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Messages - acedriale

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Great feedback - thank you! 

To answer some of the previous inquiries, the diameter of the initial unit is a bit thick at 1.25", so it won't fit across the board in all carboys.  We're doing a slimming design to address that issue where it should fit inside just about every vessel.   

We're also doing a giveaway of a couple of our first models to a lucky few - if you are interested, we have a short, multiple-choice survey that auto-enters you into the "sweepstakes": http://t.co/VVLX07UZ

It's been listed on @thebeerbug's Twitter feed (also some new pics there of the device inside an active fermentation), but of course not everyone uses or enjoys using Twitter for updates...

You all have truly provided some great info above and beyond what the survey results will show.  Pricing vs. features is always a major consideration...there are some interesting things we may be able to do here re: temperature control and re:  cost based in large part on the info you have kindly shared.

Alex


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All, here are some more answers (and comments):

- there is an initial factory calibration we perform prior to shipping. A simple two-point calibration procedure is recommended after every few batches to ensure the precision of the measurement...a proper cleaning in between batches will keep it within 0.002 of actual.

- we've considered the addition of temperature control capability, but not for the first go-around.    

- I hear you on the price points.  Good discussion here.  It's definitely going to initially be for a subset of brewers...

- great comment on the micro/craft brewers having different requirements vs. the home brewers (i.e., fishing out the sensor after each batch).  We've been working with some local Virginia microbrewers to determine if they would need a distinct product vs. what a home brewer would be happy using.

thanks again for the feedback!  

Alex

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Answering a few questions here...

(1) the CO2 bubble impact was a very nontrivial part of the design.  So far this looks like it's been addressed very well.

(2) the receiver vs. direct bluetooth from the sensor is a good point. Our first version has the BeerBug sensor "buoy" with an onboard infrared radio.  The receiver box resides outside the vessel, but still in the vicinity.  It reads from the infrared sensor, displays and stores the data, and (optionally) provides a bluetooth link to a mobile device.  So bluetooth comes from the "box" rather than the sensor.  I''m not sure how to attach pictures here, so instead here's a link to the picture of the BeerBug (left) with the receiver display (right):  http://tinyurl.com/cf6tk4a.

As was mentioned, we could put bluetooth right on the BeerBug and skip the receiver box altogether.  So the cost for a standalone BeerBug SG sensor would go up slightly because of the bluetooth module addition, but the need for the receiver/display would be eliminated and the overall product cost would be lower by $30-$35 or so.  The reason we haven't decided to do this for original product is because we're still collecting info on the home brewers' interest/willingness in using a mobile device (or other bluetooth-enabled device such as a PC) to collect data.

The expectation was that everyone could use the local receiver/display and a subset would want to incorporate using their mobile device.   The local receiver/display provides the ability to do both, but yes it does cost more to have two separate modules instead of one integrated module.  If there's strong interest in reading directly from your mobile device (Android/iPhone/iPAD), we could do a spin on an integrated BeerBug without the local receiver/display.

Can't say this often enough, thank you for the great info!

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Once again, awesome feedback!   

The device's form is similar to that of the glass hydrometer and it floats within the vessel as a buoy.  The s.g. sensing mechanism is the innovation above and beyond the other features (i.e., wireless, temperature, buoy geometry, etc.) and accounts for the majority of the assembly cost.  Temperature is the "easy" part - and this of course is reported as the fluid temperature rather than jacket temperature (although they may not significantly vary, especially if the vessel itself is inside a controlled chamber).

Great comments on pricing and the target user -- as you probably can surmise, these are big questions for us.  We could do a "temp only" wirelessly for $50, but the SG measurement device for initial introduction will still be ~$179 as there is some complexity to it.  If the prevailing desire is to eschew datalogging/trending, we could remove some functionality on the receiver/display end to create a "budget line SG" model.

A port in the lid of the conical SS fermenter does wonders for getting the wireless signal out - we're surveying to see if there are any configurations that don't have such a feature.  Question is whether the slopes on the conical vessels are steep to the point where the buoy might touch the bottom surface if it floats near the perimeter...we'll be doing some focused testing here.

The housing is made of food grade plastic, so the sterilization is fairly straightforward.  Still has to be done, no "auto-clean" feature yet...

Sincerely appreciate all of your thoughts & ideas  ;D

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Great, this is the type of info we are excited to have!  Appreciate all of your comments. 

Carboy in a freezer is one scenario we hadn't thought of.  BUT the device would work in this type of environment and be able to get its signal outside the freezer for viewing/trending/etc...the biggest question is with the stainless conical.  Everyone we've heard from thus far uses plastic pails or carboys.  If there is a sight hole or non-stainless membrane/opening/valve anywhere on the conical, we would be in good shape.  If not, there would be an extra development step - very doable, just not there yet.  We'll check into the available SS conicals and do some testing to see what's required there.

API to tie into an existing system is also a good comment - we can provide a serial interface for the "cyborg-brewer" setup who's beyond using a local datalogger+display or mobile device.  This is a definite feature set option for the micro-brewers, but we hadn't considered it for the home brewers...

As for cost, we are targeting $179 for the in-situ sensor plus the receiver/display/datalogger.  If someone wanted more than one, they wouldn't need multiple receivers, they'd just need multiple sensor units.

Thanks again - we now have some more relevant info to chew on!

Alex


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We have developed a device that will measure specific gravity and temperature in-situ, and transmit the data wirelessly to provide brew batch trends from these measurements. We call it the "BeerBug":

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=skkETyF0v7k

One of our founders is an avid hobbyist and noticed that the craft brewers tend to only have one cost effective specific gravity option in the old-fashioned hydrometer.  It has been a significant (but fun) development to be able to measure s.g. precisely using non-hydrometer means.

We are still learning the marketplace and would enjoy your comments on this type of device as it relates to the craft brewers amongst us.  For example, would you want to have a specific gravity and alcohol content trend throughout a batch without having to take hydrometer readings?  Is datalogging sufficient near the brew, or would you also want to expand it to your mobile device and/or iPAD?  We're thinking this may be valuable to home brewers, but are also looking into usefulness at microbrewer sites.

http://hamptonroads.com/2011/11/small-tech-helpful-bug-home-brewers

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