Okay so I mentioned in one of my earlier posts that I had a wide range of buddies that has freely offered to help me get a leg up on this little (tong in cheek moment) venture.
I have a fairly good start on the tank side. It is a 4'x4'x20" This is will allow me to install an 10 inch bulkhead skimmer and leave me 2 inches to run my spray nozzles on the reverse side. essentially when finished it will be a 4 foot long 3 foot wide side skimming stank.
So I started looking up design ideas and parts for the control panel and with a good list of ideas took off to my electrician buddy and ran right smack dab into a very hard brick wall!
You see there is a gap between an electrical engineer and an electrician. and for the most part they don't play in each others sandbox. Now if it was just a matter of an flip an on-off switch or breaker it wouldn't be an issue, However when you start adding controller switches, thermostats, timers, and all the other gadgets that makes that box semi-smart then that turns the project into an electrical engineers playpen and even more importantly (to uncle Sam ) into certifications that most electricians do not have.
That may not sound all that important to you right now trying to get a leg up on the expense side and get that damn tank going....BUT if you are building this little box and it catches fire... then the insurance guy and or fire marshal is going to make it a VERY important issue in your life.
One of the most important tasks of an electrical engineer is to insure that the controllers are able to withstand the load that will be placed on them without overheating this is not as simple as it may sound because of the cascade effect that will be placed in the power pyramid inside that box. ( I am not even going to try to go through all of that)
Its not impossible to build your own controller box but it is almost impossible to explain to a fire marshal or insurance adjuster why saving money was more important than the safety of your home or business.
Me and my electrician buddy decided on a safer alternative than building my own control panel that can get me going while saving some money, its not as clean and slick as having a professional control panel mounted on the tank but will work and that is to use a modular set up and for now that is what I am going to go with.
1. To keep the tank heated, I will use a dedicated 30 amp single plug thermostatic controller that can be set to keep the tank at working temp paired with a 1500 watt 110 volt engine block water heater Both units are UL approved and safe as long as the plug system and the controller are properly placed and sealed to avoid water.
2. My pump system will be a simple water resistant manual pushbutton on/off flush
3. My timer will be a simple mechanical DING timer that I have blocked out to whatever countdown I need
4. My exhaust fan will be a simple flip switch that will most likely stay on all the time I am in the shop anyway.
5. The electrician that I mentioned will wire the systems power into its own breaker box with a master emergency "push to lock out" button
Its true this will hamper things if I need to move things around but we feel its a lot safer than risking building a control box with cheap Chini knockoffs from amazon