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Old 04-18-2013, 01:08 AM   #1
Stephonovich
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Default Hybrid Kal + automated water valves

So, I'm not hugely interested in building a full on automated build; plus Kal's system is pretty solid looking.

What I would like, however, is to do a small automated water measuring system for the HLT, and possibly to flow balance for fly sparging.

I found these flow meters, which while perhaps not the fanciest things (water makes turbine go roundy-roundy, causes pulses via Hall Effect), look like they'd work for pre-BK stuff. 80C is 176F, which is more than I can foresee putting into the MT. 25 L/min is about 6.6 GPM; again, more than I'll be pumping.

I see having an isolation valve upstream of a solenoid valve, then the flow meter. HLT pump output would also go to a flow meter, with a solenoid valve. An Arduino or RPi would control the solenoids, with an input keypad and LED/LCD screen. Some simple logic would suffice:

Punch in your desired maximum water volume you need.
Program adds in x% for losses.
Cold water solenoid opens until it reaches your volume, then shuts.
Punch in your initial mash volume.
As the Kal panel is maintaining temps for us, once we're at mash temp, start the water flow.
The program already has stored that we've heated up the water, so it knows to open the HLT output valves, and shuts once we reach initial volume.

Fly sparging would require a MT output flow meter as well to flow balance.

For the cold water inlet, I think I'd go with one of OSCSYS's motorized ball valves, to handle the pressure. For the others, since I'd be using silicon tubing, and March pumps only put out 5 psi at best, I'm thinking of building a linear actuator pinch valve, pull on power. As long as I can find one with adequate spring pressure to shut off flow when de-energized, this seems to be the cheapest way to control flow. Also, if you put small bends into the tubing, and with the pump off, I don't see leakage being much of an issue; at least not HLT --> MT.

Thoughts?

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Old 04-18-2013, 02:16 AM   #2
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That sounds like you've got a decent plan there. I'm not familiar with Arduino or RPi since all of my experience is with PLCs. Either way, looks like the biggest obstacle you have to overcome is controlling the sparge water flow to balance it against the wort-out flow. Sounds like you realize that the OSCSYS motorized valves won't work for that job. If you can figure it out, let us know!

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Old 04-18-2013, 03:54 PM   #3
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What Im going to do is implement this into my brewtroller when sparging so I don't have to adjust any valves:

//************************************************** ********************************
// Fly sparge pump control to turn the sparge in pump on/off based on a hysteresis from volume of sparge out
//************************************************** ********************************
// This #define will turn the fly sparge in valve config on when the hysteresis amount of fluid has been pumped
// into the kettle from the MLT. It will then shut off the pump when that equal amount of sparge water has been
// pumped out of the HLT.
// Note: SPARGE_IN_HYSTERSIS is in 1000ths of a gallon or liter.
#define SPARGE_IN_PUMP_CONTROL
#define SPARGE_IN_HYSTERESIS 250

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Old 04-19-2013, 05:13 AM   #4
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In theory, you could add a linear pot to one of those motorized ball valves and give it a semblance of servo control. Or use a really strong servo to control an off the shelf ball valve.

I have a very basic understanding of hysteresis. Could you explain what is meant by hysteresis volume and what is going on here with those defines?

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Old 04-19-2013, 05:23 AM   #5
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I like your pinch valve flow control idea. You could use an RC servo motor in place of a linear actuator. They might be cheaper and more precise. Additionally, there are libs for both the rpi and arduino providing easy position control.

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Old 04-19-2013, 03:43 PM   #6
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So maybe I'm not following correctly, but if you're looking for variable flow, you can open the motorized ball valves part of the way.

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Old 04-19-2013, 04:35 PM   #7
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Honestly I have not used this code yet, nor did I write it. From what I am gathering, the pump will turn on and of constantly with the volume changes from one tank to another... Let me ask the source were this came from.

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Old 04-19-2013, 04:55 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobotwf View Post
So maybe I'm not following correctly, but if you're looking for variable flow, you can open the motorized ball valves part of the way.
The motorized ball valves are either open or closed. There is no in between. Hence the reason for finding a variable solution.
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Old 04-19-2013, 05:48 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tyzippers View Post
The motorized ball valves are either open or closed. There is no in between. Hence the reason for finding a variable solution.
That's not true, they can be stopped at any point by cutting power. They're not spring loaded or anything.
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Old 04-19-2013, 06:09 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bobotwf View Post
That's not true, they can be stopped at any point by cutting power. They're not spring loaded or anything.
That's a good point. What I had in my mind was that there is no positional feedback for the valve and it would be extremely difficult to implement a proportional system for this type of valve. The operating time would have to be known and be relatively constant and the requirement of a rather accurate flow meter is also required to have any sort of accuracy. I think the valves the OP linked to have an operating time of 5-7 seconds, which is a pretty long operating time, so I suppose in-between positions would be possible. To me, it's more trouble than it's worth. If there were a 4-20mA input for proportional positioning, that would make things a lot easier, but something like that would likely not be economically feasible. So, yes, it's possible, but somewhat difficult and expensive to implement.
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