Building a brewery controller with Strangebrew Elsinore

Rather than post a detailed breakdown of my own panel, I decided to put together a build of a slightly leaner and cheaper panel. This one will cost $200-300 depending on your residency. Please read my other post about electrical safety before considering a build of this sort.

This panel is designed to be powered by 120/240 volts at 40amps and to control two elements (one at a time), and up to four other brewery-related circuits (pumps, fermentation chamber, etc.)

Power is delivered to the panel with a range cord (40a). Master power is controlled through a DPDT relay (40a, 120VAC coil), which is in turn controlled by a two-way toggle switch.

A 240 volt circuit is connected from the master power relay to both solid state relays (30a or 40a), which is then connected to NEMA L6-30 receptacles.

A 120 volt circuit is connected to the interior receptacle (which will power the raspberry pi or beaglebone black). GPIOs from this device connect to the solid state relays, a four channel relay module, and a patch panel for temperature probes. On the returning side of control circuit for the solid state relays, a three-way toggle switch will be utilized to ensure that only a single solid state relay is active at a time (auto-element 1, off, auto-element 2). Two three-way toggle switches will provide a manual override (manual-on, off, auto-on) for two of the four relays (most likely utilized for pumps), the other two will be controlled only through StrangeBrew Elsinore. All four relays will be connected to independent receptacles. Alternatively, an eight channel relay module could be used here at a similar cost, and more toggles could be added to allow for manual override.

Temperature probes are interfaced through an 8 port network patch panel, which is also used to network the Beaglebone Black or Raspberry Pi. Up to 7 DS18B20 temperature probes are utilized (a patch panel with >8 ports could be selected to allow for more, but I think this is beyond most needs).

The minimum size for the described control panel is approximately 12″x12″x5″.

 

Here’s a parts list (when possible, amazon product links provided)

1 x range cord (40a), ~$20 (Canada), ~$12 (US)

1 x DPDT relay (40a, 120VAC coil), ~$30 (US)

2 x solid state relays (30a or 40a), ~$15 each (Canada), ~$13 each (US)

1 x 4 channel relay module (10a), ~$12 (Canada), ~$11 (US)

1 x 8 port patch panel, ~$26 (Canada), ~$18 (US)

1 x Raspberry Pi 2, ~$67 (Canada), ~$44 (US)

3 x SPDT toggle, ~$2 each (Canada), ~$1 each (US)

1 x SPST toggle, ~$3 (Canada), ~$3 (US)

1 x Terminal block, ~$10 (Canada), ~$8 (US)

2 x L6-30 receptacles, ~$ 10 (US)

3 x 15a receptacles, ~$5 each (Canada), $2 each (US)

1 x Project box or NEMA box

panel2 panel1


  4 comments for “Building a brewery controller with Strangebrew Elsinore

  1. JP N
    January 23, 2016 at 12:31 pm
  2. Adrian
    September 12, 2016 at 1:59 pm

    I’m working on my SBE control box. I’ve purchased the BrewPi NPT sensors and the current plan is to connect them using the same RJ45 patch panel. What did you need to do to flush/surface mount the panel to the control box? Other than durability are there any other advantages to going with XLR or another interface?

    • Justin
      September 12, 2016 at 2:09 pm

      Hey Adrian. I just cut out a hole in my control box for the patch panel using a jig saw, and secured it in place with a couple of screw. Durability is the only thing I can think of with the XLRs as an alternative. Both methods are quite cheap. The XLRs are more labour intensive. Good luck! Let me know if there is anything else I can help you with!

      • Adrian
        September 20, 2016 at 12:28 am

        Thanks Justin. I’ll let you know if I have any questions. Piecing together the final parts before cutting the panel and then wiring.

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