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Aside from digital thermometers, what are some other clever uses of the Arduino platform as applied to homebrewing? Anything such as novel gadgetry, process automation and/or DIY equipment is especially interesting to me?

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Interesting question. Can you formulate this into a more "answerable" question? It may be too open-ended. –  Taylor Nov 2 '11 at 3:16
    
The question is asking about practical possibilities and/or specific examples of novel applications using microprocessor-based technology as related to homebrewing. Particulaly interested in the Arduino open source platform. Not sure why it would be too open-ended. Anyway, I upvoted your answer since that was one I hadn't yet seen. –  Bill Craun Nov 2 '11 at 3:25
    
Would this question be better as a community wiki? –  Dustin Rasener Nov 5 '11 at 0:50
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It seems one very useful sensor would be a specific-gravity sensor. Googling turns up several prototypes, but I couldn't find any commercially available solutions. Being able to remotely track the gravity would allow early intervention of stuck fermentation, and also allow comparisons of fermentation rates between different batches of the same recipes. –  STW Nov 21 '11 at 16:06

5 Answers 5

up vote 2 down vote accepted

I believe the Brewtroller project http://www.brewtroller.com/wiki/doku.php is based on the arduino platform. It has grown into custom boards, interfaces and such but I think it still has a stock arduino package that you can use as well.

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Brewtroller is based on the Sanguino microprocessor. –  Bill Craun Nov 3 '11 at 3:09
    
I got the impression that the Sanguino was a largely compatible Arduino derivative. Thanks for the clarification! –  Kevin Colby Nov 3 '11 at 13:04
    
Kevin, you're exactly right. Arduino is an open source platform for which there are a multitude of compatible variants, including Sanguino. I should have been more clear in the question about the desire for the actual Arduino microprocessor although, as you point, out, there are plenty of suitable replacements. Thanks for the comment. –  Bill Craun Nov 3 '11 at 17:10

I have seen a light gate used to sense bubbling in an airlock to measure fermentation rates. Very slick implementation and obviously useful data.

enter image description here

Paired with a temp-controlled environment, one could control the rate of fermentation by adjusting the temperature, instead of just relying on a set temperature.

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Great. Answer with no upvoted question. –  Bill Craun Nov 2 '11 at 3:08
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This is massive overkill and probably inaccurate. The rate of bubbling measures nothing significant in fermentation that I can think of really, and more importantly, your numbers won't mean crap because you won't know if you have less bubbling that you should due to a: leaky gasket, loose airlock, leaky lid, etc. I've had batches in buckets that were fermenting like crazy and the airlocks were barely moving because the pressure was escaping some other way. –  Graham Nov 2 '11 at 12:29
    
On the other hand, it is a neat hack, even if the only thing that the data tell you is that there is gas movement. –  baka Nov 2 '11 at 18:32
    
It is a very cool trick baka. The geek in me is impressed. But you KNOW if people started doing it, they'd use the gas data as a measure of "fermentation activity" which is problematic. –  Graham Nov 4 '11 at 13:57

I never did it, but I was poking around with using one to adjust the flow-rate of my strike water, so I could maintain a particular temperature while mashing in.

I have heard that Corsair uses one in their distillery, but I don't know if that's for the distillation process, the brewing process, or both.

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I've seen one used as a temperature controller for mashing. Basically turning a water heating element on and off to maintain a constant temperature.

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There's another pretty nice board out there LPC1769 LPCXpresso board (LPCTools.com).

It's an ARM Cortex-3 processor with a complete development environment, all the software is free, including and Eclipse-based IDE (that's integrated development environment for the non-coders out there). The board itself costs 30 bucks, and all you need is a USB cable to plug it into a Windows, a Mac, or a Linux machine. It actually has two processors. The LPC 1768 is the interface for USB. And then the LPC 1769 is the actual target processor on this little board. And you'd be coding on a processor that is used in smart phones, so maybe could be useful skills, and not just for brewing, hehe.

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