Keep an Eye on Your Fermenting Beer with BrewMonitor

The art of brewing beer is as old as civilization itself. Many people enjoy brewing their own beer at home. Numerous steps must be taken before you can take a swig, but fermentation is one of the most critical. [Martin Kennedy] took up the hobby with his friends, and wanted a convenient way to monitor the fermentation temperature remotely. He started working on the BrewMonitor, a cloud-based homebrewing controller powered by an Arduino clone.

His goal was to create something cheap, convenient, and easy to set up. Traditional fermentation monitoring equipment is very expensive. The typical open-source alternative will set you back 80 euros (roughly $101), using the Arduino-sensor with a Raspberry Pi gateway via the BrewPi webserver. [Martin] did not want to go through the hassle of viewing BrewPi remotely, since it requires a home network and all of the configuration that would entail. Instead, he coupled an Arduino clone with a DS18B20 temperature sensor while using an ESP8266 module for wireless communication, all for less than 18 euros ($23). This connects to a simple webpage based on with a PHP backend (Laravel with RESTful API), a MySQL database, and an AngularJS frontend to display the graph. Once the sensor is placed into the fermenter bucket’s thermowell, the temperature is transmitted once a minute to the REST API. You can see the temperature over time (in Celsius). The design files are available on GitHub.

[Martin] would like to expand the functionality of BrewMonitor, such as adding the ability to adjust the temperature remotely by controlling a heater or fridge, and lowering its cost by single boarding it. Since the information is stored on the cloud, upgrading the system is much easier than using a separate gateway device. He doesn’t rule out crowdfunding campaigns for the future. We would like to see this developed further, since different yeast species and beer styles require very stringent conditions, especially during the weeks-long fermentation process; a 5-degree Celsius difference can ruin an entire brew! Cloud-based temperature adjustment seems like the next big goal for BrewMonitor. DIY brewers salute you, [Martin]!

[via Dangerous Prototypes]


Automated Bathtub Prepares Your Bath Just The Way You Like It

Automated Bathtub Controlled by Arduino

We live in the future don’t we? Is there a reason why only rich people have touchscreen controlled showers and temperature regulated bathtubs? [Raptor_Demon] shows us how to make our very own automated bathtub for cheap, using our favorite microprocessor — the Arduino.

The system controls the filling of the tub, monitors the temperature based on a user profile — and it even adds bubbles. Why do you need this? You probably don’t — but why not, wouldn’t it be nice to press a button and have a bath drawn for you? It uses an Arduino compatible board that controls 3 relays for the water system, a DS18b20 temperature sensor on the inlet and a second wireless (434mhz) Arduino compatible board for monitoring the tub temperature and adding bubble bath using a hacked automated soap dispenser.

[Raptor_Demon] showcased his prototype at the Maker Faire NC 2013 and 2014 where it was a huge hit. He even had a full size tub going, in which he would sit in during his explanation — check it out!

Continue reading “Automated Bathtub Prepares Your Bath Just The Way You Like It”

DIY thermostat keeps the harsh winter cold at bay


[Phil’s] parents grow their own organic food, but the harsh Ukraine winters make storing it a difficult proposition. Since it can drop to -30°C on occasion, they asked him to find a way to keep their storeroom at around 5-7°C above zero. He decided to construct his own programmable thermostat to keep things in check, and has been documenting the process as he goes along.

The thermostat uses a DS18B20 temperature sensor to monitor the room, and the logic is handled by an ATtiny2313. When the temperature dips low enough, the ATtiny triggers the room’s heater via a standard 240v relay. He can check the current temperature via a small 7-segment display mounted on the control board, which also contains three microswitches for controlling the heater.

It looks like a pretty solid build so far, and while he hasn’t finished coding the thermostat just yet, [Phil] says that those details are forthcoming. He has published a schematic however, so you can get a jump start on building your own if you’re looking to warm things up this winter.

Continue reading to see a video overview of the thermostat’s design.

Continue reading “DIY thermostat keeps the harsh winter cold at bay”

Bluetooth temperature module

Wanting to know the outside temperature, [Jamie Maloway] built his own temperature sensor that can be read with a Bluetooth device. Let’s take a tour of the hardware above from right to left. There’s a linear voltage regulator with two filtering caps and a terminal block to attach a 9V battery or other power source. Next there’s an 8 MHz crystal and it’s capacitors, followed by a programming header on top and a 1-wire temperature IC, the DS18B20 we’re all familiar with hanging off the bottom. These both connect to the 8-pin PIC 12F675 that drives the system, and transmits using a Bluetooth module from Sure Electronics. Since this is using a serial protocol and transmitting ASCII data, it can be read using an automated script, or simply by using a terminal program.

Now, who’s going to be the first to get rid of the battery and leech off of the mains through inductance?

Touchscreen scooter computer

[Kurt’s] scooter computer started off as a way to use a couple of LEDs to show the battery charge on his hog. It was based on a Arduino and used a voltage divider to judge how much juice was left. But then he ran across a touch-screen OLED shield for the Arduino and the project started to take off. Now he’s got battery, temperature, real-time clock, and GPS running through the slick-looking display. It may not be a full-blown motorcycle but it gives the computer interfaces we’ve seen for other bikes a run for their money.

[Thanks Mowcius]

Motorcycle computer

Hackaday writer of yore [Will O’Brien] has been working on this hardware for his motorcycle. Speed, voltage, gear, and temperature data is displayed on a 16×2 character LCD. The speed is pulled from the bike itself and the gear is calculated by comparing engine RPM to wheel RPM. He’s using the popular DS1820 1-wire temp sensor along with an Arduino to pull everything together. At this point he estimates there’s about $50 worth of parts, but that can be reduced by etching a board and just using the necessary components.

Better temperature readings using an aspirated thermometer

Unlike regular thermometers that can get incorrect readings because of the sun’s heat, shading, and airflow, aspirated thermometers isolate the temperature sensor from precipitation and the sun, while providing constant air circulation. Take ten 1-wire T2SS boards and combine them with DS18B20s and you’ve got yourself the start of an aspirated thermometer. A foot of PVC pipe, fans, and the above mentioned parts and you’ll have accurate temperature readings in no time.

[Dave] made his to control a natural gas boiler, pumps, and 11 gas-fired unit heaters for a combined output of 5.3 million BTUs per hour – keeping his greenhouse nice and toasty.

Update: Thanks Firetech for pointing out our silly typo.