CAD Software for Control Panel

Looking for a free SW to design my control panel. I have the free Eagle version which works for schematics but I'm having a hell of a time to find the right library for the breakers, plugs etc.

Is anyone using something different or has any recommendations?



  • You talking physical layout?

    We drew it in turbocad using primitives and taped the print out to the front of the panel.

    For some of the other layout work (jacks/plugs) - we just covered the side of the unit in Scotch Blue masking tape, and drew the layout directly onto the tape and worked from there. Once we were done drilling, removed the tape and everything was clean and perfect. Nice thing about the tape approach, if you mess up, just rip off the tape and start your layout over. Once it's perfect, then drill/cut.

  • I used microsoft visio.. but maybe google sketchup would work

  • edited January 2016

    I'm looking for schematic and 2D layout of the interior.

    Schematic first as I'm in the process of writing my own spec / wishlist and want to translate that into a schematic first.

    Then I want to do a layout to see if it's fitting into the panel that I'm targeting.

    Auber currently has a killer deal on a panel and my plan is to have 3 elements on variable control and 3 as on/off plus integrating deph control and some poke-yoke's

    @cothermandistilling Did a lot of 2D layout work years ago on Visio, that's definitely an option.

    @grim Scotchtape is my best friend! I'm using it for everything from labeling to drill masking...

  • edited January 2016

    Pretty cool but seems geared towards a pot still application - although you probably could use this in conjunction with a fixed flowrate on the dephleg.

  • Seemed like just boiler control to me. I don't think it would matter what you put on the boiler. It's almost identical to what I designed for my controller with the alarms etc. Works fine with plates and packed columns.

  • Let me know when you can get this flat of a graph of your still run, LOL


    On the other hand, I think this thing has some serious possibilities for just the right setup...

    I ordered one, it will free up my control panel and allow my small gin basket still to be used at any time... I will have the cooling water solenoid and the PID start up with the same circuit, a danfoss thermostatic valve to control PC water.. even got one of their panels with a 40A heatsink and a pre-cut 1/16 DIN hole


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  • edited January 2016

    Yeah, I must be missing something. I don't see how realistically this does much more than automate startup heating. My original comment - I thought this was based on vapor temperature, not boiler temperature (look at the temps). If I was running a straight pot, I'd absolutely try to misuse this and run it off of vapor temp. Then we're talking.

    If you are running off vapor temp, and using dephleg temp control - I'd think the controllers would fight each other... Maybe not if you got the temp ranges set up just right. Or - if you are using a dephleg without temp control, and just running a fixed flowrate - than the vapor temps would act in a way that would be absolutely compatible.

    I have no idea, didn't read the manual, only looked at the page for 5 minutes.

  • The rotary encoder - brilliant - I wish all my PID controllers had knobs.

  • @grim My thought for running with controlled vapor temp would be to us a ramp/soak PID that would trigger a heat controller to slow down once the first set-point is reached

  • I was looking at their boil controller for the variable control of the elements for myself. Controlling 3 elements through a boil control gives me 0-50% and each additional element in the pot gives me another 16.7% on/off step.

    Where I can see the value of the distillery controller is if you want to automate stripping. But that also requires knowing (or controlling) the boil point of your wash. you have stronger wash and you're blowing right through the boil @ 100%.

    Downside to me seems to be that there's no manual mode. Looks like it's either automated or not :( I would spend the extra money to have that feature as add-on but my valve experience taught me to not get another controller without manual mode...

  • I do not think it requires knowing the exact boiling point... but yes, my BCS-462 micro controller programming has different setpoints for the strip and spirit run programs... but this is $60, not $300...

    Saying that... if you place the RTD/TC in the vapor path, you are not going to get 170 (or whatever you have it set to) until you are simmering...

    I think it has a place for a dedicated stripping or gin still, and possibly for spirit runs if you add in a automatic reflux valve... (I have a couple A-B Pico logic controllers that I think this would would great in combination with... add the Auber 4-20ma PID with johnson valve, and the 2-3 PID Auber case with heatsink, and you have a VERY affordable mostly automatic control unit!)

    I think the round knob on the front is not 'full manual', but much quicker than just up and down buttons of normal PIDs...

  • My understanding standing was it is only manual mode ( not PID).
    Enter the boiling point of the wash, the boiling point water and your run power setting.
    It heats on 100% then gives an alarm and cuts power to prevent foam over.
    You can play with your knob as much as you like through the run then at the end it give another alarm and cuts the power.
    All with the boiler temp.
    If it has a nice short burst on the SSRs then it very similar the the system I build and how I run.

    I have ramp and soak too but that's for mashing. I'm not sure that would help in boiler control (or coolant control either)

  • yes, it is limited, a set or two of relay outputs would be a nice addition..

    Oh, here is my control panel layout done in visio


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  • edited January 2016

    You know what the funny thing, after doing a panel layout like that, making a couple revisions, tweak here, tweak there, move this, that, you end up being able to wire it blind.

    We're finally getting around to adding ethernet into the control panel for data logging and remote control. Even more wires.

  • my box on the upper right is the BCS-462, built in ethernet ;-) and the remote relay board on the top is for a car alarm key fob that the receiver for was inserted into a Staples 'Easy Button'... video of easy button:

  • @CothermanDistilling Nice box! Why are you using 2 SSR's per outlet? I was only planning on running one phase through the SSR but have both go through a contactor as safety...

  • Because I did not know any better at the time... still using it that way cause I don't have the time to change it since going pro... If I have to fit more crap in the box, I will remove 3 of the SSR's (yes, I figured it would be you or @Kapea that saw that....)

  • Already thought I was missing something there...

    I'm curious what inlet you're using to power the box. From what I've seen, 100 Amps seems to be the biggest and at Grainger those suckers are quite pricey

  • 50A 4-wire, I do not use all three elements at one time... have not tripped breaker yet... any bigger than that, I would hardwire..

  • I know it’s a little late, but I think I found free software to do panel layouts.

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