iSpindle - DIY Electronic Hydrometer

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DuncB

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Well the FLIR camera was quite revealing wish I'd done it before.
Battery side
flir_20220502T112404.jpg all is okay.

But flipped over quite different.
flir_20220502T112453.jpg IMG_20220502_112535.jpg IMG_20220502_112809.jpg

I'm going to swap out this board and I think we'll see a difference.

I've been running a micro heater in the test water!
 

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DuncB

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Swapped the gyro out and put a new one in and the picture tells a different story.

flir_20220502T140723.jpg The bright bit at the bottom is just the shiny pad for adding solder weight too if needed.
Expect battery decay to be back to normal.
 

mper

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@mper
I have a good wifi signal as it's connecting to a repeater and has a signal of about 60.
Something not right for sure, I've watched it and the blue light only flashes at the interval the timing is set to. It's now at 3.76V and started at 4.13 less than 24 hours ago.
I'll get it out of the petling and take a picture with my FLIR camera and see if there's a hot spot. Reload the latest firmware and have a really good look at all the solder points to see if I can spot a problem.
good you found the problem
 

DuncB

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@DuncB You have an IR camera?!?!
Yes a CAT 62 mobile phone, designed for builders, electricians house insulators etc. I use it at work for assessing blood flow in skin during and after some operations. Also good for assessing burn depth.
It is also good for finding dog in the dark/fog. Covid screening handy as well.
 

Dr_Jeff

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I ferment under pressure.
My PRV is ~25psi has anyone fermented at that high a pressure?
Will the device leak?
Does anyone with experience foresee any issues or is there anything special I might need to do?
 

DuncB

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Have been fermenting many times at that pressure and a little above. I did have one sink but it dried out okay and worked fine.
I do now use the Orings mentioned by me somewhere above now and don't get problems at all. I put a little bit of silicone grease on the top edge of the petling when I tighten it and then back it off and tighten again.
Not gone much above 30psi except by accident.

Tell tale you have a problem is if you suddenly see that the gravity is falling rapidly again when it should have finished. Liquid getting in makes it float more vertical. A really strong magnet ie hard disk drive type will attract an Ispindel and can support it if you think it's sinking.
 

Dr_Jeff

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I use stainless steel kegmenters (read thick stainless steel) and have a Beverage Air back bar box for a fermentation chamber (metal walls inside and out).

I brewed this weekend and decided to use the iSpindel for the first time.
I had set them up to the wifi and they were reporting in when they were sitting either on the counter or in a bucket of water in the brew shed.

Before I closed up the fermenters, I switched on the device, gave the top a good twist and dropped them in, one in each fermenter.
A bit later I went to my computer to see what they were "seeing" and it seems that there is too much metal blocking the signal. :-(

Now I have to figure out a plan B
 

scubatech

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Had the same problem. Move your fermenter as close to your wifi router as possible. I plan on adding another access point in the future so I don't have to continue doing that.
 

rkhanso

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I use stainless steel kegmenters (read thick stainless steel) and have a Beverage Air back bar box for a fermentation chamber (metal walls inside and out).

I brewed this weekend and decided to use the iSpindel for the first time.
I had set them up to the wifi and they were reporting in when they were sitting either on the counter or in a bucket of water in the brew shed.

Before I closed up the fermenters, I switched on the device, gave the top a good twist and dropped them in, one in each fermenter.
A bit later I went to my computer to see what they were "seeing" and it seems that there is too much metal blocking the signal. :-(

Now I have to figure out a plan B
That sounds like a lot of metal for the WiFi signal to penetrate. But have you tried a WiFi repeater? You can make one out of a $3 ESP8266.
It works great for me.
 

Dr_Jeff

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That sounds like a lot of metal for the WiFi signal to penetrate. But have you tried a WiFi repeater? You can make one out of a $3 ESP8266.
It works great for me.


So to close this out, I built several of the wifi repeaters from the ESP8266 boards, put one inside the fermentation chamber and another along the way and all is good.
It was rather simple to follow the instructions and get the wifi repeater working.
What I learned is, not all of the USB cables have the data wires connected and are for power only. I had to just keep trying the cables that I had and luckily one and only one worked, the rest are being used to power the devices.
 

day_trippr

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What I learned is, not all of the USB cables have the data wires connected and are for power only.

You likely have no idea how many times we've had to point that out over these many years.
And a pox upon companies that so totally cheap out to bundle such cables with their products...

Cheers!
 

ChrisThomas

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Anybody have any long term issues with the on/off switch on their iSpindel? I've just tried 2 of my iSpindels and neither turn on. When I check the battery volts, they're fine, but that voltage is not getting through the switch. If I short out the switch pins everything is fine

So fellow users, where do you get your switches from? What manufacturer do you use? I've had mine so long I can't remember where mine came from, but I suspect China!
 

DuncB

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I've used a couple of different brands of switch. Funny one ispindel stopped working before I left home. Didn't get a chance to do analysis on it. I'll look at the switch when I get back.
I think from memory the gravitymon turns off at certain angle which would save fitting a switch. I suppose swapping out the switch for an always on reed switch would be another option.
 

ChrisThomas

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As we discussed before it's something I tried the reed switch and dismissed it however, I'm looking at the PCB and different switch options. I'm satisfied that my issue is the switch, both iSpindels work with the switch contacts shorted out.

One current thought is to remove the slide switch entirely, replace it with a reed switch and store the iSpindels in a rack with a magnet above the lid.
 

ChrisThomas

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Well, that was a nasty job! I tried to replace the switch with the least amount of disturbance to the other components. I only removed the TP4056, that gave me enough space to get the switch out. Had to cut it out though and then unsolder the pins.

Might have been easier to remove D1 mini to get access to both sides of the TP4056 pads, but with a solder sucker and desolder braid I got the holes cleared from the one side. Soldered replacement switch, solder the T4056 and hey presto all working!

For the next faulty one I think I'm going to try the reed switch as a permanent replacement.
 
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DuncB

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@ChrisThomas
Seems like a good plan, not sure if on off reed switch would get triggered when I use the reed switch on the reset part of my current ispindel build.
I have triggered the reset config mode on my ispindel whilst fermenting so I could change the update interval for beers sitting in secondary phase for a long time.
I had a look at the gravitymon info and can't see an angle related on off, just a go into configuration mode at 90 degrees.
Perhaps possible to ask developer @mper if 180 degree angle detection could turn off or set really long interval for updates. Then switch could be eliminated as a component.
 

mper

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@ChrisThomas
Seems like a good plan, not sure if on off reed switch would get triggered when I use the reed switch on the reset part of my current ispindel build.
I have triggered the reset config mode on my ispindel whilst fermenting so I could change the update interval for beers sitting in secondary phase for a long time.
I had a look at the gravitymon info and can't see an angle related on off, just a go into configuration mode at 90 degrees.
Perhaps possible to ask developer @mper if 180 degree angle detection could turn off or set really long interval for updates. Then switch could be eliminated as a component.
Sorry about the late delay, I've been on vacation for the last week. There is no on/off mode implemented in gravitymon, just the possibility to enter configuration mode. It would be possible to implement such a feature when placing the device on its cap (0 degress) but there are a few challenges that needs to be adressed. The max sleep time is 2000 minutes (33 hours) which would give a long battery lifetime. But there is no way with the current hardware config to get the device out of sleep mode once it has entered sleep mode without tapping the reset button. But If it's of interest I would consider implementing this feature and pehaps see if there is some way of modifying the hardware to wake it up earlier.
 

mper

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An alternative could be to replace the switch with a magnetic reed switch that opens when in contact with a magnet (normal closed) most options seams to be normal open. i have not tested this but would be an option to avoid opening the device ….
 

DuncB

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@mper
Thank you for the reply. Hope holiday was Good.
.
I have already modified a few of my ispindels ( using ispindel software) with a reed switch soldered on the reset. This has allowed me to trigger into config setting whilst in fermenter and lengthen update/ reporting interval for beers a long time in secondary.
Your maximum sleep time issue on gravitymon wouldn't be a problem with my hardware variant. I could remove the power switch or build without power switch and bridge to always on.
Then stand on lid would turn ispindel to a very long sleep. It could be woken from this by waving the magnet on the side.
However as the ispindel is not going to be in a beer when in this inverted state opening it and shorting the reset pins wouldn't be a big deal anyway.
 

mper

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@mper
Thank you for the reply. Hope holiday was Good.
.
I have already modified a few of my ispindels ( using ispindel software) with a reed switch soldered on the reset. This has allowed me to trigger into config setting whilst in fermenter and lengthen update/ reporting interval for beers a long time in secondary.
Your maximum sleep time issue on gravitymon wouldn't be a problem with my hardware variant. I could remove the power switch or build without power switch and bridge to always on.
Then stand on lid would turn ispindel to a very long sleep. It could be woken from this by waving the magnet on the side.
However as the ispindel is not going to be in a beer when in this inverted state opening it and shorting the reset pins wouldn't be a big deal anyway.
Well that could work, will order a few reed switches to test this approach. would not be too difficult to modify my software for this.
 

DuncB

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@mper
Just be careful bending the wires on the reed switch, the glass breaks easily if any stress occurs on it during the bend.
I used two tiny pliers when I made the bends.
It will reduce the top weight of the ispindel losing the conventional switch.
 

mper

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@mper
Just be careful bending the wires on the reed switch, the glass breaks easily if any stress occurs on it during the bend.
I used two tiny pliers when I made the bends.
It will reduce the top weight of the ispindel losing the conventional switch.
Will do, thanks for the tip, i will get the parts next week.
 

mper

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@mper
Thank you for the reply. Hope holiday was Good.
.
I have already modified a few of my ispindels ( using ispindel software) with a reed switch soldered on the reset. This has allowed me to trigger into config setting whilst in fermenter and lengthen update/ reporting interval for beers a long time in secondary.
Your maximum sleep time issue on gravitymon wouldn't be a problem with my hardware variant. I could remove the power switch or build without power switch and bridge to always on.
Then stand on lid would turn ispindel to a very long sleep. It could be woken from this by waving the magnet on the side.
However as the ispindel is not going to be in a beer when in this inverted state opening it and shorting the reset pins wouldn't be a big deal anyway.
I have implemented the feature in the v1.1 beta 1 release if you want to try it and give feedback. I have not had the time to do long term testing yet so i dont know how it affects batter life.

You need to turn it on in the hardware config section.
 

fuzzybee

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Have been fermenting many times at that pressure and a little above. I did have one sink but it dried out okay and worked fine.
I do now use the Orings mentioned by me somewhere above now and don't get problems at all. I put a little bit of silicone grease on the top edge of the petling when I tighten it and then back it off and tighten again.
Not gone much above 30psi except by accident.

Tell tale you have a problem is if you suddenly see that the gravity is falling rapidly again when it should have finished. Liquid getting in makes it float more vertical. A really strong magnet ie hard disk drive type will attract an Ispindel and can support it if you think it's sinking.
I searched the thread, and couldn't find the o-rings you discuss. Where di you get them?
 
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