Brew Controller: Assembly

Brew Controller | Projects No Comments

I made some more progress on my electric brew control panel this past weekend. I got everything mounted and ready for wiring. Just some small tweaks and a few more parts and I can mount it to the wall and take it for a spin and brew some beer.

This week I’ve been working some on the HMI that I’ll be running on the Raspberry Pi. I’m not changing a ton of the layout, just getting more of the Modbus Registers added and configured. I’m going to use the spare outputs on the PID controllers to drive the SSRs for the pump motors. These Eurotherm PIDs have a Current transformer input that can monitor the current going through the heating elements. This will help show if the SSR is shorted and also I can guesstimate instantaneous power.

 

I made some more progress on my electric brew control panel this past weekend. I got everything mounted and ready for wiring. Just some small tweaks and a few more parts and I can mount it to the wall and take it for a spin and brew some beer. This week I’ve been working some […]

Kegerator: Mycodo

Brewing Equipment | kegerator | Projects No Comments

So I’ve spent a few weekends the last couple months trying to get the control system on the Conviron kegerator worked out. I wanted to use some of the PID controllers I bought, but they seem limited in they don’t have a on-time delay and off-time delay, no ramp/soak and limited output options. I don’t want to short cycle the compressor, so controlling the on and off times and delay between is a must.

When I was first planning the build, I looked into some other software that does controls for homebrewers. There’s Craftbeerpi, Brewpi and a few others. I stumbled upon another software that runs on the Raspberry pi, that was geared more towards plant and mushroom growth, called MyCodo, by Kyle Gabriel. I was hesitant at first because I don’t have experience with the DS18B20 temperature sensors.

So after months of tinkering, I decided to give it a shot and I’m really glad I did. Not only did it eliminate my problems, but it has some features that I really wanted to have. It turns the kegerator into a full temperature controlled chamber, with a receptacle inside I can control on and off if needed. I can control the heating and cooling solenoids on the heat pump, the compressor and fan, and display humidity, temperature etc. depending on sensors used.

One really awesome thing it can do, is use methods to change the PID setpoint over time, i.e. ramp/soak profiles for lagering and cold crashing.

I wired it to drive some SSR’s directly to control the compressor/fan at the same time, and heating/cooling solenoids independently as needed. I know the kegerator won’t need heating, but it’s just another cheap SSR, so I’ll wire it in and if I need it, it’s there. Once I prove it out, I’ll gut the controls on my other Conviron chamber, and overhaul it. Chamber 2 already has Temp, humidity and light control which I want to keep. The thought is, I can use it for fermenting as well as growing mushrooms, growing plants, etc.

Here’s a picture of the MyCodo interface showing some of the outputs, temperature and the graphing abilities:

 

So I’ve spent a few weekends the last couple months trying to get the control system on the Conviron kegerator worked out. I wanted to use some of the PID controllers I bought, but they seem limited in they don’t have a on-time delay and off-time delay, no ramp/soak and limited output options. I don’t […]

Kegerator: Update

Brewing | kegerator | Projects No Comments

It’s been a pretty busy summer, so some of my projects were put on hold a while. A few weeks ago, I got new taps and drip-tray and installed into the temperature chambers. I spent a little while since then removing any unnecessary electrical components on the chamber that were left over from the broken controls. I also worked a bunch on the new control system using the Raspberry Pi.

New chamber fits roughly 9 corny kegs in the bottom, and has room up top for cheap beer, bottles and beer glasses. The chamber has a hole in the top that will house a 7″ touchscreen LCD that will eventually show a tap-list running on the Raspberry Pi. Also running on the RPi, is an HMI that I created (using the same software for my brew control system) that will allow me to set the temperature and view alarms. I can even set it to email or sms message me if an alarm threshold is reached.

Next up is wiring the SSR into the existing components and getting just the cooling working. I’m hoping to have this finished in the next couple weeks. I’m running out of space in our fridge for beer, and need somewhere cool to store everything.

It’s been a pretty busy summer, so some of my projects were put on hold a while. A few weeks ago, I got new taps and drip-tray and installed into the temperature chambers. I spent a little while since then removing any unnecessary electrical components on the chamber that were left over from the broken […]

VR: Oculus Rift

Oculus Rift | Virtual Reality No Comments

After playing with the OSVR HDK2 for a little while, I started to look into controllers. The Xbox controller is OK, but VR really needs tracked motion controllers for many of the games to work. I came across an Oculus Rift locally and picked it up, and then listed my OSVR HDK2 on ebay and sold to a gentleman in Ireland. It was only the headset, so I still need to get Touch Controllers, but I’m impressed so far.

As far as which one I like better, I think the OSVR is a little ways off from tracking at the level of the Rift, but it’s decent. The fit and finish of both is nice. The graphics seemed a little better with the HDK2. The FOV was a little better on the HDK2 and the filters on the HDK2 seemed to help a bit with the Screen door, although it’s barely noticable on both devices.

One of the reasons I like the rift, is it’s much more portable and finished when compared to the HDK2. The software Oculus developed makes it very simple to set up (under 5 minutes), compared to lots of tinkering with the OSVR interface. There’s 1 cable for the Rift, compared to 3 for the HDK2, which makes the Rift more portable for me. One of the things I want to do is have my VR rig slightly portable to bring to a friend’s place to play. Also missing from the Rift, is the hip-clip control box like on the HDK2, which was a little annoying to have to clip/unclip when changing users. The built in headphones on the Rift are super nice, so I don’t have to have additional hardware, just slip the unit on, and go. There’s also a microphone on the Rift for comms while playing games.

I’m pretty happy with the purchase, and now that Rift slashed their prices from $600 for the headset to $500 and $200 for the touch to $100, it means getting the Touch controllers will be much cheaper than I had initially wanted to spend. I ended up switching out the GTX 1060 OC for a GTX 1070 STRIX OC and haven’t looked back. I also upgraded the RAM from 8GB to 16GB, which was a noticeable decrease in loading time.

Gameplay has been pretty fun, just working out some kinks with the Xbox 360 controller. There’s a ton of content and I’ve just been going through free stuff until I buy the Touch controllers. I’d highly recommend the Rift after having used the Vive, Rift CV1 and OSVR HDK2.

After playing with the OSVR HDK2 for a little while, I started to look into controllers. The Xbox controller is OK, but VR really needs tracked motion controllers for many of the games to work. I came across an Oculus Rift locally and picked it up, and then listed my OSVR HDK2 on ebay and […]

VR: OSVR HDK2

OSVR HDK2 | Projects | Virtual Reality No Comments

A couple months back, my buddy got an HTC Vive and I got my first taste of Virtual Reality. It was a really cool experience. I had always thought VR was cool since I was a kid, but everything was so expensive and almost no affordable software. I haven’t done a lot of gaming in my life past the original Xbox and some computer games in college, but I found this to be very intuitive. I picked it up immediately and had a ton of fun with the games we played.

I figured I’d keep an eye out for a VR headset on Craigslist and found an Oculus Rift DK1 for $20. Sweet, right? Well, It was an absolute pain to get running, and there’s little or no support for it in games any longer, but it was a pretty cool intro into Virtual Reality. I had it running after a week of evenings struggling to overcome the limitations and complexity of getting it running. The resolution was low, but the experience was amazing.

I wasn’t really satisfied and kept an eye out for an Oculus Rift CV1, HTC Vive or an OSVR HDK2 online, and came across an OSVR HDK2 with the Leap Motion controller for about half what it would cost new. I bought it and then ordered some parts for a new computer (Long overdue, as my computer was at least 8 years old).

I built a entry level computer, with an Intel i7 7700 4.2GHz, 8GB DDR4, Asus 1060 OC 6GB Video Card, 240GB SSD, Zalman Z1 Neo mid-tower case/735W power supply and my old wifi card. I should have done this long ago, this thing smokes. I installed Win 10, plugged in my VR headset and spent the next few nights tinkering.

Any HDK is going to be a pain in the butt to get running. It requires tinkering, and I knew this going into it. These aren’t commercially viable products on the software side. My experiences in both headsets were plagued with issues related to how Windows 10 likes to block programs and the user from admin access. Everything has to be modified to run as administrator, and even directories have to be changed from Read Only to full access. Unfortunately, it took a lot of trial and error to figure that out! I got the display working, but couldn’t ever get the positional tracking working. SteamVR however, was working!

Then I stumbled across a Beta Windows Installer. It was well hidden and not very well documented or cross-linked anywhere. I don’t know why they didn’t make this more readily documented on any of the getting started websites. I installed it and almost immediately the headset and tracking was working! After a little tinkering I got SteamVR working again, and I was pretty much fully up and running for the HDK2.

It’s amazing. Everything is so smooth, graphics are clear and crisp, the Screendoor effect is minimal and I’m very happy. I’ll see how I like it, and the support, but it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun.

A couple months back, my buddy got an HTC Vive and I got my first taste of Virtual Reality. It was a really cool experience. I had always thought VR was cool since I was a kid, but everything was so expensive and almost no affordable software. I haven’t done a lot of gaming in […]