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  • tumblebud05
    Hey i just started distilling a few weeks ago. we have a 30 gallon hot water heater running at 660Watts of a 3300Watt heating element, we have a 43 fractill
    Message 1 of 14 , Mar 4 3:47 PM
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      Hey i just started distilling a few weeks ago. we have a 30 gallon hot
      water heater running at 660Watts of a 3300Watt heating element, we
      have a 43" fractill distilation head with 30" of reflux packing. when
      we run the still we get vapor comeing off at about 75-76c with a bad
      yeasty smell, then after a while the temp went up to about 78c and we
      got smell-free high prof alcohol. however after about 200ml the temp
      droped back down to 75-76 and the smell returned. now out of a 20
      gallon wash that should be around 14-16% 200ml not at all what i
      expected for a yeild and the 2-3liters of funky smelling, high prof
      liquid we got off seems like a lot to be heads. Well if anyone has any
      ideas or advice on what im doing wrong i would apreshiate it.

      Thanks.
    • Robert N
      Welcome to the zoo tumble bud. Without much detail here I m guessing that you haven t re-wired the internal element, bypassing the thermostat, so that it is a
      Message 2 of 14 , Mar 5 4:11 AM
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        Welcome to the zoo tumble bud. Without much detail here I'm guessing that
        you haven't re-wired the internal element, bypassing the thermostat, so that
        it is a constant boil. If this is the case then the distillation process
        will never work.



        Yours in Spirit



        Robert N

        _____

        From: Distillers@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Distillers@yahoogroups.com] On
        Behalf Of tumblebud05
        Sent: Sunday, 5 March 2006 9:48 AM
        To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
        Subject: [Distillers] Its almost working....



        Hey i just started distilling a few weeks ago. we have a 30 gallon hot
        water heater running at 660Watts of a 3300Watt heating element, we
        have a 43" fractill distilation head with 30" of reflux packing. when
        we run the still we get vapor comeing off at about 75-76c with a bad
        yeasty smell, then after a while the temp went up to about 78c and we
        got smell-free high prof alcohol. however after about 200ml the temp
        droped back down to 75-76 and the smell returned. now out of a 20
        gallon wash that should be around 14-16% 200ml not at all what i
        expected for a yeild and the 2-3liters of funky smelling, high prof
        liquid we got off seems like a lot to be heads. Well if anyone has any
        ideas or advice on what im doing wrong i would apreshiate it.

        Thanks.







        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • kyle sorensen
        No we did rewire to bypass both thermostats. but we found when we used on 3300watt element on full 110amp power it was way to much power so now it is on a
        Message 3 of 14 , Mar 5 8:55 AM
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          No we did rewire to bypass both thermostats. but we found when we used on 3300watt element on full 110amp power it was way to much power so now it is on a dimmer switch which allows us to dial it down to around 660watts. don't know if this gives you any other ideas of why were getting such strange result.


          thanks,
          tumblebud

          Robert N <dinks_c@...> wrote: Welcome to the zoo tumble bud. Without much detail here I'm guessing that
          you haven't re-wired the internal element, bypassing the thermostat, so that
          it is a constant boil. If this is the case then the distillation process
          will never work.



          Yours in Spirit



          Robert N
        • novacoke
          Robert, Thanks for the reply, I m working on this with Tumble. The element is actually rated at 3500watt/240v. I am running this on 120v and it has an average
          Message 4 of 14 , Mar 5 11:40 AM
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            Robert,

            Thanks for the reply, I'm working on this with Tumble. The element is
            actually rated at 3500watt/240v. I am running this on 120v and it has
            an average draw of 5.5 amps, so its approx 660watts.

            I have rewired the element so it is wired directly, bypassing any
            thermostats or high temp shutoffs. In reality the distillation process
            is working... we are producing 80% alch, but it all has a terrible
            smell of heads. There was the very brief period where the vapor temp
            peaked at 78c and the smell disappeared but that didn't last very long
            at all before the temp dropped back down and the stench returned.

            Pic of the tower:
            http://milehidistilling.900footalien.com/images/products/distiller/43inch2in1.jpg

            Thanks for any input.


            --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Robert N" <dinks_c@...> wrote:
            >
            > Welcome to the zoo tumble bud. Without much detail here I'm guessing
            that
            > you haven't re-wired the internal element, bypassing the thermostat,
            so that
            > it is a constant boil. If this is the case then the distillation process
            > will never work.
            >
            >
            >
            > Yours in Spirit
            >
            >
            >
            > Robert N
          • Robert N
            From the limited information you have supplied I can only make a broad guess, maybe others are willing to have a stab at it as well. However my guestimate is
            Message 5 of 14 , Mar 5 4:43 PM
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              From the limited information you have supplied I can only make a broad
              guess, maybe others are willing to have a stab at it as well. However my
              guestimate is you have a couple of things going wrong. Every still operates
              differently, so it's a matter of getting the fundamentals correct, and then
              everything will fall into place.



              The best way to fix your problem's are for you to get a thorough
              understanding of the distillation process, Have a read of
              http://homedistiller.org this is quite a large web site and because of the
              number of different designs of stills out there many find it confusing to
              initially get there head around. The archives are at
              http://archive.nnytech.net/ where you can do a few searches for relevant
              topics. Finally the sister news group "new distillers" is available for just
              these sorts of questions and you will probably find answers to your archive
              searches under this news group.



              If you head over to the new distillers newsgroup and ask your questions
              there, giving more detail, such as the type of wash/mash the diameter and
              height of your boiler and tower, how you have wired up you electrical
              element etc. you will find others that can give a more definite answer to
              your problems.



              Not being familiar with the US electrical system I am not able to give
              reliable guidance, however I am betting your problem is to do with the way
              in which you have regulated your element as it sounds like you have a surge
              boil happening. Even a 30 second on off cycle will cause problems.



              Yours in Spirit



              Robert N

              _____

              From: Distillers@yahoogroups.com [mailto:Distillers@yahoogroups.com] On
              Behalf Of novacoke
              Sent: Monday, 6 March 2006 5:41 AM
              To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: [Distillers] Re: Its almost working....



              Robert,

              Thanks for the reply, I'm working on this with Tumble. The element is
              actually rated at 3500watt/240v. I am running this on 120v and it has
              an average draw of 5.5 amps, so its approx 660watts.

              I have rewired the element so it is wired directly, bypassing any
              thermostats or high temp shutoffs. In reality the distillation process
              is working... we are producing 80% alch, but it all has a terrible
              smell of heads. There was the very brief period where the vapor temp
              peaked at 78c and the smell disappeared but that didn't last very long
              at all before the temp dropped back down and the stench returned.

              Pic of the tower:
              http://milehidistilling.900footalien.com/images/products/distiller/43inch2in
              1.jpg

              Thanks for any input.





              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Gregory Bloom
              Maybe you re flooding the column, preventing free flow of vapor up and liquid back down. You can try doing a run at the lowest temp that ll just barely
              Message 6 of 14 , Mar 5 8:49 PM
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                Maybe you're flooding the column, preventing free flow of vapor up and liquid back down. You can try doing a run at the lowest temp that'll just barely sustain a simmer and see if you can (slowly) draw a constant amount of pure product off. If so, then I'd say flooding is your problem.


                kyle sorensen <tumblebud05@...> wrote: No we did rewire to bypass both thermostats. but we found when we used on 3300watt element on full 110amp power it was way to much power so now it is on a dimmer switch which allows us to dial it down to around 660watts. don't know if this gives you any other ideas of why were getting such strange result.


                thanks,
                tumblebud

                Robert N <dinks_c@...> wrote: Welcome to the zoo tumble bud. Without much detail here I'm guessing that
                you haven't re-wired the internal element, bypassing the thermostat, so that
                it is a constant boil. If this is the case then the distillation process
                will never work.



                Yours in Spirit



                Robert N





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                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • Robert Lemmen
                ... do you let your still equilibrate well enough? i had similar results when i didn t run mine at full reflux for about 15min after it reached it s
                Message 7 of 14 , Mar 6 2:13 AM
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                  On Sat, Mar 04, 2006 at 11:47:34PM -0000, tumblebud05 wrote:
                  > Hey i just started distilling a few weeks ago. we have a 30 gallon hot
                  > water heater running at 660Watts of a 3300Watt heating element, we
                  > have a 43" fractill distilation head with 30" of reflux packing. when
                  > we run the still we get vapor comeing off at about 75-76c with a bad
                  > yeasty smell, then after a while the temp went up to about 78c and we
                  > got smell-free high prof alcohol. however after about 200ml the temp
                  > droped back down to 75-76 and the smell returned. now out of a 20
                  > gallon wash that should be around 14-16% 200ml not at all what i
                  > expected for a yeild and the 2-3liters of funky smelling, high prof
                  > liquid we got off seems like a lot to be heads. Well if anyone has any
                  > ideas or advice on what im doing wrong i would apreshiate it.

                  do you let your still equilibrate well enough? i had similar results
                  when i didn't run mine at full reflux for about 15min after it reached
                  it's temperature...

                  other problems might be changing heat input or a choking/flooding
                  column. what diameter is the column?

                  cu robert

                  --
                  Robert Lemmen http://www.semistable.com
                • novacoke
                  I ll need to measure for the diameter. However, about letting it equilibrate... I m not exactly sure how I am supposed to accomplish this. Most of the reading
                  Message 8 of 14 , Mar 6 5:13 AM
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                    I'll need to measure for the diameter. However, about letting it
                    equilibrate... I'm not exactly sure how I am supposed to accomplish
                    this. Most of the reading I have done has said that one simply shuts
                    off the collection valve and let it run for a short while. The only
                    issue is that I cannot shut the collection off on my still head. The
                    rate of collection is controlled by the intensity of the boil and how
                    fast the cold water is circulating through the condenser. So it seems
                    that there isn't much I can do beyond plugging it in and letting it run.

                    Originally I was convinced we had a flooding problem because the rate
                    of collection was too fast for what I have read, and the temperature
                    of the vapor was much higher than it should be (80c+), all of which
                    were signs of flooding. To fix this I decreased the power going to the
                    heater element down to ~650watts (down from ~875watts).

                    Obviously running at 650watts will require a lot of time to bring
                    everything up to boil. To speed this process up I started out by
                    hooking the element up to 240v, so it was operating at full capacity
                    of ~3500watts. Once the temperature at the base of the column started
                    to increase I switched it back to the lower wattage to prevent any
                    accidental flooding of the column.

                    Its been said on here that more detail is needed, but I guess I don't
                    know what more detail to give. I know the system and expected
                    operation quite well (I have done my reading), I am just stumped to
                    see such an odd outcome.


                    --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Robert Lemmen <robertle@...> wrote:
                    >
                    > do you let your still equilibrate well enough? i had similar results
                    > when i didn't run mine at full reflux for about 15min after it reached
                    > it's temperature...
                    >
                    > other problems might be changing heat input or a choking/flooding
                    > column. what diameter is the column?
                    >
                    > cu robert
                    >
                    > --
                    > Robert Lemmen http://www.semistable.com
                    >
                  • Robert Lemmen
                    ... i guess that is the problem. my first still was similar: i had two condensers, one for the reflux and one for the product. the amount of reflux is
                    Message 9 of 14 , Mar 6 5:54 AM
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                      On Mon, Mar 06, 2006 at 01:13:23PM -0000, novacoke wrote:
                      > I'll need to measure for the diameter. However, about letting it
                      > equilibrate... I'm not exactly sure how I am supposed to accomplish
                      > this. Most of the reading I have done has said that one simply shuts
                      > off the collection valve and let it run for a short while. The only
                      > issue is that I cannot shut the collection off on my still head. The
                      > rate of collection is controlled by the intensity of the boil and how
                      > fast the cold water is circulating through the condenser. So it seems
                      > that there isn't much I can do beyond plugging it in and letting it run.

                      i guess that is the problem. my first still was similar: i had two
                      condensers, one for the reflux and one for the product. the amount of
                      reflux is controlled by power input to the boiler and the colling power
                      of the first condenser, all the rest is then condensed by the product
                      coller and taken off the still. while there seem to be a few people
                      around who got a setup like this working, it never did for me. one
                      problem i see is that you can't let your column equilibrate unless you
                      are able to set your first condeser to enough power (changing power
                      inpout won't help here). i finally gave up on this otherwise elegant
                      design and built a still that condeses everything and then splits into
                      product and reflux with a needle valve. works fine. if i'd be you i'd
                      try to add another reflux condenser that you can turn off after the
                      still reaches equilibrium...

                      cu robert

                      --
                      Robert Lemmen http://www.semistable.com
                    • Sven Pfitt
                      It looks like you don t have the ability to shut off the take off port, and are not able to run the still in full reflux to equilibrate. Are the two cross
                      Message 10 of 14 , Mar 6 5:54 AM
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                        It looks like you don't have the ability to shut off the take off
                        port, and are not able to run the still in full reflux to equilibrate.

                        Are the two cross tubes the only reflux control? Or is there a
                        substantial cooling coil in the top of the unit as well as the cross
                        tubes?

                        What kind of cooling water control do you have for the cross tubes?

                        Sven

                        --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "novacoke" <novacoke@...> wrote:
                        >
                        > I'll need to measure for the diameter. However, about letting it
                        > equilibrate... I'm not exactly sure how I am supposed to accomplish
                        > this. Most of the reading I have done has said that one simply shuts
                        > off the collection valve and let it run for a short while. The only
                        > issue is that I cannot shut the collection off on my still head. The
                        > rate of collection is controlled by the intensity of the boil and
                        how
                        > fast the cold water is circulating through the condenser. So it
                        seems
                        > that there isn't much I can do beyond plugging it in and letting it
                        run.
                        >
                        > Originally I was convinced we had a flooding problem because the
                        rate
                        > of collection was too fast for what I have read, and the temperature
                        > of the vapor was much higher than it should be (80c+), all of which
                        > were signs of flooding. To fix this I decreased the power going to
                        the
                        > heater element down to ~650watts (down from ~875watts).
                        >
                        > Obviously running at 650watts will require a lot of time to bring
                        > everything up to boil. To speed this process up I started out by
                        > hooking the element up to 240v, so it was operating at full capacity
                        > of ~3500watts. Once the temperature at the base of the column
                        started
                        > to increase I switched it back to the lower wattage to prevent any
                        > accidental flooding of the column.
                        >
                        > Its been said on here that more detail is needed, but I guess I
                        don't
                        > know what more detail to give. I know the system and expected
                        > operation quite well (I have done my reading), I am just stumped to
                        > see such an odd outcome.
                        >
                        >
                        > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Robert Lemmen <robertle@> wrote:
                        > >
                        > > do you let your still equilibrate well enough? i had similar
                        results
                        > > when i didn't run mine at full reflux for about 15min after it
                        reached
                        > > it's temperature...
                        > >
                        > > other problems might be changing heat input or a choking/flooding
                        > > column. what diameter is the column?
                        > >
                        > > cu robert
                        > >
                        > > --
                        > > Robert Lemmen
                        http://www.semistable.com
                        > >
                        >
                      • novacoke
                        There are only the cross tubes for reflux. The rest of the vapor is condensed in the output spout which is encased with cold water. I don t have much cooling
                        Message 11 of 14 , Mar 6 8:40 AM
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                          There are only the cross tubes for reflux. The rest of the vapor is
                          condensed in the output spout which is encased with cold water.

                          I don't have much cooling water control currently. The water pump I'm
                          using is actually one I also use for draining the water off of the
                          pool cover in the spring. I'm not sure on the GPM, but its a higher
                          output pump. The rate seems to have been sufficent and is probably
                          higher than what most people have.

                          --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Sven Pfitt" <the_gimp98@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > It looks like you don't have the ability to shut off the take off
                          > port, and are not able to run the still in full reflux to equilibrate.
                          >
                          > Are the two cross tubes the only reflux control? Or is there a
                          > substantial cooling coil in the top of the unit as well as the cross
                          > tubes?
                          >
                          > What kind of cooling water control do you have for the cross tubes?
                          >
                          > Sven
                          >
                        • morganfield1
                          Hi Nova, Lookin pretty hot, there Nova! Ok, not funny, down tho business. It looks to me like you only have the cross tubes to reflux the vapor, (sharp
                          Message 12 of 14 , Mar 6 2:48 PM
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                            Hi Nova,
                            Lookin' pretty hot, there Nova! Ok, not funny, down tho business. It
                            looks to me like you only have the cross tubes to reflux the vapor,
                            (sharp looking still, by the way) and as such, your not going to be
                            able to equalize the column. But, that's not the end of the world,
                            pot stills don't equalize either. What we need, in the way of
                            information, is what your wash is made from, how much of the
                            ingredients, what kind of yeast did you use, what was the original
                            gravity, the final gravity. How long did it ferment?
                            I don't think 650 watts is going to flood your column, I run 1000
                            watts on my 2" column. But, what are you using for packing, how
                            much. How old is the still, how and how often is it cleaned?
                            HTH
                            Tip one, Morgan

                            --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "novacoke" <novacoke@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > There are only the cross tubes for reflux. The rest of the vapor is
                            > condensed in the output spout which is encased with cold water.
                            >
                            > I don't have much cooling water control currently. The water pump
                            I'm
                            > using is actually one I also use for draining the water off of the
                            > pool cover in the spring. I'm not sure on the GPM, but its a higher
                            > output pump. The rate seems to have been sufficent and is probably
                            > higher than what most people have.
                            >
                          • waljaco
                            The location of the cooling tubes is relevant as is th type of packing. wal
                            Message 13 of 14 , Mar 8 5:20 AM
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                              The location of the cooling tubes is relevant as is th type of packing.
                              wal
                              --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Sven Pfitt" <the_gimp98@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > It looks like you don't have the ability to shut off the take off
                              > port, and are not able to run the still in full reflux to equilibrate.
                              >
                              > Are the two cross tubes the only reflux control? Or is there a
                              > substantial cooling coil in the top of the unit as well as the cross
                              > tubes?
                              >
                              > What kind of cooling water control do you have for the cross tubes?
                              >
                              > Sven
                              >
                              > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "novacoke" <novacoke@> wrote:
                              > >
                              > > I'll need to measure for the diameter. However, about letting it
                              > > equilibrate... I'm not exactly sure how I am supposed to accomplish
                              > > this. Most of the reading I have done has said that one simply shuts
                              > > off the collection valve and let it run for a short while. The only
                              > > issue is that I cannot shut the collection off on my still head. The
                              > > rate of collection is controlled by the intensity of the boil and
                              > how
                              > > fast the cold water is circulating through the condenser. So it
                              > seems
                              > > that there isn't much I can do beyond plugging it in and letting it
                              > run.
                              > >
                              > > Originally I was convinced we had a flooding problem because the
                              > rate
                              > > of collection was too fast for what I have read, and the temperature
                              > > of the vapor was much higher than it should be (80c+), all of which
                              > > were signs of flooding. To fix this I decreased the power going to
                              > the
                              > > heater element down to ~650watts (down from ~875watts).
                              > >
                              > > Obviously running at 650watts will require a lot of time to bring
                              > > everything up to boil. To speed this process up I started out by
                              > > hooking the element up to 240v, so it was operating at full capacity
                              > > of ~3500watts. Once the temperature at the base of the column
                              > started
                              > > to increase I switched it back to the lower wattage to prevent any
                              > > accidental flooding of the column.
                              > >
                              > > Its been said on here that more detail is needed, but I guess I
                              > don't
                              > > know what more detail to give. I know the system and expected
                              > > operation quite well (I have done my reading), I am just stumped to
                              > > see such an odd outcome.
                              > >
                              > >
                              > > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, Robert Lemmen <robertle@> wrote:
                              > > >
                              > > > do you let your still equilibrate well enough? i had similar
                              > results
                              > > > when i didn't run mine at full reflux for about 15min after it
                              > reached
                              > > > it's temperature...
                              > > >
                              > > > other problems might be changing heat input or a choking/flooding
                              > > > column. what diameter is the column?
                              > > >
                              > > > cu robert
                              > > >
                              > > > --
                              > > > Robert Lemmen
                              > http://www.semistable.com
                              > > >
                              > >
                              >
                            • Sven Pfitt
                              I can think of several solutions to your design. 1) make a reflux condensor and mount it on top of your assembly. This reflux condensor should be able to
                              Message 14 of 14 , Mar 8 7:35 AM
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                                I can think of several solutions to your design.

                                1) make a reflux condensor and mount it on top of your assembly. This
                                reflux condensor should be able to condense 100% of the vapour at
                                full power input. This would be a Coil condensor, shotgun condensor,
                                or similar.

                                However, you still won't be able to get 100% reflux since some vapour
                                will take your take off condensor route. This would be a big
                                improvement, but not allow you to do equilibrate the column.

                                2) make a reflux condensor to go between the main packed column and
                                the take off assembly. Again it would have to be capable of
                                condensing 100% of the vapour. With this in place you could
                                equilibrate the column, then cut back on water flow to allow some
                                vapour to pass it and flow thorugh the take off condensor.

                                The problem will be control of the water flow to control reflux.

                                (3) design a new take off assembly with full reflux control and take
                                off valve to be able to shut off your product take off path.

                                In my opinion,this would be the best approach, but is the most
                                difficult.

                                Good luck.

                                Sven

                                --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "novacoke" <novacoke@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > There are only the cross tubes for reflux. The rest of the vapor is
                                > condensed in the output spout which is encased with cold water.
                                >
                                > I don't have much cooling water control currently. The water pump
                                I'm
                                > using is actually one I also use for draining the water off of the
                                > pool cover in the spring. I'm not sure on the GPM, but its a higher
                                > output pump. The rate seems to have been sufficent and is probably
                                > higher than what most people have.
                                >
                                > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Sven Pfitt" <the_gimp98@> wrote:
                                > >
                                > > It looks like you don't have the ability to shut off the take off
                                > > port, and are not able to run the still in full reflux to
                                equilibrate.
                                > >
                                > > Are the two cross tubes the only reflux control? Or is there a
                                > > substantial cooling coil in the top of the unit as well as the
                                cross
                                > > tubes?
                                > >
                                > > What kind of cooling water control do you have for the cross
                                tubes?
                                > >
                                > > Sven
                                > >
                                >
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