Basement Bar and Smart Kegerator Build

Over the past year I have taken on the project of finishing my basement.  As it stands we have added an extra 500 sqft of living space.  Half of this space has gone to my daughter’s play room, whereas the other half is being used as my man cave.  What man cave is complete without a home bar??

I built the bar out of 2×4’s, beadboard paneling, and a 3/4 plywood top.  I built a custom bar rail out of 3/4 quarter round and a beveled chair rail molding.  The bar top was sanded, and painted.  I will be adding 3-4 coats of polyurethane to the top to give it that shiny bar top look.  Here are some progress pictures of the bar as it stands right now.

Then came the fun part….installing the kegerator!  I built a platform behind the bar to raise the kegerator closer to the bar top so that the tower could be flush mounted.  There was still a considerable gap between the top of the kegerator and the bar top, so some thoughtful engineering had to be done.  I made an air tight, PVC pipe extension and forced that through the bar top and into the beer tower.

As a person with a background in Information Technology, there is no way that I could be satisfied with this and this alone.  I am an avid fan of home automation and making things “smart”.  The kegerator will be no exception.  Here are the plans for the “Smart Kegerator”.

  • Raspberry Pi installed under the bar, outputting to a tablet sitting on the bar top.
  • Temperature sensors in the bottom of the kegerator, top, and tower stack for real-time temperature readings.
  • Flow meters on both beer lines to count the number of ounces being dispensed and thus the amount of beer left in the keg.
  • A pressure sensor to monitor how much CO2 is left in the tank.
  • A webserver installed on the Raspberry Pi with real-time information about what is on tap, and how much is left.

For the smart kegerator aspects of this project, I will be bringing in my good friend Randy Westergren to help with the coding.  He is a leader in the Information Security field and has an excellent blog discussing all of his projects.  Please check it out at here.

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