Check out the first post in this series if you haven’t already.
I’ve decided that I should jump in head first. The control panel seems like the most intimidating aspect of all of this, so that is where I am going to get started. A little disclaimer, I have NO electrical experience. All of this is brand new to me, so it’s both a little scary and exciting at the same time. Learning DIY stuff like this is one of my favorite parts of being a homebrewer!
So, I’ve got myself an enclosure box for the control panel. It came pre-cut with spots for 3 PIDs (temperature controller) or timers. I will only be using 2 of them, but I may upgrade and install a HLT at one point, so it’s good to have the third hole there just in case. The first thing I need to do is come up with a nice looking layout for the controls.
Starting in the upper left corner, we have the timer with a start/pause and a reset button below it. To it’s right is the PID with a power button below it. The blue button will power on the heating element. The green button below that will power on the pump. Below that are two buzzer/flasher alarms. One (to the left) will be wired to the timer, the other (to the right) will be wired to the PID. To the right of the timers is the emergency stop button. I layed down tape so that I could draw some lines and make sure things were as even as possible.
Using a step-bit and a lot of metal cutting oil, I drilled out the holes for the buttons. It was a big pain in the ass and I wish I had just used a hole saw. Not shown, but on the sides of the box there are holes cut as well. On the left, there are holes for the heating element plug, the pump plug and the temperature controller probe. On the right, there is a hole cut for the power cord to come in through.
The installed buttons aren’t perfect but I think the layout looks good. I will also have some sort of stickers printed to label everything. I will also want to do something to cover up the third square hole. No real ideas there yet.
The next step was to prime and paint the box. I had seem people use a “hammered” spray paint and it has this great texture to it. I decided to go that route but I am pretty terrible at using spray paint. Apparently you are supposed to hold the can 10 or so inches from what you’re painting. I ended up with some drips and weird texture on the front of the box from the primer. Oh well, it’s not going to have any effect on how it works.
Here is a close up of the “hammered” texture. It looks pretty cool in my opinion!
So we can check a few items off the check list but not many.
- Wire a 220V Fuse to the location of the brewery
- Install and wire GFCI breaker
- Install 30AMP Plug on GFCI breaker (to power to control panel)
Drill holes in Control Panel box for various plugs and buttons Prime and Paint Control Panel box
- Install components
- Wire components
- Build wire and water-tight enclosure for heating element
- Install new plug on pump (I want twist-lock plugs so they don’t fall out as easily)
- Drill Holes for Temperature Probe and Heating Element
- Install Temperature Probe and Heating Element
- (Maybe) Install quick-disconnects to make switching the pump easier