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RE: [Distillers] For Rob - Switching (was) Re: Calm down children!

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  • Robert Hubble
    Harry, Thank you and all the others for answering my 50-year-old question about the bi-metal infinite switch. Although I currently use propane to power a
    Message 1 of 29 , Apr 1, 2006
      Harry,

      Thank you and all the others for answering my 50-year-old question about the
      bi-metal infinite switch. Although I currently use propane to power a
      potstill, I am looking at building a continuous-run reflux still after the
      one on Tony's site, so I MAY be in the market for building a good power
      controller.

      I have looked at the 555 or counter controlled SSR as mental exercises
      (while making long drives) for a long time, but I think push is coming to
      shove pretty soon now. I'm a long-time user of the Howard W. Sams
      literature, from the Sam's Fotofact "How to repair your electronic whatever"
      of the 1950's to the later cookbooks they do so well. I even worked with a
      woman who wrote one of the Sam's how to UNIX books. After reading this, I
      went straight to the cookbook section of my electronics library, and the 555
      cookbook was gone, loaned out, I guess, or maybe in a project box in the
      garage.

      Anyway, all this drove me to make a parts search for the solid-state-relay,
      and Digikey is my search-engine of choice. The Potter-Brumfield SSR-240D25,
      at $38.62 US, is opto-coupled, zero-crossing, 280V and 25A relay. For those
      who do not know, ordering almost anything through Digikey (www.digikey.com)
      is pretty easy.

      Thanks for the answer, and thanks for getting me thinking about the
      vodka-fuel still again.

      Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller




      >From: "Harry" <gnikomson2000@...>
      >Reply-To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
      >To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: [Distillers] For Rob - Switching (was) Re: Calm down children!
      >Date: Sat, 01 Apr 2006 01:57:35 -0000
      >
      >--- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Robert Hubble" <zymurgybob@...>
      >wrote:
      >
      > >
      > > My first question: what technology did the electric ranges of the
      >1950's use
      > > to gain infinite control over 220V, 2500W single element burners?
      >
      >
      >------------------------
      >Bi-metal strip contact/breaker, commonly called an 'infinite
      >switch'. Two dissimilar metals joined together back-to-back to form
      >one unit with a differential expansion rating, and it will bend if
      >there is a temperature change. When cool, the strip will put the
      >mains contacts in a 'make' condition, allowing current to flow to
      >the stove element. Current also flows through the bi-metal strip,
      >which now heats up and bends, due to differential expansion,
      >and 'breaks' the contacts. The degree of bending necessary
      >to 'break' the contacts is controlled by a cam on the dial shaft,
      >which users can set by turning the dial. In principle, they work
      >fine. The problem for our application is the time taken for the bi-
      >metal strip to cool sufficiently to 'make' the contacts. There is
      >no way to control that time lag, and thus we get 'surge-boiling' of
      >our still, which first overdrives, then collapses, the distilling
      >(separation) action in the packed column.
      >
      >In simple internal element fired potstills it is less critical, but
      >still undesirable to have lapses in power applied of some 30+
      >seconds. Non-element potstills will work ok if used on a stovetop,
      >due to the very minor fluctuation of heat in the element. Think pot
      >of boiling/simmering water. However it won't do for a stovetop
      >packed-column still. The action is destroyed, as mentioned before.
      >------------------------
      >
      >
      > >
      > > My second question arises from having recently replaced a heater
      >element on
      > > a very new kitchen range, during which process I got a chance to
      >examine the
      > > burner controllers, which I assume are triac technology, work
      >nicely,
      > > involve no obvious heat-sinking, and don't seem to generate
      >untoward
      > > electrical noise. Checking appliance parts on the web, these can
      >be had for
      > > about $16 US. Wiring is easy; 2 wires raw 220V in, 2 wires
      >controlled 2500W
      > > out to load.
      > >
      > > My second question is: why is no-one using these controllers for
      >stills?
      > >
      > > Zymurgy Bob, a simple, but troubled, potstiller
      >
      >
      >------------------------
      >Not triac technology, still the bi-metal strip setup.
      >
      >The trick for us distillers is to find a way of controlling
      >the 'rate' at which the power is switched on-off-on. If we can
      >reduce it to something less than 1 second, there will be no
      >noticeable difference in the distilling action. It will appear as
      >if the current is continuous. You might be interested in the
      >following dialog I picked up some years ago from rec. crafts.
      >brewing.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      ><extract>
      >Junior has asked me to help him with his preschool science project.
      >He wants to build an infinite power control for our 240V electric
      >heating element clad brew kettle, similar to a Bruheat Boiler.
      ><<<<
      >
      >Oohhweee, preschool and 240V already!
      >
      >
      >We want to be able to have infinite power settings to control the
      >vigor of the boil. I ran across an SSR that is an analog power
      >controller that produces a variable output from 0% to 100% for 240V
      >up to 15A...........The relay controls the power output with a 3V to
      >10V DC input. How can I make this thing work for what I want it to
      >do? What type of part can I use to vary the DC input voltage? How
      >are the 2-120V lines wired to the relay?
      ><<<<
      >
      >I am not familiar with the relay you mention above, however, what
      >follows is for the more common solid state relays:
      >
      >
      >The relay is basically an on/off device. You will find that there
      >is no difference in the operation of the relay with 3V or 10V
      >input. This is merely the range of control input needed to turn the
      >relay on. Since the relay is a solid state device, you may operate
      >it at a rapid rate to switch the power on/off.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >Or, is there an easier/better way to control the 240V feeding the
      >electric heating element? I have tried using an electric stove top
      >burner controller, but the on/off cycles produced by the controller
      >are spaced too far apart to produce a continuous and even power
      >level and boil.
      ><<<<
      >
      >
      >Correct, and the temperature variations will put much stress on the
      >element. What you need is to switch on/off at a rapid rate, I use
      >about 1/2 second as a good rule of thumb. This gives very smooth
      >control and because of the mass of the element, can be thought of as
      >continuous analog control much as a light bulb is being powered
      >on/off each 1/60 of a second but appears to be on continuously.
      >Actually it is, the filament cannot cool off in the 1/60 second
      >time, so the bulb is lighted all the time even though the power is
      >removed 60 times each second.
      >
      >
      >You can use a 555 IC timer chip in a circuit to vary the on/off from
      >0 to 100% with a 1/2 second cycle time. It is a simple circuit that
      >I have used in several controllers. You will find the circuit
      >in "THE 555 TIMER APPLICATIONS SOURCEBOOK" by Howard M. Berlin
      >published by Howard W. Sams & Co., Inc. page 32.
      >
      >
      >The output of the 555 drives the relay, the relay is wired up just
      >like a simple light switch, in series with the hot (black) wire to
      >the load. The solid state relay provides isolation between the
      >control and output terminals, so the low voltage control circuit is
      >completely protected from the AC powerline.
      ></extract>
      >
      >
      >Slainte!
      >regards Harry
      >
      >
      >

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    • Harry
      ... I have looked at the 555 or counter controlled SSR as mental exercises ... coming to ... whatever ... worked with a ... this, I ... and the 555 ... in the
      Message 2 of 29 , Apr 1, 2006
        --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Robert Hubble" <zymurgybob@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > Harry,
        >
        I have looked at the 555 or counter controlled SSR as mental
        exercises
        > (while making long drives) for a long time, but I think push is
        coming to
        > shove pretty soon now. I'm a long-time user of the Howard W. Sams
        > literature, from the Sam's Fotofact "How to repair your electronic
        whatever"
        > of the 1950's to the later cookbooks they do so well. I even
        worked with a
        > woman who wrote one of the Sam's how to UNIX books. After reading
        this, I
        > went straight to the cookbook section of my electronics library,
        and the 555
        > cookbook was gone, loaned out, I guess, or maybe in a project box
        in the
        > garage.
        >
        > Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller




        Bob, grab this & save it. It may come in handy.
        http://www.uoguelph.ca/~antoon/gadgets/555/555.html


        Slainte!
        regards Harry
      • waljaco
        If you place thermometers at say 250mm intervals up your column you will see what is going on in practice. Depending on the nature of your packing (no
        Message 3 of 29 , Apr 2, 2006
          If you place thermometers at say 250mm intervals up your column you
          will see what is going on in practice.
          Depending on the nature of your packing (no information provided) your
          75mm might be causing channeling. You could build a glass column and
          see what is happening and report on your practical experiments.
          wal


          --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "rocky_creek1" <rocky_creek@...> wrote:
          >
          > One, I haven't made any comments about burst fire controlers because
          > in the U.S. we have no need for such things, also we spell compleat as
          > complete.
          >
          > Two, you state in the book that a good amatuer collunm can be made at
          > 1 meter and 50mm diameter, and 90% can be obtained. Even at 1.5 meters
          > and 75mm you can't get 90% from an insulated column with no induced
          > reflux.I have yet to see one forumn member who has accomplished this.
          > Where is the meat?
          >
          > Rocky_creek
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Mike Nixon" <mike@> wrote:
          > >
          > > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "rocky_creek1" <rocky_creek@>
          > > wrote:
          > >
          > > What part of "no induced internal reflux" don't you understand.
          > > The fractionating still described by Mike Nixon in the complete
          > distiller is
          > > complete fiction.
          > > No one discusses this because it does not work.
          > >
          > > Brendan Keith
          > > =======================================
          > > Dear Brendan,
          > >
          > > Please stop making such a noise at the back of the class, and pay
          > attention!
          > >
          > > For a start, the book which I and Mike McCaw wrote is not "The
          Complete
          > > Distiller" but "The Compleat Distiller". You would know that if you
          > had
          > > bought a copy and learned the facts about distillation.
          > >
          > > Secondly, nothing in that book is anything close to fiction, but is
          > > indisputable hard fact proved by extensive research and established
          > practice
          > > in the distilling profession. This may challenge your cosy view
          of the
          > > cosmos, for which I'm sorry, but you will no doubt learn the truth
          > when you
          > > ascend to heaven and finally learn what you missed throughout your
          > life.
          > > Isn't it odd that many universities and colleges and now use Chapter
          > 8 of
          > > that book as a text? My goodness, they must be idiots!
          > >
          > > It seems that nobody can take a rest from reading the posts sent to
          > > Distillers without learning that such rubbish is being posted. It
          > used to be
          > > such a good forum (sorry Harry, but it needs to be said). Please
          > make sure
          > > you have your facts right before publicly displaying your ignorance.
          > How
          > > very strange it is that so many commercial distilleries now use
          > equipment
          > > designed and made by me and my colleagues. Is it perhaps because
          > they have
          > > found that this equipment is the most effective in producing
          > results? Of
          > > course, uneducated amateurs like yourself would not be able to build
          > such
          > > equipment, even if led by the nose. Please don't bother anyone with
          > > protestations that this is a "flame". You brought it on your own
          > head by
          > > your ill-conceived post.
          > >
          > > Incidentally, your comments about burst fire controllers are also
          > wide of
          > > the mark. Add electronics to your list of things to study.
          > >
          > > Mike Nixon - too old and tired now to suffer fools gladly.
          > >
          > > PS. Wal (who is far from being a fool, and for whom I have the
          > greatest
          > > admiration!):
          > > the fractionating still column described in The Compleat Distiller
          > is 50mm
          > > diameter, not length. The PDA-1 column is 305mm long. Initial
          > testing with
          > > the head we designed gave 86% solid with just 100mm column length,
          > but we
          > > wanted to be sure that users got 95-96% - which they do with
          monotonous
          > > regularity.
          > >
          >
        • Sven Pfitt
          Use the 555 link that others posted, and build a timer with a 1 second time interval. Use a comparitor with the - input feed by a 10K potentiometer wiper and
          Message 4 of 29 , Apr 3, 2006
            Use the 555 link that others posted, and build a timer with a 1
            second time interval.

            Use a comparitor with the '-' input feed by a 10K potentiometer wiper
            and a 4.7K resistor on each end (to VCC and GND).

            Take the output of the 555 timer capacitor terminal and connect it to
            the '+' terminal of the comparitor.

            Take the output of the comparitor and use it to drive the SSR-240D25
            (+ terminal to VCC, -terminal to the comparitor output). I recommend
            running the 555 and comparitor circuits on about 12V.

            You now have a burst fire controller with zero cross (minimal noise
            generation). The comparitor will turn on when the setting sees the
            ramp capacitor voltage above the potentiometer setting. The cap
            voltage varies from 1/3 to 2/3VCC. The two resistors allow you to use
            more of the ajustment range that if you simply attached the pot to
            VCC and GND without them.

            MOUSER has them (SSR-240D25) at a slightly lower price.

            Sven
            --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Robert Hubble" <zymurgybob@...>
            wrote:
            >
            > Harry,
            >
            > Thank you and all the others for answering my 50-year-old question
            about the
            > bi-metal infinite switch. Although I currently use propane to power
            a
            > potstill, I am looking at building a continuous-run reflux still
            after the
            > one on Tony's site, so I MAY be in the market for building a good
            power
            > controller.
            >
            > I have looked at the 555 or counter controlled SSR as mental
            exercises
            > (while making long drives) for a long time, but I think push is
            coming to
            > shove pretty soon now. I'm a long-time user of the Howard W. Sams
            > literature, from the Sam's Fotofact "How to repair your electronic
            whatever"
            > of the 1950's to the later cookbooks they do so well. I even
            worked with a
            > woman who wrote one of the Sam's how to UNIX books. After reading
            this, I
            > went straight to the cookbook section of my electronics library,
            and the 555
            > cookbook was gone, loaned out, I guess, or maybe in a project box
            in the
            > garage.
            >
            > Anyway, all this drove me to make a parts search for the solid-
            state-relay,
            > and Digikey is my search-engine of choice. The Potter-Brumfield
            SSR-240D25,
            > at $38.62 US, is opto-coupled, zero-crossing, 280V and 25A relay.
            For those
            > who do not know, ordering almost anything through Digikey
            (www.digikey.com)
            > is pretty easy.
            >
            > Thanks for the answer, and thanks for getting me thinking about the
            > vodka-fuel still again.
            >
            > Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller
            >
            ...snip...
          • Robert Thomas
            Wow! any chance of a diagram? Now, if you can just build the rest of the automatic cat sh*ts=cat burns device, I can stop hunting the net for solutions to my
            Message 5 of 29 , Apr 3, 2006
              Wow!
              any chance of a diagram?
              Now, if you can just build the rest of the automatic "cat sh*ts=cat
              burns" device, I can stop hunting the net for solutions to my
              inhospitable garden problem (bigG).

              Cheers
              Rob.
              p.s. Yes, Harry I'm still here, despite what I said.


              --- Sven Pfitt <the_gimp98@...> wrote:

              > Use the 555 link that others posted, and build a timer with a 1
              > second time interval.
              >
              > Use a comparitor with the '-' input feed by a 10K potentiometer wiper
              >
              > and a 4.7K resistor on each end (to VCC and GND).
              >
              > Take the output of the 555 timer capacitor terminal and connect it to
              >
              > the '+' terminal of the comparitor.
              >
              > Take the output of the comparitor and use it to drive the SSR-240D25
              > (+ terminal to VCC, -terminal to the comparitor output). I recommend
              > running the 555 and comparitor circuits on about 12V.
              >
              > You now have a burst fire controller with zero cross (minimal noise
              > generation). The comparitor will turn on when the setting sees the
              > ramp capacitor voltage above the potentiometer setting. The cap
              > voltage varies from 1/3 to 2/3VCC. The two resistors allow you to use
              >
              > more of the ajustment range that if you simply attached the pot to
              > VCC and GND without them.
              >
              > MOUSER has them (SSR-240D25) at a slightly lower price.
              >
              > Sven
              > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Robert Hubble" <zymurgybob@...>
              > wrote:
              > >
              > > Harry,
              > >
              > > Thank you and all the others for answering my 50-year-old question
              > about the
              > > bi-metal infinite switch. Although I currently use propane to power
              >
              > a
              > > potstill, I am looking at building a continuous-run reflux still
              > after the
              > > one on Tony's site, so I MAY be in the market for building a good
              > power
              > > controller.
              > >
              > > I have looked at the 555 or counter controlled SSR as mental
              > exercises
              > > (while making long drives) for a long time, but I think push is
              > coming to
              > > shove pretty soon now. I'm a long-time user of the Howard W. Sams
              > > literature, from the Sam's Fotofact "How to repair your electronic
              > whatever"
              > > of the 1950's to the later cookbooks they do so well. I even
              > worked with a
              > > woman who wrote one of the Sam's how to UNIX books. After reading
              > this, I
              > > went straight to the cookbook section of my electronics library,
              > and the 555
              > > cookbook was gone, loaned out, I guess, or maybe in a project box
              > in the
              > > garage.
              > >
              > > Anyway, all this drove me to make a parts search for the solid-
              > state-relay,
              > > and Digikey is my search-engine of choice. The Potter-Brumfield
              > SSR-240D25,
              > > at $38.62 US, is opto-coupled, zero-crossing, 280V and 25A relay.
              > For those
              > > who do not know, ordering almost anything through Digikey
              > (www.digikey.com)
              > > is pretty easy.
              > >
              > > Thanks for the answer, and thanks for getting me thinking about the
              >
              > > vodka-fuel still again.
              > >
              > > Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstiller
              > >
              > ...snip...
              >
              >
              >
              >


              Cheers,
              Rob.

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