The Brewblox Spark 4 is our latest brewery controller. It has been completely redesigned to be more powerful and more flexible than previous generations.
The Brewblox platform
Brewblox is our software and hardware platform to manage mashing and fermentation processes in a brewery. It consists of 2 main elements, the Brewblox server and one or more Spark 4 controllers.
The Spark 4 is the actual controller that reads sensors and drives heaters, coolers, pumps, and valves. Once configured, it independently ensures that the temperature of your beer is exactly where it should be.
The Brewblox server is the control center to which each Spark connects. It logs the data coming from all the Sparks and serves the user interface. In this user interface, you can create dashboards, graphs, and interactive process diagrams to quickly get an overview of your entire brewery.
We recommend installing the Brewblox server on a Raspberry Pi 4, as described in our startup guide.
Our fourth-generation brewery controller
The Spark 4 is our biggest hardware redesign to date. We switched to a more powerful processor, a new display with double the resolution, and added wired ethernet for a more reliable network connection. The Spark 4 can even be powered from that same network cable with passive Power-over-Ethernet, so you only have to run a single cable to each Spark 4 in your brewery.
Stackable I/O Modules
But the biggest change is the modular design of the Spark 4. Sensors and actuators are not directly plugged into the controller anymore, but the controller can be extended with up to four I/O modules, depending on the needs of each individual brewery. The I/O modules plug into the Spark 4 directly or into the bottom of the previous module.
Our first I/O module is for 1-Wire temperature sensors and general-purpose inputs and outputs (GPIO).
You can plug four 1-Wire temperature sensors into each module. The module also has 8 input/output pins, that can be used to drive SSRs, solenoids, relays, motors, valves, or fans. In most cases, you will use 2 pins per output. You can find more info about the module on the 1-Wire and GPIO module product page.
We include 5 of the green/orange pluggable terminals with each module.
You can order the Spark 4 in various configurations to fit your needs. We 3D-print the enclosures for the Spark and the I/O modules with very nice carbon-fiber filament.
At a minimum, you will need:
• 1x Brewblox Spark 4
• 1x Brewblox 1-wire and GPIO module
• 1 or more 1-Wire temperature sensors
• A system to run the Brewblox server (Raspberry Pi 4 recommended for home use, an ubuntu server for professional use)
• The enclosure with touch screen
• Additional I/O modules for connecting extra sensors and actuators
• DIN rail brackets
For most users, we recommend ordering the Spark with a display. In our experience, it is great to be able to see all temperatures right next to your fermentation or mash. Troubleshooting and setup are also easier with a display.
DIN-rail mounting is great if you want to mount the Spark inside a project box. For wall mounting, pot magnets are ideal.
Additional products you might need to complete your brewery
For a fermentation fridge, you will probably need:
- A temperature sensor for the fridge and a temperature sensor for the beer
- A thermowell to hold the temperature sensor for the beer
- A 10A SSR to switch the fridge compressor and a 10A SSR to switch a heater if desired
For a glycol system, you will probably need:
- A temperature sensor and thermowell for the beer
- A temperature sensor for the glycol
- A 12V pump to recirculate your glycol through the cooling coil in the beer
For a mashing system, have a look at our round heating elements and 40A or 3-phase SSR and pumps. The options are a bit much to list here, so please hop on Discord to have a chat with us if you need help in picking the right parts.
Processor ESP32-WROOM32-E with 16MB flash (240Mhz dual-core) Network WiFi (2.4 Ghz) and wired ethernet (100 Mbit) Bluetooth Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) Display (optional) 3.5" 480x320 px color TFT with capacitive touch Power inputs USB-C, Passive PoE (up to 24V), or DC input on I/O module (up to 24V) Storage Micro-SD card slot Dimensions Spark 4 with display enclosure: 99x62x20mm
Spark 4 board only: 66x58x20mm
I/O-module with enclosure: 68x62x20mm
I/O-module board only: 68x58x20mm
Compliance CE Country of manufacture The Netherlands
Note that we are still working on nice packaging for the Spark 4, so for now your Spark 4 will ship in a boring white box.