BruControl Build (completed)

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Garnet Heart

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So I have been meaning to write this up for a while as I just finished my Brucontrol build. First off, I need to say how great BrunDog was when helping with the questions I had. Especially when it came to sourcing the diaphragm pressure sensors I am using. (i had some in hindsight really dumb questions as well)

Still currently in development is my scripting, as life seems to get in the way of me actually sitting down and prototyping the script i want to use.

So far, I have put 2 x 12 gallon batches through the new panel. A Gose and a Bo Pils and as far as I can tell the software does its job incredibly well.

I have a few more kinks to work out here and there as my process improves due to the addition of new valves and electrical wires, but overall I am extremely happy.

Otherwise, this build was based off of the 30amp 240v schematic off of brucontrol.com, but the more and more i read, researched, and understood about the hardware side of the build. The more I deviated from the schematic.

I have in the past build a Kal Clone and can say the best part about Brucontrol is its ability to expand functions.

Still some improvements to be made in my system. I want to expand to some sort of auto grain in. (i am currently working on a rotating mash arm). Need to add a dosing pump for lactic acid additions. Need to work on a way to auto Hop the boil. lastly I am going to rethink how my valve are laid out and redesign it.



Pros:
  • I no long have to be in my basement to monitor my brew day
  • I actually have time to sit down and eat breakfast while brewing
  • I learned a lot about the world of arduino and electronics in general
  • I can concentrate more on wort quality now than the brewing process
  • BruControl is way less expensive than buying PIDs
  • BrunDogs customer support is out of this world good. (response within an hour or less)
  • Interface is sleek, I havent felt the need to change any of the default look

Cons:
  • The upgrade to a brewery build to make the full use of Brucontrol is quite expensive. This is not a con of the program, but a barrier to enter.
  • I wish there was a reset button on the flow meter totalizer (kind of like how there is one on the timers), but its easy to script a button on the program to reset it that way.










 

GParkins

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Awesome job! Fun when you fire it up for the first time, isn't it? Also, it looks like you've got a busy, but well-organized brewery.

Would you mind sharing a link to the flowmeters you are using?

If you haven't, are you going to incorporate BC into your fermentation and dispensing?
 
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Garnet Heart

Garnet Heart

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It was a damned good feeling turning the switch that's for sure haha

These are the flow meters i am using. Kind of pricey, but highly recommended

https://www.atlas-scientific.com/product_pages/probes/1-4_flow_meter.html

(also yes i am using the 1/4" meters, i have couplers to make them 1/2 inch, but wanted the 1/4" so i could add a low flow adapter to the meters to slow the rate down more for a more accurate reading)

I also use their Industrial pH probe for inline readings.

https://www.atlas-scientific.com/product_pages/kits/industrial_ph_kit.html

Also, i do not plan on using BruControl for Fermentation. Maybe once i upgrade the system, but the chest freezer/fermwraps on inkbirds do well enough that it doesnt make a difference for how i monitor or change the temps.

As for dispensing, it isn't something i have considered monitoring only because if something does kick, my pipeline allows me to always have the next beer ready to tap.
 
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CadiBrewer

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This is a sweet build and very close to what I'm looking to do. Do you happen to have a schematic of your plumbing and valve system? I'm trying to get my head around using motorized valves for my 3V HERMS. Thanks!
 

HopRodGarage

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Nice! Got the same pH sensor and transmitter in my setup. Trying to figure out where you have installed the sensor :) I can see that you have a blind plug on the output of one of the pumps - that the location for the sensor perhaps?

Pleased with the accuracy of the sensor? Mine has been a little bit of but I think the placement has been the problem. Just moved it but haven't tested it yet.
 

Paulaner

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What size of enclosure box is that and where did you get it? I've found so many different options and I'm not sure what size I'm gonna settle on, it looks like you have a nice layout and a perfect sized box.
 
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Garnet Heart

Garnet Heart

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Nice! Got the same pH sensor and transmitter in my setup. Trying to figure out where you have installed the sensor :) I can see that you have a blind plug on the output of one of the pumps - that the location for the sensor perhaps?

Pleased with the accuracy of the sensor? Mine has been a little bit of but I think the placement has been the problem. Just moved it but haven't tested it yet.

So that blind blind plug is where i install the sensor. Though, i recently changed its location as the blind plug location led to some air pockets and caused inaccurate readings... i could get it to work by bleeding the air out, but it was a PTA. i switched it to the same output spot for the pump just flipped it upside down so that the turbidity of the moving wort would always refresh the sample it was reading (without trapping any air)
 
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Garnet Heart

Garnet Heart

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This is a sweet build and very close to what I'm looking to do. Do you happen to have a schematic of your plumbing and valve system? I'm trying to get my head around using motorized valves for my 3V HERMS. Thanks!
attached is my current layout. letters indicate what type of 3 way it is. I know i can make it more intuitive and cleaner in the future, but its working well enough to not warrant any changes

also, the 2 way valve in the diagram is completely pointless i need to remove it from the system, it made sense at on point, then i made some changes... and forgot to remove it from my diagram
 

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Garnet Heart

Garnet Heart

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Really nice build. Thank you for the pros and cons. We take all feedback seriously and try incorporate what we can.
to update, i have not changed much from the first brew day, other than dialing in my Proportional ball valves (deciding what voltage to send to them for a smooth sparge) and also calibrating my pressure sensors every so often (atmospheric pressure changes seem to affect my readings slightly due to me brewing in Denver, at least that's all i can think of that would make the readings slightly off)

so far have made a lot of great beer on the software and has made my quality of life in brewing that much better.

all i am currently working on is a dedicated CIP pump (these chuggers cant move a spray ball) I am considering moving it inline so that i can redirect flow into it for cleaning, but my current set up draw too many amps as is. (thinking of having it draw from a large battery pack that i can switch from a running mode to a charging mode with brewcontrol.) should be a simple set up. just need to find the time to put it all together.

also, still stuck on the auto hopping mechanism, cant determine the best way to move forward on that (waiting on an eureka moment)

I have finished my build of mash rakes, but haven't gotten around to installing it as I still need some sort of auger to move my grain to mash. also, i need to invest in a custom flat false bottom (norcal probably) since the domed SS brew tech one wouldn't allow the rakes to catch all the grain
 

CadiBrewer

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attached is my current layout. letters indicate what type of 3 way it is. I know i can make it more intuitive and cleaner in the future, but its working well enough to not warrant any changes

also, the 2 way valve in the diagram is completely pointless i need to remove it from the system, it made sense at on point, then i made some changes... and forgot to remove it from my diagram
Thanks very much for the response. This helps me a ton.

Is there a reason you didn't go with the valves in a manifold rather than coupled with hoses? I'm not harping at all, just trying to figure out the pros and cons.
 
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Garnet Heart

Garnet Heart

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Thanks very much for the response. This helps me a ton.

Is there a reason you didn't go with the valves in a manifold rather than coupled with hoses? I'm not harping at all, just trying to figure out the pros and cons.
no entirely, i wanted to go with solenoids in a manifold, but my power requirements wouldn't let me keep solenoids charged (amp restrictions) I have though about restructuring my valves in a different fashion recently. This set up currently is just what came to me while i was thinking of a design and i just kind of ran with it. Going the manifold route would def look cleaner, but i don't think there will be much difference in which way you accomplish getting your wort moving around your system.
 

augiedoggy

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no entirely, i wanted to go with solenoids in a manifold, but my power requirements wouldn't let me keep solenoids charged (amp restrictions) I have though about restructuring my valves in a different fashion recently. This set up currently is just what came to me while i was thinking of a design and i just kind of ran with it. Going the manifold route would def look cleaner, but i don't think there will be much difference in which way you accomplish getting your wort moving around your system.
plumbing the pumps inline into the manifold can also help simplify things too, of course its not really cost effective for the bigger pumps but does work well with the smaller dc pumps Im using at home. because with the pump off you can easily reverse the flow through them.
 
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Solenoids burn a ton of power (collectively, and get hot in the process) and typically do not have unrestricted flow. Better bet is motorized ball valves (cheap, not sanitary) or butterfly valves (not cheap, sanitary). These will typically be full flow like our manual ball valves.
 

sensei247

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Great build! Any issues with EMI? Building my panel right now and not sure what to isolate vs not. See you have the raceways built in...are your’s metal or plastic and did they come with the panel enclosure?
 
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