UberFridge helps keep beer production going through the dog days of summer

uberfridge

[Elco Jacobs] used to let his beer ferment in the kitchen, but when things got too hot over the summer, he had to suspend his ale making for a few months. Not wanting to have to put production on hiatus again, he modified an old refrigerator into an awesome fermentation unit he calls the UberFridge.

The refrigerator features two temperature sensors, one that sits in the fermenting beer, and one that measures the temperature of the fridge. This dual probe setup offers him the ability to closely monitor the fermentation process, which he does via a sharp-looking web interface.

An Arduino serves as the PID controller, talking to a wireless router via a serial connection. The Arduino logs and relays data to the router where it can be viewed via a web browser. Not only can he keep tabs on what’s going on inside the fridge, he can reprogram the Arduino via the web interface as well.

Keep reading to see [Elco] explain the ins and outs of his UberFridge – we’re pretty sure you’ll want to build your own after you do.

[via BuildLounge]

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Beer security system keeps freeloaders out of your stash

beer-security

The crew at the Milwaukee Hackerspace are pretty serious about their beer. They used to have a fridge filled with cans, available to all at the hackerspace, but they decided to beef things up and create a secured beer dispensing system.

Like many others we have seen, their kegerator is built into an old refrigerator, complete with a tap built into the door. To ensure that interlopers are kept from their precious brew, they have secured the refrigerator using an Arduino and RFID tags to grant access. They use the same RFID key fobs members carry to gain access to the space for tracking beer consumption, unlocking the tap whenever a valid tag is swiped past the sensor.

They are still in the midst of tweaking and revising the system, but it looks good so far. It’s a great way to keep uninvited guests from their beer stash, while giving them a way to track consumption at the same time. We’re looking forward to seeing more details and code once things are completely wrapped up.

[via BuildLounge]

The Perfect Beer Every Time

 

The Pour Master Pro is a beer pouring robot, designed and built by a team of beer/robot lovers as their entry to the Red Bull’s Creation Contest. Pour Master keeps it simple (opposed to some of the other bar bots we have seen), it uses a modified kegerator and tap for the beer, and a few sensors which it uses to maintain its state and pour the perfect beer. The standard tower on the kegerator was replaced with a rack and pinion driven tower constructed using the Vex Robotics Design System, this allows the Pour Master to set its height to the size of any glass using a limit switch and a set of ultrasonic rangefinders.

For a perfect pour the beer must not spill over the side of the glass and needs a decent 3/4″ head, to manage this the Pour Master uses the ultrasonic rangefinder to detect the thickness and height of the head. The entire thing is controlled by an Arduino running a finite state machine which provides state feedback to the user with an LCD display. Check out the video after the break for their competition entry, now all you need is one robot to make the beer and why not another to drink it.

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Tiny transforming beer can robot

beer_can_robot

The next time you reach for a cold one, you might want to take a look at the can to ensure that your beer won’t suddenly sprout legs and start skittering across the table.

You might remember [Ron Tajima] from some of his previous creations, including this Roomba-based baby cradle and the PacMan Roomba mod. This time around, he has created a cool little transforming robot that fits inside a beer can.

The robot’s brains are stored just underneath the top of the beer can on a custom-built board. On one side of this board, you will find an mbed controller which is used to manage all of the robot’s functions, and on the other side, four batteries provide all of the device’s power. The robot’s three legs are controlled by six servos, allowing for movement in several different planes. The beer-bot’s movements are controlled with a Wiimote, so we’re assuming he has crammed a Bluetooth module somewhere in there as well.

[Ron] mentions that it moves a bit slowly when standing on end, but we think the robot is pretty awesome as is, and we can’t wait to see what improvements the next version might bring.

Stick around to see a video demonstration of the robot in action.

[Thanks Sascha]

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Keeping beer chilled from keg to tap

beer_chiller

[Stan] was putting together his nano-brewery, and while waiting for his beer to finish fermenting, he decided to work on the storage portion of his project. He built a kegerator to store his forthcoming brews but realized that since it was about 10 feet away from his tap tower, the beer was becoming unacceptably warm and frothy in transit.

In commercial tap systems, a separate line of chilled propylene glycol is bundled with the beer lines, keeping it cool as it travels from keg to tap. [Stan] decided to replicate this setup, and after three different iterations, he nailed it.

His first two attempts involved keeping the cooling solution inside of the kegerator, but he found that either the pumps added too much heat to the solution, or that the kegerator was running at nearly a 100% duty cycle. Scrapping any sort of kegerator-based cooling, he decided to build a separate cooling unit with a dehumidifier he had sitting around. After fitting the unit into a cooler and filling it with solution, he found it to cool so well it turned the propylene glycol solution to slush!

Check out his site for more details on his cooling setup – if you are in the business of homebrew, you will be glad you did.

Automated home beer brewery — best laundry room add-on ever

All-grain home brewing takes time… a lot of time. We’re not going to pretend like a good batch of beer isn’t thanks mostly to the artist that is the brewmaster, but at the same time it’s pretty amazing to see a compact system like the one above that can boil a batch of wort without much help from you.

[Zizzle] built this machine as his entry in the Renesas contest. You can see the development board there just to the left of the brew kettle. It’s network connected with a web interface that allows you to take recipes from Brewtarget and import them directly to the system. All you need to do is make sure that you load up the grain basket and boil addition modules to match your recipe. The bot takes it from there, filling the kettle, preheating that water, lowering the grains and maintaining temperature for the mash, and completing the boil with additions from the servo-controlled PVC pipe pods. Experienced brewers will notice a few steps missing, like the sparge, and a quick way to cool the finished wort. But this does take a huge part of the drudgery out of our hands. If only it had a clean-in-place system… then we’d really be happy! Don’t miss the video after the break and take a moment to check out the build-log posts.

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Timed shot-glass won’t let you stop drinking

[Drewbagd] was inspired by the 555 timer contest and decided to make this his very first electronics project. It’s an accessory for a drinking game called the Power Hour. The game (if you could call it that) consists of contestants drinking one shot of beer every minute for one hour. [Drewbagd] points out that timing the shots can be an issue and so he decided to augment each shot glass with its own timer.

He added a base that consists of a ring of LEDs surrounding a 555 timer and the cap and resistors. This causes the timer to oscillate from illuminated for a few seconds (drink) to dark for one minute (refill). He calls it the Powered Power Hour. The video after the break shows off the functionality, and it hints at a bright future for [Drewbagd] as an infomercial Emcee.

He’s got a supporting post that detail the electronics and outline some of the prototyping issues. We were happy to hear that when he got stuck he found help over on Hackaday’s forums. Thank you to all who participate in the community by sharing their knowledge.

[Read more...]

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