BCS I/O Expansion Card

Expand the capabilities of your BCS.
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ECC
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BCS I/O Expansion Card

Post by ECC » Wed Jul 22, 2009 7:16 pm

We've been talking about an expansion card for quite a while now, and I know that there are many of you out there that would benefit from more I/O. I think there is enough demand to build one. The new I/O card will plug into the expansion port of the BCS-460, so all units will be compatible with a firmware upgrade. I hope to keep the card <$50.

This is your chance to get your 2cents in. Let me know what features you want/need. All suggestions will be considered.

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Re: BCS I/O Expansion Card

Post by gbrewer » Thu Jul 23, 2009 6:45 pm

I haven't maxed out the current BCS but I am planning on doing constant upgrades with my system. The system I want to end up with will have four push buttons on the control panel tied into the BCS to manually start (or continue) processes. I would love for these buttons to replace the winbuttons on the gui. I would also like the system to have better control of fluid levels. I have "played" (lack of better term) with the stainless steel float switch idea but it would be nice to have a better process in place for regulating mash out. Maybe a pressure switch would be better?

Perhaps the BCS is currently able to handle all of these requests, but that is where I am heading.

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Re: BCS I/O Expansion Card

Post by P-Lay » Fri Jul 24, 2009 8:32 pm

I haven't bought 460 yet, but I have been following the development for a while and will definitely be buying one in the near future. I think it's a great product with great development. A feature that I would love to see would be proportional output. This could be used to further automate a brew day. With proportional output you could set flow valves to be partially open based on other parameters or a preset value. I'm sure it has many other uses as well.

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mpilchuk
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Re: BCS I/O Expansion Card

Post by mpilchuk » Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:02 am

A feature that I would love to see would be proportional output. This could be used to further automate a brew day. With proportional output you could set flow valves to be partially open based on other parameters or a preset value
What is this? like less than 5V on/off. 2v, 3v, ? Are there devices like flow valves that are manipulated with different degrees of voltage?

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Re: BCS I/O Expansion Card

Post by ECC » Mon Jul 27, 2009 9:37 am

Higher end PLC's have analog inputs and outputs. Industry standards are usually 0-5V, or 4-20ma. They're used for proportional outputs, and 'smart' sensors.

So in the case of an output, instead of using a rapid on/off, you could control a valve that is 40% open. The benefit is better control. The drawback is expense. It's not cheap to purchase a proportional valve, and most require an additional power supply. For electric brewers, additional circuitry is required to utilize the analog output to control a heating element.

This is definitely something that I'm looking into. I just have to make sure that it will be reliable and not overly expensive to manufacture.

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Re: BCS I/O Expansion Card

Post by v2comp » Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:48 am

I am really interested in this as well. as I am starting a very small (pico) brewery, I was looking for an HMI/GUI interface to control the brewery functions and with proportional control it will work with my system the way I have it designed.

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Re: BCS I/O Expansion Card

Post by P-Lay » Tue Aug 04, 2009 12:18 pm

ECC wrote:...This is definitely something that I'm looking into...
Thank you. This is very much appreciated.

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Re: BCS I/O Expansion Card

Post by WhiskeyFingers » Mon Aug 10, 2009 9:13 am

Is it worthwhile to wait for the upgrade? I am contemplating ordering this controller vs another and this would definitely make it more attractive. The added $50 does hurt slightly though because it puts the whole system with 4 probes at about $300.

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ECC
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Re: BCS I/O Expansion Card

Post by ECC » Mon Aug 10, 2009 10:07 am

The expansion card is definitely an 'add-on'. It will work with every BCS-460 previously sold. The only thing gained by waiting would be that you wouldn't have to do a firmware update, which will be required when the expansion card(s) are released.

The current plan is to handle all upgrades in this manner.

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Re: BCS I/O Expansion Card

Post by JTodd » Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:00 am

I am sitting here drawing the wiring diagram for my system just wishing I had more I/O... I'll buy one in a heartbeat.. A couple analog (4-20mA or 0-5vdc) inputs and outputs would absolutely rock if you can shoe-horn them in.. Then I could use a pressure transducer to automate specific volume transfers from HLT to MLT and a few other nifty little tricks.. Send me the BETA..

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