Wireless Temperature Control for a Microbrewery

Wireless Temperature Control

When brewing your own beer, temperature control is important. If the temperature isn’t regulated correctly, the yeast will be killed when it’s added to the wort. It’s best to cool the wort from boiling down to about 25 C quickly before adding yeast.

To do this, [Kalle] came up with a wireless temperature controller for his home brewing setup. The device uses a heat exchanger to cool the wort. An ATmega88 connected to a H-bridge controls a valve that regulates flow through the heat exchanger. It reads the current temperature from a LM35 temperature sensor and actuates the valve to bring the wort to a set point.

A neat addition to the build is a wireless radio. The nRF24L01 module provides a wireless link to a computer. There’s an Android application which communicates with the computer, providing monitoring of the temperatures and control over the set point from anywhere [Kalle] can get an internet connection.

Robot bartender mixes a mean drink

robot-bartender-mixes-mean-drink

Back in 2002, [Dave] came across a discarded PUMA robotic arm and quickly set his sights on turning it into a bartender to serve drinks at his parties. Unfortunately, the arm was far from operational and being an engineer at his day job meant that working on this project was the last thing he wanted to do when he came home. So, progress trickled along slowly for years. He eventually announced a public deadline to spur him to action, and this years Pi(e) party saw the official debut of  ‘Sir-Mix-a-Bot’ – the robot bartender.

With the exception of having to build a new hand for it, mechanically, the arm was still in good condition when [Dave] found it. The electronics were another story however. Using some off the shelf components and his own know-how, [Dave] had to custom build all the controls. The software was written from scratch as well. (He lucked out and had help from his brother who was taking a Ph.D. program in robotics at the time).

As if the robotics aspect of the project wasn’t enough, [Dave] even created a beautiful custom table that both houses and displays his masterpiece. The quality of craftsmanship on his table alone is worth the time to check this out – there’s a short video after the break.

[Thanks Dave]

Continue reading “Robot bartender mixes a mean drink”

Automatic beer pourer was hacked together from a bit of everything

beer-conveyor

This thing is really remarkable. It’s a beer draft system that automatically fills and distributes to your party guests. The approach is something of an industrial revolution for parties. A hopper feeds cups to the tap; once filled they are whisked off to thirsty guests using a conveyor belt system.

Many of the parts come from a washing machine that the team scrapped for the build — most notably the motor which drives the belt. But pretty much every part of it is salvaged. For instance, the conveyor belt that transports the full glasses was made from gluing sections of bicycle inner tubes together. To help ease the transfer of a cup from the filling station onto that belt a series of very long cable ties were attached to a pole. The tails from those ties act as a brush to stabilize the cup as an arm pushes it onto the conveyor. The best way to see all of this is to watch the entire clip embedded after the jump.

Continue reading “Automatic beer pourer was hacked together from a bit of everything”

Tweeting beer dispenser requires co-worker approval

tweeting-beer-dispenser

Having been faced with an empty beer fridge one too many times the team at Metalworks came up with an approval system for dispensing malted beverages. The trick was to remove the physical controls on a can dispenser. The only way you can get a cold one is to ask the machine via its twitter account. If there’s beer inside, it waits for one of your approved co-workers to give the go-ahead.

There are two versions of the machine. The first is a hacked refrigerator with a dispenser hole cut in the door. This resides in their Sydney office, apparently doesn’t work all that well, and is only shown in the video after the break.

The image above is version 2.0 which is located at their Singapore branch. It’s a much smaller device, but works very well since it started as a commercially available can dispenser. You can see the Arduino Leonardo and breadboard which make up the driver circuits.

There aren’t a ton of details on this, but it’s not hard to find about a million examples of an Arduino using Twitter. Here’s one that takes Morse code as an input and posts the message as a Tweet.

Continue reading “Tweeting beer dispenser requires co-worker approval”

Vintage Kegerator

Vintage Kegerator

[Kerber] got his hands on a classic 1950′s General Electric fridge, and converted it into this classy vintage kegerator.

As his build log shows, it took an intensive restoration process to get this fridge back in shape. He completely stripped it down, scraping off the sixty year old insulation, fibreglass, and glue. Then the chassis was sanded down to a smooth finish and painted black. R-19 insulation was added to replace the old stuff.

Next up was electronics. An Arduino, DS18B20 temperature sensor, and a solid state relay were used to regulate the temperature and prevent frozen beer. There’s also a Guruplug server that reads data from the Arduino every minute. It makes this data accessible through a web page, so the temperature of the kegs can be monitored from anywhere. [Kerber] admits that this is overkill, but leaves room for future expansion.

The kegerator draws about 180 Watts, and runs for about 6 minutes per hour to keep the temperature regulated. This is pretty impressive considering the age of the fridge. The final restoration looks great, and serves up data along with the beer.

KegDroid makes drinking beer more fun

KegDroid beer arduino

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”

Hacking Beer Cans for Fun and Publicity

beer-keyboard

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”