New Temperature controller (Brewbit)

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ColoHox

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They are sold out because the product is so great! They couldn't keep up with demand.

I have not had a single issue with my unit. It has properly controlled ramps, crashes, holds etc for a dozen batches now. The dev team has released a few software updates and is very responsive in the forums.
 

EmDubeu

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Hi brewers,

I've been told to "be frivolous" in my Xmas list this year. And a remotely-controlled fermentation temperature controller with graphical readout pretty much maxes out the Frivolous-to-awesome ratio ;)

But I see some mixed experiences with the first generation of this unit. The last post was a few months ago, so I was wondering if users could share their current experiences so that I can figure whether this is a good thing to pick up or not.

Thanks!

ETA: They are sold out till 2Q2015?!?! WTF? what kind of way is that to grow a business?
I have one. Supported their kickstarter. I love the product with only minor concerns. One is the ongoing issues with WiFi connectivity/reliability that almost everyone has reported. I've personally found that if the model t is the only device connected to my router, then connectivity issues go away. My other concern is, what seems to me to be, a decrease in over the air updates. We haven't had one in awhile, however I'm not sure if it's because there's nothing to update or if it's because they've gone silent for another reason. There's also a steep decline in activity from the brewbit people on the forum.

All in all, you'd be happy getting a device. I hear there was some talk about brewbit replacing the WiFi hardware in the next generation model t's, but idk for sure.
 

Jerz

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I have two and have ZERO issues.. These are awesome! There may be issues with some Wi-Fi routers but not mine.
 

ktzimmer

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Anyone have any updates? Pros and Cons? Happy with their BrewBit or have regrets purchasing? I am looking into possibly getting one but see they are currently pushed out to Q3 2015, which is a decent wait.
 

rmullins

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ColoHox

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Full recommendation from me. The new software update appeared to fix the few things (one in particular) that I didn't like. This is a very reliable and easy to use product.
 

ktzimmer

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Thanks for the reply. Sounds like it's a nice product. Maybe I will just order and pay for it now. Should be enough time to forget about it by the time I receive it. It will almost seem like a free product. Ha!
 

truckmann

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Sad news today about this product. It looks like guys who started it just didn't ever get the help they needed and can't make the business work. Plus cost the of parts they used to build these have skyrocketed. They are looking for ideas for hosting the open source software to keep existing units usable.

It would be nice if someone could pick this project up and find a way to continue it because it is a really nice controller, but right now that seems unlikely.

Details here. http://discourse.brewbit.com/t/you-are-shutting-down/499/13
 

Coff

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Wow that sucks. I was never able to get it connected to my home network anyway so I had been using it as a super expensive STC100. I basically needed to buy a new router, which I didnt want to do. Admittedly, I didnt put much work into it.
 

truckmann

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I really hope they find a way to save the project. I think it was a lot to expect for a company betting on just this one project to make a continual income and have time to work on it while keeping their day jobs. The best bet would be to partner with or sell the project to a retailer that could better absorb the costs and not be as dependent on it as a sole source of income.
 

day_trippr

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This is exactly why I avoid devices that need to talk through a "mother ship".

That meant I had to write some apps myself, which was an epic pita with all the hella steep learning curves to ascend.

But, then again, my stuff works...

Cheers!
 

beskone

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This is exactly why I don't buy products that are tied to a service.

I got a controller I could run stand alone, even if it means no fancy internet connected logging, etc...

Everyone that bought one of these is about to own an expensive paperweight and thats pretty sucky.
 

truckmann

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The Brewbit could easily be a standalone unit similar to a BCS-460 if the software was developed for it to communicate to a local server. I wish I had the programming knowledge to work on that.
 

Derp

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Well, it looks like everyone with a Brewbit now owns an expensive thermometer, since the device appears to be completely nonfunctional now that Brewbit website/domain is offline. I just walked outside to begin a brew day and noticed that the screen was illuminated and reading 80 degrees, even though it had been idling along at 60 degrees for the last 2 weeks. I had assumed that I would still be able to manually operate the device from the touchscreen, but that doesn't appear to be the case. Hopefully someone will jump in and resurrect the website (or allow users to run it locally) but for now we're screwed. I guess I need to invest in a BrewPi setup...

There's some discussion about Brewbit controllers being effectively bricked on Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/Homebrewing/comments/51a0rb/brewbit_completely_shut_down_bricked/
 

Coff

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Mine is working fine as a standalone unit, Ive been using it that way for a long time bc the wifi on it was busted. Maybe since I couldn't connect it didnt brick.

Still disappointed in this product though, never held a wifi connection consistently enough to work as advertised.
 

ColoHox

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Mine always worked very well. I am really disappointed by the loss of the web management side.

It is holding a fermentation at 63 right now, as far as I know. Now though I am a bit nervous if other Brewbits have bricked!
 

Derp

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Mine is working fine as a standalone unit, Ive been using it that way for a long time bc the wifi on it was busted. Maybe since I couldn't connect it didnt brick.

Still disappointed in this product though, never held a wifi connection consistently enough to work as advertised.
Yeah, the wifi controller sucked, but I was able to get it to work fairly reliably.

It doesn't seem like the device is actually bricked, but it doesn't seem to be controlling my chest freezer. The freezer doesn't run at all and the touchscreen just displays the current temperatures.

I guess I'll call off today's brewing. I have an old 2-stage controller that I could hook up, but I don't want to go to all the hassle of mounting it and running probe wires through the freezer lid's insulation if I'm just going to have to do it all over again when I buy a BrewPi.
 

Setesh

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I guess I'll call off today's brewing. I have an old 2-stage controller that I could hook up, but I don't want to go to all the hassle of mounting it and running probe wires through the freezer lid's insulation if I'm just going to have to do it all over again when I buy a BrewPi.

Just close the lid/door on the probe wires, should work just fine. The gasket will curve enough to compensate. I've been doing that for years with no problems. Maybe it leaks a little air, but it's not much.
 

Derp

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Just close the lid/door on the probe wires, should work just fine. The gasket will curve enough to compensate. I've been doing that for years with no problems. Maybe it leaks a little air, but it's not much.
I have a problem with condensation due to the humid climate, so I try to avoid letting any outside air into the freezer unless it's absolutely necessary.

I was thinking about getting a BrewPi, but I think I'll just wire up my old 2-stage Ranco and save a lot of money and hassle with relays and such. I have a Brewbit/Tilt, so I don't really need another web-connected temperature/gravity graph anyway. I'll just take a slight step backwards in technology and hope that someone can resurrect the BrewBit in the future.
 

megabyte

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It's commonly mentioned that the WiFi sucked on the BrewBit. Does anyone know what WiFi chipset they used? Was it the ESP8266?
 

ColoHox

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Finally checked on mine...out of service. Still reading temp, just not controlling it. The screen flashes periodically too. Boo.
 

Derp

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It's commonly mentioned that the WiFi sucked on the BrewBit. Does anyone know what WiFi chipset they used? Was it the ESP8266?
I believe it was the Texas Instruments CC3000 WiFi module. I think TI released updated firmware for it that made it a bit more reliable, but it wasn't easy getting the new firmware loaded if you were experiencing connectivity issues. Chicken and the egg...

Finally checked on mine...out of service. Still reading temp, just not controlling it. The screen flashes periodically too.
The flashing screen was the only reason that I noticed something was amiss as I was getting ready to brew. I'm glad I didn't have 10 gallons of bitter on hand and a 90-degree fermentation chamber.

I ordered an Inkbird ITC-308 to take the Brewbit's place. No fancy temperature graph or fermentation profiles, but I'll still get an online temperature/gravity graph from my Brewometer/Tilt device. Previous comparisons of the temperature shown by the floating Tilt were a degree or two warmer than the Brewbit probe deep in a thermowell, so I'll have a rough online idea of my fermentation temperature.

I wonder how easy it would be to take over the brewbit.com domain and keep these devices working? I doubt their hosting costs were too extreme and maybe enough users could chip in and keep the lights on, so to speak.
 

thegleek

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Model-T Features:

Open Source hardware and software. You’ll get all the schematics, drawings and software. Hack away and share your work with the BrewBit community!

I'm having a hard time locating the schematics for brewbit to download. the brewbit github is a repo of insanity incomplete projects. besides, ruby language sucks.
 

Derp

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EchoTony

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I've got mine working as a stand alone. Once the server was down, it quit keeping proper temperature. Looks like the fact that it was able to connect to WiFi (oh the irony) seems to have caused it to get into a loop where it was more concerned about connecting to the brewbit servers than keeping the proper temperature.

I had to remove the password from the WiFi settings. Once I did that, it wouldn't go back to the main screen. Pulled the plug and restarted. Once it was booted, the WiFi password was still absent. A few minutes later it switched on the cooling and stopped at the set 68f. So it is working as a pretty touch screen two stage controller with no connectivity.
 

sburnt

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I've got mine working as a stand alone. Once the server was down, it quit keeping proper temperature. Looks like the fact that it was able to connect to WiFi (oh the irony) seems to have caused it to get into a loop where it was more concerned about connecting to the brewbit servers than keeping the proper temperature.

I had to remove the password from the WiFi settings. Once I did that, it wouldn't go back to the main screen. Pulled the plug and restarted. Once it was booted, the WiFi password was still absent. A few minutes later it switched on the cooling and stopped at the set 68f. So it is working as a pretty touch screen two stage controller with no connectivity.

Thank you for this! I'll have to try it. A stand-alone controller is better than a brick. :mug:
 

EmDubeu

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I've got mine working as a stand alone. Once the server was down, it quit keeping proper temperature. Looks like the fact that it was able to connect to WiFi (oh the irony) seems to have caused it to get into a loop where it was more concerned about connecting to the brewbit servers than keeping the proper temperature.

I had to remove the password from the WiFi settings. Once I did that, it wouldn't go back to the main screen. Pulled the plug and restarted. Once it was booted, the WiFi password was still absent. A few minutes later it switched on the cooling and stopped at the set 68f. So it is working as a pretty touch screen two stage controller with no connectivity.


This appears to be the same problem I was having. I'll run through these steps tomorrow and see if it works for me, too. [Fingers crossed]
 

Derp

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The website is back up!

I manually set my Brewbit to 40F yesterday to try it out as a standalone controller, but no joy. I just read about the wifi trick mentioned above and went to the garage to try it out and heard the comforting sound of a compressor running. When I touched the wifi icon it showed "account connected" so I went in and tried the website and it worked. Maybe there's still hope!

EDIT: Judging by the history graph it came back online at 11:45 PM Central Time last night, so hats off to the person who resurrected the website.
 

ColoHox

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I've got mine working as a stand alone. Once the server was down, it quit keeping proper temperature. Looks like the fact that it was able to connect to WiFi (oh the irony) seems to have caused it to get into a loop where it was more concerned about connecting to the brewbit servers than keeping the proper temperature.

I had to remove the password from the WiFi settings. Once I did that, it wouldn't go back to the main screen. Pulled the plug and restarted. Once it was booted, the WiFi password was still absent. A few minutes later it switched on the cooling and stopped at the set 68f. So it is working as a pretty touch screen two stage controller with no connectivity.

I removed the password and mine is back in action. I guess now I'm not sure if removing the password or the reappearance of the webpage is what fixed things. Anyone have info about why the website is back up and how we can keep it up? Not a whole lot of communication from the founders.
 

sburnt

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I removed the password and mine is back in action. I guess now I'm not sure if removing the password or the reappearance of the webpage is what fixed things. Anyone have info about why the website is back up and how we can keep it up? Not a whole lot of communication from the founders.

Mine seemed to be working after removing the password. The website wasn't back up yet. So at least it still works as a stand-alone. Hopefully forever! ;)
 
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