Home > Brew gear, BrewzNET, Tech geeks > BrewzNET 2.0 Development Continues

BrewzNET 2.0 Development Continues

I have managed significant progress over the past week in prototyping various aspects of the BrewzNET 2.0 pump control system – more than I was expecting to, truth be told. Much of the time was spent translating C# libraries over into VB.NET and testing them out – and with the exception of a couple “Gotchas”, it was more time consuming than challenging.

First up was porting the MicroLiquidCrystal library, developed by Szymon Kobalczyk in C#, which was a port from the Arduino Liquid Crystal Library. I pulled over the classes I needed to interact with a set of generic MCP230XX interface classes I wrote in place of the standard MCP23008-specific one that came with the library. After some initial debugging I built a BrewzNET-specific class around the core and have a functional prototype with screens, selection functionality, and up/down button support. Some screenshots are below.

LCD Welcome  LCD Calcs  LCD Settings  LCD Mode 

The interface includes several sets of custom characters for the welcome screen and other screens – I expect I will refine and grow this over time. The welcome screen uses all 8 character slots to display a reasonable approximation of a mash paddle and a beer mug, and the other screens share a set of things like selection bullets, line selection indicators, and transmitting / not transmitting icons for the XBee modems.

I also translated the full XBee C# library from the MFToolkit by Michael Schwarz. I realized after translating the Grommet library mentioned in the previous blog post that I had actually abandoned it in favor of the MFToolkit due to Grommet’s lack of Escaped API mode support and several classes that were not yet implemented (Like the IO sampling I will be using in BrewzNET 2.0 for my float switch states). That library was huge and took a good 2 days worth of intermittent effort, but resulted in a very stable and flexible class I expect I will use quite a bit in the future (and potentially other Netduino programmers as well).

I ordered some new all stainless steel float switches from Amazon.com to replace the plastic ones I currently have. The plastic ones have always bothered me, and I am hoping the new ones will easily drop in and replace the ones I have been using. The new switch for the sparge arm has already arrived and it is awesome – exactly what I wanted. I am still waiting on the two switches for the grant.

There is still plenty to do before I am ready to test everything together, but I feel like I took out a goodly portion of my to-do list over the Christmas break, and accomplished quite a bit more than I expected to.

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Categories: Brew gear, BrewzNET, Tech geeks
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