BrewPi - initial setup

I just received my BrewPi Spark, 2 SSRs and 3 OneWire sensors two days ago. I plan on using an old laptop that just received a fresh install of linux for my server.
Can someone help me with the following questions?:

1.) Do I need to do any software/firmware updates or is that stuff already taken care of upon shipment?
2.) If software is up to date, do I then need to connect to linux laptop and configure network and BrewPi settings?
3.) Any tips on wiring (wire gauge, wire connection type, etc?)
4.) I still need to figure out how to connect BrewPi to my fridge, guess that’s going to be a separate project.

Thanks for any help you can offer!

There is a great thread on installing the software here Software Install Guide

It gives you all the commands for installing and updating the brewPI software. It is written for RasPi but if you are familiar with Linux you should have no issues making the minor command adjustments.

That should take care of questions 1 & 2 as for 3, I will leave the wiring gage and connections to the experts, my answer would be wire that looks thick enough and some electrical tape always seems to work for me.


Appreciate the response, Russ!
So I’ve read through the “Software Install Guide” thread. Based on that, it seems my plan would be to connect the BrewPi to my laptop using a micro USB cord (luckily I found one of these in a box of old electrical cords). Then from a command prompt on the laptop, run the command “sudo raspi-config”.
Then “sudo apt-get install avahi-daemon” to configure network settings, etc, etc…

Does this sound about right?

@RussPDX I’m confused, after reading the beginning of the Software Install Guide several times, it all seems geared toward the Rasberry Pi unit. So you’d still want to run commands like “sudo raspi-config” on a linux laptop even if you aren’t using a RasPi unit?

Sorry for the long lag in response, business travel and life have kept me away. Although I don’t have any answer for you. I simply don’t know enough about the differences in the RasPi vs other builds to make any intelligent statement :slight_smile: sorry, hope someone else can help.

I installed the Brewpi on an old PC running Ubuntu and after some tweaking managed to get things running. I started with these commands to make sure the system was up to date:

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get upgrade

Then used the instructions here

I struggled at the start then realised that the brewpi installer wants to put the files in /var/www, b ut the default web server directory is /var/www/html on Ubuntu, so I couldn;t see the interface.

I’ll try to find the article with the steps to change the directory to /var/www.

Feel free to PM me if you are struggling.

These instructions should work for you :wink:

@RussPDX Thanks for getting back to me either way.

@Steesh I ended up going step by step through the manual instructions and I think it’s working! I’ve been monitoring the temp of my living room for 3 days now! :grinning: Next step is to wire this thing to my fridge. For me this is the harder part of getting this whole thing working, I have no experience in electirical/wiring. Thanks for your response!

@Norn Appreciate the link, somehow I got lucky and the software side of things seems to be working now.

@rdharles how are you planning on wiring it up? Directly to the compressor, or onto the power wires?
I just finished wiring mine up to the power wires (switched power wires) and would be happy to help.

@Cxp073 I have no experience with wiring at all. I have a friend with electrical experience who’s agreed to come over and have a look at my fridge. I appreciate your willingness to help! So how did you determine which way was the best (wiring direct to the compressor or splicing into the power wires) Any advantages/disadvantages to either? Any thoughts are appreciated.

@rdharles I opted for splicing in to the power cables.

Actually, what I did was install two electrical outlets into a project box. The relays are contained within the project box, and the outlets on the top. The relays control power to the electrical outlets. That way, the heater and fridge can be plugged in and their wires left intact.

The only downside to this (as far as I’m concerned) is that the fridge light will not turn on when the door is opened (unless the brewpi is cooling, and the fridge powered).

I’m no electrician myself, but i do understand the basics. The wire up is pretty simple if you do it the way I did. I would suggest getting a big enough project box to hold both relays, and house the electrical outlets. Also, you will probably want to have a Dremel tool on hand to cut out a hole for power in / DC in, and for the electrical outlets.

the other downsides to doing it this way are:

  1. The fridge thermostat may override BrewPi if it isn’t set to a low enough temperature.
  2. The fridges defrost cycle may kick in while BrewPi is trying to cool.