I'm tossing around the idea of building a self-contained control panel (16" x 24" enclosure) that incorporates my BCS-462 with a Gigabyte Z77N-WiFi motherboard (M/B) (http://www.gigabyte.com/products/product-page.aspx?pid=4337#ov), with the M/B's onboard I/O used to drive a free-standing (VESA-mounted) 23" Viewsonic (TD2220) touchscreen (USB, DVI-I, 120V power). OK, I guess maybe I'm really building a customized computer case that will also house a BCS-462 and all the various I/O that it needs or controls (e.g., seven temperature & one pH probe inputs, two 24VAC outputs to control the Honeywell VR8200 gas valve-controlled Blichmann floor standing burners sitting under the HLT & BK, 120VAC electrical outputs to control the three March 809-HS pumps (HLT, MT, BK) and a 2000W/120V RIMS, and 12VDC outputs to control seven 3-way electric water valves). Anyway, everything but the monitor would be housed in one box - call it a computer, call it a control box.
I'm planning on mounting the M/B to the backplane using standoffs, along with two 8-channel 5V relay boards (for the 7 water valves, 2 gas valves for the burners, 3 pumps). Also on the backplane will be the BCS and DIN rail(s) for the terminal blocks and the SSR (RIMS today, but I may go all-electric when I get back to the states next year, so room for four more SSRs). While I could control the BCS without a LAN, since the computer is already onboard and directly connected to the BCS, this Gigabyte M/B also functions as a Wireless Access Point (WAP), so I'd still have wireless access to the BCS from any other computer on my LAN (and beyond).
I'm going for 3 modes of redundant control; 1) Mostly Manual, 2) Semi-Automated, and 3) Almost-Fully-Automated (but not yet 1-touch).
In the Manual Mode (no BCS), the control panel will have several 2- and 3-way contactor switches on the front that will allow me to run the system manually. In this mode, I would still need electricity, but the switches would only be used to turn on/off the pumps and the gas valves, but the water valves would have to operated manually. I would not be able to run the RIMS in this mode, but I can always throw my immersion chiller into the HLT and suffice with a make-do HERMS).
In the Semi-Automated Mode (no BCS), I could turn the system over to three Omega CN9000A (CN9221A) PID temperature controllers (http://www.omega.com/pptst/CN9000A.html) that I already have sitting in a box (from my Pre-BCS control panel following Kal's design). These would respectively drive the two gas valves (via 3-wire RTDs in the HLT and BK) and the RIMS (also 3-wire RTD monitored). In this mode, there is no logic driving the process - still somewhat hands on, telling the Omegas what to do and when to do it.
In the Almost-Fully-Automated Mode, I would turn over full control to the BCS-462, and just run (watch?) the system with the touchscreen, letting the BCS run through all of it's logic and just tickle me when it gets lonely, or needs a little brawn (adding grain, adding hops).
Yeah, maybe this is all a little overkill... but it starts to satisfy my need for full redundancy - a weakness that I attest to my deep-seated paranoia of something electrical going wrong on brew day... which of course NEVER happens, right?!!!
Anyway, I wonder, I've searched for other integrated BCS/motherboard combinations here and on the ECC forum (BCS-462's home), but I couldn't find any. I'm often told that I'm not the sharpest tool in the shed, so I'm wondering... am I overlooking a major disadvantage to automating my brewery in this way??
Go ahead... throw stones! I can take it!! :lol:
(NOTE: I posted the exact same question in the ECC Forum - that's bad form, I know, but I'm looking for MAXIMUM input, and I greatly value the collective knowledge embodied in this incredible forum)