New Brew Magic Upgrade?

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OneEyedGiant
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New Brew Magic Upgrade?

Post by OneEyedGiant » Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:35 pm

Have you guys seen the new upgrade for the Brew Magic software?

https://brewmagic.com/product/brew-magi ... rsion-3-0/

Is it worth the upgrade?

mchrispen
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Re: New Brew Magic Upgrade?

Post by mchrispen » Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:16 pm

I spoke with Matt French about this a month or so ago...

The wireless card is shipping in all new BrewMagics, and the upgrade appears to be a daughter card. The way he described is that you can access the functions remotely very similar to the current touch pad.

As for the software part, the upgrade can be downloaded and installed onto a flash card that is in the system. Apparently there is a new slope for the heating element that allows for faster calculated stabilized temperatures and a much expanded recipe file. I believe for those that do not have the wireless card, we would still need to use USB to access those recipes. Using those features might be a bit complicated on the little touch screen.

I would love to hear from someone that can compare.
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Re: New Brew Magic Upgrade?

Post by Hooch » Thu Apr 24, 2014 1:29 pm

Is it worth the upgrade?
I really don't see the need to upload recipes to the system via wifi (now) or usb (older). I guess I don't understand the usefulness of it. The interface is butt ugly, and until they automate step mashing, sparging, boiling and chilling, so that we can concentrate on recipe building I'm not upgrading.

When I brew I print the brew steps from BeerSmith attach it to a clipboard, and follow my mash temps/steps, and hops addition from it.

Just my 2cents.
Always do sober what you said you would do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. - Ernest Hemingway

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Re: New Brew Magic Upgrade?

Post by Scratchy1971 » Fri Apr 25, 2014 12:19 pm

Not feeling it either. Like most, I don’t use the "save" features for recipes.

They do state "We’ve enhanced the program with the capability for network recipe sharing, editing and mobile control monitoring." I assume "mobile control monitoring" means you can monitor temps, pump function, etc from your phone? If so, thats cool, but totally not a neccesity for me.

If I had to spend $100 on my BM, I think I would rather buy the SS parts to convert the mash thermometer from threads to tri-clamp, rather than the software upgrade. Again, if I had to choose.
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Re: New Brew Magic Upgrade?

Post by mchrispen » Fri May 02, 2014 10:40 am

I will be a guinea pig I guess.

I have the software ordered, and the keys should arrive early next week. I plan to write up an article for my blog on the installation process and a brew session comparing the old v new, and some photos.

I agree on the recipe side - it seems a strange add on feature. Matt French said many people wanted a more robust recipe spreadsheet - so this must be their answer. The wireless is interesting, but the lack of control via wireless is understandable as this system is used in people's homes - and with open flames the system should always be babysat. One burned down house blamed on the stand could put Brew-Magic into serious trouble. They are asking people to send in the board for them to install the wireless card - so plan to be down for at least a week or two if you order it.

The software upgrade involves a new load to the CFLASH card, as well as some minor dis-assembly to install new keys. Then on boot - you will need to call or email for an authentication number. So it is fairly involved.

The real reason I went ahead is the new heating curve algorithms. I brewed earlier this week in beautiful weather (60s) and just a light breeze sneaking into the garage affected heat stability. I am fairly skilled at sneaking up to temps so that I don't shuffle the burners on and off - but this time - it was frustrating. It behaved like it was winter time. The new software supposedly has better control over the heating element, and no more need to bring temps over 6 degrees above the mash rest for the element to take over. We will see.
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Re: New Brew Magic Upgrade?

Post by Hooch » Fri May 02, 2014 11:11 am

Nice work Matt. Please do keep us updated ;)
Always do sober what you said you would do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut. - Ernest Hemingway

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Re: New Brew Magic Upgrade?

Post by mchrispen » Sun May 11, 2014 10:59 am

Well, we hit a snag.

First, the upgrade does require the removal of the PLC - the little computer, and it's fairly easy to remove, if a bit fiddly. Also - depending on the thermoprobe you have (2 wires vs 3 wires) you will need to move it to new pins. If you are not comfortable doing that - it's very easy. Pins are clearly marked, you just need to loosen pin screws and make sure the new pin sets are tightened well.

The software and new instructions are sent via dropbox. You WILL need a micro-SD to SD adapter, which was a surprise. The rest is a simple matter of, once the new system clone package is loaded onto the micro-SD - letting the system boot, and then accessing the service menu - and follow the instructions.

The snag - my system has a so-called "intermediate operating system" that cannot do the cloning function. So I had to send it off. The Brew Magic folk are going to turn it right around for me - but I missed a planned brew this weekend. Matt French was quick to tell me something was wrong and immediately asked me to send it up to Toledo. Which makes me happier than trying to sit on technical support with cable... or India :)

I guess if you plan to upgrade, do make sure you are a little bit OK with moving wires and such, as well as be prepared should a software hick-up happen. If you are getting the wireless upgrade - you will need to send in the device regardless...

Cheers, Matt
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Re: New Brew Magic Upgrade?

Post by mchrispen » Sun Jun 01, 2014 11:34 am

http://accidentalis.com/archives/591

Well the PLC is back and installed. I wrote up a bit on the installation process of the new software, and the little changes necessary to update the system.

I have run a water cycle with the new software, but not had a chance to brew just yet. I am planning to do so this coming weekend - so will write that up. In particular - the timing and separate settings for Mash, Mash Steps, and even the Boil additions is interesting. I am really interested in seeing how well the computer manages mash steps and if I can strike and hold a temperature more quickly.
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Re: New Brew Magic Upgrade?

Post by mchrispen » Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:44 am

http://accidentalis.com/archives/614

I am embarrassed that it took a couple of weeks to brew after getting everything stitched back together. I brewed yesterday, using Kai Troester's step mash schedule for lagers, figuring that would put the system through its paces. Everything went well. The blog post is more detailed...

Summary: New interface takes a bit to figure out. It is not hard, just lots of features and very different. The ability to notify the user when the heat is too high ramping between steps is good... but can be annoying. Hit step temperatures pretty much dead on - rather than the old +3-5 degrees over before self regulation takes. Separate timers for mash, sparge and boil. I still used my iPhone clock, but can see how they might tie into the recipe setup.

Didn't use the recipe feature this time - will do so on an upcoming SMASH ale.

Cheers, Matt
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Scratchy1971
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New Brew Magic Upgrade?

Post by Scratchy1971 » Sat Aug 02, 2014 3:46 pm

Hey Matt,

Any further thoughts on the software update since your last blog? Would you say well worth it? Not so much? Brewed last night and was thinking about upgrading.

Thanks,
Scott
Scott Young

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