• Welcome to our site! Electro Tech is an online community (with over 170,000 members) who enjoy talking about and building electronic circuits, projects and gadgets. To participate you need to register. Registration is free. Click here to register now.

Control panel layout

Thread starter #1
Hello all

Wondering if there is a thread with suggestions on where to start with a basic control panel layout? Searching I haven't come across anything

Basically the best layout for relays, power supplies etc, I haven't had the experience of doing it before but would like it to look neat and reasonably professional. I have everything working as it should but looks like a dogs breakfast atm. Setting things up temporary is my middle name. Very small project by others standards but for me looking at the wires and trying to work out the best way to lay them out is doing my head in!

No doubt different horses for different courses but wondering if there is a thread with general suggestions?

Thanks in advance for ideas
 

Grossel

Active Member
#2
What kind of control panel? Like some windows software or physically layot of buttons and indicators?

General tip - draw up the layout before you start making it.

Software tip: Inkscape for drawing simple cad drawings.
 
Thread starter #3
What kind of control panel? Like some windows software or physically layot of buttons and indicators?

General tip - draw up the layout before you start making it.

Software tip: Inkscape for drawing simple cad drawings.
Thanks Grossel, just the physical layout of the components to go in a control box, I have drawn up the components needed to go in there, just wondering whether the wiring should be behind a hinged panel with the components mounted on the face and bring wires through where they need to go, or to have all the wires surface mounted and visible.

At the moment it is all working as expected just needs to now be properly mounted & tidied up, all the wires are doing my head in.

IMG_20180626_164534rs.jpg
 

Reloadron

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
#4
My choice for enclosures, including NEMA Rated enclosures from small boxes to large double door cabinets was generally Hammond Enclosures. I also liked Bud Box Enclosures and a few others. The choice of enclosure depends on what is going in the box. Here is an example of one of my last control panels before I retired.

C2 Cab Inside.jpg

All of the relays and computer control modules are mounted on DIN Rail which depending on the project can be your new best friend. Additionally on large projects which generate heat you want filtered airflow systems and on some critical systems monitoring airflow. I always began as mentioned by Grossel with a plain white sheet of paper and planned my layout. While this entire system was automated I did include several front panel indicators so technicians could see certain data at a glance.

C2 FP.jpg

Anyway, even with small projects I would start with layout and always choose a panel with at least 33% overhead space so when things grow they have room to grow. :) I always like panels which have a back plane panel so you can build the panel then place it in the box. All depends on wants and needs.

Ron
 

MaxHeadRoom78

Well-Known Member
#5
Hello all

Wondering if there is a thread with suggestions on where to start with a basic control panel layout? Searching I haven't come across anything
You should probably start with NFPA79 which has some wiring, layout and schematic methods.
Also this for ladder schematic and symbols.
https://www.schneider-electric.ca/en/download/document/0140CT9201/
Generally all fusing and power distribution starts at the top and temperature producing items such as transformers at the top of the cabinet.
Max.
 
Last edited:

JimB

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
#6
Reloadron - nice process control system cabinet.

Now for something a bit smaller, the control box for my CNC Milling Machine.
CNC Mill.JPG

The front panel layout is not my own choosing, I inherited it when I bought the mill.
CNC Mill Controller Cabinet Front.JPG


However the wiring behind it is all mine.
CNC Mill Controller Behind Front Door.JPG


Looking inside the cabinet:
CNC Mill Controller Back Panel.JPG
Note that the "noisy" mains and spindle motor drive cables are kept away from the DC and control wiring.
Wiring is routed together between the individual components, and held together with (sexy?) yellow cable ties.
Note the use of sticky pads to hold the wiring in place to the cabinet sides and equipment mounting plate.
Like Reloadrons cabinet, this one has a mounting plate for the insides, which can be assembled in the open on the bench and then fitted into the box when completed.

Behind the top panel with the external connections.
CNC Mill Controller Behind Top Panel.JPG

Some of the wiring from the connector panel to the stepper motor controller and the MPG controller is a bit spidery.
The MPG controller was a slightly later addition and was followed by my taking a big break from the project.
The break culminated in me just closing up the cabinet and using the mill, and leaving the tidy-up work until mañana.

Note, in this context an MPG is a Manual Pulse Generator, which is CNC speak for a manual control for setting the position of the cutting tool.

JimB
 
Last edited:

Reloadron

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
#7
Jim, really nice clean organized layout.

Ron
 

JimB

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
#9
A good point Max.

In the case of my milling machine, the control box and hence the E-Stop is under the bench, which can be a bit awkward when things start to go wrong (as they do from time to time).
One modification which I intend to do very soon, is to add an E-Stop button on the head of the mill so it is in a handy position.

Visible on the righthand side of the mill is a mounting for a high speed (10000 rpm) spindle and its associated VFD. That also needs to be linked into the E-Stop circuits.

As this is purely a hobby venture, I don't HAVE to comply with all the real world HSE legislation.
Having said that, there is no good reason why a hobbyist should not implement best practice and make his workshop as safe as practicable.
For example, as I was rebuilding the control box for the mill, I realised that the guy who built it in the first place had not put a positive isolation on the supply to the spindle motor. So although it may be switched to "OFF", that was just affecting the control signal to the motor speed controller, if something failed in that controller while I was changing the cutter, it would probably mean an immediate visit to A & E !
Which is why the "Spindle Motor Isolation Relay" is there.

JimB
 
Thread starter #10
Thanks all, some lovely looking work there, think I need to start bundling wires together and get rid of the spaghetti look, that should makes things clearer for me & less daunting
 

JimB

Super Moderator
Most Helpful Member
#11
Also a small point if requiring to conform to regulations is to place a yellow background on any E-Stop P.B.


Max.
A good point Max.
.
.
As this is purely a hobby venture, I don't HAVE to comply with all the real world HSE legislation.
Having said that, there is no good reason why a hobbyist should not implement best practice and make his workshop as safe as practicable.
Several months later, look what has just happened:

Estop.JPG

JimB
 

Latest threads

EE World Online Articles

Loading

 
Top