PicoBrew Zymatic

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Trevor Mack

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You can use a forked version of BrewCrafter2 that I host over at crafter.pilotbatchbrewing.com which has SRM, starting water, and IBU calculations for the Picobrew devices baked in.

I will operate this solution as long as people find value out of it. So far has cost me $0 (outside of my time which obvious is worthless to me) and if it were to cost me operating cost I would not charge a fee, but only request donations. All features and functionalities I add will forever be free for all users.
 

Trevor Mack

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Can't argue with that, I'll check it out.

Forgot to mention there is even an undocumented sync feature to sync to the chiefwigms server. All the syncing to the server is handled client side so requires ssl termination (same that is required for Z devices and included in an nginx config of the RaspberryPi image, nginx config is in the GitHub repo). This will allow you to create or upload the beerXML to BrewCrafter and then use BrewCrafter to sync to the RaspberryPi for brewing steps. At this point the upload functionality simply selects a base recipe step vs reading the beerxml to select mash temp, time, etc... Hop "boil" times are customized based on the incoming beerXML however.
 

mudlark

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Cool, I'll have to see if I have that set up right on my local server which did not use a pi image. I did a git pull and set up a startup service to execute the server python script, but I didn't dig very far into the guts of it. I don't think the Zymatic requires SSL termination right? I'll figure it out. I'm poking around the site now and it looks very useful. I'll try it out and let you know. Thanks!
 

Trevor Mack

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Right the Zymatic doesn't use ssl. This was a user security issue that the community reported to Picobrew as any attacker could essentially locally or broadly hijack the connection between the appliance and picobrew.com ... Well PB engineers essentially just added https://picobrew.com without actually validating the SSL certificate 🤦‍♂️. Thankfully they didn't cause then that would make our MITM (man in the middle) attack less successful / more difficult to pull off.

Anyways PM or post here any questions or issues that might come up. There is a bit of help documentation in the site that should help you get started.
 

Mike Howard

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@adguyer Error #1 and #3 are both temperature related. Not sure about #19, first time I've heard that one, although error #17 is also temperature related. Either way, I PM'd you.
 

tjikijiki

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I’m following the instructions in the Homebrewing Japan pdf. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to remove the drip tray. I’ve removed the screws and heated it with a hair dryer to try to soften what it describes a silicone caulk. This thing isn’t releasing and I can’t even get an exacto (much less a screwdriver) between the metal and plastic drip tray. I’m afraid to put any more force or torque on the tray itself. Any other suggestions? Also, is there any other document I should be following to try to get this Zymatic back to life? I had so many Error -1 that I’d given up until a friend found this pdf.
 

Mike Howard

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I’m following the instructions in the Homebrewing Japan pdf. I cannot for the life of me figure out how to remove the drip tray. I’ve removed the screws and heated it with a hair dryer to try to soften what it describes a silicone caulk. This thing isn’t releasing and I can’t even get an exacto (much less a screwdriver) between the metal and plastic drip tray. I’m afraid to put any more force or torque on the tray itself. Any other suggestions? Also, is there any other document I should be following to try to get this Zymatic back to life? I had so many Error -1 that I’d given up until a friend found this pdf.

Yes, you shouldn't be using that version of the document. In fact, it shouldn't even be posted online. I've asked him to remove it, but I get no response.

Anyway, I'm the original creator of the document and I'ved PM'd you...
 

Mike Howard

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@tjikijiki your mail went to my junk folder...that's a first for a direct email....weird

The front drip tray is secured by silicone, you'll need to slip a razor blade under it to cut it loose, then pry it away from the frame.
 

tjikijiki

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That did the trick. I was really worried that if I put too much torque on the drip tray, I’d break it, but couldn’t get under it with a razor blade UNTIL I put some torque on it. Thanks!
 

edogbert

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I just received a zymatic and was running into the #1 error (Still am.) but I am the type the takes things apart first and asks questions later. It was a great learning experience on the construction of these machines. I'm honestly am not impressed, but I see a lot of potential in it. I look forward to see all the updates everyone has done to theirs, and happy to add my own. @Mike Howard if you could be so kind can you please send the info on the error, I would be extremely thankful. But I am not looking forward to breaking this thing down again.
 

adguyer

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Did I kill my screen with a little bit of steam?
 

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tjikijiki

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If I want to actually crimp, rather than use screw clamps, what size crimp clamps should I buy for the glycol line? I swear I saw it was 17 pex clamps.
 
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Mike Howard

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The high temp silicone tubing inside the Zymatic is one of two sizes:

1/4 ID x 1/2 OD
1/2 ID x 3/4 OD

In reality, I've found the OD is slightly less and depends upon the brand purchased, but the Oetiker style of the appropiate size works fine due to their range.

So buy the appropriate size for each.


I don't have the exact sizes I used but you couls always get one of those multi-packs
 

adguyer

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If you pry apart with small screwdriver in the center, you can just use tile nippers to re-crimp. Assuming you didn't do too much damage prying it apart.
 

Mike Howard

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Honestly, unless you are installing the glycol mod, I would use screw clamps because you'll need to top off again sooner or later. Atleast on the T in the glycol line which is where I had mine until I created the reservoir mod.
 

chris0879

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If anyone is looking for a zymatic that has been sitting around let me know - I am in the Northeast - just haven't had time to brew and play around on it anymore. Have all the parts can chat about price.
 

adguyer

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Mike, you were right. I ran more PBW thru the machine with the screwed up OLED screen, but this time used plastic wrap so it didn't get wet from steam, and after a 25 minute cooling cycle by just keep hitting enter to brew a beer, the screen came back on. Excited to put it back together now! Thanks Again for all your help. I'll send pics of my mods.
 
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adguyer

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If anyone is looking for a zymatic that has been sitting around let me know - I am in the Northeast - just haven't had time to brew and play around on it anymore. Have all the parts can chat about price.
I'm in RI, what are you looking to get for it? Have you de-registered it?
 
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tschleis

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I have been stalled lately on both the stainless steel step filter and the control board project for the Zymatic, due to time demands at our brewery and upcoming restaurant. Here is the latest updates to both of those as of 11/16/2021:

Step Filter: The manufacturing facility has the plastic step filter in hand. They are currently building a prototype and I should see that soon. We are a bit stumped on the Duck Valve setup, as I was hoping to get away from that and modify it to something more user friendly, can be cleaned and is easily replaced, without adding undo costs. Any ideas, please pass them my way. Once I get the prototype I'll know more about actual costs and will set up a group buy.

Control Board: The Control board and the software has been completed and dry tested. The last hurdle was to get the Stepper Arm to sync up to the alignment holes during each recipe step and I completed that a few months ago. My test Zymatic currently has all the lower guts ripped out so I can replace the hoses, pumps, heat exchanger and install the glycol mod. With it being in that state, I have been unable to move to the water test and ultimately brew a beer. However, essentially all the hard work is done and I just need time.

I hope to be able to get back to these projects in the next few months, but my time is at a premium right now so they will need to wait.
I've alway thought a one way valve with an o-ring would work, but might be clog prone. Thought I could use for my Z step filter to use in V1 Zymatic. Only found one that might work.
 

adguyer

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I have been stalled lately on both the stainless steel step filter and the control board project for the Zymatic, due to time demands at our brewery and upcoming restaurant. Here is the latest updates to both of those as of 11/16/2021:

Step Filter: The manufacturing facility has the plastic step filter in hand. They are currently building a prototype and I should see that soon. We are a bit stumped on the Duck Valve setup, as I was hoping to get away from that and modify it to something more user friendly, can be cleaned and is easily replaced, without adding undo costs. Any ideas, please pass them my way. Once I get the prototype I'll know more about actual costs and will set up a group buy.

Control Board: The Control board and the software has been completed and dry tested. The last hurdle was to get the Stepper Arm to sync up to the alignment holes during each recipe step and I completed that a few months ago. My test Zymatic currently has all the lower guts ripped out so I can replace the hoses, pumps, heat exchanger and install the glycol mod. With it being in that state, I have been unable to move to the water test and ultimately brew a beer. However, essentially all the hard work is done and I just need time.

I hope to be able to get back to these projects in the next few months, but my time is at a premium right now so they will need to wait.
1/4 inner diameter hose works until it gets hot. So, an inch long hose with a snap ring to hold the hose in place, then machine a tapered hole in the stainless with a snap ring fitting near back. So, as you push it in the hose becomes tighter on the step filter and the hose is replaceable. But, you will get drips from the filter until it is out and you can pitch it backwards away from the port. unless you make a door flapper on the inside to close it off once you start to remove it.

I'd also make a cage for the grain area like the adjunct. That way you can quickly swap the cage with a new set of grain. I say this because I always net 2.5 gallons and make 2 batches to ferment back to just shy of 5 gallons for kegging. So, I want a quick swap out of keg water and step filter, so the machine doesn't cool and clog between batches.
 
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Mike Howard

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@adguyer If you look up Utah Biodiesel you can find grain Screens for use in the Zymatic. I have two of these myself. The stainless Steel Step Filter will work with these or the original screens that came with your Zym.

The build shop contacted me Saturday and said they are back on schedule so I expect to get an update in the next week or so. We are still working on the Duck Valve and I have found a couple of them that I am trying out. Hoping we can get a valve set up that allows easy replacement of the silicone valve and can be cleaned, but still kind of works like the original so when you remove the step filter there is minimal to no leaks.
 

adguyer

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@adguyer If you look up Utah Biodiesel you can find grain Screens for use in the Zymatic. I have two of these myself. The stainless Steel Step Filter will work with these or the original screens that came with your Zym.

The build shop contacted me Saturday and said they are back on schedule so I expect to get an update in the next week or so. We are still working on the Duck Valve and I have found a couple of them that I am trying out. Hoping we can get a valve set up that allows easy replacement of the silicone valve and can be cleaned, but still kind of works like the original so when you remove the step filter there is minimal to no leaks.
Mike, About how much are the grain screens? I'd like 4 of them at least!
 

Mike Howard

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Now, yes...but these machines were $2000 when they first came out. Also, you have to consider that this space is now very niche, so anything Zymatic related will cost $$$.
 

spankna

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I replaced my pumps last night and now I'm working through some introduced issues. My Zymatic, as far as I can tell, must be an early model with 2014-15 handwritten dates. I even have a graffiti heart beside a signature on the stainless inside the device. It had the inline boards prior to the pumps as picture here. The keg pump board failed which shut the pump off and threw a FE#1. I could pluck the board and the pump would come back but randomly fail soon after.

My main issue: What is a normal time in which the grain section will completely fill with water and overflow into the rear? I don't think my old pumps were even capable of filling the grain section completely unless it contained grain. Mine now overflows in about 5 minutes after starting a mash cycle without grain. The flow rate has greatly increased. The drain pump matches the keg pump when in passthrough. I need to take a better look at the boards prior to the old pumps but I believe they were some sort of speed regulator to slow the pumps. The new pumps are the ones @Mike Howard has linked multiple times in this thread.

Secondly, use a quality large AWG power cable. After replacing the pumps, whenever the RIMS heater cut on, the machine would slow down until the pumps stopped and the machine immediately reset. I've used this power cable before with no issues. I thought it was a failing power supply but after hours of testing I swapped the power cable and everything has worked since.
 

Mike Howard

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@spankna are you using this pump "SEAFLO SFDP1-012-035-21, 4.3lpm/1.2gpm, 12V 1.7a" or this pump "SEAFLO SFDP1-007-020-21 2.6lpm/0.7gpm, 12V 1.2a"?

I am using both pumps in two different systems. The 0.7gpm as a direct replacement for either pump and the 1.2gpm as an experimental replacement for the drain pump. I had orginally ordered the 1.2 gpm pump to replace a slow drain pump and you'll have no issues with that. I can't say that I ever measured how long it took to overflow when using the larger size pumps in both locations, I'll have to watch the next time to see if they overflow and how long it takes.

You might check to make sure the hole between the step filter sections is clean and unobstructed. Also, I would be interested to see what happens when one brews using the faster pump vs the slower pump, when it is used in the wort pump location. I would think drainage through the grain bed would be the same, even if you had more overflow. That's how the system was designed and I am not sure that the speed at which overflow begins, would be a problem.

It's such a small enclosed system that even a faster pump shouldn't cause an issue in heat transfer in the RIMS either. When I took my RIMS unit apart the element was caked black with wort (another reason to deep clean using PBW) and maybe the speed had something to do with that. It's definitely still an experiment though, so use those faster pumps with that in mind, if using in the wort pump location.

What do you mean by this "I need to take a better look at the boards prior to the old pumps but I believe they were some sort of speed regulator to slow the pumps."??
 

spankna

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I'm looking at the boxes for the pumps now. Both are the SFDP1-012-035-21 pumps.

I'm looking at the boards now. I think the previous post regarding them being filters is actually correct. They are printed with the word Motordrive and have (2) 7110-RC common mode chokes on them.
 

Vandammified

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I have a zymatic built in 2017 with SEAFLO SFDP1-007-020-21pumps that originally came with the machine. After a deep clean and rebuilding the pumps my machine takes about 25-28 minutes to fill the mash compartment and overflow without any grain in it. The board before your pump does not look familiar to me and I’m pretty sure is not in my machine.

Hope this helps. I’d be interested if there is a change in heating time or mash efficiency, for better or worse with your increased flow.


I replaced my pumps last night and now I'm working through some introduced issues. My Zymatic, as far as I can tell, must be an early model with 2014-15 handwritten dates. I even have a graffiti heart beside a signature on the stainless inside the device. It had the inline boards prior to the pumps as picture here. The keg pump board failed which shut the pump off and threw a FE#1. I could pluck the board and the pump would come back but randomly fail soon after.

My main issue: What is a normal time in which the grain section will completely fill with water and overflow into the rear? I don't think my old pumps were even capable of filling the grain section completely unless it contained grain. Mine now overflows in about 5 minutes after starting a mash cycle without grain. The flow rate has greatly increased. The drain pump matches the keg pump when in passthrough. I need to take a better look at the boards prior to the old pumps but I believe they were some sort of speed regulator to slow the pumps. The new pumps are the ones @Mike Howard has linked multiple times in this thread.

Secondly, use a quality large AWG power cable. After replacing the pumps, whenever the RIMS heater cut on, the machine would slow down until the pumps stopped and the machine immediately reset. I've used this power cable before with no issues. I thought it was a failing power supply but after hours of testing I swapped the power cable and everything has worked since.
 

spankna

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I tested an empty bin to overflow and it took 11 minutes. I also tested the time to go from 75 degrees to 150 degrees. That took 36 minutes.
 

adguyer

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@spankna are you using this pump "SEAFLO SFDP1-012-035-21, 4.3lpm/1.2gpm, 12V 1.7a" or this pump "SEAFLO SFDP1-007-020-21 2.6lpm/0.7gpm, 12V 1.2a"?

I am using both pumps in two different systems. The 0.7gpm as a direct replacement for either pump and the 1.2gpm as an experimental replacement for the drain pump. I had orginally ordered the 1.2 gpm pump to replace a slow drain pump and you'll have no issues with that. I can't say that I ever measured how long it took to overflow when using the larger size pumps in both locations, I'll have to watch the next time to see if they overflow and how long it takes.

You might check to make sure the hole between the step filter sections is clean and unobstructed. Also, I would be interested to see what happens when one brews using the faster pump vs the slower pump, when it is used in the wort pump location. I would think drainage through the grain bed would be the same, even if you had more overflow. That's how the system was designed and I am not sure that the speed at which overflow begins, would be a problem.

It's such a small enclosed system that even a faster pump shouldn't cause an issue in heat transfer in the RIMS either. When I took my RIMS unit apart the element was caked black with wort (another reason to deep clean using PBW) and maybe the speed had something to do with that. It's definitely still an experiment though, so use those faster pumps with that in mind, if using in the wort pump location.

What do you mean by this "I need to take a better look at the boards prior to the old pumps but I believe they were some sort of speed regulator to slow the pumps."??
Mike, I bought that unit from Chris0879 and it sounds like the pumps are making noise but it is not sucking liquid. I used my keg and lines that are known good and still nothing. I even tried just using a cup and filling the line filter and nodda. Do, I need to prime it somehow. I think it sat for a long time?
 

adguyer

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Nevermind, Both sides were air bound. I put 1 PSI into both sides then the pumps started working. I think they just needed to get wet. But I am getting lots of server errors. I didn't try my other machine to see if it is on their side. After a few re-tries, it works.
 
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