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Panel issue.. blowing fuses and now.... even worse?

 
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macewank



Joined: 05 Sep 2019
Posts: 4
Location: Bloomington, IL


PostLink    Posted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:17 pm    Post subject: Panel issue.. blowing fuses and now.... even worse? Reply with quote


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Hey all!

I recently took over brewing at a local nano that's using an Electric Brewery panel (not sure if it was self-built or pre-built). Looking at the shop, it looks like we're using the 50A 30+ gallon system. 2 power outputs for both boil side and HLT side, and only 1 can be on at a time. We're a 3BBL system, and we've got a 3rd element in the BK connected to a throw switch that isn't controlled by the panel. All 240V 5500W elements.

The last few of brews, I noticed our Amperage meter had been dropping from 46A to 23A and through troubleshooting we noticed that the 30A fuses in the panel were blowing. One at a time. Over the course of a couple of weeks, we ended up replacing all 4 of the ones on the boil side. I chalked this up to maybe old fuses or something....couldn't say for sure since I inherited it.

Saturday, as we were brewing, I again noticed the amperage drop again.. After opening the panel, I was greeted with this...

https://imgur.com/a/5hyFahz

I know there's not a lot of detail here, but.... any idea what the heck is going on here? Obviously those components look....done, but... why? what's going on here? Are those wires undersized or something? Like I said, no idea how this was built or who did it.

Any info/assistance would be appreciated!!!!


Last edited by macewank on Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:43 pm; edited 1 time in total
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10077
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:33 pm    Post subject: Re: Panel issue.. blowing fuses and now.... even worse? Reply with quote

Welcome to the forum!

Based on your pictures its definitely not one of our pre-assembled panels. This is self-built by someone, and I don't think even from one of our kits

It's hard to make out from your pictures how many fuses there are. Looks like some empty slots and fuse holders that hold 3 fuses are used? Can you take a shot a bit farther back? I'm thinking it's something someone put together with their own parts as in our kits we don't use fuse holders that hold 3 fuses.

So you have some melting wires. Most likely due to poor a wiring job by whomever assembled this unfortunately. If someone sourced all of their own parts then quality of parts comes into question too (we don't know).

For melting wires, heat is created when current flows through an area that is too small to handle the amount of current. This can happen:

(a) with a loose connection where only a few strands are making contact because the wire is not properly tightened/fastened, and/or
(b) a wire that is too small to handle the current is used, and/or
(c) when a properly sized wire is used but some of the copper strands were cut/trimmed to get it to fit (this should never be done)

All of these cases effectively reduce the contact area meaning that more current flows through a smaller area which in turns creates more heat which can melt the insulation on wires and damage nearby components, like fuses.

My guess is a poor or loose connection and/or someone cutting strands before installing and then possibly also having a poor or loose connection. I'm seeing quite a bit of bare exposed copper on some of the wiring going into the contactors too (that should be minimized).

You need to replace the melted wiring and any damaged parts, and wire properly. Make sure things are tight, make sure not to cut any strands. Run it under load, and then retest/tighten the screws if needed.

Wire is here: https://shop.theelectricbrewery.com/collections/wiring
Fuses/fuse holders are here: https://shop.theelectricbrewery.com/collections/fuses-breakers
Contactors are here: https://shop.theelectricbrewery.com/collections/ssrs-relays-contactors

Are those green wires HOT lines? (Green is usually GROUND). It's not a good idea to deviate from wire colour standards as it can confuse the next person who tries to troubleshoot (and can be a safety issue).

Cheers!

Kal

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Last edited by kal on Thu Sep 05, 2019 9:27 pm; edited 4 times in total
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macewank



Joined: 05 Sep 2019
Posts: 4
Location: Bloomington, IL


PostLink    Posted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

For sure. I'm headed over in an hour or so and will take a few more pics.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10077
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 8:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great!

Kal

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Purchasing through our affiliate links helps support our site at no extra cost to you. We thank you!
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macewank



Joined: 05 Sep 2019
Posts: 4
Location: Bloomington, IL


PostLink    Posted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 10:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here are a couple more pics..

https://imgur.com/a/g1cQztS

Looks like the ground is run to the top of the panel, but they're using this green wire as hot as well. It's connected to the "Y" part of the socket....
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10077
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Thu Sep 05, 2019 11:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the extra pics!

This is definitely a panel someone else wired, but I believe it's from one of our kits with a few part changes.

Fixing should be straight forward and simple - just a few wires and whatever parts were damaged.

If you're looking for some opinions or extra info: I'm seeing a lot of twist on wire connectors (nut caps) and even what appears to be black electrical tape in spots to hold wires together. That shouldn't be done or be required. I'm also seeing a lot of wiring connected to devices with exposed copper (see the output side of the POWER IN contactor for example). Care should be taken to not have that much exposed copper and that it's held tight. When I see this much exposed copper I question if the wire was inserted properly before the screw was tightened. There are some loose fuses at the bottom of the panel. That should not be there as it could cause a short if they move. There should not be any extra parts floating around inside the panel. The inside of the panel should not be used as storage of spare parts.

Again, most important to get you up and running would be to replace any burnt wiring and parts and to ensure that all new wiring be tight and done correctly (no cut strands/correct gauge wire) to ensure that the problem doesn't repeat itself. Done right you'll never have issues again. The contactor on the left looks like it has heat damage and should be replaced. Any damaged fuse holders or fuses should also be replaced, along with burnt wiring. All quick fixes, I provided links above.

Cheers and brew safe!

Kal

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Our new shop with over 150 new products: shop.TheElectricBrewery.com
Purchasing through our affiliate links helps support our site at no extra cost to you. We thank you!
My basement/bar/brewery build 2.0
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macewank



Joined: 05 Sep 2019
Posts: 4
Location: Bloomington, IL


PostLink    Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Back with a dumb question I should know the answer to....

Looks like I fudged my order and got the 50A/250V DPST contactor, 220-240V AC coil instead of the 110-120 one. I assume this won't work in my panel?
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10077
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Fri Sep 20, 2019 11:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If your panel was wired to use contactors with 110-120v coils then Iím afraid not.
The contactors you want are these ones:

https://shop.theelectricbrewery.com/collections/ssrs-relays-contactors/products/50a-250v-dpst-contactor-110-120v-ac-coil

Cheers!

Kal

_________________
Our new shop with over 150 new products: shop.TheElectricBrewery.com
Purchasing through our affiliate links helps support our site at no extra cost to you. We thank you!
My basement/bar/brewery build 2.0
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