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Automated Hop Addition

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bheinecke

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When searching I didn't see a lot of posts on automating boil additions so I decided to post this apart from my main project thread to make it easier to find.


[ame]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=st8dmIBfVbo&feature=[/ame]


This is a small part of a larger project to fully automate brew day which can be found here: (Automation with Arduino)
https://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=633943

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HopServo.png
 
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Cool. The only issue I have with devices like these is the exposure the hops get to O2 during their waiting period. Hop pellets can oxidize fairly quickly, so I generally try top open them and use them immediately. You could seal off the tubes, but that will still leave O2 inside, unless you flush it first.
 

Jwin

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Cool. The only issue I have with devices like these is the exposure the hops get to O2 during their waiting period. Hop pellets can oxidize fairly quickly, so I generally try top open them and use them immediately. You could seal off the tubes, but that will still leave O2 inside, unless you flush it first.
Sounds like one for experimental brewing/brulosophy.
I don't disagree about o2. But, 30-60 minutes of exposure surely isn't going to be that huge is it?
I mean, they get way more exposure between being dried to being pelleted and sealed in bales, then being resealed in #/oz bags at the resale outlet.
Not trying to argue by any means. I don't open my hops until the day of, and immediately vacuum sealer any remaining hops and put them back in them sub zero. I would love to further my education if you could point me to any literature on the topic as I'm operating on mostly my own logic.

Also, OP, nice build. Do you ever have any issue with the hops sticking or is the motorization alone enough to jostle them loose?
 

day_trippr

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That quickly? With pellets?
Man, I've been brewing for (counts fingers) going on 15 years now and someone keeps raising the bar on me ;)
I always prep my hop additions once the mash is recirculating, so, maybe an hour before use.
I've always thought that was about as good as one could do...

Aaaanyway....what I'd love to know is, is that a proportional servo and the Arduino is doing pulse-width positional control?

Cheers!
 
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bheinecke

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That quickly? With pellets?
Aaaanyway....what I'd love to know is, is that a proportional servo and the Arduino is doing pulse-width positional control?
Servo is either a MG996R or MG946R... Those are the two kinds i keep on hand but I don't remember which one I used. I believe this is using a PWM signal. Admittedly I am just using a library from the webs so my contribution to SW was minimal.


Cool. The only issue I have with devices like these is the exposure the hops get to O2 during their waiting period. Hop pellets can oxidize fairly quickly, so I generally try top open them and use them immediately. You could seal off the tubes, but that will still leave O2 inside, unless you flush it first.
The tubes I used did come with caps. I guess I could have just not sawed off the threads for the caps but I had not considered this before. Any experience or other resource that could point to this being an issue? This was easy enough to build that I would consider a re-do if it would improve quality/consistency of the end product. That or i'll just buy some bungs for a quick fix.
 
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Well, maybe I am being dramatic. Probably not major oxidation in an hour. I always open the hops right before I am going to use them. That said, I do not think putting caps on your tubes will matter. Unless they are really sealed, they will be exposed to ambient oxygen.
 

swimIan

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How is this working? Do you have a parts list available? Are certain capabilities of a Servo needed?
 
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bheinecke

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How is this working? Do you have a parts list available? Are certain capabilities of a Servo needed?
Sorry for the delay. Life happened and I finally got to brew with this system last weekend for the first time.

Unfortunately... The hops did NOT drop when this thing rotated. I had to manually dump them in (notice the missing tube I had to amputate :smh:). The servo actuated as designed but the hops just did not fall from the tubes... I have a taper at the bottom of the vials which may be the culprit. I am going to cut that off and try again next weekend.
If that doesn't work, I'll be moving to a larger diameter (currently 30mm) which I am quite sure will solve the problem. If I remember I'll post my results next weekend.

I'll work up a BOM for it once I confirm I have the tubes sized right. In short, its just:
  1. A servo that can rotate 180 degrees (~$10)
  2. A 1/4" sheet of ABS (~$8)
  3. Something to hold the hops ($12 for more than I need)
  4. A generic project box to keep steam away from the servo (~$8 for a set of 5)
 
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The steam was probably responsible for the sticking hops. I keep contemplating a hop dispenser that is remote from the kettle. The dispenser would be away from the kettle. It would need some kind of non-gravity based locomotion to move the hops. Maybe an air tube like some industrial plants use?
 

Inspire

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Yes that can work. Can even make that transfer chute longer if worried about steam. Trail and error. SO hop dispense down the hole, and transfer chute below it on an angle to the kettle - test the length and angle for optimum performance (longer chute or more inclined chute etc)
 

viperfoth

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The Hops Boss seems very nice but super pricey. And for those of us who do not have a brew-boss kind of out of the picture. Love the OP ideas. Keep them coming and updated.
 

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ClaudiusB

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