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Use your pi for automated home brewing @Raspberry_Pi #piday #raspberrypi

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Here’s another great home brewing project using the Raspberry Pi, this time from The Raspberry Pi Hobbyist.

I have been a “home brewer” in the electronic hobbyist sense for decades, but I am also a “home brewer” of beer. I mentioned this in my post on Reading Temperature With Thermistors.

I now use digital temperature sensors (typically the DS18B20) read over an I2C bus. Adafruit has a good tutorial on how this is done located here.

It is fairly common to control a refrigerator and heater to keep a constant (or slowly changing) temperature during the fermenting process, especially with lagers. I have done this using the Raspberry Pi, thermistors, and an A/D convertor. Now, I decided to get a lot more ambitious.

I won’t go into all the details of the brewing process since there are many resources on the web to provide that. For a quick look at this process, see the article on my photo blog. I wanted to be able to control at least the following items for one of the simpler methods of brewing (called partial mash.)

  • Valve to a tank of propane
  • Grill ignitor to light the burner
  • Sensor to detect if the burner actually did light
  • Temperature sensor for the wort (the brew of water, malt extract, and hops)
  • Pump for circulating water through the wort chiller

What I needed to do this:

  • A relay to output 12V to control the propane valve
  • Another relay to output much higher amperage of 12V to run the pump
  • A relay connected in place of the button on the grill ignitor
  • A connection for one or more DS18B20 temperature sensors

Read more and see the full tutorial here.

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Featured Adafruit Products!

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High Temp Waterproof DS18B20 Digital temperature sensor + extras: This is a pre-wired and waterproofed version of the DS18B20 sensor made with a PTFE wire cable. Handy for when you need to measure something far away, or in wet conditions. This sensor is a little more expensive than the other waterproof version we have with a PVC cable because this one can be used up to 125°C – the limit of the sensor itself. Read more.


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Food-Grade Heat Shrink – 3/8″ diameter 12″ long: We decided to stock this food-safe heat shrink specifically for people who were building beer-brewing or sous-vide projects using our waterproof DS18B20+ digital temperature sensors. This heat shrink is FDA Compliant for contact with food. The end of the sensor is stainless steel, but the jacketing is PVC, not good for dunking into your food or drink! But this heat shrink makes it easy – simply slip it on, allowing about 1 cm of the stainless steel sensor cap to be exposed, then heat it up to seal it on. The heat shrink will make a seal over the cap, so that no PVC touches your food project. Read more.


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