Articles by Brian Thompson

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I am moving to a newer Win 11 machine and installed my old Office 2007. I REALLY don’t want an annual subscription and 2007 is good enough. Anyways, my brewing spreadsheet has some active X buttons that no longer worked when running on the new machine. Since Office 2007 is out of service it took a bit to figure out. In the end I found some recommendations to get “Microsoft Office Configuration Analyzer Tool 1.2” to scan for issues. Of course Microsoft doesn’t have a link anymore, but I found one with a simple google search.

After running a scan it said I didn’t have two updates and was able to get taken to pages where I could download the update. After installing the first one Windows said it was already installed. But the second one went through an installation. After that Active X controls are working again!

Links to the updates I tried


This post is a quick summary of the things I’ve done to get my iSpindles built and configured along with a few tips for things I’ve stumbled on. It certainly isn’t a step-by-step explanation of how to do everything.

The Build

I ordered parts through ebay to make things more simple. This seller was awesome and the kit is excellent

iSpindel (Tilt) Parts Kit + Stand Wireless Digital Hydrometer/Thermometer

This kit includes:

  • iSpindel Stand (color varies)
  • PCB (Jeffrey 2.69 designed by Open Source Distilling)
  • Wemos D1 Mini v3 (flashed with firmware for verification)
  • MPU-6050 IMU (sensitivity and range verified)
  • TP4056 USB-C Charging/Protection Board
  • DS18B20 Temperature Sensor
  • 18650 3.7V Lithium Cell
  • Battery Holder
  • Miniature Switch
  • BAT43 Diode
  • 4.7K Resistor
  • 220K Resistor
  • PET Preform Tube
  • 5x #10 Hex Nuts + Small roll of Gorilla Tape (for calibration)

The Open Source Distilling build video was spot on. Would be nice if he paused for a moment a few times, but nothing a rewind and pause couldn’t solve.

Build the ispindle with this video:

Once build you can use ESP8266Flasher.exe to flash firmware ( , but I found that my D1 Mini’s were already flashed by the Ebay seller.
I have been wanting to configure the iSpindle to send to my influxdb, but was having issues with firmware v2.5.1 integration. Then I found an alternate firmware to use called GravityMon. Gravity Mon seems to have a much pretty interface, calibration mode, and the ability to send data to multiple destinations. In my case I knew I could use Ubidots as I figured out my influxdb/grafana configurations.

l flashed gravitymon binary ( with the ispindle firmware update option. When I flashed the first iSpindle it took a while (~1 min) for the iSpindle to come online after the flash but it worked. The second iSpindle seem to flash right away.

Follow the configuration instructions on the Documentation section. While it is in the documentation, don’t foget that to enter calibration mode after the accellerometer has been configured that the iSpindle needs to be flat when is it turned on or reset.


GravityMon broadcasts in mDNS and it seemed nice to use this rather than my set IP addresses (I’ve set a fixed IP address to each devices MAC address). My Win7 machine doesn’t support this natively and I installed: Download Bonjour Print Services for Windows v2.0.2 (, but at the moment this isn’t working for some reason and I’ll have to get back to it

Ubitdots Configuration

I have previously setup Ubidots with two devices that had broken. So I set out to configure the new devices to push into those instances. To configure the iSpindle for Ubidots see the Service Integration section. I placed the the ubitdots call into the Push Section of the Configuration page, HTTP 1 (Push) field using the option 2 from the Service integration documentation.

 Header 1 (Header: value):<devicename>

Replace the device name in the <devicename>. I had titled my device in Ubidots as ispindle001

Then click on the Header button to configuration the Ubidots API token. Use the the default token or other token created (it is not the API Token) in Ubidots.

Token from the API Credentials

influxdb Configuration

I am pretty new to influxdb and this took me a bit to get the iSpindle configured correctly. However, GravityMon supports influxdb with no issues once you actually do things write
go to push2 settings to enter the influxdb config

In the About section get the hex value of organization ID (not the Text name)

The bucket will have an ID (in hex) to enter. Also the Auth is from the API Tokens section. Note, when you create a token it will give you the Auth code that one time only. Save it somewhere.

I made two tweaks to the influxdb format. First was to change “host” to “deviceName” as that is just easier for me to reccognize. Second, was to add an Event field which is populated with the value filled in the Token field on the Push 1 setting section. Now I can change the Token field to the brew day and quickly filter my flux queries to that one day.

measurement,deviceName=${mdns},deviceID=${id},event=${token},temp-format=${temp-unit},gravity-format=${gravity-unit} gravity=${gravity},corr-gravity=${corr-gravity},angle=${angle},temp=${temp},battery=${battery},rssi=${rssi}

Grafana Cloud Configuration

Grafana is new to me as well, but this wasn’t too hard to setup. following the documentation ( Just like the iSpindle setup, use the used hex values rather than text names for org, bucket. Since I’m using Grafana Cloud with influxdb hosted at home I needed to add a port route into my router settings.

I am certainly a flux script editor novice, but I found I could create a sample query in influxdb and then copy the query into Grafana. To do this, create the query that you want. Then click the Script Editor button to get the flux query. Paste this into the Grafana Query. At this time I’ve proven I can create queries in Grafana, but I have more to do to get a good dashboard setup.

Script Editor Query

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Our Breville BCG800XL coffee grinder started jamming up and we love/need our coffee grinder. After a bit of searching I came across a website indicating that an internal part can wear down over time. I think we have had our grinder for 10+ years so this seemed like the most likely cause. I bought a new 3D printed part and followed the directions from Ben’s instructions and I’m happy to say we are back in business. Thank you so much to the work out into the directions and 3D part.

An image of the worn down part sitting on top of the 3D printed part.

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After many nights stretched over a few years, I’ve finally finished the preliminary design for my Raspberry Pi Brew Controller. All the circuits appear to work and now I’m ready to buy some parts to breadboard the design. I’m sure things will change along the way, but getting to the point where I can purchase things has been a huge hurdle for me. Expect to see many more posts as the prototyping comes along and hopefully I’ll get to a real brew controlled some time in the future.

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I had been using Raspberry Pints ported over to my windows server for a while. Getting it installed was a hack job and the database calls never worked right. After upgrading my database and PHP, my Raspberry Pints install stopped working and a reinstall didn’t work either (I was hoping that my upgrades eliminated the need for my hacks, but no luck). Raspberry Pints hasn’t been updated in a few years so rather than figuring out how to do another hack install, I started searching for other options. I came across Kegerface which looked nice and rather than using database is just reads simple csv file.  This worked out of the box, but I kind of liked the Raspberry Pints display better.   This inspired me to mix the simplicity of Kegerface with the display of Raspberry Pints. I started with the raspberry pints code base. Then I cut out the database calls and added in a file read scheme. With a few more tweaks the first working version is online. There is more to do. The code is still messy with old code commented out and random test lines also commented out. Also, I’d like to change up the style.css a bit, but I’m also happy with what is working now.  I’ve named it Simple Pints and posted to to share just in case there is someone else who might find it useful.  Here is my running version


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