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Temperature control and monitoring

  • 03-11-2015 10:05pm
    #1
    Registered Users Posts: 2,324 ✭✭✭


    Hi all,

    I've been brewing for the last 5 years, casually, mostly kit brewing when I have the time. Recently, I've been looking into systems like the BrewPi for monitoring and controlling fermentation temperatures.

    Rather than buying the BrewPi, I started experimenting with my Raspberry Pi and some cheap temperature sensors to monitor the temperature of the wort and modulate temperature using relays and a brew belt. I've decided to expanding on this by developing the functionality further while developing a decent user interface. This will form a large part of my final year project in college.

    Are any of you guys using the BrewPi/BrewPi Spark? Is there anything you find the user interface lacking in?

    I've been doing some research into monitoring Co2 output, to track when the fermentation is at its most active, and when it's starting to trail off. I'm mindful that airlock activity shouldn't really be used as an indication of fermentation activity. Thoughts? :)


Comments

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,779 ✭✭✭Carawaystick


    How do you reduce the temp if its higher than desired?


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 10,911 Mod ✭✭✭✭Ponster


    How do you reduce the temp if its higher than desired?

    Lots of people combine a a BrewPi with a small larder fridge and heat lamp. The temp inside the fridge is measured along with the temp of the wort/beer. The fancy software is able to control the heating/cooling elements such that there aren't any large temperature swings.


    Alter-Ego, I just decided yesterday to take a stab at this. I'll probably use an Arduino rather than the Raspberry Pi.


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,324 ✭✭✭Alter-Ego


    How do you reduce the temp if its higher than desired?

    As mentioned by Ponster, the fridge option seems to be the most common method to bring temps down. Probably using a relay to turn the fridge on/off.

    The Pi could be connected to two relays, one to control heating, one to control cooling.
    Ponster wrote: »
    Alter-Ego, I just decided yesterday to take a stab at this. I'll probably use an Arduino rather than the Raspberry Pi.

    Any reason for choosing Arduino over Raspberry Pi?

    The reason I'm going with the Pi, is that it seems better suited to run a web server and MySQL DB. The BrewPi uses a combination of both Pi and Arduino.


  • Registered Users Posts: 98 ✭✭neoanto


    The arduino is still required, its the microcontroller.
    The raspberry pi has the brewpi interface installed and it how you control the arduino.
    I built a fermentation chamber, taking out the freezer element from a fridge and installing it in the chamber, coupled with a brew belt and a lightbulb to control the temps.
    I used an old laptop and installed debian on it.

    www.homebrewtalk.com/f258/howto-make-brewpi-fermentation-controller-cheap-466106/

    Everything you need to know is there!


  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators Posts: 10,911 Mod ✭✭✭✭Ponster


    Cheers neoanto!

    Alter, I already have a dedicated webserver running in the house that I'm hoping to use.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 1,557 ✭✭✭Knifey Spoony


    I've been playing around with an Arduino based temp monitor for a while now. For what it does it is probably a bit over engineered, but I'm pretty proud of it.

    IMG_20151104_200157_zpsoigu957i.jpg

    I picked up a Raspberry Pi a few months ago and am hoping to use it as a web server for the Arduino, once I teach myself the basics of Python. Some day I'll then add actual temperature control to this setup.


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,779 ✭✭✭Carawaystick


    Has the OP a fridge for cooling?
    There is very little need to control brew temp to a hundredth of a degree if they are using a kit imho


  • Registered Users Posts: 2,324 ✭✭✭Alter-Ego


    Has the OP a fridge for cooling?
    There is very little need to control brew temp to a hundredth of a degree if they are using a kit imho
    At the moment, I don't have a spare fridge to use for cooling.

    I'm setting the system up with multiple relays, so that a fridge could be added later for cooling.

    Are you using any sort of monitoring system yourself?


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,779 ✭✭✭Carawaystick


    No. Don't use any.
    it's about 16-18 degrees in my bedroom where I ferment
    Fermented a lager in a spare room where it was definitely colder ~11-13 or so

    Brewing is simple, don't overcomplicate it, takes the fun away.


  • Registered Users Posts: 20,299 ✭✭✭✭MadsL


    Brewing is simple, don't overcomplicate it, takes the fun away.

    The complicated IS the fun, I love the variables of brewing.


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  • Registered Users Posts: 2,324 ✭✭✭Alter-Ego


    No. Don't use any.
    it's about 16-18 degrees in my bedroom where I ferment
    Fermented a lager in a spare room where it was definitely colder ~11-13 or so

    Brewing is simple, don't overcomplicate it, takes the fun away.
    I love beer and complicated things. :pac:


  • Registered Users Posts: 36 dukeellington


    I love this philosophical debate... I tend to agree carawaystick on not overcomplicating temperature control... when it's particularly hot I might put my bucket in a bath of ~15oC water just to prevent it racing above 25oC, otherwise I let it sit indoors and let the yeast control the temp.

    i do love the nerdy complicated tracking and logging of variables though, just try to stay away from influencing them unless you have to, and you know exactly what difference you're trying to make.


  • Registered Users Posts: 18 paddy_o_generic


    Alter-Ego wrote: »
    I love beer and complicated things. :pac:

    ... and I love complicated beer!!!

    on a slightly different note following on from dukeellington, was thinking about an alternative scheme to using a brew belt along the lines of:
    1) A plastic tub slightly bigger than my brew bucket filled with water. Probably to the same level as the beer. €5 for the tub.
    2) A cheap aquarium heater from Amazon. €10
    3) Optionally but recommended is some insulation like polystyrene from packaging glued to the sides of the plastic tub. free?
    4) For the honors course, add a cheap digital thermometer with the probe in the water. €5

    I'm wife constrained to the garage where it can get pretty cold.

    Any thoughts? Anyone tried this or similar? I know that a brew belt is possibly cheaper and easier, but where's the fun in that!


  • Registered Users Posts: 76 ✭✭RoflHarris


    Anybody managed to cobble this kit together yet? I just ordered all the parts from amazon. Have a fridge but pretty sure its too small so gonna use a brew belt with either a fan or just let the ambient temp to bring it down.

    Also, I've never dony anything with electronics so I feel this is gonna be long and painful :D


  • Registered Users Posts: 8,779 ✭✭✭Carawaystick


    Your fridge is not too small, your fermenter is too big ;)


  • Registered Users Posts: 76 ✭✭RoflHarris


    Finally got it all set up last night, it's been keeping the beer within .1 degree of my goal all night. Smack bang on 20 degrees right now

    qXyCFA8.jpg


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