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Old 06-26-2013, 07:33 AM   #1
KuntzBrewing
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Default Whats the Best Hardware for a Automated HBS

So what's the best bang for the buck for these systems. Specifically for heating, pumping, and reading temps.

I'm a seniora at Purdue University in the College of Technology. I'm making an automated brewing system for my senior design project this year. I'm working hard this summer to make money to support myself and fund this project. Since this will take time and money along with school my working hours will have to be limited. Yet I want this project to last me many years. I've used the ds18b20 temp sensor on another project and like it. What about pumps and heating elements?

Thanks in advance. This will be fun to code.

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Old 06-30-2013, 04:31 PM   #2
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Are you in an automation control program at Purdue? I would love to see someone do a full PLC homebrew system.

For pumps I choose Chugger Pumps.

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Old 07-02-2013, 12:16 AM   #3
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Pumps.. In general people like March Pumps, but Chugger is their cheaper competitor.

For automation on heating, you can either go electric elements or use a controlled regulator on propane/natural gas. My understanding is electric might have lower equipment costs, but heating efficiency of gas is higher and it's still cheaper (this will change as solar efficiency increases and gas becomes scarce).

Temperature probes will be dependent on automation platform you choose. Normally this will be either RTD's or DS18B20's. Here I think the tradeoff is more accuracy vs temperature sampling rate. I would assume the RTD's need calibration more frequently and would drift compared to the DS's, but the DS's have to be polled for data which means there is a limit to sampling rate... but it's still under a second so whatever...

As for automation, it all depends on many things...

How much do you want to do from scratch?
How comfortable are you with assorted programing languages?
How adaptable do you want the system to be?
ect...

The main (as I understand it) automation systems that homebrewers tend to start out with are either BCS (Brewery Control System) or Brewtroller. Differences here are BCS = closed source hardware/firmware, though they have an open API. Brewtroller = open source everything, hardware is based on Sanguino which is a somewhat beefier Arduino derivitive. BCS is the more user friendly of the 2 with its web based interface, but Brewtroller is more customizable though requiring some level of being able to read code written in C.

The step beyond that is to go the route of prototyping your own controller with Arduino/RasberyPi/Beaglebone... or any number of other micro-controller architectures. This gets deeper into needing to be able to read/write your own code with the language being dependent on the platform. There are several project on the forum here which are doing this so you can use them as a base and work from there. This provides great expandability and customization, but won't be up to industrial standards.

The last step would be going the PLC route that trillium is talking about. Industry quality controls provides very good level of expandability and customization. This though comes at a price as the software and hardware are all proprietary but well supported and documented so you get what you pay for.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KuntzBrewing View Post
I'm a seniora at Purdue University in the College of Technology.
And I'm happy to see more ladies in homebrewing
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Old 07-02-2013, 03:18 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blauhung View Post

And I'm happy to see more ladies in homebrewing
Lol meant to say Senior at Purdue, not seniora lmao
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Old 07-02-2013, 01:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KuntzBrewing View Post
Lol meant to say Senior at Purdue, not seniora lmao
Your screen name can be pronounced suggestively as well.
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:46 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Blauhung View Post

Your screen name can be pronounced suggestively as well.
Yes it can. And it seems every time I go out to eat or order anything it gets pronounced wrong lol
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