Is the shield necessary and a few other questions?

Ok so I have a couple different problems.

  1. Is the BrewPi shield necessary?
    -I am using this on a project unrelated to Beer. BrewPi was recommended by a friend
    -For the curious this is going to control a heater for a Tortoise building.

  2. I get BrewPi to recognize temp sensors but it will not activate Digital port 2 on my arduino uno to switch the SSR when it needs to heat.
    -I have put a volt meter to it.

  3. Every time I refresh the devices it blows out all my currently set devices. I have even tried a new arduino uno.
    -I am using the hex code for the arduino uno revC.

From what I can tell I am doing everything correctly. I thought the shield was mainly if you are running a LCD screen.

Try resetting EEPROM to load the default settings:

After all my heart ache that is all it took, worked like a charm. Now everything seems to be working like it is supposed to. I really appreciate your help. Looks like I will build my own shield for my arduino now. I am really excited to try out Brewpi it seems like it will work perfect for my application. My buddy that is a brewer swears by BrewPi.