Funded! This project was successfully funded on August 17, 2013.

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Open source PID controller with WiFi, for real time monitoring and control. Now on BrewBit.com!

Missed us on Kickstarter? 

Our campaign is over, but you can still get a Model-T.   

Order yours today at:

BrewBit.com 

What is it?

BrewBit Model-T is an open source WiFi enabled temperature controller specifically crafted with the homebrewer in mind.  It takes homebrewing to the next level giving you ultimate control over your brewing, any time any where.  

Its hardware and software are open source so you can hack it and modify it all you want to meet the needs of your brew system, fermentation system or any other project that requires precise control of temperature.

How can it help me make better beer?

Temperature control is often overlooked by many homebrewers, but is actually one of the easiest things you can do to make professional quality beer.

The Model-T will help you keep your fermentation and mash temperatures where you want them to be. Resulting in beer that you can be proud of!

I'm not a brewer, why do I want one? 

The device is currently marketed towards brewers but can be used to control power to any electronic device from the unit itself or through BrewBit.com.  You do not have to use the temperature probe to control the outputs if you don't want. You can have the outputs turn on and off manually via your command, or even based on time of day etc...  With our open source hardware and software architecture the device is extremely hack-able, making the possibilities endless.  

Some of the cool non-brewing project ideas that we thought of, several that we have even tried, are:

  • Solder re-flow oven controller using a toaster oven or hot plate.
  • Fish tank heating/cooling controller.
  • Reptile terrarium heating controller.
  • Control a Crockpot, BBQ, oven, or even a George Foreman grill, helping you cook your meats to perfection.
  • Make your own electronic meat smoker.
  • Make your own Sous Vide machine.
  • Control fans and AC units in your house, workshop etc.

What can it do?

Sample Temperature Profile
Sample Temperature Profile
Dual outputs - control multiple devices with a single Model-T
Dual outputs - control multiple devices with a single Model-T
Dual temperature probes - control one or both outputs independently
Dual temperature probes - control one or both outputs independently
Supports Wall Mounting
Supports Wall Mounting
Supports Panel Mounting
Supports Panel Mounting

How does it compare?

(†) Up to 20 A with a NEMA 5-20 cable and power outlet. Unit ships with a NEMA 5-15 cable rated for 15 A.

(*) Denotes the estimated true cost of shipping, handling and completing the unit with similar features to the Model-T.  Most of the units above require electrical wiring for the unit to make it operational, which would include at least the following items (not to mention the skills to do it without electrocuting yourself or starting a fire!):

  • electrical wall plug with cable
  • single or dual electrical outlet 
  • electrical box
  • electrical box cover
  • romex
  • wire nuts/crimps
  • wire cutters/strippers 
  • multimeter

The BrewBit Model-T requires no wiring and is ready to hook up and go right out of the box.  There are no hidden costs or extra work!  The price you see listed includes shipping and handling fees (within the US).

Where is the money going?

Our Vision

Our goal is to build a family of devices that all work together to give you a unified picture of what’s happening to your beer through all stages, from mashing to fermenting. We want to give everyone affordable tools to brew better beer and the Model-T is the first step towards that.

Where are we now?

We have produced several working prototypes of the final product using 3D printed plastics and PCBs from a manufacturer in the USA.  We hand placed all the PCB surface-mount components and soldered the through-hole ones ourselves.  We have gotten the units fully working and operational.  We have been using one of our prototypes to control our keezer and fermentation cabinet and another as a solder reflow oven controller to help us manufacture our PCBs. 

Some of the features of the Model-T currently include:

  • Open Source hardware and software.  You’ll get all the code, schematics, drawings and software. Hack away and share your work with the BrewBit community!
  • Wireless connectivity over your WiFi network
  • Execute temperature profiles loaded via WiFi connection from your account on BrewBit.com.
  • Control from anywhere with Internet connection
  • Sleek, intuitive user interface
  • Self tuning PID control
  • Dual independent outputs
  • Dual independent temperature probes
  • Control one, both, or none (logging only) of the outputs
  • Associate your data with a defined brewing session.
  • Wirelessly upgrade your unit when we roll out new software.

From our website, you will be able to monitor and control the unit.  Some of the cool features that we have added, or currently working on, for the website are:

  • Free API for your data and device. Develop your own killer features!
  • Modify all of your Model-T’s settings and have them applied over WiFi
  • Check on the units status and readings
  • Log the Model-T’s data
  • Display temperature graphs that are updated in real time
  • Associate temperature readings with a certain brewing/fermentation session.
  • Get email or SMS alerts when something happens or the unit is having issues
  • Create and save unique temperature profiles
  • Load a temperature profile and send it to your device over WiFi
  • Set the Model-T to ferment/mash your beer for any duration at a set temperature
  • Step the temperature up or down automatically
  • Add as many temperature/time steps to the temperature profile as you need.
If you have other ideas or suggestions for a killer app please feel free to let us know, or you can implement them yourself via our open source software and easy to use web API!

What's next?

Once we are funded, we will be able to immediately start production. Our current estimates target initial shipment in February 2014.

Production schedule
Production schedule

This includes:

  • Building molds for the injection molded plastic parts
  • Getting the PCBs manufactured
  • Getting the wiring harnesses manufactured
  • Final assembly and testing of the product
  • FCC Certification
  • Product Safety Certification

Product Implementation ideas

Here are some awesome ideas on how the Model-T can be used for both brewing and non brewing projects:

Fermentation fridge build:

Dual Probe Model-T Uses:


BrewBit Model-T 3D-printed prototype - The final version will be injection molded and will look much nicer
BrewBit Model-T 3D-printed prototype - The final version will be injection molded and will look much nicer

I'm an uber-nerd, tell me more!

  • ARM Cortex M3 - STM32F2 series microcontroller (120 MHz)
  • Inventek Systems WiFi module (802.11 b/g/n)
  • Resistive touch screen LCD (320 x 240 pixels)
  • Flash memory (If your WiFi drops out you won't lose any data!)
  • Device Dimensions: 5.2" x 3" x 2.3" (W x H x D) 
  • Supports wall mounting and panel mounting
  • Universal input voltage: 100-240VAC
Prototype power supply board
Prototype power supply board
Prototype control board
Prototype control board

Model-T Teardown:



Reward T-Shirt Design

Front and back of T-shirt
Front and back of T-shirt


Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

As with all hardware projects, actually getting the final product manufactured is always a challenge. We still need to get molds created for injection molding the plastic housing , since 3D printing every unit would not be within budget. We are currently getting our CAD designs vetted by professionals so that once we are funded we will immediately be able to get the molds created and start pumping out the parts needed to assemble the final unit.

Many Kickstarter projects massively overstate their capability to deliver a product on time and are not aware of all the complexities of getting a hardware product to market.

As a promise to you, we will make every attempt to meet our deadlines and keep you informed with weekly updates on our progress. We have, from the beginning of this project, taken into account the various dependencies between manufacturing processes and worked with our suppliers to get accurate estimates on the timelines for delivery. They are included in our gantt chart above that will be constantly updated for you to view throughout the Kickstarter process!

FAQ

  • You can add all the reward levels you would like to purchase into one pledge amount and leave us a note as to what reward levels they were for.

    Last updated:
  • After receiving a good amount of feedback from international backers we have decided to go ahead and add international shipping options! Thanks for the feedback and support.

    Last updated:
  • We are planning to use a self-tuning PID algorithm which will learn the correct gains based on how your environment reacts over time.

    Last updated:
  • The probe is accurate to 0.5 C over -10C to 85C

    Last updated:
  • We do not think it will be feasible cost-wise to have different versions of the plugs for each region unfortunately. In light of this, we are currently considering two options: using IEC outlets or using US style NEMA 5-15 outlets. We are leaning toward the latter since it would eliminate the need for adapters for our American customers. It would require adapters for international users still, but so would IEC connectors.

    Last updated:
  • Short Version: about 11.4 years

    Long Version with Math:

    The relays that we are using are rated for a MINIMUM of 2 million cycles at a cycle rate of 180 cycles per second. This is likely a very conservative estimate, I would not be surprised if they last 10x longer than that.

    Additionally, our PID algorithm will modulate on-time, not duty cycle so we will not be switching anywhere near that fast. The compressors found in most refrigerators cannot be cycled faster then about once every 3 minutes or so without damaging them, so the actual life will be much longer than the 2 million cycles at 180 cycles/sec.

    Even so, using those conservative numbers the math works out to:

    ((24 hrs/day * 60 minutes/hour) / 3 minutes/compressor cycle) = a maximum of 480 compressor cycles/day
    2,000,000 cycles / 480 compressor cycles/day / 365 days/year = 11.4 years

    This is assuming that you are switching at the fastest possible rate and that these conservative numbers are no higher than rated. In reality I would not be surprised if they lasted at least twice as long as that.

    Last updated:
  • The device uses an RTOS called ChibiOS

    For more information checkout their website: http://www.chibios.org/dokuwiki/doku.php

    Last updated:
  • Yes, the Model-T supports universal input voltage: 100-260 VAC

    Last updated:
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  • Pledge $5 or more
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    16 backers

    Thank you, every dollar counts, and we appreciate your support. As a special thanks you will get your name on the brewbit.com "founding backers" credit page.

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    15 backers

    You get a BrewBit logo sticker as well as your name on the brewbit.com "founding backers" credit page.

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    Add $5 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $15 or more
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    5 backers

    Buy a second probe to unlock the full awesomeness of the Model-T. The Model-T only comes with one temperature probe but is capable of utilizing two probes to control the outputs separately. You can select this reward separately or add $15 to any other reward to get another probe.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships within the US only
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    23 backers

    Get a BrewBit T-Shirt. It is almost guaranteed to make your beer taste better... If not, at least you will look good brewing and drinking it!

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    Add $15 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $125 or more
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    10 backers All gone!

    EARLY BREWER SPECIAL: You are one of the first people to get a Model-T. Not only will you be rewarded with the price but you will also be the first to receive your shipment. Remember that the Model-T only comes with a single temperature probe. If you would like to utilize the full functionality of the device pick another probe up from above.

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $150 or more
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    100 backers All gone!

    You will receive a Model-T with a single temperature probe. If you would like to utilize the full functionality of the device pick another probe up from above. Thanks for your order!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $160 or more
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    23 backers

    You will receive a Model-T with a single temperature probe. If you would like to utilize the full functionality of the device buy another probe from above or purchase the next reward instead. Thanks for your order!

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $175 or more
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    39 backers

    INTERNATIONAL: You will receive a Model-T with dual temperature probes, unlocking the full potential of the device. Thanks for your order!

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $175 or more
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    251 backers

    You will receive a Model-T with dual temperature probes, unlocking the full potential of the device. Thanks for your order!

    Estimated delivery:
    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $300 or more
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    5 backers

    Receive a special dual temperature probe Kickstarter edition Model-T with a name of your choice laser engraved into it, as well as a T-Shirt and a sticker.

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    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $300 or more
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    2 backers

    INTERNATIONAL: Receive a special dual temperature probe Kickstarter edition Model-T with a name of your choice laser engraved into it, as well as a T-Shirt and a sticker.

    Estimated delivery:
    Add $25 USD to ship outside the US
  • Pledge $1,000 or more
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    11 backers Limited (89 left of 100)

    Receive a special dual temperature probe Kickstarter edition Model-T with customized laser engraving of your choice, whether it be a logo, picture etc, a T-shirt, and a sticker. You will also receive an invitation to a VIP backers party that will be held after we complete shipping all units. (Travel to San Diego is not included)

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    Ships within the US only
  • Pledge $5,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (5 left of 5)

    You really want to see us succeed don't you? You will receive a special dual temperature probe Kickstarter edition Model-T with customized laser engraving of your choice, whether it be a logo, picture etc, a T-shirt, and a sticker. You will also receive an invitation to a VIP backers party that will be held after we complete shipping all units. The day before the party you will get to have a semi-private lunch with the founders where you can pick our brains and discuss your ideas and projects that you would like us to help you create and design. (Travel to San Diego is not included)

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  • Pledge $10,000 or more
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    0 backers Limited (1 left of 1)

    You really want to see us succeed don't you? You will receive a special dual temperature probe Kickstarter edition Model-T with customized laser engraving of your choice, whether it be a logo, picture etc. You will also get a T-shirt, a sticker and an invitation to a VIP backers party that will be held after we complete shipping all units. The night before the party you will get to have a private dinner with the three founders. You can pick our brains and discuss your ideas and projects that you would like us to help you design and create. (Travel to San Diego is not included)

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Funding period

- (33 days)