Author Topic: Programmable Fermentation Chamber Thermostat  (Read 9008 times)

Offline calebw

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Programmable Fermentation Chamber Thermostat
« on: January 26, 2013, 02:06:27 PM »
Hey all! 

I'm new to this forum, but I've been brewing beer for about 3 years now.
I am an electrical engineer and had an idea last year to design/build a programmable thermostat to control a fermentation device.  It turned out really well and I decided to give it a name, make a business around the idea (Ohmbrew Automations) and go into production with them.  Since then, I've currently built a dozen units of the 'Fermostat' and have sold them to a group of local early adopters to refine the device before I go into a larger scale production with them. 

Basically, the retail version will be a programmable, dual-stage thermostat for a fermentation device or even just controlling your kegerator/keezer.  It has the ability for the user to create and store a program (or several) that creates a temperature profile for your chamber.  This is especially useful for when fermenting a lager where you have to slowly lower the temperature after brewing to the ferment temperature, then slowly increase the temperature over time to do a diacelyl rest, then again lower the temperature to lager the brew.  With the Fermostat, you can create this program (or use one of the pre-set ones).  Running this program will take care of the whole process from start to finish without any user interaction required.

The Fermostat also allows you to maneuver around within a program.  For instance, you want to skip the first couple steps and want to go straight to the diacetyl rest section of the program, you are able to do that. It also allows you to move around within a particular stage, for instance if you want to start on day 3 of the 14 day fermentation stage, it will allow you to easily do that within the menu.

I think I'm going to start a Kickstarter campaign for it in the next month or two which will allow me to pre-sell some of the devices and get the word out there. 

I've got some more information about it on my website at www.ohmbrewautomations.com if you are interested.  Be sure and stop by and check it out.  There are a few videos that show it in action on the support page too. The blog page shows has information I've posted throughout the build process and pictures of the first version I built.

Let me know what you think!  Feel free to PM me or email me at caleb@ohmbrewautomations.com too.

Offline euge

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Re: Programmable Fermentation Chamber Thermostat
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2013, 04:04:46 PM »
Great idea- hope this goes far for ya!
The first principle is that you must not fool yourself, and you are the easiest person to fool. -Richard P. Feynman

Online mtnrockhopper

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Re: Programmable Fermentation Chamber Thermostat
« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2013, 01:46:21 PM »
Seems quite useful.  Do you know what price you hope to have on the production model?
Jimmy K

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AHA Member since 2006
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Offline calebw

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Re: Programmable Fermentation Chamber Thermostat
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2013, 08:09:38 PM »
Thanks!

I'm trying to have the retail version priced around $130 or so.

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Programmable Fermentation Chamber Thermostat
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2013, 06:24:47 AM »
Dont understand the difference between this and a JC/Love controller.

Is it one stage or two?

What do you mean by "No set up or programming"? Does this mean I don't have control over setpoints/differential?
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Offline Slowbrew

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Re: Programmable Fermentation Chamber Thermostat
« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2013, 08:49:16 AM »

What do you mean by "No set up or programming"? Does this mean I don't have control over setpoints/differential?

He answers most of that with the next bullet point (I think).

Cleverly Sophisticated
    Use factory installed programs, or create your own programs to adapt to your particular recipes and methods; intricate or elementary, it's your choice.


You can program it but you don' have to.

Paul
Where the heck are we going?  And what's with this hand basket?

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Programmable Fermentation Chamber Thermostat
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2013, 01:38:18 PM »

What do you mean by "No set up or programming"? Does this mean I don't have control over setpoints/differential?

He answers most of that with the next bullet point (I think).

Cleverly Sophisticated
    Use factory installed programs, or create your own programs to adapt to your particular recipes and methods; intricate or elementary, it's your choice.


You can program it but you don' have to.

Paul

Ah - missed that. Sounds clever.
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Offline calebw

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Re: Programmable Fermentation Chamber Thermostat
« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2013, 07:41:29 AM »

What do you mean by "No set up or programming"? Does this mean I don't have control over setpoints/differential?

He answers most of that with the next bullet point (I think).

Cleverly Sophisticated
    Use factory installed programs, or create your own programs to adapt to your particular recipes and methods; intricate or elementary, it's your choice.


You can program it but you don' have to.

Paul


Yes, there are some preset programs initially installed (e.g. there is a default lager program), plus you will be able to store multiple programs you have created. You can name the programs whatever you like so re-accessing them in the menu is easy.

Also, yes, it is going to be dual stage.  The first beta version was only single-stage, but I just sent off the design files to have a new dual-stage PCB fabbed.  I'm planning on make a few dual-stage test versions before release the retail version... most likely this summer.


Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Programmable Fermentation Chamber Thermostat
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2013, 09:52:24 AM »
Sounds cool, man. Didn't mean to sound harsh, I actually asked questions because I'm actually in the market for a new 2-stage.

The Ranco 2-stage costs around $140 from MoreBeer, so I'd be interested in your model!

Need beta testers by any chance?
@southhousebrew

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http://southhousepilotbrewery.blogspot.com/

STLHops Homebrew Club:
http://STLHops.com/

Offline calebw

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Re: Programmable Fermentation Chamber Thermostat
« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2013, 07:26:04 PM »
Sounds cool, man. Didn't mean to sound harsh, I actually asked questions because I'm actually in the market for a new 2-stage.

The Ranco 2-stage costs around $140 from MoreBeer, so I'd be interested in your model!

Need beta testers by any chance?

No problem at all, I welcome critiques... especially now while I can still make adjustments as needed.  I do still have a beta unit that hasn't been spoken for.  It will be about 5 weeks before the dual-stage ones will be ready (PCB fab during the chinese new year is dreadful).  Plus I'll hound you for feedback from time to time.  If you're still interested send me an PM or email (listed above) and I'll let you know when they are ready.

Offline misterranger

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Programmable Fermentation Chamber Thermostat
« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2013, 08:45:42 PM »
Are there any further developments in controller? Are you any closer to putting his up on Kickstarter?

Offline calebw

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Re: Programmable Fermentation Chamber Thermostat
« Reply #11 on: March 19, 2013, 10:59:03 PM »
Yes.  I'm getting there. Thanks for checking!  I'm working on the Kickstarter video right now and hope to have it ready in a couple weeks or so. 

I've most recently been working on the dual stage version of the beta unit. I have several of the units built and am testing out the software updates/fixes for it.  I have also been working on a new PID-type controller algorithm to control the output. This will allow for the Fermostat to predict how the temperature will react in the future based on previous data. This will prevent overshoots and temperature oscillations and create quite a bit more temperature precision than other controllers out there.   I'm still ironing out the details for this new algorithm and it probably will have to be included in a future update for the units.

Offline thatgeekguy

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Re: Programmable Fermentation Chamber Thermostat
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2013, 11:05:42 AM »
Looking forward to the Kickstarter launch.
I'm only here for the beer....

Offline bhchrist

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Re: Programmable Fermentation Chamber Thermostat
« Reply #13 on: June 05, 2013, 01:09:29 PM »
Caleb,

Last in on your early bird.  Glad I found this thread.

Cheers,
Brett

Offline calebw

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Re: Programmable Fermentation Chamber Thermostat
« Reply #14 on: June 05, 2013, 05:43:32 PM »
Caleb,

Last in on your early bird.  Glad I found this thread.

Cheers,
Brett

Thanks Brett!

And yes, the Kickstarter campaign is currently running!  Check it out if you're interested!!