Updated: Nov 16
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A LITTLE BACKSTORY
We're developing a software application called AleProof designed to help brewers analyze and manage the fermentation process. It is easy for us to enter fictional data into the program for testing purposes, but we quickly realized that real data gathered in real-world scenarios was far more valuable. So together with a few friends we started Danger Shed Ales & Mead - a brewing project dedicated (in-part) to providing AleProof with loads of real data that we could plug in, analyze, and use to improve our brewing.
RASPBERRY PI TO THE RESCUE!
We were brewing out of the Shed but entering data at the Arithmech "office" (about 30 miles apart from each other). This was a bit of an inconvenience for obvious reasons. We needed a way to enter fermentation data into AleProof right then-and-there at the Shed. A laptop was one option, but we wanted something permanent, more resilient, and less boring. So we decided on a Raspberry Pi!
SETTING UP THE PI
We're rockin' a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ with a standard case and an Ice Tower cooling fan. Don't judge us for getting the fan just because it's cool - it gets up to 120°F in the shed while we're brewing... But that fan is pretty friggin' cool. The Pi sits on an elevated shelf keeping it safe from anything liquid and making it easy to access the usb ports. Then we connected the monitor, and a wireless mouse and keyboard.
The Shed is small and workspace is limited. That's one reason we decided to go with a mounted monitor - but on top of that, we envision AleProof running in breweries (or home breweries) on it's own dedicated workstation near the tanks. This is for two reasons:
It's convenient for the cellarman. He or she can take samples and enter data all from the same area of the brewery.
AleProof helps manage the cold side of your brewery. The dashboard of AleProof shows the current status of every tank and every batch in your brewery. For brewer's juggling multiple tanks and batches simultaneously, a quick glance at the monitor can give you an update on where things are.
We use PyCharm to write the code on our development computers - and lucky for us, PyCharm also runs on Raspberry Pi. With PyCharm loaded up on the Pi station, we are able to run the AleProof.py file AND debug as we go. The Pi stays on 24 hours a day and always displays the AleProof Dashboard. The Danger Shed cellarman can walk in, take samples, enter data, analyze it, and run bug reports all from the wall mounted workstation.