Brew Day

Yesterday I had my first all-grain Brew Day! I am making a Belgium Blonde ale based on this recipe kit from The Malt Miller. I used the Brew-in-a-Bag method. I only had a 20L brewing pot, and I filled it with 14L of water which I bought to the boil, and then let cool to 66C. In order to measure the temperature, I used a meat stainless-steel temperature probe. After I bought it, I realised that the packaging says not to completely submerge the probe and cable in water, although it didn’t seem to hurt it. I also experimented briefly with using an infrared thermometer, but the readings from that were totally out. I spent the 90 minutes of Mashing time juggling the temperature. I would let the mash cool to 60C and then lift the bag from the bottom of the pot and heat the mash back to 66-67C.

It was fun adding the Hallertauer Mittelfrueh hops. They had arrived vaccuum-sealed, and there was a delicious smell when I unwrapped them and added them to the Mash.

I made about 19L of Wort, which started fermenting over night. It is bubbling away at the moment. I am really eager to see what this will taste like!

Using an old phone as an IoT device

An idea I’ve been wanting to do for a while is to use an old phone as an IoT device. A second-hand smartphone is potentially a cheap way to get a processor, screen, and storage. The phone needs to be hackable – I think an operating system like LineageOS or JanOS needs to be installed on it. LineageOS has the best support for different phones. In order to be useful for IoT, the base phone should be extensible to add sensors or micro-controllers.

New Toys!

I’ve had two new toys arrive today! The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ that was released yesterday, arrived today. This is great turn-around by Pimoroni! I’m planning to put Home Assistant on it and use it as a local server.

Continue reading “New Toys!”

Home Assistant

I’ve been checking out OpenHAB and Home Assistant. I think I will set up Home Assistant in my house. I really like the architecture and the way the code is structured. I’m a big fan of Python too. OpenHAB is written in Java, which I quite like, but for an application like this, I want something that is easier for me to hack.

Home automation control with Sonoff

SuperHouseTV have a great video on using the Sonoff, Arduino, OpenHAB and MQTT to control your house. Jon demos using the embedded software/cloud solution to control a light, as well as flashing the firmware yourself and setting up the Sonoff for over-the-air updates and controlling with MQTT. Well worth a watch!

Links to the Github pages for the sketches are in the show-notes.

Sonoff Wifi Switch

I was reading about the Sonoff Wifi Switch on the weekend, which combines an ESP 8266 chip with a relay to give you a very cost-effective network-controllable power switch. The best thing about them is that they are very cheap! I just bought two of these on eBay to evaluate them, so I will post again after they have arrived and I have a chance to test them. Apparently you can flash the 8266 with your own code, so this looks like a great way to get all the components at a cheap price!

Making an Amazon Dash Button

Having a physical device to trigger software events (which may in turn trigger physical actions) can be super useful, so when Amazon announced the Dash buttons, people worked out how to hack them. Unfortunately they suffer from the disadvantages of not being able to easily replace the batteries, and being a bit of pain to hack, in that you need to redirect the web request that they make.

Continue reading “Making an Amazon Dash Button”