TiltBridge – Use your Tilt™ Hydrometer without a Phone
A really helpful (though slightly-overpriced) gadget you may have heard about or own, is the Tilt Hydrometer. For those unaware, Tilt is a waterproof, battery-powered hydrometer that you drop in your wort / fermentation vessel. Using Bluetooth connectivity, it tracks temperature and specific gravity, and can even upload that data to the cloud or integrate with brewing software for data logging and graphing. Here is an example graph of Tilt data that I have integrated with Brewfather software.
Attenuation, and ABV is calculated and tracked real-time. Really nice for knowing when fermentation is complete, or nearing complete, should you want to ramp up a temp for a Diacetyl rest, or cold crash your beer.
One gripe that folks have with Tilt, is that it can tie up your cell phone / tablet. Other times, your Tilt can lose connectivity with your device due to power settings or software updates.
One solution to this problem is to yet another gadget to pair with the Tilt, called a TiltBridge http:/www.tiltbridge.com. TiltBridge is open-source software that can run on a variety of hardware that acts as a bridge from your Bluetooth Tilt to your Wifi Router. The procedure below will show you how to install this on a relatively inexpensive ESP32 OLED Board. No soldering or program skills are needed.
Items you will need.
1. A Wifi Router. Really anything less than 5 years old should work.
2. A wifi enabled smartphone or computer.
3. ESP32 OLED Board. $14 on Amazon, though available cheaper elsewhere.
4. USB 2.0 A-Male to Micro B data cable. An old cable from an Android phone 2-3 years ago should work. The newer phones use USB C and will not work.
5. A computer with Windows or Mac installed
Setup Instructions (for Steps 5+ reference: https://tiltbridge.readthedocs.io/en/master/User%20Guide/initial_setup.html
1. Download Brewflasher (https://github.com/thorrak/brewflasher/releases) for Windows or Mac. You want the install files NOT the source code. The rest of the procedure assumes Windows installation.
2. Unzip the zip file, and double-click to run the BrewFlasher executable file.
3. Select the settings as shown below, connect your ESP32 Board to your computer using the USB cable and click “Download Firmware and Flash Controller).
4. Hold down the “EN” button on your board until your board is recognized, and then release it.
5. Using a WiFi-enabled phone, laptop, or other device, connect to the wireless network with the SSID.
6. Once connected, the configuration screen may automatically appear. If it does not, open a web browser and attempt to navigate to any webpage.
7. When the configuration screen appears, click Configure WiFi
8. Select your wireless network from the list of available networks and enter the password in the Password field beneath the list of available networks
9. Choose a name to identify your TiltBridge and enter it in the Device (mDNS) Name field. The default name - tiltbridge can be used unless you have multiple TiltBridge devices in which case each must have a unique name.
10. Click Save
11. Reconnect your phone/laptop/etc. to your regular wireless network