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-   -   Temp control software (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f170/temp-control-software-273166/)

movet22 10-07-2011 07:44 PM

Temp control software
So in the "show us your E-Rig" thread, I have noticed a few lucky brewers with what seems to be a program for temp control, ect.

The few questions I have are: is this a supplement to a full blown control panel? did you write the code for it yourself? if not, where did you get it? how much was it?

My lust for brewing knowledge is insatiable!

Thanks guys :mug:

Maxkling 10-07-2011 08:44 PM

Whats your background and amount of knowledge? There are many different ways to do this. It all depends on your amount of knowledge of certain items.

Really anything can work. Your temperature will be an analog input signal, and your controller will just be a standard on off output signal.

So an Arduino would be the one of the cheaper easier options. There are many brewing specific controllers like BCS, Brewtroller, and there are many more.

What are you familiar with programming wise?

Ill start with mine.

I'm using an Allen Bradley SLC 5/03 PLC. It is in a panel that is 100% stand alone, and will run without an HMI interface. I have the ability to plug my laptop in a run an HMI program that was written with Visual Basic using Advance HMI source code. This is just a more user friendly interface. It just shows conditions and allows controlling other than using the buttons and switches on my panels.

You will have to have a control panel no matter what your "HMI" interface is.

This was my first version of my program http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c2...rewing/HMI.jpg

This is the rack. http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c2...g/DSC00250.jpg

And this is programming the rack. http://i29.photobucket.com/albums/c2...g/DSC00249.jpg

movet22 10-07-2011 09:12 PM

Well, my level of code writing is certainly higher than my knowledge of wiring up control boxes (Kal's is a beautiful, but I see the inside and poo a little). Continuing on that, I have built CPU's with extreme ease, and have dabbled in some coding for websites. In terms of programming, I would need to spend some time getting more familiar with everything, but Think I would be able to handle it.

In your pic, do you use a control panel AND the software?

Also, just so I completely understand: the second pic is your integration of the element controls, ect. into the kettles, and how that communicates with the cpu?

Thanks for the help!

EDIT: Upon further review, this seems like the same amount of wiring, maybe even a little more confusing. I'll have to really research this...

Maxkling 10-08-2011 06:50 PM

The PLC in the panel is where the logical code is programmed. Like I send 120V from my on push button to the plc, then the plc sees this as a bit, it looks for the bit to be on or off. The bit is turned on thus depending what I programmed from that condition it will output a signal, like 120V to a contactor coil. Once the plc is programmed it is 100% independent and I do not need a HMI. But the PLC has an RS232 port which will stream the real time conditions of the PLC and Force Bits On, then you write a simple program that will translate it into a graphical interface.

You asked if people do this to avoid having a control panel. Well there is no way NOT to have an control panel, whether you control with linux, use a plc, or use a standalone logical controller. You are just using a device (computer, plc, controller) to turn on contactors, cycle ssr's, light indicators, use buttons, and what not. You still have to have a way to control your high voltage side of your brewery. You still have to have a way to direct your 120/220/240/480 or whatever main power source to your devices (pumps, valves, elements).

Maxkling 10-08-2011 06:52 PM


Originally Posted by movet22 (Post 3368069)

EDIT: Upon further review, this seems like the same amount of wiring, maybe even a little more confusing. I'll have to really research this...

You are correct, the simplest option would be to search for diagrams. PJ has posted a lot that are very simple.

That's the thing, you can make it as simple or as difficult as you want.

kladue 10-09-2011 03:13 AM

How far have you gone with the HMI software package?

Maxkling 10-09-2011 09:55 PM

I have gotten most of the PLC outputs to communicate with the program. I'm still working on sending the input signals through the com port on the rack. The Advance HMI source code is AB only compatible through the DF1 driver. Its a nice alternative to a panel view setup, and amazingly easy to setup and compile. The problem I'm having is I keep chaining my mind halfway though my build and changing stuff around.

Which is why I mainly do just stove top half batches to keep me motivated through the never ending build.

PLCtalk has a nice on going thread about Advance HMI. Also on Advance HMI's site, they have nice screen shots and info on how far you really can go with the program. http://sourceforge.net/projects/advancedhmi/

thomashp 10-09-2011 10:36 PM

That PLC setup is awesome, but it's a little pricey.

I have built a custom system using an Arduino and my laptop. Basically it's just a small microcontroller that controls a couple of SSRs and reads some temperature sensors. It communicates over a serial connection to a custom program I wrote to control and monitor temperatures. If you can handle some simple electronics and coding it's shouldn't be too bad.


It's still definitely a work in progress. I seem to always be adding or changing something. I recently added the manual control so it doesn't have to be connected to my laptop to function. My next addition will be liquid level sensors and then auto fly sparging!

movet22 10-10-2011 01:10 AM

Ok, so please forgive me for moving slowly, this is a lot to absorb.

That being said, two questions: Can a laptop with the correct setup eliminate the need for a big traditional controler (ala Kal's)? And is there a wiring diagram set up that is out there now that incorporates one of these brewing softwares?

I'd love to be able to run my rig with an old acer netbook that is collecting dust.

kladue 10-10-2011 01:32 AM

It should not be too hard to work up a software package in Java using a IDE like netbeans. I have done that and incorporated recipe generation into the control programming for Opto 22 hardware which is just interface like the Lab Jack devices. Software I have was rebuilt in C# to get away from some native memory management problems in Java concerning graphics, and it is still an ongoing effort to improve speed and minimize cpu loading for lower powered platforms. The permanent data files I use are MySql data base tables that are utilized throughout the brewing application for everything from hardware and loop tuning to recipe ingredients.

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