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BruControl: Brewery control & automation software

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Hi HBT,

For those who have seen my posts on the forum, you know I have a strong interest in brewery control and automation. That led me to take on a new project. I have been working with a developer over the past few months to create a solution which I believe can dramatically improve a brewery's control system. I am excited to present and offer it to the HBT community!

Highlights:
  • BruControl is software which monitors, controls, and automates the entire brewery
  • Touchscreen friendly Windows application with intuitive setup and customizable graphical interface
  • Utilizes and communicates with one or more microcontroller "interfaces" such as Arduino, etc.
  • Interfaces connect via USB, Ethernet, or WiFi and serve as hardware I/O to electronic control devices
  • Simple & flexible script language supports complete automation and multitasking
  • Broad set of I/O & algorithms: digital, analog, PWM, counters, PID, duty cycle, hysteresis, temperature, etc.
  • Thermistor, RTD, or 1-wire temperature probes supported, along with relays, sensors, flowmeters, valves, etc.
The website has a demo video which shows the software in operation: brucontrol.com

Everything is sort of new, so please bare with me until it gets more content. Feel free to ask questions or offer comments here or at the forum on the site!

BruControl5.jpg
 

jcc4507fly

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Wow. Checked out your video and that's pretty sweet! If my BCS ever dies on me, I will def. consider this as a replacement!
 

cyberbackpacker

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First impressions from "20k feet" so to speak-- awesome. I have to take a more in depth look later when I have some time I can set aside to really give it due diligence!

:mug:
 
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Thanks guys. I actually did replace my BCS with this system. I used the same thermistor probes, relays, etc. so the upgrade path was fairly easy.

BTW, I need to give a big "Thank You" to @augiedoggy for being a contributing beta tester. He's actually done more brews than I and can probably give unbiased feedback.

I plan to do a brew video soon to show it in operation as well.
 

jmark

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This looks really promising. After picking up a refurb Zymatic and seeing how nice automation is, I'm interested in automating my 3v system and this might be a way to do that over time.
 

augiedoggy

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After brewing with analog pids, timers and devices for a few years now and then being one of the Beta testers for this all I can say is my mind was blown as far as the possibilities it opened up... I can reconfigure and add what ever I want much more easily (and cheaply). I've brewed a few times with this controlling my new panel using 3 rtd (pt100) temp probes, 3 pwm speed controlled 24v dc pumps (I added extra hardware to be able to control 4 pwm pumps and rtds just because it was so cheap to do so for future use) as well as 3 heating elements for my BK, rims and HLT and I also incorporated my safety mechanisms like the float and flow switches. I use the pid and duty cycle modes to control the elements which are pretty straight forward to setup.

I have not automated anything yet and as of right now im just using this as a touchscreen version of my old panel with a few tweaks. For this purpose alone the software holds its own for those who dont want to automate.

Overall building this panel would have been much cheaper than my first budget analog panel but I splurged like $75 on a 16x16 metal enclosure which allowed for more room in wiring and mounting things up. the software is cheaper than just the 3 pids it replaced in my case. I also splurged on a broken 19" touchscreen I repaired to use for this but this is really not needed as a mouse and keyboard work fine too. I had an old pc laying around with windows 7 and a quick google search revealed the windows 10 upgrade is technically still free if you select the right checkbox so I did that as well (again not needed, I believe this will even run on windows xp)

Currently I'm configuring the software to control the 3 glycol chilled/ heat strip temp controlled conicals I use with a second control panel I built (previously controlled with stc1000+ units) so I am using the stc 10k probes as well as 1 1wire probe for the chiller temp control I replaced the chillers internal temp thermostat with. I could have put everything into one panel and easily controlled it all with one arduino but since I did the conversion in stages and I ran out of room in my brew panel this made more sense.

Im excited to have the use of graphs to see yeast activity and be able to control everything on a single touch screen monitor I picked up on ebay.
I did mount an old flatscreen on the wall to show fermenter temps and chiller cycles in the graphs..

I was skeptical to jump from the analog world of pids and switches and knobs to the arduino system since I knew virtually nothing about them a few months ago but I can honestly say I'm glad I did since it opens up a whole new world of automation and flexibility in my ever improving system.

Also I wanted to add that Brundog has been very responsive to my questions and sorting out any issues as we discovered them along the way, he has also been very proactive in adding more features and flexibility to the software as the beta updates have been progressing. I feel this is important to mention.
 

Wizard_of_Frobozz

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This really looks great! As I plan out my next big upgrade, this will definitely be in the mix. I have a BCS-460, and I keep getting stuck by the limited I/O available. Only 4 temperature probes is getting really limiting. Upgrading to a BCS-462 would be more expensive than an Arduino and Brucontrol. Plus, the option to add a lot of different analog inputs really opens up a lot of design possibilities.

Shifting to an Arduino seems daunting, mainly because of the learning curve it presents. This software really seems to take a lot of that learning curve out of the equation and would allow me to re-purpose the temperature probes I already have.

I do have a few questions after watching the video and reading about the system:


  1. Is there any recipe integration? Can I upload a recipe data file and change all my setpoints at once? If so, does it have to be Beersmith or can a generic data file be used?
  2. Can I set up a workspace to be a virtual representation of my system? Like an HMI with pumps, piping, sensors, etc all displayed in a schematic form? It seemed like the video only showed a lot of blocks on the screen. I know you can replace the blocks with any kind of image, but I'd really like to create a virtual representation of my system on the screen. Kind of like the old HMI builder the BCS had before the 4.0 firmware update...
  3. Is there a way to display information on a webpage vs. using a Windows device? I like being able to check status of my system on my phone with the BCS...
  4. Does it have PID auto-tuning capability?

Thanks for developing this system and offering it to the public! This kind of innovation is what makes this hobby so fun!
 

ryanryates

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Hey, great work friend. So far my BCS/RPi system working great, but the engineer in me thinks this could be a fun future upgrade. I'll definitely keep my eye on how this develops. Thanks!
 

thekraken

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Whew, 100 bucks for software... automation is expensive! Looks quite functional though.

The custom scripting part looks interesting. The video says you can run multiple side-by-side, I'm wondering how you avoid a user accidentally sending their system into chaos with different scripts flipping things on and off? Any plans on implementing a more user friendly scripting interface, say something like MS office's record macro function? Or a drag and drop type interface?
 
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This really looks great! As I plan out my next big upgrade, this will definitely be in the mix. I have a BCS-460, and I keep getting stuck by the limited I/O available. Only 4 temperature probes is getting really limiting. Upgrading to a BCS-462 would be more expensive than an Arduino and Brucontrol. Plus, the option to add a lot of different analog inputs really opens up a lot of design possibilities.

Shifting to an Arduino seems daunting, mainly because of the learning curve it presents. This software really seems to take a lot of that learning curve out of the equation and would allow me to re-purpose the temperature probes I already have.

I do have a few questions after watching the video and reading about the system:


  1. Is there any recipe integration? Can I upload a recipe data file and change all my setpoints at once? If so, does it have to be Beersmith or can a generic data file be used?
  2. Can I set up a workspace to be a virtual representation of my system? Like an HMI with pumps, piping, sensors, etc all displayed in a schematic form? It seemed like the video only showed a lot of blocks on the screen. I know you can replace the blocks with any kind of image, but I'd really like to create a virtual representation of my system on the screen. Kind of like the old HMI builder the BCS had before the 4.0 firmware update...
  3. Is there a way to display information on a webpage vs. using a Windows device? I like being able to check status of my system on my phone with the BCS...
  4. Does it have PID auto-tuning capability?

Thanks for developing this system and offering it to the public! This kind of innovation is what makes this hobby so fun!
Thank you for taking a look and posting up the questions. All of what you are looking for is not yet in this release, but these are right inline with our thinking - we needed to establish the platform first.

1. The plan is to create a beer.xml integrator in an upcoming release. This would handle beersmith or anything else which uses the standard. For now, you would use variables to handle data. I didn't show variable elements in the video, but you can create and place these on the Workspace. These can be changed right on the screen without editing the script they are tied to. So let's say you wanted to set up a step mash. You would just touch the elements on the screen, change the numbers, then start your brew. You could have a whole Workspace dedicated to just these variables, for example establishing mash temps, mash times, mash volumes, sparge volumes, boil times, hop additions (real if you had a feeder or just alarms), whirlpool temps & times, etc.

2. Yes, the goal is the workspace represents your system. Right now, each background image for the workspace or the elements are static. So you could create a "schematic" background image and place elements which represent each device over it. In an upcoming release, the elements will have options for dynamic images, guages, etc. We will also create connector elements so you could create a schematic view. Again, we needed the primary stuff working first.

3. The next release will have webserver support. We will start development on that shortly. I am currently running BC on a computer which is not at my brew rig. It is on all the time and monitors my fermenter and dispenser freezers and runs the brew rig. I use a screen sharing program (RDP, but TeamViewer is free and awesome) and it is as if the computer is the same - even no lag over wifi. I use an iPad or laptop to do that. But we recognize web is important.

4. Autotune is not yet integrated. I personally don't believe it is necessary because everything we do in brewing is slow. Empirical values work very well. You can see a slight overshoot on the video, and I just guessed the coefficients. But I recognize people may want it, so we will look to add it.
 
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Looks pretty cool. Is there a common communication protocol that needs to run in the hardware in order to communicate with the software?
Yes, there is a protocol between the two. Its similar whether it is serial or network version. We don't expose it as it is transparent to the user (sorry, I know that may not satisfy you, but ping me privately if there is something you are looking for). It is set up so there is no programming required on the Arduino side. I am going to do a set-up video which will show how to set it up there.
 
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Whew, 100 bucks for software... automation is expensive! Looks quite functional though.

The custom scripting part looks interesting. The video says you can run multiple side-by-side, I'm wondering how you avoid a user accidentally sending their system into chaos with different scripts flipping things on and off? Any plans on implementing a more user friendly scripting interface, say something like MS office's record macro function? Or a drag and drop type interface?
"automation is expensive!"... you aren't kidding. You should take a look at what industrial controls cost! We think this is a steal by comparison.

In terms of the scripting, I think you would find it easier than it looks. I would suggest you don't have multiple scripts controlling the same hardware. It is possible, but not a good idea due to the chaos you mentioned.

The challenge with scripting is the flexibility/complexity balance. If you want it easy, that means a train on tracks with guardrails and yellow lines. If you want it totally flexible, that means a car you can drive right off the cliff or into oncoming traffic. I would say we struck a good balance, shifted to the car side of that equation. But again, I encourage anyone to try it. It's fairly straightforward.

Here are a few section examples for an automated rig. Read it and see for yourself if it makes sense:

Code:
[fill]
"Pump 1" State = on                   // here I turn on my pump to start filling my MLT from my RO water storage tanks
wait "Mash Level" Value >= 18    // here I wait for the 18 qts water level to be achieved in the MLT
 
[prep_strike]
"Pump 1" State = off
"Valve P1" Value = 60                 // here I set the proportional valve to be open (60%)
"Valve 1" State = off
"Valve 2" State = on
sleep 5000
"Pump 1" State = on                   // here I start recirculating
sleep 5000
"RIMS Heat Duty" DutyCycle = 100      // here I set full power (100%) for the RIMS element
"RIMS Heat Duty" Enabled = true       // here I start heating
 
[s]
new value PreStrikeTemp               // here I create and manipulate some variables for my strike water temp
new value StrikePIDTarget
PreStrikeTemp = StrikeTemp
PreStrikeTemp -= 3
StrikePIDTarget = StrikeTemp
StrikePIDTarget += 1
wait "Mash Temp" Value > PreStrikeTemp      // here I wait until the mash temp reaches 3 degrees below my strike temp
"RIMS Heat PID" Target = StrikePIDTarget    // and when it does, I switch from full power heating to a PID, heating to 1 degree above my strike temp (this is measured in the RIMS tube so needs be a bit higher)
"RIMS Heat PID" Enabled = true
 

Wizard_of_Frobozz

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Thanks for answering my questions. Good to hear you are working on these, even if they are not part of the system yet!

Thank you for taking a look and posting up the questions. All of what you are looking for is not yet in this release, but these are right inline with our thinking - we needed to establish the platform first.
For Version 1.0, the system is pretty robust! I fully understand the need to get the prime functionality out and working before enhancements, so take your time and get them right before releasing! What will your update strategy be? Will there be a fee to upgrade for more features? I'm not complaining if so and if it's reasonable - you do have to pay for development, after all.

1. The plan is to create a beer.xml integrator in an upcoming release. This would handle beersmith or anything else which uses the standard. For now, you would use variables to handle data. I didn't show variable elements in the video, but you can create and place these on the Workspace. These can be changed right on the screen without editing the script they are tied to. So let's say you wanted to set up a step mash. You would just touch the elements on the screen, change the numbers, then start your brew. You could have a whole Workspace dedicated to just these variables, for example establishing mash temps, mash times, mash volumes, sparge volumes, boil times, hop additions (real if you had a feeder or just alarms), whirlpool temps & times, etc.
Using variables seems to be a good way to quickly enter recipe setpoints. while we wait for the beer.xml integration. My chief complaint about the BCS is setpoint changes are clunky, even with the recipe utility.

2. Yes, the goal is the workspace represents your system. Right now, each background image for the workspace or the elements are static. So you could create a "schematic" background image and place elements which represent each device over it. In an upcoming release, the elements will have options for dynamic images, guages, etc. We will also create connector elements so you could create a schematic view. Again, we needed the primary stuff working first.
Great to hear! This will really enhance the "bling" factor for the system.

3. The next release will have webserver support. We will start development on that shortly. I am currently running BC on a computer which is not at my brew rig. It is on all the time and monitors my fermenter and dispenser freezers and runs the brew rig. I use a screen sharing program (RDP, but TeamViewer is free and awesome) and it is as if the computer is the same - even no lag over wifi. I use an iPad or laptop to do that. But we recognize web is important.
One thing the BCS does do well is make it easy to get connected to it via a web page across multiple devices. For those of us who aren't too savvy on connecting different devices, this functionality would be very welcome.

4. Autotune is not yet integrated. I personally don't believe it is necessary because everything we do in brewing is slow. Empirical values work very well. You can see a slight overshoot on the video, and I just guessed the coefficients. But I recognize people may want it, so we will look to add it.
My response to this is a quote from your own build rig :D
5. One of the most difficult aspects of direct sparge water heating is that the PID tuning is a PITA. Especially since the BCS does not have an auto-tuning algorithm
 
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Im interested too and found this guy a while back, he created a very good Windows program to control his brewery and its free to download, but not really much info on it

http://autobrewer.blogspot.com/?view=classic

Im into details, what valves are you using ? any 3 way valves? I have a bunch of questions but Ill have to make a list lol
 

boat_eggs

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This looks really interesting, remote IO without the Allen Bradley price. Cant wait to start a build: control hot side, cold side, cellar and cip all from a Surface
 
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My response to this is a quote from your own build rig :D
WOW!! You are good! Totally busted me!

Seriously though, PID tuning with fast moving stuff is critical. However, I could never get the PID to work well for direct sparging. But since the flow rate and liquid temperature is consistent, there is really no reason to use PID. I have been using Duty Cycle (PWM or manual mode depending on who named it) for a long time with great success. It gets a very consistent temp. Plus, sparge water temp is not critical, so as long as it lands between 165-175, I don't try to tune it. That said, my current script in BruControl does dial-in an almost exact temp.
 
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I know I'm interested in using a raspberry pie as an interface.
The original project scope looked to have this compiled on a RPi, but we found it difficult/impossible to get it to run under Linux. We had been considering Win10 IOT, but that might require structural changes. Anyway, I know Windows has its issues but the RPi is way too buggy for automation control in our opinion.

That said, you can use the RPI to view/operate PC via RDP - this works well. The touchscreen KB stinks though (I used Florence and its OK at best). When the web interface is published, obviously you can use the RPi's browser.
 

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not interested in automating the brewing, but i do need a way to easily control 4-5 fermenters. so if i just wanted a relatively cheap and easy way to control temps on some jacketed fermenters, be able to view/track the fermentations, and hopefully edit/alter remotely via web interface am i in luck here? (or would i be when the web stuff is ready?)

i dont want to have to code anything, more of a plug and play, minimal setup kind of rig is what i'd like to get.
 
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Im interested too and found this guy a while back, he created a very good Windows program to control his brewery and its free to download, but not really much info on it

http://autobrewer.blogspot.com/?view=classic

Im into details, what valves are you using ? any 3 way valves? I have a bunch of questions but Ill have to make a list lol
At quick glance, that looks very complete. To use it, you would need to modify the code to make it suit your system and needs. You would need to decide if that is worth your time and effort. We built BruControl to make it flexible, so you can set it up and change it without low-level programming. But as always, not every solution meets everyone's needs.

I personally use 2 proportional valves, 2-three ways, and 6 two-way motorized valves. With the BC control system, you can use as many as you want. Obviously you need a relay to switch power for each valve, as the Arduino cannot supply the current on its own.
 

Wizard_of_Frobozz

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WOW!! You are good! Totally busted me!

Seriously though, PID tuning with fast moving stuff is critical. However, I could never get the PID to work well for direct sparging. But since the flow rate and liquid temperature is consistent, there is really no reason to use PID. I have been using Duty Cycle (PWM or manual mode depending on who named it) for a long time with great success. It gets a very consistent temp. Plus, sparge water temp is not critical, so as long as it lands between 165-175, I don't try to tune it. That said, my current script in BruControl does dial-in an almost exact temp.
I hear you on that; just pointing out that if you offer a useful feature your competition doesn't have, it will enhance the value of your system.

Will that sparging script be included in BruControl?

Another question: How would I replace the BCS ladder logic with Brucontrol? I currently use it for a safety interlock on my RIMS heater. I use the same output for my RIMS and Boil Kettle, with a selector switch to choose which heater gets the signal. If I'm in "Mash" mode, and the flow switch isn't met, the logic won't allow the heater to turn on. If I'm in "Boil" mode, it ignores the flow switch status.
 
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At quick glance, that looks very complete. To use it, you would need to modify the code to make it suit your system and needs. You would need to decide if that is worth your time and effort. We built BruControl to make it flexible, so you can set it up and change it without low-level programming. But as always, not every solution meets everyone's needs.

I personally use 2 proportional valves, 2-three ways, and 6 two-way motorized valves. With the BC control system, you can use as many as you want. Obviously you need a relay to switch power for each valve, as the Arduino cannot supply the current on its own.


yes I agree I started to dabble at the code and I would need a huge 6 month learning curve, its developed in QT5 but one thing I liked about his software is the short cuts, you click 1 button that opens all the valves and pump needed to recirculate wort and a separate one for the hlt, thats nice
 
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I hear you on that; just pointing out that if you offer a useful feature your competition doesn't have, it will enhance the value of your system.

Will that sparging script be included in BruControl?

Another question: How would I replace the BCS ladder logic with Brucontrol? I currently use it for a safety interlock on my RIMS heater. I use the same output for my RIMS and Boil Kettle, with a selector switch to choose which heater gets the signal. If I'm in "Mash" mode, and the flow switch isn't met, the logic won't allow the heater to turn on. If I'm in "Boil" mode, it ignores the flow switch status.
Man you're tough! There aren't any pre-made scripts "included", but I will happily share my brew, fermentation or other script or help write one for your application.

Good question on the ladder. You could handle it inline in a script or with a parallel script. Inline, for example:

[mash_start]
wait "RIMS Flow Switch" State == on
"RIMS PID" Enabled = true

[mash_loop]
if "RIMS Flow Switch" State == off
"Alarm" Activate = true
"RIMS PID" Enabled = false
goto mash_start
endif
sleep 1000
goto mash_loop

Anything in quotes is the name of the element, which you declare. I just picked names. Anything in [ ] is a section heading. The first line waits to make sure the flow switch is on, meaning that liquid is flowing through the tube. The next line turns on the PID, so heating is applied according to its parameters. The next checks to see if the flow switch has turned off, indicating no flow. If that happens, the next few lines until the 'endif' statement are executed, meaning the alarm turns on to warn the user (if you want), the PID is turned off, and then execution jumps back to the beginning to wait for the problem to be resolved and the flow to continue. If the flow was on during the check, the script pauses for a second, then initiates the check sequence again.

I didn't include checks for the mash time expiration, but I think you get the jist.
 
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yes I agree I started to dabble at the code and I would need a huge 6 month learning curve, its developed in QT5 but one thing I liked about his software is the short cuts, you click 1 button that opens all the valves and pump needed to recirculate wort and a separate one for the hlt, thats nice
I hope not to sound defensive, but you can do likewise with the button in BC. I didn't show them in the video, but there are user controls elements like a switch and a button. So for example, you would create a button element. Then you would write a script which would wait for the button to be pressed. Once it is, the script would continue and turn on the stuff you want it to, or start another script where that gets done.

The key here is you do everything in one place, rather than needing to edit the code for the control or the slave side, compile, re-run, etc.
 

Wizard_of_Frobozz

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Man you're tough! There aren't any pre-made scripts "included", but I will happily share my brew, fermentation or other script or help write one for your application.
Thanks! I actually like to work out the programming myself if I can - I learn better that way. But...it never hurts to have example code available for reference while I'm figuring it out!

Good question on the ladder. You could handle it inline in a script or with a parallel script. Inline, for example:

[mash_start]
wait "RIMS Flow Switch" State == on
"RIMS PID" Enabled = true

[mash_loop]
if "RIMS Flow Switch" State == off
"Alarm" Activate = true
"RIMS PID" Enabled = false
goto mash_start
endif
sleep 1000
goto mash_loop

Anything in quotes is the name of the element, which you declare. I just picked names. Anything in [ ] is a section heading. The first line waits to make sure the flow switch is on, meaning that liquid is flowing through the tube. The next line turns on the PID, so heating is applied according to its parameters. The next checks to see if the flow switch has turned off, indicating no flow. If that happens, the next few lines until the 'endif' statement are executed, meaning the alarm turns on to warn the user (if you want), the PID is turned off, and then execution jumps back to the beginning to wait for the problem to be resolved and the flow to continue. If the flow was on during the check, the script pauses for a second, then initiates the check sequence again.

I didn't include checks for the mash time expiration, but I think you get the jist.
That looks like it would work. It looks to me like the "RIMS PID Enabled" element could actually replace my physical switch. That would reduce the wiring, but I'm not sure I want to eliminate the switch - it's a 3-way switch with the center position turning off all all heaters. It's located right next to the kettle & RIMS heater, so it's very useful if I need to react quickly.

And just to keep beating the dead horse about Autotuning...
It sucks that the BCS doesn't have autotuning
I hope it's obvious how much I've been reading your build thread for inspiration/ideas on my next upgrade! :mug:
 

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Because BrunDog is behind this, I'll check it out. He doesn't mess around.
 
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And just to keep beating the dead horse about Autotuning...

I hope it's obvious how much I've been reading your build thread for inspiration/ideas on my next upgrade! :mug:
Yessir - you have a keen eye!! Please understand that lots of stuff has changed along the way!

I wonder if I can delete that statement about Autotuning?!?
 

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I also was a beta tester using a adafruit feather m0 wifi atwinc1500, with one-wire probes and propane. I had an old laptop laying around, and I can confirm that BruControl can run on XP with .Net 4.0, Win7 and Win10. I wanted more portability, so threw the GUI onto an Android tablet with the TeamViewer app, and use a network that only communicates with the software and hardware without internet access. This software is extremely open and configurable. I also mirror Augiedoggie's comment that Brundog has been very responsive to questions and sorting out any issues as we discovered them along the way. I also agree that he has been very proactive in adding more features and flexibility to the software as the beta updates have been progressing. BrunDog is passionate about brewing, and passionate to help people along the way.
 
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I hope not to sound defensive, but you can do likewise with the button in BC. I didn't show them in the video, but there are user controls elements like a switch and a button. So for example, you would create a button element. Then you would write a script which would wait for the button to be pressed. Once it is, the script would continue and turn on the stuff you want it to, or start another script where that gets done.

The key here is you do everything in one place, rather than needing to edit the code for the control or the slave side, compile, re-run, etc.
thats nice to have kind of like the old days where you created a macro that does a bunch of stuff, I like it keep up th good work
 

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I got my second control panel set up for my fermenter control, I only have one beer in one conical I was starting to cold crash but the software is working as it should and brought it down to to the desired temp and held it there all night, for testing I only brought it down to 50 degrees and have it set so the chiller kicks back on at 52 and the heater kicks on at 48 and only after the temp is at that setpoint for 3 minutes but I will be tightening that up. I wanted to use the graph to get an idea of the amount of overshooting I might have. with the conical Im using at the moment I dont think I will have much since the cooling jacket is just 1/2" surgical rubber hose wrapped around the outside of the conical and its the least effective solution I've come up with. the 1.5" discharge hose would have brought my temps down much quicker like it does in my larger conical as well as the coolzone jacket I use on the 3rd larger conical.

The one wire sensor I connector to report my chiller temps appears to have a wiring short so I do not have that overlaying on any of the graphs. Also I was handling the other probes which is why the graphs so sudden variances.
here are some pics Ive taken while setting up and moving things around.. the last one was how I had my brewing screeen setup for the last few brewing sessions.. again I havent done any automation/scripts yet but will be soon.

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canmorebrewguy

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Thanks guys. I actually did replace my BCS with this system. I used the same thermistor probes, relays, etc. so the upgrade path was fairly easy.

BTW, I need to give a big "Thank You" to @augiedoggy for being a contributing beta tester. He's actually done more brews than I and can probably give unbiased feedback.

I plan to do a brew video soon to show it in operation as well.
Hey Brundog,
I just finished my BCS 462 panel and stumbled upon this. Would switching to your Brucontrol set up be as easy as using the same wiring and just hooking up all of the inputs, outputs and temp probes? If it is I will be purchasing one ASAP!
Cheers,
Todd
 

TenaCJed

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So I have been looking into getting a RIMS setup, and building a controller, so the timing of this is very interesting! I have not purchasing anything on this, just research. So my question is what would you recommend purchasing for running this software for the controller box side of things? I do not have any PIDs, lights, switches, nothing yet. All I have is some 12 gauge wire, 16 gauge wire, tool box for controller box, some terminal strips, and Topsflo TD5 DC pump.

For now it would just be a RIMS controller, however I always keep my options open and the possibility of all electric, or even controlling propane burners is always a possibility. Also eventually I like the idea of setting up something to control temperature for fermentation.
 
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Hey Brundog,
I just finished my BCS 462 panel and stumbled upon this. Would switching to your Brucontrol set up be as easy as using the same wiring and just hooking up all of the inputs, outputs and temp probes? If it is I will be purchasing one ASAP!
Cheers,
Todd
Hi @canmorebrewguy,

It is pretty straightforward but I would want to understand your I/O. The SSRs are direct swap. The relays likely are, assuming you are using 5V relays. Sensors are the same. The temperature probes need the front-end voltage divider and filter circuit. See the thermistor schematics here: http://brucontrol.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/BruControl-Thermistor-Schematic.pdf

That said, I built some boards to handle this. I can make one for you, which will make your temp probes plug & play.
ThermistorBoard.jpg

PM me or contact me at the website if you want to discuss.
 
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So I have been looking into getting a RIMS setup, and building a controller, so the timing of this is very interesting! I have not purchasing anything on this, just research. So my question is what would you recommend purchasing for running this software for the controller box side of things? I do not have any PIDs, lights, switches, nothing yet. All I have is some 12 gauge wire, 16 gauge wire, tool box for controller box, some terminal strips, and Topsflo TD5 DC pump.

For now it would just be a RIMS controller, however I always keep my options open and the possibility of all electric, or even controlling propane burners is always a possibility. Also eventually I like the idea of setting up something to control temperature for fermentation.
Right now building a controller is very DIY and requires some integration know-how. I want to make it easier, so my apologies more isn't on the site yet. I will be working on more complete schematics along with Bill of Materials for those builds as guidelines.

That said, I would recommend an Arduino MEGA2560, a screw shield to go with it (I like one like this (serial connection only): http://a.co/jaE5OsT but you can also get it without the DIN mount), a 12V power supply, SSRs (as many as needed to run your elements), a 12V relay board (like this one: http://a.co/270vJ0h). Temperature probes are up to you... 1-wire is easiest and only require direct connection and one resistor, thermistors are also easy but require some supporting components, and RTD are the most accurate but require some supporting amplifier boards.
 

TenaCJed

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Right now building a controller is very DIY and requires some integration know-how. I want to make it easier, so my apologies more isn't on the site yet. I will be working on more complete schematics along with Bill of Materials for those builds as guidelines.

That said, I would recommend an Arduino MEGA2560, a screw shield to go with it (I like one like this (serial connection only): http://a.co/jaE5OsT but you can also get it without the DIN mount), a 12V power supply, SSRs (as many as needed to run your elements), a 12V relay board (like this one: http://a.co/270vJ0h). Temperature probes are up to you... 1-wire is easiest and only require direct connection and one resistor, thermistors are also easy but require some supporting components, and RTD are the most accurate but require some supporting amplifier boards.
Thanks for the information. Understand completely that that the controller is on me! The information you provided will help me look into this side of things more. Not at the point yet to move forward, but I like to research the hell out of new things, so this gives me what I need to move forward on more research.

I am comfortable with doing the DIY controller. I completely understand that right now your main focus has been testing and development of the software. I am sure that as this progresses more, time for that type of info will happen. I have been looking at the info on building RIMS controllers now for probably 2 or 3 months. I like the idea of the software though instead of PID, and having the data post brew to review and for documentation!

I also understand that there is only so much that you can provide on the controller side of things, as there are so many variables as far as that goes. I don't post a lot on the forum, but I am on it a lot. I have seen that you are very active with the community and providing help \ guidance, so I am confident in purchasing this relatively young software because of that. I am leaning towards this setup instead of the PID, but I am probably still a couple months away from moving an any solution.
 
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