Home > Brew gear, Tech geeks > Wireless Grant Plan B

Wireless Grant Plan B

Sometimes the proverbial “Plan B” just has to be good enough. For my wireless grant, that means settling for the old plastic float switches I was already using instead of the fancy-schmancy stainless ones I purchased several months ago. “Why?” you ask? Ah, well because the stainless ones have a design that renders them completely useless in my grant, and I didn’t know that until I had completely disassembled the old grant and tried putting them in.

The 1/2″ half-couplers that the float switches screw into are a certain depth, and the stainless steel float switches are shorter than that. When you add in the 1/8″ stainless steel electronics support bracket, it backs it out even more. This means the pivot point for the float sits back in the coupler and is recessed too far to allow the float to swing freely (or at all). This means they’d be stuck in the “closed” position, no matter what the liquid level was. Argh! The most frustating thing about that is that no matter what vessel I try to put them in, they wouldn’t work – all my 1/2″ half couplers are the same length.

Maybe I’ll use them in a hydroponics project in the future or something. I dunno.


So behold Plan B: I salvaged the plastic Madison float switches from before, replaced the old electronics housing with the bracket and new electronics enclosure, and hooked everything up. I tested it and it works with the breadboarded Netduino main circuit. I still need to make enclosure penetrations for the power and recharge LEDs, but that will be pretty quick. I also need to glue down the XBee interface board – that’ll be the final step before closing everything up.

Here’s a quick shot of the underside – Currently there is an on/off switch and the USB port for recharging the LiPo battery. I’ll probably put the power and recharging LEDs down here too.


Hopefully the mounting bracket for the sparge arm electronics will come in this week and I can get that one buttoned up too, then it’s a matter of waiting for my mainboard to come back from OSH Park. Since I ripped out the old grant electronics and basically have no way back – I am going to do some serious surgery to my current control box as well. Even though I ultimately intend on getting a new enclosure, I’m going to rip out the main board and other assorted PICAXE-specific stuff and build in the BrewzNET 2.0 electronics so I at least have something to brew with. I will post as that work progresses…

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Categories: Brew gear, Tech geeks
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