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Old 12-13-2013, 09:24 PM   #1
Nov 2013
Arlington, VA
Posts: 253
Liked 26 Times on 21 Posts

I've spent weeks reading posts in the Electric Brewing forum here at HBT as I plan my eBIAB system. In doing all of that reading, however, it struck me that there must be microprocessor (as opposed to microcontroller) options for controlling an electric element, monitoring temps, etc. Which lead me here to the Automated Brewing forum, and to some questions.

First, is an microprocessor-based control system overkill for BIAB? (As opposed to a stand-alone PID-based system)

Would something like the Brewtroller allow me to control all aspects of the BIAB brewing process, and also control fermentation? Although I'm in the midst of planning an eBIAB system, I'm also interested in controlling fermentation temps with a yet-to-built ferm chamber.

Finally, because most microprocessor-based systems allow for multiple temperature inputs, would I be able to control my kettle mash temps using an average from two temp probes?

Thanks for your patience with my noob questions.

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Old 12-13-2013, 11:44 PM   #2
Jul 2009
Frederick, CO
Posts: 186
Liked 8 Times on 8 Posts

I looked at the Brewtroller for a long time before very recently deciding on a manually controlled system with a PID. The appeal of building a fully automated system is strong for me, but I decided I like a more hands-on approach when actually brewing. That's just a personal decision, though. I don't think it's overkill if you'll have fun designing and implementing the system.

I think the Brewtroller firmware is designed for a 3 vessel system, but I'm pretty sure it can be converted to a BIAB system. I also think they're in the process of designing a new system that can handle a single vessel system with fewer tweaks.

You can definitely control both brewing and fermenting with a Brewtroller.

As for a two probe setup, I don't know if it's supported by default. However, the firmware and hardware are open source, so you could certainly implement the functionality you want if it's not already in place.

Check out the Brewtroller forum. You should be able to find specific answers for whatever you need there.

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Old 12-14-2013, 01:08 AM   #3
May 2013
Puyallup, Washington
Posts: 1,765
Liked 259 Times on 196 Posts

I have no expirience with Brewtroller and have no opinion on it either. But I too prefer a hands on approach in my brewing. I like a brewery which is easy to maintain and has a flexible configuration. Fully automating a brewery wasnt for me. My brewery has PID's, relays, buttons, etc. My fermentation is controlled by ST-1000's.

The more automated you get, the less flexibility you have. Automation can be a hobby unto itself.

No criticism intended for those of you who fully automate, it's just not my cup of tea.
Clover Creek Brewery, Puyallup WA Home Brewers of Puget Sound
Planning - Something Sinister
Fermenters - Triple Decocted Boston Lager Clone - OG 1.059
On tap - Carbon River Hefeweizen OG 1.052

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Old 12-20-2013, 11:28 PM   #4
Bsquared's Avatar
Oct 2006
San Diego
Posts: 1,851
Liked 67 Times on 59 Posts

I'm currently adding a eBIAB/RIMS system on to my existing 3-2-1 (3 vessel, 2 pump, 1 tier) 10 gallon HERMS system that is controlled by a BCS460. The eBIAB/RIMS will be for quick 5 gallon batches, and consist of 1 5500w element in a 15 gallon kettle, and RIMS tube with a 2500W, both 220VAC elements, and One pump. The nice part about the BCS460 is that I don't have to do anything too special to the control box to switch between running the BIAB or the 3-2-1 HERMS. The only hardware I'm adding is a switch that overrides My element Isolation switch that restricts me to firing one 5500w element at a time when using the HERMS. The switch will allow me to run the 5500w and the 2500w element at the same time.

With the BCS460 controlling everything I can easily modify my process and timing on my computer for either set up, and can set up different probes and inputs control different parts of the process without any rewiring inside the control panel.

Im not too familiar with the brewtroller, but It seems to me it is a little more geared to someone more familiar to programing and DIY circuitry where the BCS is more plug and play, and requires a little less knowledge to get it up and running, and is easy to learn how to use.

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Old 12-21-2013, 12:57 AM   #5
helibrewer's Avatar
Nov 2011
Santa Rosa, CA
Posts: 3,813
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I use the BrewTroller (OpenTroller BX1) on my single tier system with electric heat stick in the HLT (120V-2000W) and an eRIMS(120V-1650W). I use gas for the BK.

I run the HLT and MLT in PID mode which works very well on the BrewTroller. I use 3 temp probes; 1 in the HLT, 1 in the RIMS, and one in the grant (I use a bottom drain MLT).

The BrewTroller does not do probe averaging natively. Since I'm recirculating I have no need to average the probes.

There are several options for system setup including single vessel. I use the Direct Fire/RIMs configuration. You choose the appropriate hardware profile as a header file when you compile and flash the chip during setup.
Something is always fermenting....
"It's Bahl Hornin'"

Kegged: Bourbon Barrel Imperial Stout
On Deck: German Lager

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