands on brewer. I don't need the extra bells and whistles.

    Is there any vendors that can produce a very simple UL rated control panel that allow turning off and on individual elements and controlling the power going to them?


    Thank you
    Jay
    You really need SCR control when you are dealing with large wattage electric elements.
    Can it be done with ultra low wattage density elements and on-off control? Yes but I would not want to do so.
    In my view electric is a very problematic way to go.
    Best thing speak to people who are running stripped down setups and get details.
    There are a lot of shops than can build what is needed given a design wiring diagram and sequence of operation.
    Warren Turner
    Industrial Engineering Technician
    HVACR-Electrical Systems Specialist
    Moab Brewery
    " No Cell Phone Zone."

  3. #3
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    We build those. Electric controls, especially uL, are going to cost more than steam or gas-fired brewhouses though. The number and size of your elements also affect the price significantly.

  4. #4
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    Sorry should have added element size.

    I don't want a control panel that's not safe. Reason I'm not building one.

    I want to brew back to back batches. I don't think 2 elements heats fast enough so I would like 3 elements in each the HLT and Kettle. 5500 seems to be the standard size but I see Stout tanks has 6500.

    I understand this isn't cheap especially with 6 element to control. I do not need to control each of the 6 elements. Elements in each pot is fine. As in run them in the Kettle at 50 while the HLT is at 90 percent.

    I have an electrical Eng coming out today to give me option. I currently have a 100 amp service running as well as a 100 amp 3 phase that's not being used I'm going to take over. Thinking the brewing system can run on the 3 phase and everything else on the 100 amp service.

  5. #5
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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by Starcat View Post
    You really need SCR control when you are dealing with large wattage electric elements.
    Can it be done with ultra low wattage density elements and on-off control? Yes but I would not want to do so.
    In my view electric is a very problematic way to go.
    Best thing speak to people who are running stripped down setups and get details.
    There are a lot of shops than can build what is needed given a design wiring diagram and sequence of operation.
    My understanding is that an SCR would be ideal as far as finite control, energy use, and contractor life but this would not be common from what I have seen in the cabinets. UL cabinets I have seen typically run both a mechanical contractor and SSR in conjunction. Not an elec engineer here, but I believe the philosophy is geared towards safety. Idea being you have mechanical separation, which I don’t believe you get with an SCR. An SSR can potentially fail in a dangerous state if there is no mechanical contactor. If you run a mechanical contractor in conjunction with SCR, it can cause issues with the SCR.

    While the SCR has unique advantages to be sure, it seems like an over engineered solution in most practical applications of the brewing sort. PID control of the SSR/Contactor combination has proven to be accurate enough for most applications (mash, boil, HLT, keg washer) at least in my humble experience. I have had both contractors and SSRs fail, however they are relatively cheap and easy to replace in most cases. They usually fail because people out-think themselves with improper PID programming that causes excessive switching.

    I am designing my own 15kw control panel right now, working through a lot of these principles currently. Have a new panel from Wattco (inherited) that is pretty much a direct on/off 208V 3ph, but need to add control via PID with RTD feedback. Certainly welcome to criticism.

    Check with Wattco, or maybe Rockwell Automation if you want larger companies to compare with. But I will also echo sentiments of expense. Hence my DIY project. I’ll design and get verification from two engineers, build it myself, have them re-verify, and then flip the switch. For the smaller size system though, I’d be looking direct fire as far as economics.

  6. #6
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    Thx guys

    I'm upgrading to a 200amp service. It's cheaper than moving the 100 amp 3 phase. So now I know I can run 6 elements (4500 to 6500) at the same time with the new 200 amp.


    I'd like to be able to heat water before showing up. Is adding things like a timer very colstly?

    In a perfect world I would like to be able to run 2 pumps at the same time (whirlpooling kettle and RIMS), control 6 elements (all 3 in one tank adjusted at the same percentage is fine), and a timer to start heating water before I show up. I could do without the timer but it would e nice to have.

    Recommendations on a vendors? Any other companies besids Wattco and Rockwell Automation Thank you UnFermentable)?
    A guess at the cost?

    Thank you
    Jay

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Starcat View Post
    You really need SCR control when you are dealing with large wattage electric elements.
    Can it be done with ultra low wattage density elements and on-off control? Yes but I would not want to do so.
    In my view electric is a very problematic way to go.
    Best thing speak to people who are running stripped down setups and get details.
    There are a lot of shops than can build what is needed given a design wiring diagram and sequence of operation.
    Most control panels use some sort of pid or temp controller which in fact does use on/off pwm or duty cycle control to control heat output and not SCR control which is usually found on manual potentiometer knob controlled devices like the lower cost options. PWM or duty cycle control is the superior way to control a heating element and a UL listed pid with manual output control with the appropriate SSR costs less than $100..

    UL listed hardware to build a 2bbl electric control panel is not the expensive part. The expensive part is finding someone who can build and have the panel UL certified if thats what you need. You need to speak with your local inspector to find out if he even requires UL certification or if it can be looked at like any other electrical panel assembled onsite which technically does not have it either. Also if your panel "plugs in and isnt hardwired it also often falls out of the code inspectors responsibility and for that reason there are many panels used in small breweries that have not been officially "UL listed" as a whole but are still built to code using all ul listed components. you will not get a lot of honest feedback here on this as many of these breweries dont want to draw attention to the fact that they are using control panels that are not UL listed. This is what I found anyway when talking with many brewery owners both in person and online. Furthermore most of the heating elements you will find being sold with brewery systems are also not UL listed. Uless they specifically state it you need to assume they are not. Technically there is no law stating everything has to be specifically "UL" inspected, just that it has some for of recognized certification such as CE ETL or UL... and this is really up to the local inspectors interpretation.

    I Built my own panel to code and had it inspected by two electricians locally but I install and maintain related equipment as a field Engineer by trade so...

    I agree with Unfermentable's comments above and use both mechanical 2 pole contactors in conjunction with SSR relays and PID logic with RTDs to safely control my elements. all this is protected by 2 60a GFCI breakers as well as multiple breakers inside the panel for individual element and pump circuit protection.
    That said you dont need this additional safety to meet code. Ive see the internals of one of the expensive "UL Listed" panels and it did not have mechanical contactors for added safety and when the heating elements where "off" there was always still one leg of power flowing to the elements unless the main power was off on the control panel. SSRs do sometimes fail and when they do they almost always do stuck in the "on" position.
    Building this way is a cost saving measure and sadly what many consumers end up with is about $600-1000 in hardware assembled and inspected for 10k+ in costs. Its not how all vendors are building them at all but just something to look out for when you research your options.

    All in all for smaller systems electric is the better way to go IMO and is more cost effective depending on existing layout as certified hoods and enclosed rooms are not needed as they are with flame systems.
    Last edited by augiedoggy; 10-23-2019 at 07:13 AM.

  8. #8
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    Lachine, Quebec
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    Control Panel (Certified)

    Hello,
    Yes, please refer to https://www.wattco.com/product_category/control-panels

    We can offer you an immediate quote
    800-492-8826

  9. #9
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    Stuart, FL
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    My last quote from Wattco was to retrofit an improperly contracted control panel. The panel was brand new and never used, but was missing a simple PID that was needed for our application. They basically refused to quote a retrofit (I would ship and buy PID) and instead quoted me an entirely new panel. Super high cost, and leaving me with a super expensive waste of a brand new control panel. When I pressed back and said no thanks, they basically told me they would sell me the PID and I could install it myself. Super high on the PID price too.

    Today, literally today, I went and installed one sourced from automation direct for 1/4th the price. Cost me about $60 to do a job they were quoting me $2300 on a new panel. They wanted $220 for the controller I spent $50 on. Personally I will be avoiding Wattco in the future. Not because of quality, but because they were greedy and didn't want to quote the service I needed done.

    Save your time, money, & frustration and just go to EBrewSupply.com and Automation Direct. Between the two you can get everything you need.

  10. #10
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    Boston
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    http://www.bubbasbarrels.com/single-...-control-panel


    here's what I'm going with for my 4bbl kettle.

    they have some othersimple controllers too.

    Cheapest I've found.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by wickedpissa View Post
    here's what I'm going with for my 4bbl kettle.
    Cheapest I've found.
    Seems a bit expensive for a plastic NEMA 4 enclosure. I am fairly certain that they would not charge you much more to flip one of these over to three phase. Its not a huge changeover.

    https://ebrewsupply.com/collections/...anel-1-element

  12. #12
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    North Carolina
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Newbie View Post
    I'm going to be using a small 2 or 3 bbl system. The 11k quote for a control package cost more than the brewing equipment. I'm a hands on brewer. I don't need the extra bells and whistles.

    Is there any vendors that can produce a very simple UL rated control panel that allow turning off and on individual elements and controlling the power going to them?


    Thank you
    Jay
    flip the elements on/off with breakers

  13. #13
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    Oct 2019
    Location
    North Carolina
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Newbie View Post
    Thx guys

    I'm upgrading to a 200amp service. It's cheaper than moving the 100 amp 3 phase. So now I know I can run 6 elements (4500 to 6500) at the same time with the new 200 amp.


    I'd like to be able to heat water before showing up. Is adding things like a timer very colstly?

    In a perfect world I would like to be able to run 2 pumps at the same time (whirlpooling kettle and RIMS), control 6 elements (all 3 in one tank adjusted at the same percentage is fine), and a timer to start heating water before I show up. I could do without the timer but it would e nice to have.

    Recommendations on a vendors? Any other companies besids Wattco and Rockwell Automation Thank you UnFermentable)?
    A guess at the cost?

    Thank you
    Jay
    instead of a timer, just put a relay on a temperature controller. set the temp for your strike and you can hold it there for days if need be.

    2 small VFD's will allow you to control the pumps, breakers to turn on/off your elements and your in as cheap as possible.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by UnFermentable View Post
    Seems a bit expensive for a plastic NEMA 4 enclosure. I am fairly certain that they would not charge you much more to flip one of these over to three phase. Its not a huge changeover.

    https://ebrewsupply.com/collections/...anel-1-element
    Theres about $300 in hardware and about 3 hrs labor for someone who pumps these out involved in that panel but still for a UL listed panel thats cheap... sellers with UL listing know they can charge a premium in this market.
    Theres no plugs or outlets or even SSRs on that panel which normally bring costs up.. Its very basic and with only mechanical contactors for on off temp control it will require frequent contactor replacements unless im missing something.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by augiedoggy View Post
    Theres about $300 in hardware and about 3 hrs labor for someone who pumps these out involved in that panel but still for a UL listed panel thats cheap... sellers with UL listing know they can charge a premium in this market.
    Theres no plugs or outlets or even SSRs on that panel which normally bring costs up.. Its very basic and with only mechanical contactors for on off temp control it will require frequent contactor replacements unless im missing something.
    Yeah the UL listing is the real benefit here that the inspector wants.
    And me not having to make it myself when i'm not super comfortable with electronics and can spend my time on the other 5000 things.

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