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PID controller

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  • lapsnuit
    Hello, Currently I am running a gas fueled reflux still. Over the weekend I ran 2 batches of about 22 liters each. The result of this first run is alcohol of
    Message 1 of 29 , Jul 9, 2002
      Hello,

      Currently I am running a gas fueled reflux still.
      Over the weekend I ran 2 batches of about 22 liters each.
      The result of this first run is alcohol of about 70%

      The 1st liter or so will be at 85% however. But I think it's
      normal the percentage lower during the run.

      If I run it a second time it will end around 80% normally.

      This is way too low I would think. In my opinion it's caused by the
      fact that the temperature is not really good controlable also I have
      to work outside with open gas burning and the wind is a serious
      problem I did find out.

      Also I do not like the smell of the alcohol that's collected.
      It just does not smell crisp and clear.

      What I want to do now is get a new stainless steel boiler instead
      of the copper one I am using now, put a heating element of 3Kw in it
      connect to a relais an have a PID controller with a thermo coupler
      do the work for me.

      Would this give me a better result ? Since the temperature is so
      finely controlled does it really matter if you are still refluxing ?

      Can someone tell me about it ?

      Cheers.
    • Tony & Elle Ackland
      ... The refluxing is critical. For example, if you had the most perfectly controlled pot still, it wont give you a high purity product. The purity works by
      Message 2 of 29 , Jul 10, 2002
        > Would this give me a better result ? Since the temperature is so
        > finely controlled does it really matter if you are still refluxing ?

        The refluxing is critical. For example, if you had the most perfectly
        controlled pot still, it wont give you a high purity product. The purity
        works by having the rising vapour and falling liquid swap the alcohol and
        water between each other. Without reflux, or a suitable height of packing,
        you wont get high purity. What diameter and height is your column, and
        what do you use for packing in it ?

        Tony
      • B Morey
        ... From: lapsnuit To: Sent: Wednesday, July 10, 2002 2:50 PM Subject: [Distillers] PID controller Hello,
        Message 3 of 29 , Jul 10, 2002
          ----- Original Message -----
          From: "lapsnuit" <lapsnuit@...>
          To: <Distillers@yahoogroups.com>
          Sent: Wednesday, July 10, 2002 2:50 PM
          Subject: [Distillers] PID controller


          Hello,

          Currently I am running a gas fueled reflux still.
          Over the weekend I ran 2 batches of about 22 liters each.
          The result of this first run is alcohol of about 70%

          The 1st liter or so will be at 85% however. But I think it's
          normal the percentage lower during the run.

          If I run it a second time it will end around 80% normally.

          This is way too low I would think. In my opinion it's caused by the
          fact that the temperature is not really good controlable also I have
          to work outside with open gas burning and the wind is a serious
          problem I did find out.

          Also I do not like the smell of the alcohol that's collected.
          It just does not smell crisp and clear.

          What I want to do now is get a new stainless steel boiler instead
          of the copper one I am using now, put a heating element of 3Kw in it
          connect to a relais an have a PID controller with a thermo coupler
          do the work for me.

          Would this give me a better result ? Since the temperature is so
          finely controlled does it really matter if you are still refluxing ?

          Can someone tell me about it ?

          Cheers.




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        • Ackland, Tony (CALNZAS)
          ... Poor temperature wont help, particularly if its surging - ie causing it to boil for a while, then switching off due to a thermostat etc. A PID should help
          Message 4 of 29 , Jul 10, 2002
            > About 130 centmeter packed with scrubbers-rings-scrubber-rings-
            > scrubbers and water tru U in the beginning. Basically copied from the
            > partyman book. Diameter 42 mm
            >
            > I see as the main reason for the failure insuffcient temperature
            > control.

            Poor temperature wont help, particularly if its surging - ie causing it to boil for a while, then switching off due to a thermostat etc. A PID should help this, or I just prefer the option of leaving it running a full tit and making sure that the diameter is suitable to cope with the full load of vapour and reflux. A 42mm column should be fine around the 2kW mark but might choke with 3kW.

            I'd suggest two other changes

            1) type of packing - replace the rings with scrubbers (so that its all only scrubbers). Scrubbers (if not overpacked) take up less space than rings etc, and hence leave more room for the vapour and reflux. They also provide more surface area and hence produce higher purity.

            2) position of the two cooling tubes - is this at the base of your column ? If so, the reflux it produces doesnt get to drip down over very much of the packing - all the packing above them is basically wasted / not doing anything. You need to produce your reflux ABOVE the packing, so that the liquid gets to spread out over all the packing and mingle for as long as possible against the rising vapour. Without this time spent mingling, when the vapour gives up its water and takes on some alcohol from the liquid, you wont get purity increases either. Can you turn your column end-for-end so that the reflux tubes are at the top ?

            Tony
          • jelliclemoon5
            ... causing it to boil for a while, then switching off due to a thermostat etc. My set-up uses a thermostat type temp controller and I ve been dreaming of
            Message 5 of 29 , Jul 12, 2002
              --- In Distillers@y..., "Ackland, Tony (CALNZAS)" <Tony.Ackland@c...>
              wrote:
              > Poor temperature wont help, particularly if its surging - ie
              causing it to boil for a while, then switching off due to a
              thermostat etc.

              My set-up uses a thermostat type temp controller and I've been
              dreaming of getting something more precise, but just recently I've
              changed the way I do my runs to very good effect.

              These days I'm double-distilling washes. I.e. letting my reflux still
              go more like a pot still without keeping that close an eye on water
              pressure thru the cooler or the setting on the thermostat. This gives
              you a cleaner start to the next run, without the old yeast from the
              wash, fusil oils, etc.

              The second run I do with the output from the first (plus some added
              water to stop the element getting uncovered, of course). I keep a
              much closer eye on it, adjusting the flow of cooling water and the
              thermostat to keep the temp at the top of the column at the right
              level for the stuff I'm collecting off (methanol, etc, first).

              The last time I did this it was particularly successful as I managed
              to get the temp sitting at 78 degrees for a couple of hours without
              having to fiddle with anything. I kept checking it, expecting it to
              vary all over the place but it just refused to budge. I was
              consistently getting 95%+ ABV output, and a very happy feeling.

              I usually manage to get good output from a very closely-watched first
              run, but after moving to a double-distilling M.O. I'm hooked. I've
              also stopped drooling at the mention of the word 'triac'...

              Kev.
            • bradr36
              hi this is my first time posting, i d like like to start off by saying thanks to all in this forum (very informative and some very intelligent members here),
              Message 6 of 29 , Mar 25, 2004
                hi this is my first time posting, i'd like like to start off by
                saying thanks to all in this forum (very informative and some very
                intelligent members here), have gotten tons of ideas and information
                from all of you.
                thanks again

                My question is about operating temperature.
                if doing a 95% takeoff run from a valved refux (home distill
                apparatus, 3500w and 1500w)maintaining temperature is not a problem,
                but if try to run without any reflux or packing to get a lower
                percentage(flavor run), temperature controll is a problem.

                does anyone use a PID controller to maintain operating temperature
                for their still? Looks like this would be alot easier to operate
                instead of using a triac,variac,variable transformer or switching
                elements from 240v to 110v.

                Seen this on homedistiller.org in the control section
                PID controllers
                John wrote ...
                Hello - for all you PID-disadvantaged; this off the web -
                http://hbd.org/kroyster/definition.html .. "a PID temperature
                controller does the same thing as Rodney Morris's temperature
                controller only better. It is a miniature computer the size of a
                small radar detector that takes a temperature reading of the wort via
                a thermocouple and adjusts the power to the heating element
                accordingly. Its sophisticated "brain" actually "learns" how your
                system reacts and uses calculus to determine how to boost your
                temperatures to your desired set point as fast as possible and then
                backs the power off as it gets close so as not to over shoot the set
                point temperature. So now I simply enter the set point temperature on
                the digital read out and it does the rest! "
                Mecakyrios advices ..
                You can buy them from the same place that the article author bought
                his: http://www.omega.com/ppt/pptsc.asp?ref=CN8590&Nav=heap01

                Now, when you go to the web site, you will see many different options
                as to what you can purchase. This is where I recommend you to go to
                the originating web site of the article:http://hbd.org/kroyster/

                Once you get there, click on the link on the left hand side of the
                page that says "Design Details." This will take you to a page that
                explains his "Recirculating Infusion Mash System." If you scroll down
                toward the bottom of the "Design Details" page, you will find the
                author's details about how he used his unit. NOTE: the link that the
                author has on his web site to the manufacturer of his PID is not
                correct anymore. They, Omega, has re-arranged their web site a bit.
                The link that I have posted at the top is the corrected page.

                Tim wrote ..
                "PID" is an acronym for "Proportional, Integral, Derivitive". This
                means the device uses calculus in its calculations. This also means
                that the device incorporates a microprocessor and operating software.
                So, to build one of these would be a SERIOUS project in and of
                itself. It would take HUNDREDS of hours to design, build and write
                the code for one of these. I've been building and programming
                microprocessor controlled devices for years - and I wouldn't attempt
                one of these.

                I use a controller from a company called "CAL Controls". I purchased
                one new several years ago for about $120. Two months ago I purchased
                the same model from a surplus place for $50. They're out there if you
                keep looking. I imagine that any temperature-type PID controller
                would do the job.

                ..I use mine in a RIMS (that's another TLA... a three-letter-
                acronym ;-) ) That means "Recirculating Infusion Mash System". When I
                do a mash for beer brewing, the PID controller monitors the mash
                temperature. The wort (same as the wash in distilling) is
                recirculated from the bottom of the mash tun, through a pump, past an
                in-line heating element, past the thermocouple, and back into the top
                of the mash tun. The controller has an "autotune" or "learn" mode.
                When this mode is activated, the controller turns on the heater full-
                blast for a short time. It then monitors the rate of temperature rise
                and the resulting temperature achieved in a specific amount of time.
                It then "knows" how your system behaves. That way it can turn on the
                heat to get a maximum temperature in the shortest amount of time, and
                then start turning the heater off and on (very quickly) to control
                the approach to the setpoint. This results in reaching the setpoint
                as quickly as possible, but not going over the setpoint. Then, when
                the temperature begins to drop (normal cooling of the system), the
                controller gives the heater just enough power to keep the temp where
                you want it. You should expect to be +/- 1 degree C from the
                setpoint. In a still, this means that when the alcohol is about gone
                and the temp starts to rise, your heater will turn off and the
                distillate will stop. It will, however keep the remaining wash at the
                setpoint, so some water vapor will still be condensing.

                Check these out:
                o http://www.cal-controls.com/ look under "Temperature
                Controllers" - Mine is the 9900
                o http://www.omega.com/ppt/pptsc.asp?ref=CN9000A&nav=temp03 I
                think Omega just re-sells CAL Controls' devices...

                these guys are using a PID to maintain temperature for their RIMS,
                beer mashes, wondering if this would work or if there is any
                advantages or disadvantages(cost) in using this for distilling. Cost
                shouldn't be a disadvantage if this would allow somewhat hands off
                operation

                Sorry about the long post the only reason i pasted that section from
                homedistiller.org was that i haven't found any discussion about a PID
                in our achieves and thought it would be interesting to all.

                any feed back would be greatly appreciated
              • random9988
                ... A PID controller is a fine tool to control power with (wish I didn t drown mine in water). Piece of advice though how to use it. Don t put the temperature
                Message 7 of 29 , Mar 25, 2004
                  > any feed back would be greatly appreciated

                  A PID controller is a fine tool to control power with (wish I didn't
                  drown mine in water). Piece of advice though how to use it. Don't
                  put the temperature sensor at the top, put it 10-50 cm down from the
                  top in the packing and set it for 78.5 C, this has a great
                  advantage, the top of the still should have 78.1 C but it's better
                  to make sure that the strength is good even a bit down in the
                  packing otherwise your spirits can become poor, the controller runs
                  the still too fast if you place the sensor at the top.

                  I've tested something similar; a thermostat controls a solenoid
                  valve out product outlet. The thermostat is placed about half up the
                  column, if the temp is too high it closes the valve, alcohol build
                  up in the column and it opens again. It is necessary to have a
                  needle valve in serial with the solenoid valve to reduce flow from
                  the top otherwise it can drain the column from alcohol. A PID
                  controller should run the still more smoothly than a thermostat. But
                  since the thermostat was placed a bit down in the packing it reacts
                  in time before strength in the top change.
                  The PID model I used probably wouldn't been a good choice for
                  controlling a solenoid valve since the pulses was the short.
                  Anyway.. just want to mention an alternative solution.


                  //Johan
                • bradr36
                  Thanks, Johan Haven t bought a PID yet but will keep that in mind when when i get one.
                  Message 8 of 29 , Mar 26, 2004
                    Thanks, Johan
                    Haven't bought a PID yet but will keep that in mind when when i get
                    one.
                  • Robert N
                    Hi Brad, I have looked into installing a PID into my still but the dollars to buy one are prohibitive and it is not flexible enough to do everything. The guys
                    Message 9 of 29 , Mar 26, 2004
                      Hi Brad, I have looked into installing a PID into my still but the dollars
                      to buy one are prohibitive and it is not flexible enough to do everything.



                      The guys you mentioned were using the PID in a mashing situation which in
                      that process they need to keep the temperature from escalating higher, thus
                      they avoid destroy the mash. The difference between using a PID in this
                      process and distilling is quite different. In the distilling process, within
                      reason, if you have a still that is well designed and constructed, the
                      temperature at the collection point remains the same when the boiling wash
                      has 10% or more alcohol in it. The liquid in the still's boiler will only
                      boil at the temperature set by the sum of the chemical compounds within the
                      boiler. In other words the temperature of the contents of the boiler will
                      only rise if you change the content of the boiler. This happens as we remove
                      ethanol from the boiler through the process of distillation.



                      If you use a PID to control things then the PID will turn the heating
                      element on and off several times a minute in order to maintain the boiling
                      point of the wash at a temperature to keep the head temperature of a reflux
                      still at 78.4C or what ever temperature you so dial in. The PID is a good
                      way of controlling your still especially if it is a faulty design; you can
                      use one large element to do everything from the heat up onwards.



                      What it won't allow you to do is drive the still harder and this is why
                      people go for dual elements or variable power controllers such as the
                      Sutronics kit. With one of these items you can add more heat thus increasing
                      the vapour speed up the tower while maintaining the temperature of the still
                      head. By using a variable power controller you can collect the heart of the
                      run a lot quicker than with a PID. Sure it's not as hands off, but who wants
                      to go to sleep when they are running their still, it's too much fun.



                      Yours in Spirit



                      Robert



                      _____

                      From: bradr36 [mailto:bradr36@...]
                      Sent: Friday, 26 March 2004 7:31 AM
                      To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                      Subject: [Distillers] PID controller



                      hi this is my first time posting, i'd like like to start off by
                      saying thanks to all in this forum (very informative and some very
                      intelligent members here), have gotten tons of ideas and information
                      from all of you.
                      thanks again

                      My question is about operating temperature.
                      if doing a 95% takeoff run from a valved refux (home distill
                      apparatus, 3500w and 1500w)maintaining temperature is not a problem,
                      but if try to run without any reflux or packing to get a lower
                      percentage(flavor run), temperature controll is a problem.

                      does anyone use a PID controller to maintain operating temperature
                      for their still? Looks like this would be alot easier to operate
                      instead of using a triac,variac,variable transformer or switching
                      elements from 240v to 110v.
                      snip..

                      snip...


                      these guys are using a PID to maintain temperature for their RIMS,
                      beer mashes, wondering if this would work or if there is any
                      advantages or disadvantages(cost) in using this for distilling. Cost
                      shouldn't be a disadvantage if this would allow somewhat hands off
                      operation

                      Sorry about the long post the only reason i pasted that section from
                      homedistiller.org was that i haven't found any discussion about a PID
                      in our achieves and thought it would be interesting to all.

                      any feed back would be greatly appreciated









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                    • jimpuchai
                      ... dollars ... everything. ... Hello Robert, I came to a similar conclusion when I looked into this. The two element approach gives some flexibility, and if
                      Message 10 of 29 , Mar 27, 2004
                        --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Robert N" <dinks_c@y...> wrote:
                        > Hi Brad, I have looked into installing a PID into my still but the
                        dollars
                        > to buy one are prohibitive and it is not flexible enough to do
                        everything.
                        >
                        >
                        Hello Robert,
                        I came to a similar conclusion when I looked into this. The two
                        element approach gives some flexibility, and if you have a power
                        controller of the Sutronics type you can push things along a bit.
                        However,I am tending towards the approach that monitors the vapour
                        space temperature, and by controlling a product output valve, uses a
                        variable amount of product drawn to keep the temperature where you
                        require it.
                        In a well set up fractioning still, with properly chosen element for
                        normal running, this would serve to maximise the throughput and also
                        to slow the output to zero when the increased reflux caused by less
                        product drawn could no longer keep the vapour space at the desired
                        temperature. This approach may also require some control of heating
                        power.

                        It looks like it may well be time to dust off the assembly language
                        again. My previous experience with "Pics" was a strong tendency to
                        add more features, and never quite knowing when enough was enough.
                        The thought also occurs, that a PID used in this contrary way may do
                        a much more useful job controlling the product output solenoid valve
                        than being used to control the heating element(s)

                        Cheers,

                        Jim P.
                      • jimpuchai
                        ... do ... valve ... Oops. Sorry Johan. I see that a previous post of yours covers this very topic. Great minds etc. . . . . . . Jim P.
                        Message 11 of 29 , Mar 27, 2004
                          > The thought also occurs, that a PID used in this contrary way may
                          do
                          > a much more useful job controlling the product output solenoid
                          valve
                          > than being used to control the heating element(s)
                          >
                          > Cheers,
                          >
                          > Jim P.

                          Oops. Sorry Johan. I see that a previous post of yours covers this
                          very topic. Great minds etc. . . . . . .

                          Jim P.
                        • Robert N
                          Yes Jim, both Johan and I have discussed this very idea previously, I also think Tony Ackland has played with the idea of controlling the offtake tap with a
                          Message 12 of 29 , Mar 27, 2004
                            Yes Jim, both Johan and I have discussed this very idea previously, I also
                            think Tony Ackland has played with the idea of controlling the offtake tap
                            with a solenoid if my memory serves me. Unfortunately my computing knowledge
                            doesn't allow me to write code.



                            Robert



                            _____

                            From: jimpuchai [mailto:puchai4@...]
                            Sent: Saturday, 27 March 2004 8:23 PM
                            To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: [Distillers] Re: PID controller



                            --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Robert N" <dinks_c@y...> wrote:
                            > Hi Brad, I have looked into installing a PID into my still but the
                            dollars
                            > to buy one are prohibitive and it is not flexible enough to do
                            everything.
                            >
                            >
                            Hello Robert,
                            I came to a similar conclusion when I looked into this. The two
                            element approach gives some flexibility, and if you have a power
                            controller of the Sutronics type you can push things along a bit.
                            However,I am tending towards the approach that monitors the vapour
                            space temperature, and by controlling a product output valve, uses a
                            variable amount of product drawn to keep the temperature where you
                            require it.
                            In a well set up fractioning still, with properly chosen element for
                            normal running, this would serve to maximise the throughput and also
                            to slow the output to zero when the increased reflux caused by less
                            product drawn could no longer keep the vapour space at the desired
                            temperature. This approach may also require some control of heating
                            power.

                            It looks like it may well be time to dust off the assembly language
                            again. My previous experience with "Pics" was a strong tendency to
                            add more features, and never quite knowing when enough was enough.
                            The thought also occurs, that a PID used in this contrary way may do
                            a much more useful job controlling the product output solenoid valve
                            than being used to control the heating element(s)

                            Cheers,

                            Jim P.










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                          • random9988
                            Great minds etc. . . . . . . ... hehe :) no problem. In my continuous still I have this setup right now (or should I say had, I dismounted it yesterday, it
                            Message 13 of 29 , Mar 27, 2004
                              Great minds etc. . . . . . .
                              >
                              > Jim P.

                              hehe :) no problem.

                              In my continuous still I have this setup right now (or should I say
                              had, I dismounted it yesterday, it became boring). A valve at the
                              top is controlled by a thermostat low down on the rectifier, I have
                              run that for a week and it works fine.

                              Actually I don't use a solenoid valve. I have one but it leaks some,
                              it has to have pressure to close completely.
                              So I made a closing gizmo with an air pump for aquarium.

                              Works like this:

                              A single reducer at the top,
                              hose from that that goes down 20 cm, then a U bend up, there is a
                              needle valve to reduce flow some, above the needle valve is a Y
                              connector, one hose goes up and _above_ the outlet from the single
                              reducer. about 5 cm above the reducer, than down to a vessel. the
                              other connection on the Y connector is connected to an air pump.

                              If the air pump is turned off, alcohol will fill the hose but you
                              get no product since the hose that the product should come out from
                              is above the single reducer. When the air pump is turned on it feeds
                              air to the hose and pushes out product all the time. It works fine
                              but is not as good as a solenoid valve because when the air pump is
                              turned off, product isn't turned off right away. It has to fill the
                              hose at the top before it stops removing product.
                              I can make a picture I suppose, but I'm lazy, let me know if you
                              want one.

                              //Johan
                            • jimpuchai
                              ... say ... have ... some, ... Hello Robert and Johan, Very ingenious. Sometimes though, it is easier to throw a little money at a problem. You need a pump.
                              Message 14 of 29 , Mar 27, 2004
                                --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "random9988" <mugg@h...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Great minds etc. . . . . . .
                                > >
                                > > Jim P.
                                >
                                > hehe :) no problem.
                                >
                                > In my continuous still I have this setup right now (or should I
                                say
                                > had, I dismounted it yesterday, it became boring). A valve at the
                                > top is controlled by a thermostat low down on the rectifier, I
                                have
                                > run that for a week and it works fine.
                                >
                                > Actually I don't use a solenoid valve. I have one but it leaks
                                some,
                                > it has to have pressure to close completely.
                                > So I made a closing gizmo with an air pump for aquarium.
                                >
                                > Works like this:

                                Hello Robert and Johan,
                                Very ingenious. Sometimes though, it is easier to throw a little
                                money at a problem.

                                You need a pump. More specifically a pump that is self priming, that
                                has a variable flow rate from zero to 1.2 Litre per hour, that won't
                                leak when stopped, that won't siphon and that won't contaminate your
                                product. Go here.

                                http://www.iprocessmart.com/apt/so100.htm

                                The peristaltic pump has long had a wide use in medicine and
                                industrial process control. They have been really expensive for some
                                time but are now dropping in price. You still need to use a micro
                                processor for your feedback, but even ready made units that can be
                                bent to this use are available.
                                If you have ever wondered how a tea and coffee dispensing machine
                                works, think peristaltic pump.

                                You will notice too that the peristaltic pump is actually the
                                missing piece to complete the "Clean Line" still to the satisfaction
                                of those who don't like siphons. They are normally self priming to
                                more than a metre.


                                Is that the sound of smashing piggy-banks I hear??

                                Jim P.
                              • Andrew Forsberg
                                Hi Jim, ... Nice! Funnily enough Johan and I have been talking off list about dosage pumps for aquariums -- they behave in pretty much exactly the same way. A
                                Message 15 of 29 , Mar 27, 2004
                                  Hi Jim,

                                  > You need a pump. More specifically a pump that is self priming, that
                                  > has a variable flow rate from zero to 1.2 Litre per hour, that won't
                                  > leak when stopped, that won't siphon and that won't contaminate your
                                  > product. Go here.
                                  >
                                  > http://www.iprocessmart.com/apt/so100.htm

                                  Nice! Funnily enough Johan and I have been talking off list about dosage
                                  pumps for aquariums -- they behave in pretty much exactly the same way.

                                  A friend of mine is currently building one out of a windscreen wiper
                                  motor, and a variable mosfet pulse transistor to adjust the speed, both
                                  cheap as chips from automotive suppliers (he's an automotive engineer /
                                  electrician). He was going to send through some pics this week, I'll
                                  chase him on it. Anyhow -- the one he's making / made for me will take
                                  12mm hose since I use 12mm for most of my fittings. Obviously it's
                                  fairly trivial to make the receptacle for the hose larger or smaller.

                                  Anyhow, when it's up and running I can post the schematics if you like.
                                  He had all the bits in his garage, but said it'd cost around $30 to $40
                                  NZD to buy them new.

                                  Another nice thing to have would be a pinch solenoid, but they tend to
                                  cost the earth and then some.

                                  Cheers
                                  Andrew
                                • jimpuchai
                                  ... didn t ... Hello Johan, I think you are saying that you may have inadvertently soaked your PID with water. Please note that this is not always terminal for
                                  Message 16 of 29 , Mar 27, 2004
                                    --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "random9988" <mugg@h...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > > any feed back would be greatly appreciated
                                    >
                                    > A PID controller is a fine tool to control power with (wish I
                                    didn't
                                    > drown mine in water).

                                    Hello Johan,
                                    I think you are saying that you may have inadvertently soaked your
                                    PID with water.
                                    Please note that this is not always terminal for modern electronics.
                                    Many PID's have an external supply that would be un-affected by a
                                    splash or two. If the pcb board was soaked with clean water you may
                                    want to try a careful drying period with WARM air for some days then
                                    place it in a bag with silica gel crystals for a few more days. In
                                    particular look for moisture trapped under components close to the
                                    board.

                                    If the device was contaminated with dirty fluids you should
                                    carefully wash it with warm water using a dash of dish-washing
                                    liquid and a soft brush. Two good rinses to follow and a third with
                                    distilled or de-ionized water. Then on to the warm air routine.

                                    I have saved a useful number of items in this manner, but as always
                                    your mileage my vary.

                                    Jim P.
                                  • Robert N
                                    How is this for an idea, on my refractionating still? If I placed a thermocouple where I usually place my thermometer just below the condenser, and then
                                    Message 17 of 29 , Mar 27, 2004
                                      How is this for an idea, on my refractionating still? If I placed a
                                      thermocouple where I usually place my thermometer just below the condenser,
                                      and then connect it to a solenoid control valve via a PID. The solenoid will
                                      open and shut on the command of the PID. This solenoid control valve is
                                      placed in lieu of the needle valve. I can then set the PID to say 79C; it
                                      will stop the collection of spirit once the temperature starts to climb. The
                                      shutting action will then allow the column temperature to drop back to below
                                      the set figure and the solenoid will again allow ethanol to flow out for
                                      collection. Obviously if the solenoid was working too hard you could insert
                                      a needle valve downstream of the control valve to restrict the flow rate. An
                                      LED could be added to allow you to see whether the solenoid is actuating.
                                      The boiler heat would be quite independent of the PID. Has this idea been
                                      tried?



                                      Johan wouldn't this idea be similar to the code you were going to write for
                                      the computer to control things? It would just mean that there is no means of
                                      recording a log file, if you ever wish to.



                                      Some feedback as to whether this idea has merit and I will investigate the
                                      supply of a control valve. The bloke next door just happens to manage a Tyco
                                      branch...



                                      Yours in spirit



                                      Robert



                                      _____

                                      From: jimpuchai [mailto:puchai4@...]
                                      Sent: Sunday, 28 March 2004 8:53 AM
                                      To: Distillers@yahoogroups.com
                                      Subject: [Distillers] Re: PID controller



                                      --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "random9988" <mugg@h...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > Great minds etc. . . . . . .
                                      > >
                                      > > Jim P.
                                      >
                                      > hehe :) no problem.
                                      >
                                      > In my continuous still I have this setup right now (or should I
                                      say
                                      > had, I dismounted it yesterday, it became boring). A valve at the
                                      > top is controlled by a thermostat low down on the rectifier, I
                                      have
                                      > run that for a week and it works fine.
                                      >
                                      > Actually I don't use a solenoid valve. I have one but it leaks
                                      some,
                                      > it has to have pressure to close completely.
                                      > So I made a closing gizmo with an air pump for aquarium.
                                      >
                                      > Works like this:

                                      Hello Robert and Johan,
                                      Very ingenious. Sometimes though, it is easier to throw a little
                                      money at a problem.

                                      You need a pump. More specifically a pump that is self priming, that
                                      has a variable flow rate from zero to 1.2 Litre per hour, that won't
                                      leak when stopped, that won't siphon and that won't contaminate your
                                      product. Go here.

                                      http://www.iprocessmart.com/apt/so100.htm

                                      The peristaltic pump has long had a wide use in medicine and
                                      industrial process control. They have been really expensive for some
                                      time but are now dropping in price. You still need to use a micro
                                      processor for your feedback, but even ready made units that can be
                                      bent to this use are available.
                                      If you have ever wondered how a tea and coffee dispensing machine
                                      works, think peristaltic pump.

                                      You will notice too that the peristaltic pump is actually the
                                      missing piece to complete the "Clean Line" still to the satisfaction
                                      of those who don't like siphons. They are normally self priming to
                                      more than a metre.


                                      Is that the sound of smashing piggy-banks I hear??

                                      Jim P.








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                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                    • jimpuchai
                                      ... condenser, ... solenoid will ... valve is ... 79C; it ... climb. The ... back to below ... out for ... could insert ... flow rate. An ... actuating. ...
                                      Message 18 of 29 , Mar 28, 2004
                                        --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Robert N" <dinks_c@y...> wrote:
                                        > How is this for an idea, on my refractionating still? If I placed a
                                        > thermocouple where I usually place my thermometer just below the
                                        condenser,
                                        > and then connect it to a solenoid control valve via a PID. The
                                        solenoid will
                                        > open and shut on the command of the PID. This solenoid control
                                        valve is
                                        > placed in lieu of the needle valve. I can then set the PID to say
                                        79C; it
                                        > will stop the collection of spirit once the temperature starts to
                                        climb. The
                                        > shutting action will then allow the column temperature to drop
                                        back to below
                                        > the set figure and the solenoid will again allow ethanol to flow
                                        out for
                                        > collection. Obviously if the solenoid was working too hard you
                                        could insert
                                        > a needle valve downstream of the control valve to restrict the
                                        flow rate. An
                                        > LED could be added to allow you to see whether the solenoid is
                                        actuating.
                                        > The boiler heat would be quite independent of the PID. Has this
                                        idea been
                                        > tried?
                                        >
                                        >
                                        Hello again Robert,
                                        On the face of it that would seem to be a workable system. In
                                        practise, I think it may have a problem or two.
                                        My thoughts go like this. In a properly set up fractioning column we
                                        use our grey cell computer to establish a stable state that produces
                                        alcohol at the vapour temperature that represents the main run. The
                                        slower we set the output drip the less attention we need pay to the
                                        system to keep it in equilibrium. Happily, this also produces the
                                        most neutral product.
                                        Now, if we become impatient and progressively raise the drip rate,
                                        we are moving from a stable state to a more and more unstable state.
                                        There is less and less reflux and as a result the vapour temperature
                                        starts to rise. We will get more product but it is no longer exactly
                                        what we want. It now has some higher temperature components with it
                                        and is not so palatable.
                                        The challenge then, is to automatically control things so we are
                                        constantly on the very edge of the stable state as we go through our
                                        entire wash, and remain neatly balanced there. I came to the
                                        conclusion that it would be very difficult to do this with an on/off
                                        system to control a product output solenoid.
                                        Conceivably, if the solenoid was driven by a variable mark/space
                                        which was derived from the temperature you could get close, and
                                        quite likely wear out a few solenoid valves in the process.

                                        This was where the peristaltic pump came into the idea. The slightly
                                        more expensive pumps are driven by a stepper motor. By using a micro-
                                        processor and controlling the rotation speed of the motor with
                                        constantly updated information from a fast response thermistor or
                                        RTD, you should be able to smoothly maintain that position on the
                                        very edge between stable and unstable states. There are a few
                                        gotchas of course. Two that come to mind are the thermal lag in the
                                        still itself, and another being the hysteresis in your temperature
                                        measurement system. There are others. These are unknowns that could
                                        take a fair bit of analysis to understand.

                                        It would be technically interesting to devote some real time and
                                        money to getting the absolute maximum output, at the best quality,
                                        in the shortest time, for the least effort. It would also mean that
                                        I, for one, would need a new hobby. There is a challenge to
                                        producing a good drop, with simple equipment, which really drives my
                                        interest. As I stated in an earlier post, I think the whole feedback
                                        control system thing is a bit over the top for a hobby. If you were
                                        doing it for a living, that would be different.

                                        I am still wandering down the path toward the best still, most
                                        easily made, with the least parts, for the lowest cost. There is a
                                        serious risk that, if I minimize it too much, I may never be able to
                                        find it to use !!

                                        Cheers,

                                        Jim P.
                                      • Austin Smith
                                        That how I clean the remote control in my favorite bar. Just take it home, remove the batteries and soak, agitate, soak, agitate, in clean warm water, then
                                        Message 19 of 29 , Mar 28, 2004
                                          That how I clean the remote control in my favorite bar. Just take it home, remove the batteries and soak, agitate, soak, agitate, in clean warm water, then dry in the toaster oven using the dehydrate feature. Works like a charm.

                                          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                        • CR Sound
                                          in clean warm water, then dry in the toaster oven using the dehydrate feature. Works like a charm. ... On cleaning with soapy water , don t use dish soap
                                          Message 20 of 29 , Mar 28, 2004
                                            in clean warm water, then dry in the toaster oven using the
                                            dehydrate feature. Works like a charm.
                                            >
                                            On cleaning with "soapy water", don't use dish soap with Lemmon Oil,
                                            Or Orange Oil as these will EAT UP THE METAL Etchings on the Board.
                                            Found this out after soaking a R/C Boat Radio, yes the hard way.
                                            Over-The-Rail N Down-The-Hatch,,
                                          • random9988
                                            ... electronics. ... may ... then ... with ... always ... Thanks for the advice, I dried it for a few days and tested it but it didn t work. This was about 7
                                            Message 21 of 29 , Mar 28, 2004
                                              > Hello Johan,
                                              > I think you are saying that you may have inadvertently soaked your
                                              > PID with water.
                                              > Please note that this is not always terminal for modern
                                              electronics.
                                              > Many PID's have an external supply that would be un-affected by a
                                              > splash or two. If the pcb board was soaked with clean water you
                                              may
                                              > want to try a careful drying period with WARM air for some days
                                              then
                                              > place it in a bag with silica gel crystals for a few more days. In
                                              > particular look for moisture trapped under components close to the
                                              > board.
                                              >
                                              > If the device was contaminated with dirty fluids you should
                                              > carefully wash it with warm water using a dash of dish-washing
                                              > liquid and a soft brush. Two good rinses to follow and a third
                                              with
                                              > distilled or de-ionized water. Then on to the warm air routine.
                                              >
                                              > I have saved a useful number of items in this manner, but as
                                              always
                                              > your mileage my vary.
                                              >
                                              > Jim P.

                                              Thanks for the advice, I dried it for a few days and tested it but
                                              it didn't work. This was about 7 years and I haven't seen it for a
                                              while so I guess I throwed it away.

                                              //Johan
                                            • random9988
                                              ... condenser, ... solenoid will ... valve is ... 79C; it ... climb. The ... back to below ... out for ... could insert ... flow rate. An ... actuating. ...
                                              Message 22 of 29 , Mar 28, 2004
                                                --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "Robert N" <dinks_c@y...> wrote:
                                                > How is this for an idea, on my refractionating still? If I placed a
                                                > thermocouple where I usually place my thermometer just below the
                                                condenser,
                                                > and then connect it to a solenoid control valve via a PID. The
                                                solenoid will
                                                > open and shut on the command of the PID. This solenoid control
                                                valve is
                                                > placed in lieu of the needle valve. I can then set the PID to say
                                                79C; it
                                                > will stop the collection of spirit once the temperature starts to
                                                climb. The
                                                > shutting action will then allow the column temperature to drop
                                                back to below
                                                > the set figure and the solenoid will again allow ethanol to flow
                                                out for
                                                > collection. Obviously if the solenoid was working too hard you
                                                could insert
                                                > a needle valve downstream of the control valve to restrict the
                                                flow rate. An
                                                > LED could be added to allow you to see whether the solenoid is
                                                actuating.
                                                > The boiler heat would be quite independent of the PID. Has this
                                                idea been
                                                > tried?
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > Johan wouldn't this idea be similar to the code you were going to
                                                write for
                                                > the computer to control things? It would just mean that there is
                                                no means of
                                                > recording a log file, if you ever wish to.
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > Some feedback as to whether this idea has merit and I will
                                                investigate the
                                                > supply of a control valve. The bloke next door just happens to
                                                manage a Tyco
                                                > branch...
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > Yours in spirit
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                > Robert
                                                >
                                                >
                                                >
                                                This works fine Robert if you don't put the sensor at the top. I
                                                have controlled a valve with a thermostat as I mentioned in an
                                                earlier message. Since it worked fine with a thermostat it sure will
                                                work fine with a PID controller (unless the pid give too short
                                                pulses, not sure how it regulates that). With a thermostat the temp
                                                down in the column will oscillate. This is not a problem if the
                                                column is tall enough, about a metre is fine. But with a PID
                                                controller it wont oscillate much at all. Obvously it isn't
                                                necessary to have a PID for this but it wont hurt, you can run you
                                                still a bit faster without loosing quality compared to a thermostat.
                                                A nice extra feature is that the amount of tails become very little
                                                if any at all.

                                                I'm also into dosage pumps, like them a lot and the next still will
                                                have 5 of them to control everything. The models I'll use will be
                                                turned on and off, they don't have adjustable speed. On/off is good
                                                enough.

                                                About the program, it won't do this, but I'll try to find a PID-dll
                                                so I can try it. If not I'll make a simple pid routine myself, there
                                                are examples on the net.

                                                //Johan
                                              • Andrew Forsberg
                                                ... The windscreen wiper motors have two speeds by default: fast, and slow; with a transistor they can vary between 0 and the maximum for each gear. We re not
                                                Message 23 of 29 , Mar 28, 2004
                                                  > I'm also into dosage pumps, like them a lot and the next still will
                                                  > have 5 of them to control everything. The models I'll use will be
                                                  > turned on and off, they don't have adjustable speed. On/off is good
                                                  > enough.

                                                  The windscreen wiper motors have two speeds by default: fast, and slow;
                                                  with a transistor they can vary between 0 and the maximum for each gear.
                                                  We're not sure what the rpms are yet. Turns out that poor Scott is
                                                  having a hell of a time finding bearings large enough for 12mm hose...
                                                  Might downgrade it to 6mm after all! :)

                                                  Cheers
                                                  Andrew
                                                • bradr36
                                                  ... my ... feedback ... to ... thanks, johan, andrew, jim and robert on feedback on PID i guess i would have to agree with jim on his reply above i like the
                                                  Message 24 of 29 , Mar 29, 2004
                                                    > It would be technically interesting to devote some real time and
                                                    > money to getting the absolute maximum output, at the best quality,
                                                    > in the shortest time, for the least effort. It would also mean that
                                                    > I, for one, would need a new hobby. There is a challenge to
                                                    > producing a good drop, with simple equipment, which really drives
                                                    my
                                                    > interest. As I stated in an earlier post, I think the whole
                                                    feedback
                                                    > control system thing is a bit over the top for a hobby. If you were
                                                    > doing it for a living, that would be different.
                                                    >
                                                    > I am still wandering down the path toward the best still, most
                                                    > easily made, with the least parts, for the lowest cost. There is a
                                                    > serious risk that, if I minimize it too much, I may never be able
                                                    to
                                                    > find it to use !!
                                                    >
                                                    > Cheers,
                                                    >
                                                    > Jim P.

                                                    thanks, johan, andrew, jim and robert on feedback on PID
                                                    i guess i would have to agree with jim on his reply above
                                                    i like the idea about using a thermocouple to control output,thanks
                                                    guys got some new knowledge there.
                                                    of course that setup would be used on an valved reflux still.
                                                    still having a problem understanding on how andrew and johan are
                                                    using a dosage pump for collection.
                                                    it sound like they are using the pump insted of a solenoid to control
                                                    output by temperature.
                                                    if yall find the cheaper pump that yall like the most please pass on.

                                                    since i can aquire a pid from a r&m project at work, i will
                                                    definantly play with these ideas, always like new toys and see what i
                                                    can do with them.

                                                    i think though we got away from my original question. i have a home
                                                    distillation apparatus, valved relux with 3500w and 1500w element
                                                    that works great 600 - 800 ml/hr @ 95%. it actually work to good when
                                                    i tried to run it without packing with needle valve fully open with a
                                                    variable transformer controling element, still getting 90%. i guess
                                                    with the long column i was still having reflux occuring.
                                                    was trying to collect a lower percentage to see the differance in
                                                    flavor of product.
                                                    i think what i am going to do is build a pot still head like brain
                                                    solenoids and make this interchangable with my valved reflux on my
                                                    boiler.
                                                    i still think i will try using the pid to controll the operating
                                                    temperature until the % goes away (should notice that pid will stay
                                                    off longer at the preset temperature to maintain that temperature, i
                                                    think)(pid also has a status light) than just use the variable
                                                    transformer to collect tails.
                                                    overall: use both elements to bring up to operating temp,swicth to
                                                    pid for collection, then switch to variable transformer for tails
                                                    do yall think this would work.

                                                    thank again
                                                    brad
                                                  • Andrew Forsberg
                                                    ... Hi Brian I am playing around with designs for a continuous still, Johan s *wayyyy* ahead of me and is onto mark IV, or something like that anyway. I plan
                                                    Message 25 of 29 , Mar 29, 2004
                                                      > still having a problem understanding on how andrew and johan are
                                                      > using a dosage pump for collection.

                                                      Hi Brian

                                                      I am playing around with designs for a continuous still, Johan's
                                                      *wayyyy* ahead of me and is onto mark IV, or something like that anyway.

                                                      I plan to use a dosage pump to introduce mash at a slow, but potentially
                                                      thermostatically controlled, rate. Not sure whether I want to be able to
                                                      adjust the input, or just the collection from the first to the second
                                                      column. Anyway, I'm not sure how Johan's planning to use 5 of these
                                                      puppies, but at the least it would be to control output from column 1
                                                      (the stripping and tails removing column) into column 2 (the heads and
                                                      ethanol separating column). Unless he's planning a three, four, or five
                                                      column still with one or two dosage pumps per column. :) I just want to
                                                      be on the mailing list for his digital pics of the finished beast! :)




                                                      > since i can aquire a pid from a r&m project at work

                                                      Lucky you!

                                                      >
                                                      > i think though we got away from my original question. i have a home
                                                      > distillation apparatus, valved relux with 3500w and 1500w element
                                                      > that works great 600 - 800 ml/hr @ 95%. it actually work to good when
                                                      > i tried to run it without packing with needle valve fully open with a
                                                      > variable transformer controling element, still getting 90%. i guess
                                                      > with the long column i was still having reflux occuring.
                                                      > was trying to collect a lower percentage to see the differance in
                                                      > flavor of product.

                                                      Have you tried it at 3500W with no packing and a fully open needle
                                                      valve? And you're still getting 90%? Phew! You could try using a shorter
                                                      column (say 15 - 20cm) with the same still head, and see what you get.
                                                      That might be less hassle than building a good goose neck still head.
                                                      Or, simply monitor your cuts, and include more heads and tails for
                                                      flavour. Sounds like you built a very efficient still there. Congrats.

                                                      Cheers
                                                      Andrew
                                                    • bradr36
                                                      hey Andrew ... puppies :) I just want to be on the mailing list for his digital pics of the finished beast! :) Love to see that too!! ... still head, and see
                                                      Message 26 of 29 , Apr 1, 2004
                                                        hey Andrew

                                                        >Anyway, I'm not sure how Johan's planning to use 5 of these
                                                        puppies :) I just want to be on the mailing list for his digital pics
                                                        of the finished beast! :)
                                                        Love to see that too!!

                                                        >You could try using a shorter column (say 15 - 20cm) with the same
                                                        still head, and see what you get.
                                                        good idea might try that sounds like it would work

                                                        > That might be less hassle than building a good goose neck still
                                                        head.
                                                        i still would like to have a good goose neck head

                                                        Or, simply monitor your cuts, and include more heads and tails for
                                                        flavour.
                                                        i do this now, when include tails product is good, but the middle
                                                        cuts is alot better (very clean).
                                                        middle cuts should be awesome if ran off at a lower %

                                                        thanks again,
                                                        Brad
                                                      • random9988
                                                        ... pics ... I would love to see it as well :) The plan is to build a still that is going to be real easy to operate and it has to be discrete and as small as
                                                        Message 27 of 29 , Apr 1, 2004
                                                          --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "bradr36" <bradr36@y...> wrote:
                                                          > hey Andrew
                                                          >
                                                          > >Anyway, I'm not sure how Johan's planning to use 5 of these
                                                          > puppies :) I just want to be on the mailing list for his digital
                                                          pics
                                                          > of the finished beast! :)
                                                          > Love to see that too!!
                                                          >

                                                          I would love to see it as well :)

                                                          The plan is to build a still that is going to be real easy to
                                                          operate and it has to be discrete and as small as possible.
                                                          Hopefully rather energy effective.

                                                          I've tested continuous setup now with two columns and I'm ready to
                                                          make a more permanent version of that in stainless steel. The reason
                                                          for all the pumps are:

                                                          Mash in

                                                          waste mash out (not necessarly to have a pump for that but the
                                                          benefit is that the boiler can be lower than the outlet)

                                                          One pump to feed alcohol+heads from column 1 to column 2 that
                                                          separates head and alcohol.

                                                          One pump for head

                                                          And finally one for product.

                                                          Since the flow from the pumps is supposed to be accurate, it should
                                                          be easy to have full control of reflux ratio, feed, how much product
                                                          is removed per hour and so on. I got a laptop to control the still.

                                                          Aircooled with cirkulated water. 25 temp sensors to measure columns,
                                                          air in and out and so on.

                                                          Everything is going to be in a case except the computer. The only
                                                          connectors are feed in, waste mash out, product out, power and
                                                          computer control.
                                                          I'll make a pdf when it's finally done that describes it. got the
                                                          parts for the column, the sensors, computer. But need the pumps and
                                                          hoses and so on. It'll take at least 4 more months before it's done.
                                                          No hurry..


                                                          //Johan
                                                        • bradr36
                                                          hey Johan, ... what type of sofware will you use or are you creating your own to control inputs and outputs ... can t wait ... No hurry.. time and patience is
                                                          Message 28 of 29 , Apr 2, 2004
                                                            hey Johan,

                                                            >I got a laptop to control the still.
                                                            what type of sofware will you use or are you creating your own to
                                                            control inputs and outputs

                                                            >I'll make a pdf when it's finally done that describes it.
                                                            can't wait

                                                            >It'll take at least 4 more months before it's done.
                                                            No hurry..
                                                            time and patience is everything in this hobby especially when
                                                            designing something

                                                            go for it
                                                            Brad
                                                          • random9988
                                                            ... I ll make my own in delphi. I made a program to test the tempsensors quite a while back but haven t put any energy to develop it further yet. With the
                                                            Message 29 of 29 , Apr 2, 2004
                                                              --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "bradr36" <bradr36@y...> wrote:

                                                              > what type of sofware will you use or are you creating your own to
                                                              > control inputs and outputs

                                                              I'll make my own in delphi. I made a program to test the tempsensors
                                                              quite a while back but haven't put any energy to develop it further
                                                              yet. With the dallas 18b20 sensors it's really easy to measure temp
                                                              (compared to many other solutions) and use a lot of sensors.
                                                              I'll build the still first, test it manually, then I'll add the
                                                              sensors and make the program.

                                                              Chris, search for dallas 18b20 on google, think this will solve what
                                                              you want.

                                                              //Johan
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