Ultra sonic level measuring devices.

Post #1 made 6 years ago
Hi Guys

First major post for a while due to life getting in the way of brewing but hopefully it will be an interesting one.

So as the title goes, how important is the Evaporation rate you get for your brews. The reason I'm asking is that as an Electrical Engineer I have aquired a fair jumble of equipment stashed in the garage. In this pile of mainly junk are a couple of Ultra sonic level measuring devices. These are used to measure a level in a vessel/gully/silo by using sound waves, just like sonar on a submarine would ping a target to get its range.

Anyway as these can measure a distance down to a millimeter (possibly less I'll have to check) I got to thinking that it wouldn't take a lot to rig up one over my brewpot to enable super accurate measurements to be made. Apart from making my brew day a bit easier :think: :geek: :argh: I'm thinking the data collected might be usefull ?

What do you think, would I be wasting my time ?? Am I re-inventing the wheel ?

Feel free to shoot me down :shoot: :shoot: or chip in with any ideas/suggestions.

:thumbs:

Yeasty

PS... Just had a thought, as the controls have relay outputs I could progam them to shut off the gas (via solenoid) once a level has been reached and sound an alarm. :scratch:
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Post #2 made 6 years ago
Good Day Yeasty, I have had a bit of experience with these.

The vapor from the boil and the boiling surface of the wort, may make these ultrasonics a little unstable.
so I would try using cold water levels to set the ranges, and hope the boiling doesn't upset the reading very much.

I have seen "float bowls" used to stop tank filling in the way you are thinking about. Kind of like a toilet/lou/head.
The float is attached to a rod and guides, so the rods movement trips limit switchs.

In my small MINI-BIAB system, the ambient air pressure, tempeature, and humidity changes my rate of evaporation by 8-10%, which is about 10-15 minutes. So I use a measuring stick to read the level
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Post #3 made 6 years ago
Haha Yeasty. I'm certainly not the one to shoot down some extreme over-engineering, I love it! I can't speak to how well it will or will not work, but if you have the equipment laying around and the know-how to implement it, I say give it a shot. Now, you can almost bet that it won't become the "next big thing" in homebrewing though :lol: I'm pretty sure the average homebrewer can't get their hands on something like that.

To answer your question re: evap. rate...For me, I don't worry too much about the actual evap. rate because I know it varies a little. I more want to know approximately what it is so I can get close to my end volume target. I think the more important and cooler thing is the real time volume measurement. This will help you dial up or down the boil vigor so you can hit your expected EOBV. Now, obviously you could check in regular intervals with a dip stick or site glass, but what's the fun in that :) ?

Could you export the volume data to a computer? I ask because you could get very detailed volume vs. time across the entire boil. Then, I would be kinda interested to see if the relationship is perfectly linear because rarely are things like this perfectly linear. It might show something where evap. rate is faster at the beginning (lower gravity) and slower towards the end (higher gravity). Of course, if you can export the data, you could also calculate evap. rate vs. gravity and check that over different brews with different starting gravities. I don't know how important any of this really is, more academic than anything else I suppose.

Its funny, though, that you start this thread now. Just the other day I was thinking about site glasses. I don't have one so I don't know how well they work, but I tend to think they pose a risk in terms of infection because I imagine the wort in the site glass stays stagnant during the boil. Maybe not, I don't know. So I was thinking of ways to measure volume that wouldn't require that sort of apparatus. What if a person cuts a long (most of the length of the kettle) hole in the kettle, just a cm or so wide. Over that hole they laminate a sheet of silicone. This will provide a window into the kettle and prove to be more accurate and hygenic than a dip stick (which I currently use) or a site glass (which is very common). The trick, of course, would be sealing it properly to prevent all leaks. But I bet that wouldn't be too difficult with a little crafty engineering.
Last edited by BrickBrewHaus on 05 Sep 2012, 21:27, edited 2 times in total.

Post #4 made 6 years ago
Never heard of anything like the sonar Yeasty. I think if you do this, you win most high tech brewing gadget of the year :lol:. Maybe the sonar could also be used to find that beer glass you put down three minutes ago but can't remember where? Do it for sure :thumbs:. (Oh and it would be interesting to get some more figures like Joshua's just so as we could all get a better idea of how wild the variations are).

Agree with you on the sight glasses BBH. I just use a stainless steel ruler to measure though it can be a bit hard to read through the steam sometimes :smoke:. Not sure on the silicone? I reckon a scourer and the silicone wouldn't combine too well. Sometimes I'm very lazy and chill in the kettle but would be too scared to do this if I had a silicone seal on the inside. Maybe high frequency sonar waves kill bacteria as well? :lol:.
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Post #5 made 6 years ago
PistolPatch wrote:Maybe the sonar could also be used to find that beer glass you put down three minutes ago but can't remember where?


Thats "Radar" PP :lol: maybe one for the back burner, got me thinking what I might have in the shed :think: :think:

PistolPatch wrote:Maybe high frequency sonar waves kill bacteria as well?
Sonar doesn't kill bacteria PP it just makes them deaf :lol:
BrickBrewHaus wrote:Could you export the volume data to a computer?
Thanks for the reply BBH. Food for thought there, the unit can give you (from memory) a 4-20mA or a 0-10V output which you could hook up to a computer via the correct hardware/software. Like you it was the real time data this could give you that I thought could be interesting. Coupled with a mini weather station giving wind speed and humidity it might prove useful.

:interesting:

Yeasty
Last edited by Yeasty on 06 Sep 2012, 00:15, edited 2 times in total.
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Post #6 made 6 years ago
Sight Glass Option: It's typical in the oil industry to use a ball float attached to a rope that goes over the lip of the vessel and is attached to a counterweight hanging on the outside of the tank. The rope is approximately the same length as the height of the tank (plus the size of the pulley, etc).

You read the volume in reverse. When the liquid level in the tank is zero the tank ball is at the bottom and the counterweight on the outside is at the top.

As the liquid inside the tank rises the ball inside floats up and the counterweight outside moves down. A scale ruler is attached to the outside of the tank and you just read the volume.

The ball inside the tank must be buoyant, and it must be heavier than the counterweight. That way the water level will lift the inside ball up, and gravity will pull it down. And it should be able to handle boiling wort safely of course.

Pretty easy to rig up.

Post #7 made 6 years ago
I like Jim's idea on the ball and counter weight. It would be much easier than a sight glass and much more sanitary too. I might start looking for bits and pieces to put one together.

Good on you Jim.
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Post #8 made 6 years ago
hashie wrote:I like Jim's idea on the ball and counter weight. It would be much easier than a sight glass and much more sanitary too. I might start looking for bits and pieces to put one together.

Good on you Jim.
Yea its a simple idea . A small pulley that you can clip onto the pot lip, string, float and weight , and an adjustable scale.

I bet you get it up and running before I get my sonar sorted. :lol:

Yeasty
Last edited by Yeasty on 06 Sep 2012, 15:38, edited 2 times in total.
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Post #9 made 6 years ago
jimcoffey62 wrote:Sight Glass Option: It's typical in the oil industry to use a ball float attached to a rope that goes over the lip of the vessel and is attached to a counterweight hanging on the outside of the tank. The rope is approximately the same length as the height of the tank (plus the size of the pulley, etc).

You read the volume in reverse. When the liquid level in the tank is zero the tank ball is at the bottom and the counterweight on the outside is at the top.

As the liquid inside the tank rises the ball inside floats up and the counterweight outside moves down. A scale ruler is attached to the outside of the tank and you just read the volume.

The ball inside the tank must be buoyant, and it must be heavier than the counterweight. That way the water level will lift the inside ball up, and gravity will pull it down. And it should be able to handle boiling wort safely of course.

Pretty easy to rig up.
Brilliant! Get that man a beer. :clap:
Last edited by thughes on 06 Sep 2012, 21:16, edited 2 times in total.
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Post #10 made 6 years ago
Yeasty, I was extremely depressed that sonar won't find my beer glass let alone kill bacteria. Who invented that uaess bit of technology? :roll:

jimcoffey, You have renewed my will to live and brew :thumbs:. I haven't given up yet on Yeasty's prize for the most high tech brewing gadget of the year but yours will definitely get the most simple and clever prize.

:thumbs: :clap: :salute: :champ:
Last edited by PistolPatch on 06 Sep 2012, 22:28, edited 2 times in total.
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