When most homebrewers consider building an electric brewery they initially think of the thousands of control panels which have now been inspired by Kal’s The Electric Brewery. Kal’s detailed walkthrough on the process of building an electric brewery hugely increased the accessibility of this type of brewery design, which was previously only approached by those with backgrounds in electrical engineering.
While proven effective at brewery control, the panels themselves are highly expensive due to hardware requirements – starting at $2300 for an assembled unit. Strangebrew Elsinore implements the functionality of the core hardware in these panels through software. The savings in hardware costs are especially high when implementing several PID controllers. There is now a commercially available control panel that utilizes Strangebrew Elsinore software which costs under $500, the hosehead controller, and it’s possible to create one yourself for cheaper still.
Beyond the differences in cost, Strangebrew Elsinore has further automation capacity over traditional brewery control panels. It can be configured to perform multi-step mashes as well as automatic triggering of pumps or other peripherals through the “Trigger” functionality in the software. Strangebrew Elsinore has data recording and visualization capabilities, which are especially useful for system calibration. Strangebrew Elsinore control panels are also easily extended with additional temperature probes or 1wire devices due to their low cost and daisy-chaining ability.
Strangebrew Elsinore requires either a display connected to your control panel, or access by a laptop, smartphone or tablet to its web interface. Depending on network speed, it is possible that there is a fractional second lag in taking action in the web interface, and its implementation in your brewery. A traditional brewery control panel should have near instant control, through physical buttons and switches. Since Strangebrew Elsinore based control panels do away with many of these physical controls, the wiring of the panels are arguably simpler.
Equivalent safety can be achieved through either style of control panel.