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argh! some early problems

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  • Matt
    sometimes things just don t go like you had planned them.... I ve been running my newly-built offset-head (aka stone-nixon) still designed as per Smiley s book
    Message 1 of 1 , Sep 1, 2002
      sometimes things just don't go like you had planned them....

      I've been running my newly-built offset-head (aka stone-nixon) still designed
      as per Smiley's book on corn whiskey... 1 1/4" column, 45" long, 750w water
      heater, etc.

      First off, one major disadvantage to using a water heater as the boiler is
      that these things are filthy :) my first run was to just boil a 1/2tank or so
      of water, all kinds of oils and crud came over. I washed the column after
      that, and the water heater, with hot water and vinegar and multiple
      rinses..but it turned out to not be enough....

      I decided to make my first real run to clean up some homemade wine a friend
      had done. It wasn't vinegar but it just wasn't good wine. I added 9L of wine
      to 11L water for 20L in the tank. set everything up and ran it.

      After the boil I allowed the column to reach equilibrium for about 1.5 hours.
      It was high early on but then settled and wavered on 78.4/78.5 C. This was
      the first worry point, since the thermometer gave me 99.7C in boiling water
      but is rated +/- .3C accuracy so I ignored that (I live basically at sea

      I took off about 60ml of material, all the time the temperature was 78.5 or
      78.6 or so. It smelled awful and I continued running things. Another 250ml
      after that, and the temp was a bit higher like 78.8 and it was smelling
      slightly better but not great. Another 100ml and the same thing more or less.

      At this point it was 4 AM I had been up nearly 24hrs and on my feet almost the
      entire time. So I had to call it quits. So my notes/questions are:

      -> how do you truly clean out a water heater? This thing is just loaded with
      crap from the factory. I plan to do another water-only run for a long time to
      try to get out the last of the oils/greases/godknowswhat out of the still.

      -> why was the early temp 78.5? If we assume it's 78.2 that's ok, that would
      essentially be pure EtOH azeotrope, but the smell and told me otherwise :)
      If that's truly 78.8 then... that's even worse!

      -> is my packing not dense enough? I've been trying several cylindrical rolls
      of copper wool, 99.99% Cu, .01" diameter fibers. I thought if anything, this
      would make a cleaner product instead of using potscrubbers!

      -> is the boiler just a -tad- too hot? I'm using a 240v/3000w element at
      120v, thus 750w theoretical output.

      Anyone have any suggestions? I'm totally burnt out from finishing these
      things and being up all that time so I'm trying to figure out what's going
      on..I've come too far to give up. sorry got the long-winded email but I'm
      trying to give as much relevant info as possible :) thanks!


      Matthew @ psibercom
      psibercom.org: doing pretty much nothing for the net since 1994!
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