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It turned black!!!

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  • hochmaster69
    Mike I will start from the top, and try to explain the whole procedure best I can. First off , when I bought my first still, the instructions said to do as
    Message 1 of 29 , May 29 3:51 PM
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      Mike
      I will start from the top, and try to explain the whole procedure
      best I can.
      First off , when I bought my first still, the instructions said to
      do as follows:
      It was a 19 Lt. Pot with no temp controller,a 120v 1500 watt
      element. about a 12 " column, with 2 pot scrubbers.
      It said to run it up to 60c then turn on coolant, wait for it to
      drip, collect 250ml and discard. then start collecting ,
      Monitor percentage & run until 10% or 100c,then mix to get desired %.
      It would start to come out at 75% & take about 8 hrs.get down to 10 %
      23lt of mash would produce (6) 66oz bottles of 40 %

      Since then I decided to build still from a beer keg, so it could
      hold two 23Lt. carboys of mash.
      I made the still according to some directions I found on the net.
      I starts out with a 12 gal. stainless Beer keg. with a 3000 watt
      240 volt element, mounted in the valve hole near the bottom of the
      keg.
      Next is the Column, it is made of 2" stainless pipe 38" long, with
      the thermometer mounted in the top, there is a 4" long 1" pipe
      attached to the side of it, 2" from the top.
      The 4" pipe attaches to another 2" pipe 12" long with a copper 3/16"
      condensing coil in it.
      The bottom of the 12"x2" pipe has two valves.
      One allowing it to flow back to the column (reflux, the other to the
      collecting container.
      There is (6) 2"X4" stainless pot scrubbers in the low half of the
      column.

      The procedure was as follows:
      I filtered the mash from the glass carboys to the stainless keg,
      installed the column.
      I run the element @ 3000 watts for about an hour, waited until the
      temp at the top of the column was 160 F, then turned on the coolant,
      let it run until I got 500mls about 179 F, then turned the element
      down to 120 volts 1500 watts & started to save product.
      It run @ 183F for several hours, then slowly moved up to 192 over 12
      hours.
      When I last checked it was still producing 60%, I had to shut it
      down to go to work.
      I let it cool overnight in the keg, then transferred it to a glass
      carboy in the morning.
      It was the colour of beer, I checked it 12 hrs. later, it turned
      black!!!
      The reflex valve was closed for the whole time.

      Hope this is better...
    • Mike Nixon
      hochmaster69 wrote: Subject: [Distillers] It turned black!!! Gudday! Lots more info ... thanks ... but still a few outstanding questions, so answers are
      Message 2 of 29 , May 29 5:34 PM
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        hochmaster69 wrote:
        Subject: [Distillers] It turned black!!!
         
        Gudday!
         
        Lots more info ... thanks ... but still a few outstanding questions, so answers are tentative. I'll go through with comments as we go down your reply.

        Mike
        I will start from the top, and try to explain the whole procedure best I can.
        First off , when I bought my first still, the instructions said to do as follows:
        It was a 19 Lt. Pot with no temp controller,a 120v 1500 watt element. about a 12 " column, with 2 pot scrubbers.
        It said to run it up to 60c then turn on coolant, wait for it to drip, collect 250ml and discard. then start collecting ,
        Monitor percentage & run until 10% or 100c,then mix to get desired %.
        It would start to come out at 75% & take about 8 hrs.get down to 10 %
        23lt of mash would produce (6) 66oz bottles of 40 %
         
        Well, the least said about that still and the instructions it came with the better!  Sounds like a poor excuse for a pot still, and although they told you to set aside some of the heads ("some", as separation seems very poor) they go on to tell you to collect all the tails with the middle product and drink them!!!   I hate to think what it tasted like.

        Since then I decided to build still from a beer keg, so it  could hold two 23Lt. carboys of mash.
        I made the still according to some directions I found on the net.
        I starts out with a 12 gal. stainless  Beer keg. with a 3000 watt 240 volt element, mounted in the valve hole near the bottom of the
        keg.
        Next is the Column, it is made of 2" stainless pipe 38" long, with the thermometer mounted in the top, there is a 4" long 1" pipe
        attached to the side of it, 2" from the top.
        The 4" pipe attaches to another 2" pipe 12" long with a copper 3/16"condensing coil in it.
        The bottom of the 12"x2" pipe has two valves.
        One allowing it to flow back to the column (reflux, the other to the collecting container.
        Only one valve is needed ... to the collector.  What you don't collect goes back as reflux.
        I hope the top of the main column is vented, as otherwise shutting the valve leading back to the column would create a bomb, if it doesn't spit the thermometer out first!
        There is (6) 2"X4"  stainless pot scrubbers in the low half of the column.

        The procedure was as follows:
        I filtered the mash from the glass carboys to the stainless keg, installed the column.
        I run the element @ 3000 watts for about an hour, waited until the temp at the top of the column was 160 F (71.1C), then turned on the coolant, let it run until I got 500mls about 179 F(82C), then  turned the element down to 120 volts 1500 watts (750W .... halve the voltage, quarter the power) & started to save product.
        It run @ 183F (84C) for several hours, then slowly moved up to 192 (89C) over 12hours.
        When I last checked it was still producing 60%, I had to shut it down to go to work.
        I let it cool overnight in the keg, then transferred it to a glass carboy in the morning.
        It was the colour of beer, I checked it 12 hrs. later, it turned black!!!
        The reflex valve was closed for the whole time.
        Aha!!!!!!   You let "it" cool overnight in the keg, so the liquid that turned brown and then black was not the product you had collected earlier ... it seems that it was the wash that was left in the keg overnight?
        My guess is that either your keg is not as "stainless" as you thought, or it's sulphides in the wash.  The average fermented wash can be quite acidic if you don't use buffer mixtures or neutralise with baking soda, and many "stainless" alloys can and do rust to some extent.  Even a weak acid can be savage over time in a hot environment, and what you may be seeing is either rust or sulphide compounds.  The latter are familiar to anyone that uses copper scrubbers as the black patina it leaves on them.  My favored guess is sulphides.  Question for Tony ... what sulphur compounds would look brown at first, then blacken as they are slowly oxidised on exposure to air?
         
        You can avoid this by changing your procedures (and also getting yourself some pH papers).
        • Before putting anything in your boiler, ensure that it is neutral with a pH of 7.
        • Get rid of that dangerous and superfluous valve leading back into the column ... or wire it fully open at all times.
        • Fill your column with scrubbers, not just the lower half.
        • Check the accuracy of your thermometer in both iced water and boiling water.  Note any differences between 32F (0C) and 212F (100C)
        • First do a quick strip of the fermented wash at 3000W and with the product valve fully open.  Collect everything you get until the temp rises to close on 100C.
        • Empty keg and rinse thoroughly.
        • Refill keg with the strippate, adding water only if you fear that the heating element may be exposed towards the end of the run.
        • Heat up at 3000W and with the product valve fully closed.
        • Change to 750W (by switching to 120V) when the temperature rises.
        • Leave well alone for about 40 minutes to an hour, or until the temperature settles to a steady lower value, and has been like that for at least 20 minutes.
        • Open the product valve a crack, and collect the heads very slowly, no faster than around 2 drips/second.
        • Depending on the accuracy of your thermometer, you will see the temperature slowly rising during this period until it settles at a slightly higher temperature.  Best test for changeover to main run is to mix a little of the product with tonic water or orange juice and taste it.  If it tastes clean, then you've got rid of the bulk of the heads.
        • Open up the collection valve and start collecting the middle run in a new container at a higher rate.  If the temperature budges from its steady value, you are collecting too fast, so close the valve a bit to increase the reflux ratio.
        • Continue collecting until the temperature shows signs of rising again, then change containers and open the collection valve wide open.
        • Continue collecting the tails until the temperature gets to close on 100C.
        • Save both the heads and the tails, and add them to your next batch.  They are full of ethanol, and you can recover most of that in the next run.
        Note:  if the run is taking longer than you want to hang around, you can switch off and start again the next day.  Just follow the start-up procedures with the exception of the heads ... they've been put aside already.  Make sure you tuck up your keg with a nice woolly blanket so it doesn't lose too much heat overnight.  Which reminds me ... also make sure that your column is well insulated from heat loss at all times ... it makes it much more efficient.
         
        Mike N
         

      • rdbrown
        Well Mike that s some of the best info. I have read in a long time... Thanks for taking the time to help me out. I have a couple more questions if you don t
        Message 3 of 29 , May 29 8:17 PM
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          Well Mike that's some of the best info. I have read in a long time... Thanks for taking the time to help me out.
          I have a couple more questions if you don't mind...
          Is there any advantage to using a reflux still, & is this still the same as a pot still when the reflux valve is closed. Are the other style pot stills better.
          Was thinking of welding up another head for the keg. Curious if it would be wroth it.
           
          You can avoid this by changing your procedures (and also getting yourself some pH papers).
          • Before putting anything in your boiler, ensure that it is neutral with a pH of 7.  Where do you buy ph  paper?
          • Get rid of that dangerous and superfluous valve leading back into the column ... or wire it fully open at all times. Have a look at the pics
          • Fill your column with scrubbers, not just the lower half. Just loosely not packed correct about (9) 4" long scrubbers 36" total
          • Check the accuracy of your thermometer in both iced water and boiling water.  Note any differences between 32F (0C) and 212F (100C) Done very close, should I be taking the temp at the top of the column or at the top of the keg above the mash.
          • First do a quick strip of the fermented wash at 3000W and with the product valve fully open.  Collect everything you get until the temp rises to close on 100C. Reflux valve closed?  (see pic)     Is the by-product in the keg garbage?
          • Empty keg and rinse thoroughly.
          • Refill keg with the strippate, adding water only if you fear that the heating element may be exposed towards the end of the run
          • . Any pointers on how to figure that out.   i.e.: 3 gal strippate = 2 left in keg????
          • Heat up at 3000W and with the product valve fully closed. Why??? Reflux fully open???
          • Change to 750W (by switching to 120V) when the temperature rises. To what temp???  I have just got all the parts I need to set up a PID Temp Controller.
          • The 240 -110 thing worked good until the contactor burnt.
          • Leave well alone for about 40 minutes to an hour, or until the temperature settles to a steady lower value, and has been like that for at least 20 minutes.
          • How will I determine if I use the PID.
          • Open the product valve a crack, and collect the heads very slowly, no faster than around 2 drips/second. So at this point everything is going back though the reflex tube to the column.
          • Depending on the accuracy of your thermometer, you will see the temperature slowly rising during this period until it settles at a slightly higher temperature.  Best test for changeover to main run is to mix a little of the product with tonic water or orange juice and taste it.  If it tastes clean, then you've got rid of the bulk of the heads.
          • Open up the collection valve and start collecting the middle run in a new container at a higher rate.  If the temperature budges from its steady value, you are collecting too fast, so close the valve a bit to increase the reflux ratio.
          • Continue collecting until the temperature shows signs of rising again, then change containers and open the collection valve wide open.
          • Continue collecting the tails until the temperature gets to close on 100C.
          • Save both the heads and the tails, and add them to your next batch.  They are full of ethanol, and you can recover most of that in the next run.
          Note:  if the run is taking longer than you want to hang around, you can switch off and start again the next day.  Just follow the start-up procedures with the exception of the heads ... they've been put aside already.  Make sure you tuck up your keg with a nice woolly blanket so it doesn't lose too much heat overnight.  Which reminds me ... also make sure that your column is well insulated from heat loss at all times ... it makes it much more efficient.
           
          Mike N
           
          ----- Original Message -----
          Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2003 7:34 PM
          Subject: Re: [Distillers] It turned black!!!

          hochmaster69 wrote:
          Subject: [Distillers] It turned black!!!
           
          Gudday!
           
          Lots more info ... thanks ... but still a few outstanding questions, so answers are tentative. I'll go through with comments as we go down your reply.

          Mike
          I will start from the top, and try to explain the whole procedure best I can.
          First off , when I bought my first still, the instructions said to do as follows:
          It was a 19 Lt. Pot with no temp controller,a 120v 1500 watt element. about a 12 " column, with 2 pot scrubbers.
          It said to run it up to 60c then turn on coolant, wait for it to drip, collect 250ml and discard. then start collecting ,
          Monitor percentage & run until 10% or 100c,then mix to get desired %.
          It would start to come out at 75% & take about 8 hrs.get down to 10 %
          23lt of mash would produce (6) 66oz bottles of 40 %
           
          Well, the least said about that still and the instructions it came with the better!  Sounds like a poor excuse for a pot still, and although they told you to set aside some of the heads ("some", as separation seems very poor) they go on to tell you to collect all the tails with the middle product and drink them!!!   I hate to think what it tasted like.

          Since then I decided to build still from a beer keg, so it  could hold two 23Lt. carboys of mash.
          I made the still according to some directions I found on the net.
          I starts out with a 12 gal. stainless  Beer keg. with a 3000 watt 240 volt element, mounted in the valve hole near the bottom of the
          keg.
          Next is the Column, it is made of 2" stainless pipe 38" long, with the thermometer mounted in the top, there is a 4" long 1" pipe
          attached to the side of it, 2" from the top.
          The 4" pipe attaches to another 2" pipe 12" long with a copper 3/16"condensing coil in it.
          The bottom of the 12"x2" pipe has two valves.
          One allowing it to flow back to the column (reflux, the other to the collecting container.
          Only one valve is needed ... to the collector.  What you don't collect goes back as reflux.
          I hope the top of the main column is vented, as otherwise shutting the valve leading back to the column would create a bomb, if it doesn't spit the thermometer out first!
          There is (6) 2"X4"  stainless pot scrubbers in the low half of the column.

          The procedure was as follows:
          I filtered the mash from the glass carboys to the stainless keg, installed the column.
          I run the element @ 3000 watts for about an hour, waited until the temp at the top of the column was 160 F (71.1C), then turned on the coolant, let it run until I got 500mls about 179 F(82C), then  turned the element down to 120 volts 1500 watts (750W .... halve the voltage, quarter the power) & started to save product.
          It run @ 183F (84C) for several hours, then slowly moved up to 192 (89C) over 12hours.
          When I last checked it was still producing 60%, I had to shut it down to go to work.
          I let it cool overnight in the keg, then transferred it to a glass carboy in the morning.
          It was the colour of beer, I checked it 12 hrs. later, it turned black!!!
          The reflex valve was closed for the whole time.
          Aha!!!!!!   You let "it" cool overnight in the keg, so the liquid that turned brown and then black was not the product you had collected earlier ... it seems that it was the wash that was left in the keg overnight?
          My guess is that either your keg is not as "stainless" as you thought, or it's sulphides in the wash.  The average fermented wash can be quite acidic if you don't use buffer mixtures or neutralise with baking soda, and many "stainless" alloys can and do rust to some extent.  Even a weak acid can be savage over time in a hot environment, and what you may be seeing is either rust or sulphide compounds.  The latter are familiar to anyone that uses copper scrubbers as the black patina it leaves on them.  My favored guess is sulphides.  Question for Tony ... what sulphur compounds would look brown at first, then blacken as they are slowly oxidised on exposure to air?
           
          You can avoid this by changing your procedures (and also getting yourself some pH papers).
          • Before putting anything in your boiler, ensure that it is neutral with a pH of 7.
          • Get rid of that dangerous and superfluous valve leading back into the column ... or wire it fully open at all times.
          • Fill your column with scrubbers, not just the lower half.
          • Check the accuracy of your thermometer in both iced water and boiling water.  Note any differences between 32F (0C) and 212F (100C)
          • First do a quick strip of the fermented wash at 3000W and with the product valve fully open.  Collect everything you get until the temp rises to close on 100C.
          • Empty keg and rinse thoroughly.
          • Refill keg with the strippate, adding water only if you fear that the heating element may be exposed towards the end of the run.
          • Heat up at 3000W and with the product valve fully closed.
          • Change to 750W (by switching to 120V) when the temperature rises.
          • Leave well alone for about 40 minutes to an hour, or until the temperature settles to a steady lower value, and has been like that for at least 20 minutes.
          • Open the product valve a crack, and collect the heads very slowly, no faster than around 2 drips/second.
          • Depending on the accuracy of your thermometer, you will see the temperature slowly rising during this period until it settles at a slightly higher temperature.  Best test for changeover to main run is to mix a little of the product with tonic water or orange juice and taste it.  If it tastes clean, then you've got rid of the bulk of the heads.
          • Open up the collection valve and start collecting the middle run in a new container at a higher rate.  If the temperature budges from its steady value, you are collecting too fast, so close the valve a bit to increase the reflux ratio.
          • Continue collecting until the temperature shows signs of rising again, then change containers and open the collection valve wide open.
          • Continue collecting the tails until the temperature gets to close on 100C.
          • Save both the heads and the tails, and add them to your next batch.  They are full of ethanol, and you can recover most of that in the next run.
          Note:  if the run is taking longer than you want to hang around, you can switch off and start again the next day.  Just follow the start-up procedures with the exception of the heads ... they've been put aside already.  Make sure you tuck up your keg with a nice woolly blanket so it doesn't lose too much heat overnight.  Which reminds me ... also make sure that your column is well insulated from heat loss at all times ... it makes it much more efficient.
           
          Mike N
           



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        • Mike Nixon
          Hi there! First of all, seeing the pics, I misread your last post. I see now that the valve leading back to the column can be safely shut as it is not in the
          Message 4 of 29 , May 29 9:29 PM
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            Hi there!
             
            First of all, seeing the pics, I misread your last post.  I see now that the valve leading back to the column can be safely shut as it is not in the line taking vapor to the condenser.  It's also in a separate line from the product line, so you will still need to use it for reflux control if you keep the same configuration.  I've attached a suggested modification that does away with that valve.
            ----- Original Message -----
            From: rdbrown
            Sent: Friday, May 30, 2003 3:17 PM
            Subject: Re: [Distillers] It turned black!!!

            Well Mike that's some of the best info. I have read in a long time... Thanks for taking the time to help me out.
            I have a couple more questions if you don't mind...
            Is there any advantage to using a reflux still, & is this still the same as a pot still when the reflux valve is closed. Are the other style pot stills better.
            Was thinking of welding up another head for the keg. Curious if it would be wroth it.
             
            If you after purity, ie. vodka, then a reflux still is better than a pot still, and a compound still even better.
            What you have there is a compound still :-))  
            With the configuration you have, closing the reflux return valve changes its operation to that of a plain packed column reflux still.  This is better (for separation purposes) than a pot still that has no packing as refluxing occurs on the packing itself.  There is a little reflux in a pot still from condensation on the column walls, but it doesn't serve as well as reflux held on packing as it runs back to the boiler relatively quickly.  With large lyne arms on commercial whiskey stills, the time to run back is much longer than with an amateur small pot still, so they get some definite value from it.  (Not knocking pot stills ... they're great for flavored spirits)
             
            You can avoid this by changing your procedures (and also getting yourself some pH papers).
            Where do you buy ph  paper?
            A "chemist" or "drug store" might be able to help you, and you can also get pH testing kits from gardening centres/centers (See?  Multilingual!      :-)
             
            Fill your column with scrubbers, not just the lower half.
            Just loosely not packed correct about (9) 4" long scrubbers 36" total
            Pack as tightly as you can without reaching the point that you feel resistance when blowing through it.
             
            Check the accuracy of your thermometer in both iced water and boiling water.  Note any differences between 32F (0C) and 212F (100C)
            Done very close, should I be taking the temp at the top of the column or at the top of the keg above the mash.
            At the top of the column.  You want to know the composition at the top, and that is reflected by the temperature of the vapor there.
             
            First do a quick strip of the fermented wash at 3000W and with the product valve fully open.  Collect everything you get until the temp rises to close on 100C.
            Reflux valve closed?  (see pic)     Is the by-product in the keg garbage?
            With your present configuration, yes
            Not sure what you mean by "byproduct of keg garbage".
             
            Refill keg with the strippate, adding water only if you fear that the heating element may be exposed towards the end of the run
            .Any pointers on how to figure that out.   i.e.: 3 gal strippate = 2 left in keg????
            Easy!  Measure the abv of the strippate.  If it is N% then you can expect to get a maximum of N% of the total volume you put back into the boiler as re-distilled product, leaving (100-N)% of that original volume in the boiler.  Example:  20 liters strippate at 60% abv has 12 liters alcohol and 8 liters water (forget congeners).  If 8 liters won't cover the element, then add enough extra water so that it stays covered when you remove 12 liters.
             
            Heat up at 3000W and with the product valve fully closed.
            Why??? Reflux fully open???
            You want everything that reaches the top of the column to be returned as reflux at this stage.  This is to set up equilibrium with the most volatile components of the wash concentrated at the top so you can carefully bleed them off as heads.
             
            Change to 750W (by switching to 120V) when the temperature rises.
            To what temp???  I have just got all the parts I need to set up a PID Temp Controller.
            You do not need a PID controller, unless it is simply to trigger an alarm to tell you when the temperature has reached a certain level.  Using a PID controller to turn off the heater element will cause surge boiling, and this will screw up the equilibrium you have so carefull set up.  If, however, you use a PID controller as part of a properly engineered feedback loop (with damping circuits to prevent oscillation) that monitors temperature and uses that info to smoothly alter a variable power controller , then that is fine.  However, I have yet to hear of anyone who has bothered to use a PID controller properly like this.  If anyone has, it seems to be a lot of hassle to do a very simple job (and I speak as an electronics engineer).
             
            The 240 -110 thing worked good until the contactor burnt.
            Good grief!  Use switches that are rated for the current you expect to handle!  Best of all, switch off or unplug from the mains before switching, then reapply mains power.  If arcing persists, get a qualified electrician to fit arc quenching capacitors.  The last thing you want is arcing or sparks anywhere near a still that is producing high octane spirit!!!
             
            Leave well alone for about 40 minutes to an hour, or until the temperature settles to a steady lower value, and has been like that for at least 20 minutes.
            How will I determine if I use the PID.
            See above.  If you use a PID then you're on your own :-)
             
            Open the product valve a crack, and collect the heads very slowly, no faster than around 2 drips/second. So at this point everything is going back though the reflex tube to the column.
            Everything but those drips, yes.  The difference in boiling points of heads components from that of ethanol is so small that you need heaps of reflux to separate them out.  It's like walking a tightrope at this stage ... it doesn't take much to screw things up!  
             
            All the best,
            Mike N
             
          • BOKAKOB
            I read somewhere that in order to separate one degree Celcius in boiling temperature, the column must have around 60 theoretical plates between collection
            Message 5 of 29 , May 30 4:51 AM
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              I read somewhere that in order to separate one degree Celcius in boiling temperature, the column must have around 60 theoretical plates between collection points. In this case it will be possible to have pure ethanol on plate No. 1 and all other by-products boiling at a lower temperature would be collected at plate No. 61 If this setup would be possible to construct, then it would be possible to have continuous still separating everything non-stop. Please correct me if I am not that right.

              Mike Nixon <mike@...> wrote:
              The difference in boiling points of heads components from that of ethanol is so small that you need heaps of reflux to separate them out. All the best, Mike N


              I can be wrong I must say
              Cheers, Alex...
              A


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            • mwmccaw
              I d like to add a couple of points to this very interesting discussion. 1) Do NOT neutralize your wash before distilling, or you will either get ammonia in the
              Message 6 of 29 , May 30 5:21 AM
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                I'd like to add a couple of points to this very interesting
                discussion.

                1) Do NOT neutralize your wash before distilling, or you will either
                get ammonia in the distilled product, or ammonia AND blue colored
                copper salts in the product if there is any copper in the still.
                There was quite a discussion on this point a couple of months back.

                2) I have an alternate reason for the material turning black when
                stored hot in a beer keg - the Maillard reaction. This is what is
                responsible for bread turning brown in an oven. It is a reaction
                between carbohydrates and nitrogen-containing compounds. If the
                wash hadn't finished to absolute dryness (and most don't), there is
                sugar in it, and both the yeast and the residual yeast nutrients
                contain lots of nitrogen. It could also have been an oxidation
                reaction (no oxygen in the boiler until it starts to cool) of
                something in the wash. This is what causes coffee and tea stains in
                a carpet to be invisible at first, but gradually darken over time.

                Mike McCaw







                --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Nixon" <mike@s...> wrote:
                > Hi there!
                >
                > First of all, seeing the pics, I misread your last post. I see
                now that the valve leading back to the column can be safely shut as
                it is not in the line taking vapor to the condenser. It's also in a
                separate line from the product line, so you will still need to use
                it for reflux control if you keep the same configuration. I've
                attached a suggested modification that does away with that valve.
                > ----- Original Message -----
                > From: rdbrown
                > To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                > Sent: Friday, May 30, 2003 3:17 PM
                > Subject: Re: [Distillers] It turned black!!!
                >
                >
                > Well Mike that's some of the best info. I have read in a long
                time... Thanks for taking the time to help me out.
                > I have a couple more questions if you don't mind...
                > Is there any advantage to using a reflux still, & is this still
                the same as a pot still when the reflux valve is closed. Are the
                other style pot stills better.
                > Was thinking of welding up another head for the keg. Curious if
                it would be wroth it.
                >
                > If you after purity, ie. vodka, then a reflux still is better
                than a pot still, and a compound still even better.
                > What you have there is a compound still :-))
                > With the configuration you have, closing the reflux return valve
                changes its operation to that of a plain packed column reflux
                still. This is better (for separation purposes) than a pot still
                that has no packing as refluxing occurs on the packing itself.
                There is a little reflux in a pot still from condensation on the
                column walls, but it doesn't serve as well as reflux held on packing
                as it runs back to the boiler relatively quickly. With large lyne
                arms on commercial whiskey stills, the time to run back is much
                longer than with an amateur small pot still, so they get some
                definite value from it. (Not knocking pot stills ... they're great
                for flavored spirits)
                >
                > You can avoid this by changing your procedures (and also getting
                yourself some pH papers).
                > Where do you buy ph paper?
                > A "chemist" or "drug store" might be able to help you, and you
                can also get pH testing kits from gardening centres/centers (See?
                Multilingual! :-)
                >
                > Fill your column with scrubbers, not just the lower half.
                > Just loosely not packed correct about (9) 4" long scrubbers 36"
                total
                > Pack as tightly as you can without reaching the point that you
                feel resistance when blowing through it.
                >
                > Check the accuracy of your thermometer in both iced water and
                boiling water. Note any differences between 32F (0C) and 212F
                (100C)
                > Done very close, should I be taking the temp at the top of the
                column or at the top of the keg above the mash.
                > At the top of the column. You want to know the composition at
                the top, and that is reflected by the temperature of the vapor there.
                >
                > First do a quick strip of the fermented wash at 3000W and with
                the product valve fully open. Collect everything you get until the
                temp rises to close on 100C.
                > Reflux valve closed? (see pic) Is the by-product in the keg
                garbage?
                > With your present configuration, yes
                > Not sure what you mean by "byproduct of keg garbage".
                >
                > Refill keg with the strippate, adding water only if you fear
                that the heating element may be exposed towards the end of the run
                > .Any pointers on how to figure that out. i.e.: 3 gal strippate
                = 2 left in keg????
                > Easy! Measure the abv of the strippate. If it is N% then you
                can expect to get a maximum of N% of the total volume you put back
                into the boiler as re-distilled product, leaving (100-N)% of that
                original volume in the boiler. Example: 20 liters strippate at 60%
                abv has 12 liters alcohol and 8 liters water (forget congeners). If
                8 liters won't cover the element, then add enough extra water so
                that it stays covered when you remove 12 liters.
                >
                > Heat up at 3000W and with the product valve fully closed.
                > Why??? Reflux fully open???
                > You want everything that reaches the top of the column to be
                returned as reflux at this stage. This is to set up equilibrium
                with the most volatile components of the wash concentrated at the
                top so you can carefully bleed them off as heads.
                >
                > Change to 750W (by switching to 120V) when the temperature
                rises.
                > To what temp??? I have just got all the parts I need to set up
                a PID Temp Controller.
                > You do not need a PID controller, unless it is simply to trigger
                an alarm to tell you when the temperature has reached a certain
                level. Using a PID controller to turn off the heater element will
                cause surge boiling, and this will screw up the equilibrium you have
                so carefull set up. If, however, you use a PID controller as part
                of a properly engineered feedback loop (with damping circuits to
                prevent oscillation) that monitors temperature and uses that info to
                smoothly alter a variable power controller , then that is fine.
                However, I have yet to hear of anyone who has bothered to use a PID
                controller properly like this. If anyone has, it seems to be a lot
                of hassle to do a very simple job (and I speak as an electronics
                engineer).
                >
                > The 240 -110 thing worked good until the contactor burnt.
                > Good grief! Use switches that are rated for the current you
                expect to handle! Best of all, switch off or unplug from the mains
                before switching, then reapply mains power. If arcing persists, get
                a qualified electrician to fit arc quenching capacitors. The last
                thing you want is arcing or sparks anywhere near a still that is
                producing high octane spirit!!!
                >
                > Leave well alone for about 40 minutes to an hour, or until the
                temperature settles to a steady lower value, and has been like that
                for at least 20 minutes.
                > How will I determine if I use the PID.
                > See above. If you use a PID then you're on your own :-)
                >
                > Open the product valve a crack, and collect the heads very
                slowly, no faster than around 2 drips/second. So at this point
                everything is going back though the reflex tube to the column.
                > Everything but those drips, yes. The difference in boiling
                points of heads components from that of ethanol is so small that you
                need heaps of reflux to separate them out. It's like walking a
                tightrope at this stage ... it doesn't take much to screw things
                up!
                >
                > All the best,
                > Mike N
              • Mike Nixon
                BOKAKOB wrote: Subject: [Distillers] Continuous still with 100% heads separation? I read somewhere that in order to separate one degree Celcius in boiling
                Message 7 of 29 , May 30 2:24 PM
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                  BOKAKOB wrote:
                  Subject: [Distillers] Continuous still with 100% heads separation?

                  I read somewhere that in order to separate one degree Celcius in boiling temperature, the column must have around 60 theoretical plates between collection points. In this case it will be possible to have pure ethanol on plate No. 1 and all other by-products boiling at a lower temperature would be collected at plate No. 61 If this setup would be possible to construct, then it would be possible to have continuous still separating everything non-stop. Please correct me if I am not that right.

                  Mike Nixon <mike@...> wrote:
                  The difference in boiling points of heads components from that of ethanol is so small that you need heaps of reflux to separate them out. All the best, Mike N
                  ==========================
                  That's a new one on me Alex, and I believe it to be more than a little suspect.  Two reasons for saying that:
                  1. You are moving along a curve when going from one theoretical plate (TP) to another ... the cigar shaped equilibrium curves (pic of one attached to show what I mean).
                  2. If you took a mix of liquid A with bp of At and liquid B with bp of Bt then steps in temperature as you go from TP to TP would be a function of (At - Bt).  Now take a mix of liquid A and liquid C with bp of Ct, the steps would be a function of (At - Ct), and this would be different.  61 steps with the first mix would therefore be most unlikely to be the same as 61 steps with the second mix.
                  The main point is that the degree of separation with each step varies depending on where you are on that set of curves ... relatively few steps needed in the middle where the separation is greatest with each step, but with heaps of steps needed at either end for very little separation, and temperature difference is a function of separation and the mix you have.  As you are good at maths, try playing with the Mcabe-Thiele and Clausius-Clapeyron equations to see what you get as they are more precise than my very rough sketch, which is only illustrative anyway.  Please let me know what you find. 
                   
                  Mike N
                   
                • rdbrown
                  Hi Mike Well I am learning lots from this exercise, I am amazed how far down the garden path I was.... I like your modification to the tube.. If I build
                  Message 8 of 29 , May 30 9:46 PM
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                    Hi Mike
                    Well I am learning lots from this exercise, I am amazed how far down the garden path I was....
                    I like your modification to the tube.. If I build another one, should I change anything else...
                    I edited some of the paragraphs below....
                    Thanks again,
                    R.D.
                    ----- Original Message -----
                    Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2003 11:29 PM
                    Subject: Re: [Distillers] It turned black!!!

                    Hi there!
                     
                    First of all, seeing the pics, I misread your last post.  I see now that the valve leading back to the column can be safely shut as it is not in the line taking vapour to the condenser.  It's also in a separate line from the product line, so you will still need to use it for reflux control if you keep the same configuration.  I've attached a suggested modification that does away with that valve.
                    ----- Original Message -----
                    From: rdbrown
                    Sent: Friday, May 30, 2003 3:17 PM
                    Subject: Re: [Distillers] It turned black!!!

                    Well Mike that's some of the best info. I have read in a long time... Thanks for taking the time to help me out.
                    I have a couple more questions if you don't mind...
                    Is there any advantage to using a reflux still, & is this still the same as a pot still when the reflux valve is closed. Are the other style pot stills better.
                    Was thinking of welding up another head for the keg. Curious if it would be wroth it.
                     
                    If you after purity, i.e.. vodka, then a reflux still is better than a pot still, and a compound still even better.
                    What you have there is a compound still :-))  
                    With the configuration you have, closing the reflux return valve changes its operation to that of a plain packed column reflux still.  This is better (for separation purposes) than a pot still that has no packing as refluxing occurs on the packing itself.  There is a little reflux in a pot still from condensation on the column walls, but it doesn't serve as well as reflux held on packing as it runs back to the boiler relatively quickly.  With large lyne arms on commercial whiskey stills, the time to run back is much longer than with an amateur small pot still, so they get some definite value from it.  (Not knocking pot stills ... they're great for flavoured spirits)
                     
                    You can avoid this by changing your procedures (and also getting yourself some pH papers).
                    Where do you buy ph  paper?
                    A "chemist" or "drug store" might be able to help you, and you can also get pH testing kits from gardening centres/centres (See?  Multilingual!      :-)
                    Before putting anything in your boiler, ensure that it is neutral with a pH of 7.
                    How do I do this?
                    Fill your column with scrubbers, not just the lower half.
                    Just loosely not packed correct about (9) 4" long scrubbers 36" total
                    Pack as tightly as you can without reaching the point that you feel resistance when blowing through it.
                     
                    Check the accuracy of your thermometer in both iced water and boiling water.  Note any differences between 32F (0C) and 212F (100C)
                    Done very close, should I be taking the temp at the top of the column or at the top of the keg above the mash.
                    At the top of the column.  You want to know the composition at the top, and that is reflected by the temperature of the vapour there.
                     
                    First do a quick strip of the fermented wash at 3000W and with the product valve fully open.  Collect everything you get until the temp rises to close on 100C.
                    Reflux valve closed?  (see pic)     Is the by-product in the keg garbage?
                    With your present configuration, yes
                    Not sure what you mean by "by-product of keg garbage".
                     The mash in the Keg left over after the strippate.
                     
                    Refill keg with the strippate, adding water only if you fear that the heating element may be exposed towards the end of the run
                    .Any pointers on how to figure that out.   I.e.: 3 gal strippate = 2 left in keg????
                    Easy!  Measure the abv of the strippate.  If it is N% then you can expect to get a maximum of N% of the total volume you put back into the boiler as re-distilled product, leaving (100-N)% of that original volume in the boiler.  Example:  20 litters strippate at 60% abv has 12 litters alcohol and 8 litres water (forget congeners).  If 8 litres won't cover the element, then add enough extra water so that it stays covered when you remove 12 litres.
                     
                    Heat up at 3000W and with the product valve fully closed.
                    Why??? Reflux fully open???
                    You want everything that reaches the top of the column to be returned as reflux at this stage.  This is to set up equilibrium with the most volatile components of the wash concentrated at the top so you can carefully bleed them off as heads.
                     
                    Change to 750W (by switching to 120V) when the temperature rises.
                    To what temp???  I have just got all the parts I need to set up a PID Temp Controller.
                    You do not need a PID controller, unless it is simply to trigger an alarm to tell you when the temperature has reached a certain level.  Using a PID controller to turn off the heater element will cause surge boiling, and this will screw up the equilibrium you have so careful set up.  If, however, you use a PID controller as part of a properly engineered feedback loop (with damping circuits to prevent oscillation) that monitors temperature and uses that info to smoothly alter a variable power controller , then that is fine.  However, I have yet to hear of anyone who has bothered to use a PID controller properly like this.  If anyone has, it seems to be a lot of hassle to do a very simple job (and I speak as an electronics engineer).
                    Ok,
                     I Understood my Temp. Controller with a 12vdc. pulse output  connect to a 20 amp G3PA SSR  would operate the same as a BFM240-25 HS Burst-Fired Power Controller. Where the PID would be the  same as the POT & the G3PA SSR would work the same as the BFM 240 -25HS. 
                    Cycle the element on for 6 sec. off for 4 sec. ect. Guess I misunderstood the rep.
                    What is the best circuit to use for a still,,,,,, 
                     
                    The 240 -110 thing worked good until the contactor burnt.
                    Good grief!  Use switches that are rated for the current you expect to handle!  Best of all, switch off or unplug from the mains before switching, then reapply mains power.  If arcing persists, get a qualified electrician to fit arc quenching capacitors.  The last thing you want is arcing or sparks anywhere near a still that is producing high octane spirit!!!
                    The switch was rated for 20 amps, but was quite old suspect corrosion inside, as it got warm, &  stopped working.
                     
                    Leave well alone for about 40 minutes to an hour, or until the temperature settles to a steady lower value, and has been like that for at least 20 minutes.
                    How will I determine if I use the PID.
                    See above.  If you use a PID then you're on your own :-)
                     
                    Open the product valve a crack, and collect the heads very slowly, no faster than around 2 drips/second. So at this point everything is going back though the reflex tube to the column.
                    Everything but those drips, yes.  The difference in boiling points of heads components from that of ethanol is so small that you need heaps of reflux to separate them out.  It's like walking a tightrope at this stage ... it doesn't take much to screw things up!  
                    All the best,
                    Mike N
                     


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                  • mwmccaw
                    There is another and more important reason that a continuous still can *NEVER* get all the heads. In a continuous still, you are constantly putting new
                    Message 9 of 29 , May 31 12:24 PM
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                      There is another and more important reason that a continuous still
                      can *NEVER* get all the heads. In a continuous still, you are
                      constantly putting new material into the middle of the column, and
                      the low boiling stuff goes up and the high boiling stuff goes down.
                      HEADS are lower-boiling than ethanol, and HAVE TO PASS THROUGH THE
                      ETHANOL ZONE to be separated. Even if you supplied a hundred plates
                      between the ethanol takeoff and the heads takeoff, there would
                      ALWAYS be heads in the ethanol. If you set the still up so that
                      ethanol was the top plate, then that ethanol would ALWAYS have the
                      full complement of heads in it.

                      Now a pair of continuous columns, one operating primarily upwards,
                      and one operating primarily downwards, in series could theoretically
                      separate the ethanol and heads from everything else, then separate
                      the heads from the ethanol.

                      Mike McCaw


                      --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Nixon" <mike@s...> wrote:
                      > BOKAKOB wrote:
                      > Subject: [Distillers] Continuous still with 100% heads separation?
                      >
                      > I read somewhere that in order to separate one degree Celcius in
                      boiling temperature, the column must have around 60 theoretical
                      plates between collection points. In this case it will be possible
                      to have pure ethanol on plate No. 1 and all other by-products
                      boiling at a lower temperature would be collected at plate No. 61 If
                      this setup would be possible to construct, then it would be possible
                      to have continuous still separating everything non-stop. Please
                      correct me if I am not that right.
                      >
                      > Mike Nixon <mike@s...> wrote:
                      > The difference in boiling points of heads components from that of
                      ethanol is so small that you need heaps of reflux to separate them
                      out. All the best, Mike N
                      > ==========================
                      > That's a new one on me Alex, and I believe it to be more than a
                      little suspect. Two reasons for saying that:
                      > 1.. You are moving along a curve when going from one theoretical
                      plate (TP) to another ... the cigar shaped equilibrium curves (pic
                      of one attached to show what I mean).
                      > 2.. If you took a mix of liquid A with bp of At and liquid B
                      with bp of Bt then steps in temperature as you go from TP to TP
                      would be a function of (At - Bt). Now take a mix of liquid A and
                      liquid C with bp of Ct, the steps would be a function of (At - Ct),
                      and this would be different. 61 steps with the first mix would
                      therefore be most unlikely to be the same as 61 steps with the
                      second mix.
                      > The main point is that the degree of separation with each step
                      varies depending on where you are on that set of curves ...
                      relatively few steps needed in the middle where the separation is
                      greatest with each step, but with heaps of steps needed at either
                      end for very little separation, and temperature difference is a
                      function of separation and the mix you have. As you are good at
                      maths, try playing with the Mcabe-Thiele and Clausius-Clapeyron
                      equations to see what you get as they are more precise than my very
                      rough sketch, which is only illustrative anyway. Please let me know
                      what you find.
                      >
                      > Mike N
                    • Ackland, Tony (CALNZAS)
                      I too have had wash left in the boiler overnight & had it turn black. The element has now lost its tin ? coating and looks a nice shiney copper. Not a trick
                      Message 10 of 29 , May 31 2:50 PM
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                        I too have had wash left in the boiler overnight & had it turn black.  The element has now lost its tin ? coating and looks a nice shiney copper.  Not a trick I'll try and repeat.
                         
                        Tony
                      • Mike Nixon
                        Tony Ackland wrote: Subject: RE: [Distillers] It turned black!!! I too have had wash left in the boiler overnight & had it turn black. The element has now
                        Message 11 of 29 , May 31 4:59 PM
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                          Tony Ackland wrote:
                          Subject: RE: [Distillers] It turned black!!!

                          I too have had wash left in the boiler overnight & had it turn black.  The element has now lost its tin ? coating and looks a nice shiney copper.  Not a trick I'll try and repeat.
                          ============================
                          And I have an apology to make ... I suggested using baking soda to neutralise an acid wash before distilling.  Mike M has put me straight on this one:

                          I got "blued out" and smelly ammonia wash when I raised the pH of thewash to 5!
                          It does not require alkalinity, just reduced acidity.  Ammonia is a very weak base, and is readily supplanted by sodium or potassium.
                          For what it's worth, I used to think like you - which is why I did the experiment!  At neutral, it was horrible.  I lowered the pH to 5.5, and still had problems.  Dropped it to three and they went away.
                          That was with a wash done by the Cone protocol, but a turbo should give similar results.
                           
                          For those not at home with pH values, a strong acid is pH 1 and a strong alkali is pH 14.  The average fermented wash can be around pH 3-4 (fairly acid), pH 5 is weakly acid, and pH 7 is neutral.
                          Mike N
                           
                        • nanosleep
                          Same thing here. My elements are now copper looking. If I leave a wash sitting in the boiler very long the elements get shiny again. I m sure some of the
                          Message 12 of 29 , Jun 1, 2003
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                            Same thing here. My elements are now copper looking.
                            If I leave a wash sitting in the boiler very long
                            the elements get shiny again. I'm sure some of the
                            copper is being dissolved into the wash. I'm not
                            too worried since the copper contamination can't
                            get into my distillate. I typically leave the spent
                            wash in the boiler overnight. I don't like picking
                            up and pouring out the boiling hot wash. It's much
                            safer to handle when cooled. If my elements get
                            totally dissolved I'll just spend another $8 for
                            each and get a new set!

                            -A

                            --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Ackland, Tony (CALNZAS)"
                            <Tony.Ackland@c...> wrote:
                            > I too have had wash left in the boiler overnight & had it turn
                            black. The element has now lost its tin ? coating and looks a nice
                            shiney copper. Not a trick I'll try and repeat.
                            >
                            > Tony
                          • mwmccaw
                            there IS a significant safety issue with tinned copper heating elements. Not copper in the wash, but pinhole corrosion through the copper sheath, leading to a
                            Message 13 of 29 , Jun 1, 2003
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                              there IS a significant safety issue with tinned copper heating
                              elements. Not copper in the wash, but pinhole corrosion through the
                              copper sheath, leading to a dead short circuit, which could lead to
                              runaway heating of the wash, an electrically "hot" boiler, and of
                              course, a blown fuse or breaker.

                              Most water heater-type elements are available in an incoloy or
                              niconel sheathed version. These will NOT corrode in any wash we
                              might use and will literally last forever.

                              I HIGHLY recommend these elements. Yes, they are a few dollars
                              more, but well worth it.

                              Mike McCaw




                              --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "nanosleep" <nanosleep@y...>
                              wrote:
                              > Same thing here. My elements are now copper looking.
                              > If I leave a wash sitting in the boiler very long
                              > the elements get shiny again. I'm sure some of the
                              > copper is being dissolved into the wash. I'm not
                              > too worried since the copper contamination can't
                              > get into my distillate. I typically leave the spent
                              > wash in the boiler overnight. I don't like picking
                              > up and pouring out the boiling hot wash. It's much
                              > safer to handle when cooled. If my elements get
                              > totally dissolved I'll just spend another $8 for
                              > each and get a new set!
                              >
                              > -A
                              >
                              > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Ackland, Tony (CALNZAS)"
                              > <Tony.Ackland@c...> wrote:
                              > > I too have had wash left in the boiler overnight & had it turn
                              > black. The element has now lost its tin ? coating and looks a nice
                              > shiney copper. Not a trick I'll try and repeat.
                              > >
                              > > Tony
                            • Johan
                              In Sweden stainless steel elements got the same price as copper, how is it in other parts of the world? Johan ... Från: mwmccaw [mailto:mwmccaw@yahoo.com]
                              Message 14 of 29 , Jun 1, 2003
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                                In Sweden stainless steel elements got the same price as copper, how is it
                                in other parts of the world?

                                Johan

                                -----Ursprungligt meddelande-----
                                Från: mwmccaw [mailto:mwmccaw@...]
                                Skickat: den 1 juni 2003 19:55
                                Till: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                Ämne: [Distillers] copper heating elements!

                                there IS a significant safety issue with tinned copper heating
                                elements. Not copper in the wash, but pinhole corrosion through the
                                copper sheath, leading to a dead short circuit, which could lead to
                                runaway heating of the wash, an electrically "hot" boiler, and of
                                course, a blown fuse or breaker.

                                Most water heater-type elements are available in an incoloy or
                                niconel sheathed version. These will NOT corrode in any wash we
                                might use and will literally last forever.

                                I HIGHLY recommend these elements. Yes, they are a few dollars
                                more, but well worth it.

                                Mike McCaw




                                --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "nanosleep" <nanosleep@y...>
                                wrote:
                                > Same thing here. My elements are now copper looking.
                                > If I leave a wash sitting in the boiler very long
                                > the elements get shiny again. I'm sure some of the
                                > copper is being dissolved into the wash. I'm not
                                > too worried since the copper contamination can't
                                > get into my distillate. I typically leave the spent
                                > wash in the boiler overnight. I don't like picking
                                > up and pouring out the boiling hot wash. It's much
                                > safer to handle when cooled. If my elements get
                                > totally dissolved I'll just spend another $8 for
                                > each and get a new set!
                                >
                                > -A
                                >
                                > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Ackland, Tony (CALNZAS)"
                                > <Tony.Ackland@c...> wrote:
                                > > I too have had wash left in the boiler overnight & had it turn
                                > black. The element has now lost its tin ? coating and looks a nice
                                > shiney copper. Not a trick I'll try and repeat.
                                > >
                                > > Tony



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                              • Ackland, Tony (CALNZAS)
                                ... Yep ! Gives a nice bang too when it happens. Guess why I m such a strong advocate for using RCD s whenever theres a combination of electricity and liquid
                                Message 15 of 29 , Jun 1, 2003
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                                  > there IS a significant safety issue with tinned copper heating
                                  > elements. Not copper in the wash, but pinhole corrosion through the
                                  > copper sheath, leading to a dead short circuit, which could lead to
                                  > runaway heating of the wash, an electrically "hot" boiler, and of
                                  > course, a blown fuse or breaker.

                                  Yep ! Gives a nice bang too when it happens. Guess why I'm such a strong advocate for using RCD's whenever theres a combination of electricity and liquid about.

                                  Tony
                                • Martin
                                  Tony, Please explain what you mean by an RCD . Martin
                                  Message 16 of 29 , Jun 1, 2003
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                                    Tony,
                                     
                                    Please explain what you mean by an "RCD".
                                     
                                    Martin
                                  • Allan Goldsmith
                                    Agree with you Tony. I got the whole workshop bathrooms kitchen etc covered by RCDs on the switchboard at very little extra cost compared with the usual
                                    Message 17 of 29 , Jun 1, 2003
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                                      Agree with you Tony.
                                      I got the whole workshop bathrooms kitchen etc covered by RCDs on the switchboard at very little extra cost compared with the usual circuit breakers. I believe that in at least some parts of Aus RCDs are code. Wake up NZ!
                                      cheers
                                      Allan
                                      ----- Original Message -----
                                      Sent: Monday, June 02, 2003 11:49 AM
                                      Subject: RE: [Distillers] copper heating elements!

                                      > there IS a significant safety issue with tinned copper heating
                                      > elements.  Not copper in the wash, but pinhole corrosion through the
                                      > copper sheath, leading to a dead short circuit, which could lead to
                                      > runaway heating of the wash, an electrically "hot" boiler, and of
                                      > course, a blown fuse or breaker.

                                      Yep !  Gives a nice bang too when it happens.  Guess why I'm such a strong advocate for using RCD's whenever theres a combination of electricity and liquid about.

                                      Tony


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                                    • Allan Goldsmith
                                      RCDs are residual current devices. they trip when the difference in current going through neutral is not equal to the current on phase.(therefore going through
                                      Message 18 of 29 , Jun 1, 2003
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                                        RCDs are residual current devices. they trip when the difference in current going through neutral is not equal to the current on phase.(therefore going through your body..eeek)
                                        usually trip at 30 -70 mA in a few microseconds so your heart doesn't stop.
                                        Used in Aus for the first time I believe in the ABBA concert which was held in Sydney in the pouring rain. May be wrong here.
                                        cheers
                                        Allan
                                        ----- Original Message -----
                                        From: Martin
                                        Sent: Monday, June 02, 2003 12:13 PM
                                        Subject: Re: [Distillers] copper heating elements!

                                        Tony,
                                         
                                        Please explain what you mean by an "RCD".
                                         
                                        Martin


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                                      • Martin
                                        Is this RCD the same device that I know as an Earth Leakage Unit ?
                                        Message 19 of 29 , Jun 1, 2003
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                                          Is this RCD the same device that I know as an "Earth Leakage Unit"?
                                        • Allan Goldsmith
                                          yep Allan ... From: Martin To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com Sent: Monday, June 02, 2003 12:35 PM Subject: Re: [Distillers] copper heating elements! Is this RCD
                                          Message 20 of 29 , Jun 1, 2003
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                                            yep
                                            Allan
                                            ----- Original Message -----
                                            From: Martin
                                            Sent: Monday, June 02, 2003 12:35 PM
                                            Subject: Re: [Distillers] copper heating elements!

                                            Is this RCD the same device that I know as an "Earth Leakage Unit"?


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                                          • Harley Daschund
                                            RCD/...is that like a GFCI (USA) ?...wouldnt run my stills on anything else...: ) ... _________________________________________________________________ Protect
                                            Message 21 of 29 , Jun 1, 2003
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                                              RCD/...is that like a GFCI (USA) ?...wouldnt run my stills on anything
                                              else...:>)


                                              >From: "Ackland, Tony (CALNZAS)" <Tony.Ackland@...>
                                              >Reply-To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                              >To: <Distillers@yahoogroups.com>
                                              >Subject: RE: [Distillers] copper heating elements!
                                              >Date: Mon, 2 Jun 2003 11:49:31 +1200
                                              >
                                              > > there IS a significant safety issue with tinned copper heating
                                              > > elements. Not copper in the wash, but pinhole corrosion through the
                                              > > copper sheath, leading to a dead short circuit, which could lead to
                                              > > runaway heating of the wash, an electrically "hot" boiler, and of
                                              > > course, a blown fuse or breaker.
                                              >
                                              >Yep ! Gives a nice bang too when it happens. Guess why I'm such a strong
                                              >advocate for using RCD's whenever theres a combination of electricity and
                                              >liquid about.
                                              >
                                              >Tony

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                                            • Aaron Pelly
                                              i think your name is the correct one martin. the device does indeed detect earth leakage. ... From: Martin [mailto:martinmarburger@shaw.ca] Sent: 02 June 2003
                                              Message 22 of 29 , Jun 1, 2003
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                                                i think your name is the correct one martin. the device does indeed detect earth leakage.
                                                -----Original Message-----
                                                From: Martin [mailto:martinmarburger@...]
                                                Sent: 02 June 2003 12:36
                                                To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                                Subject: Re: [Distillers] copper heating elements!

                                                Is this RCD the same device that I know as an "Earth Leakage Unit"?
                                              • BOKAKOB
                                                Mike, thank you for explanations. I wonder what is the column working primary downward? and how it is working? Thsnks in advance, Alex... mwmccaw
                                                Message 23 of 29 , Jun 2, 2003
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                                                  Mike, thank you for explanations. I wonder what is the column working primary downward? and how it is working? Thsnks in advance, Alex...

                                                  mwmccaw <mwmccaw@...> wrote:
                                                  Now a pair of continuous columns, one operating primarily upwards, and one operating primarily downwards, in series could theoretically separate the ethanol and heads from everything else, then separate
                                                  the heads from the ethanol.
                                                  Mike McCaw


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                                                • mwmccaw
                                                  And in the US, they re knows as a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter device. MM ... Unit ? ... distillers-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com ... Service.
                                                  Message 24 of 29 , Jun 2, 2003
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                                                    And in the US, they're knows as a "Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter"
                                                    device.
                                                    MM

                                                    --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Allan Goldsmith"
                                                    <goldsmith@w...> wrote:
                                                    > yep
                                                    > Allan
                                                    > ----- Original Message -----
                                                    > From: Martin
                                                    > To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                                    > Sent: Monday, June 02, 2003 12:35 PM
                                                    > Subject: Re: [Distillers] copper heating elements!
                                                    >
                                                    >
                                                    > Is this RCD the same device that I know as an "Earth Leakage
                                                    Unit"?
                                                    >
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                                                  • mwmccaw
                                                    Sorry, Alex - What I was describing was the path that the ethanol follows in the two serial columns. In the first column, heated by steam from below, the wash
                                                    Message 25 of 29 , Jun 2, 2003
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                                                      Sorry, Alex -
                                                      What I was describing was the path that the ethanol follows in the
                                                      two serial columns.
                                                      In the first column, heated by steam from below, the wash enters in
                                                      the middle, and water and tails go out the bottom and ethanol and
                                                      heads go out the top.
                                                      The ethanol and heads now go to a second column, heated by ethanol
                                                      vapor from below, and if it is long enough and well enough
                                                      controlled, the heads exit the top and the ethanol (azeotrope,
                                                      actually, of course)exits the bottom.
                                                      MM

                                                      --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, BOKAKOB <bokakob@y...> wrote:
                                                      > Mike, thank you for explanations. I wonder what is the column
                                                      working primary downward? and how it is working? Thsnks in advance,
                                                      Alex...
                                                      >
                                                      > mwmccaw <mwmccaw@y...> wrote:Now a pair of continuous columns, one
                                                      operating primarily upwards, and one operating primarily downwards,
                                                      in series could theoretically separate the ethanol and heads from
                                                      everything else, then separate
                                                      > the heads from the ethanol.
                                                      > Mike McCaw
                                                      >
                                                      >
                                                      > ---------------------------------
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                                                      > Free online calendar with sync to Outlook(TM).
                                                    • Robert Lougee
                                                      Also known as a GFI or Ground Fault Interrupt in the USA. Particularly usefull in the bathroom or kitchen. If an appliance plugged into the GFI falls in the
                                                      Message 26 of 29 , Jun 2, 2003
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                                                        Also known as a GFI or Ground Fault Interrupt in the USA. Particularly
                                                        usefull in the bathroom or kitchen. If an appliance plugged into the
                                                        GFI falls in the water, it trips to stop current flow and avoid
                                                        electrocution.

                                                        "If it pours, drink it."
                                                        Robert

                                                        --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Allan Goldsmith" <goldsmith@w...>
                                                        wrote:
                                                        > yep
                                                        > Allan
                                                        > ----- Original Message -----
                                                        > From: Martin
                                                        > To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                                        > Sent: Monday, June 02, 2003 12:35 PM
                                                        > Subject: Re: [Distillers] copper heating elements!
                                                        >
                                                        >
                                                        > Is this RCD the same device that I know as an "Earth Leakage
                                                        Unit"?
                                                        >
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                                                        >
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                                                      • Ken Grady
                                                        As someone from Oz has already stated they are called earth leakage switches here & are compulsory to be installed in all new homes for the the last 10 years.
                                                        Message 27 of 29 , Jun 2, 2003
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                                                          As someone from Oz has already stated they are called earth leakage switches  here & are compulsory to be installed in all new homes for the the last 10 years.
                                                           
                                                          Ken.
                                                           
                                                           
                                                          Also known as a GFI or Ground Fault Interrupt in the USA. Particularly
                                                          usefull in the bathroom or kitchen. If an appliance plugged into the
                                                          GFI falls in the water, it trips to stop current flow and avoid
                                                          electrocution.

                                                          "If it pours, drink it."
                                                          Robert

                                                        • rodmacd2000
                                                          I assume an RCD is the same thing we in N. America would call a GFD (Ground Fault Detector)? I question the need for such a device in the case when your boiler
                                                          Message 28 of 29 , Jun 3, 2003
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                                                            I assume an RCD is the same thing we in N. America would call a GFD
                                                            (Ground Fault Detector)?

                                                            I question the need for such a device in the case when your boiler is
                                                            a properly grounded vessel such as a correctly wired hot water heater.

                                                            --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Allan Goldsmith" <goldsmith@w...>
                                                            wrote:
                                                            > RCDs are residual current devices. they trip when the difference in
                                                            current going through neutral is not equal to the current on phase.
                                                            (therefore going through your body..eeek)
                                                            > usually trip at 30 -70 mA in a few microseconds so your heart
                                                            doesn't stop.
                                                            > Used in Aus for the first time I believe in the ABBA concert which
                                                            was held in Sydney in the pouring rain. May be wrong here.
                                                            > cheers
                                                            > Allan
                                                            > ----- Original Message -----
                                                            > From: Martin
                                                            > To: distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                                            > Sent: Monday, June 02, 2003 12:13 PM
                                                            > Subject: Re: [Distillers] copper heating elements!
                                                            >
                                                            >
                                                            > Tony,
                                                            >
                                                            > Please explain what you mean by an "RCD".
                                                            >
                                                            > Martin
                                                            >
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                                                          • Ackland, Tony (CALNZAS)
                                                            ... Yes ... Incase of accidents - eg the element shorting out, or wires fraying or getting crimped in something (like a door), or liquid spills out over the
                                                            Message 29 of 29 , Jun 3, 2003
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                                                              > I assume an RCD is the same thing we in N. America would call a GFD
                                                              > (Ground Fault Detector)?

                                                              Yes

                                                              > I question the need for such a device in the case when your boiler is
                                                              > a properly grounded vessel such as a correctly wired hot water heater.

                                                              Incase of accidents - eg the element shorting out, or wires fraying or getting crimped in something (like a door), or liquid spills out over the wiring somehow ... I'm sure you can dream up a scenario. At work, we have mandated that all power points (plug-in and permanent) are to have RCD protection, just for the backup safety they offer. And there have been enough close calls to have made it a wise call. Note that they dont prevent you from getting an electric shock, but hopefully reduce its severity & duration so that it is no longer as dangerous.

                                                              For me at home its important because my boiler is portable, and not grounded.

                                                              Tony
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