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Old 04-19-2013, 12:17 AM   #1
bobotwf
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Default Computer controlled single tier

So I recently left my job and decided to take some time to build a brewing rig, because unemployed people need beer. Before I left I had been getting into arduino and raspberry pi development so when I saw some of the fantastic creations people here and other places on the net had been building I had to get to it. I want to thank all the people who have gone to the trouble to post their experiences, I learned a lot about what to do and what not to do. I'm still learning of course, but I've made it this far with my eyebrows intact. Hopefully something in here helps someone.

I chose a single tier design like the brutus. I modeled it after the brutus, the blackheart, berrywise's build and a bunch of other great designs here. I wanted the frame to be made of stainless steel so I could store it outside and not worry about rust. I don't have any pictures of me welding the frame.

Obviously the pumps and valves and whatnot aren't going to be as resilient as the frame, so I made it so that the plumbing can be detached. Here's half the pump/valve system.

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Old 04-19-2013, 12:17 AM   #2
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Here's the plumbing sitting on the frame. There's studs welded to the frame and they just sit up there with one nut per pump making sure they don't topple. The two halves of the plumbing are connected with a cam lock. This is before I did any wiring, and before I finished the kegs, so the cooling coil is still just hanging out. I made my hoses and went thru a not-entirely-dry run, making sure everything flowed the way I expected, from one keg to the next, etc. I made some changes to the plumbing and threw a couple more valves in for a separate circuit.

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Old 04-19-2013, 12:18 AM   #3
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It turned out that the burners were sending a lot of heat overflowing around the kegs, causing the valves to get too hot for my comfort. I decided to add a shield, or as my girlfriend calls it 'pants'. I mounted it to the front and a bar in the back, and welded little shields in between the burners. Much more comfortable to stand around.

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Old 04-19-2013, 12:19 AM   #4
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I cut the coil and hooked up some stainless compression fittings, mounted cam lock fittings to the keg so the could can be removed and cleaned easily, but still stay put when installed.

p1010585a.jpg  
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:20 AM   #5
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I wanted to have everything driven by computer in order to minimize mistakes, it gets pretty confusing manually flipping 11 ball valves, and pouring a bunch of fresh water into the boil instead of the coil would probably cause me to go off the deep end.

I bought the metal case that everyone uses. I didn't want to drill out the metal plate that comes with it, and I have a CNC mill, so I made a replacement.

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Old 04-19-2013, 12:20 AM   #6
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I cut a hole in the front panel of the box for the touchscreen and mounted it with locking gasket. I think it's ugly. I'll have to replace it later. Here's the case mostly assembled.

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Old 04-19-2013, 12:21 AM   #7
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Here's the whole thing wired up and ready to go. This was the first brew day. I ordered the wiring back when I was still worried about heat, so it's all PTFE insulated. I think I could route that wire right through the flame if I wanted to. I haven't made the shields for the pumps yet, so a couple amazon boxes came in handy. Pretty ghetto, but it worked.

p1010577a.jpg  
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Old 04-19-2013, 12:22 AM   #8
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I started off using an arduino uno to control external valves, pumps and burners via relays, and read the temperature probes using the Dallas one wire library. I also used a raspberry pi to drive the process and UI, but it just can't run a browser at an acceptable speed. I ended up moving to an atom based PC. My first run was running on the pi, but it really was only good for display. Again, the gasket holding the screen has to go.


The UI is not done yet, but it's pretty functional. you can move from step to step by clicking on the circuit you want to be active.

I want to get it to the point where it can load XML recipes and figure out what to do based on the data. I also want to hook up one of those bubbler pressure sensor things to have it auto fill the HLT and run the lauter until it has enough in the kettle. I also need to redo some of the UI, it's very bland. Always something more to do...


Sorry about all the posts. Ugh

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Old 04-19-2013, 03:25 AM   #9
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Awesome build! I bought my first Arduino about a year ago, I suppose. I think I've done pretty well with it. I've been brewing, with a breadboard & Arduino, a mashtun on a bench and my e-keggle propped up on some ammo cans.

I bought a welder last weekend, so the sculpture build is now inevitable. The plan (for the moment) is to use a Due to run it, but use an Android table just for the interface. I guess kind of like a DIY BCS460.

I'm really surprise that no one has chimed in on this yet. Great looking build!

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Old 04-19-2013, 06:35 AM   #10
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Beautiful build!!! What type of programming are you using for the ui?

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