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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Automated Brewing Forum > Instructions?
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Old 09-18-2012, 07:10 PM   #1
Dragonman
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I was just wondering if there is a website like http://theelectricbrewery.com is for electric brew systems or a step by step instructions online for building an automated system?

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Old 09-19-2012, 06:09 PM   #2
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I think the reason you haven't gotten a response on this is because your question is a bit too broad. You can automate many different parts of the brew process, it all depends on what you are defining as automated, and exactly how much automation you are looking for.

If you want a system where you hit a single button and wind up with wort ready to ferment 3 hours later, is a much different project than simply automating controlled mash temperatures.

To that end, no I don't believe anyone has put together a comprehensive step-by-step guide on an automated brewery as Kal has so well done with theelectricbrewery.com. IF you want full on automation, you will likely need to look at BCS460, or the brewtroller. I'm sure there are other options, but that's where I would start.

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Old 09-19-2012, 10:31 PM   #3
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Like Evil says, how much automation is enough? I went the push one button way to begin with and found that to be a very very involved task indeed. When I started scaling back my automation level the complexity issues began to work out much more easilly. Using Logic to control decision making and control the system takes a fair amount of programming if you really want quality results. If you are satisfied with a little less automated decision making it gets much much simpler to program, plan and build. My plan is still to sit patiently in my wheelchair, but push buttons and move switches to move the water through the system into a fermentable wort at the end. Lots less programming, and only slightly more hands on. The way to build your program is to start at the very very beginning and write down every step you do to complete every task required to make a brew. Then break each step into a subgroup and program it into a block that you can test and verify it does as expected, then move to the next block. That way you will not end up with 2000 lines of code that freaks out somewhere in the middle and you have to debug a huge program to fix the issue. Just my .02, not to discourage, just prepare you for some serious work if you want totally automated systems.
Wheelchair Bob

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Old 09-20-2012, 02:41 PM   #4
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I was thinking of a complete computer controlled system. I have seen some systems in dev that worked ok. The building wouldn't be a problem for me, I can follow directions lol, the computer systems would be no problem either as I am a computer tech. My problem would be the programming, I'm not a programmer. Saying that I have been looking into the braumeister system and it seems to do just about everything except removing the gains and adding the hops. Granted you could build a system like that but it would be a lot more expensive. I am assuming you could add automation to the system, would take a lot of research I am assuming.

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Old 09-21-2012, 01:19 PM   #5
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Programmin in Basic or Arduino is pretty easy since the language is logical and pretty easy to learn. C or C+ and other variations are a little tougher to learn, but still entirely possible. For me the key is to write several smaller blocks of programing and then piece it all together later. That way if I make a fundamental error on naming or conventions, I only have to correct that block. I have been experimenting with Picaxe, Arduino, and PicMicrochips. Picaxe uses basic with an interpreter preloaded onto their chip, arduino uses a similar system and Pic uses PicBasic or higher level languages like C. If you learn interpreter language the you wont have to do the whole compile and run into all of the debug issues either. I too am not a programmer or computer person at all. I'm a medically retired heavy truck mechanic and welder. So learning how to program has been a pretty long and slow process for me. Once I get it all figgered out though I think my design will work just fine for what I have built so far. My tower is a three tier with 2 burners and I'm working on getting the solenoid operated valves so I can direct the liquid flow with just a button push or pin going high on a chip. Look at Kals site and write an in depth outline of the steps he calls out and use LED's on a proto board to represent the valves, sensors and burners, you can make pretty quick progress without commiting a lot of cash or screwing up components while your learning. PicBasic or Picaxe systems are very literal languages so they are very easy to pick up and learn pretty fast. Ardiono has a ton of code all over the web, so you could concievably even cut and paste most of it from pre-written libraries already published and available for free. That would lessen the learning curve considerably. My ego got me into trouble on this project because I keep thinking of cool things to add and do so I am constantly having to rewrite and add code to support my "Gee Whiz" additions. One of these days I will finally quit adding and modifying and finish it all up. Whatever you decide to do will be great so don't hesitate, buy a proto board and decide which chip system you want to use and jump right in. Theres a ton of folks here who will be glad to help if you get stuck. I know I have used a bunch of their suggestions to improve my system and improve how fast the code runs. Hope this helps motivate you to go ahead and take the plunge, trust me it will be a blast no matter what you decide to do, even a failure will teach you something and still be pretty darn fun at the same time.
WCB

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Old 09-26-2012, 09:05 PM   #6
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I would say start small. Keep brewing, and automate as you go along. That way you can focus on automating the things that really save you time. Automating for the sake of it is going to cost you a lot of money. Solenoid valves fall into that category for me.

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