[Dave] built a controller that lets him boil two kettles at once when brewing beer. The setup uses electric heating elements in each of the kettles. We prefer to use gas as it’s a bit easier to control temperature. But an electric system like this can be used inside during the winter months while propane is relegated to the outdoors. The other thing that immediately comes to mind is partial mash recipes that require steeping in one kettle, then sparging (rinsing off the grains) with water of a different temperature. That kind of thing is a snap since the two are controlled individually by the trimpots on the front of the control box.
Inside you’ll find two 220V solid state relays. The box itself plugs into the 220V outlet in his basement which is normally occupied by his clothes dryer cord. So as not to blow a fuse, the MSP430 chip driving the relays switches back and forth between them rather than turning both on at once. The system uses entirely manual control, but it should be an easy modification to add a thermocouple and PID algorithms if so desired.
After the break [Dave] shows off the system in a video clip.
Continue reading “Double-kettle boiling rig for and easier brew day”
Are you bored with just drinking beer? Are your friends constantly sneaking into your house and stealing your sacred beverages? If so, perhaps you need KegDroid – the Android controlled beer tap created by [Paul Carff].
Looking for a way to add more excitement to drinking his beer, [Paul] spiced up his tap with a little extra technology. He added an Android tablet for touchscreen navigation of the menus, an Arduino to control the flow sensors and solenoid valves, and an NFC reader to act as security for restricted access. Users must be authenticated before they are allowed to pour any alcohol.
Your name and photo are pulled from your Google+ account as you’re logged in, then you simply select your beverage of choice, and if you’d like a one, eight, or twelve ounce pour. Flow sensors automatically shut off when you have the desired quantity.
Seems like you get more foam than beer, but all in all it’s a cool bar top app.
Check out the video after the break.
Continue reading “KegDroid makes drinking beer more fun”
A common problem at parties and get-togethers – although we don’t remember this happening – is regulating the amount of alcohol people consume. [Mike] came up with an interesting solution to make sure people don’t drink more than their fill by building a vending machine out of a minifridge that allows you to keep track of how many cans someone has taken.
[Mike] added a magnetic card reader on the side of a minifridge that allows any card with a magnetic stripe – a library card, credit card, or school ID – to serve as a unique identifier for each party guest. This card reader is connected to a Raspberry Pi which handles all the registration and eventual payment processing via Venmo
The mechanical portion of the build is a series of ramps built inside the fridge. At the bottom of this series of ramps, a servo controlled by an Arduino dispenses one can at a time when commanded to by the Raspi. The vending machine has a capacity of only 24 cans, but [Mike] says that could be improved with some CAD designed ramps inside a more modern fridge.
Although beer is generally a good way to get people to come to your trade show booth, [Robofun.ru] decided to put a new spin on things. Instead of (or possibly in addition to) giving out beer, they decided to turn 40 Staropramen beer cans into a keyboard.
This was done using an Arduino hooked up to four Sparkfun MPR121 Capacitive Touch Sensor Breakout Boards, allowing them to act as keys. These inputs are translated via the Arduino into a standard output (we assume USB) that can be plugged into any computer. Additionally, a Sparkfun MP3 trigger board was used to control the sound effects. Rounding out the build, a Raspberry Pi computer was used to run the human machine interface, a large plasma display.
Be sure to check out this keyboard in action after the break. If this isn’t enough alternative input fun, why not check our post about how to make a banana piano and giant NES controller. Continue reading “Hacking Beer Cans for Fun and Publicity”
A quick primer is in order: when it comes to hobby brewing there’s two main types, extract brewing and all-grain brewing. The former uses a syrup that has been extracted from the grains at a factory while the latter adds the steps to do this yourself. But in both cases the brewing grains have already been malted. This is a careful process of soaking the grains and then kiln drying them. [Richard Oliver] built his own malt kiln controller to add the preliminary step to his home brewing ritual. Now the only thing he’s not doing himself is growing the grains (and perhaps culturing the yeast).
His original design used a food dehydrator for the drying step, but this didn’t work because the temperature wasn’t at the correct level. The new build uses the ceramic heating element from a 300W hot air gun. A blower directs air through the element and into the wooden box that serves as the kiln. An Arduino monitors the heated air to keep it right in the sweet spot. He’s included a graphing GUI for easy monitoring, which is shown in the video after the break.
Continue reading “Malting kiln controller for preparing beer brewing grains”
Take a look at BrewPi, a fermentation controller made with a Raspberry Pi. The project hacks control of a refrigerator and a light bulb into the pervue of a Raspberry Pi board. The RPi itself brings network connectivity to the mix. What you end up with is an already highly configurable fermentation system which is perched to receive even more features moving forward.
The man behind the system is [Elco Jacobs]. You may remember his name from the UberFridge project. That was a router-based fermentation controller. This keeps the same great hardware as well as online graphing and control features such as setting plot points for ramping temperature up and down. For now there’s also an Arduino being used which takes care of the hardware switching via json packets received from the RPi. But now that he’s worked out most of the bugs it should be fairly painless to dump the Arduino and build a proper RPi shield for this purpose.
Beer Pong seems to have been around for some time but it only recently exploded in to a universally known game. But one thing has always bothered us. Who wants to drink the beer into which that grimy little ball has fallen? Leave it to the frat boys at MIT to come up with a solution. Their beer pong table automatically cleans your balls.
Of course the table looks great. It’s outfitted with laser cut felt lettering on the apron, and the top features EL wire highlights. But the two features that really set it apart aren’t hard to spot either. First, there are rain gutters along either side to help catch the spillage. Secondly, that blue ring is actually the input nozzle for the ball cleaner. By pushing the ball through the vinyl sleeve it enters a recirculating liquid cleanser, popping out of the portal on the left a second later. That’s about all the details we have on the system, but you can get a closer look at the inner workings in the clip after the break.
The thing to remember is that these guys NEVER run out of ping-pong balls. They’ve got thousands on hand ever since they built this launcher.
Continue reading “Fancy beer pong table cleans your balls”