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Old 04-01-2013, 02:41 AM   #1
Namako
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Default Mini-ITX MB incorporated into BCS Control Panel

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/pro...px?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)

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Namako

Indecision... may or may not be my problem... I'm not sure

Primary 1 - Koelsch
Primary 2 - Maerzen
Kegged: Maibock
Planned: Kellerbier/Zwickle
Coming Soon: An upgraded Blichmann 20-gallon, Kal-inspired, BCS-controlled, RIMS pico-brewery (by mid-Summer 2013, after the NHC, I swear!!)

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Old 07-08-2013, 02:28 AM   #2
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Did you progress any further? Just ran across this thread, I just picked up a 20x20 panel super cheap and could incorporate something like this.

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Old 07-08-2013, 04:41 AM   #3
Namako
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No, I'm still pondering the options. There are pro's and con's to the approach. My stand will be outside, and I live in typhoon country here in Japan, so high winds and salt spray are not out of the norm. There's an advantage to bringing into the house everything electronic. Then again, I like the idea of a stand-alone system, ready to brew at a moment's notice. All I'd need to grab is the touchscreen monitor.

Decision will be made in the next 3-4 weeks...

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Namako

Indecision... may or may not be my problem... I'm not sure

Primary 1 - Koelsch
Primary 2 - Maerzen
Kegged: Maibock
Planned: Kellerbier/Zwickle
Coming Soon: An upgraded Blichmann 20-gallon, Kal-inspired, BCS-controlled, RIMS pico-brewery (by mid-Summer 2013, after the NHC, I swear!!)

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