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I'm dropping my 5 year old plastic buckets and moving fermentation over to a stainless conical. One thing I'll miss is being able to visually monitor the brew as it progresses.

How can I mount a web camera inside the conical so that it is sanitary and sealed?

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2 Answers 2

You could probably build some sort of enclosure for the camera out of clear plexiglass or something similar. Use a rubber grommet to get the cable through the wall of the plexiglass enclosure so it's water tight. You could then maybe run the cable through your blowoff if it's long enough (or just get a wireless camera!).

something like that is probably relatively easy to make and use, but I'm not sure exactly what you could do to mount it inside the fermenter. Suction cups? Is there anything you can clamp to within the vessel? Maybe put a magnet inside the box and use a magnet outside of the fermenter (AFAIK stainless is not magnetic)... it would have to be strong and I'm not sure if it would cause any interference or not.

With that said, there are probably better solutions, but that's what I'd do to keep it cheap and simple.

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Thanks for your insight, although there's quite a lot of maybes, perhaps and probably! But running it through the blowoff is a good idea - it's a 1" triclamp, so plenty of room for the cable. –  mdma Apr 2 '13 at 15:50
    
No problem... an endoscope is an ingenious solution to the problem and could probably work similarly. The only issue I can see is what to do if you get krausen all over the lens during fermentation. It could be a PITA clean multiple times during fermentation. A problem that may arise in either solution. At least you'd know you have healthy yeast! –  jsmith Apr 4 '13 at 20:28

I saw this post and I immediately thought of medical cameras. Any kind of endoscope will be all the things you need: compact, flexible, easy to sanitize, and self-illuminating. A typical endoscope will have a camera on the end of a cable and be not much bigger than the cable itself. Purchased new, these things are very expensive, but if you watch the auction sites used lab equipment comes up all the time for astonishingly small amounts of money.

You could even use something like this:
http://www.amazon.com/Waterproof-Endoscope-Borescope-Inspection-Camera/dp/B004ZWFOEQ
I can't comment on the build quality there, but it looks like it should suit your purposes.

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This is a good answer, but forgive me if I am a bit reticent to put a device that's been up someone's rear into my fermentor! ;) Ah, but your link shows they are not expensive new. Great! –  mdma Apr 2 '13 at 14:28
    
Will an endoscope/borescope have sufficient focal distance be able to view the top of the krausen that might be 12-16" (30-40cm) away? I'm not familiar with optics - some are marked with f 2.4. –  mdma Apr 2 '13 at 14:50
    
That's a good question. I would imagine that most borescopes use a fixed-focus lens, but I say for sure about any particular model. Anything with a fixed-focus lens, though, should work fine. –  MalFet Apr 2 '13 at 15:46

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