Diy control panel

I made this control panel to run my tank, it has a 30 amp gfi 240v supply from the wall, two switch relays, solid state relay for heating element, fused 110v bus bar. Main power is the green, red is the heating element, and blue the water pump. The pid controller keeps the temp at 90 degrees.

It also has an amp meter, but i think i fried it. The numbers are all over the board.

It cost me roughly 400.00 to make this and alot of research.

If i had to do anything over on it id go one step higher on enclosure size, its pretty packed in there and makes it harder to work on.

Big tip for those looking to build one....

Google electric brewery.


  • RDSHydroRDSHydro Posts: 1,672Member ✭✭✭✭
    Looms nice, and busy inside...but much cheaper than buying one I imagine.
    Short video of it in action.
    Tried to upload video, i failed lol
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,340Administrator El Jefe
    Upload it to YouTube first...easier that way...
    edited February 2014
    Post edited by K2Concepts on
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,340Administrator El Jefe
    Rookie... I'll fix it...
  • MasterjqxMasterjqx Posts: 990Member ✭✭✭
    this is a good thread as i am going to be building one of these shortly :)
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,340Administrator El Jefe
    Oops...maybe not
    If you guys have any questions on where to get some of the parts or what to search for let me know.
  • MasterjqxMasterjqx Posts: 990Member ✭✭✭
    Ya, links would be great! thanks
    Do a search on electric brewery there is a how to acticle on building a control panel.

    I cant do all the work for you guys B-)
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,340Administrator El Jefe
    OK fixed it...whew...thought I lost control for a second...
    Thanks Jim
  • HardeightHardeight Posts: 584Member ✭✭✭
    Are you running a pump off this or just heating elements?
    edited February 2014
    One 4500 watt heating element, and one pump.

    The pump is 110v, on the left side you can see two power plugs, the top one is the 110 out to the pump, and the bottom one is 240v to the heating element. The switch below the blue light is the pump. The switch below the red light is the heating element on/off, and the green is the main power,

    There is a temp probe that reads the water temp to the pid controller, the pid determines when to power the heating element, that is why you see the red light blinking, because it is trying to maintain temp. If you look closely there is also a small red led on the pid controller blinking at the same time as the bigger red light, that is the pid output signal to the solid state relay.

    Power is turned off and on by way of solid state relay to the heating element, because it turns on and off a lot, a solid state relay is recommended because it has no moving parts.

    It still needs some programming because if i set it to 90 degrees it will turn on and off after it hits 80 degrees, making it take a lot longer to reach 90, i just set it at 110 so it stays constant , then switch it back when its closer to 90.

  • HardeightHardeight Posts: 584Member ✭✭✭
    Pumps don't like pulsed power like that. You will burn it up letting it flip on and off, ask me how I know. I am not familiar with your PID but check to see if it has an "on/off" mode that works like a thermostat. It cuts off when it gets to a certain temp, and cuts back on when the temp drops below a certain point. Heat loss and gain from the water is much slower than air, so it doesn't need to be switched as often. Your PID is trying to figure out what's wrong, that's why it starts switching off so soon before it gets to temp. Aubers have it. It's how I control my tank. My curing oven I run in standard mode.
    The pump never runs while the element is active. I just shut it off when it gets to 90 degrees stays there for awhile then.
  • liquidvisionsliquidvisions Posts: 137Member ✭✭
    ok i have some questions. im no electrician first off. i can do basic stuff, i had a buddy help me. But i did make my own. ill post pics. but this is my lay out
    PID and timer
    main on/off
    and 3 buttons

    the buttons were supposed to be for timer, pump, elements. 

    my elements and pump are always on together now. idk how to fix it, seems simple though?

    also i have the same issue as you, ill set my temp to 90 and it will shut off before then, i turn it to 110 and it gets to 90ish its annoying, i dont even use it anymore i use a infrared all the time...
  • K2ConceptsK2Concepts Posts: 13,340Administrator El Jefe
    We only use our temp gauge as a reference...we use our hands to tell if the tank is too warm or too cold...I never trust those gauges anymore...
    Without knowing your electrical circuit i cannot help you trace a short or any possible cause to your problems.

    My pump has its own 110v circuit branced off of one of the 240v phases.
  • HardeightHardeight Posts: 584Member ✭✭✭
    PID's have a hard time learning liquid heat change because they are usually used for air which gains and loses much faster.
    Your PID is trying to estimate how much heat gain will still take place after it cuts the switch off. In an oven you can gain 10 degrees after the element shuts off. Not so in water.
    It will take a lot of learn time for it to be able to learn water's thermal characteristics.
    For this reason I run my tank PID's in in on/off mode.
    edited March 2014
    Ive been setting mine to auto tune, and it seems to work better, but auto tune eventually turns off by it self. Cheap translated Chinese instructions are useless, maybe just needs more autotune time.
  • wolfecreekwolfecreek Posts: 76Member
    great info!
  • RBurressRBurress Posts: 1,553Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    We keep one of the little floating fish tank thermometers in it just to make sure the PID is reading the same. Depending on where your thermocouple is placed in your tank you could have a degree or two difference on the top of the water until you have circulated a few times.
    That is true, ive noticed the temp goes down just a bit after i first turn on the pump, my thermocoupler is about three inches below the water surface.
  • Sac_HydroSac_Hydro Posts: 1,050Member ✭✭✭✭
    Building a control box takes a lot of research and patience. I learned the hard way with SSR's in my first one.. Despite having heat sinks on them they still get very hot. I definitely would caution anyone against building a full time tank with SSR's.. I was dipping one day and saw flames coming out of my box. One of my SSR's actually caught on fire. I found similar information on building a control unit when I built my tank. All the pro built boxes are built with contactors for a good reason.. That in mind my original box went 2 years before it caught on fire. I am just thankful it happened when I was right there.
    Here is my new one
  • RBurressRBurress Posts: 1,553Member, Moderator, Business Ninja El Moderator
    Get professional direction on electrical components. Luckily my buddy is an electrical and instrumentation guy and helped us with our build. I'm pretty handy at most things but refuse to do that type of stuff. You cannot hear, see, smell, or feel an electrical leak until it is too late!
  • Audiofreak19Audiofreak19 Posts: 280Member ✭✭
    Hey carbon what size is your enclosure
  • HardeightHardeight Posts: 584Member ✭✭✭
    I run a combination of contactor's and SSR's on mine and haven't had a problem.
    Any electrical part can fail. Especially if it's running close to the limit of its capabilities. I don't trust the ratings on those Chinese relays and contacts so I always oversize a good bit of the requirement.

    One big thing to take into consideration. I believe SSRs fail in the "on" position when they wear out, contactors fail in the "off" state.
    So a little bit of added safety there too with the electromechanical relays.

    Always keep a fire extinguisher or two handy just in case though :)
  • HalfDippedHalfDipped Posts: 53Member
    The constant turning on and off of the heating element is caused via a setting in the pid. We had a problem with going on and off constantly until we restored it to factory settings.

    Happy Dipping
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