MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

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MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby cranky » Sat Aug 02, 2014 7:47 pm

This is all about My controller which I call the CSSSC or Cranky's Super Simple SSR Controller. This post is intended to show how simple a controller can be and how easy it is to build so a novice who may not have extensive knowledge of electronics or electricity can understand how to make a bare bones no frill basic controller, so I hope I succeed in that goal because my own grasp of things is very basic.

cont 1.JPG


Going electric can be a very daunting task for the novice. A lot of people are intimidated by electricity and a lot of information out there makes building a controller very confusing so in an effort to show how simple it can be done I've decided to show how I built my controller. I have a fairly basic understanding of electricity but for the most part electricity is fairly simple to understand. Electricity is a lot like most people when they drive, it just wants to get from point A to point B as quickly and easily as possible. It's not out to kill you but if it thinks that's the easiest way to get where it's going that's exactly what it will do so some healthy respect for it is a good idea. In America we have household electricity which is 110 or 220 Volts AC. 220 is 110 twice so 2 Hot wires. Hot wires are Black (think Burnt) or Red (think Hot) and sometimes Blue. Generally this means if you are connecting 2 Hot (Black or Red) wires together you are connecting Black to Black or Red to Black or Red to Red and if you don't turn off the power the electricity will realize that the easiest way to get where it is going (to ground) is through YOU. So safety first, disconnect power before playing with wires. That electricity going through those Hot wires needs somewhere to go otherwise it just piles up like a freeway traffic jam so we need to provide off ramps to send those electrons back to the electric company to be reused, which means the electric company is selling us used electrons and charging us for new ones but there's nothing you can do about that. However if we throw a little detour in there for the electrons we can control them and use them for our own purposes after which we have to send those electrons back to the electric company which is done with a White or Green wire called a Neutral wire. A bare copper wire goes to the same place but shouldn't be used as a neutral and is generally used to ground stuff so if there is a short it will have a better route to ground instead of going through you and will trip the breaker.

So that's the basics I know about electricity, Black to Black, White to white, Copper to Ground, simple. :D

Now on to my controller.
Like many things I make, my controller began life at goodwill when I came across a brand new 3 prong dryer cord for $3, that's when I started thinking about a controller and began researching. I found there was an overwhelming amount of info out there about controllers. A lot of them are so complicated it is very confusing, lights, switches, gauges, dials and all kinds of things that, while cool are not really necessary, this really complicates figuring out how to build an easy simple controller. With a little perseverance I eventually managed to sort out an idea for the most bare bones basic controller using an SSR-40 So here is what I came up with for parts needed.
from Amazon

Voltage resistance Solid State Relay SSR 40A AC 24-380V Cost $8.45 (Prices subject to change without warning)
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008DF ... AZDOWP300U
Some people use an SSR-25 which is fine but in all honestly the 40 costs roughly the same as the 25 and can handle more power so why not go with the 40?

2PC B500K 500K ohm Single Linear Taper Rotary Potentiometers Cost $4.61
http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008DF ... AZDOWP300U

They came with free shipping but took about a month to get here so if your in a hurry you might want to pay for shipping or buy a different 500K ohm potentiometer

A knob to turn the potentiometer
I bought a knob but the one I used is no longer a good link but it was only a few dollars and came with free shipping
If you live near a Fry's they stock many different varieties, Radio shack probably carries them too but I wasn't in a hurry so I used Amazon.

A box to put it all in
I had the box already so that was free. My box is way larger than necessary and really any box that has enough room to fit the components will work so there are lots of options.

Power cord
I'm pretty sure this is the same one I got from goodwill
http://www.lowes.com/pd_148708-58573-UT ... facetInfo=
it is a 3 prong dryer cord price $17.99 but if I were doing everything from scratch and buying it all, including the wall outlet I would recommend this one
http://www.lowes.com/pd_172517-83-WX9X2 ... facetInfo=
It is 4 prong so the ground is separate from the neutral but if you are dealing with an existing outlet you will probably want to match what is already there.

Other wiring I salvage from an old stove I was throwing out and some phone line that I happened to have. The phone line goes to the potentiometer.

Fan cost $5
Some people don't use fans at all but if you run this thing at 5500W for an hour and a half it gets very hot so a fan is advisable. Computer fans are cheap too, Fry's has them for as little as $3 I'm sure Amazon has them too, I got mine from a thrift store for $5 new in the package and connected it to a 12V wall wart which connects to a regular wall outlet. I bought that at goodwill for $1. I may some day add an outlet for it on the control box so it is automatically on when the controller is on but for now plugging it into a separate outlet works just fine, just remember to plug it in before turning on the controller.

220 wall outlet
What I used was this
http://www.lowes.com/pd_409856-43469-21 ... facetInfo=
what I should have used was this
http://www.lowes.com/pd_409853-43469-21 ... facetInfo=
in the store they look very similar and people put things into the wrong place so I got the wrong one but since the outlet in the wall is the right one I just kept it anyway. The outlet on the box isn't strictly necessary but because I want the option to change what is connected to the controller. Recently I got a really good price on some 8Ga extension cords with twist lock connectors so I may re-do the connectors soon. There are lots of options here that should be chosen based on what kind of outlet you have to work with. Some outlets have 3 prongs, some have 4. If it is 3 prongs you don't have the extra ground so essentially the neutral needs to also serve as ground. Since my build began with the cord (which matched my dryer outlet) I decided to add a new outlet that would match it. That's not hard either but lets just stick with the build for now.

Total cost, about $25 but it would have been $40 if I bought the dryer cord from Lowe's instead of goodwill.

That's it, that's all the parts I used, I left out all the miscellaneous screws, nuts and washers because that's the sort of thing you will have to figure out for yourself.

Next I drew up a quick schematic of how I planned on assembling them and went to work. First I needed to decide how to mount the SSR. My box has lots of room but is just barely deep enough to fit the SSR so it had to be mounted sideways. I mounted it at the top just in case something got in there with it it would fall to the bottom and not get into the SSR and short it out. I marked and drilled 4 mounting holes so I could mount the SSR, then I drilled a bunch of holes behind the heat sink to allow venting, because it does no good to have a fan if the air has nowhere to go.

Next I decided where to mount the outlet in the box. I want my boiler to be to the right of my controller so I mounted it on the right side. I cut a hole to fit the outlet and drilled a couple holes for screws to mount it with.
Then I drilled a hole where I wanted the cord to go.
I also drilled a hole for a grounding lug so the whole box was grounded and drilled 2 holes in the front to mount the potentiometers. I mounted both of them because I had 2 and if one goes bad I have the other waiting where I can find it rather than in some drawer or box where I will never find it.
Last I cut a large hole in the front of the box in line with the SSR and drilled holes to mount the fan.
After all the drilling and fitting was done I deburred all the holes and sanded them all down so there were no sharp edges, I primed and painted all the bare metal everywhere except where the grounding lug and heat sink attached. I intended to paint the box white but somehow the can with a white cap had blue paint in it so it wound up blue. I left the 2 grounding spots bare so they could be properly grounded.
Now I was ready to put it all together. That was a matter of simply putting everything where it needed to go since the holes were already there.
cont 2.JPG

For ease of assembly I connected all the electrical stuff up before mounting since it would be a bit harder after. So like I said Hot is black or red and white is neutral and in my case neutral also serves as ground. One of the dryer cord wires goes in to the side of the SSR labeled 1 - 28 - 380 Volts - 2 and the other wire on that side goes out to the outlet. If you are running 110V these wires in and out of the SSR will be the only Hot wire you will be connecting. If you are running 220 like me the other hot wire of the dryer cord goes directly to the outlet and the neutral connects to the neutral connector in the outlet as well as grounds the SSR.
CONT 4.JPG


The other side of the SSR has 2 wires which connect to the Potentiometer. Potentiometers come with 3 lugs but you only connect to two of them. If you want your knob to increase power by turning it clockwise you hook up to one outside and the center, if you want it to work the other direction you connect it to the other outside one and the center. Which one does which? I have no idea, my solution was to solder 3 phone wires to the potentiometer, try it one way and if that is wrong try it the other way and once I was happy clip the one I didn't need.
cont 5.JPG


So the box was all sorted out now I needed to connect to the heating element. That was simple enough since I am running 220. There are 2 screws on the heating element, both of them are for hot wires. For the Neutral/ground wire I made some copper washers to go under the head of the heating element to connect a grounding wire to as well as to ground the box that covers and protects the element. I also soldered a grounding lug to the small kettle to attach a ground wire to and drilled a hole in the skirt of the boiler for the same purpose. I connected a grounding wire to these and added a grounding lug to the box over the element and connected the neutral to that as well.
cont 8.JPG


One important thing to stress is that you need to check all these connections with an ohm meter to make sure all the grounds are indeed grounded and the hot wires are not grounded and voltage goes where it is supposed to instead of where it wants to. I even go the extra step and perform this check prior to each use just to be on the safe side. If you don't have a volt meter I recommend getting on the Harbor Freight mailing list. They send me coupons for free multimeters and screwdrivers and tape measures and all kinds of stuff and most of them say no purchase necessary, so free is ACTUALLY FREE!

cont 6.JPG


So after getting everything bolted together where and how I thought it should be I filled my little pot with water and plugged everything in. I will probably add a switch some day but since I haven't yet I use the breaker as a switch, not really best practice though because if you don't remember to switch the breaker off you have an unswitched live wire in your circuit. the Potentiometer acts as a switch for one leg but the other will always be hot, so be careful if you use this method.
So everything checked, double checked and connected, I held my breath and flipped the breaker on to see if I did something wrong and let the magic smoke out of the box and to my relief nothing happened. Actually something did happen, even though the Potentiometer was set to 0 on the dial, the water in the pot started hissing and bubbling. I turned the Potentiometer up to 8 (which is max) and it stopped. This was an easy fix since I had already soldered 3 wires to the potentiometer, it was simply a matter of turning the breaker off, unplugging the controller and disconnecting one wire and reconnecting the other. Now when I tested it it worked perfectly, 0 was off and 8 was full on. I really wanted a Chernobyl setting like Goingbroke2 but maybe on the next one.

That's it, that's all there is to it, this is as basic and simple as you could possibly get It will work with a 5500W element and can heat 10 gallons of water to boiling in 20 Minutes and maintain output at 1QT Every 4.5 Minutes (actually timed at 4Minutes 28Seconds) or on the smaller kettle with a 3500W element it can heat 4 Gal to boiling in literally 5 Minutes and then slow it down to full stop or a slow drip or whatever you want. Just turn the knob to full on, in my case that's 8, then when you get to a boil you turn it back to about, there. Where is "there"? that is for you to decide, it is wherever you want it, if you want a slow drip it's one place, a twisted stream it's another, It's all subjective but that's the simple beauty of it.

(Note: Edited and Re-edited to correct spelling and other minor errors :oops: )
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby cranky » Thu Aug 07, 2014 3:34 pm

I just thought of one thing I didn't really explain well and has led to confusion with some people. On the SSR it needs to indicate that it is adjustable using a potentiometer rather than some other control. When I made the post I didn't think about it since I gave the link to exactly what I bought but here is a pic explaining what I think I understand about it and what to look for if you buy a different one than I linked.
CONT 16.jpg

I hope this hasn't caused any confision.
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby cranky » Thu Aug 07, 2014 6:41 pm

rockchucker22 wrote:Nice work, thanks for sharing!

Thank you,
Just hope it helps people. :)
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby rager » Wed Aug 13, 2014 7:17 pm

cranky wrote:
rockchucker22 wrote:Nice work, thanks for sharing!

Thank you,
Just hope it helps people. :)



so know you got me thinking cranky , this is what I bought

http://www.amazon.com/25-380V-Solid-Vol ... +Heat+Sink

it doenst have that symbol that you circled you in your pic. does that mean I have to buy another one like you got?

I read the reviews on amazon like the one you have , but they weren't good and said not to push it over 20A even though its rated at 40A

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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby sambedded » Wed Aug 13, 2014 8:30 pm

rager wrote:
so know you got me thinking cranky , this is what I bought

http://www.amazon.com/25-380V-Solid-Vol ... +Heat+Sink
it doenst have that symbol that you circled you in your pic. does that mean I have to buy another one like you got?
I read the reviews on amazon like the one you have , but they weren't good and said not to push it over 20A even though its rated at 40A


Don't worry that SSR is OK for your purpose. And it should handle 23Amp with no isuues. Just take care about heatsink cooling. I'm strongly recommend a fan.
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby rager » Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:34 pm

sambedded wrote:
rager wrote:
so know you got me thinking cranky , this is what I bought

http://www.amazon.com/25-380V-Solid-Vol ... +Heat+Sink
it doenst have that symbol that you circled you in your pic. does that mean I have to buy another one like you got?
I read the reviews on amazon like the one you have , but they weren't good and said not to push it over 20A even though its rated at 40A


Don't worry that SSR is OK for your purpose. And it should handle 23Amp with no isuues. Just take care about heatsink cooling. I'm strongly recommend a fan.


cool gonna give it a go . bought 2 at the time so it would be nice to use them

I got a decent heat sink and a 220V computer fan already :lol:
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby cranky » Wed Aug 13, 2014 9:34 pm

sambedded wrote:
rager wrote:
so know you got me thinking cranky , this is what I bought

http://www.amazon.com/25-380V-Solid-Vol ... +Heat+Sink
it doenst have that symbol that you circled you in your pic. does that mean I have to buy another one like you got?
I read the reviews on amazon like the one you have , but they weren't good and said not to push it over 20A even though its rated at 40A


Don't worry that SSR is OK for your purpose. And it should handle 23Amp with no isuues. Just take care about heatsink cooling. I'm strongly recommend a fan.


Thank you sambedded, you know so much more about this than I do, like I said, my understanding about electricity is pretty basic. As far as the one I bought I have pushed it pretty hard, even using it full blast on a 5500W element for an hour and 40 minutes before I realized I hadn't plugged the fan in. It was hot to the touch when I realized it and since I was done anyway I let it cool down without the fan but it didn't have any issues whatsoever from it but definitely use a fan.
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby apdb » Thu Aug 14, 2014 12:01 am

@ rager... I'm using the same relay as the one in your link only I have the flat heatsink.
I have added a DC fan which runs really slow. I used a cell phone charger on my neutral wire inside my box to connect it. You can't hear the fan and its just enough to pull air through the box. I 've only boiled water twice using a CAMCO 5500 but I ran that element hard for a couple hours each time with no noticable heat build up.
Cheers

@ Cranky... I decided on a rubber boot to protect my element connection. Its a piece of gear meant for connecting two drainage pipes. On both ends it uses those metal pipe clamps which you screw to tighten. It slipped perfectly over my welded half coupling on the keg and contained everything inside. On the open end,I slid a PVC end cap inside and drilled a hole into the center of it just big enough to fit my 10/3 cable. Lastly, I attached a cord strain relief and it all hold nice and tight. Total cost.. approx $8.50. I'll post a pic for those looking for a another solution.

Great thread
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby rager » Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:43 am

apdb


I like that set up you have for you connection to the keg. you should start another thread so others can post up how they did theres. this is one of my last steps to my build, I think Im gonna try your way


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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby cranky » Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:31 am

I like that connection too. :thumbup: Nice, clean, simple and easy. I never thought about one of those boots, great idea!
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby Bob Loblaw » Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:12 am

Nice thread, and nice solution for the connection. I have a similar setup but want sort of "quick release" between my controller and keg so that I can move the keg around to drain it without dragging the controller. I'm thinking of adding a male plug to the keg side and a female to the controller side. Anyone else done this? One thing I am thinking is that I don't want to have to use big ol' 220v dryer plugs, given the cost and bulkiness. Are 110v plugs ok if the amperage rating is high enough?
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby cranky » Thu Aug 14, 2014 8:49 am

Bob Loblaw wrote:Nice thread, and nice solution for the connection. I have a similar setup but want sort of "quick release" between my controller and keg so that I can move the keg around to drain it without dragging the controller. I'm thinking of adding a male plug to the keg side and a female to the controller side. Anyone else done this?

That's exactly what I did and why :D I want to be able to move things around and connect and disconnect different things.

Bob Loblaw wrote:One thing I am thinking is that I don't want to have to use big ol' 220v dryer plugs, given the cost and bulkiness. Are 110v plugs ok if the amperage rating is high enough?

I'm not sure on that one but I used to have an outlet in my house dedicated to a kiln which looked exactly like a regular single wall outlet but was 220V and I think 30 Amps (but I'm not really sure) I would often switch that back and forth from 220 to 110 by changing how the wires were hooked up in the breaker box because I didn't want anybody to accidentally plug a vacuum or something into 220 and blow it up but when I was looking at Lowe's for the electrical parts I needed I couldn't find one like it so I went with the big ol' 3 prong outlet (50A stove by mistake). maybe sambedded will be back with an answer.
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby apdb » Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:06 am

just my opinion, but from the advise I've read and been given... don't cheap out on your plugs. Buy the good ones once. Be safe. Save money elsewhere.
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby Bob Loblaw » Thu Aug 14, 2014 9:36 am

I found these cheap on ebay, should work. 30A 250V. Paid $26 delivered for the pair, which was less than just the female side at Amazon

http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/ProductD ... tion=40368
http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/ProductD ... site=10251
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby cranky » Thu Aug 14, 2014 10:21 am

Bob Loblaw wrote:I found these cheap on ebay, should work. 30A 250V. Paid $26 delivered for the pair, which was less than just the female side at Amazon

http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/ProductD ... tion=40368
http://www.leviton.com/OA_HTML/ProductD ... site=10251


Those are nice, I think a lot of people use those, I like the twist lock and just bought 3 long 8Ga extension cords with similar connectors for $24 and am planning on rewiring using those... that is of course when I get around to it :roll:
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby cranky » Thu Aug 14, 2014 6:59 pm

So I just discovered something else that needed clarification. If you need to use a 4 prong dryer outlet and don't plan on running 110 off of it you need to cap the neutral (white) wire and not use it, Use the green wire to ground everything, In my post above I tend to use neutral and ground interchangeably which is kind of wrong. What I did was use the neutral as the ground and not as a neutral so make sure you ground everything, if you have 3 prongs the 3rd is ground if you have 4 prongs cap the neutral unless you want to add 110 and use that as the neutral for that.
CONT 17.JPG
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby rager » Thu Aug 14, 2014 7:50 pm

so since we are talking about wiring now. I have wired (not yet run) my controller with wire from home depot. its "10/3" but it only has a white/black/ and green.

there shouldn't be any problem with using the white wire as a "hot" , correct?

as long as I wire all the plugs/and out lets are wired correctly

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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby sambedded » Thu Aug 14, 2014 11:20 pm

Sure you can do it. Electricity doesn't care about wire colors.
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby cranky » Fri Aug 15, 2014 5:49 pm

sambedded wrote:Sure you can do it. Electricity doesn't care about wire colors.

that's true, wire color is just a guide not required, but I saw a discussion on here somewhere about using white wire for a hot connection and marking it with red tape or paint or sharpie just as a reminder that it is hot and not neutral so if something has to be done to it in the future there is no mistaking what it is and isn't. My setup almost got wired completely with green wire just because someone gave me a roll of it for free.
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby brewmaster2014 » Sun Nov 30, 2014 11:24 am

Hey great and simple,just one.question,I'm only using.1500 w element in 30 l boiler so 110v,can I build it using the same elements or lover numbers? I'm not very electricity savvy.thanks.
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby cranky » Sun Nov 30, 2014 5:50 pm

brewmaster2014 wrote:Hey great and simple,just one.question,I'm only using.1500 w element in 30 l boiler so 110v,can I build it using the same elements or lover numbers? I'm not very electricity savvy.thanks.

I think what you are asking is answered on this thread
http://ww.homedistiller.org/forum/viewt ... 85&t=35379
Most people will use a 220/240V element and wire it up for 110 by attaching one leg of the element to the hot wire off the controller and the neutral attached to the other leg (somebody correct me if I'm wrong on that). I have to say, 30L is about 8 gallons and from what I've read it will take quite some time to get it up to temp. So I would really think about going bigger if possible provided you have a dedicated circuit. Last week I actually modified my controller to 30 amp twist lock connectors but only because I got a hell of a deal on 3 8Ga extension cords. I also modified one extension cord to be 3 prong 30 amp on one end and twist lock on the other so I can connect it to my dryer plug and set up in the living room or the other outlet I added and run it anywhere there isn't a chance of a cave in in my garage. The whole idea of this controller is it gives a simple easy and above all functional starting point that can be used as is or modified with as many bells and whistles as you want to put on it as time and budget and skill level allows.
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby brewmaster2014 » Tue Dec 02, 2014 12:04 am

Well.thanks a lot for the help guys.
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby cranky » Tue Dec 02, 2014 5:53 am

brewmaster2014 wrote:Well.thanks a lot for the help guys.

Your welcome, always happy to help.
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby cranky » Wed Mar 04, 2015 8:06 pm

It's been around a year since I built my original controller and I have been very happy with it, however over the past month or so I have been rebuilding it, not because anything was wrong with it but because I wanted to do a few upgrades. So I thought I would document all those upgrades to show how easy it actually is and just how much it cost.

To begin with I started with a new box which I found at goodwill for $4. It is a nice 8X8X4 heavy metal box. I wanted this box because the original box I used was much larger than I wanted and too thin to mount the fan on the inside.
CONTROLLER 1.JPG


Some time back I picked up 3ea 8 OR 10Ga marine extension cords with twist lock connectors. Wiring and connectors are one of the most expensive parts of a project like this. I don't know what the wire would have cost but I know it isn't cheap and since connectors cost $18-20 each it can add up quick when you figure one for the element, and 2 for the controller so the $25 I spent on the extension cords was well spent. The reason I wanted twist lock is they are more secure than the other connectors so they won't accidentally get disconnected. I did use one of my old connectors to convert one of the cords to plug into my wall outlet allowing me to run anywhere in the garage or even in my living room if I want.

The next upgrade is actually a safety issue, the switch. My original controller didn't have a switch, I just used the breaker as a switch which I noted in the original build that this was not best practice so in the interest of safety I pried my wallet open and spent the $12 for a proper 2 pole 30 Amp switch and recommend anybody else doing this do the same.

The last thing I added was a digital volt/amp meter. The reason for this is just to have a little more insight into whats going on. These meters have inherent inaccuracies but the point of this one is to get repeatable readings and actual accuracy to nth degree isn't really important. What is important is that if you have the controller cranked on high and volts are reading 200+ and Amps are reading 0 you have a blown element. If volts are 200+ and Amps are maxed out and you turn the knob down to 0 and everything stays high you have a bad potentiometer or SSR. That's about all the troubleshooting you need to know. At least it's about all I know.

So with the new box in hand the first task was taking all the parts out of the old controller and figuring out where they were going to go in the new one. Once I determined that I covered the areas with masking tape and drew out the cutouts then began the process of actually cutting things out. There are many different ways of accomplishing this depending on what tools you have. I used the method of chain drilling which is drilling a series of small holes then upsizing them and knocking out the rough hole then smoothing things out with a die grinder. A dremmel tool can do it just as well or use your imagination, there are lots of options.
CONTROLLER 2.JPG


With the cutouts done I then set about wiring the whole thing up and putting it all together. First thing was mounting the fan, then prior to mounting I had to wire the potentiometer to the SSR because the pot wires will be difficult to reach when the SSR is mounted. If I did it again I'd mount the SSR to the lid of the box for better access but didn't think of this until I had already mounted it where it is now. Orientation of the SSR is very important so air can blow across the fins, so pay attention to that. Then I ran the wires from the wall to the switch. The reason for running both hot wires through the on/off switch is to guarantee the power is off on both wires when you want it off. If you look at the picture where I have the potentiometer at 0 you will see that it still is showing 20V and 1.0 Amps.

Then comes the wires off the switch, one goes to the SSR the other I routed through the little donut thing on the meter which is where you get your amp reading then the wire goes to the element. The wire coming off the the SSR just goes straight to the element. My understanding is that it really doesn't matter which wire runs through the donut as long as it is one downstream of the switch. If this is incorrect I'm sure someone will correct me.

The last thing is the wires for the voltage. Because this is a 220/240V the wires for the volt meter go to the each of the hot wires after the switch. If I was running it as 110/115V one wire would go to the hot and the other to the ground. You can pretty much see all that in this next picture.
CONTROLLER 5.JPG


So that's it, it's all that simple and here is the new improved CSSSC MK2. Total cost to build including the cost of the stuff I bought for the original comes to about $60-$65. There are some places I could have saved some money and got the price down a bit but all in all I'm pretty happy with it.
So here it is under full power on a 3500W element
CONTROLLER 7.JPG


and with the knob turned down to 0
CONTROLLER 6.JPG

Note that at 0 the Volts are 21 and Amps are 1.0. indicating that in this setup, without an on-off switch you still have some voltage going to the element.

The last picture is showing the element working.
CONTROLLER 8.JPG

It boiled a gallon or so of water in less time than it took to grab my camera and when turned down to 0 was obviously and instantly not doing anything.
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby oilfan » Sat Mar 21, 2015 4:03 pm

Hi Cranky

Just wanted to say thank you for the instructions! Just got mine built today.Everything but the Amp Meter... Where did you find that fella?

Thanks again :thumbup:

oilfan
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby Drunk-N-Smurf » Sat Mar 21, 2015 4:38 pm

oilfan wrote:Hi Cranky

Just wanted to say thank you for the instructions! Just got mine built today.Everything but the Amp Meter... Where did you find that fella?

Thanks again :thumbup:

oilfan


I use these: http://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B00CDJMATK?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o05_s00
Hangover? I don't get no stinking hangover!
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby cranky » Sat Mar 21, 2015 6:11 pm

oilfan wrote:Hi Cranky

Just wanted to say thank you for the instructions! Just got mine built today.Everything but the Amp Meter... Where did you find that fella?

Thanks again :thumbup:

oilfan

Your welcome, and thank you. I'm glad it helped. I try to make this type of post as comprehensive as I can given the number of pictures allowed and my limited knowledge of this stuff. One thing to keep in mind is when you fire these up they have to have a load or there are problems.



I got mine on amazon, all I did was search for "volt amp meter" and picked one I liked that could handle 300V and 1 to more than 40 Amps that had free shipping. This is the one I picked. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00G9Y ... CZ8CRWX2GH but it took a while for it to arrive because I am not a prime member and use free shipping when available. I think it came from china and arrived faster than they said it would but still took a while. There were also no instructions for hooking it up so it took me some searching to figure that out. I think I covered that in the post so you should be able to figure it out easily. I'm in the US so I think we have different Amazons but the one Drun-N-Smurf gave above is basically the same only with white trim instead of black. I'm sure with a search you can find lots of different ones. I use amazon more than ebay because Bing gives me a $5 Amazon card every 20 days or so, so a lot of stuff winds up actually being free :D and free is my second favorite price. My favorite price is paid to take it :ewink:
Edit: I just looked at Amazon.ca and I think this is the same one as I bought. http://www.amazon.ca/SODIAL-Digital-Vol ... +amp+meter
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby likker liker » Sun May 17, 2015 8:15 pm

Thanks for posting this. I've ordered everything. I found a fire alarm box in the basement that I've had for years, it's time to use it.
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby cranky » Mon May 18, 2015 3:11 am

likker liker wrote:Thanks for posting this. I've ordered everything. I found a fire alarm box in the basement that I've had for years, it's time to use it.

I saw that box over on Bearrivers thread, That is Awesome! If you have any questions feel free to ask. :D I find that Amazon has a tendency to change links and a few people have made the mistake of accidentally buying a 500ohm potentiometer instead of a 500K ohm one which resulted in a lot of hair pulling and frustration when it would only run wide open. Just a thought to double check that.
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Re: MY SUPER SIMPLE CONTROLLER

Postby likker liker » Mon May 18, 2015 5:29 am

cranky wrote:
likker liker wrote:Thanks for posting this. I've ordered everything. I found a fire alarm box in the basement that I've had for years, it's time to use it.

I saw that box over on Bearrivers thread, That is Awesome! If you have any questions feel free to ask. :D I find that Amazon has a tendency to change links and a few people have made the mistake of accidentally buying a 500ohm potentiometer instead of a 500K ohm one which resulted in a lot of hair pulling and frustration when it would only run wide open. Just a thought to double check that.



Thanks for the thought to double check, I did and 500k on it's way.
I've been looking at the other controller's and what you put together works best for me. I really like the cover for the wiring at the hot likker tank. I wish I could have thought of that 15 years ago with my old brew system, those wire ends were always a big concern.
Thanks for your help very much appreciated
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