Three tier Raspberry Pi and Arduino controlled home brewery
10" LCD touchscreen control interface
240V SSR's, GFIC and receptacles with cooling fan
20' 1/2" copper Herms coil for mash temperature control
12V gearmotor agitator for even heating and Herms heat transfer
Custom sightglass controlled recirculation manfold to prevent stuck sparges
Upgade of food grade pumps to PWM controller 3 phase 12V brewpumps
Used a 2" Stilldragon style element enclosure for easy removal. Installation of a
3 way ball valve to cycle between whirlpool or knockout CFC chiller
10" LCD touchscreen control interface for local control
240V 40A SSR's, GFIC and receptacles relocated with cooling fans
Relocation of Micro-controller, manual switches, relay boards, power supplies, SSR's, heatsinks and all other electrical components into a water tight control box. This will allow me to better organize the "rats nest" of wires currently existing in my V1.0 control box. In addition I currently have to setup a fan to blow on my SSR heatsinks keeping them cool during the brew process. This upgrade will have a built in fan to keep the SSR's automatically cool.
Wiring the Controller
Wiring......... lots of work. Easier to procrastinate by brewing beer on the old system than it is to layout a map of a controller.
Turns out wiring a controller with 18, 5 pin connectors, 12, 4 pin connectors and 12, 3 pin connectors plus all the internal wiring between components, relays, switches and screens is a lot of work. Here's a photo of the current state of the beast.
The lower part is a bit of a mess, will be cleaned up before the final bit is finished.
Control Panel Configuration Finalized
This is the layout of the inside of the control box that I've decided upon. After some consultation with an electrical engineer at work and modifying the separation distances between high power, low power and sensors, this was finalized.
Click on the image for a larger view.
Hopefully I will have a comparison photo of the actual assembly early in the new year :)
Brewbot with a Raspberry Pi interface
Old LCD on the right............. new 10" touchscreen Raspberry Pi on the left :)
more to come
Dec 2012 - LCD touchscreen for Raspberry Pi Ordered :)
Was relatively expensive at $180 shipped, especially compared to the cost of the Pi. But it will provide a good looking interface that will hopefully be used for years and many projects
Going to install this screen into the front panel of the new control box
Will hopefully recieve in January 2013 so come back for updates :)
May seem like a simple achievement, but going from control box, wires and mini-XLR connectors to having connector cords, and matching ends installed into the box is quite a lot of work. Each connector has between 3 to 5 connections pending whether its a temperature sensor, pressure sensor, AC or DC motor etc..... These 3 to 5 connections has to be soldered on both sides of the connector then individually and communally heatshrinked. The holes being drilled in the box at this controlled spacing required a CAD printout and were punched prior to drilling. A step drill was used to make the holes and then the time consuming process of deburring the holes needed to be done. All in all, 39 holes were drilled and cle
I chose mini-XLR style connectors because they were some of the cheapest and well made connectors I could get that also fit my size constraint. I have planned on over 40 different connections to various components of the brewery so to fit everything onto one panel is tricky. This seller I contacted on ebay allowed me to purchase 50 sets of connectors but mix them so I recieved 20 sets of 5 pin, 20 sets of 4 pin and 20 sets of 3 pin. This way I can run all my 5V devices (temp sensors, pressure sensors and limit switches) on 5 pin, all my 12V devices on 4 pin (pumps), and my 120V AC devices on 3 pin (mash stir motors, exaust fans). This ensures that no device can be plugged into a port not designed for the voltage of the device. The link I purchased the connectors can be found here
Nov 2012 - Arduino Interfaced DC motor controller L298N
With a motor controller which varies the supply voltage, I can eliminate both valves from my system. This will allow me to run the motor at any speed I wish. At times I have had problems with stuck mashes as my recirculation pump sucks too hard on the bottom of the mash tun. This controller will help me avoid this problem.
The Arduino will use two of its pwm outputs to communicate with this controller, telling it to vary its ouput voltage from 0V to the supply voltage of this controller.
Using some clever CAD locating, I was able to move both high power SSR's, the 40A ground fault interrupting switch, all three locking connectors and the cooling fan into the lower third of this control box. I plan on creating a partition just above these components, essentially making a cooling tunnel moving air from one side of the box to the other. This will ensure none of these devices will overheat :)
LED illuminated rocker switches
DC motor controller
10" LCD touchscreen
Arduino 128k Mega microcontroller
Miscellaneous Wiring parts
$34 (for two boards)
$65 for 50 sets of connectors
$40 for 20 switches
$5 for a dual channel controller
Auto-sparge and 10 gallon Mash mixer
See below for pics of the mixing paddle. 3/8" and 1/2" tubing were used to fabricate this guy, bend so TIG welding smoothly sealed it on all edges. No water can seep into the mixer so there are not crooks or insides to clean.
A Blichmann Auto-Sparge was chosen to control sparge water.
There were an abundance of negative reviews regarding the float valve sticking from loose grain, however all of these systems were recirculating the wort through the float valve. This is not a very good idea IMO. If the level of liquid is at full mash, then the valve is likely closed (as the float has risen and closed the valve). So when you are trying to recirculate, you pump woudl have to push pretty hard to get the valve to open and secondly the gaps in the valve at this time to flow through would be small and could easily catch grain (and thus plug)
I am using the autosparge exclusively for strike / sparge water additions. This way no grain ever flows through the valve and thus Im yet to see an issue (about a dozen batches so far through it). Very happy with the valve, it makes fly sparging stupid simple (just open the outlet valve to a discharge rate of about 1 qt/min) and then just keep draining until your kettle pre-boil volume is reached :)
pics of auto-sparge in the mash tun will be uploaded shortly
12V Brewpumps and HERMS manifold
variable speed control (reason for choosing this pump)
4 amps!!, 50W
8M head and 2000L/hr flow
total price $50 / pump from Aliexpress
Capable of being speed controlled by microcontroller through PWM
designed for hot water solar pumps. pump body and impeller materials made of nylon 66 which is food grade
Relatively small size compared to a march or chugger pump.
May - July 2013 H.E.R.M.S. HLT build
- Base construction was a 50L SS keg
- Plasma cut to open hole in lid
- Hole cut in top to allow for installation of herms coil while providing mounting for stir motor
- 5500W ULWD element with electric brewery style connection box.
- Weldless fittings (thermowell, herms bulkheads, float switches, element)
- 20' 1/2 inch copper integrated herms coil
- 200rpm stir motor with bearing mount and custom SS paddle for agitation (motor off of aliexpress, paddle custom made)
- Bottom drain design using 2" triclamp fittings to allow for complete draining (sourced from brewershardware
- Float valve to prevent dry firing of element
- Float valve to prevent over filling
- Thermowell for DS18B20 temperature sensor installation
The V1.0 kettle was a 10 gallon aluminum pot with a 5500W element installed in it.
After exploring options, the best option to save some money and to get a larger boil volume was to purchase a second pot and weld the sides to the first pot essentially making it twice the height. This decision was largely influenced by the original pot already ready to go with element, filter, sensor. Also I happen to do a little TIG welding at work and the equipment was available.
Here are some photos of the build so far. Its not yet polished or anodized, but it holds 20 gallons and the filter area is pressed down so there is minimal loss.
The weld below is still in its post welding state and has not yet been cleaned or polished.
The bottom two photos are of my new 50' 1/2" immersion chiller built with a dual helix design. No fittings were used in the chilling coil, just a thoughtful bending process. brass quick disconnects are soldered to the 1/2" tube on the outlet and a whirlpool return line is plumbed in the middle. More pics to come :)
- 25' CFC
- 12V brewpump
- Whirlpool injection for partical separation
- To clean I run hot water through the chiller for a minute. Every month or so I flush with oxyclean for a few minutes to dissolve any leftover buildup
- Photo on left if the base setup of the kettle
- Photo in middle is the setup I use for pellet hops
- Photo on right is the setup I use for leaf hops
- Photo on left is the custom filter I designed for this kettle. I found it to clog with hop pellets / cold break no matter what I tried. I find that whirl-pooling while cooling and a side pickup as shown above provides excellent partical separation and the filter actually isn't' needed.
- Double Helix immersion chiller (photos in middle and right): This chiller worked really well. But it was a pain to clean. I already have a 25' 3/8" copper counterflow chiller that I found to use less water to chill the wort and secondly is much easier to clean (flush with hot water)
Out with old shelf, in with new
Upgrading to a 10 gallon system with the potential weight of about 130lbs of HLT on the top shelf required replacing the IKEA shelf with a custom 2x4 stand. Ironically it was actually about half the value of an IKEA shelf since a 2x4x8 is only like 2 bucks :)
The brewery is still located in the same location as previous situated right next to the washer / dryer, but the control panel is now much more accessible and it has a much cleaner look.
Thought i'd mess with the Pi symbol and re-purpose it for beer :)
or just raspberry pi brewing controller :)