Author Topic: "BeerBug" Wireless Specific Gravity - applicability?  (Read 6190 times)

Offline brushvalleybrewer

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Re: "BeerBug" Wireless Specific Gravity - applicability?
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2011, 05:18:23 AM »
I love the idea, and have been looking at the HOBO data loggers for temperature already. Of course, they have nothing for specific gravity. As you point out, this is the innovation.

Help me understand what you mean when you talk about the "receiver/display/datalogger." I understood the sensor to have a bluetooth radio that transmits its logged gravity and temperature wirelessly. If that is the case, why not use "any bluetooth enabled device with the right app" as the "receiver/display/datalogger." As you described, it sounds like there is another (expensive) box that sits in between.

I'd pay you $70 for the sensor and another $10 for the iOS/Android app.
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Offline acedriale

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Re: "BeerBug" Wireless Specific Gravity - applicability?
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2011, 08:10:57 AM »
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!

Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: "BeerBug" Wireless Specific Gravity - applicability?
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2011, 10:03:54 AM »
It's of course pricey for many homebrewers but I'm certain there are some that would love it. I'd be more in the market if it connected to a smartphone/laptop over bluetooth (or similar).

I've seen graphs at craft breweries indicating that they are taking daily gravity readings. I'm not sure they'd want a floating version though (They'd have to find it after every batch). Perhaps a version mounted to the fermentor wall, it could also be hardwired (no battery replacement). It would need to be food grade and be able to endure clean-in-place chemicals.
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Offline tschmidlin

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Re: "BeerBug" Wireless Specific Gravity - applicability?
« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2011, 10:32:41 AM »
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.
I think I would do it so that it had bluetooth on board and could be read from any device, but then you also sell a device which can just sit in place and rebroadcast to a website where you could check from anywhere.  I think that is the limiting factor, not everyone will pay to monitor from work, but I would prefer to be able to read it from my existing handheld rather than have yet another device to keep track of.

Either way though, at $140+ per device, I'm not going to be buying any.  That's a lot of malt!
Tom Schmidlin

Offline denny

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Re: "BeerBug" Wireless Specific Gravity - applicability?
« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2011, 12:17:33 PM »
Either way though, at $140+ per device, I'm not going to be buying any.  That's a lot of malt!

That's the way I think of it, too.  No matter how cool it is, I don't need it $140 worth.
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Offline bluesman

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Re: "BeerBug" Wireless Specific Gravity - applicability?
« Reply #20 on: November 16, 2011, 12:45:20 PM »
Very attractive gadgetry. I would like to have this capability at some point. I have a wish list of items that must be satisfied before I can add any more. The bottom line for me is that I don't really need this to brew good beer but it would be nice to have as an added feature in my cellar. I could learn from it.

Thanks for the demo.
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Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: "BeerBug" Wireless Specific Gravity - applicability?
« Reply #21 on: November 16, 2011, 01:15:11 PM »
Do these need to be calibrated occasionally?
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Offline VinS

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Re: "BeerBug" Wireless Specific Gravity - applicability?
« Reply #22 on: November 16, 2011, 01:40:51 PM »
If this had temperature control, like a two stage controller and connected to a therowell. I would look into buying one.
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Offline acedriale

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Re: "BeerBug" Wireless Specific Gravity - applicability?
« Reply #23 on: November 17, 2011, 07:39:34 AM »
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

Offline Mark G

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Re: "BeerBug" Wireless Specific Gravity - applicability?
« Reply #24 on: November 17, 2011, 09:23:13 AM »
I really like the idea of having this tied into a temperature controller somehow, especially if you could remotely change temp settings. As far as price, it does seem higher than what I'd want to spend, but I also used to say "why would I ever need 3 fridges/freezers for beer?"
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Offline brushvalleybrewer

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Re: "BeerBug" Wireless Specific Gravity - applicability?
« Reply #25 on: November 17, 2011, 03:56:01 PM »
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.

That tube looks fairly large and the caps make it slightly larger. Do you think it will fit into the opening on a 3, or 5, or 6-½ gallon glass carboy or better bottle?
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Offline narcout

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Re: "BeerBug" Wireless Specific Gravity - applicability?
« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2011, 03:21:42 PM »
I've often wondered if something like this existed.  I think it's a great idea.  If it was under $100, accurate, and easy to use - I'd buy one. 

I agree with previous comments about not wanting a separate receiver if at all possible. It would be cool if there was some simple monitoring software that could be installed on a pc and received data wirelessly.

Offline mabrungard

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Re: "BeerBug" Wireless Specific Gravity - applicability?
« Reply #27 on: November 19, 2011, 06:56:04 AM »
It's of course pricey for many homebrewers but I'm certain there are some that would love it. I'd be more in the market if it connected to a smartphone/laptop over bluetooth (or similar).

I've seen graphs at craft breweries indicating that they are taking daily gravity readings. I'm not sure they'd want a floating version though (They'd have to find it after every batch). Perhaps a version mounted to the fermentor wall, it could also be hardwired (no battery replacement). It would need to be food grade and be able to endure clean-in-place chemicals.

This too has some promise.  Incorporating a hardwired or close-linked wireless connection with a SG/temperature probe would be great.  Incorporating typical thermostatic control capability like my Johnson A419 digital thermostat into the unit would be even better.  Having the temperature and SG display on my fermentor exterior would be welcome.  Having the ability to control the fermenter chamber cooling and/or heating would be even better.

A durable, sanitizable SG probe would be something I will buy.
 
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Offline brushvalleybrewer

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Re: "BeerBug" Wireless Specific Gravity - applicability?
« Reply #28 on: November 19, 2011, 07:12:18 AM »
I hadn't considered the temperature controller aspect, but adding that might help some home brewers rationalize the price. A two stage Ranco controller many use costs in the neighborhood of $150. If a device logged temperature and gravity and displayed them as well as controlling the fermentation chamber temperature it might be well worth the cost and justify having the external box, as well.
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Offline mtnrockhopper

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Re: "BeerBug" Wireless Specific Gravity - applicability?
« Reply #29 on: November 19, 2011, 08:51:33 AM »
Like madrungard said, a SG probe would be a cool tool. And if it reads gravity independent of temperature, it would be a useful tool throughout the process for reading SG during mashing and boiling.
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