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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Brew Stands > UNH Senior Engineering Project: Automated e-HERMS Brewery
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Old 01-04-2011, 08:22 PM   #1
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Default UNH Senior Engineering Project: Automated e-HERMS Brewery

Another HERMS build thread!!!!
I know there's a lot of build threads on here already and I'd like to thank and give credit to the owners of which for the ideas I've gotten from you.


So I somehow managed to convince my academic adviser, who also happens to be the chairman of the UNH Electrical & Computer Engineering department, that for my senior engineering project he should let me build an electric brewery...

First off I'd like to point out that compared to most HBT members I'm still a newbie when it comes to my brewing knowledge, so please feel free to correct me whenever appropriate. I've been brewing for about 2 years now and probably have about 20 batches under my belt so far and only 4 of those have been all-grain batches. However it only took me a couple of day long all-grain brew sessions to realize that infusion step mashing is way too much work and frustration.

My plan is to build an automated electric HERMS system that i can run from my laptop with either labview or DAQfactory, using labjack and SSRs to read multiple temp probes and control my heating element, valves, and pump.

This is my current working design. I had originally had a 2 pump design with all solenoid valves but to save some money and complexity I'm limiting the automation to the mashing aspect. Transfers to the boil kettle will be with manual valves and might need to be with gravity if I'm using the pump for sparging.

I'd appreciate any advice and comments.
-John

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Old 01-04-2011, 08:35 PM   #2
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You poor college students and your extremely low budgets!

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Single Vessel BIAB is all I need....Until we figure out the no vessel technique.

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Old 01-05-2011, 03:03 PM   #3
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You poor college students and your extremely low budgets!
UNH is giving me $300 which won't go far with a build like this but it helps. I do have quite a few parts already that i can re-purpose, and I'd like to give a big shout out to Brian Duda from http://www.dudadiesel.com/ for hooking me up with some very helpful items.
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Old 01-05-2011, 07:27 PM   #4
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Why not combine your HTL and your BK. One less kettle, a lot less fittings, less cleaning too. This is how my system works. The biggest benefit is that you can then chill your wort down via the HERMS by simply tossing some ice water into your MLT and turning on the pump. No more secondary chiller!

Here is what mine looks like.

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f51/brew...brutus-205427/

If you match what UNH gave you, you'll have enough to build something like mine if you shop around for deals and go with copper and brass instead of stainless.

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Old 01-05-2011, 08:13 PM   #5
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Why not combine your HTL and your BK.
I want to be able to drain into the Bk while doing a continuous sparge using the water in my HLT. So I'll need all three vessels. I have a keggle and a 10gal rubbermaid MLT already and i have another sankey laying around i was gonna use for my HLT. So its really just the fittings I'll need. I'd like to stay SS but that's where i might need to compromise. I suppose they can be replaced in the future. I was thinking of using my 50' 3/8" immersion chiller for my HEX coil but I'm worried that its too long, tall and restrictive. Is yours 1/2"?
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Old 01-05-2011, 08:19 PM   #6
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subscribed...looks like a good plan so far. what kind of elements and power source are you using?

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Old 01-05-2011, 08:59 PM   #7
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Looks pretty good.

No offense (and I don't want to be the naysayer or downer or critic or whatever, but here is my slightly biased feedback), but it feels a bit uninspired for a Senior Design project. I'm a little worried that it might not get the highest marks in the end. Of course, you could just get the professors drunk with all the wonderful beer from it at the end and probably come out ok

It's a 2-semester project. I see you being done in a half, if that. Why not just plan from the start to as much as possible pimp the thing out with sensors, control panel, brew calculators, system simulation, etc? Temp sensors, pH, chlorine meter for incoming water, continuous refractometer measurements, check for complete mashing conversion on the fly, and so on. I understand that costs more, but a PC/laptop/smartphone could be used as a stand-in for the control panel, and most places would give out sensors for free. Just incorporate what you can get for cheap/free. They're going to care more about what ECE stuff you did than anything.

Make it more like a truly awesome over the top mini brewery? You could go way over the top....

Heck steal a mini fridge some where and incorporate a fermentation and lagering chamber using some plywood and styrofoam insulation. Monitor that too for temp, gravity, etc. You could even go a bit crazy with that some...

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f128/tes...6/#post2408734


Sorry, EE/CS double degree guy here. Can't help myself to pimp this out totally. Just not seeing a lot of EE or CS in the design as laid out. You do have to worry about pipes, kettles, etc and their prices, but also remember that this is an ECE project, and you might want to cut some corners on pieces wherever possible to be able to put more stuff relevant to your studies in there. Look at scrap yards, etc to help you get the metal cheap/free.

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Old 01-05-2011, 10:44 PM   #8
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subscribed...looks like a good plan so far. what kind of elements and power source are you using?
I had been planing on using the camco 240v 5500w ripp element but i just tried to order it and it looks like i waited too long because its sold out and on back order everywhere! Does anyone know of a similar element that would work? For now I will just be putting one in the HLT. I already have a banjo burner that i can use for my BK.

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Looks pretty good.
Thanks, as for the rest of your post I'd have to respectfully disagree. My adviser thinks there's plenty of electrical engineering knowledge that will be put to work here, and he's the one who will be signing my diploma. Yes the plumbing part doesn't take too long but its the wiring and automation part that will test my skills. It is a two semester project, that i started last fall and will be presenting in April. I spent last semester putting together my proposal, doing research, finding sponsors, and working on the design. This semester I need to build, wire, and write lots and lots of code. And I'm no CS major so I'm leaving plenty of time for testing and debugging. I also have a full course load and work 25 hours a week so we'll see how many extra's i can fit in. But yes there will be plenty of "pimping out" I'm just not ready to give away all my secrets just yet.
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Old 01-05-2011, 10:58 PM   #9
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Quote:
Thanks, as for the rest of your post I'd have to respectfully disagree. My adviser thinks there's plenty of electrical engineering knowledge that will be put to work here, and he's the one who will be signing my diploma. Yes the plumbing part doesn't take too long but its the wiring and automation part that will test my skills. It is a two semester project, that i started last fall and will be presenting in April. I spent last semester putting together my proposal, doing research, finding sponsors, and working on the design. This semester I need to build, wire, and write lots and lots of code. And I'm no CS major so I'm leaving plenty of time for testing and debugging. I also have a full course load and work 25 hours a week so we'll see how many extra's i can fit in. But yes there will be plenty of "pimping out" I'm just not ready to give away all my secrets just yet.
Like I said, didn't mean to be disrespectful, just didn't want you burned by focusing on the wrong things (happened to some of our junior and senior design peeps). Looking forward to seeing what happens.
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Old 01-06-2011, 03:20 AM   #10
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Good luck! This looks like the basis for a really interesting, to homebrewers that is, project. I'm going to PM you with some more specific thoughts...

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