Thursday 13 June 2024

Does the RAPT Pill work in a stainless fermenter?

The RAPT Pill from KegLand is an incredibly popular piece of homebrewing equipment, providing an affordable and easy to use way for brewers to monitor the progress of their fermentations. (If you're after more detail on exactly what the RAPT Pill does, check out our RAPT Pill Review).

With the increasing popularity and affordability of stainless steel fermenters, more homebrewers are embracing stainless vessels of some description for their fermentations. This inevitably raises the question as to whether the signal from the RAPT Pill is strong enough to protrude the stainless steel walls of such a vessel so it can connect to Wi-Fi for submitting it's telemetry to the cloud.

The answer - is yes, it does work, but how well it works in your particular situation depends on a number of things.

The RAPT Pill utilises older 2.4GHz Wi-Fi technology, which although is slower than the newer Wi-Fi standards, it has much stronger signal strength and penetration, so it works better when needing to work through surfaces like stainless steel.

Whether the signal will be strong enough to connect to the Wi-Fi network in your particular scenario depends on a number of things. The Pill signal needs to penetrate the walls of your stainless fermenter, but if it's located in a fermentation fridge, then it will need to penetrate the walls of the fridge too, which being reasonably well insulated will have a further impact on signal strength.

The next big thing will be where your Wi-Fi modem/router/access point is in relation to your fermenter. If it's at the other end of the house and the Wi-Fi signal needs to penetrate the stainless fermenter, fridge, and several walls of a house, it's unlikely it's going to work. Moving your Wi-Fi modem/router/access point as close to the fermenter (preferably in the same room) can help also, or putting a Wi-Fi signal booster/repeater nearby.

But what can you do if you're not able to move your Wi-Fi modem/router/access point closer to your fermenter? The simple option is to leverage the RAPT Temperature Controller which integrates very neatly with the RAPT Pill. By doing this, the RAPT Pill is able to connect to the RAPT Temperature Controller using Bluetooth instead of Wi-Fi. The RAPT Temperature Controller then relays the telemetry from the Pill to the cloud. This of course requires the RAPT Temperature Controller to have a strong enough signal to connect to the local Wi-Fi network as well - but this isn't anywhere near as difficult as it obviously won't be located inside your stainless fermenter, and wouldn't usually be inside the fermentation fridge either.

This is what we have been doing for several years now, and never have any signal issues with our RAPT Pill connecting via Bluetooth to the RAPT Temperature Controller. In our situation we have the Pill in a stainless fermenter, in a fermentation fridge with the Temperature Controller fixed to the outside of the fridge door, and using this setup we see constant and reliable telemetry updates to the RAPT Portal from the RAPT Pill, via the RAPT Temperature Controller.

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