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Old 01-15-2014, 04:35 PM   #1
jgalati
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Default Fully Automated Brewery Senior Design

Hey guys-

Long post, but I'd appreciate the read:

Background: This is my last semester in Electrical Engineering here at Purdue. I finished senior design last semester, but my senior design Prof. acquired funding through Texas Instruments to fully automate (read: add hops, grain, yeast by hand still), the HERMS brewing process. Given the funding, I've decided to do a second senior design . I've also teamed up with 4 CS majors who are graduating this semester to design a mobile app that will parse BEER XML files to fully automate the brewing process, or allow the user to remote control their HERMS brewery from a smartphone.

I don't know if this will be open source yet, because we're debating about entering the project into Texas Instruments Beaglebone competition. Beaglebone is Texas Instruments' equivalent of the Raspberry Pi. Grand prize is $12,000 and last year a pig roaster won. I'm pretty sure this project would kick the crap out of any other project. If we decide not to enter, I'll make this project completely available to all of you.

There will also be a control panel on a computer monitor utalizing the HDMI output of the beaglebone. Everything will be controlled via a keyboard, or the webapp.

Anyway, I'll keep you posted throughout the semester. My goal is to make the project so simple that anyone without a degree in Computer Science or Electrical Engineering can do it. I'll put in the effort to make this stupid simple, I promise.

Granted, there will be a lot of writing, and eventually I'll summarize everything into a wiki which I hope will eventually be stickied. (lololol).

Next post will cover features.
/end background

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Old 01-15-2014, 04:47 PM   #2
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Looking forward to it.

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Old 01-15-2014, 05:00 PM   #3
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Default Fully Automated Brewery Features

1) Given a BeerXML file, uploaded via dropbox, the mobile app will parse the XML file, transfer it to the beaglebone, and the user will only have to put grain into the mill hopper, add hop additions during the boil (which the app will remind you to do), and add yeast at the end.

2) Given no BeerXML file, or if the user prefers doing the process them self, options will exist on both the mobile app and beaglebone HDMI interface to control each individual brewing process such as: heating strike water, mashing, recirculating, transfer to kettle, etc.

3) All valves will be edit: electric ball valve controlled (either 120V AC or 12V DC) I haven't decided.

4) Tubing will be 3/8" Silicon with 5/8" outside Diameter.

5) Fittings will all be 1/2".

6) Pumps will be DC. Now, I know many like March and Chugger pumps, but hear me out. With DC pumps, I can achieve 3GPM max at 0' of Head. In reality, the most head your pumps should see is maybe 2' if you're accounting for resistance in the tubing. Given that I never mash out at 3GPM, and transfering from kettle to fermenter isn't time sensitive, I've selected the US Solar 12V 3GPM pump. ALSO, with a DC pump, and flow rate sensors, I can MATCH flow rates of the Lauter Tun and the Mash Out by varying the voltages to the pumps. This means: you don't have to operate ball valves to match flow rates. Not that this is a big deal, but I think it's really freakin cool! I've been using the US Solar pump in my homebrewery, which consists of 1 Keggle for a HLT and a Kettle, a 5 Gallon rubbermaid cooler to store hot water, and a 10 gallon home depot mash tun. Also, pumps cost $70. Cheap as hell.

7) I'm designing this system for 15.5 gallon keggles. Now, If I have time, I'll try and make it possible to make this system scalable to 1 bbl, but I can't guarantee it.

8) Sensors I plan on using include: 5 digital thermometers for: 1 in HLT, 2 in Mash Tun (averaged out), 1 in Kettle, and 1 in output of wort chiller. Flow sensors throughout to measure speed of fluid transfer. Volume sensors in Kettle and HLT. (I may add a PH monitor to the kettle, but my water is so good in Oregon that it's just not worth it to me.)

9) Wort Chiller will NOT be a plate chiller (trying to be economical so everyone can implement this project). I'll be using 25' copper tubing, and a silicon hose to cover the tubing creating a counterflow chiller. (This is also easier to clean than plate chillers).

10) There will be a clean in place (CIP) function on the remote

11) Full integration between Brewtroller (arduino based), Beaglebone (linux based), and a webapp (java/html based). Realtime feedback on all temperature sensors, etc.

12) Ability to be mashing one beer while another beer is boiling in Kettle! I estimate this could save upwards of 2 hours per batch if timed correctly.

13) Oxygen aeration: I'd appreciate any ideas on this. I'd prefer NOT using an O2 cylinder, mainly because it's expensive and I want to keep this cheap for everyone.

14) Ability to use Natural Gas / Propane / Electric for heating. Ability to use a combination for heating. Pulse Width Modulation via SS Relays to maintain HLT temperature instead of valve control on a propane / natural gas burner. This means: Use gas to achieve desired temperature, then maintain temperature / boil via Electric. Another option is to have a regulator in front of the Kettle to maintain boil with gas, because it's definitely a cheaper heat source.

15) Control over mill by using a motor I stripped out of my old washing machine.

16) I will not be using a hard panel monitor to display the current status of the system. Instead, I will be displaying the current status on a custom GUI outputted onto a crappy old computer monitor via beaglebone.

17) Easy Easy Easy network connection between mobile app, beaglebone, and router.

18) Most importantly, please list any features I've forgotten to add, or features you'd like to see. I'm not offended if you don't like my ideas, because we can only improve through discussion. I'll post new features below here from now on.

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Old 01-15-2014, 05:20 PM   #4
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I read almost all of this and found only one issue...

3) You shouldn't use solenoid valves, they actually end up clogging because of the sticky wort. you should use these electric ball valves instead- https://www.oscsys.com/store/valves

There are actually sources for brass versions to save some coin, instead of the stainless ones.

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Old 01-15-2014, 05:34 PM   #5
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Brilliant. Thank you the insight I'll make the change.

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Old 01-15-2014, 05:37 PM   #6
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1/2" silicone tubing with 1/8" wall is standard for brewers. Is there a reason for the 3/8"?

Most valves and fittings are going to be 1/2". You can get the tubing here: http://brewhardware.com/accessories/118-silicone

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Old 01-15-2014, 05:40 PM   #7
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The 3/8" silicon makes a very tight seal on the 1/2" nipples. Using 3/8" silicon, I have never needed to use quick disconnects, etc. It reduces costs, and still forms a tight enough seal that it won't leak at 3-4PSI which is what the pumps can generate. Does that make sense?

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Old 01-15-2014, 05:47 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jgalati View Post
The 3/8" silicon makes a very tight seal on the 1/2" nipples. Using 3/8" silicon, I have never needed to use quick disconnects, etc. It reduces costs, and still forms a tight enough seal that it won't leak at 3-4PSI which is what the pumps can generate. Does that make sense?
Yep. Thanks for the explanation. So instead of QDs you push the 3/8" tubing over a 1/2" barb?

I wouldn't trust it since I walk away from my brewery a lot.
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Old 01-15-2014, 05:51 PM   #9
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Yup! Haven't had a hint of a leak in 10+ batches.

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Old 01-15-2014, 07:49 PM   #10
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FYI, you can push 1/2" ID tubing over 1/2" NPT threads (about 3/4") and get a similar tight seal without clamps.

I would use whatever kind of chiller is easier to automate use/cleaning/etc. At $2-3 per foot for silicon tubing a DIY CFC is not necessarily cheaper than a plate chiller which is <$100. If you use a garden hose for the CFC you might be able to save a few bucks.

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