Just discovered Kegbot


#1

I just discovered the kegbot and wish I could have backed this project from the beginning. Am I out of luck if I want to add this to my kegerator? Obviously I see the store is shut down. I’m just trying to see how I could obtain one, if possible.


Will this run on just the arduino or do I need to build the kegboard?
#2

Hey Mcguiles - I’m maybe not the best person to answer since I’m new here too…but I hope that you (we) aren’t too late as long as a little elbow grease is available. :smile:

Depending on what you are looking to accomplish, you can get it set up pretty inexpensively. Here is what I am working with:

  1. Get a Raspberry Pi to run as a server, and follow the instructions on the Kegberry page to load it
  2. Get an Arduino and flash the kegboard firmware to it using the Arduino IDE
  3. Get a cheap flow sensor or two from eBay and plug them into the Arduino using the pinout in the FAQ
  4. Use an Android tablet with the app as a front-end for the keg

I already had all of these components laying around, and I’m working on getting it set up. The basic functionality seems to be working (registering pours, etc.) but I am having problems with the app registering the correct person pouring and the relay function isn’t working for me. I am really hoping by the spring to have everything working so I can have solenoids locking the kegs, unlock and register via NFC, and have accurate pour statistics logging with the app.


#3

You can also run the server right on the Android tablet. Look here. It works well on the A210 Tablet.


#4

Hi,

For the relay function to start working you need to flash a special firmware to the KBPM. I suppose you can use the same firmware with an Arduino.

I can send you the firmware if you send me your e-mail. I got mine from other kegbotters when I joined the kegbot community a few years ago…

/Bjorn


#5

to be honest I’m not too experienced with these types of things… i’ve never heard of a Rasberry Pi or Arduino before? Is this something that a “layman” wouldn’t be able to create? Am I going to bite off more than i can chew?


#6

Skip the rasberry Pi and use the tablet. It works well and takes a failure point out. Been running mine that way for a couple of months on my Acer A210 and couldn’t be happier.

The rest isn’t hard just take your time and follow the directions carefully.


#7

so what all do you order then? tablet, flow sensor, and what else? Am i missing something, where do i find said instructions?


#8

i see the instructions for running this on a tablet, but it looks like it may be difficult. But if you think its easier i will give this a try. I also found the instructions for assembly on the website. Can anyone provide a parts list for the flow meter? Like all the components that are needed? I know above i was told to purchase some cheapies on ebay, but is that sanitary? Also what is needed to connect the flow meter to the tablet?


#9

Sorry if you see a bunch of edits it’s late and had a brain fart. LOL

Tablet(for server and app), flow sensor and Arduino , Get Arduino up and running.

Then just follow the steps for the tablet (Link in my first response), they are pretty much the same as is your were using a Pi so either way you’ll have to do them. Then install the Kegbot app and your set.

I’m no coder. I just followed the instructions. Luckily all of the guides are very complete and easy to follow.

The cheap meter should work just fine. The flow meter attaches to the arduino. That attaches to the tablet through thru usb port.


#10

i thought the kegberry was just a program? how would the flow sensor connect to that?? please dont apologize, lol, i appreciate you helping me out. could you provide a link for an Arduino to ensure i dont order something completely wrong?


#11

Although entirely possible that celblazer knows something I don’t, I believe the flow meter actually connects to the arduino, not the kegberry. I had hooked mine up initially to the kegberry instead of the tablet and had basic functionality working but not everything. Here is how it’s hooked up:

Flow meter -> Kegboard (Arduino) via input pins

Kegboard -> Tablet via USB

Tablet App -> Kegbot-Server via WiFi (optoinal)

A few definitions might help:

  1. Kegberry - this is a Raspberry Pi mini-computer that runs Kegbot-Server. As mentioned in the thread, this is optional and you can run with just a tablet. I think using a server/kegberry adds extra features, but I’m not sure exactly what is and isn’t included in a tablet-only build. I had a rPi anyways and wanted to build with that so I never investigated tablet only.
  1. Kegboard - this is your Arduino. There are plans on the site for building your own kegboard with relays, etc. but this is NOT necessary. Just buy a basic Arduino, plug it into the USB drive of your computer, download the Arduino IDE and write the firmware to it, which only takes a couple minutes.

https://kegbot.org/docs/kegboard/firmware/

  1. Flow sensor - This goes in-line in the beer line and plus red-5v black-ground yellow-port 2 on your Arduino. The cheapies work just fine. I’m using one from ebay that was only a couple bucks. A second sensor would go into port 3.

https://kegbot.org/docs/kegboard/wiring/

I have mine running on an Arduino Uno right now, so I know that works. You can buy ‘generic’ arduino boards in many different flavors that I assume would also work fine. I have ordered a generic Leonardo, a Mega, and a Nano and plan to test each of them but they haven’t come yet. I can vouch 100% that this works (although more expensive than the generics.) I can report back once I get my generics that just cost a few dollars, but they are coming from China so who knows how long they’ll take.


#12

Sorry was tired. I was mixing up the Pi and arduino. Fixed post

And yup the flow sensor connects to the arduino.

The table just replaces the Pi as a server. I can’t say I saw any loss doing it that way, just less hardware.


#13

thank you both soo much! I’m going to attempt to make this and create a new thread so newbies like myself can figure out how to do this- Step by Step!! I’ve literally had no experience with anything like this before. I have a few questions before i get started. 1, can this work on any tablet, or just the one mentioned above? I would prefer maybe a 7inch tablet, but i am totally fine getting the one above. Especially because you say it WORKS 2, do i have to purchase a soldering tool? 3, do you either of you have a source or website to order the pieces to screw into the flow sensor (the spouts, quick connect, etc) ? 4, when using the tablet as the server, which features don’t work? 5, a link to a flow sensor that is compatible, or easiest, would be great!!!- thanks again celblazer and tripub!


#14
  1. It definitely won’t work on ANY tablet. I am using a Nexus 7 (2012.) I have seen forum rumblings about problems with the Nexus but I haven’t had any problems and didn’t have to do anything with the kernel or rooting. There is a compatibility list here:

https://kegbot.org/get-kegbot/tablet-guide

  1. You shouldn’t have to do any soldering for a basic connection if you aren’t comfortable with that. If you only want a basic setup with 1-2 flow meters, I think some basic jumper wires would do. You’d just plug them into the flow meter ends and then the corresponding spot on the Arduino. If you want them a little more secure you could get an Arduino Nano with the breakout board which would give you screw-down terminals for every port. (NOTE: I haven’t tested a Nano yet, but I assume it’d work…)

OR:

  1. (and 5) You don’t necessarily need any screw-down terminals for flow sensors. You can get them with 1/4"
    barbs that will go right in-line. Just cut your serving line and insert the barbs in both ends. The software lets you calibrate so really any should work. This is the meter I bought:
  1. (EDIT) I am a server user and new here so someone who has fully done both will need to hopefully chime in. I saw somewhere on the Kegbot website that some features aren’t available and will never be, and I believe that a tablet just provides basic volume tracking. I grabbed one of my kids’ Android tablets to test it (A Galaxy Tab Pro 8.4) and installed Kegbot. Here are the things that I noticed were “missing.” Once again, it’s possible these are here but I’m just not familiar enough with a server-free environment.
  • I didn’t see any way to add a picture of your beer when creating one
  • I didn’t see any way to create user/drinker accounts
  • I didn’t see the ability to add a relay/solenoid
  • I didn’t see a web server to log in and view stats/accounts/etc
  • No pour session/history data on the tablet interface

You also are going to need a USB OTG cable, which is a special adapter to plug in a regular USB device to the micro-USB/charge port on the tablet. This depends on what tablet you get. If you get the Nexus 7 like I have you’ll need a Y cable:

If you go with a tablet that has a separate charge port you will just need a regular OTG cable.

One more thing - if you want to use NFC authentication to log drinker accounts, you’ll need to get some NFC tags. The tablet will need to support this (the nexus 7 does) EDIT: If you don’t have a server I don’t know if you can even use this. I will try to test it if I get a chance.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/141644081177?_trksid=p2057872.m2749.l2649&ssPageName=STRK%3AMEBIDX%3AIT


#15

On number 4. If your set the tablet up as a server it works just like using a Pi. You just running the code on the tablet.

I can do all the below through the web server. Just doubled checked.
I didn’t see any way to add a picture of your beer when creating one - Yup have a different one per keg
I didn’t see any way to create user/drinker accounts - Yup have multiple
I didn’t see the ability to add a relay/solenoid - Confirmed setting is in web interface to add
I didn’t see a web server to log in and view stats/accounts/etc - Yup use it all the time
No pour session/history data on the tablet interface - This does show on the Kegbot app interface.

First pic is server running on tablet, second Kegbot app on tablet, third web interface on laptop




#16

Thanks celblazer, good to know! So then you install server separately on the tablet apart from the kegbot app and just point it at itself. Mcguiles, looks like this is the forum thread for that.


#17

Yup and I put the link in my first post also. It works really well, been using it since that post in July and as a hardware guy I like eliminating failure points so one less.


#18

I just received my first knock-off Arduino from China and I would NOT recommend getting one of those for kegbot. It uses a different USB to serial chipset on it and unless I’m doing something wrong, it is not recognized by the Android Kegbot app by default. My genuine Arduino Uno works great.


#19

Hey, I just installed a similar flow meter, but it introduced a LOT of foam into my pours. It seems to introduce it mostly in the end of a pour (first ounce foamish, 2-4 good, then the rest is foamy). Have any tips on reducing it?


#20

I find that I had really good success keeping beer lines cold by installing a fan inside my keezer to circulate air when the lid was closed. Pours after the lid has been open are noticeably foamier. I just installed a 12v computer fan top middle and put a magnetic contact switch on the lid fed into my 12v from the controller. Also dropping the dispensing psi a little. I have a flow meter and solenoid inline and my pours are a little slow but overall very reasonable with little foam on my beer tap. I haven’t yet installed them on my root beer tap so I’m not sure how well that will work yet as that usually foamed more than beer.