iSpindle - DIY Electronic Hydrometer

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IanJ

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@IanJ

Any luck with your hacks/mods ?
Unfortunately not, I'm going to be more aggressive with repositioning/dremeling this weekend when I've got free time. The joys have having a 2 year old.

Seemingly the weight is just too bottom heavy, maybe it's the battery being a few grams too heavy, I never actually weighed it vs the original design battery weight at 44g I believe? (trying to recall from memory what the plans and board had printed)
 

DuncB

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@IanJ
Get as much weight off the lower end of the ispindel as possible, my original ispindels I just soldered directly onto the battery. The holders are much neater though.
I have just weighed two batteries that don't hold charge well and were of dubious provenance they weighed 40.2g and 42.3 g.

I don't know how much my good batteries weigh. @gingerneil is on the uk ispindel forum
iSpindel but might be messagable via this forum as it could be the same member
and he has made a lot of the cherry philip boards i think and might give you some specific tips as well. Might be worth a pm.
 

IanJ

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Thanks for checking yours, that definitely helps figure things out. I had a few minutes to at least weigh batteries, the one I was working with for the first version was around 48g, which seems to indicate that there may not be a solution with the parts I have currently. Completely removing the battery holder would probably not even give back 6g+ though I could still be wrong.

You never really know what you're gonna get from AliExpress sellers in China.
 

DuncB

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My better batteries I bought on trademe and had been previously in laptops or backup power supplies. I have just pulled one of these from an uncalibrated Ispindel and it weighs 45.5 grammes. So your batteries aren't that far off. Worth a bit more hacking than a new battery.
 
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I'm having issues with battery life, with the interval set to 1800 I'm only getting 4-5 days. I've increased it to 3600, but I noticed that one of the LEDs stays lit all the time and that doesn't seem right, I thought the whole thing would go to sleep to conserve power. Am I missing something?
16398546391823410794671308289375.jpg
 

DuncB

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@Jayjay1976
Hi
Yes that LED needs removing, use soldering iron and n direction away from other components.
Re battery life might get better with this but other things made sure firmware up to date.
Make sure you saved and it really is 1800 or 3600.
Check you have good signal on WiFi you can see that in info on ipindel or on your app ( brewspy) -50 much better than - 90.
Some batteries are not good see the last few pages this thread and my comments. Post charge 4.2 v is good mine go down about 0.1 v a fortnight with 1200 interval.
Bad soldered joint can be inefficient as well but eliminate other issues first before that hunt.
IMG_20211219_082533.jpg
 
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Thanks for the replies, is it a bad idea to just crush that led with some tiny pliers? I think I could get in there with my soldering iron but would prefer not to. I'll also check the battery voltage, should be fully charged.
 

ChrisThomas

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@Jayjay1976 I wouldn't crush the LED, you could end up damaging the tracks on the circuit board, that may not actually affect the function, but I wouldn't personally. Removing the LED on the gyro is a good thing. You could also remove the diode (D1) on the D1 Mini, that will protect your battery from adverse charging, but not essential.

Another contributor to excessive current consumption can be knock off D1 Minis? Biggest reported problem with poor battery life though is cheap batteries, getting your batteries from reputable suppliers is strongly advised.
 

DuncB

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@Jayjay1976
Tiny pair of wire snips would work.
Rubbish battery is the main culprit as you'll see from the previous pages.
All my batteries are second life from other devices so I check them with voltmeter and then run test them in an ispindel.
 

Rolo1977

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Hi all,
I was hoping someone would have a suggestion or a hint to solve my problem?
I have bought a prebuild Jeffrey 2.69 Spindel... Everything looks to works fine, but battery voltage shows as 0.02V even after charging... And I have checked the voltage on pin A0 (with a Fluke), that shows 4.02 (when switched on), so I'm missing 4 Volts! What could be the cause is the Analogue Port broken?
How can I debug this?
 

ChrisThomas

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Hmmm, firstly check the battery conversion factor, from memory 191.??? do a quick google. If it's not that, then yes, it's likely the D1Mini is the issue. If that's the case you're better of replacing the D1Mini.

You could try and diagnose the D1Mini, there's a voltage divider on it in addition to the one on the iSpindel, could be an with the D1Mini PCB or with the ESP8266 itself.
 

Rolo1977

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Hmmm, firstly check the battery conversion factor, from memory 191.??? do a quick google. If it's not that, then yes, it's likely the D1Mini is the issue. If that's the case you're better of replacing the D1Mini.

You could try and diagnose the D1Mini, there's a voltage divider on it in addition to the one on the iSpindel, could be an with the D1Mini PCB or with the ESP8266 itself.
I think I have found the issue... The component that should connect the pin to the chip is not lined up properly and isn't making connection... I have to solder that probably...
 

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ChrisThomas

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Yes, and also look at the possible issue between the A0 and D0 pins... I don't have a D1MiniPro to hand to check the tracks, but that misplaced resistor could be the cause of your problem. Just don't short to one of the resistors next to it. See if you can unsolder from the right side (in your picture) first. If the resistor is then free, solder to the correct pads.

Good luck!
 

DuncB

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The d1 mini has a component that needs moving if you are going to use an external antenna. I think that is the one you have loose.
But have you checked with the vendor re the issue as well, suggests poor QC if you have this problem out of the box.
 

ChrisThomas

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The d1 mini has a component that needs moving if you are going to use an external antenna. I think that is the one you have loose.
But have you checked with the vendor re the issue as well, suggests poor QC if you have this problem out of the box.
The resistor to select the internal/external aerial is the one to the left of "rainsun", the ceramic aerial. In the picture vertical for internal, moved to horizontal for the external.

QC department missed this one, the soldering is suspect in my opinion.
 

adrianoftyriel

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Hi all, I'm reaslly struggling with my iSpindels. I've got 3 that I've made: some with D1 Minis and some with D1 Mini Pros (Thinking that might be my problem, but it didn't solve it).

None of them seem to be able to function correctly. I can get them into config mode and connect them to my Fermentrack installation, but when I turn them on normally, they don't report.

If I plug them in with micro usb and check them, the serial port report properly, and everything seems to work, but running on battery, it doesn't. I've tried multiple batteries from different sources, no change.

Right now, I've got a FTDI adapter wired into Gnd, TX, RX of my D1 Mini Pro iSpindel, and connecting at 115200, but everything is garbled.

Does anyone have any suggestions as to how I can troubleshoot?
 

adrianoftyriel

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Alright, update:

I've reflashed, and reconfigured, and now I can connect via microusb, but whenever it sleeps, it gargles the connection and doesn't come back. I get this:

Code:
Final-sleep: 30s; RT: 2456
r$lܞ|▒l▒|
▒
l▒
"|▒▒▒r▒bl▒c▒p~▒N▒$on▒▒#bp▒▒bd`r$▒{▒▒nocp
And then it doesn't come back until I hit the reset button:

Code:
▒rll▒▒|▒$▒|
▒
d▒b|▒▒▒▒r▒b▒p
▒▒on▒lon▒▒▒bp▒▒$slslp▒n▒
▒
l▒▒
bn▒|▒
▒▒
#▒▒oN▒l▒▒$`▒o
▒$N{▒▒▒n
rr▒ p▒n▒
{▒▒ܜ▒▒bo▒|
▒
B▒▒on▒
▒l`▒N▒slor▒▒▒▒
{l s▒▒▒
{d`▒
▒▒p▒
$`▒N▒l
      FW 7.1.4
2.2.2-dev(38a443e)
Worker run!
mounting FS... mounted!
reading config file
parsed config:
{"Name":"iSpindel003","Token":"fermentrack","Sleep":30,"Server":"172.16.88.18","API":3,"Port":80,"Channel":0,"URI":"http://172.16.88.18/ispindel","DB":"ispindel","Username":"","Password":"","Job":"ispindel","Instance":"000","Hassio":false,"Vfact":191.8,"TS":0,"OWpin":12,"POLY":"0.000847895*tilt^2 + 0.3202349*tilt - 7.436912695","SSID":"Wallace IoT","PSK":"[email protected]","Offset":[0,0,0,0,0,0]}
offsets not available
Boot-Mode: Deep-Sleep Wake

woken from deepsleep, normal mode
Samples:42 min:56.28 max:56.49 time:758
x: 712 y: 13294 z: 8856
Tilt: 56.41
Tacc: 19.18
Volt: 4.70
Temp: 19.38
Gravity: 13.33
After waiting 1201ms, result 3
IP: 172.16.50.236

calling HTTP
{"name":"iSpindel003","ID":10596014,"token":"fermentrack","angle":56.40998,"temperature":19.375,"temp_units":"C","battery":4.702816,"gravity":13.32561,"interval":30,"RSSI":-77}HTTPAPI: posting
code: 200
{
     "status": "ok",
                        "gravity": "0.0"
                                        }

Final-sleep: 30s; RT: 2473

Any more ideas?
 

adrianoftyriel

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It's clone of a D1 Mini Pro.. It appears that Lolin (formerly Wemos) is no longer selling D1 Minis, except for the V4, which has had some changes, and I was afraid of using it.

I guess I'll order a few of those to replace these.
 

ChrisThomas

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I've been lucky, yes I've got some clones, but I only used real V3.0.0 for my iSpindel builds, that was by chance though, it's what I had to hand at build time. I've got some clones, but they're in old projects that don't sleep!
 

Rolo1977

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Yes, and also look at the possible issue between the A0 and D0 pins... I don't have a D1MiniPro to hand to check the tracks, but that misplaced resistor could be the cause of your problem. Just don't short to one of the resistors next to it. See if you can unsolder from the right side (in your picture) first. If the resistor is then free, solder to the correct pads.

Good luck!
It was the resistor, I have soldered it correctly and it works perfectly... :) So a big happy for me, after calibrating it is my latest brew :cool:
 

Yirg

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This is from the iSpindel FAQ page
  • Can I operate it in a stainless steel container? Is it possible to get through the faradic cage?To achieve a sufficient WLAN signal strength you can do the following things:
    • Break open the faradic cage. This is possible by electrically separating the lid from the pot. Can be achieved by applying a silicone sealant between the two parts.
    • Use a passive antenna. Use a shielded cable that is stripped from both ends (i. e. Lambda/4), where one side ends in the pot, exactly 3.2mm. This is transmitted passively from the inside to the outside and vice versa. A good example can be found here: iSpindel - Aufbau und Betrieb - Seite 20 - hobbybrauer.de
    • Install a wifi range extender next to the barrel to increase the signal level.
I'm planning to ferment in a stainless steel pot with the lid on and am looking for a way to find when fermentation has ended. The iSpindel looks like it could work well for this, except for the issue of blocking the signal. Is a range extender a reliable solution? It's really simple and doesn't require tinkering, so would be my preferred option.
 

ChrisThomas

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Basically, yes. However, there are all sorts of reasons why it wouldn't work and you're not likley to be sure until you try it. If you want a simple, no fiddling solution, then I'd start with one of these...

You can use a WiFi extender that just plugs in to a nearby socket and connects to your existing network. This will give you a locally strong connection and it then passes this over to your router/main network. This type of solution is just a fit and forget but does require a reasonable existing signal, also your network speed will be "halved" as the extender receives all the info then sends it on (simple explanation).

You could try a PowerLine solution, this requires reasonable mains wiring between the sender and receiver (ideally on the same circuit). Again relatively simple to setup, this doesn't halve your WiFi speed but you might not get a good data rate over your domestic wiring. There are various solutions for PowerLine, some are all WiFi some requiring a wired network connection.

As the iSpindel doesn't send a great deal of information neither of these solutions should be an issue, probably...
 

Yirg

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My apartment isn't very big and I also have a MESH setup, so maybe it would just work. I have excellent WiFi reception throughout my apartment. I would assume that only if the signal from the iSpindle is super faint there would be any need to extend/amplify it.
 
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