Getting Started with the BrewPi Spark

Installing the BrewPi software

I am writing a new step-by-step install guide on the community forum:

Test firmware

Your BrewPi Spark shipped with our test firmware. We use this firmware to confirm that the controller works correctly before it ships. Our test firmware auto-detects connected temperature sensors and lets you toggle the digital outputs on the controller. Use it to your advantage when you are building BrewPi into your fridge.

You can power the BrewPi Spark with a 12V adapter or with a micro USB power supply. After you have connected your SSRs and sensors, toggle the outputs to confirm that you have wired everything correctly. Also write down the OneWire addresses of the sensors with their location.

Please refer to your fridge hacking guide on how to wire the SSRs inside your fridge. Three connectors for the outputs have been included. Push in the orange bit with a small screw driver to insert a wire. The sticker on the back of the controller shows which pin is plus and which is minus.

Tomorrow I will release a new version of our firmware that will allow you to use BrewPi as a temperature controller with the web interface, but it will still show the test screen on the LCD. Via the web interface however, you can monitor your beer and the temperature control algorithm will be running in the background.

Our plan is to release a new version that does show the beer and fridge temperatures on the screen on Friday, March 13. Around the end of the month we expect to have a fully interactive on device GUI that allows you to change the mode and the temperature setting.

For your immediate temperature control needs

If you need to have temp control right away, and you do not mind:

  • Using premature software
  • Manually updating some packages
  • Not having the actual control state on the display

You can program the Spark Core with version 0.2.7

That version can be configured via the web UI and actually run some temp control, while still showing the hardware test screen on the display.

This is just a temporary quick release to help out those with immediate needs. It is recommended to wait until we have the on device UI ready.

If you want to update and use 0.2.7, please do the following:

  • Run from the brewpi-tools repository. When asked which branch you would like to check out, choose develop in both repositories.
  • When asked to update the device, do choose no.
  • After the script has restarted and the Web UI says that the script is running, refresh the web page.
  • Go to maintenance panel -> reprogram Spark Core
  • Download brewpi.bin from the link above and save it somewhere.
  • Browse to the file and click program. Do not restore settings or devices.

When you are done, go through the device setup as described here:

17 Responses to “Getting Started with the BrewPi Spark”

  1. I cannot wait to see this little guy in action. Looks great so far.

  2. Just got mine today was able to play around with everything, can’t wait for it to be able to do its thing.

  3. Can you post a couple bullet points on how to update this to the alpha firmware? I don’t need detailed instructions, just a starting point. Thanks!

  4. Version 0.2.7 is working great!

  5. Just got my spark a few days ago. I was looking for some instructions to link it to my brewpi on my raspberry pi. Seems like you intended a release that could work on the 13th. A little lost here and feeling like I have a really fancy thermometer.

    • Both Matthew and I got sick with the flu, so that caused the delay. We are both back on our feet and working on the software.

  6. Elco, sorry about your bought with the flu, really sucks. I hope you are feeling better. Looking forward to the new release and some instructions for the new spark. Thank you for all your hard work.

    • Beerwoz, sounds like you may not have connected the raspberry pi to the spark yet. Even with the current software you can get brewpi running on your Raspberry Pi, connect your spark, and start playing around with the webserver. The instructions for doing that are here:

  7. Nathan thanks for writing back. To be clear I’ve had a brew pi for quite some time working with my Audrino however I had complications so I upgraded to the spark. I just looked over the information you sent the last update was in February 2014. Am I missing something?

  8. nah, probably not. There was an alpha release as mentioned above but nothing other than that. I just didn’t know if you had tried out the webserver yet. I didn’t really know how it all worked a few days ago when I got mine and thought you might have been in the same boat.

  9. Finaly I have my BrewPi running. Now it’s time for the next challenge: connecting to the Spark. Is there a manual to connect the spark to the BrewPi? I’m new to linux so I need small steps.

  10. Eric if you have found this page and have the BrewPi updated as per the other page you are almost there. type:
    sudo ~/brewpi-tools/
    0 to select developer twice for the two options that come up
    don’t update the hex .
    continue on with the instructions on this page

    •After the script has restarted and the Web UI says that the script is running, refresh the web page. I just restated the BrewPi and went to the brewpi wepage (ie
    •Go to maintenance panel -> reprogram Spark Core
    •Download brewpi.bin from the link above and save it somewhere. (on the laptop was easier)
    •Browse to the file and click program. Do not restore settings or devices.

  11. Today another improvement. Due to a misunderstanding I thought raspberry and Spark should connect by WIFI but it was connecting by USB cable (silly me). Now the spark is running it’s test program and I can monitor the temps and settings on its IP in the webbrowser. Next step is testing it on a fridge with a bucket of water.

  12. Anyone having an issue with the temps being off? Brewpi web interface says the beer is 70.9 but the spark says its 67.2. The spark has the correct temp, therefore it is cooling it 3 degrees cooler than it should be.

  13. I did everything according to the guide above. Seems like BrewPi is running, I can access it through a browser. So far I was not able to run the script. Is the script supposed to run even when there is no device (Arduino or Spark) connected or can this be the error?

    I am stuck on updating to the development branch. It says everywhere that the update-script is supposed to ask me on which branch I want to be, but it just tells me that I am on the master branch without giving me a choice. What am I missing?

    • For an Arduino, you’ll have to run the updater with command line option: –ask
      We now have a legacy branch for Arduino users. The script will not run without a controller connected.

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