About this project
Funding Complete, Thank You!
Our Kickstarter has ended, but you can still learn more and build your own Kegbot at our site: Visit us at https://kegbot.org/
You've got a kegerator, now what? Upgrade it with Kegbot: The ultimate monitoring and control system for your beer dispenser.
Kegbot Monitors Your Beer Taps
Kegbot tracks every pour that comes out of a beer tap, and correspondingly knows how much beer is left in the keg. You'll always know how much is left! But that is just the beginning...
Show Off Your Taps
Kegbot gives your beer tap a slick tablet interface, right there at the tap. You can see what beer is on tap, who has been pouring, and Kegbot can even take pictures for you!
You can also view and manage your taps online, using the optional web interface:
Track Your Pours
Kegbot lets you assign drinker accounts and track statistics by individual account.
Living with a roommate and worried he's not paying his fair share? No problem; with Kegbot, every pour is saved in a database, and with the added web server, viewable online.
...And Much More!
Kegbot supports a ton of other features: It can tweet when someone starts drinking; link to Untappd or Foursquare to check in to your beers; automatically snap photos when you pour (it's the ultimate party photographer); and more — all on an open source platform.
How It Works
Kegbot combines a flow sensor, a tablet, and a microcontroller together as one awesome front-end for your keg. Plug the sensor into the control board, and the control board into your tablet, and you're ready to start monitoring!
What You're Backing
Through Kickstarter, we're asking for your help to fund our first fully-assembled, plug-and-play Kegbot controller board: the Kegboard Pro Mini.
Until now, people have built new Kegbot systems using an Arduino board, our custom Arduino shield, and a collection of off-the-shelf hardware components. Although this way works, it's time consuming, expensive, and very difficult for new users.
The Kegboard Pro Mini solves these common pain points in a slick, tiny, Arduino-compatible package.
Here are some photos of the hardware as it is evolving:
Not Just Hardware, It's Also Software!
Kegbot has been an open source project for 10 years, so you are supporting an ecosystem that includes a lot more than just our awesome new Kegboard Pro Mini. We're proud to say that our software stack is mature and feature packed.
- The Kegboard Android App is feature complete, available in Google Play, and is already in use on over a hundred systems.
- Kegbot Server, the backend for your kegerator and our flagship software, is also stable and in wide use.
- The Kegboard Pro Mini Firmware is a minor modification to our original Android firmware; we've been running it on our prototype boards for months.
- Multi-board support: With a powered USB hub, you can connect multiple Kegboards (and support multiple taps) with the same tablet.
- "Server-free" mode: Traditionally Kegbot required a server; now we're adding an offline mode which includes most of the core server features (adding users, counting volume, and so on.
Demo Kegbot Server @ http://demo.kegbot.org/
Source code @ https://github.com/Kegbot
You Won't Be Alone
There are already Kegbots out in the world, over a hundred of them, happily tracking people's drinks! With these new Kegboard Pro Mini boards, setting up a Kegbot is the easiest it's ever been. We will include detailed instructions just for you...and if you have trouble, we will be available on email or the forums to help get your Kegbot online.
Full reward descriptions, limits, and restrictions are on the right.
The Future: iOS, Wireless, Access Control, and More!
We had to start somewhere: The Kegboard requires USB right now, but if our Kickstarter is successful, we'll start working on several more goodies that will make Kegbot even better. We've sketched plans for a bluetooth/wifi board, and have started working on an iOS app!
Common Questions and Their Answers (CQTA)
How many taps can I run? There's no limit in the app or the server! Although the board/firmware supports two taps, there was only enough space on the board for one connector. The easiest thing to do is use one board per tap.
What tablets are supported? Kegboard needs USB Host mode to work. Not all Android devices are created equal (but it's getting better), but the best Tablet we've found is the Nexus 7. See our recommendations page for more info.
Can the Kegboard sense temperatures too? Yes, however, it requires a little handiwork: We weren't able to integrate the temperature sensors with the flow meter in time for Kickstarter, so we left it out. However, we will publish the pinout and breakout board plans for the RJ-45 connector so you can roll your own sensor.
Is the hardware Arduino compatible? Yes, basically! It does not have the same footprint as an Arduino, but the firmware is built and programmed through the Arduino SDK. (Internally, the Kegboard uses an atmega32u4, just like Arduino Leonardo).
Production and Fulfillment Plan
Boards: We have already received our first small-run production batch. We're working with an amazing fabrication house in the US that has done an excellent job so far. If we're successfully funded, we'll immediately start production on a larger batch to finish the job, if needed. We estimate it will take less than 4 weeks to finish production.
Once funded, we'll finish testing on the boards we already have, then start fulfilling backers as soon as possible.
Flashing and Testing: We've built tools to rapidly flash all the boards we receive from the fabrication house, and built a small functional test harness to test a random sampling of the boards.
Meters: Our assembly house is building and assembling the wiring harnesses you see on the Kegbot flow meters, and they have advised that the job will be complete by the end of February. We've limited the number we're making available on Kickstarter in order to ship this part on time.
Meet the Team
Mike is a computer engineer with over 15 years experience building all sorts of weird and wonderful devices. He started Kegbot in 2003, and it has existed as an open source project ever since. Mike designed the boards, firmware, Android app, and backend. In a previous life, Mike was a staff software engineer at Google.
Eric is startup veteran and backend expert. Although he is the "new guy" on the team, he's no stranger to Kegbot: Mike and Eric were roommates when Kegbot was created, and Eric's recently linked up with Mike to work on Kegbot full time.
Janine, Justin, and Ted help support Bevbot (our parent company) behind the scenes. If you've already built a Kegbot from our open source plans, they probably had a hand in it!
Finally, we're also deeply indebted to Theo: rock star, actual Kegbot user, and the accidental (and awesome) director of our video!
Risks and challenges
We're super excited about building these boards; it's our first fully-assembled, turnkey Kegbot controller.
We've been working on Kegbot for a long time, but because you're backing new hardware, some risks are unavoidable:
* Hardware production delays. We're pretty far along in production and testing, but any last-minute "showstopper" issues we discover could delay shipment.
* Hardware reliability. We're using new connectors on these boards, and though we've given them a beating, it's possible that they could break with heavy use.
* Hardware accuracy. We've done our best to make the boards as accurate and trouble-free as possible, but without more users it is hard to test in all possible environments.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
We're adding a new mode to the app which will allow multiple boards to be connected through a powered USB hub. So the easiest way will be to purchase one board per tap.
For the technically-inclined, the board can actually support a second meter, but you need to be handy with a soldering iron to expose it (using the "Coaster" breakout board available at our store).
We're not sure yet - we'd like to! If we have extra inventory left over, we'll do add-ons.
Either way, we'll be stocking all products in the Kegbot Store after the Kickstarter is finished (and after we've resupplied). If you have a multi-tap system, you can also try things out with just one tap at first.
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