argh! some early problems
- 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
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!