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Deep Six Brewing System - v2.0

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John Beere

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I'm just about ready to talk about my latest project - its pretty major. I got a wild hair up my butt awhile back to create a fully automated system which runs from a PC. I had another thread in a private forum about the interface for some time, but the hardware has finally caught up to the software.

Here is my setup before upgrading: https://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/my-new-herms-setup-39422/

Most everything has been modified. The stand has been repainted; obviously the control panel has been replaced; and industrial touchscreen monitor was added; the mash tun and hlt have added insulation - including the bottoms; the heating element was upgraded to a 5500w 220v element; and a stir motor and float switch have been added to the HLT.

Here is a few shot of my new rig as it currently stands. I'm running it through a full cycle right now. There are several wiring tasks that still need to be cleaned up, such as the float switch cable which is just sort of hanging there. I will try to explain it all in followup posts...




Here is a close-up of the touchscreen and app. I'll post much more about it later.



The breakout box behind the touchscreen. The first two sets of plugs are individually controlled through the buttons on the right of the screen. The third plug is wired together and is controlled by the "Aux Pwr" button. The 220v plug on the right is controlled by the app to toggle the heating element. The red button turns the PC on. The antenna on the right is for the wifi. Those red wires on the right are the float switch wire that is just temporarily rigged...



Close-up of the HLT stirrer and float switch.
 
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John Beere

John Beere

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Here is the inside of the breakout box. There are six solid state relays and a USB device made by LabJack. That is the PC hanging below it mounted inside an Orbit sprinkler system waterproof box.
 
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John Beere

John Beere

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How much???


I want it!

That is the next step... will discuss more when the timing is right. I can pretty much guarantee you that the app isn't even near complete and it is already the most advanced app on the market. It automatically handles step mashing; has advanced mash and hex heat differentials; runs from simple config files per "brew"; and full logging of all statistics.
 

kladue

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Outstanding, it looks very nice with the touch screen interface, have you developed a budget price for this system yet for those folks that are interested.
 
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John Beere

John Beere

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Outstanding, it looks very nice with the touch screen interface, have you developed a budget price for this system yet for those folks that are interested.
Once I get the kinks worked out of the app and am happy with it, we'll start that process. Come hell or highwater, I'm brewing with it next weekend... we'll see how it goes!
 

fat x nub

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Wow...i would pay SOOOOOO much money to have that setup. Ever thought about taking a weekend trip up to Atlanta ;)...i will let you stay if you build me one of those
 
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John Beere

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Thanks all. I just got done letting it run through a full cycle. I started with 6 gallons of strike water at room temp and 15 gallons in the HLT / HEX (Heat Exchanger). Ramped up to 114 by pressing "Preheat" and was prompted to dough-in. The app has a configurable dough-in compensation for room-temp grain... my config was set to 10 degrees, so if I was really brewing I would have expected it to level out at around 104.

At this point I pressed "Start" and pretty much walked away.

For this test run, I ran all six configurable stages... a twenty minute Acid Rest was done at 104 degrees; ramped to 126 degrees and did a twenty minute Protein Rest; ramped to 140 degrees for a twenty minute Intermediate Rest; ramped to 153 for a sixty minute Saccharification Rest; ramped to 170 for the mash-out and sounded the alarm. While mashing out, the HEX ramped to 178 for the Sparge and held it until the mash out was complete.

I gotta say, it was a good feeling to see it all go well - a LOT of effort has gone into getting it to this point.
 

BrewBeemer

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Now that's a great system you've built, hats off with suds for all.

A few questions besides all the later details you must answer that will come up in the future from many of us.

With 15 gallons in the HLT plus 6 gallons strike water both at room temp (not counting the grain temp loss) how long did it take to heat the total 21 gallons volume with your 5.5 KW 220 volt element in the HLT? (HLT 15 gallons plus 6 gallons of strike water) from room temp to 104*F in minutes?
Again same question in minutes from 104*F to 126*F, 126*F to 153*F, 153*F to 170*F then to 178*F during mash out?

Collecting information (element wattage vs heating increase temp time), ideas for a future build. Thanks......Carl.....
 
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John Beere

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This evenings test run didn't include statistics - there is a bug that I haven't had a chance to look into. I will definitely be running several more test runs this next week and report back. I can say for certainty that the 5500w element is noticably faster heating than my old 3500w element.

Right now, the stats would be semi-flawed as I am still tweaking the algorithm that keeps the HEX temp in check with the set point for the mash. I had a HEX differential of 3 degrees in the config - meaning that the HEX would only go 3 degrees above the temp it was currently ramping the mash to. I am certain it would have raised the mash's temp faster if I had a higher HEX differential, but the trade-off is potentially overshooting the target temp or potentially scorching the wort...
 

Biermann

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SICK DUDE!! No joke, that thing is rediculously awesome. ..

Now me, I just chose to pay out the ass for a cool setup... I don't have the patience or the technical know-how.

Very cool. . . Congrats!!
 

Brewsmith

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I don't have the computer skillz to pull that off, but I know a few friends that do. When I finally get around to building my system, your project is definitely getting referenced. This is one of the coolest things I've ever seen. :rockin:
 

Orfy

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Nothing to add....

Apart from ...

I'm in LOVE.

What are your plans for this. Is it just a personal project or are you looking to eventually sell plans?

 

BrewBeemer

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Thanks for the quick reply, knowing when your ready you'll post results for all.

I have a warped hell bent idea, no one will change my mind once its set. Thinking of extending the mash and boil kegs to 22 gallon capacity to handle 10 gallon big grain bills if I wanted having the mash and boil keg capacity. Also planned on adding another keg bottom app 5" deep to the keg bottom skirt after removing the rolled end of the skirt for a seperate chamber filled with glycol or anti-freeze for the heating elements, expansion vent tube up the side will be needed. Bottom skirt drain windows welded shut. This for mash and boil keg with a standard 15.5 HLT keg directly electically heated. Additional ideas like your build add to the desire for this build, just the wattage size is still an open subject. I have 70 amps available but to keep costs down may use 50 amp breaker with 50 amp twistlocs as they are affordable vs 100 amp cord caps. Two 4.5KW elements until up to temp then run off one 4.5KW PID controlled, wanting a fast temp rise. Again thanks for sharing.

You going to add the mash PH feature to the system in the future?
 

beerthirty

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JohnBeere, we are all waiting anxiously for your finished product. Until that time comes, do you want another beta tester? :D
Just a question for safety reasons, have you thought about a flip over shield for the receptacles. I would hate to hear about a small amount of spilled wort shorting the receptacle and damaging your electronics. Or do you boil in another location?
 
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John Beere

John Beere

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Thanks again. One way or another, we are going to take the app commercial. At first, I just didn't know how many homebrewers would be interested in this level overkill and it seemed more suited for Micros. There are a LOT of details that must be worked out, but we have already begun thinking it all through.

There are some real obstacles to overcome, but we are working with an electrical engineer to amplify the output of a PH electrode into readable voltage. If this can be accomplished, the mash PH can be tracked along with the rest of the statistics.

I will probably run another test run of the system this afternoon specifically to capture stats and get enough sample data to see what I can do about charting it all out.
 

Bob

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It's official.

:D

Seriously, I worked in three different breweries and hung out in a dozen more. None - NONE - of them had touchscreen automation. Hell, only one of those breweries had powered mash rakes!

Yeah. You suck. Mostly because I wants one, yes Precious.

Even my wife said, "Holy sh!t!"

Thanks for ruining my Sunday. I'm gonna go jump in the Delaware and end it all.

Bob
 

BrewBeemer

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Thanks again. One way or another, we are going to take the app commercial. At first, I just didn't know how many homebrewers would be interested in this level overkill and it seemed more suited for Micros. There are a LOT of details that must be worked out, but we have already begun thinking it all through.

There are some real obstacles to overcome, but we are working with an electrical engineer to amplify the output of a PH electrode into readable voltage. If this can be accomplished, the mash PH can be tracked along with the rest of the statistics.

I will probably run another test run of the system this afternoon specifically to capture stats and get enough sample data to see what I can do about charting it all out.

Your doing a heck of a job on this project I admire your sharing your progress.
I have one big major question speaking for myself being disabled with reduced pension and no SSD (a 6 year battle).

Will you have available with a price in the future of that control panel with all temp probes and a fully functional PH for the control panel as a complete basic kit? This is what I want a basic control system without any computer hookups. Just adding your control system with probes to already made kegs with heating elements, stand and pumps that I will already have would be all I would need to finish a system that is affordable to me? Maybe to others also? Thanks.......Carl.......
 
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John Beere

John Beere

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Carl,

We'll see how it shakes out. I am thinking through all the options and have already begun the process of talking to potential partners. That should go much easier now that I have a full working prototype.
 

BrewBeemer

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With you purchasing controllers, temp and PH probes and other needed electronic items in bulk you must be able to beat anyone that orders single items like myself or other homebrewers that would purchase single items. Hence the question about a basic unassembled basic parts package available to us homebrewers to upgrade our basic kettles if we have the ability to assemble without injury or death. A basic kit but allowing a computer hookup available as one grows into their system (more money available) would be great after thinking about your system.

I myself an 'ex licenced A&P mechanic until the 75 airline layoffs, a few years machine shop background, now a forced retirement back injury as a union electrician of 27 years. For toys a fully loaded Miller 350 Synchrowave Tig, Miller 251 Mig w/30A spoolgun, Hypertherm Max 20 Plasma, Lathe and a Bridgeport mill with 10" rotary index table that mounts vertical and horizontal. All personal shop and garage toys while I lay around taking pain pills thinking up crazy ideas like I posted above during idle (pain) times all night long.

PS; thanks for the PM sent, will take note. Some day i'll get what I would call a presentable unit for show and tell. Thanks again and best of luck with your project.
 

eschatz

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Jesus John, what the hell are you doing? It's this kind of jealousy that killed Lennon you know! That thing is increadible. Your prowess in the brewing idiom is certainly aberrant. Once again jealousy abounds. :mug:
 
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John Beere

John Beere

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Jesus John, what the hell are you doing? It's this kind of jealousy that killed Lennon you know! That thing is increadible. Your prowess in the brewing idiom is certainly aberrant. Once again jealousy abounds. :mug:
Why thanks - that is my ultimate goal... assassination. heh
 

Clayton

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John Beere

John Beere

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these guys make ph meters with serial interfaces
pH meter: Hanna Instruments Complete Selection of pH meters
thay even make some for wine and food

BTW the VIA EPIA board are faster cheeper and useless power
that and most have 4 to 6 rs232 ports plus 6 to 8 USB and LVDS port for hooking an LCD screen strate to the board like in a laptop "no external power"
VIA Embedded Boards - VIA Technologies, Inc.
Thanks, I'll check out those PH meters but I think we are on the downhill with building an amp...

I looked at those VIA boards but chose the Intel based on the specs and price - it was only $79 delivered from NewEgg and has all the horsepower I can ever imagine it needing.
 

Clayton

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oh and BTW
take a look at this via pico kit it uses a 12volt power supply so you can run it off the same power as your other controls VIA ARTiGO Pico-ITX Builder Kit A1000 - VIA Technologies, Inc.

here are abunch more pico 12 atx powesupplys that will run any computer mother board off 12 volts so long at the watts are mached, the powersupply is no bigger than the atx wire harness.. i love nano computing i have been useing nano boards for years as mesh routers becase you can slip one in a weather proof box right next to a wireless access point and power the whole deal with power over ethernet, i built a setup for a local Internet service provider, that let them push a rual wireless internet service where each user was a cell that pushed it out further, works great
small PC ATX power supplies with 12V or 6-24V input


that will save you some space i see you have that AC powersupply in there now
 
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John Beere

John Beere

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I had an issue last night that I didn't have a chance to look at until I started to re-test this AM - the circuit for the 220v heating element was not turning off at the relay when it was supposed to... the LED on the relay would toggle off, but the power wouldn't. After asking around (thanks kladue), my hunch of what was causing it turned out to be right - the relay was getting too hot.

So I did what any good DIYer / Modder would do on a Sunday night when there wasn't anywhere to go buy a heatsink - I scavenged. I ended up disassembling a small 12v fridge that was powered by a peltier cooler. After removing the peltier cooler and hacking around, turned out to be a perfect fit - even the bolt pattern matched up - although it isn't the prettiest thing. It is pretty much hidden from the front of my rig, so I'm OK with it.

I'm running one last test with it now that everything has been reassembled and it is working great. Thank God I didn't ruin that relay - that would have been several days wait to replace...

Here's a photo:
 
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