I justed browsed some of the great automation projects here and thought I would post my own. Maybe provide some inspiration. You don't need that much money to do it.
It all started when I had to run out during a boil and left a friend in charge of the last hop addition and turning the boiler off. Well he only switched one element off so the boil ran 30mins over and I ended up with one very bitter Schwarzbier.
So the brewbot was conceived. The idea was:
* Night before: crack the grain & put it in brewbot's mash tun.
* Weigh hop additions and add to brew bot
* Punch in desired final volume and mash/boil times.
* Punch in start time
* Wake up in the morning to a finished brew and run it into a cube for no chill.
Some other requirements:
* reasonably portable (I don't own the house)
* self contained & reliable: no PC hardware
* all electric (i.e. not LPG for heat)
* tight budget - recycle old junk
So what did I end up with?
Initially something like this:
But eventually I wanted to move to all stainless fittings so worked out I could save at least one valve if I went to gravity fed from the HLT:
The HLT level probes:
Initial software is quite rudimentary: