Monday, January 7, 2013

Phase 5: Electronics

It's getting harder and harder to do those cheesy holiday posts every winter. The songs aren't coming to me as quickly. Wordsmith I am not. Beersmith I am. But as long as there are cheesy holiday v-neck sweater-vests, there will be Splobucket's cheesy holiday song. I didn't even realize how cheesy it was until I read it to my wife a few days later. Funny how something sounds completely different in your head versus when you say it out loud.

But the holidays are over! The business world is kicking back into high gear. Kids are going back to school. I can get back to brewing. But before I drink the obligatory Sunday beer again, we've got one last phase to go over. Electronics.

Some items I got from a local electronics/everything store for incredibly cheap. Some I purchased online, and some I had left over from the old box. Lets go over the key components...

1x project box
1x Auber SYL-1512A Temperature Controller
2x Auber SYL-2342 Temperature Controller
1x 24v Transformer
6x On-Off Switches
1x On-Off-On Switch
5x Rocker Switches
3x Auber K-Type Thermocouple Sensors
Crapload of wire connectors and terminals

When you pick the box you're going to use, give a moment to think about how big it should be. Then take that and double it. If you're buying in a store, take down the dimensions you need and bring it with you. In the store the box seems a lot more spacious than it actually is. If you're in between sizes, get the bigger one. Got the idea? The bigger the better. (That's what she said)

This phase is all about precision. Use a dremel to cut out the holes in the front of your box. If you got a metal box, I hope you purchased some extra cutoff wheels. You're going to burn through them quick. Mark out everything on the box first, and be precise. The Auber controls only give you 1/16" play. Better to make it too tight and grind out some corners than the alternative. Hopefully you purchased round switches. It's a lot easier to drill the hole than cut a square. After you're done with the lid, think about where your wires are coming into the box and place the terminal strips accordingly. Wire layout is very important here.

Then you start wiring. I almost used 200' of wire to wire the box up and to my system. At least 100' of that is in the box alone. Color code the wires too, which will make troubleshooting the box a lot simpler. Stick with standard colors, black is hot, white is neutral, green is ground. In addition I used 16 gauge red wire for my control (24v) voltage for the gas controller. That should be most all you need. 

Wiring the box is time consuming, but it's probably the only thing you'll do on your rig that you won't sweat a river creating. That's where the terminal strips come in handy. Wire everything together. You'll be cutting, stripping, crimping for hours. Make a wiring diagram before you start. It's your road map to success.

Finally mount your box and connect to all your components. I used wire disconnects before all my valves to I could easily replace them if need be. Then comes the step that makes me more nervous then anything.

Flipping the switch. 

This makes me nervous because there's no in-between for electricity. If you put something mechanical together, you can move it or spin it to make sure it moves correctly. Not electricity. You flip that switch and you're either good, or you have a shower of sparks and fried electronics. Now is the time to also break out your multimeter. If something isn't working as it should, a multimeter is your friend.

You're done! Zip tie bundles together and use those zip tie mounting squares to neaten everything up and make it nice and tight. You've spent months on this, don't slack on the last few hours. This is when I first drew blood on this project. After all the metal cutting, drilling, filing, welding, etc. I drew blood tightening a zip-tie.  Hand slipped and hit the expanded wire mesh. Oh well. 

Now go brew grasshopper! Brew as much as you can. There are going to be kinks that need to be worked out, but it's inevitable. Learn your system. Be one with your system. Drink beer!! I'll post a photo-gallery of detailed pictures next week. Thanks for reading about my construction!!!

1 comment:

  1. Just make sure you have the right fuses between your supply side and your load side and you shouldn't get any assplosions!