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Blown Contactor

 
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handlebarz




Joined: 09 Jul 2016
Posts: 3



PostLink    Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:56 pm    Post subject: Blown Contactor Reply with quote


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So I purchased a complete control panel from another company, finally got some time yesterday to try and auto tune the PID and while it was getting the water near temp the internal breaker tripped. When I opened the control panel a puff of smoke came off one of the contactors and now there isn't any power going to the element.

It is a 30 amp controller, hooked up to a 5500 watt element. I did have it on a 50 amp dedicated circuit when it was on--could too much power have gotten to the controller somehow? Any advice is greatly appreciated.
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kal
Forum Administrator



Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10895
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Wit, Janet's Brown, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA


PostLink    Posted: Sat Jul 09, 2016 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The element/panel PULLS current so no, it should only be pulling 22.9 amps (5500/240). A 50A circuit can simply supply up to 50A if needed (before the breaker pops).

No different than how a regular 15A circuit in your house works. Plug in a lamp and it'll pull about 1A / 120W. Plug in a hairdryer and it'll pull about 10A / 1200W.

You should be contacting the company you purchased from as they should support their products and fix this for you given that it sounds like the panel is brand new (?). Doesn't sound like they tested it under load (something we always do with all the panels that we sell).

Good luck! Let us know how it goes.

Kal

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handlebarz




Joined: 09 Jul 2016
Posts: 3



PostLink    Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 6:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The company I bought it from said it was likely a loose connection from shipping it. I replaced the contactor and tightened everything else up--plugged it in and the first time it was going there was no problem, but I didn't have enough time to run it for very long--just wanted to make sure it was working. I got it going again and the same thing happened, the internal breaker tripped and the contactor was blown.

The guy I bought it from says it's likely something outside the controller causing the issue, but that doesn't make sense to me, either. The only thing I can think of on my end is that I have the RTD probe mounted in a tee fitting in my mash tun. I didn't have the pump recirculating through the HERMS coil while I had the element going--I was keeping my eye on the analog thermometer I have mounted in the kettle and it had only moved the liquor ten degrees (from 70 to 80). Could this have caused a spike in the voltage going to the coil and burned it out?
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kal
Forum Administrator



Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10895
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Wit, Janet's Brown, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA


PostLink    Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 7:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

handlebarz wrote:
The company I bought it from said it was likely a loose connection from shipping it.

Possible. We include a big warning label on our units warning people to retighten certain screws just because of this.

Quote:
The guy I bought it from says it's likely something outside the controller causing the issue, but that doesn't make sense to me, either.

Doesn't many any sense to me either. I don't see how that's possible. The only thing that should cause a contactor to blow is passing too much current through it or too much voltage through the coil. If you're not doing that, it should operate correctly if built correctly.

Quote:
The only thing I can think of on my end is that I have the RTD probe mounted in a tee fitting in my mash tun. I didn't have the pump recirculating through the HERMS coil while I had the element going--I was keeping my eye on the analog thermometer I have mounted in the kettle and it had only moved the liquor ten degrees (from 70 to 80). Could this have caused a spike in the voltage going to the coil and burned it out?

No. Not at all. You could have all of the pumps off and the PID may then fire the element continuously until water starts to boil, it shouldn't cause any over-current issues.

There is no way to draw too much current on a properly designed panel if you are using heating elements that are not larger than the allowed rating.

Got a picture of the blown contactor? Does it show any damage?

Kal

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Our new shop with over 150 new products: shop.TheElectricBrewery.com
We ship worldwide and support our products and customers for life.
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


Last edited by kal on Tue Jul 12, 2016 1:09 am; edited 1 time in total
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handlebarz




Joined: 09 Jul 2016
Posts: 3



PostLink    Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No real sign of external damage on either of the contactors. I've attached a photo of the first one that went.


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kal
Forum Administrator



Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10895
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Wit, Janet's Brown, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA


PostLink    Posted: Mon Jul 11, 2016 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

No obvious signs of damage. I'm assuming this a pre-built panel from ebrewsupply.com?

They should work with you to troubleshoot the issue and get this fixed to your satisfaction given that you purchased the panel new and (I'm assuming) under warranty.

Good luck!

Kal

_________________
Our new shop with over 150 new products: shop.TheElectricBrewery.com
We ship worldwide and support our products and customers for life.
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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View user's photo album (21 photos)
kal
Forum Administrator



Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10895
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: Pub Ale, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Wit, Janet's Brown, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA


PostLink    Posted: Tue Jul 19, 2016 5:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Did you manage to get this resolved?

We have industrial quality DIN rail contactors if required - the same ones we use in our pre-built panels. Below is an example picture from a panel we recently sent out. If interested email us at sales@TheElectricBrewery.com. Cheers!




Kal

_________________
Our new shop with over 150 new products: shop.TheElectricBrewery.com
We ship worldwide and support our products and customers for life.
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


Last edited by kal on Sun Feb 03, 2019 2:41 pm; edited 1 time in total
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ElectricJosh




Joined: 21 Jul 2016
Posts: 6
Location: Woodland Hills, Ca


PostLink    Posted: Thu Jul 21, 2016 7:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have an older system that has never been mounted properly. We do move it from place to place and over the last couple years it seems that the terminal on one of the solid state relays loosened up. Not enough to disconnect, but enough to arc. Same smoke and result, melted relay. Not sure if this is the same issue but if it similar we just replaced the relay and I provided instructions to either permanently mount the box, or to regularly tighten the connections. Maybe both...

As a side note, the screw was only out about half to 3/4 a turn resulting in the arc.
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