tilt hydrometer for home brewing

Review Category

Rating

4 Stars

Review

Intro

I hope to set up my first home brew extracter kit this weekend. It took some time to get my tilt up and running, but it is now water calibrated and ready to go. This is huge for me. Tilt is one of two smart hydrometers that I know of and it's the cheeper of the two. I've got a regular hydrometer here as well. It's just a glass tube like a standard thermometer. Utterly useless to a person who is blind. The tilt sits directly in the fermenter and takes constant readings wich it sends to any smart device.

Hardware

The hardware is very unassuming and extremely easy to use. On it's end, the tilt is sleeping. On it's side, the tilt is awake and doing it's thing. Open the app and the tilt imediately connects.

Issue one, status lights... I can't see them. If I open my app and the tilt connects, it's working. If it doesn't, it's not. The lights indicate low battery and calibration modes, but I haven't found this information in the app. I may have a better idea later. Initially though, it created a dependency.

issue two, Battery replacement. To replace the battery, you need to detatch both end caps, slide the entire component out of it's chassey, remove the battery directly off the board, and reassemble the entire device with a fresh battery. I don't have dextarity issues but I'm not a fireman either. I could not apply the force required to disassemble the tilt. I used a dollar store bottle opener on the caps, and the handle of a table knife on the component itself. Not only do you have to use excessive force to get it apart, but if you don't get it ceiled properly, you get liquid in the hardware. I really think it would not have been difficult to come up with a zero force insertion option in design.

Before posting my review, I emailed support about this issue. They tell me that some of the units are looser than others. They further offered to test and send me a unit where the assembly isn't so tight. I declined, but if you think this might be an issue for you, you can request to have your tilts tested for it when you place your order. I'm just going to be extremely careful and use what I have since I really want to get started.

Batteries

Tilt takes a particular not so very common type of a cell camera battery.

Help and support

The documentation on the site can be hit and miss. Using the tilt is generally so easy that the instructions seem almost insultingly simple at times. The guide for changing the battery is pretty well done. There are also video guides. The dialog in the video guides presumes that you can see the image in the video and contains instructions such as, "Put this in here like that". Not altogether helpful for a nonvisual learner. I did get the job done in the end. Improving the videos would be a confidence booster and a time saver for me.

Email support has been outstanding! There hasn't been enough time to put in the most basic changes I recommended, but Marcus has been extremely helpfull and encouraging. So far, I really can't say enough good things about dealing with this company.

IOS app

If you're planning to brew at home and want to look at the app for tilt, you can get a good idea what to expect by downloading the app for free before buying. I did this for the android app, but didn't get around to the IOS app. After purchase, I found my android wasn't compatible with the tilt and so it seems my ITouch will become a monitoring station for my brew process. The app is accessible with a couple of caveats. I can get to all the settings just fine and I can read all the metres.

I had trouble with the buttons, particularly the settings toggle. Double tapping with voiceover did not seem to activate the button. I'm prepared to believe this is an issue with my old equipment and would welcome any feedback from other users. I solved it by locating the button with a finger, turning voiceover off, and touching the button. Then turning voiceover back on. I realize this solution is not for everyone.

Although I can read the metres, there is no swipe order in the main screen when a tilt is connected. This generally doesn't effect me as I'm primarily a speech user, but has ramifications for any one using a keyboard or braille display. You will hae the minor nucence of removing your hands from your peripheral to touch each metre so you can access it's information.

I bought the device on the strength of it's app. It's not perfect, but I'm satisfied for now and hopeful that the minimal interface adjustments come in to really polish it up.

Overall

Despite numerous niggledy piggledy improvements I'd like to see in future itterations, the tilt is completely useful, fairly accessible, and essential for anyone with a visual disability who wants to learn to brew at home. Very well done and I look forward to adding more tilts to my collection.

Devices Accessory Was Used With

iPod Touch

Disclaimer

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