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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Brew Stands > Brewtroller help
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Old 03-25-2012, 06:15 PM   #1
kevin509
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Default Brewtroller help

I'm considering going the Brewtroller route for my system but have some questions.

1. Any Mac based software for control or firmware updates?

2. Any hopes or news of web interface?

3. Anyone know what the cutout dimension is for the 20x4 LCD? Any pre-made snap-in style of bezels for the LCD...I couldn't find crap.

4. Any thoughts on putting the LCD and encoder in a smaller sloped front enclosure on my brewing table top and then running cables for those to the Brewtroller board in my control box mounted under the table? Short cable run and could use shielded cable if needed.

The Brewtroller has tons of setup ease with LED and switch pin headers already incorporated onboard but before I take the plunge and redo my panel was hoping for some help.

Thanks in advance.

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Old 03-25-2012, 07:04 PM   #2
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I'll be going this route in the future. Subbed about looking forward to this build.

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Old 03-25-2012, 08:02 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kevin509 View Post
I'm considering going the Brewtroller route for my system but have some questions.

1. Any Mac based software for control or firmware updates?

2. Any hopes or news of web interface?

The Brewtroller has tons of setup ease with LED and switch pin headers already incorporated onboard but before I take the plunge and redo my panel was hoping for some help.

Thanks in advance.
Have you looked at the BCS460? Many of the BCS460 users enjoy the ease of use web interface. I'd be interested if the brewtroller ever develops some sort of GUI.
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Old 03-25-2012, 08:12 PM   #4
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Yeah that's my dilemma that keeps me awake at night.

The Brewtroller can be truly stand alone with some strike water and sparge water calculations built-in, just select batch size and grain temp as well as mash profiles already setup you just select time and temp. Brewtroller also has the easy ability to add manual/auto switches to heat, pump and valves by just connecting low voltage switches to pin headers...same with LEDs. Just no web interface!!! That would be the icing on the cake, monitor the brew session while on the deck with a beer or watching the game...not to mention a larger screen.

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Old 03-25-2012, 08:18 PM   #5
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There is an Ethernet module and web interface in the works. You'd probably get answers to your other questions much quicker over on the Brewtroller forums. Any Brewtroller user here is likely a participate over there.

A bezel like this? http://www.oscsys.com/20x4-LCD-Bezel-Black.html

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Old 03-25-2012, 10:31 PM   #6
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Saw that bezel and it's a possibility. Tried to register on their forum but never got email confirmation and no reply from forum staff. Saw alot of inquires and post about web interface but nothing to indicate its really gonna happen. That's the downside to open source stuff for us non-techie folks, someone builds a great foundation system and doesn't go far.

Open source stuff is great start but frustrating. Can't afford a $3-4 thousand for ready to go system (shoot took a year to save and justify $700 for two Blichmann Boilermakers) and not skilled enough for taking a Brewtroller or BCS system much beyond what you get out of the box. No local help doesn't help either. Alot of brewers but no one diving into semi-automated brewing.

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Old 03-26-2012, 01:08 AM   #7
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How much and what type of equipment are you wanting to control?, it might be easier to use a LabJack U3 or U12 module and drivers. I am working up a similar setup with off the shelf hardware, and creating an application to make it work. So far the hardware has cost about $ 13 for 16 digital points, $ 19 for 8 analog points,$ 12 for a USB/I2C interface board that has a PWM, and a couple more analog and digital points.
If you are handy with a soldering iron this is not hard to put this together on a hobby board, and it will work with 5V output temperature and pressure sensors. As with all the setups you will need relays to handle the digital loads, and some type of analog sensors for temperature and level measurement.

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Old 03-26-2012, 02:08 AM   #8
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Open source stuff is great start but frustrating.
Agreed. I have an early version the the Brewtroller but I've made so many software changes now that I'm pretty far removed from the mainstream branch. I'm in the process of switching from gas to electric and as part of that, I'm probably going to switch to an Arduino Mega and do my own thing.

For me, full automation will never happen and really isn't a goal. I'm still going to be doughing in grain and still making hop additions; my water comes from jugs of RO so unless I buy a storage tank, I can't even automate my initial fill. What I'm working on now is leveraging more of the monitoring side along with data collection of both the brewing and fermentation process.

Man, it would be nice if there was a "Brewing Automation" forum to discuss such a thing...
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Old 03-26-2012, 02:13 AM   #9
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If you are handy with a soldering iron this is not hard to put this together on a hobby board, and it will work with 5V output temperature and pressure sensors. As with all the setups you will need relays to handle the digital loads, and some type of analog sensors for temperature and level measurement.
The piece we seem to be missing as hobbyists is a reasonably priced level measurement method.

I know the "bubbler method" is used by some but I'm not really interested in adding the additional plumbing and complexity.

Unless there's some secret level sensor out there I'm not aware of that can work in the brewing environment (food safe, heat tolerant, steam tolerant)?
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Old 03-26-2012, 03:40 AM   #10
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There are SS isolated wet transducers available for direct connection to kettles, but cost is around $120 each. An alternative is the Honeywell wet transducers but you need an Op Amp to amplify the millivolt output range to volts before they are usefull with the Arduino 8 bit analog resolution. I am checking for an amplified version of the low cost silicon wet sensors on the market on a regular basis, but no luck yet. I have found an amplified temperature sensor with -50 to 250 degree range in the $4 range and plan to use that with the test platform, same package size as the LM -34/35, but 0-5 VDC output. High temp plastic flow sensors are out there in the $10-$15 range, a couple components and an analog flow sensor would be possible, or use a RTC module for a more accurate reading. Since 0-10V analog outputs are not an off the shelf item, floating control with 2 digital outputs is possible unless you want to roll your own digital pot board with 12V supply.

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