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fried my voltmeter - looking for troubleshooting tips
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rgrrbt



Joined: 08 Jan 2011
Posts: 13



PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:40 pm    Post subject: fried my voltmeter - looking for troubleshooting tips Reply with quote


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After working on my build off and on over the last two months, I turned the power on my control panel for the first time last night. The results were not what I had expected. I heard a pop, the face of the volt meter popped off and the display was smoked. The 7 amp fuse blew.

I thought I had followed the entire wiring schematic to a T (including the install of the safety interlock). Prior to turning on the power, I had measured resistance across the power supply receptacle's ground and both the control panel box and door, and ensured the enclosure was properly grounded.

I'm not really sure where to start troubleshooting. Any ideas?
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kal
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Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

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PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't know what assistance to offer other than check, check and re-check! You have a short somewhere since you blew the 7 amp fuse.

Kal

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rgrrbt



Joined: 08 Jan 2011
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PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Kal. I intend to go back through all of my wiring. The only thing I noticed initially is that I grounded the doorbell transformers given they each had a green ground wire on the 120v AC side. I didn't notice that in your wiring diagram, but I don't think that would have caused a short. Am I better off not grounding them?
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kal
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Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are you sure the green wire is a ground?

I've never seen a transformer with a ground.

Kal

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rgrrbt



Joined: 08 Jan 2011
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PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm not positive. There are three wires on the AC side - 1 black, 1 white and 1 green. Here's a link to the description no ebay where I purchased them, and there is a picture of the actual unit.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rt=nc&nma=true&item=250706982191&si=ptTZH7NLcWi1Dd6TwugoKac1taA%253D&viewitem=
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kal
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Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, looking at some of the transfo's available, yes, some have a green wire that definitely goes to the chassis (ground). Should not be an issue.

In most cases the chassis will be screwed to the backplane anyway which is grounded. Same effect.

Did both transformers have 4 wires? One side is 120V, the other about 12-16V. You have to make sure to not get that backwards. The transformer should be labelled and/or come with instructions.

Kal

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rgrrbt



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PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 6:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Both transformers had 3 wires, they were identical to the transformer to which I linked. I am beginning to think the source of the short must be somewhere else.

Are there any typical culprits?

My volt meter was one of the 5-pin models about which there is another thread. It was a little confusing as to the wiring of each pin, but I thought that thread cleared it up. If I reversed the AC in and DC out threads, could that have resulted in a short and the fuse blowing?
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kal
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PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It could be any number of things, even an defective product as purchased. You can test each item separately before installing in a larger system (that's what I did) but that requires special knowledge.

If you reversed the AC and DC wires on the volt meter that would mean that instead of 5VDC into the volt meter, you fed 240V AC. That would most certainly fry it.

Kal

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rgrrbt



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PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I follow that applying 240V AC directly to the voltmeter would fry it, I don't think it necessarily follows that reversing the AC and DC wires on the volt meter would have resulted in the fuse blowing. Does that make sense?
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kal
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PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rgrrbt wrote:
While I follow that applying 240V AC directly to the voltmeter would fry it, I don't think it necessarily follows that reversing the AC and DC wires on the volt meter would have resulted in the fuse blowing. Does that make sense?


Just to be clear, when you say "reversing the AC and DC wires on the volt meter", do you mean reversing one AC wire with the other AC wire, and reversing the DC +5V wire with DC GND wire? That shouldn't fry anything I would imagine.

You can't reverse the AC anyway. It's not polarized.

Reversing the two DC wires would simply cause the meter to not work most likely. Certainly wouldn't cause more than 7A to be drawn through the fuse to pop it.

Kal

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rgrrbt



Joined: 08 Jan 2011
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PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I realize that there is no polarity to the AC side. What I meant was reading the pins backwards. Instead of wiring AC in to 1 & 2 and DC to 4 & 5, wiring DC to 1 & 2 and AC to 4 & 5.

This again leads me back to trying to hunt down a short circuit. I think my troubleshooting plan is to retrace all wires, comparing them to the schematics.

Is there any way to check for a short utilizing a multimeter? I know how to measure resistance and voltage, but given that the fuse blows and the breaker trips when power is supplied, I don't know how to go about doing that.
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kal
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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: Wed Jan 19, 2011 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rgrrbt wrote:
I realize that there is no polarity to the AC side. What I meant was reading the pins backwards. Instead of wiring AC in to 1 & 2 and DC to 4 & 5, wiring DC to 1 & 2 and AC to 4 & 5.

Yes. Very bad as I mentioned above.

Quote:
This again leads me back to trying to hunt down a short circuit. I think my troubleshooting plan is to retrace all wires, comparing them to the schematics.

Yup. Use your brain too! If for whatever reason one of the parts you used is slightly different than the one I documented with, the schematics may have to change slightly.

Quote:
Is there any way to check for a short utilizing a multimeter? I know how to measure resistance and voltage, but given that the fuse blows and the breaker trips when power is supplied, I don't know how to go about doing that.

Most multimeters have continuity testers. That's just measuring for (close to) 0 ohms resistance. Most meters have a "beep" test. If there's a short it'll beep.

You don't want to test that with power on or the unit plugged in.

It may no longer be a short either if something blew however. That's the thing: If something was shorted, it likely no longer is since the part blew due to the excess current. I'm surprised that the part and the voltmeter both blew. Sounds like the voltmeter probably blew first with very low current and then later the 7A fuse blew. So sounds like you have a direct short somewhere (or did).

Testing/troubleshooting stuff like this is not something you can unfortunately teach easily, let alone remotely. As always electricity is dangerous, and so on.

Kal

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kal
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PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 8:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just to confirm: Are you using two DC power supplies and two transformers?

Kal

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rgrrbt



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PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, I am using two of the variable DC power supplies and two doorbell transformers. Why do you ask? I read your comment on your main site about not being able to use a single DC power supply for both the volt and amp meter. Thank you for your efforts today in helping me being to trouble shoot this.

I'm going to check continuity of all of the switches and relays to ensure the other parts are still working.
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kal
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Drinking: German Lager, Electric Hop Candy Jr, Scottish 70/-, Cali Common, Maibock, Helles, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rgrrbt wrote:
Yes, I am using two of the variable DC power supplies and two doorbell transformers. Why do you ask? I read your comment on your main site about not being able to use a single DC power supply for both the volt and amp meter.

Yup - that's why I asked!

Quote:
Thank you for your efforts today in helping me being to trouble shoot this.

No problems!

Quote:
I'm going to check continuity of all of the switches and relays to ensure the other parts are still working.

Check for shorts from the DC power supplies to the backplane too. I had to use little offsets to make sure the backsides weren't shorting against the backplane.

See here: http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/control-panel-part-2?page=5

Specifically these rubber washer/shims:



Kal

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kal
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Working on: Weizen


PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The other option is that maybe there's something wrong with my diagrams!

Has anyone else wired up their amp/voltmeter and got them running fine? (Other than me?)

Did anyone follow the diagrams/instructions and notice an error and correct it without letting me know? (Shame on you!) Wink

Conceptually it's really really simple:



Do you have the documentatin that came with your meters?

On the diagram I purposely labelled the inputs on the meters with what they "did" instead of saying "pins 1/2/3" so that people would have to confirm which pin to use.

I've also added a note to the page to confirm that the pinouts of the meters with the documentation that was supplied with them. Do not assume that (for example) the pins from left to right on the volt meeter are +5VDC, DC GND, AC, AC.

The manufacturer may have changed it. I have no way of knowing that.

Kal

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rgrrbt



Joined: 08 Jan 2011
Posts: 13



PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:31 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:

Do you have the documentatin that came with your meters?


Unfortunately, mine did not come with any documentation. The amp meter appears to be identical. The voltmeter is different in that it has five pins. I believe it is the same as Goatbrewer's meter. He posted this link to documentation http://www.sure-electronics.net/measure,tools/panelmeter%20Vot-new.pdf

When the pin number is referred to that is the male pin and not the female receptacle, correct?
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rgrrbt



Joined: 08 Jan 2011
Posts: 13



PostLink    Posted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 10:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

kal wrote:
Check for shorts from the DC power supplies to the backplane too. I had to use little offsets to make sure the backsides weren't shorting against the backplane.


While I did use the rubber washers as shims, I will go back and check for a short there. Perhaps the shims I used weren't thick enought.
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kal
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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: Wed Jan 19, 2011 11:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rgrrbt wrote:
kal wrote:

Do you have the documentatin that came with your meters?


Unfortunately, mine did not come with any documentation. The amp meter appears to be identical. The voltmeter is different in that it has five pins. I believe it is the same as Goatbrewer's meter. He posted this link to documentation http://www.sure-electronics.net/measure,tools/panelmeter%20Vot-new.pdf

When the pin number is referred to that is the male pin and not the female receptacle, correct?

I don't know. Depends on what the documentation says. I can't speak for the manufacturer.
Mine had the actual pinouts labelled right on the device so I used those.

Kal

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rgrrbt



Joined: 08 Jan 2011
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PostLink    Posted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 3:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think I found at least part of the problem. The pins on my voltmeter are different than those on goatbrewer's meter, even though they are both the same model number ML-5135!

While his have the AC inputs at pins 1 and 3, mine have the AC inputs at 4 and 5.

Shame on me for not opening the meter to verify before I wired it based on the manual he linked to in his thread here:

http://www.theelectricbrewery.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=24563

However, I would have thought that the pins would have been consistent from model to model.

I think the lesson learned from which others may benefit is to make sure one opens the meter and verifies the pin configuration for his or her specific meter. The manufacturer clearly has variability from unit to unit. Perhaps a warning like this should be added to the main site on the volt meter wiring page.
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