I want to install 15 valves (5-wires). What expansion board is a good alternative for the “brewpi valve control expansion board”?
I would like to have 5 valves as well and waiting for the expansion board without a ship date is frustrating. Hopefully someone will have a solution
I just had a breakdown in my brewery, and need to rebuild everything. But if we can’t get any news regarding the new breakout board, I probably need to choose some other system for my brewery.
I pinged @Elco to answer this, as hardware and the store both fall outside my purview.
My apologies for the wait. We’ll take steps to avoid this kind of limbo.
The valve control boards for 2 motor valves that we used to sell had a few downsides:
- Power and communication over RJ12 and OneWire
- Sensitive to cable quality and cable length
- Many boards needed because it has only 2 valves per board
Because of these limitations, I decided to stop selling this version of the board.
The design of the new board triggered a broader redesign of our entire hardware line, with specifically larger breweries in mind. Connecting all these expansion boards to one big OneWire bus is not the best design.
This means that the new valve solution will come out along with a redesign of our main controller.
The new hardware will be different from our current hardware with a few key highlights:
- One generic Brewblox core module, that can plug into various IO boards, depending on your needs.
- ESP32 based
- Both WiFi and wired network
- Passive Power over Ethernet, so you can power low power boards directly and only need 1 cable
- DIN rail versions
- Optional and external screens
The valve board got a bit hung up in this broader redesign of our hardware line. I prototyped an ESP32 based board to measure PT100/PT1000, PH and ORP and this convinced me that this was the right approach for future hardware. The core module design is currently in progress and the first prototype should be ready next month.
The valve board will the first new board using this new brewblox core module.
This new board will be able to control 8 or 16 valves of various type (solenoid or motor based).
With this redesign, most expansion boards will become standalone, which is more flexible and reliable.
I understand that it is frustrating that we don’t sell the current version anymore, but especially for a pro brewery the next version should offer a better solution.
Thanks for a good and informative answer! Does that mean that I need to switch out spark with the new hardware? Or will all the boards be standalone so that they don’t need the spark to operate anymore?
When do you think the new boards will be in stock?
The goal is to make all boards standalone and give all of them a powerful esp32. That simplifies firmware development for us, because we can build a single firmware that is compatible with all boards and just detects or selects the type of board.
My goal is to have the first prototype next month and to start selling them in March. It’s a tight schedule, but we’re running out of the V3 quickly.
Hi, This sounds like the use of the RS485/Modbus solution is not going to happen on the current hardware and that a new hardware component will be required to use the RS485/Modbus valves I have already.
The new hardware will not have a modbus transiever on board, because it has ethernet, which will be the preferred protocol. modbus over IP is also an option.
However, the board will have a flexible IO expansion connector with spi, i2c and generic io pins. a simple rs485 plugin board will be all that is needed.
Dropping RS-485 as or default board to board protocol has the benefit that we can use only modbus on RS485.
Modbus will be used to talk to third party hardware, not our own.
Might work as a possible interim solution for you.
That’s an interesting idea - I hadn’t looked for Modbus support in that corner. There may be some complications when trying to use GPIO pins (for eg. a RS-485 Pi HAT) from inside a Docker container, but nothing that can’t be solved.
Thanks for the update! I was wondering if the product line was going stale. I am looking forward to the updated devices. Will our current investment in your product line still be used? Will you be releasing an update path from Spark 3 to the new version so we can start planning changes to our systems to accommodate to current more features?
The current v2 and v3 Sparks will be using the same firmware as the new boards, and will not be deprecated. There is no special update path required either. You can freely move blocks between current and next-gen models.
We’ll be introducing new block types for the new IO connectors found on various versions of the new Spark. You simply won’t be able to create (for example) an i2c connector block on a board without the required hardware.
The roadmap is not yet set in stone. First items are valve support, and having a drop-in replacement for the Spark v3. There’s a list of desired features beyond that. We’ll make a more detailed announcement when we’ve sorted those by priority.
I have a support case on this question. You can just close that since I got my answer here! Looking forward to the new hardware and my package that is on his way! And keep up the good work! Cool system!!
Any news here @Elco?
We assembled the prototype boards, and are currently working on making the firmware compatible with the new hardware.
The software changes are not too exciting, but we may still discover major issues that require a board redesign, so we’re not quite ready to make promises yet.
Cool! Tnx for the update! Looking forward for the new boards
If you want valves boards compatible with the current Spark 3, I just tested this board:
With valves like these:
This worked well. Note that our DC switch board is ON/OFF, so you need an auto return type valve for this combination.