Sunday, January 15, 2012

Tweeting Fermenter

After a brew day I cant help but have concern for the status of the fermentation and its environment especially in terms of the temperature. I had always wondered what was going on and thought it would be great if I could get some sort of real time information about what was happening. I decided to put my engineering background to some use and set up a temperature monitoring system. I considered using an Arduino based solution but didn't really have the time and didn't want the mess (It was actually sheer laziness). I went for one of these units in the end:
Wireless Temperature Monitoring Units
This unit connects to the PC via USB which performs real time graphing but also has the ability to perform HTTP,GET, POST, CMD and Email commands with a little utility that you leave running in the background. I have a home server that is normally on so it made sense to connect the base station to this machine for logging and running the utility. Since it isn't possible to update your twitter status from email I had to rely on a third party utility to update twitter for me. There are some that you can pay for but I found one that was free. It is called Twittermail and it merely inserts your emails into your twitter for you. I set up the utility to use my Gmail account and it sends the data from my gmail account to my twitter stream using a unique email address generated from Twittermail.  
Utility for emailing sensor data
I configured the utility to email me the temperatures of my fermenting bucket (I just left the sensor on the lid) and the Kitchen (where I leave bottles to condition for the first couple of weeks). This email is sent every hour and I made a new twitter account to receive the tweets which I then followed using my main account.  I don't think any of my followers would have taken too kindly to hourly temperature data. I only got this working this evening so I don't know if I have the transmission frequency right yet but the system is indeed tweeting my temperatures. 
Tweets with temperature data
I purchased the components from Audon in the UK and the batteries in the wireless sensors seem to last longer than a month which isn't too bad. I'm sure that an equivalent system could be built for much less than the cost of these sensors and if you have the time to build it then go for it. 


  1. How much was that system. It seems like a fun, geeky gadget for home brewing.

  2. Hi Reuben,

    I have no idea why I didn't put a link in about where to pick up the item but you can get them here:

    I think the base station gives a lot more flexibility.