Aquaero 5 controller: from pc modding to budget price brewery automation
Surfing the internet looking for some budget price HW (fittings, pum..) for my project of conical fermenter cooler I have found this unbelievable controller and monitoring system..
The Aquaero 5 XT is manufactured in Germany from Aqua Computers
It’s a component that is sold as “fun controller” in PC watercooler system so nothing to do with specific brewery application or industrial automation (PLC) but I was attracted by the nice graphical display and the tons of I/O capabilities and devices…so I have started to go in further details and I have discovered very nice feature that stimulates my fantasy in using this “consumer” and budget price piece of HW in order to automate brewing process.
Just some quick overview in order to let you know the potentialities
First of all the unit can work stand alone, is not need at all a computer connection, can be entirely configured by its own touchscreen and eventually can be connected via USB to a PC where a very powerfully controller software let you configure everything
The board is provided with 8 temperature sensor input that can be virtually connected to any output..the basic principle is the following..
SENSOR -> controller -> ACTORS
The main feature of the controller is the “fan controller” there are 4 fan channels that can be driven in the range 0-12v…this is good for lot of application like chillers and so on..but..you can use this output to drive more or less anything. For example you can drive an high power resistive load (heater) by simplu adding an SSR like this one from crydom
Than you have 2 more PWM output : adding an h-bridge power circuit you can drive motors controlling speed, or a TEC cooler ..or again an heater modulating the power
You have also specific I/O like flow meter and level control as well rele output
In terms of control feature you have all possible otpions (PID, two points, manual, curve..)
Extensive logging capabilities allow you to cache 140.000 data in the device memory
Full set of alarm and warning could be used to drive switches and valves…and you have real time clock plus 32 timers configurable..
The full set of feature and a complete review can be found at that link..
I still don’t have a clear idea how to use this toy..but it seems to me powerful enough to be adapted to may situations in the brewing process. I know there are many other consumer (arduino..) and industrial control system but the compact design with a graphic display (plus USB connectivity and powerful software) for around 150 (price corrected) usd makes it very interesting…
What do you think about ??
Any idea how to customize for brewery automation?
Eleven hundred dollars?
where did you get $1100 from? In the link he provided it runs from $75 - $195 + any options you may want
It looks like an interesting variant of the Arduino family, but designed for the CPU cooling marketplace. The ECC controller is not much better, only temperature inputs, no level, flow, or other types of sensors can be used, nice pictures but a one trick pony.
Arduino is a barebone board and need to be programmed and integrated with all sensor and devices...let's say that it works at lower level.
The idea behind the use of auqareo 5 is to play with a system ready made..just configuration (stand alone or via PC suite)
In terms of inputs it has lot of temperature sensor but
-IR remote receiver/transmitter
moreover we should investigate the concept of "aquareo BUS"..it can allow to connect plenty of peripheral..
poweradjust for power device control
multiswitch (17 switches !)
Nothing perfectly fits the brewery application...but with some phantasy could be adapted !
It would be a starting point for system control, but looks like it was intended for computer power supply voltages and 40C or lower temperatures, not sure what would happen to the sensors at 100C temps.
about the power supply maybe you can power the controller with standard DC 12V and than all the power actors maybe could have different power supply.
I don't see a direct load driving from the aquaero..more using PWM and other output signals in order to drive SSR, H-bridge power circuit..
About the temp sensor it could be an issue...I was not able to find a detailed descriptio of temp sensor imput type...I don't know if you can use industrial PT100 sensor or others..
anyway I continue investigation in the possible application range..
This looks interesting. Im looking to do some fermentation control in the future. Obviously the ebay controller is pretty hard to beat for low first cost but the ability to program a preset lagering profile would be excellent. If it could run multiple zones on one brain, that could bring it in line cost wise with an array of ebays controllers.
There are guys on HBTvthat have a slick one wire/ aurdino set ups but some made PCB and thats above me. Theres fermtroller offshoot of brewtrollers but that also may be above my head. A controller with multiple zones and a PC UI for easy preset temperature profiles would be a winner.
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