PicoBrew Zymatic

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Mike Howard

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Probably won't hurt anything...what are the temps for the Z series when normally operating? I am assuming they still have the three temp sensors.
 

TREY206

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Probably won't hurt anything...what are the temps for the Z series when normally operating? I am assuming they still have the three temp sensors.
Mike,
The screens says max temp 207. Mine usually stays around 203. Its a weird set up with that little boiler and Im thinking about doing some tinkering if it dies again to add a large boiler. I see an option in the menu to calibrate the bolier size.
 

TREY206

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Just got some feedback from Kevin. He said they went with glycol after some of the machine were damaged in shipping. So gycol it is!
 
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Ah so some may be a water system and some are glycol? Guess either will work. Looking at the boiler it seems to be like a coffee pot type so shouldnt be hard to find something to replace with as long as it fits in the electrical requirements.
 

memphisbrews

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@memphisbrews I PM'd you

The procedure is too lengthy to post here and it would just get lost in the shuffle. If you need it, PM me.
Thank you very much Mike for the instructions and the suggested glycol reservoir. I installed the glycol reservoir next to the step filter bay below the motor for the stepper arm and ran the tubes through the existing port where the wires are routed to the lower assembly. I ran a cleaning cycle and the temperature difference between the cleaning water and glycol was between 10-20F during the heating cycles. It completed the cleaning cycle with no error codes. I will try brewing a beer this weekend and it looks like it should function with no issues. Now that the reservoir is on the top level, should I need to add glycol, it will be much easier than trying to disassemble to the lower level of the Zymatic, disassemble the heating lines, fill with glycol and then purge the air from the lines. I do not know why PicoBrew did not just install a glycol reservoir at the factory.

Thanks again for your help for all of us Zymatic brewers that have been left high and dry by PicoBrew.
 

Alfalfabrent

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Thank you very much Mike for the instructions and the suggested glycol reservoir. I installed the glycol reservoir next to the step filter bay below the motor for the stepper arm and ran the tubes through the existing port where the wires are routed to the lower assembly. I ran a cleaning cycle and the temperature difference between the cleaning water and glycol was between 10-20F during the heating cycles. It completed the cleaning cycle with no error codes. I will try brewing a beer this weekend and it looks like it should function with no issues. Now that the reservoir is on the top level, should I need to add glycol, it will be much easier than trying to disassemble to the lower level of the Zymatic, disassemble the heating lines, fill with glycol and then purge the air from the lines. I do not know why PicoBrew did not just install a glycol reservoir at the factory.

Thanks again for your help for all of us Zymatic brewers that have been left high and dry by PicoBrew.
Do you have any photos of your build? Considering doing this myself...
 

memphisbrews

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Here are some of the pics and the process of how I put in a glycol reservoir on my Zymatic.

Per Mike's recommendation, I ordered this fluid-air separator: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07HBYZ5B6/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&th=1

First I disconnected the tubing between the heat exchanger and the glycol pump. I then attached a new silicon tube to the heat exchanger and one to the glycol pump using the screw type hose clamps. I ran the tubes to the upper level of the Zymatic via the existing port for the wiring.
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At this point I went ahead and purged all of the air out of the hex loop. I turned the Zymatic up on its side with with the opening for the lower assembly facing upwards. I put a funnel in the heat exchanger return tube and filled it with a 1/3 glycol and 2/3 distilled water mixture. In order to get all of the air out of the heat exchanger, I had to repeatedly message/squeeze the tube going to the glycol pump. This took quite a bit of time since there was a considerable amount of air in the entire hex loop. Once I did not see any more air coming out of the heat exchanger, I sat the Zymatic back on its base and began to install the fluid-air separator.

The fluid-air separator has two holes at the top ("in" and "out") and one on the bottom (drain port). I turned the device upside down and attached the glycol pump tube to the "out" port on the oil-air separator while plugging the "in" port using the allen screw/plug that came with the device. I filled the fluid-air separator completely with the mix of 1/3 glycol and 2/3 distilled water via the bottom drain port (which now faces upwards).

I next attached the heat exchanger return tube to the drain port on the fluid-air separator. I did not have a 90 degree elbow but that would have worked much better for attaching the tube to the drain hole. It is a bit tricky to attach the hose at this angle and minimize any air in the tube. Since the device holds 5 oz of fluid, this extra air will never make it through to the pump and cause issues in the hex loop. Since I am somewhat OCD, I later managed to get most of the air out of this line but I really should have used a 90 degree elbow. I then used some bubble foil insulation to wrap the fluid-air separator and I put a piece beneath it in order to conserve heat and reduce any vibration noise. Once you reinstall the sides of the Zymatic, it fits snugly with the insulation in place.

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I ran a cleaning cycle with the top off the Zymatic and I did not have any issues. It heated up as well as it originally did and did not present any error codes. The temperature differential between the cleaning water and the glycol was typically between 10-20F. Before installing the fluid-air separator, I could not get my Zymatic up to a boil and it would not even heat my 125F tap water to the 154F required to start the cleaning cycle. The temperature differential would quickly climb beyond 50F and trigger the Error #1.

If you don't mind cutting holes in your Zymatic, there are several other ways to mount the fluid-air separator that might look cleaner/better. I wanted an easy fix and was very surprised to find that the hole for the wires was so oversized that I could fit the two silicon tubes through it with room to spare.

I plan on brewing a beer on it this weekend and will let you know if I experience any issues.
 

AxeBrewer

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@Mike Howard, could you please send me your guide about disassembly of Zymatic and glycol replacement?

I started teardown myself, going slowly not to break anything, but got stuck where front panel seems to be glued/siliconed and I am not sure if I need to break that bond or bottom part can be accessed some other way. Are there any parts that need to be re-sealed again during assembly? From looks of it, at least space for grain's tray would need to be resealed, as I have found dried up wort on upper part inside machine.
 

memphisbrews

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So I brewed on my Zymatic today but I was also brewing on my 15G HERMS system at the same time so I did not pay much attention to the Zymatic. It looks like the machine went through the whole brew cycle without issue. However, for some reason, the PicoBrew website was not properly tracking the transitions from step to step. It looks like the machine worked properly but I could not tell by the computer where it was in the brewing cycle.

Is anyone else having issues with the website today?
 

kiskander

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I am on my last step before i give up on my Zymatic Fata Error Code # 1, i bought some Glycol to top off. Does anyone have the Disassembly instruction for the Zymatic please? Thank you so much!
 

Mike Howard

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I am on my last step before i give up on my Zymatic Fata Error Code # 1, i bought some Glycol to top off. Does anyone have the Disassembly instruction for the Zymatic please? Thank you so much!
I developed the procedure and have been distributing it via email. I PM'd you.
 

chagtie

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OFFLINE SOFTWARE UPDATE:

I've got the Stepper Arm working for each position finally and I am working on synchronizing it to the encoder so it can rehome itself and allow for fine tuning of positioning. Once that is complete I'll move on to water testing to make sure the PID is working and determine the default values. I added process blocking to the RIMS unit so it could not activate without the Glycol pump running or the Wort pump running and I added a new chart to monitor the STD DEV of the three temp sensors. The warning and error values still need to be determined after some trial runs along with some other process blocks to prevent system damage and common mistakes. The controller works off of BeerSmithXML files or Picobrew Recipe Crafter beerXML output but should work with any beerXML file.

View attachment 687121
OFFLINE SOFTWARE UPDATE:

I've got the Stepper Arm working for each position finally and I am working on synchronizing it to the encoder so it can rehome itself and allow for fine tuning of positioning. Once that is complete I'll move on to water testing to make sure the PID is working and determine the default values. I added process blocking to the RIMS unit so it could not activate without the Glycol pump running or the Wort pump running and I added a new chart to monitor the STD DEV of the three temp sensors. The warning and error values still need to be determined after some trial runs along with some other process blocks to prevent system damage and common mistakes. The controller works off of BeerSmithXML files or Picobrew Recipe Crafter beerXML output but should work with any beerXML file.

View attachment 687121
Mike , Do you have a GoFundMe page, so we can contribute?
 

Mike Howard

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Mike , Do you have a GoFundMe page, so we can contribute?
@chagtie No, not currently. I do have a PayPalMe link that I will post after I get the software tested and posted on GitHub for anyone who wants to contribute. I'm not looking for funds but I'm not gonna turn it down either. It's been a real undertaking getting this written and working out all of the kinks. I'm nearly there and I am just wrapping up some minor tweaks and cleaning up the wiring to make it easier for someone else to duplicate.

I'll have a complete step by step document, with Pics and a parts list, similar to what I have created for the Glycol Top Off procedure, so it should be fairly easy to follow. I'm also trying to make it so that a person with little to no technical skill can implement my modification.
 

chagtie

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I've been remiss in not putting together my mod document and posting what I have done to my Zymatic, I've honestly just been very busy and the lockdown has the brewery trying to keep up. I was also hoping to get the RPi mod completed before publishing my mod document.

In the meantime, here are the main components:

Here is the tank I have used as my glycol reservoir.

Plate Chiller

Pumps

I replaced all of the tubing and fittings and most of you know I already replaced the RIMS element and associated wiring.
Mike,
Please also send me your complete upgrade procedure. I will order the Reservoir, Chiller and Pumps; Yet, can you include links for all other upgrade parts, such as stainless steel connections, etc. and any other upgrades you think useful. I would PM you yet the forum will not allow me to.

Thank you!
 

Mike Howard

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Mike,
Please also send me your complete upgrade procedure. I will order the Reservoir, Chiller and Pumps; Yet, can you include links for all other upgrade parts, such as stainless steel connections, etc. and any other upgrades you think useful. I would PM you yet the forum will not allow me to.

Thank you!
I don't currently have that procedure written, but the Glycol Top Off procedure will help you get into the lower end without screwing anything up. Also, a few posts back I have a reservoir diagram that shows how I modded the lines, plus the pics just recently posted from MemphisBrews. I PM'd you.
 

AxeBrewer

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Mission accomplished! It worked, finally was able to go from 75F to 200F without any issues. Temperature differential was less than 20F while heating up and less than 10F while maintaining temperature.

Thank you @Mike Howard and @memphisbrews for valuable information. I used Mike's instructions about disassembly, diagram for connecting reservoir and MemphisBrews link to reservoir, installation pictures and details.

One thing I have found out is that drain port will leak on referenced reservoir, if using o-ring that it came with. It's just too small to seal. I bought #10 O-ring from Home Depot, DANCO #10 O-Ring (10-Pack)-96727 - The Home Depot, that seems to work so far.
Another thing, I needed about 450ml or one pint of glycol and water mix. I was wondering how much will I need before starting. Just FYI for others.
 

iandow

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My Zymatic is failing to get through a V1 clean. It ways fails with an Error #1. I think it's not pumping any water from the keg. If I hold the get up above the Zymatic then a little water will flow, but when I set the keg back on the ground then water stops working again. Does anyone have any idea how to fix this?

Question#2, what's the best thing to do with a useless Zymatic?
 

iandow

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My Zymatic is failing to get through a V1 clean. It ways fails with an Error #1. I think it's not pumping any water from the keg. If I hold the get up above the Zymatic then a little water will flow, but when I set the keg back on the ground then water stops working again. Does anyone have any idea how to fix this?

Question#2, what's the best thing to do with a useless Zymatic?
I found my problem. I disconnected the input hose to the side of the Zymatic for cleaning but failed to sufficiently tighten it when I reattached it. Now, my Zymatic is back in business!
 

Alfalfabrent

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Huge Shout out to @Mike Howard and others for posting their breakdown and modification posts. I took apart my Zymatic this past week and added the glycol reservoir and was back in business. A quick word of caution about the rez that has been linked here: the threads on my unit were VERY finicky. I thought I had it tightened down all the way only to find it leaking once the temp got high enough. I added some teflon thread tape to help sure this up and made double sure it was tightened down all the way. Added some self sealing silicone tape on the outside just to be sure and all good now.

Thanks again guys. I'm sure I'll be hitting you with more questions now that my unit is working and I start diving into the rPi server deal.
 

Mike Howard

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Huge Shout out to @Mike Howard and others for posting their breakdown and modification posts. I took apart my Zymatic this past week and added the glycol reservoir and was back in business. A quick word of caution about the rez that has been linked here: the threads on my unit were VERY finicky. I thought I had it tightened down all the way only to find it leaking once the temp got high enough. I added some teflon thread tape to help sure this up and made double sure it was tightened down all the way. Added some self sealing silicone tape on the outside just to be sure and all good now.

Thanks again guys. I'm sure I'll be hitting you with more questions now that my unit is working and I start diving into the rPi server deal.
Yea that reservoir isn't the greatest, but it was the least inexpensive for that size. I've looked for others but have not found a replacement. I like the idea of drilling it out and retapping with a standard NPT.
 

chris0879

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Anyone interested in a used Zymatic? all the fixings in Massachusetts? I just don't have the time to hack it and join in the fun with everyone on here.
 

Mike Howard

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Quick update on the RPi conversion I am working on.

I've developed a Plug and Play board for the RPi software I have written. This new PCB HAT will connect to the RPi 40 pin connector and then allow you to plug in all of the connectors that the Zymatic has, right to this board, so there is no rewiring involved. The idea is that you will remove the Zymatic PCB, drop this and a RPi in its spot and you are good. The project is coming along nicely and I am hoping to demo it soon with a video I will upload. Right now I've got it Frankensteined with various RPi HAT's and breakout boards to get everything to work, hence the need for this board.
Cross Posted at HBT, PicoBrewing Revival Taskforce and Picobrewers.

PCB.png
 

chagtie

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Quick update on the RPi conversion I am working on.

I've developed a Plug and Play board for the RPi software I have written. This new PCB HAT will connect to the RPi 40 pin connector and then allow you to plug in all of the connectors that the Zymatic has, right to this board, so there is no rewiring involved. The idea is that you will remove the Zymatic PCB, drop this and a RPi in its spot and you are good. The project is coming along nicely and I am hoping to demo it soon with a video I will upload. Right now I've got it Frankensteined with various RPi HAT's and breakout boards to get everything to work, hence the need for this board.
Cross Posted at HBT, PicoBrewing Revival Taskforce and Picobrewers.

View attachment 691848
Mike,
Thank you for the great work ! As I’m upgrading the HEX loop to your recommendation, I had an idea.

My thought is the Zymatic is missing the cooling system. What if, I add a second chill plate either before or after the current exchanger that the wort travels through and another pump to pump cold glycol / cold water. Basically just add a cold side in-and-out ports on the side of the Zymatic below the wort "in & outs" around the bottom side, that users can connect hoses from the machine to a bucket of ice water or a glycol chiller, etc.

I imagine the easiest application would be to use a second 5g keg full of ice water with a second in and out connecting hoses to the new "cool" ports. This would make the system a more complete automated process / set up.

It seems we could use the same replacement pump and chill plate that you already recommend.



Could your offline software & hardware run the pump ? I’m assuming it would be just a basic turn pump on when “chilling” phase is on. Maybe an advanced setting for users that have made the modification?
 
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Mike Howard

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... Could your offline software & hardware run the pump ? I’m assuming it would be just a basic turn pump on when “chilling” phase is on. Maybe an advanced setting for users that have made the modification?

I've actually had that same thought ;-)

In theory, my software is fully scalable and open source so anything is possible. It would make the Zym a "more" complete system and eliminate user interaction at the final step. If I'm not mistaken, the Brewie does that. Adding in functionality that says "when you reach the chilling step, turn on the chill pump and wait for X temperature" is definitely possible. It would require a board mod (or at least a plug in HAT) and some coding changes for the GPIO control. I actually already have the cooling step in the main code, but its a bypass step right now.

I'll keep the idea in mind as I complete the code to insure there are no roadblocks for future dev projects.
 

chagtie

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Mike,

Will the PCB HAT that you are developing have an extra GPIO to pug the pump into ? If the HAT that you choose to develop has the space that would be great !
Thanks again !!!
 

chagtie

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Mike,

Will the PCB HAT that you are developing have an extra GPIO to pug the pump into ? If the HAT that you choose to develop has the space that would be great !

I have purchased the pump and chill plate to mock up, I will send you pictures for proof of concept, just need the extra pins to plug the pump power into 😉
Thanks again !!!
 
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