Home > Brew gear, BrewzNET 2.0 > Pump Control Box – V2.0

Pump Control Box – V2.0

ControlBox 1The control box is similar in layout and components to the original “wired” one I assembled back in 2008. The controller component and display have changed, but I was able to re-purpose most of it to accomodate the 2.0 components. The front panel has a cut-out for the LCD screen and three buttons to the left to enable navigation through the screen items. There is a contrast adjustment knob below the screen to modify the LCD screen intensity depending on conditions (daylight vs. nighttime) and two override switches for the pump control. The override basically negates whatever the current pump state is – so if the microcontroller has them turned off, you can turn them on, and vice versa. I will try to do a video or post about the various screens and options sometime soon.


The control box internals are identical to before with the exceptions I cited earlier.

ControlBox 2The two solid state relays turn the pumps on and off based on 5V signals from the Netduino and custom controller board. They are powered from a single plug and main on / off switch that also powers a 120V to 5V converter board. This converter board I cannibalized from the previous mainboard through a tactical mitre saw cut that kept the 120V and 5V header circuitry intact and removed all the old PICAXE circuitry. It’s not pretty, but it gets the job done. The 5V output powers a fan that blows directly on the SSRs to keep them cool as well as the Netduino.

A header allows a Sparkfun Xbee Regulated Explorer board to plug into the control board and receive the wireless transmissions from the grant and sparge arm end-devices. This Xbee is set up as the network “coordinator” and any signal is transmitted back to it. There is also a very colorful 6-wire rainbow jumper that runs from the control board up to the custom LCD backpack I posted about a couple weeks ago. The LCD backpack takes care of the output to the screen as well as recognizing when one of the buttons is pressed and sending an “interrupt” message back to the microcontroller so it can process the user input.

I still hope to replace the enclosure with something more sleek and industrial at a future date, but this will keep be brewing in the time being and allow me to resolve issues and upgrade in the meantime.

Now for the parts list, as best as I can manage. You will have to forgive me – many of these items I sourced back in 2007/2008 and I can’t remember where they came from or how much they cost – so I did my best to hunt down equivalents in today’s online environment.

Quantity Description Unit Cost Total
1 Netduino microcontroller board $35 $35
1 Cosel VAA505 5V 1A Power Converter $18 $18
2 Crydom D1210 Solid State Relays $40 $80
2 2″x3″ Crydom aluminum heatsinks $18.50 $37
2 Plastic SSR covers $4.50 $9
1 20×4 LCD Character display $18 $18
1 Custom control shield PCB (OSHPark) $25/3 $8.50
1 Custom LCD backpack PCB (OSHPark) $18/3 $6
1 MCP23017 Digital I/O IC $3 $3
1 CMOS 4070 Quad XOR gate IC $0.50 $0.50
3 Push buttons $1 $3
2 Heavy-duty switches $3 $6
1 10k linear potentiometer $1 $1
1 12″ 6-pin jumper wire $1 $1
1 5V Fan $5 $5
Fan covers (front & back) $5 $5
Misc. resistors, terminal blocks, etc. ~$10 ~$10
Misc. wires & connectors ~$10 ~$10
Misc. screws & mounting hardware ~$5 ~$5
1 Plexi enclosure box (Free) (Free)
1 Repurposed computer cord (Free) (Free)
TOTAL: ~$261

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Categories: Brew gear, BrewzNET 2.0
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