Kegland Rapt Pill floating hydrometer temperature monitor

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MajorJC

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That aphorism probably makes less sense to many people that are use to getting their time from devices that synchronize to network time.
Yep, I remember the old days having to synchronize my Timex watch with the time clock at work.

Now I wear an Apple watch and have an iPhone and they are never more than 5 seconds off from the time clock.
 

hotbeer

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Ye
Yep, I remember the old days having to synchronize my Timex watch with the time clock at work.
Yeah, I thought I was so so superior back in 3rd grade (mid '60's) syncing my watch via the shortwave radio to the time signal in Colorado.

Didn't matter though, we just argued whether that made any sense since others were using the banks time on their sign or from the phone number you could call.

Besides, in elementary school, the school bell ruled. Didn't matter what the real time was.
 

beren

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Funnily enough, they still read different depending on the source. Car sync with cell network and can be off compared to my phone.
 

Dru1989

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Recently decided to give Kegland products a try. I purchased a Rapt Pill from a vendor in Canada for $60 US Dollars shipped to my door in the US. Since having the unit, I have had nothing but problems. First issue the pill would not reliably wake up when moved from the horizontal position. After using a trick previously posted about removing the battery and bending the contact clips out for a better connection, it was still not waking up reliably. I un-register the Pill, re-registered it and charge for another 24 hour, my initial charge was 36 hours. Things start to look promising from there. The Pill was waking up! I promptly calibrated it water let it go for 12 hours and was ready for a real world test. I dropped it in my fermenter, it sent 10 data point over 8.5 hours even though it was set to transmit every 30 minutes. Then it stopped transmitting. While it was transmitting, temperature and gravity were spot on. I have a Spike CF10 with full temp control. 2 Weeks later I fished it out the fermenter and again began the process of un-registering, re-registering, calibrating and getting ready for my next brew. This time a little bit better success. I managed to get 44 readings over 18 hours before it quit transmitting again. At this point I was ready to write off the Pill, after all it was only 60 bucks. But, I was persistent, and this time made several dry runs, slowing altering the angle over 12 and 24 hour time frames, it worked great outside the fermenter. I re-calibrated one final time, got 58 data points with a 1.0 or 0.99 gravity for each reading and a constant temperature. I thought for sure I would have success. Dropped the Pill in my next batch and it was reading the temperature accurately 85 times until, you guessed it the unit stop transmitting. Not only that but over the course of those 3 days, the gravity did not start reporting until a day and a half into the ferment. But there was yet another problem, my gravity was below 1.0 and was increasing see chart below, it was turning from beer back to wort. My measured gravity with my hydrometer was 1.070. I have a Asus Zen Wifi ET8 Mesh system in my house, the fermenter is less than 10 feet from my node, a wall (drywall) does separate them. All my devices fly on this higher end Mesh system, unfortunately the Rapt Pill can't reliable send a signal. Kee at Kegland had me sold, but I think I should have waited for the second generation of this product. Currently dealing with customer service in Australia, but none of the suggests are working.
image.png
 

Dru1989

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Recently decided to give Kegland products a try. I purchased a Rapt Pill from a vendor in Canada for $60 US Dollars shipped to my door in the US. Since having the unit, I have had nothing but problems. First issue the pill would not reliably wake up when moved from the horizontal position. After using a trick previously posted about removing the battery and bending the contact clips out for a better connection, it was still not waking up reliably. I un-register the Pill, re-registered it and charge for another 24 hour, my initial charge was 36 hours. Things start to look promising from there. The Pill was waking up! I promptly calibrated it water let it go for 12 hours and was ready for a real world test. I dropped it in my fermenter, it sent 10 data point over 8.5 hours even though it was set to transmit every 30 minutes. Then it stopped transmitting. While it was transmitting, temperature and gravity were spot on. I have a Spike CF10 with full temp control. 2 Weeks later I fished it out the fermenter and again began the process of un-registering, re-registering, calibrating and getting ready for my next brew. This time a little bit better success. I managed to get 44 readings over 18 hours before it quit transmitting again. At this point I was ready to write off the Pill, after all it was only 60 bucks. But, I was persistent, and this time made several dry runs, slowing altering the angle over 12 and 24 hour time frames, it worked great outside the fermenter. I re-calibrated one final time, got 58 data points with a 1.0 or 0.99 gravity for each reading and a constant temperature. I thought for sure I would have success. Dropped the Pill in my next batch and it was reading the temperature accurately 85 times until, you guessed it the unit stop transmitting. Not only that but over the course of those 3 days, the gravity did not start reporting until a day and a half into the ferment. But there was yet another problem, my gravity was below 1.0 and was increasing see chart below, it was turning from beer back to wort. My measured gravity with my hydrometer was 1.070. I have a Asus Zen Wifi ET8 Mesh system in my house, the fermenter is less than 10 feet from my node, a wall (drywall) does separate them. All my devices fly on this higher end Mesh system, unfortunately the Rapt Pill can't reliable send a signal. Kee at Kegland had me sold, but I think I should have waited for the second generation of this product. Currently dealing with customer service in Australia, but none of the suggests are working.
View attachment 782011
Here is the latest response from Kegland on my issues (I've asked for a replacement), not real confident this will get resolved at this point.

The KegLand Team <[email protected]>​

9:46 PM (8 minutes ago)

to me






Hi Dru,

With active fermentation you will see bubbles, krausen and active fermentation play with the results. The PILL should be used as an identifier for fermentation coming near to an end. I would still for accuracy want to do a hydrometer test if i'm going to be serving this to people so they know the ABV%


As the liquid gets colder, the density would increase making it thicker. That could then absorb more CO2 into solution with little bubbles pushing it higher. Many things can come into play that we simply need to think of lots of possibilities to ascertain some reasoning that makes sense.


Kind Regards,
The KegLand Team (Australia)
AIorK4zGAZaKZRwGIvsPxbSS6BgsHneUed58asbSZd_w8uohmCXe5zsqG9deoFvObmtCTIwx0u9Dx8Y

410 Princes Highway
Noble Park
VIC 3174
www.KegLand.com.au
+61390187935
Sign up to our Facebook Page
https://www.facebook.com/kegland.com.au/

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel
https://www.youtube.com/kegland


 

RyPA

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The device isn't perfect but hopefully with some future firmware updates we will get there. What I've learned/go by for my 3 pill brews.

1. Leave the battery out of the device when not in use. Put the battery in before you put the pill in sanitizer. I charge the battery with an external charger which makes the battery reading in the pill not work. I am guessing that the pill sets the percentage only when the battery is charged in the pill.
2. Your fermenter needs to be in a relatively close distance to your router. I brew in a keg and I found it really cuts down on the range. I either put the keg in the same room or adjacent room to where my router is.
3. The pill status/dashboard is buggy and it's my least favorite part of the device. It does not always show all 3 data points (battery, gravity, temp), and when you move the sliders, the graph all the sudden gets compressed and looks terrible and doesn't work. KegLand, please fix this.
4. Inconsistent data points. I began nudging my fermenter/keg as I think this makes the pill think something may have changed, making it provide a data update.
5. I don't rely on the gravity readings from the device, I only want to know when gravity stops changing.

Even with the negatives, it still lets me know when fermentation is done so I can move on to dry hopping/carbing so I am happy with the purchase.
 

Dru1989

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The device isn't perfect but hopefully with some future firmware updates we will get there. What I've learned/go by for my 3 pill brews.

1. Leave the battery out of the device when not in use. Put the battery in before you put the pill in sanitizer. I charge the battery with an external charger which makes the battery reading in the pill not work. I am guessing that the pill sets the percentage only when the battery is charged in the pill.
2. Your fermenter needs to be in a relatively close distance to your router. I brew in a keg and I found it really cuts down on the range. I either put the keg in the same room or adjacent room to where my router is.
3. The pill status/dashboard is buggy and it's my least favorite part of the device. It does not always show all 3 data points (battery, gravity, temp), and when you move the sliders, the graph all the sudden gets compressed and looks terrible and doesn't work. KegLand, please fix this.
4. Inconsistent data points. I began nudging my fermenter/keg as I think this makes the pill think something may have changed, making it provide a data update.
5. I don't rely on the gravity readings from the device, I only want to know when gravity stops changing.

Even with the negatives, it still lets me know when fermentation is done so I can move on to dry hopping/carbing so I am happy with the purchase.
It's just not worth the hassle, my Tilt worked as advertised out of the package. Did I have to build a Pi Repeater, Yes, but they told me range was an issue from the start, so I was well prepared for what was in store. I see people raving about the Rapt Pill all over the internet, just look at YouTube. I can't believe I got the only faulty unit. Most of these products I buy just for the experimental fun of it, but quite frankly this device isn't ready for prime time. I will absolutely make great beer without this device, was just hoping this would provide an easy button for gravity and temp without manually doing it.
 

hotbeer

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@Dru1989

I have had the rapt pill for quite a few months and have had no real issues. Though I will admit that their cloud software that can be dodgy for starting and stopping profiles. Seems like after making a profile change it's best to log out of the portal and then log back in. But certainly not unlike some of the dodgy things experienced with other devices connected to a raspberry Pi.

So while you can't, I can believe that your issues are just a one off thing. Maybe due to you getting a bad unit or a simple and as of yet unknown quirk in something with your use of it.
 

Dru1989

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@Dru1989

I have had the rapt pill for quite a few months and have had no real issues. Though I will admit that their cloud software that can be dodgy for starting and stopping profiles. Seems like after making a profile change it's best to log out of the portal and then log back in. But certainly not unlike some of the dodgy things experienced with other devices connected to a raspberry Pi.

So while you can't, I can believe that your issues are just a one off thing. Maybe due to you getting a bad unit or a simple and as of yet unknown quirk in something with your use of it.
I'm chalking this up to a bad unit, hopefully I can get a replacement from Kegland
 

hotbeer

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Has anyone tried these in a stainless fermenter? Can you still connect?
There are others previously in this thread that answered the question you ask. But to do some experimenting just for me, I put my Rapt Pill in a heavy stainless steel stock pot full of water. It's sitting in another room from my wifi endpoint. So is one interior wall and probably about 20 feet between them. This is it's dbm reading....

Last Telemetry Received: 10 minutes ago
Firmware Version: 20220612_050156_81c6d14 (Latest)
Signal Strength: -66dbm
Battery: 79.3%

Obviously this is wifi. But they give you the option of BlueTooth also. However I have that turned off on the pill and didn't wish to open it to turn it on and establish the BT pairing. BT won't have as good a range though.
 

BongoYodeler

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There are others previously in this thread that answered the question you ask. But to do some experimenting just for me, I put my Rapt Pill in a heavy stainless steel stock pot full of water. It's sitting in another room from my wifi endpoint. So is one interior wall and probably about 20 feet between them. This is it's dbm reading....



Obviously this is wifi. But they give you the option of BlueTooth also. However I have that turned off on the pill and didn't wish to open it to turn it on and establish the BT pairing. BT won't have as good a range though.
I think the Bluetooth only for pairing between other Rapt devices such as the Pill to a Rapt temperature controller. My understanding is you would still need WiFi turned on on one of the devices (temp controller) to transmit data to the Rapt cloud.

From Rapt user's group: "If you have a Rapt Fermentation Chamber or Temperature Controller as well as a Rapt Pill, you can now configure your pill to transmit telemetry via Bluetooth and the other "bridging" device will relay the data to the Rapt Cloud."
 

hawkwing

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Ok that’s cool. Thanks. I would imagine it has an effect on battery life if it has to transmit at a higher power.

How much head room (airspace) is needed for the measurement range?
 

hotbeer

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Ok that’s cool. Thanks. I would imagine it has an effect on battery life if it has to transmit at a higher power.

How much head room (airspace) is needed for the measurement range?
I don't know that it changes power for transmission. Though if the signal strength gets too low, then it might have to re-transmit some packets. Or it might wear itself out never connecting depending on what it's failure modes tell it do.

The frequency you set it up for transmitting definitely has an effect on battery. Before I actually used it in the fermenter, I had it at it's default setting of 1 hour. And it is supposed to last five years on one charge at that frequency.

Changing it to give a reading every 15 minutes, it's battery went from 98% to 79% in just over 21 days.

As far as headspace, the thing only has about a 1/2 to 3/4" exposed above the surface when floating in water. And it is about a 30 - 45° angle just guesstimating. Probably needs about 5 inches to float it without touching the bottom.

On the portal, they give access to the API's and such. I haven't programmed in quite a while, but there seems to be enough there to let one program their own custom interface for monitoring. But whether those API's are only for use through the cloud portal, I don't know.

I moved the pot to the other side of the room. It's still one interior wall away but twice as far at about 40 - 45 feet away. I've only gotten one report since moving it about an hour ago and the dbm's are at a high noise level. So it's missed at least two reports since the last good one in that location.

Last Telemetry Received: 34 minutes ago
Firmware Version: 20220612_050156_81c6d14 (Latest)
Signal Strength: -79dbm
Battery: 78.2%

With the plastic fermenter I use, I kept it two interior walls away probably about 50 - 55 feet distance from the wifi AP. One wall with a lot of storage cabinets full of stuff. And had good enough signal strength never missing a report that I'm aware of. But I don't remember ever checking to see what the dbm's were in that location.
 

hawkwing

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I’m curious if there would be enough head room in a 19L corny keg fermenter.

That brings another question to mind. How would it perform under pressure. Would it leak and fail.
 

hotbeer

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Well as I said it's only got about a 1/2 to 3/4" sticking up above the water now. Even in high gravity beer, I don't think that's going to be much more. Just a different angle it sits at in the beer. So not much headspace needed. Bumping up against and getting hung up on a floating dip tube might be an issue though.

Can't help you with how much pressure it can stand. But there are two o-ring seals on it. So probably it will take some pressure and IIRC, Kegland has pressure fermenters that it sells as well as this. However I'd be concerned that different pressures will make it float differently giving different readings. But maybe the pressure differential isn't that great and for just relative information, probably still useful. And, one can easily calibrate it in a vessel pressurized to whatever the normal PSI is for your ferments prior to using.

I'm just finding out that the cloud portal for the thing has been going up and down today. Or maybe I need to check on my own wifi, though everything else seems normal. But with it going up and down, my experimenting with reception today might be useless.

However I did just get a hit with it in the same place I use my plastic fermenters. And that's impressive to me for it being in a heavy stainless steel stock pot with the lid on. But it is a higher noise level yet......

Last Telemetry Received: 26 minutes ago
Firmware Version: 20220612_050156_81c6d14 (Latest)
Signal Strength: -87dbm
Battery: 78.1%
 
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BongoYodeler

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Well as I said it's only got about a 1/2 to 3/4" sticking up above the water now. Even in high gravity beer, I don't think that's going to be much more. Just a different angle it sits at in the beer. So not much headspace needed. Bumping up against and getting hung up on a floating dip tube might be an issue though.

Can't help you with how much pressure it can stand. But there are two o-ring seals on it. So probably it will take some pressure and IIRC, Kegland has pressure fermenters that it sells as well as this. However I'd be concerned that different pressures will make it float differently giving different readings. But maybe the pressure differential isn't that great and for just relative information, probably still useful. And, one can easily calibrate it in a vessel pressurized to whatever the normal PSI is for your ferments prior to using.

I'm just finding out that the cloud portal for the thing has been going up and down today. Or maybe I need to check on my own wifi, though everything else seems normal. But with it going up and down, my experimenting with reception today might be useless.

However I did just get a hit with it in the same place I use my plastic fermenters. And that's impressive to me for it being in a heavy stainless steel stock pot with the lid on. But it is a higher noise level yet......
There are reports of some folks successfully fermenting under pressure with a Pill. Other reports of some having issues. I guess YMMV.

Also, as mentioned a few posts ago Rapt team says connection issues with anything approaching -75dbm so I would expect some issues at -87dbm.
 
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