Quantcast

Computer Display Brewing Temps.

Aussie Home Brewer

Help Support Aussie Home Brewer:

Andrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
1/6/04
Messages
209
Reaction score
2
Got an old windows 98 computer cluttering up the place? Use it in your brewery to monitor and display temperature!
About a year ago I posted a similar thread to this, but now that I have a digital camera its time to post again but with better explanations and pics added to it.

Here is a simple project for monitoring temperatures. It can be used to display your temps when mashing and for your HLT etc, or for monitoring your ferment.
This can be done by anyone who owns a soldering iron. Basically, you solder a digital temp sensor to a cable, connect that to a small bit of circuitry, and plug it in to your computer through the serial port.

Equipment List:
1 old computer.
A temperature logging kit (http://ozitronics.com/data.html#k145) from Oztronics. Ive bought stuff over the net from these guys three times now and never had a hassle.
The kit comes with one temp sensor but buy three more DS18S20 sensors to make four in total. The Kit is $34.50, the extra sensors are $12 each.
A plastic project box from Dick Smiths to put the logging kit in (about $7.50). I use a box thats 150mmX80mmX30mm but have gone as small as 75mmX50mmX30mm.
Several metres of Dick Smith 4-core security cable. How long is a piece of string? About 95 cents/metre. Its white with Dick Smith Electronics W2123 4 core 0.5mm CCL A95/CA/0087 stamped in blue ink on the casing.
Some heat shrink tubing.
Brass or Stainless steel tubing with an internal diameter of no less than 1/8 (3.18mm). You can get this from model/hobby shops. In Adelaide Model Mania on South Road Morphett Vale, and Hobby Habit on Main North Road stock it.
A soldering iron and solder, knife etc.

How to do it:
First of all, solder your temperature logging kit together. It comes with a data sheet, wiring instructions, and a wiring diagram, but if you are like me and dont follow wiring diagrams very well, just wire it up to match the pictures below. Make sure you solder the capacitors in the right direction, other than that it is really a straight-forward job.

backviewsm.jpg
I'll post a few more pics of this further down...

Fit your kit to a plastic project box to protect it from the elements. Drill a hole in the end of the box, and stick a rubber grommet in it where the temperature sensor cables come out.

Now solder your sensors to the cables. Trim back the white casing, and cut off the blue wire (you dont need it). Strip back about 5mm off the red, yellow and black casings off the three remaining wires. Slip some heat shrink onto these wires then with the flat face of the temp sensor towards you, solder them up this way:

colsens.jpg

Slide the heat shrink over the solder and heat to seal. Slide a bigger piece of heat shrink over the whole lot leaving only the tip of the sensor poking out, and heat to seal. Bingo! One temp sensor. Now repeat three times.
This is the end result:
tempsensorsm.jpg

If this sensor is going into a liquid, get your brass or s/s tubing and squash one end in a vice. Fold it over and squash a gain, or do as I did with my s/s ones and give the bloke up the road a few beers to weld over the end:
topviewsm.jpg

Stick the sensor down the tube and gaffer tape it up to stop liquid getting in.
sensorodsm.jpg

From the Oztronics website, follow the lead and download ts11Win.zip. load onto computer. Its a dos thing but your computer will auto run it. (Im hoping a better version for windows will appear soon, courtesy of our fellow brewers out there!). Attach the serial cable between the temp logger box and the serial port on your computer and you are in business! Four temperatures updated on your screen every few seconds!

If you use this project for brewday temps, then you could monitor your Mash, HLT, sparge water exit and HERMS temps.
If you use this for ferments, you caould monitor the ferment temp, ambient (inside fridge) temp, room temp plus one spare.

I'll post a few more pics. This really is an easy project and cheaper than buying four $90 thermometers.
Cheers!
 

Andrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
1/6/04
Messages
209
Reaction score
2
More Pics:
this is the logger kit in it's box:
completunitsm.jpg

More logger internal pics:
leftviewsm.jpg
rightviewsm.jpg
Make sure the grey bands on the capacitors are pointing the right way or it won't work! Also note the order of the yellow, black, and red wires coming into the logger from the sensors.

Cheers!
 

Andrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
1/6/04
Messages
209
Reaction score
2
Stuffed that up...here is the corrct pic for this paragraph!

If this sensor is going into a liquid, get your brass or s/s tubing and squash one end in a vice. Fold it over and squash a gain, or do as I did with my s/s ones and give the bloke up the road a few beers to weld over the end:
vicejobsm.jpg

Cheers!
 

AndrewQLD

RED ON WHITE IPA
Joined
12/3/04
Messages
4,149
Reaction score
306
Excellent post Andrew, another project coming up ;) looks like I will be busy, and I do happen to have a win 98 computer in my brewery too :p .

cheers
Andrew
 

redbeard

Sth Seas Pirate Brewery
Joined
23/1/05
Messages
1,132
Reaction score
8
very nice writeup andrew. will add to list of things to do.

thanks
 

warrenlw63

Just a Hoe
Joined
4/5/04
Messages
7,202
Reaction score
11
Thanks Andrew.

Very tempting project. Now where's me soldering iron? :unsure:

Warren -
 

Batz

Batz Brewery...Hand crafted beers from the 'Batcav
Joined
8/8/03
Messages
12,728
Reaction score
1,415
Looks good and easy enough for those NOT colour blind :angry:

Batz
 

Jez

Well-Known Member
Joined
16/11/04
Messages
767
Reaction score
29
Thanks Andrew - great instructions & what a coincidence.

I've just got a hold of an old computer to do exactly the same thing and was researching how to do it.

I'll try not to send too many PM's if I get stuck :lol:

Jez
 

Justin

Well-Known Member
Joined
4/11/03
Messages
1,517
Reaction score
14
Nice work Andrew. If someone could write a nice program to log the data and put it into a nice format for Windows XP that would be sweet (hint! hint!).

Guess my Teltru's will have to do until then.

Cheers, JD
 

sintax69

Well-Known Member
Joined
15/12/03
Messages
298
Reaction score
0
Is the controller PC powered or does it need a external power pack
 

Goat

NULL
Joined
6/3/03
Messages
906
Reaction score
2
The power for the sensors comes from the serial port that you plug the thing into, so no external power is required.

Its a great unit and easy to get running - I've been using it for neaerly a year now.
 

bagnol

Active Member
Joined
1/12/03
Messages
43
Reaction score
0
I have been working on a program for this kit for a while. I only wrote it for personal use. t was never intended to be distributed, so it might not work perfectly on all computers. If there is enough demand, I will work on making the code a bit more bullet proof.

Here is a setup file I created to install the Temp Monitor program. It should install everything that is needed (ie reg settings, dll's, fonts) and it also includes the VB code.

I haven't gotten around to documenting the code yet. <_< But I will do it as soon as I get the chance.

Temp Monitor Download

There are two versions of this program. I originally wrote the code to work with the kit that Andrew has documented as well as a parallel port relay card. I use this setup to control the temps in my fermenter fridge as well as my keg fridge. Here is the setup for this version of the program.

Thermestat Download

As I said, if there is enough demand, I will work on making this program a bit more universal.


Cheers
Bagnol
 

ozbrewer

im ozzing flab
Joined
11/4/05
Messages
624
Reaction score
0
hey if someone can come up with a way of controlling my herms via a pc, i would be more than greatfull....iv been thinking of some time of setting up somthing that will, after i have inputted the times and temps., be able to run my system.......but im like a car owner that doesnt know how to drive.....i can build the gadgets, but i cant make them work
 

Andrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
1/6/04
Messages
209
Reaction score
2
Thanks for the programs, Bagnol, top stuff! :super: (I'm hoping to mess with them later this evening).
As Bagnol says, the unit I described above gathers the data in through the serial port. I'll now try to do a similar rundown on building the relay unit that switches stuff on and off via the printer port and post it this thursday.
In terms of your herms, ozbrewer, a gasline solenoid or electric heating coil connected to the relay might do the trick.

Cheers!
 

Andrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
1/6/04
Messages
209
Reaction score
2
Looks good and easy enough for those NOT colour blind
btw Batz, in case you are wondering, the black wire is the one between the red wire and the yellow wire! :lol: :lol:

Sorry, couldn't help myself! :D

Andrew
 

BennyBrewster

Well-Known Member
Joined
2/9/05
Messages
241
Reaction score
0
Hey Guys,

This is my first post here, I have been lurking around for some months now and just wanted to say thanx for this post Andrew.

I have put the kit together and found this post very helpful, especially the photo it the finished kit.

The only difference between my unit and yours is that I used 4 different coloured cat5 cables for the temp sensors.

Im going to start writing software on the weekend. :)

I also have the kit that has 8 relays and a parrel port that I intend to use with my heater pad and fridge. I am yet to look into how to wire that up as I'm a little worried about working with 240v.
 

WillM

Well-Known Member
Joined
29/9/05
Messages
152
Reaction score
1
Thanks for the great writeup. I've been wondering how to make a waterproof probe, so I can monitor my mash temperature more closely.

I've been using this circuit in my fridge for 6 months or so to log the temperature. I just keep an eye on the temp. when I'm working on my PC, which is most of the time, by accessing the fridge PC over the network. Haven't moved into controlling it - one day I will.

Here's that I do to control the temperature, which varies a bit depending upon the outside temperature (season).

Fermenting lagers 10 - 13C - set the fridge thermostat on the warmest temp, a timer set to switch the fridge on every 2 hours for 5 or 10 mins (one knotch on the timer).

Lagering at about 0C, it gets there after a few days - fridge thermostat on cooleest temp. switch fridge on every hour for 5 or 10 mins.

As I said one day I'll buld the real controller, but I'll get cracking on the mash probe.
 

Brewmaster808

Member
Joined
3/12/05
Messages
12
Reaction score
0
Great posting very detailed. Question I have, is there software that interfaces the sensor data (temp) with the control the relays, or are they two independent software?
 

berto

Well-Known Member
Joined
12/11/04
Messages
317
Reaction score
2
Ive spent the last few weeks looking at this kind of controller stuff. Came to the conclusion that the ozitronics stuff wasnt as powerful as i wanted. The system im thinking of controlling will require too many relays. Hence i started looking at DAQs (data aquisition). If you go here, http://www.labjack.com/labjack_u12.html theres a device which im looking into at the moment. Only problem is i dont wanna run an extra pc. trying to cut down on power usage. And getting USB from pc to shed will require a USB extender which is another $80. however this is still a heap cheaper than ethernet controllers on the market. It will also require some kind of breakout board for the digital IO's, and need to have a relay box made up.

Also, if someone knows where i can get good cheap PLCs with plenty of input/outputs it would be much appreciated.
 

Andrew

Well-Known Member
Joined
1/6/04
Messages
209
Reaction score
2
Only problem is i dont wanna run an extra pc. trying to cut down on power usage.
Actually, that's something I have wondered about...how much power/cost does an old computer running 24 hours a day use? Any idea anyone?

Question I have, is there software that interfaces the sensor data (temp) with the control the relays, or are they two independent software?
Bagnol is working on this one. His Thermestat program has needed a few mods to run on my typical feral old 'computer in the shed crapbox' but with a few mods and updates its a very stable unit (Bagnol you bloody rippa). Can it be made available to all? I think so. Will it? Ask Bagnol! We'll be using it at the steam exchange Brewery so inquisitive customers (homebrewers) can see brewing and ferment temps as we work...

Back to blasting 135 years of grime off of timber beams.....we're punting for an opening arund Easter but don't hold your breath.
Cheers!
I_hate_cleaning.jpg
 

Latest posts

Top