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DIY Fermentation Blubb Counter for Home Brewing

Added to IoTplaybook or last updated on: 01/18/2021
DIY Fermentation Blubb Counter for Home Brewing

Story

I started home-brewing (DIY brewing) during the Corona pandemic in August 2020. During the fermentation process, you typically leave your fermentation tank a few days in a cellar and check on the fermentation a few times a day. That's not a lot of work but being a nerd, I thought there must be a more a more data-driven way to determine the end of the fermentation.

Note: there are commercial solutions available to track the fermentation blubbs as well as the temperature, but these cost north of EUR 150 and they connect via WiFi, which is not available in my cellar. So I started to work on my own fermentation counter for the official Speidel Fermentation Lock.

Note: currently I am not tracking the temperature, bu I plan to add a simple Dallas 18B20 fermentation sensor.

If you have LoRaWAN (via The Things Network) available in your area, the total cost to build this solution is around EUR 20 - if you don't have Things Network Coverage, I recommend to buy The Things Indoor Gateway which will add another EUR 70. It will add coverage for a large area, likely not just your home and cellar.

DIY Fermentation Blubb Counter for Home Brewing

Things used in this project

Hardware components

 
Heltec CubeCell HTCC-AB01
 
× 1

Heltec

 
Line-Following Sensor
 
× 1

AliExpress

Software apps and online services

Arduino IDE
Arduino IDE
 
  Arduino

Hand tools and fabrication machines

3D Printer (generic)
3D Printer (generic)
 
   
 
Cake Pop Sticks, 4mm

Let's start building...

Start by 3d printing all the parts - the ring for the original Speidel fermentation lock (it will fit very snugly, it's intended), the sensor holder and the cake stick attachment. Also purchase the cake pop sticks (make sure you got the 4mm diameter cake pop sticks).

Note: print at least the sensor holder in black to maximize the IR light sensor function.

If you need to make changes, I've included the OpenSCAD source files so you can create your own STL files for 3d printing.

All 3D printed parts made with OpenSCAD - source file available.

All 3D printed parts made with OpenSCAD - source file available.

Attach the sensor holder ring

Attach the sensor holder to the original speidel fermentation lock.

Fits very snugly, it's on purpose - no glue needed.

Fits very snugly, it's on purpose - no glue needed.

Attach the cake pop stick attachment

You can now hot-glue the cake pop stick attachment to the top of the fermentation lid. It will fit the center. Don't attach the cake pop stick at this point - you will later have to cut it to the correct length.

Cake Pop Stick (4mm) attachment glued to top of fermentation lid

Cake Pop Stick (4mm) attachment glued to top of fermentation lid

Build the sensor holder

The sensor used is a very cheap line following sensor. These sensors will detect the levels of IR light reflected. Attach the sensor to the little pin that sticks our of the holder and. make sure it's well hot-glued. I also broke away the pins to point upwards.

IR Line Following Sensor glued to the sensor holder

IR Line Following Sensor glued to the sensor holder

Put it all together and test using Arduino

You can now put it all together and test it via any Arduino. Power the sensor via the 5V/GND and A1 pin - and make sure you are connected to the analog output pin (A) not the digital output pin (D) of the sensor.

Also, shorten the cake pop stick so it is slightly under the opening when the fermentation lock lid is completely in down position. When the CO2 later pushes the fermentation lid to the top, it will push the white cake pop stick, too, and we will be able to detect this change.

For testing the sensor, feel free to use the Arduino code provided.

All put together and testing with any Arduino with analog input

All put together and testing with any Arduino with analog input

Switch to CubeCell and configure The Things Network

The final step includes creating an account with The Things Network, flashing the CubeCell code and making sure it transmits data to The Things Network. In my case I integrated The Things Network with the Ubidots STEM plan to visualize the fermentation status with some nice dashboards.

Blubbs over time - here the fermentation is coming to an end.

Blubbs over time - here the fermentation is coming to an end.

 

Interval - time between two blubbs - also shows the fermentation is about to end.

Interval - time between two blubbs - also shows the fermentation is about to end.

Note: please see the CubeCell Arduino code in the code section. Be sure to change the values for connecting to TTN.

Note: if you do have WiFi or other connectivity in you cellar, it should be quite easy to transmit the data in a different way and to other platforms. I'd love to hear how you tracked the fermentation process.

Have fun brewing!

Custom parts and enclosures

OpenSCAD File

Code

CubeCell LoRaWAN for TTN with Fermentation Sensor Code - Arduino

Make sure you created a TTN application and device - add your own network security and app / device IDs.

Arduino Blubb Sensor Test Code - Arduino

Connect sensor to A1 - power via 5V and GND.

OpenSCAD File for all 3d printed parts - SCAD

Credits

Sven Haiges

Sven Haiges

 

Hackster.io

This content is provided by our content partner Hackster.io, an Avnet developer community for learning, programming, and building hardware. Visit them online for more great content like this.

This article was originally published at Hackster.io. It was added to IoTplaybook or last modified on 01/18/2021.