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21043RE: [Distillers] Yet another! air cooled still idea...

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  • Robert N
    Jun 1, 2004
      Hi Jim am I correct to assume what you are trying to do is increase the size
      of your top condenser so that it can cool the distillate vapour to a liquid
      state. Would I be correct to assume you have tried to slow down the water
      flow until vapour starts to emit from the top of your still? And you are
      finding that the water flow is still too great and is making you feel guilty
      because of the waste of water? (I know that feeling) As Riku alluded to in
      his reply to you, unless the new addition to the top of your still has fins
      soldered to the pipe, then the convection of heat that you desire will not
      work well at all.

      You didn’t mention how many watts you are feeding into this monster. Two
      things you have to consider is heat in equal’s heat out. The other thing we
      all neglect is that the quicker (higher wattage element) we boil a liquid in
      a still of the same design, the quicker the vapour speed up the tower will
      become. This in turn gives the vapour less contact time with the condenser;
      this then requires a greater differential in cooling water temperature for
      the condenser you have to work, hence higher water usage.

      I would see only two possible solutions to your challenge, make the original
      top condenser larger and longer, this will allow the water a longer length
      of pipe/time to interact with the vapour. And the other is to reduce the
      heat input to your still, which adds to the time taken the run the thing but
      you do end up with a better product.

      You could also try adding a radiator, either from an A/C unit or car and
      have the fan blow on it. (Been there done this.) Try having the radiator
      plumbed in between the Liebig and the top condenser or if this is not an
      option, you could try it before the Liebig condenser. This may just give the
      cooling water enough differential temperature to suit your needs.

      Having been down a similar path as this a couple of years ago, I have since
      played with 12 volt boat bilge pumps (they burn out and can't raise the
      water up high enough for my still) I then went for a pond pump, the high
      flow rate of this pump required me to bleed off the water flow to get the
      water through the condenser that was made of ¼” copper pipe, otherwise risk
      burning out this pump. I then decided to go for the shotgun condenser and
      3/4” diameter hose and fittings, as this is what the pump feed was. Hence
      there is hardly any restriction on the pump flow rate.

      Since building this new condenser 12 months ago, I don’t have a worry until
      the water in the 200lt plastic drum reaches 60C at which temperature I have
      found the pump cuts out…… experience has shown me that I can raise said body
      of water from 25C to 55C using a 2400 Watt element in 6 odd hours, an 1800
      watt element takes 8~10 hours. (I’m sure some one can come back with the
      maths to give us a more accurate time). Of course ambient temperature and
      heat loss plays some part in here as well.

      Jim I hope you can sort the water usage problem out, if you do decide on a
      similar route to what I have taken, then please email me, I will be glad to
      discuss this further over the pitfalls that I went through.

      Yours in spirit



      From: watertrade2003 [mailto:james1@...]
      Sent: Monday, 31 May 2004 11:04 PM
      To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [Distillers] Yet another! air cooled still idea...

      Hi Folks,
      Every time I use my still I can't escape the guilt of using so much
      water. SNIP So I have thought up this idea - it probably will need some
      more designing... that's where I hope you can help!..

      SNIP… You follow??.. :) **
      INSERT The image is in the photos section --> Lazy Condenser/lazy air

      Let me know what you think.

      Cheers Jim :)

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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