Brewery Work: Mostly Electrical

This weekend I did lots of work on the brewery. I built a 25 foot, 6 gauge extension cord that will carry 50 amps at 240 volts. That cord serves two purposes. One is so I have an extension cord for my welder, and the other is so I can plug in the brewery anywhere in the garage I like. I also replaced one of the 3 wire 240 volt receptacles in the garage with a new 4 wire one which is required for the brewery. I’ll be using 120v and 240v in the brewery and the 4 wires will get me that.

I also finished wiring up the HLT and got it all waterproofed.  I believe I now have a pretty safe vessel for electric heating. The whole thing is well grounded and electrical connections are all secured in a weatherproof junction box. The HLT has a 10 foot, 10 gauge, 3 wire power cord terminated in a NEMA L6-30 plug which will go to a matching receptacle in the control panel. Eventually.

I also did some pump testing and tested my HERMS coil for watertightness. All looks good there. The March pumps are a pain in the ass to prime but I think that when I have my solenoids all wired up I can nearly automate it. The first solenoid off the pump will be for draining (by design) and now I think I will also use it for priming. Opening that solenoid will let the head of the pump fill without having to push any pressure.

I also spent a bunch of time this weekend modeling all of the components that will be used in the control panel in 3D using SketchUp. I did this so I can build a full model of the control panel before I start cutting into the box. I don’t want to make any mistakes here. So far it’s looking good. My SSR heat sinks will have to live under a few shallow components but they should have plenty of breathing room.

So, all in all, very productive weekend! I am waiting for some replacement parts for the control panel and a whole batch of stainless steel nipples to plumb all my manifolds. Those will all be here this week and then things will move fast. I am really hoping to be able to fire the whole thing up this weekend!

Here’s some pictures from the work this weekend. I’m using a new (to me) WordPress plugin called Slickr-Flickr and it seems cool so far.

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention about the extension cord. After I wired the plug and put it all together I tested each wire with my volt meter as I always do. Except this time I found a short between a hot leg and neutral! Turns out the little metal pressure plate in one of the terminals had  a sharp edge and when I closed the plug it cut into the wire next to it. Lucky I tested it. Most likely it would have just flipped the breaker, but it’s a 50 amp breaker and I don’t like the idea of a 50 amp short!

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