CraftbeerPi user, maybe looking to change to BruControl
I have a few CraftbeerPi controllers (one for brewing, one for fermenter and one for Kegerator) - but am getting tired of the issues because it's not being maintained and when I add a new controller, have issues getting it running since Raspbian keeps getting updated, but CraftbeerPi isn't keeping up.
Will BruControl work well for me? With minimal changes to my hardware? I'm guessing not, since both the fermenter controller and Kegerator controller are simply Raspberry Pi Zero Ws with some SSRs to run the glycol chiller, heater, compressor and read temps.
I don't really want to spend a lot more money making new controllers. Should I keep working with CraftbeerPi? Or make the switch. The one thing with CraftbeerPi is that once I get it working, it usually stays working OK.
I have a 240V electric kettle (SSR for the element), 12v DC solar pump, CFC chiller and 1-wire sensors for brewing. Pi 3 with a Terragady interface board.
Fermenter has the SSR for the A/C unit, simple relay for the 120V reptile plastic heat tape, a relay to run the glycol pump and some 1-wire sensors for temp control. Pi Zero W.
Kegerator has an SSR for the compressor, 1-wire sensors for temp readings and 12v relay to run fans for the tower cooler. Pi Zero W.
Thanks for reaching out! There are some changes that would need to be made, but I don't think it will be a ton of work for you. As far as the hardware is concerned, it will be pretty east. The one major difference is where the application/user interface runs, which is on a Windows computer (it doesn't need to be a powerful one).
Many users have a computer running full time, so data, logging, email alarms, scripts, etc. can occur, but this isn't necessary. The system is meant to be like a brew operations server, where all your stuff is integrated (brewing, fermenting, dispensing, etc.).
I would recommend you don't try to eat the elephant in one bite. For minimal cost, you can try replacing a RPi with an interface micro-controller. I'd suggest you go with an ESP32 development board. These is 3.3V as well and can replace the RPi directly. It can read 1-wire sensors and run the SSRs. They run for about $10 and connect to the BruControl computer via Wi-Fi. That said, just like with the RPi, you need to be careful driving loads like SSRs directly from the board - just need to make sure the current won't overload the interface pin. My guess is if the Pi has been working, the ESP32 should as well. On the brewing side, you have a Terragady board to handle this. We offer a series (UniShield) which can drive loads directly as well, including the 12VDC pump.
You can download the software off the website. It needs to be activated to actually connect to the interface, but you can get a sense of what it's about without activation.
We are happy to help you along the way with any integration questions or concerns. Thanks again!
I went from BCS to CBP3, and ran into the same issues you did... I migrated to BruControl a couple years ago and am extremely happy with the support.
I think the ESP32 would be the way to go for the brewing system, I use them for several things like RTD interfaces and for Tilt hydrometer interfaces. The unishield would be a great way to implement the ESP32, but you could also just jumper-wire it.
For the fermentation and kegerator, you might want to look at the SonOff Dual, I have 9 of them for various things, they have 2 relays and you can hook 1-wire probes up also. you can get them and a waterproof case on itead.cc for less than $10 and there is a technote showing how to set them up here under build--> resources ( http://brucontrol.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/BruControl-Application-Note-Sonoff-Fermentation-Controller.pdf )
You will have an upfront cost for the controller software but it really is worth every penny. The GUI is drag and drop and the scripting is straight forward. I also came from CBPi....no add-in world here, all the capability is baked in and the support is exceptional. I used most of the hardware from my previous setup. There are no issues with the underlying platform as far as OS etc so the maintenance on that end is nothing, unlike the dependency nightmares you can have with RPi. You'll love it.