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tim0001

115 posts

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#284138 2-Apr-2021 16:58
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This forum must have a few people with brewing gadgets. For example, a couple of things I have:

 

  • Digital hydrometer. Loosely based on the Tilt and iSpindle. Uses a modified arduino and a Lora radio for better range and battery life. Sends data back to Home Assistant. Need to make another brew so that I can check the calibration.
  • WiFi temperature sensor for still column. Sends data to Home Assistant. I find graphing the temperature helps with making the cuts.

Share with us what you have or are building. Recommendations etc.


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tukapa1
599 posts

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  #2685964 3-Apr-2021 10:50
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I'd be interested in more info of both of your gadegts.

 

I've looked at a tilt a couple of times but never pulled the trigger after balancing the issues in reviews with the cost.

 

Similarly I just manually monitor a thermometer in the column when doing spirits.


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Interslice
141 posts

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  #2685988 3-Apr-2021 13:12
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I have an Inkbird WiFi temperature controller for my fermentation chamber. I have it plugged into a fridge and a heater mounted at the bottom of the fridge to cycle each one on or off and keep the temperature controlled. You can use the app to change the desired temperature but I don't really use it too much but it is good to see the graph of the temperature and make sure your not having any wild swings.

The only other thing I have is the Grainfather to brew my beer with which is awesome. When you load the recipe up on your phone and then Bluetooth it to the Grainfather it becomes almost automated running through most of the steps itself. Works awesomely, love it. Even if you don't have the Bluetooth going it's still easy to use. My beers are better than ever.


Interslice
141 posts

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  #2685989 3-Apr-2021 13:13
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I have an Inkbird WiFi temperature controller for my fermentation chamber. I have it plugged into a fridge and a heater mounted at the bottom of the fridge to cycle each one on or off and keep the temperature controlled. You can use the app to change the desired temperature but I don't really use it too much but it is good to see the graph of the temperature and make sure your not having any wild swings.

The only other thing I have is the Grainfather to brew my beer with which is awesome. When you load the recipe up on your phone and then Bluetooth it to the Grainfather it becomes almost automated running through most of the steps itself. Works awesomely, love it. Even if you don't have the Bluetooth going it's still easy to use. My beers are better than ever.




linw
2507 posts

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  #2688087 8-Apr-2021 07:35
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I am a spirits distiller and have built a simple thermometer wifi gadget sending temp to Blynk app on my android phone. Really handy being able to monitor temp remotely.

 

Made with Arduino WeMos D1. Very cheap and a fun learning experience. The code for this is already there so no need to be a skilled programmer.

 

 


fahrenheit
757 posts

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  #2688298 8-Apr-2021 12:18
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linw:

 

I am a spirits distiller and have built a simple thermometer wifi gadget sending temp to Blynk app on my android phone. Really handy being able to monitor temp remotely.

 

Made with Arduino WeMos D1. Very cheap and a fun learning experience. The code for this is already there so no need to be a skilled programmer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really do hope you are referring to fermentation... An unattended still is an accident waiting to happen.

 

 

 

I've resisted and kept my pot stilling and brewing to analogue. Even my note taking is pen and paper. It is a hobby that gets me away from the day to day frustrations of technology troubleshooting. Having said that, I'm looking to build a PID for my brewing setup as that is a pain to deal with when you are trying to hit a strike temperature with a runaway heat source.  


Gurezaemon
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  #2688346 8-Apr-2021 14:22
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fahrenheit:

 

I really do hope you are referring to fermentation... An unattended still is an accident waiting to happen.

 

 

Agreed. I have a still, and even though I have set up a header tank to keep the pressure of the cooling water even, I still set an alarm every 15 minutes to poke my head in the brewing room (or as SWMBO calls it, the 'laundry') next door to my office just to make sure. Given that there is still a lot of hot, highly inflammable liquid sitting next to an electrical heat source...

Not really a gadget, but a piece of equipment that it took me ages to finally figure out is the humble Perroplas stackable plastic container from the Warehouse. This holds either 16 750ml or 11 1.25 l PET brewing bottles, and can catch spills from bottles splitting, etc. Something which cardboard boxes don't, as they fall apart. They happily stack 6 high, holding 3 full tanks worth of brew, yet with a tiny footprint. 

 

Click to see full size





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elpenguino
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  #2688395 8-Apr-2021 15:51
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tim0001:

 

  • Digital hydrometer. Loosely based on the Tilt and iSpindle. Uses a modified arduino and a Lora radio for better range and battery life. Sends data back to Home Assistant. Need to make another brew so that I can check the calibration.

 

If you want to check the calibration of an instrument, you 're better off to compare to something with known properties rather than something like your own brew, which is unknown.

 

You might be better off testing it with a purchased spirit/beverage which has probably gone through quite accurate alcohol testing for taxation purposes.

 

 

 

How often are you distillers making batches? Drinking a gallon of spirits a month must be a challenge, but doable.





Most of the posters in this thread are just like chimpanzees on MDMA, full of feelings of bonhomie, joy, and optimism. Fred99 8/4/21




Gurezaemon
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  #2688410 8-Apr-2021 16:29
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elpenguino:

 

If you want to check the calibration of an instrument, you 're better off to compare to something with known properties rather than something like your own brew, which is unknown.

 

You might be better off testing it with a purchased spirit/beverage which has probably gone through quite accurate alcohol testing for taxation purposes.

 

How often are you distillers making batches? Drinking a gallon of spirits a month must be a challenge, but doable.

 

 

I'm not a big spirits drinker, so a batch every couple of months does me fine. We're in Northland, so have plenty of lemons, with which I make Limoncello. This can be made using vodka as the base spirit, but using the raw, ~92% spirit works so much better. It gets diluted with sugar and water to something like 30%, which is absolutely lovely to sip while watching a show in the evening.





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ageorge
626 posts

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  #2690372 10-Apr-2021 10:49
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Gurezaemon:

 

Click to see full size

 

 

Great idea the warehouse stackers.

 

Where do you get your bottles from; assume they are PET shown in pic?


Gurezaemon
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  #2690443 10-Apr-2021 11:08
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ageorge:

 

Great idea the warehouse stackers.

 

Where do you get your bottles from; assume they are PET shown in pic?

 

 

From my local brew shop. The local Binn Inn has them too.
They cost more than using old coke bottles, etc., but they're made to be reused and the colour helps with protecting the beer from light, which causes skunking. I've been using some for 10 years and they're still fine.





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tim0001

115 posts

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  #2690585 10-Apr-2021 13:41
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@tukapa1 Here’s some more on my hydrometer.

 

The iSpindel looks pretty good  But I didn’t build one though because I wanted to use LoRa and to have a longer battery life. I suggest that most people would better off with the ispindel because its well tested and documented.

 

Anyway here’s a run down on my LoRa version.

 

The accelerometer is used to measure the angle that the device is floating at. As the fermentation progresses the float angle changes. The arduino calculates the angle, and sends the angle and temperature over a LoRa radio module. I’ve then got a “LoRa Gateway” that sends the data via wifi/MQTT to Home Assistant. Home Assistant calculates the SG from the angle. The SG values go into the database and are graphed.

 

Here some of the components:

 

3.3v 8MHz Ardunino Pro Mini clone

 

- voltage reg removed. Runs directly off 2 AA cells.

 

- power LED removed

 

- clock reduced in software to reduce power consumption and to allow it to run at a lower voltage

 

- BOD voltage changed so that it will work to under 2v

 

 

 

Lora Radio module

 

Ra-01 LoRa SX1278 433MHz

 

 

 

Accelerometer

 

GY-521 MPU-6050 Module Six DOF Module

 

 

 

Temperature sensor

 

I calibrated a random thermistor that I had. The MPU-6050 and Atmel MCU have built-in temp sensors too. I plan to check their accuracy, and perhaps remove the thermistor. (A DS18B20 needs 3v, so won’t work directly off 2 partially discharged AA cells)

 

 

 

PCB

 

-Used to mount the pro mini, gy-521, and Ra-01 LoRa modules

 

- https://oshpark.com/shared_projects/SDCFUzt2

 

- US$6 including shipping for three PCBs

 

- Kicad file available

 

- 43mm x 18mm

 

 

 

Lora to WiFi (MQTT) gateway

 

Something I built using an ESP32 and Ra-01 LoRa module.

 

(I also use this gateway to receive signals from a water tank)

 

Sends MQTT messages to Home Assistant

 

 

 

 

 

Happy to help out anyone who wants to build one, but wouldn’t recommend as a first arduino project. (The code is c/c++, and I’m not a programmer so its not pretty...)


linw
2507 posts

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  #2690598 10-Apr-2021 14:37
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fahrenheit:

 

linw:

 

I am a spirits distiller and have built a simple thermometer wifi gadget sending temp to Blynk app on my android phone. Really handy being able to monitor temp remotely.

 

Made with Arduino WeMos D1. Very cheap and a fun learning experience. The code for this is already there so no need to be a skilled programmer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I really do hope you are referring to fermentation... An unattended still is an accident waiting to happen.

 

 

 

I've resisted and kept my pot stilling and brewing to analogue. Even my note taking is pen and paper. It is a hobby that gets me away from the day to day frustrations of technology troubleshooting. Having said that, I'm looking to build a PID for my brewing setup as that is a pain to deal with when you are trying to hit a strike temperature with a runaway heat source.  

 

 

I don't leave my still unattended for more than 10-15 min. The wifi feed is just an extra precaution. I am picking not many people would sit watching their still for 7+ hours non stop.

 

Edit - in case it wasn't clear, the temp I am closely monitoring is the vapour temp. The boiler heater has a temp controller as well.


tim0001

115 posts

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  #2690603 10-Apr-2021 14:50
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elpenguino:

 

 

 

If you want to check the calibration of an instrument, you 're better off to compare to something with known properties rather than something like your own brew, which is unknown.

 

You might be better off testing it with a purchased spirit/beverage which has probably gone through quite accurate alcohol testing for taxation purposes.

 

 

 

How often are you distillers making batches? Drinking a gallon of spirits a month must be a challenge, but doable.

 

 

 

 

Based on the test results I've seen of the Tilt and Ispindel, they are never going to have a great accuracy.  Eg bubbles on the surface affect the floating angle.  I'm mainly interested in seeing trends and when the fermentation is finished.  I also like graphs.

 

Some distillers like to build up a stock pile so that the spirits can age for a few years.   I haven't got there yet...


fahrenheit
757 posts

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  #2690636 10-Apr-2021 16:10
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linw:

 

I don't leave my still unattended for more than 10-15 min. The wifi feed is just an extra precaution. I am picking not many people would sit watching their still for 7+ hours non stop.

 

Edit - in case it wasn't clear, the temp I am closely monitoring is the vapour temp. The boiler heater has a temp controller as well.

 

 

 

 

The best way to prevent an accident, is to be present. If you can't be present, then the best thing is to shutdown.


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