Home » Equipment, The Doghouse » The Doghouse Brew Rig Build – Part Three “The Control Panel” (Updated 2014-03-16))

The Doghouse Brew Rig Build – Part Three “The Control Panel” (Updated 2014-03-16))

In part three of The Doghouse Brew Rig Build I’m going to discuss the components of the control box. The control box is what automates your system. The components of the box send signals back and forth to your furnace valves (described in Part Two), which in turn open and close to fire the burners. This keeps the strike water and mash at the desired temperature. Keep in mind that if you are going to a direct fire type of mash tun you must recirculate your mash to keep it from scorching.

As with the gas system, there are probably many ways to put the control panel together. For this post I’m going to focus on what I used to build mine.

To build the control box you will need:
• 1 – 10”x6” Electrical Enclosure (my was much larger than 10”x6” but I was fortunate enough to get it as a gift from my good friend over at 17 Apart)
• 2 –  PID Temperature Controllers – Auber SYL-2362
• 2 – Panel mount RTD connectors
• 2 – RTD Sensors
• 3 – Switches (Single pole single throw) Main Power, and Pumps
• 2 – Switches (Single pole double throw) Furnace Valves
• 1 – 120v-24v Transformer (Link updated June 9, 2013)
• 2 – Terminal Strips
• 2 – Jumpers
• 1 – Standards 110v power receptacle
• 1 – 15’ Extension cord
• Various wire connectors
• Electrical wire

Diagram of control panel layout

 Once you’ve collected all of the components you are ready to get started with the assembly. Start by determining how you want your box to look. Then layout the component locations and cut the openings. This is easily done with a jig saw and a metal cutting blade. Inside the control box you have a few things happening. First you have a 110v supply line coming into the box. That line then gets split into a 110v side and a 24v side through the use of the transformer. The 110v side powers the pumps and the PIDs, while the 24v side sends power to your furnace valves. Also inside the box, the PIDs receive a signal from the RTD temperature sensors and then send a signal back to the furnace valves telling them to open or close.

Trying to explain how this all goes together is quite difficult. Instead, I’m going to show you with a few diagrams. They say a picture is worth 1000 words right? Also, keep in mind I’m no electrical guru so I have no idea how to draw up a real electrical schematic. I had to enlist my awesome wife to put these images/video together. If you find this information helpful make sure you let her know in the comments below . I know she would appreciate it.

 

Below is a wiring diagram for the panel. Again, I’m not an electrician so I apologize for not using the appropriate terminology and symbols. It should be pretty self explanatory but feel free to ask questions. Also, you can click on the image to enlarge it.

Control Panel Schematic

Once I completed the panel I had to find a way to mount it on the frame. Seems simple right? But, remember I need everything to stow away neatly so I could not have anything permanently protruding from the frame. My solution was to build a frame and then bolt it to one of the removable handles. By doing this the handle still acts as a “wheel barrow” handle, then acts as a panel mount, and then stores away neatly at the end of the brew day.

Finally, you will need to set your PID settings. You can follow the instructions that came with the PID but I found them somewhat confusing. Mine are set as follows:

inty – P100

outy – 4

HY – 2

atdu- 0

psb – 0

rd – 0

corf – 1

This should get you going on your control panel, but, keep in mind that this is a broad overview. Make sure you follow the instructions of your specific components. If you have any questions or comments please leave them in the comments section below.

Good luck with your build and remember the hardest part is STARTING!

Cheers,

Clay

UPDATE: I have run many many brews through this system and I am very happy with the performance. Everything has worked pretty much exactly as planned. Well, two brew session ago I started to have trouble with the electronics and was at a loss as to how to fix it. The problem was the furnace valves would randomly turn off. So, I invited a friend  over and we started to troubleshoot. We determined the culprit was a bad connection between the furnace valve and the control box. These connectors are the ones I picked up at Radio Shack and have been a problem in the past.

The friend that was helping me who knows infinitely more about electronics than I do brought his control panel over just in case we needed to compare. His was a work of art and had higher end components than what I used on mine. So, I got him to send me the links to his furnace connector and I ordered them that day.

Several days later I had them in hand and today I installed them. They work great and the connection problems are a thing of the past. I have posted several pictures and links below. The lesson learned: Don’t let a $1.00 part ruin your brew day. Pay the extra money and buy quality components.

photo 01photo 04photo 5Box Side:

Wire Side:

The Doghouse Brew Rig Build Part One

The Doghouse Brew Rig Build Part Two “The Gas System”

The Doghouse Brew Rig Build Part Four “The Plumbing”

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25 Responses to The Doghouse Brew Rig Build – Part Three “The Control Panel” (Updated 2014-03-16))

  1. […] The Doghouse Brew Rig Build Part Three “The Control Panel” […]

  2. […] tees contain the temperature sensors to are wired to your PID’s (See electrical system post HERE). Make sure you are using teflon tape at all your connections. These are critical components to the […]

  3. Very nice build. Where on earth did you find those furnace valve connectors for your control panel? I want to do the same thing as It would make it a lot easier to remove the panel if I wanted to take my rig to a brewout. Thanks in advance. Cheers.

  4. Can you post a picture(s) of the inside of the box?

    Thanks,
    – Brian

    p.s. You have been a tremendous help to my buddy and I in constructing our HERMS system!!!

    • Hey Brian- I have added a few photos of the inside of my control panel to the Doghouse photo gallery. It’s kind of a mess inside there so I’m not sure how much help they will be. If you need to see something specific let me know. Good luck with your build.. I’d love to see pics when you get it done.

      Happy Brewing.
      Clay

  5. Another quick question. Admittedly I don’t know anything about electricity. What gauge wire did you use?

    • Sorry it’s taken a while to get back to you on the wire question. Honestly, I don’t remember the wire gauge :-/

      I’ll open things up today and let you know. Clay

      • Commonwealth Brewery

        I actually think I got it. After some sparks and blown fuses looks like 12 to the pumps and 16 for all the pid mechanics

        • The PID instructions call for 20g. I wouldn’t go any larger because it makes it hard to wire up. M
          ost of the extension cords are 14g and the smaller gauge wire make it easier to wire if your using switches with clamp connectors.

  6. […] rigs and input. The wiring for my control box and wiring to my valves was followed from this site http://www.2nobledogsbrewing.com/2012/05/30/the-doghouse-brew-rig-build-part-three-the-control-panel… The only change that I made was that I used a doorbell transformer rather than one from radio […]

  7. […] style RIMS system. I'm in the process of replicating the "2 noble dogs brewing" setup: http://www.2nobledogsbrewing.com/2012/05/30/the-doghouse-brew-rig-build-part-three-the-control-panel… Also let it be known that Clay from Noble Dogs is Rad and has responded to several of my emails. […]

  8. […] style RIMS system. I'm in the process of replicating the "2 noble dogs brewing" setup: http://www.2nobledogsbrewing.com/2012/05/30/the-doghouse-brew-rig-build-part-three-the-control-panel… Also let it be known that Clay from Noble Dogs is Rad and has responded to several of my emails. […]

  9. Hi Clay-
    i’m working on wiring up my control panel and was curious if on the 110V side you were using jumpers on both sides of strip? in the photo it looks like it but i wanted to check?

    also on the 24v side there is jumpers used on one side in the diagram but the automation shows them on the opposite side? Is that correct?

    As always i appreciate your assistance.

    Cheers!

    Durph

  10. Durph,
    I am so sorry man! This one slipped through the cracks. Hopefully, you already got your answer but, if you didn’t here’s my $0.02. Jumpers are used on both sides of both strips. It does look odd in the diagram. I didn’t draw them in because I did not have anything connected to that side. I hope this answered your question.Sorry for the confusion. Let me know if you need anything else.
    Cheers!

  11. Jacques Guilloton

    Hi, Clay. I want to thank you so much for providing what may be the best tutorial on creating a rig and the components. My rig is not as “Noble” as yours as I started mine before I found this site. I love the compact-ness of yours and the folding bits that add so much to the usability of it. Thanks for sharing and thanks to your wife for the video. I struggled trying to figure it out being neither an engineer nor an electrician, but this helped me tremendously. I tried to find the pics but there don’t seem to be any.
    PS, we, too have two Boxer dogs, both rescues and both fantastic.
    Miss your posts.
    Jacques

    • Hey Jacques-
      Thanks for the great comment and kind words. Sorry I haven’t been able to keep up with the posts as much as I’d like to. It’s been kinda crazy around here. Best of luck to you on your build. And give your boxers hugs from the 2 noble dogs :-)
      Cheers,
      Clay

  12. Your website has been a big help and your brew rig is awesome. I had a question for you is the 24v transformer you used in your build able to power both Honeywell valves at the same time. Thanks

  13. Hi, I ended up buying the same transformer you did for your build in the picture the wires look red,orange,brown, and black when mine came the wires a diferent color input side in order were
    1-White
    2-blue
    3-yellow
    4-brown
    I was wondering which ones you hooked up? Did you use all 4 wires or cap off 2 of them? Thanks

    • White and yellow are wired together for the hot side 110. The brown and blue are wired together for the 110 ground. On the 24v side, you have two gray wires one goes to positive one goes to negative. It does not matter witch one goes where.

  14. Your website has been extremely helpful in building the control panel for my RIMS system. Thanks!

    Dave Zach

  15. I can tell, by your diagram that your wife did, you used jumpers on the AC and DC 8 position dual row terminal strips, both sides. The question is: It looks like you used a jumper on, counting from the left to right, 2-3-4 and 6-7-8. Is this correct?

    Thanks,
    Gary

  16. Did you attach an SSR and Heat Sink to your PIDs? Also, could you send me a picture of the inside of your control panel, I can’t find it on your website. Thank you.

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