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Old 06-03-2010, 04:33 AM   #1
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Default BCS 460 vs Brewtroller - what say you??

looking for advise, opinins, etc

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Old 06-03-2010, 05:30 AM   #2
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BCS-460 all the way!

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Old 06-03-2010, 05:55 AM   #3
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BCS-460 all the way!
Why? 567890
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Old 06-03-2010, 11:27 AM   #4
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They are both good products but it's a little like comparing apples to oranges. The Brewtroller along with controlling heating elements and solenoids and motors can measure volume and has prewritten software that allows for things like automated HLT fill, Strike water addition, sparge and chill cycles. The BCS-460 can control heating elements, motors and solenoids but can not measure volume and does not have canned software. The brewtroller uses an alpha-numeric display and does not require a PC although there is some software that can you use to run from a PC that gives a BCS-460 type display. The BCS-460 absolutely needs a PC to run. The brewtroller is a bit more DIY involved than the BCS-460.

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Old 06-03-2010, 02:50 PM   #5
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Having not used Brewtroller:

I can run my BCS of my laptop, any computer connected to my network, and my iPhone. The graphical display is really why I bought the BCS over the BT. Also, as mentioned above is easy to setup and get working. I don't have a need to measure all of those things the BT does. I think the BCS will just keep getting better and more powerful. It took me less than an 30mins to hook up 4 SSR, 3 temp probes, and program my first a test brew. I use it in manual mode now because I like being involved in the brew more than letting it be automated.

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Old 06-03-2010, 03:19 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Ranger9913 View Post
Having not used Brewtroller:

I can run my BCS of my laptop, any computer connected to my network, and my iPhone. The graphical display is really why I bought the BCS over the BT. Also, as mentioned above is easy to setup and get working. I don't have a need to measure all of those things the BT does. I think the BCS will just keep getting better and more powerful. It took me less than an 30mins to hook up 4 SSR, 3 temp probes, and program my first a test brew. I use it in manual mode now because I like being involved in the brew more than let it be automated.
I would agree. The BCS offers a nice interface with the computer. The brewtroller does also now. The real difference between is that the Brewtroller is more of an brewery automation platform and the BCS-460 is more for those looking for four PID's, a very pretty interface and to simply switch a pump or solenoid if needed.
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Old 06-03-2010, 04:05 PM   #7
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Having the BrewTroller, I'd say this:

At this stage, if you want the ultimate flexibility, stand-alone capability is important to you, *and if* open source software appeals to you, go with the BrewTroller. The BCS-460 is a godsend for those that like to program, but not diddle with raw hardware and embedded controllers so much.

Linux vs well-designed Microsoft stuff, here.

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Old 06-03-2010, 05:23 PM   #8
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Here's an objective explanation of features/differences of both:
http://www.brewershardware.com/automation.html

I'll even go one step further, and add a 3rd category from the list in the link above. In my mind, there are 3 levels of automation.

  1. Basic Temp control. Loves, Rancos, Auber PIDs. Control the temperature, no pumps/valves.
  2. Assisted Brewing. Gives brewer an interface into the equipment. Perform 'steps' of the brewing process automatically, but rely on user intervention as needed. Controls temps, pumps, valves, float switches. Logs temperatures/data for batch repeatability and equipment tuning.
  3. One Touch Brewing. Give the machine a recipe, and get cooled wort pumped into a fermentor. Handles EVERYTHING for the brewer.

[Caution, biased opinion below. I manufacture BCS control systems, and also provide BCS and PLC design services, so please take with a grain of salt]

I believe the BCS and the Brewtroller fit into the Assisted Brewing category. Both aspire to be in the One Touch category. This is why the BCS gets some flack for not having volume sensors (working on it)... It was originally designed for Assisted Brewing, not One Touch. IMHO if you are going for One Touch brewing, you're better off with industrial PLCs. These are some complicated systems, and this is exactly what PLCs are designed for. One Touch brewing is a step function in complexity and price for PLCs/sensors/HMI/actuators/safety/etc. The only reason that you wouldn't use a PLC for a One Touch system is price... But if you've already decided to go this route, the price difference is very relative.

Assisted Brewing is affordable, and is within reach of most homebrewers. It can make brewdays more enjoyable, and save time and effort. The BCS and Brewtroller both give you an inexpensive interface into your rig, and are custom built for brewing. [plug]The BCS allows you control/monitor remotely, as well as load recipes via configuration files. It also displays interactive temperature logs to help you dial in your system. The BCS is fully programmable, and can adapt to any kind of system. It can also run multiple processes simultaneously, like cooling a fermentor, running a keg fridge, as well as controlling a brew rig at the same time. It ships as a blank slate, but can load config files from one of the example systems, or grab the configuration of another BCS user.[/plug]

Also, a common misconception, the BCS does not need a PC to run. You need one to program it, but it is a self contained networked device. I usually run mine with my iPod Touch. That gives you a wireless touchscreen interface, which works very well.
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Old 06-04-2010, 03:50 AM   #9
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eccsynd,

right now i'm looking to just monitor temps. I want to monitor strike/sparge water, while monitoring my mash (soon to be RIM). I am also looking at monitoring the outlet pump temp as a 3rd item. Right now i am not looking to automate, but 6 months ago i wasnt going to go with a RIMs system either . Would the BCS be good for this application - Monitoring with the possibility of minor control later? Also, i am not a programmer. is there soem woftware that i can download for free or slightly tweak?

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Old 06-04-2010, 04:15 AM   #10
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I've been stressing which to go with over the past week.

I think it's going to come down to "do I want to do ALL the programming, or just some of it?"

Lazy wins in this case. Sure, I could build the brewtroller from parts, mill out an enclosure, and program the thing, but why not spend the time tearing apart an old airport express and make a BCS wireless instead. It means less time building/programming and more time brewing. To me, that's the only difference.

I'm gonna buy a BCS. Hell, for $16 bux I'll probably get an expansion board and make an enclosure for it as well.

YMMV.
B

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