Beer lovers automate home brewing

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Home brewing has been modernized by an enterprising electronics hobbyist. The brewer designed its own control system to allow barley liquor to mature optimally into drinkable beer. The project was named BrewTroller.

The project name is a combination of the words ‘brew’ and ‘controller’ and the hardware is built around a small Atmel microcontroller. The microcontroller, in turn, is a derivative of the Arduino platform known among do-it-yourselfers, but it Sanguino platformas the Creative Commons platform is called, includes the more powerful ATmega644Pchip. The 8bit microcontroller contains 64KB flash memory, 2KB eeprom and 4KB sram. The chip has a maximum clock speed of 20MHz and then processes 20Mips.

The BrewTroller uses its microcontroller to monitor the brewing process: up to six thermometers are read and the controller controls heating elements to regulate the temperature of the various liquids. The different temperatures of the various ‘boilers’ can be read by means of an LCD screen and a rotary knob is used to scroll through the menus. The required temperature sensors are supplied with telephone cables connected. The whole would require little technical knowledge, and the costs would amount to a few tens.

The BrewTroller is an open source project: the hardware must of course be purchased, but the Sanguino platform is also open in nature and a Sanguino kit costs $27. The PCB design required for the BrewTroller is free to download, bearing in mind the open source nature of the project. The ultimate goal of the BrewTroller Community is the fully automated production of beer. In this so-called AutoBrew mode, not only are the temperatures of the different liquids regulated, but the quantities of liquid are also measured by electronically regulated valves.

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