In this Instructable I will try to explain how I built a BrewPi based fermentation chamber control system for multiple chamber control. If you are a brewer like me, you don't usually have just one beer going at a time. I have several. Subsequently, I have several fridges/freezers that I use as fermentation chambers. A single BrewPi setup will not work for me and making 3 separate setups, each with an individual Raspberry Pi is expensive and complicated.
There is a lot of information already out on the web on how to build a BrewPi system but there is not a whole lot of info on how use multiple Arduinos with a single Raspberry Pi in this type of build and what is out there is a bit disjointed and rather technical.
This Instructable will so you how to set up the system and then I will link to instructions on how to install the sensors, relays and LCD screen as these are pretty straightforward and have been covered extensively elsewhere.
BrewPi is an amazing little piece of software that was developed by Elco Jacobs several years ago. See their website here. It uses a Raspberry Pi to program and log data from one or more Arduino boards, and those boards in turn do the actual control of the relays for heating and cooling of a fermentation chamber.
The guys at BrewPi used to sell DIY kits, but they are no longer in production as they have moved to a different platform. The downside is that the new platform is not quite ready for stable use and it has a lot of missing features. It also doesn't come as a kit and costs a fair amount of money.
By making your own BrewPi control system you will save a TON of cash. I sourced almost all of the parts from Amazon and other sites like Banggood.com It took me a week to get all of the products and another few nights to put it together. But in the end, I had a really nice fermentation control system that logs all of my data and can replicate brews with a high degree of accuracy and I did it all for under $200, which is about the price of a new BrewPi Spark without any accessories or extra features.
Going forward, it would be best to remember a few things:
- I built a 3 chamber setup, so the instructions will reflect that; duplicate steps where necessary to add more.
- I named all of my files to correspond with "chamber1", "chamber2", "chamber3", etc. It would be best if you stuck to that theme for simplicity.
- I used LCD displays on my Arduinos, and they are the hardest part of this build. They are also completely optional.
- Look for a link at the end of the Instructable where you can download an exact image of my Raspberry Pi SD card. If you can't get it to work using these steps, downloading and writing the image to card card is a viable option. From there you can customize whatever you would like.
- It is SO much easier to configure the Raspberry Pi over an SSH terminal like PuTTY on your PC. For instructions how to connect to your Pi via SSH, look here.
Let's get started!