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I built a completely automated keg washer for under 1K... any interest out there?

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  • roc-craven
    I would be interested in helping out. My other two partners are electrical and process engineers my work for beer friend is an PE and can sign off on designs and I can code and fab just about anything. Damn, sounds like I bragging. Just letting you know what we will bring to the table.

    Sent from my SAMSUNG-SM-G900A using Tapatalk

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  • RipRap
    I would definitely be interested in being the pilot brewery for the kit. If not, I will be definitely be one of the first pre-orders. Well done on all the progress so far!

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  • Cagedodger
    I've been following this thread for a while now and have been anxiously awaiting more details. I'll gladly volunteer for a bit of DIY kit. Count me in! Shoot me a PM. 1 head or 4, we're not picky!

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  • Nobl
    Hey guys,

    Happy to share an update here.

    To date, we have washed many thousands of kegs on our original system. Until recently, we had nearly zero failures on the equipment - everything worked flawlessly. In the last month, we experienced relay failures. The common symptoms here are that the valves would fail to open or close. So, for example, one keg in 20 would send 10 gallons of sanitizer down the drain instead of into the keg. Obviously, this is a big problem. So we re-wrote the code to force it to open the valves multiple times, but that was only a bandaid. In the end, I replaced the relay board, which took about two hours. I'm sure we'll get another 5,000 kegs out of this before replacing it again, for a mere cost of $20.

    Here's where we're at with the project.

    - We are converting the current keg washer into a 4-head unit. This will be achieved by increasing the lines to 1.5" stainless with very few transitions to lower the fluid resistance. We may slightly size up the pumps. However, I am confident it will push the extra it needs.
    - We are provided two levels of kit setups. One will likely be very low cost with vinyl hoses and cheap ball valves. The other will be significantly higher cost, which will utilized stainless everything. Both of which you can purchase the kits from us ready made, or we can send you with a shopping list to your favorite brewery supplier.
    - I am going to see about getting a stainless cart fabricated, which will either ship direct from a manufacturer or from us. This will be optional. We already have a heavy duty plastic cart from Lowes that you can use and save hundreds. That's why it's a kit, its all up to you.

    In about a month, we'll be looking to sell the original keg washer. We'll be looking to sell this at cost + shipping. With this, you'll get support for the unit (I know it intimately) and you can wash 5,000 more kegs with it without a hiccup. Then you'll have to replace the relay board for $20. We can send it with whatever code you want to do whatever you want with it - HOWEVER, I am not willing to add a second valve for both air and c02, so you will either have to wash with nitrogen, or use c02 and no cleaning solution that reacts negatively with c02. My preference is that this goes to a cash-strapped brewery or one in startup mode. I can get a price on this very shortly. Delivery would likely be early January.

    We will also be looking for a second brewery to pilot our kit program. This brewery will receive a box with a pre-wired board, a bunch of components, and some written instructions. We'll be looking for some feedback on how we did before we roll this out in a bigger way. This setup will include support to make sure you are 100% up and running with the system. Delivery would likely be mid-late January. My preference would be to send this as a direct clone of the original keg washer, but we would entertain the 4-head unit - just as long as you understood the new and improved model is brand new to us, so support would be slower for new problems. I could fix the original model with my eyes closed and all four limbs tied behind my back.

    Let me know what interest is out there for these two units. After the January run, we will open pre-orders for these units without collecting any payment. Late winter delivery is very attainable!

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  • orangecountyhop
    The Brewery at Orange County Hops

    We are a new farm brewery opening in January. How soon would you be able to have a kit available for the keg washing system? I'm definitely interested!

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    Also interested if there is an update to the progress of the new and improved version and if kit availability is a possibility, Thanks!

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  • BlackH2O
    Originally posted by Nobl View Post
    Three part video here.

    Cheap Chinese tablet w/ super basic UI for changing cycle times, running different cycles, etc.

    Pumps and the various plumbing would be the responsibility of the end user, with recommendations & length specs whenever appropriate.

    Looking forward to hearing feedback.
    A couple of observations, one very particular to PBW, two the initial gas purge and the need for two pumps.

    1) PBW works best hot, above 140F - how do you keep it hot

    2) The gas purge cycle is a bit redundant. Opening the purge valve and hot water rinse - making it one step.

    3) The need for 2 pumps really unnecessary. I purge with compressed air and CO2. The gas enters at the beginning or end (depending how you look at it) of the manifold. As such, when I purge the keg the gas purges the pump and manifolds of rinse water, cleaner, in my case Birk-Ox, finally SaniClean, Starsan is too foamy to be efficient. Since the pump is purged with each cycle there is no cross contamination of chemicals.

    Additional comments - I don't use a 3 bay sink, I have a 2 1/2bbl kegs as reservoirs that are flipped to use the 2" snake fitting with a tri-clover bottom drain and a weld on fitting on the original bottom for return. Have cut a 3" hole in the top (orig bottom) for filling. The drain fitting runs to a hose and then into the drain instead of a sink.
    A's far as the manifolds go you can do what you have or use some glycol system manifolds, I think I saw them at GW Kent. The part that interests me is the electronics and programming. I have a box of raspberry pi's 2&3's, some Beaglebone Black's and Arduino boards, but I still hate programming (Hardware good, Software evil).

    Don't misunderstand, I don't mean to be critical what you have works I just can't use our 3 Bay food prep sinks for anything other than our tasting room needs. The pumps you use do work but if they were used in my setup I would have to rotate the pump head 90 degrees so the outlet is on the side for complete purging.


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  • ShepFL
    Nice build - interested in build one for our shop

    Great job and thanks for sharing.

    I'm interested in the build and in the code if you can share. We are a nano in Macclenny, FL.
    Thanks in advance.


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  • FederalBeerGuy
    Super Impressed!

    We're in start-up mode here in NC and are definitely wanting to build this. We have a PI board now, several fittings, and a sink from our acquisition and just need to fill the build out to match.

    My main interest is in the board build. It would save us a TON of time to pick up the parts kit and were wondering on the progress. Will send a PM.

    Thanks for your contribution to the community!


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  • moa

    Im interested in the build and in the code if you can share

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  • feinbera
    Dumb question

    ...does a machine like this really need two pumps?

    I understand that mixing the cleaning solution and the sanitizer is a bad idea. But what if you tweaked the plumbing such that the rinse and purge cycles hit the pump before the kegs? Just to clean out the pump head between cleaning and sanitizing, I understand that the rinse water and purge gas don't need to be pumped.

    I know just enough about brewing to know I don't know very much about brewing, so, please don't be afraid to tell me why this is a horrible idea.

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  • bausermant
    Just found this thread. Definitely interested.

    Definitely interested in seeing source code and what people have done so far.

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  • Nobl
    A (slightly) overdue response

    Hey guys - thanks for the interest here. Apologies in the long lead time for the responses. Here's a brief recap on the last few months.

    - Upgraded the pumps to a more permanent solution. As stated earlier in this thread, those Wayne pumps only have a life of a few months before the impellers crack. We went with all-stainless pumps that increase the price of the unit dramatically, but will work for years to come.
    - We had an electrical issue where the pumps we're doing whacky things to the control board when they were turning off and on. We have since solved this and worked out a better strategy to isolate the controls.
    - Stainless stand and dedicated vessels for cleaner and santizer
    - To date, the keg washer has processed thousands of kegs, with no major issues. All of the ball valves are performing as new and none have been changed.

    Here are the V2 design implementations where we expect this to become available for sale.

    - Sanitary design with tri-clamps
    - Self-cleaning/rinsing functionality, especially to drain the bays and rinse the pump
    - Addition of compressed air cycle
    - Double-duty cycle for
    - Full access to the source code or a UI for changing keg settings. An andriod tablet control panel would be the next logical step, which is not out of reach for this build.

    At this point, this is a winter project - I would expect we're about 4 months away from a kit.

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  • VashonBrewer
    Looking to upgrade manual system using arduino

    I've got a 4 manifold keg washer setup that is completely manual. It does a great job, but takes a lot of dedicated time to manually operate the valves, pump, heater and CO2.

    It would be great to automate the process with timed steps and 120 volt solenoid valves. I currently do an initial rinse/purge using internal keg pressure; hot ultra niter acid wash and CO2 purge; hot detergent wash and CO2 purge; warm rinse and CO2 purge; cool peroxyacetic sanitizer, and final CO2 purge. Need to power an in line heater, pump, and paired solenoids (pump from and return to dedicated reservoirs plus CO2 tank) for each cleaning/sanitizing step.

    I would love to have a look at your source code, purchase your base control system and share my final setup with the group. I'm on a septic system, so I use a caustic free process that cleans, eliminates beerstone buildup and sanitizes.

    Please send info to:

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  • FlashpointHB
    I'm interested please send info to:

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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