At the center of this metering problem was the fact that beer is already compressed. When the pressure varied in the kegerator’s many tubes and systems, the beer would suffer. “We tried shrinking the amount of tubing. We tried keeping the beer much colder,” said Gilmer.
“This is an unsolved problem for us. I think two things would have helped: One was bigger pipes, and bigger flow meters.”
Fortunately for the more adventurous folk in the development world, the Kegbot project offers a very detailed specification, software package and parts list for building such a device on your own. Gilmer said he wouldn’t necessarily recommend starting from scratch, but he definitely recommends the project as a great way to involve the entire office.
“Do it! It’s a lot of fun!” he said. “It’s also a great way to get everyone in the office involved, in that the outcome is exciting for everyone. There are probably better flow meters, and probably better methods than we used. But there’s some great hardware people have put a lot of time into in the open Kegbot project. You can pick and choose the features you like.”
And, of course, Gilmer added that “We don’t drink on the job, obviously, but when you’re being social, it’s fun, and there’s no reason why a good hardware and software project shouldn’t involve a little beer.”
As for the Rackspace kegerator project? It’s on indefinite hold. Someone spilled beer on its internals.