Control panels>> Electricion, VS Electrical Engineer My learning session Today — K2Forums.com

Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Control panels>> Electricion, VS Electrical Engineer My learning session Today

willie14228willie14228 Posts: 235Member ✭✭✭
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

Comments

  • MidOhioHydrographicsMidOhioHydrographics Posts: 8,706Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    I have said that numerous times on this forum. "I have a buddy that is an electrician" does not mean you have someone that can build a safe control panel.
  • PTC_HydroGraphXPTC_HydroGraphX Posts: 1,107Member ✭✭✭✭
    Yeah Electricity is pretty fast.
  • WileECoyoteWileECoyote Posts: 5,672Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    I have a friend who was a Master electrician (residential work mostly) who made the leap to large factory electrician a few years ago for benefits and a steady paycheck. I had always relied on him for help when wiring houses of whatever side project I had gotten myself into.

    I started in maintenance at the age of 19 and got a crash course in control wiring, and grew up around it. I got MANY late night calls for assistance in figuring out why some machinery wasn't running.

    If you really want to see an electrician's head spin, show him "ladder logic", it is all the same stuff as they are used too, just in a different way.
  • willie14228willie14228 Posts: 235Member ✭✭✭

    I have a friend who was a Master electrician (residential work mostly) who made the leap to large factory electrician a few years ago for benefits and a steady paycheck. I had always relied on him for help when wiring houses of whatever side project I had gotten myself into.

    I started in maintenance at the age of 19 and got a crash course in control wiring, and grew up around it. I got MANY late night calls for assistance in figuring out why some machinery wasn't running.

    If you really want to see an electrician's head spin, show him "ladder logic", it is all the same stuff as they are used too, just in a different way.

    Hey @WileECoyote care to share that phone number =) just joking, yeah I started running down the list with him and his eyes started to cross and face turn green

    The thing is I have built low voltage control systems (when the worst that can happen is a good face full of stinky smoke or a little gotcha jolt from an improperly handled board) but just don't feel comfortable messing with the AC side of things

    That being said, When I do buy my control panel and production tank.... I better not open that said box and see the same cheap @#$ control modules that are being sold on amazon installed in it or somebody will get more than a little earful from me.
  • DeviousDipsDeviousDips Posts: 1,147Member ✭✭✭✭
    @willie14228 buy PA Hydrographics. Highly built tanks. 
  • airtimegrafixairtimegrafix Posts: 2,087Member ✭✭✭✭
    edited June 2017
    I had one built from a member on here and I never used it! I just used my rubber pool ducky temp a foot switch for the pump and a timer in my head! don't beat yourself up about a panel!
  • DeviousDipsDeviousDips Posts: 1,147Member ✭✭✭✭
    @airtimegrafix where you get the foot switch for the pump. I like that idea 
  • willie14228willie14228 Posts: 235Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 2017
    @DeviousDips here you go, This is what is called an air switch this means that the electric is not actually at the foot pedal instead when you push on the bulb the air pressure travels up the tube and activates the switch ........ no zappy zappy if the floor gets wet!!

    https://www.zoro.com/linemaster-light-duty-foot-switch-momentary-action-41sh12/i/G3496385/
  • willie14228willie14228 Posts: 235Member ✭✭✭
    @Fejery4491 please don't take offense but might I also suggest the same link I just sent to devious, I mean skulls and fire is a great dip pattern but isn't so great a look for fellow members I mean you have an open plug sitting on the floor near 100 to 700 gallon water tank
  • willie14228willie14228 Posts: 235Member ✭✭✭
    edited June 2017
    P.S Guys, When you are selecting boxes and switches read up on NEMA Ratings, 1 through 3 is basically wall mount ratings from a simple light switch going up to outdoor water resistant.
    4 is direct water that is to say you could spray a water hose over the switch and still be safe Below is a PDF of the NEMA Rating system.

    Please Please PLEASE!!!!! be careful!!!
    Look I am not going to try and claim that I am an expert in this crap, I'm not but 15 years of driving a truck 8 of which I trained drivers to learn to watch out and look out for themselves and battling that a**hole called murphy and his freaking laws has taught me a very valuable lesson,...... We have enough dangers around us without making our own.
    Do not play Russian roulette with safety you will always loose
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 12,466Administrator El Jefe
    If you have to ask HOW to build a panel or a tank? You should NOT be building a panel or a tank...end of story...
  • Fejery4491Fejery4491 Posts: 114Member ✭✭✭
    @willie14228 No offense taken. It's a 10A circuit and the switch gets its power from GFCI outlet. Essentially the same level of danger as my wife when she has her blow drier and hair straightener plugged in right next to the sink. It's not something that concerns me personally, but to each their own.

    I like the switch your posted a link to, does a good job of doing away with electricity near the water.....though I would recommend you find one that isn't a momentary switch. It would be obnoxious to have to hold the switch to clear the tank. I like just stomping the switch and letting it run while I bring the part over to the rinse tank/cutting my next piece of film/etc....
  • willie14228willie14228 Posts: 235Member ✭✭✭
    @Fejery4491 The bulb activates the pressure switch you can get other types of pressure switches.
    It only takes less than 1 amp of current to cause death by electrocution.
    Once again MR Murphy needs to be considered saying that I have a GFCI outlet is like saying I have a hardhat on while standing under a half sawn tree limb GFCI outlets are not intended for that purpose and even if tripped may not do so in time to save your life.
    You are incorrect in comparing the same level of danger to your wife using an hair dryer or curling iron at the sink it would be closer to using one while in a bathtub full of water. she is not standing in the water... you would be if the situation arose.
    I am sorry for the bluntness of the comments, It is not intended in anyway to be disrespectful
    https://www.physics.ohio-state.edu/~p616/safety/fatal_current.html
    http://www.ecmweb.com/basics/how-gfcis-work
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 12,466Administrator El Jefe

    Yeah Electricity is pretty fast.

    This...
  • Fejery4491Fejery4491 Posts: 114Member ✭✭✭
    @willie14228 I don't take it disrespectfully at all, no worries. I know 1 amp COULD kill you.....the likelihood of that is pretty minimal though. Electricity scares people fair more than it should in my opinion.....but everyone has their own level acceptable level of risk. I've taken 480v service from arm to arm....straight across the chest due to a poorly wired structure....no clue the amperage, but I'd assume it was plenty. I mean, we're dealing with alot of water and electricity....theres going to be a certain level of risk there no matter how you try to overengineer it.
  • ImmortalImmortal Posts: 245Member ✭✭✭
    When I picked up my pa tank I had my dad come wire it up. He is a retired electrical engineer from 3M. He popped that control panel open and just said that's pretty straight forward. Pulled out his bag of gadgets and had it done in no time.  Just looked like a bunch expensive boxes and wires to me.  
Sign In or Register to comment.