New Tilt battery life??

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Golddiggie

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I got my first Tilt hydrometer (black) on Monday that then went right into a batch. Initially it was picked up no issue with my phone to check things. I didn't realize that it has NO internal logging function and you HAVE to keep the software running in the forefront in order for it to do so (LAME!!!). Anyway, move forward to today and I cannot get it to connect to my phone even when placing it right at the fermenter. Earlier I could get the older software to connect, but not the 'Tilt 2' release. Now neither do. I also got the range extender so that I don't have to camp out right at the damned thing. I have a cheap tablet arriving tomorrow that ALL it will do is connect to this.

Question is, how many find they have to replace the battery the thing ships with before even using it once? It appears that this is the issue since it did work at the start, as well as from time to time yesterday, but now is a festival of FAIL. I do have some of the batteries is uses on hand, so that's a decent thing at least. But if the things are running from the factory, they need to stop that crap. Either have the battery outside of the unit, or place a strip that you pull in order to complete the circuit before first use. Since I have it in my conical fermenter, there's zero way for me to remove it to replace the battery.

At ~$135 a pop, the things SHOULD come with a battery life of at least a handful of batches. Actually at $200 a pop if you add the signal repeater if you're fermenting in stainless steel. Don't get me started on getting that thing setup to connect to the correct color. Talk about a crappy instructions as well as way to figure out IF you have it at the correct color. Would it have killed them to simply illuminate the dot on the side with the color of the unit you want to connect to?? Seriously, it MIGHT cost another buck to get that added once designed up (you know these cost less than $10 total to produce, then sell for $65 a pop).

My only hope is that once I have the new tablet setup with the software, tied to a power block 24x7 because it can't go to sleep, close the display, or anything crazy like that it will actually be connected for readings. I'm considering getting a second one (with repeater) so that I can at least use one in each fermenter. Mostly due to the next brew day is slated for between the 16th and 18th of this month, and the batch in process now won't be to keg and can until around the 23rd to 25th.

BTW, the main thing I wanted this for beer temperature readings and maybe the FG. I wanted to confirm that the temperature deeper in the conical matches what the glycol chiller sensor is also showing. I've already confirmed that the OG it showed was .003 lower than actual (used my digital refractometer to get the OG). Which is outside of their stated accuracy. That's less of an issue to me, since I plan to keep using the digital refractometer for the OG. I do plan to confirm the FG it shows with the refractometer as well, before I start the carbonation process. I hope that the FG number is either close enough, or the same between the tilt and refractometer (after running the refractometer number through software). I'll probably always do a confirmation check, but it would be nice to not HAVE to do that to be sure of the numbers.
 

MMP126

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Hey man. I have 1 tilt, and have done 9 beers with it. Still on the first battery.

Also, you didnt really need to buy a tablet to do the data logging. You can build a TiltBridge, which will cost you about $25, and use that as the intermediary.
 
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Golddiggie

Golddiggie

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Tablet ($130) is already on it's way. I might do up the Pi device later to have it connected to a larger display. I'm also not looking to build electronic items. I have enough other projects on my list that it would be a looooong time before I could get to that.

BTW, I got 1.068 for the OG via the refractometer and 1.065 from the tilt as soon as it went in. I pitched a thick yeast slurry, so that's not enough to change the OG of ~7 gallons or wort/beer. They say it's within .002, but not from my initial experience. Yes, I might be splitting hairs, but this is BEER we're talking about!

I'm planning to put the tablet at my keezer right now. If the repeater does well at that setup, I'll either do the Pi there, or see if it will reach up into my office (another floor above) so I can check on it while I'm "at work". ;)
 

Saunassa

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I have had mine for almost 2 years and at least a batch every other month. Still going strong, works well with my old fire tablet being about 15 feet away acting as my bridge to the network.
I put mine back in tube and box and stand it up as that appears to shut it off. Ymmv. If you notice in shops they always stand them up, one might be for presentation and the other for battery life.
 
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Golddiggie

Golddiggie

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I guess I'll see how it looks tomorrow when the cheap tablet shows up and I get that setup to display info. IF the repeater will reach to where I have my desk, I'd prefer to place it there. Or at least have that option. I'll have to have a power block wherever it will sit for any amount of time though, so that it doesn't go to sleep or shutoff.

Is anyone using the software they offer for the Raspberry Pi to connect up to these? Just wondering if it creates a web page showing the same thing as the app, or something else. If it can be seen over a browser, from another device on your network, then I could run that headless. I have my network switch in the same room as the fermenters, so connecting that would be easy. Otherwise, I'll place it like I mentioned before.
 

jpakstis

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I’ve had a Tilt for awhile (back when they were the Brewometer). The first battery lasted maybe 6-8 months. Then I went through an odyssey of replacement batteries. All of them died while the Tilt was in the fermenter. Finally I go those Rayovac ones that have been mentioned in other threads and I’ve been going on almost two years on one of them.

I don’t do any real-time logging, only confirming that fermentation is done. But I’m pretty laissez faire about my gravity readings and the like. As long as I’m in range, I’m cool with it.
 
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Golddiggie

Golddiggie

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Alright, so I tried with my current tablet (not the one coming tomorrow) and could connect to the unit inside the fermenter. What's the trick to getting the repeater to actually do it's job?? I have it set to the correct color, but I'm getting a bunch of 0's for readings.

Right now I'm interested in seeing how long the recipes take to finish fermenting. I have complete control over the fermentation temperature, so knowing time to finish a certain recipe of set OG would be good information to have for planning out the batches. It will also let me better plan the different process steps as well.

Right now the repeater is anything but.
 

hout17

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I have the app on my phone when I'm in the area I'll open the app and log. This has worked great for me. My battery has been going strong for 6 brews.
 

hout17

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Through a glass carboy and beer fridge I have it in for temp control. As long as I'm within 6 feet or so I'm usually good.

I usually check it once or twice a day.
 
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Golddiggie

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Yeah, they list the range as 25' for non-stainless fermenters.

I decided to cancel the tablet order and ordered a Raspberry Pi 4B instead (came out to be less $$, ETA is Friday). I'll set that up and place it on a shelf close to the fermenters.

Still no idea WHY the repeater doesn't send info from the unit in fermenter (correct color setup). Waiting for a reply to my email to Tilt for that. If it won't work (the repeater), it's getting returned. With the Pi being positioned within a few feet of the device, it SHOULD be "OK" to give info. I'll be able to pull up a browser page with that on it. At least that's what they claim.
 

Saunassa

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The only time I have had a real problem was when I had the location setting on the tablet shut off and running through a VPN. No idea why or whether there was some other reason or if it was just a fluke. I use Brewersfriend so when I got the tilt I have it log there.
 

bwible

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I have a green one. I use it with an old iphone that has been laying around.

My battery has been good but my issue is calibration. Mine didn’t seem to come calibrated and doesn’t seem like it holds calibration when I try to calibrate it. Gravity or temp. Its reading low gravity and high temperature.

I agree - for what you pay these they should come with a good battery and be calibrated.
 

garzlok

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What's the trick to getting the repeater to actually do it's job?? I have it set to the correct color, but I'm getting a bunch of 0's for readings.

Right now the repeater is anything but.
I built my repeaters, so they could be a generation behind what you have…

The 0’s are normal when you first cycle to a tilt color. When you press the button 8 times, you should land on the Pink Tilt Color, and every time you push a button, a green LED should blink unless you press it on a 9th cycle where the LED is red and that turns off the repeater.

Lets’s say I have a Pink Tilt. I’ll press the button on my repeater 8 times (getting the Green LED to blink each time I press the button). If I have my Tilt App opened, I’m going to see every tilt color be displayed with 0’s for values, and they may display on the app for a little bit. Once I land on the Pink Tilt button cycle, the values will be 0 For that Pink Tilt and that signals that your repeater is broadcasting.

As long as your Pink Tilt is in range of the repeater, the repeater is on the correct color channel, Tilt is not in hibernation mode or doesn’t have a weak/dead battery your repeater will pick up the Tilt Signal and rebroadcast/repeat that gravity/temperature signal.

Remember, if you just have the Tilt standing straight-up, the Tilt will go into hibernation mode.
 
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Golddiggie

Golddiggie

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I had managed to get the thing aligned with the Tilt I have in use. Even the range of the repeater isn't that great.

Good thing I have the Pi arriving tomorrow and have the file downloaded to setup the microSD card that it will boot from. It's coming with a 32GB card that I'll use for this. I'm not going to use one of my higher speed cards for this thing. I'm just hoping that the config file can be setup to use the wired connection, instead of wireless since my Gb switch is right where this will be placed. To me, it makes more sense to use the Gb LAN connection to tie it into my network than try to use the wifi to do it. Anytime I can, I use wired connections for devices. Laptops, or other 'portable' devices use the wifi. I try to minimize the amount of items on the wifi to maximize speed available. ;)
 

Jtvann

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I got my first Tilt hydrometer (black) on Monday that then went right into a batch. Initially it was picked up no issue with my phone to check things. I didn't realize that it has NO internal logging function and you HAVE to keep the software running in the forefront in order for it to do so (LAME!!!). Anyway, move forward to today and I cannot get it to connect to my phone even when placing it right at the fermenter. Earlier I could get the older software to connect, but not the 'Tilt 2' release. Now neither do. I also got the range extender so that I don't have to camp out right at the damned thing. I have a cheap tablet arriving tomorrow that ALL it will do is connect to this.

Question is, how many find they have to replace the battery the thing ships with before even using it once? It appears that this is the issue since it did work at the start, as well as from time to time yesterday, but now is a festival of FAIL. I do have some of the batteries is uses on hand, so that's a decent thing at least. But if the things are running from the factory, they need to stop that crap. Either have the battery outside of the unit, or place a strip that you pull in order to complete the circuit before first use. Since I have it in my conical fermenter, there's zero way for me to remove it to replace the battery.

At ~$135 a pop, the things SHOULD come with a battery life of at least a handful of batches. Actually at $200 a pop if you add the signal repeater if you're fermenting in stainless steel. Don't get me started on getting that thing setup to connect to the correct color. Talk about a crappy instructions as well as way to figure out IF you have it at the correct color. Would it have killed them to simply illuminate the dot on the side with the color of the unit you want to connect to?? Seriously, it MIGHT cost another buck to get that added once designed up (you know these cost less than $10 total to produce, then sell for $65 a pop).

My only hope is that once I have the new tablet setup with the software, tied to a power block 24x7 because it can't go to sleep, close the display, or anything crazy like that it will actually be connected for readings. I'm considering getting a second one (with repeater) so that I can at least use one in each fermenter. Mostly due to the next brew day is slated for between the 16th and 18th of this month, and the batch in process now won't be to keg and can until around the 23rd to 25th.

BTW, the main thing I wanted this for beer temperature readings and maybe the FG. I wanted to confirm that the temperature deeper in the conical matches what the glycol chiller sensor is also showing. I've already confirmed that the OG it showed was .003 lower than actual (used my digital refractometer to get the OG). Which is outside of their stated accuracy. That's less of an issue to me, since I plan to keep using the digital refractometer for the OG. I do plan to confirm the FG it shows with the refractometer as well, before I start the carbonation process. I hope that the FG number is either close enough, or the same between the tilt and refractometer (after running the refractometer number through software). I'll probably always do a confirmation check, but it would be nice to not HAVE to do that to be sure of the numbers.

Sounds like a whole lot of dissatisfaction with the product. Also sounds like a lot of money spent to make it work. You could contact their customer service. He’s a great guy with some of the absolute best customer service out there. Always respond very quickly.

I felt like the tilt original was really improved on with the newer version he sells, but in the end still suffers from the same issues. It shows trends. It’s good at showing an overall trend. It’s not good at instantaneous perfection accuracy.

That being said, I bought the tilt pro. That product is perfection. It solves all the issues of previous versions of the tilt. It’s big and heavy enough that violent fermentations don’t mess with the accuracy. It’s range through stainless makes an extender unnecessary. It uses AAA batteries which are commonly available and cheap. Those batteries also last a very long time. It’s accurate out another decimal place from the other versions.

It’s pricey for home brew, but sure does make me happy.
 
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Golddiggie

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I've sent three emails so far with NO replies received. IMO, that's not "the absolute best customer service out there".
 

Jtvann

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[email protected]

I’ve never had more than an hour or two without a response. Talked with him twice this week.

As far as his customer service, I bought two tilts when they first came out. After heavy use, the battery cap plastic started to cross thread. It never leaked and was most likely user error. I contacted asking to see if I could just get 1 new tube. Instead I was sent 2 newer version tilts, with no request to exchange my old ones.

So yeah, as far as customer service goes … it’s worth giving him credit.
 

garzlok

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So yeah, as far as customer service goes … it’s worth giving him credit.
No doubt! Noah was quick to help me utilize his open source repeater project. I wish I could justify moving on to the TiltPro's...but my v3 Tilts and Repeaters are performing well.
 
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Golddiggie

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I used the email address listed on their site (the only one listed) under the "contact" info. So far ZERO response. IMO, that's shitty CS. Then again, I'm used to the service provided by Spike, when you do a web form and you get someone working with you within a couple of hours (at most) and you get a quick/easy resolution to the issue.

I might have figured out how to get the repeater and tilt to talk decently. Information that comes with the thing is just short of useless. If you're going to have virtually nothing with the item, at least have more information on the product page. It appears that you have to position the thing just right, at the correct orientation when used with a conical (stainless) fermenter. Otherwise you get nothing. Or you get occasional information through it, but not constant.

It also appears that if you're using a conical fermenter, the range of a tilt inside it is less than a foot away from the fermenter. Which makes a repeater a hard requirement for anyone looking to have more than one in use at a time and a single monitoring unit. This drives up the TCO amount on it. What they SHOULD do is make a bundle for people with conicals that includes both items. It would be even better if there was (even a small) cost savings had by buying that way. Right now, I'm at just over $200 per fermenter to use this. While I'm NOT a skinflint (especially with what I spend with Spike Brewing this year) I expect at least good product/value for my money. Not something that SHOULD be an easy setup prove to be a PITA to figure out how to get it to work as advertised.
 

Jtvann

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I’ve provided you the email address to use.

From the tone of nearly all your posts, all you want to do is gripe. When you’re done crying to yourself, use the email address listed.
 

Immocles

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One of my two tilts is still rocking its original battery after a full year (probably 7-8 batches) and my second one has about 4 under its belt as well. The older one had a small hiccup last batch with keeping time and logging, and I assume the battery is going to go on that one soon, so I bought some replacements and expect to need them soon. I'm hoping the replacements give me a similar lifespan. IMO, if you want/need the continuous logging, a pi is the way to go and the price is reasonable. I don't use a repeater, so I can't give much input to that. I really can't say anything bad about the tilts. I've either had really good luck, or they just work well in general. I'm okay with either of those options.

I never found much of a need for the continuous logging, but it does make a nicer looking compilation of data. I didn't buy my pi until I had used my first tilt for about 4 batches or so. I just accessed the app on my phone about 3-4 times a day to get the log updated, and kept an eye on the gravity for dry hop, temp ramps, stalling and FG stability.
 
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Golddiggie

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I’ve provided you the email address to use.

From the tone of nearly all your posts, all you want to do is gripe. When you’re done crying to yourself, use the email address listed.
If they don't reply to the email address listed on their site, why would I think they'd do so with a different email address?? I've requested information to get this working and have only had silence from them. I'll just assume they don't really offer support to their product unless [maybe] you email someone specifically. IME, that's NOT top shelf support. I have emailed companies with addresses listed on their site, or through pages they have to contact them and have had FAR better results. This includes tiny companies, where the owner is actually working along side people to get product out the door to customers.

As for your "done crying to yourself" message. How many fingers am I holding up??

I didn't create this thread to 'gripe' but see if maybe I got one with a bad battery. Turns out you need to position the repeater JUST RIGHT in order for it to do anything when paired with a tilt inside a conical. This is information that would have been VERY helpful to have. They could have put it in their FAQ page, which I DID look at before posting this thread.
When the batch with this one in it is finished, and I can pull the tilt from it, I'll test the battery it came with to see what it's levels are. I do have a dozen CR123 batteries on hand (Surefire brand) that I can install if this one is not at full.
 

Jtvann

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If they don't reply to the email address listed on their site, why would I think they'd do so with a different email address?? I've requested information to get this working and have only had silence from them. I'll just assume they don't really offer support to their product unless [maybe] you email someone specifically. IME, that's NOT top shelf support. I have emailed companies with addresses listed on their site, or through pages they have to contact them and have had FAR better results. This includes tiny companies, where the owner is actually working along side people to get product out the door to customers.

As for your "done crying to yourself" message. How many fingers am I holding up??

I didn't create this thread to 'gripe' but see if maybe I got one with a bad battery. Turns out you need to position the repeater JUST RIGHT in order for it to do anything when paired with a tilt inside a conical. This is information that would have been VERY helpful to have. They could have put it in their FAQ page, which I DID look at before posting this thread.
When the batch with this one in it is finished, and I can pull the tilt from it, I'll test the battery it came with to see what it's levels are. I do have a dozen CR123 batteries on hand (Surefire brand) that I can install if this one is not at full.
So what you’re saying is a valid solution is right in front of your face, but you’d rather type a few more words in all caps. Cry on man.

Just a word of advice. Chill out just a little bit on how horrible something is that you’re asking for help with from the person that designed it. I don’t care how great customer service is, nobody enjoys that type of attitude.

You asked for help. It’s been given. Enjoy your thread.
 

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I have been very happy with my tilt. Have been using it a couple of years on the original battery with no problems. One of the better brewing purchases I’ve made, and has helped me make better beer!

with that said:
1. It’s not dummy-proof. You need to calibrate it in distilled water and give the app a test run before you chuck it in the fermentor.
2. The temp readings are very accurate if you properly calibrate.
3. My gravity readings have been accurate within .003 or so, unless it gets gunked up or stuck to the side of the fermentor. This won’t happen every batch, but it does happen.
4. If you ferment in stainless, your range is in inches, not feet. Mine will read through a stainless brew bucket and the wall of my mini-fridge, but only if I place my phone on the surface of the fridge. If you brew in glass, don’t fill your carboy all the way up (the tilt will float to the side, get pushed up againstthe convex surface of the carboy and become useless). If you brew in plastic, you’re an animal :)

It’s not a replacement for a hydrometer, and it’s not fail-proof, but 9 out of 10 batches it will track your beer’s progress with enough accuracy to tell you when to diacetyl rest, cold crash, etc. Plus, it’s fun to watch! Worth the $140, in my book!

bonus tip: After you calibrate, do a test run by placing your tilt in a fermentor full of water (inside your fermentation chamber, if you use one). This will allow you to troubleshoot and get an idea of your range before your brew day.
 
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After a bunch of emails back and forth, once I FINALLY got an email from the support address (NOT listed on their site, at all) turns out that these will NOT work with Spike fermenters. Even when paired with repeaters (on the side, or on the top of the fermenter) the standard model cannot penetrate the walls with enough regularity to make them viable. I would get a signal for a couple of days, then it gets dropped. Change position or the repeater and it sometimes would connect again. But for the past few days (one batch started on Saturday had readings until sometime Wednesday afternoon, then dropped and won't connect no matter what), nothing.

The ONLY hope you have is to get the 'pro' version. Which I've ordered this morning. Even then I STILL might need to use the repeaters to get it to connect to the tilt pi <5 feet away. So I have to keep a pair of those here until I can determine if they'll be needed, or not. Basically, if you have a conical fermenter, chances are you'll spend about double the 'standard' model cost to get something that works, hopefully. More if you need to add the repeater to the setup.

IMO, Tilt needs to put this information up on their site with links on both models pages. They either need to test to determine which conicals/stainless fermenters DO work with the standard (with, or without the repeaters) or list ones that don't. This additional information WOULD have eliminated all of my frustrations with the product. IMO, there's a lack of transparency when it comes to this aspect that I wasn't expecting.

I'll know, in a week or two, how this works with the next batch I'm brewing. What really sucks is I have an old ale with one of the standards inside that won't be getting moved to keg and can/bottle for at least another month.

Oh, and if you want to put the pro version through that 1-1/2" TC port you have... Yeah, not gonna happen. It's 1.7" OD, which means it won't fit. I'll need to drop it into the fermenter before I do my sanitize step. Or drop it in after that, through the 4" TC port that the chill coil uses (less than ideal). My normal mode would have been to drop the tilt in after the yeast went in, as they put in the instructions, but that's not happening with the new ones. I'll also need to remove them before I do the PBW/clean cycle since they're listed as not being safe to have that used on them. I might change up the yeast dump/bottom drain valve setup on the fermenters so that the valve is directly under the cone, with the elbow after that. Which will allow me to drop the tilt into something (or catch it) during the post extraction rinse cycle (start of the cleaning process). Changing that setup could also benefit me during the yeast dump step as well. I'll know with the batch I'm brewing next weekend.
 
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