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Old 09-10-2013, 07:42 PM   #11
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I'm building a panel right now that will work without a brain. I wanted to try a manual brew to make sure it's capable of a full manual brew day.
That's a sensible approach.
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Old 09-10-2013, 08:05 PM   #12
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Do you have images of your system? How was the interface to build? I'm building a panel right now that will work without a brain. I wanted to try a manual brew to make sure it's capable of a full manual brew day.
Yes, I have a thread with autocad drawings in PDF form. The system is a WIP.

I'll admit, I have no idea what you mean by "without a brain" or "try a manual brew"
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Old 09-10-2013, 10:59 PM   #13
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I'll admit, I have no idea what you mean by "without a brain" or "try a manual brew"
Thanks for the pointing in the right direction.
"Without a brain" and "manual brew" means sans controller. I'm standing at the control panel flipping switches like a mad scientist. It probably looks like my normal brew day right now but more upright and less hose moving.
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Old 09-10-2013, 11:22 PM   #14
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Have you considered PLC control? These systems are just a microcontroller emulation of a PLC.

My biggest question would be your budget?
Well, really I don't have a budget. I have a little side job that pays well enough to let me afford some cool gear. Sometimes it takes me a pay period to buy the cool new "__________" and sometimes its a couple months. So really any price is a good price if it's worth it.

I haven't done the research, what am I looking at with the PLC control? Do they have a website with brew set up examples?
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Old 09-11-2013, 02:41 AM   #15
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What about BeagleBone Black with this 4.3" touchscreen cape, about $100 for the lot? That's got to be worth a look.

http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/43-...ay-p-1592.html

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Old 09-11-2013, 02:45 AM   #16
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I've got a older working Allen Bradley SLC PLC unit and the programming cable I'd part with. I think it's 120vac inputs and relay outputs but I'd have to check it first.

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Old 09-11-2013, 01:39 PM   #17
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Well, really I don't have a budget. I have a little side job that pays well enough to let me afford some cool gear. Sometimes it takes me a pay period to buy the cool new "__________" and sometimes its a couple months. So really any price is a good price if it's worth it.

I haven't done the research, what am I looking at with the PLC control? Do they have a website with brew set up examples?
Thats awesome. I have been buying my system piece by piece for the last month and have a LOT left to go.

I also read your other post and understand what you meant by a manual system now .

PLC isn't a specific product, it is a class of device. Programmable Logic Controllers, used for industrial automation. They use a hardware level language called Ladder Logic, which is essentially relay logic. I think one of the devices you mentioned (Brewtroller or something) uses the same type of setup to program. Now as far as interface, you have options... HMI or SCADA which is essentially some touchscreen or keypad (or webservice if you have $$$$$) that allows an operator to talk to the PLC program.

I used a Koyo CLICK PLC and C-More HMI from automationdirect.com. The PLC and accessories were roughly $202 and the HMI will run $324. Just an example. There are all-in-one units that start at $550, there is a device called T-BOX that has wifi and will use the webservice that you can grab for $700ish.

Honestly, I think that a PLC is easier to use and program, but I am an EE that works in the Controls Industry... so I am biased haha.

Anyway, good luck! I am going to keep an eye on this thread, eager to see how projects turn out while I am working on mine.
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Old 09-11-2013, 02:06 PM   #18
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I'll start looking at the Plc. It's been a whole new world that I stepped into with automated brewing.

My biggest question is how much tinker will I want to put myself through for the brewery. Maybe it's the other way around, how much can my brewery stand me tinkering with it?

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Old 09-11-2013, 04:03 PM   #19
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Questions: How automated do you really want to get? What are your goals with automation? What does your current brewday look like, and what do you really want to replace with automation.

I'm running a BCS-460 on E-HERMS rig. I have automated temp and pump control, but no level sensors or solenoid vales (not enough 5V dOUts). However, even with this setup I find that brewday can be almost boring. The fact that I can literally walk away from the rig during strike water preheat, a 75 min mash schedule (with recirc), and 30 min mashout, and know everything will be fine, has greatly changed how I view my brew day. I've actually come to the conclusion that I don't want any additional automation (or hard-piping), because I know I'd miss being able to change hose configurations, feather valves, prime pumps, mash-in, add hops, etc. At some point you're just not brewing anymore - your machine is. Automation sounds (and is) pretty cool conceptually, but if you really like the hands-on work of brewing as I do, you might find that you're building parts of a machine that you might never really use. Just my two cents.

Good luck!
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Old 09-11-2013, 04:15 PM   #20
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Questions: How automated do you really want to get? What are your goals with automation? What does your current brewday look like, and what do you really want to replace with automation.

I'm running a BCS-460 on E-HERMS rig. I have automated temp and pump control, but no level sensors or solenoid vales (not enough 5V dOUts). However, even with this setup I find that brewday can be almost boring. The fact that I can literally walk away from the rig during strike water preheat, a 75 min mash schedule (with recirc), and 30 min mashout, and know everything will be fine, has greatly changed how I view my brew day. I've actually come to the conclusion that I don't want any additional automation (or hard-piping), because I know I'd miss being able to change hose configurations, feather valves, prime pumps, mash-in, add hops, etc. At some point you're just not brewing anymore - your machine is. Automation sounds (and is) pretty cool conceptually, but if you really like the hands-on work of brewing as I do, you might find that you're building parts of a machine that you might never really use. Just my two cents.

Good luck!
P
Well said.... Too much automation takes away from the fun (IMO). Automation in itself is a hobby. For the big brewery's making thousands of barrels at a time automation is great but it just wouldn't work for me. Automating temperature control is about as far as I'm willing to go.
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