The iSpindel hydrometer is a WiFi based hydrometer/thermometer and relies on being able to access a WiFi network with access to the Internet. It transmits readings directly to the receiving service.
It requires a few more steps to integrate into Brewers Chronicle that the Tilt device, but at 1/2 the cost, the iSpindel is more affordable for home brewers.
The iSpindel has 2 modes: configuration and run mode.
Configuration mode causes the iSpindel to publish a Wireless network which you connect to, and this then triggers a browser displaying the configuration page.
Run mode: this is a very reduced mode to completely limit battery operation. No remote access to the device is possible.
If you need to monitor what the device is doing in run mode, the best way is to connect a cable to the iSpindel MicroUSB port and connect this to a device with some serial monitoring software running. I have used Putty with good success. This gives you full details of what's currently happening with the iSpindel. Current iSpindel project FAQ page Also watch this YouTube video
Obvously this does not help you when the device is inside a fermentor, but for initial setup, this reveals exactly what is going on.
Configuration details (settings requiring change are in bold) for integrating an iSpindel into Brewers Chronicle
SSID and Password: You will need to fill in your WiFi details
iSpindel Name your name for this device, and how you will identify this particular device inside BC
Update interval: this is a seconds measurement and I would suggest at least 3600 seconds (1 hour).
The gravity does not change much over 1 hour so there isn't much point to logging more frequently.
During initial integration put the interval at 20 seconds so updates are frequent enough for you to make sure things are working.
I left the "Battery conversion factor" at 191.80
"Unit of temperature" is Celsius
"Service Type": HTTP
Token: this is your brewery API token from the "Integration and API" section on the brewery details page
Server address: api.brewerschronicle.com
Server port: 80
Server URL: /api/readings/ispindel
Username and password can be left blank
Polynomial: I ended up leaving mine as is as the intial angle in water was 25 degrees, and other gravity measurements were bang on. Lucky break...
Once you configure these details and save the changes, this will cause the iSpindel to reboot into run mode.
If all the settings were saved correctly, and your device registers with Brewers Chronicle, the head brewer (probably yourself if you don't have any other team members) will receive an email stating the new iSpindel device has been registered. It also contains some information that the iSpindel sends through with every reading.
The important details which are displayed in the "iSpindel Allocation"section in the brewery details page
Name: name listed inside BC for allocation purposes
Battery level: remaining voltage left in battery
Update Interval: configured period in seconds for transmitting readings
RSSI: signal strength of your WiFi network. The higher the number, the better basically. The iSpindel FAQ mentions -90 being about where communication falls over.
You can try putting a wireless repeater right near your fermenting area.
If you use a fridge and are still getting a weak signal you could try some coax cable which runs into the fridge. This might carry the WiFi signal into your fridge for the iSpindel to pick up.
Angle (important for callibrating against a manual gravity reading)
These values will be updated each time your iSpindel logs a reading through the API. You can monitor the battery level during ferment, and this will let you know when you need to replace your battery.
Once you can see the iSpindel device inside BC, you are right to allocate it to an active ferment log. Clicking in the textbox will drop down a list of active ferments, and you can select the relevant ferment log, and then click the "Update Allocation" button.
This then links that iSpindel device to that ferment log, and any readings sent through will create entries in the ferment log.
If you want to unlink an iSpindel from a ferment, delete text from the textbox and click the "Update Allocation" button. This can be used when you complete a ferment.
As with the Tilt, once the settings on the iSpindel have been successfully saved, and readings are being sent to BC, you don't have to update the device settings again. You control which ferment log readings are sent to inside the Brewers Chronicle website.
Two types of alerts can be created by the website:
Readings being submitted by iSpindel which is not allocated to a ferment
If one of your registered iSpindel devices submits readings and the device is not allocated to a ferment, then an alert will be created alerting you to this fact.
Allocate the iSpindel to an active ferment, or turn off the device.
You can then delete the alert
Low battery warning for one of your registered devices
Ever time an iSpindel submits a reading, it also sends through the current battery level.
The battery level is recorded and displayed in the iSpindel Allocation section in the Brewery Details page
The alert is created when the battery level falls below 3.5V. I can't find any documentation on what the iSpindel considers a low battery voltage, so I will monitor this threshold and adjust as required
No readings selected:
In the iSpindel options in the Brewery Info section, you have the ability to turn off creating readings for received temperature or gravity readings. So if your fermentation control system recorded temp readings and you were just using the iSpindel for gravity readings you would disable the temp reading.
This alert lets you know if you have turned off both temp and gravity readings.
Final gravity recorded:
This alert is created when you manually record the final gravity. Any further gravity readings fed in via the iSpindel are discarded.
For example: the gravity readings may be inaccurate if you are cold crashing