A solid state relay (SSR) is an electronic (as opposed to mechanical) switch that is able to control a large amount of current with a small amount of input. Compared to a mechanical relay, SSR’s are capable of switching on and off on the order of milliseconds and hypothetically have a lifespan of switching in the millions of times. From a speed perspective, a mechanical relay would likely be fine, but it’s lifespan would be less than a few dozen brew sessions. (more…)

I am going to be documenting my progress in creating a Beaglebone brewery. I’ve seen a lot of people doing the same type of blogs, but I hope to do things a little differently.  I’ve drawn inspiration from various forums and blogs, notably Kal’s Electric setup and HomeBrewTalk.

Instead of using a PID controller like most, I’ll be using a small credit card sized Linux computer called BeagleBone Black as the backbone controller. I plan to control everything with a web browser interface using a PHP/MySQL server running on the Beaglebone. Why complicate things? I wanted to do something relatively new, so I combined my interest in the Beaglebone with my knowledge of web development into one. There will be a big learning curve, but also a big increase in potential functionality using a Beaglebone because of the many different ways of interfacing with it. You can use multiple ways of displaying the current status of the system; Anything from a small 20 character LCD display, a 7″ touchscreen, or even a full size HDTV. The list of sensors grows on almost a daily basis. It is possible to use an essentially unlimited number of temperature probes, monitor liquid levels, have very fine control over temperatures and relay control, pH monitoring, and much more.

I hope you will join me in my endeavor!