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Wire burned out in control panel

 
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TTodd



Joined: 11 May 2013
Posts: 21



PostLink    Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 7:20 pm    Post subject: Wire burned out in control panel Reply with quote


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I've had my control panel in operation for almost 5 years and no problems. Yesterday while heating up my HLT, I noticed that the heating element indicator light was not lighting up and I was nowhere near temperature. I turned the system off using the key and when I went to turn it back on, nothing lit up. I then opened the door and saw smoke and smelled burning.

I unplugged the main power cord from the outlet and then pulled the power supply from the inlet on the control panel and saw that one area was all burned out. I examined the receptacle and saw that it was also burned out. The black wire running from the receptacle to the relay was completely fried out

So my plan is to get replacement for the burned out receptacle (listing the part name from the website
* NEMA L14-30 (125/250VAC, 30A) twist lock electrical male receptacle
* NEMA L14-30 (125/250VAC, 30A) twist lock electrical connector
as well as a new relay since that appears to be damaged as well

So the BIG question I have is .... How the heck did this happen? what causes a wire to suddenly fry up like that?

Thanks!




I'm not certain how to attach photos, so hopefully these will be visible

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMErKJ4as1-HZqgRYfpjvpaWTWXw2REhZ1ANR-_

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipOpkigZLrR0qWDOtFgxfdlM-2BegQtgGfGssbfl

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipMDCMBvjtTxyupS5-k7Pj8ldlztu_mfAumEybXg

https://photos.google.com/photo/AF1QipP8Sc7Sr5MCCD_sVEnNjbZziq6Yxu2_vzpQYxxm
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Jerz



Joined: 17 Nov 2013
Posts: 224
Location: Canton, Georgia

Drinking: Electric Hop Candy, Brown Porter, Blonde Stout, Kolsch

Working on: Belgian Dubbel


PostLink    Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 7:28 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

It was likely a loose connection either on the receptacle or on the relay.


I can't see the photos...

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Jerz
Head Brewer and #1 Consumer
2dogsBrewing - Canton, GA
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mjo2125



Joined: 27 Feb 2017
Posts: 230
Location: Dayton, OH

Drinking: Oatmeal Stout

Working on: Irish Red Ale, European Lager, Bourbon Barrel Barleywine


PostLink    Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was thinking of putting together a yearly preventative maintenance checklist for my system - wonder if that would help.
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10547
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, German Pils, Belgian Dubbel, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA


PostLink    Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 8:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your photo links do not work - got them anywhere else? Or you can attach them to a post (you have to click the 'GO ADVANCED' button first).

Tell us more about your control panel. What design? Did you build it yourself? Where are the parts from?

Kal

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TTodd



Joined: 11 May 2013
Posts: 21



PostLink    Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 10:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Kal,

Should have made it clear that it was something I built not one that I purchased.

Maybe the easiest thing is to link to google photos:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/TRWAvyMo4AKu5RZ39

Regarding parts - everything I bought was thru links on your site. These were from amazon, I can tell because when I clicked on the links, it showed that I purchased them before:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003B8T0E0/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&psc=1&linkCode=ll1&tag=theelectricbrewery-20&linkId=ea39080594acfe853cf31383f28e22f8&language=en_US

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000FKBZ5O/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&psc=1&linkCode=ll1&tag=theelectricbrewery-20&linkId=c195f504ee80e3f6bdbb431a5139aaf2&language=en_US

Not certain where the relay came from. It wasn't Amazon. I just ordered the replacement for it from the Electric Brewery Store.

Hearing that it may have been the result of some loose connection, I'll be doubly sure to make certain everything it nice and tight this time

Thanks
Tom
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10547
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, German Pils, Belgian Dubbel, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA


PostLink    Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TTodd wrote:
Should have made it clear that it was something I built not one that I purchased.

Maybe the easiest thing is to link to google photos:

https://photos.app.goo.gl/TRWAvyMo4AKu5RZ39


That works!

Some hints as to why and how this happens - it's something we see with people who build their own panels:

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), or
(d) if an electrical socket or blade is dirty or charred or if the plug is not pushed and locked in properly with the receptacle.

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. So it's not always necessarily a loose connection.

It could also be that you’re actually pulling too much current by using oversized heating elements. This would only be possible if an incorrectly sized breaker was installed in the electrical panel (larger than 30 or 50 amps, depending on your control panel size) as otherwise the breaker would pop if more than 30A or 50A was pulled. A 30A or 50A breaker should be used (sized for your control panel) per our control panel instructions.

I would look first to where all the heat is created. If a wire is melting, it's likely the closest spot to the bad connection.

It may also be a bad part, but that's rarer.

Your relay seems very corroded as well which is odd. Is your panel not sealed up and you're using it in a wet area? Do you have any picture of your panel and your brewing area?

Kal

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TTodd



Joined: 11 May 2013
Posts: 21



PostLink    Posted: Sun Jun 23, 2019 11:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Regarding the relay, yeah I noticed that it looked kinda rough. I had assumed that it was a result of the heat damage.

The box has a nice rubbery seal on it that engages when it's closed. It's mounted over the HLT which always has the lid on it and water has never hit the box. I took the cover off another relay (the one mounted next to it) and it looks a lot better.

Here's some pics of the inside and the brew area
https://photos.app.goo.gl/tUTW4r9mbQLyYnM78

Thanks,
Tom[/quote]
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10547
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, German Pils, Belgian Dubbel, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA


PostLink    Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 12:20 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

TTodd wrote:
Regarding the relay, yeah I noticed that it looked kinda rough. I had assumed that it was a result of the heat damage.

No, the corrosion is due to humidity/water. There is some melting too due to the poor connection (or possibly one of the other reasons I mentioned above previously).

The two may go hand in hand, or should I say, one caused the other: If you have humidity/water getting into the panel which causes corrosion, that corrosion or rust causes wires/parts/screws to separate which causes a poor connections which causes the issues I mentioned previously).

Your box may appear sealed, but obviously humidity is getting in based on the corrosion you're showing from your relay pictures. It's caused issues in more than one spot.

Not sure why only one relay is affected however. It may be a lower quality part / not built the same standards. Keep in mind that much of our links to Amazon or similar are simply searches against parts they may be selling. It's no guarantee of obtaining a quality part or even the right part for that matter. In the case of the 30A relays used in our standard control panel build, our link simply searches for the words "30A DPDT relay 120VAC". As of today (and this changes hour by hour) there are 212 results. We don't know who sells what or what the quality is. There's no way for us to know that and quality can be all over the place. The only parts we know the quality of are the ones we sell ourselves through our store. I'm not saying you can't buy quality parts through Amazon, I'm just pointing out that if you followed our links it's not a guarantee that it's the right part or a quality part. There's just no way to do that with 100's of parts required that change every day.

I would change any part that appear corroded, check all wiring, and make sure all wiring is tight. If nothing else in the panel appears corroded you may have simply been the unlucky recipient of a oddball part.

Cheers!

Kal

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TTodd



Joined: 11 May 2013
Posts: 21



PostLink    Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 1:16 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yeah - there's no corrosion anywhere else inside the box. If you look at the relayon the bottom, the corrosion appears only on the side where that black wire was connected. However at the top, it seems kinda equally corroded. The terminal spade with the wire coming off the on/off switch is also very corroded

https://photos.app.goo.gl/1Rxx9PxGtodiAg82A


Well I ordered the replacement relay from your website and it's on its way
30A/240V DPST relay, 110-120V AC coil × 1

I'll be doubly sure to make sure all connections are good once all the parts come in.

Thanks for the valuable help! I appreciate it!

Tom
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kal
Forum Administrator


Joined: 12 Dec 2010
Posts: 10547
Location: Ottawa, Canada

Drinking: German Lager, Electric Creamsicle, London Pride, Kolsch, German Pils, Belgian Dubbel, Russian Imperial Stout, Black Butte Porter

Working on: Weizen, Belgian Quad, Belgian IPA


PostLink    Posted: Mon Jun 24, 2019 2:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good luck Tom! And thanks for your order!

Kal

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