Monday, August 3, 2009

A slow week

Last week was a little lazy down at Fork and Hay. Here's a quick update on what little actually went on:

090701 Geordie Ale

The Geordie Ale continues to be quality-assured. The roast taste is either tempering down daily or I'm getting used to it. Either way, I'm committed to it for another batch because I used the same grain in the 090702 Geordie Boy. I think next batch, I'll cut that in half and see what if any difference it makes.

Arduino controller repurposing

On the Arduino front: Chuck Toth (co-worker and proprietor of Triple Mutt Brewery) was kind enough to solder my temperature probes together for me. I just can't see that level of detail now without a giant magnifying glass or reading glasses, which I am too cheap and too vain to purchase respectively. In case I missed documenting it, these probes use the Dallas Semiconductor One-Wire DS18B20 digital thermometer IC in parasite mode, and Chuck wired them to a 1/8" phono plug cable so they can easily be attached and detached from the controller.

I have spent many hours working on the control program for this device, and I will be posting the code for reference (and comic relief) at some point. However, the full-featured version of what I wrote in all likelihood won't actually be put into production. Fork and Hay Brewing is going to enter into a partnership with my employer to produce some marketing material that shows off the impressive capabilities of GE Fanuc's Proficy Workflow in an interesting and entertaining manner. (At least we hope it will be interesting and entertaining.)

Proficy Workflow is capable of many things, including sequence control and event based activity management. As a result, I don't need those capabilities in the control program for the Arduino, so I'm shifting its focus to more of a PLC orientation, where it just handles the I/O for the temperature probes and the SSRs to control the fermenter and kegerator. That simplifies the code dramatically and will hopefully alleviate some of the issues I have seen with overrunning the stack and getting lost in interrupt handling.

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