Using TILT & a Fermentation Fridge - a Problem

Discussion in 'Brew Sessions' started by AHarper, Nov 21, 2019.

  1. AHarper

    AHarper Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps someone has already hit on this but since I have only just set up my Fermentation Fridge and am about to do my first brew I come across a wee problem I am yet to solve.
    If you look at the diagram below you will see the problem.

    A Tilt - set up properly and dropped into a test high-sugar solution - is in the fridge with the door closed so the fridge maintains a given temperature. The Tilt app is set up on a phone that has Bluetooth enabled and the appropriate settings for logging to local (the phone) and the URL for Brewers Friend and Google sheets (though they are a pain in the ass to use anyway).

    With the door of the fridge shut the Tilt can not communicate with the phone so why not put the phone inside the fridge? OK now the phone can not communicate with the Web - not that mine does anyway as I brew in the garage which is out of range of the house WIFI so normally I would bring the phone nearer the house so the updates get passed to the web.

    OK so leave the phone in the fridge for a long while - so the Tilt updates the local file then take the phone out every so often and let it up date the web then. Well the problem then is as the phone will go to sleep after a period, when you wake it up the Tilt app wants to communicate with the appropriate Tilt - which is in the fridge (maintaining the appropriate fermentation temperature). So open the door to wake up the app correctly - the fridge loses temperature while this is happening (ambient temperature is 9C in my garage at the moment) Arghhhhh!!!!!!

    Even after that I still get no updates to my Brew Session - now everything has been redesigned and looks NOTHING like it did last month when I did my last brew and it all worked then! - oh I get asked to increase my Account level so I can get Notices from Tilt when I thought Premium allowed me to use Tilt as before???

    Has anyone else come across this problem and worked out how to make it all work? I'd be grateful to know.

    upload_2019-11-21_14-0-25.png
     
  2. west1m

    west1m Active Member

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    I went with the Rasberry PI device . took a bit figuring but it is not too expensive. either way you will end up needing a WiFi range extender if you can't reach the garage.
     
  3. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    It depends on how often you want to update your data. When I just used a phone I'd turn on the app, send the data to the internets and turn it off. So in your case you could just open the fridge door for the few minutes to get a reading. It's sort of like the electronic equivalent of taking a sample and just recording that one.

    As you're finding out the phone isn't a great solution for always on logging. So I've also bought a Raspberry Pi and used the image from Tilt to set it up as a permanent logger (https://tilthydrometer.com/products/tilt-pi-raspberry-pi-disk-image-download).

    The Raspberry PI sits on the top of the fermentation fridge and I have no problems getting a signal. I do find that it is much better at picking up the signal than a phone, but my phone was also able to pick up the tilt from outside, so I wonder if your fridge has a lot more solid material that will block the signal than mine? Mine has a stainless skinned door and sides, but the rest is simple plastic and it has no trouble.

    The only time I had trouble was fermenting in a Cornie keg. The phone couldn't get a signal at any point, but the Raspberry Pi worked pretty well.

    The account upgrade feature is to have Brewers Friend send you an email/text when your brew reaches a certain gravity. It makes sense if you're a pro and you've got a batch waiting for fermenter space or ten batches running and you need to be reminded to do a diacetyl rest, but it doesn't seem worth the money for me and my one batch at a time.
     
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  4. AHarper

    AHarper Well-Known Member

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    =============================================


    Hi Mark. Yes I had though of the "snap shot" method and I might just as well note the SG and temp and add the values manually.

    Yes the fridge is basically a Faraday Cage - completely metal box - so signals are shielded as in the diagram. It is getting near Christmas so a Raspberry Pi may be the solution... I'll persevere with the phone/phone idea first just to prove to the wife I have exhausted all options first before I blow another £80.

    As for the WIFI extender yup tried that already and that was a waste of time too ho hum.
     
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  5. AHarper

    AHarper Well-Known Member

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    UPDATE:
    I resolved the problem by changing the phone!
    I had thought that a later phone would work better but I was wrong. So out goes the Galaxy S6 and In comes a Sony Xperia M3.

    I have suspended the phone - on a permanent 5v charger - just outside the fridge and inline of sight (almost) with the in-house WiFi router.
    As long as I keep the metal garage door open it all works and I am getting updates on my GMail and BF Brew Session.

    The only recommendations I have are:
    1. Stop any previous logging session and clear out the old Brew Name on your phone App (if you are using the phone version)
    2. If you use a Tilt (and I am assuming it's the same for other devices) Disconnect the tilt from previous Brew Sessions first.
    3. Ensure you have the Tilt calibrated for SG and Temperature BEFORE you drop it into the brew.
    4. Sterilise the Tilt first and drop it into the brew.
    5. Enter the new Brew Name
    6. Select Start Logging

    After that all SHOULD be well.
     
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  6. AHarper

    AHarper Well-Known Member

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    An Update:

    I now have a Raspberry Pi working (tilt / Pi Zero W) with a display monitor now hooked up in the garage roof so I can read it from the kitchen window - I can remotely open the garage door to the Pi can see the house WiFi and pass the details across the network.

    So far so good. But...

    1) I have set a request into Noah Neibaron of Tilt to see if he can point me in the direction of the bit of code to tweak so I can cut down the number of Tilt display boxes to match the number of tilts in use - I only use 1 at the moment but may expand to two - and expand the size of the text to fit the screen / box size. I have yet to get any reply but I will keep you posted if I do.
    I believe the display of the Tilt output uses the Weather / Humidity sensor code in some way to display the Tilt output but I am not certain about that.
    Sample Tilt Output that I want to see:
    upload_2020-1-5_18-9-8.png

    2) I may have to put this into a separate post but I have a query about the Fermenation Display graph. It reports N/A for Zero degrees. Why? Can it me fixed to read 0 C / F at the graph base line please.

    upload_2020-1-5_17-44-12.png
     
  7. Pricelessbrewing

    Pricelessbrewing QA Software Tester
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    2 seems like a reasonable request, I'll submit it to the devs.
     
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  8. Ward Chillington

    Ward Chillington Well-Known Member

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    Thinking out loud here but would just a Wifi extender or repeater plugged in right next to your refrig pick up the Tilt's signal?? Wifi as well as Bluetooth are NFC (near field communications) stuff so just being physically closer to a degraded signal should overcome the Faraday like affect of the fridge. The frequency that these things operate at is pretty high so despite some of the shielding going on in the fridge, the signal is getting out although not far enough for your application. Test it with another cell phone and your Bluetooth settings set to scan.
     
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  9. AHarper

    AHarper Well-Known Member

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    Well Using the Tilt with a Raspberry Pi Zero W works. Despite the tangle of wires I have managed to get the Pi suspended into a position that allows it to communicate with the Tilt via Bluetooth and the house WiFi so the system does work - the only pain in the butt is the need to open the garage door all the time.

    On Item 1 of my previous posting - about the size of the single Tilt display - I have has a suggestion from Tilt themselves and something I should have thought of myself but too stupid to realise it.
    Pressing Ctrl + will zoom the screen until only the single display fills the screen. - Of Course!!
    No re-coding required.
     

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