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Condenser details

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    Tony, Sorry to take so long getting back to you but have been busy and also havnt made time to type the e-mail although I wrote the reply almost immediately.
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 6, 2000
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              Sorry to take so long getting back to you but have been busy and also havnt made time to type the e-mail although I wrote the reply almost immediately.
       As I suspected the use of your 50mm outer tube and 20mm inner tube would be somewhat overkill.
      I suggest you discard the 50mm (or use it for something else) and use the 20mm (3/4"). Instead of the 50mm use something close to 1 1/4" (32mm) for the outer. What you need is something like a 1/4" gap between your inner tube and outer tube. This will give you more uniform and even cooling rather than creating hot and cold spots in the condenser which under the bigger volume of water the condenser contains makes it a lot harder to get the equilibrium right and also tends to stuff up the reflux. If you go to a good plumbing merchant you should be able to obtain a couple of 1 1/4" to 3/4" reducers which in copper (unlike ss where the dimensions are the same and must be butt welded ) just slide over the pipe and are very easy to solder or braze. Brazing is superior to soldering so if possible use this method using Silphos or one of the Easyflows. With this type of setup a condenser is very easy to make and should present no problems.
      I suggest rather than using a length of 450mm that you cut this down to somewhere between 350 and 400mm max. You can drill just inside the reducers at either end and braze quarter inch tubes about 1 1/4" (32mm) long for your inlet and outlet pipes.
      If you plug the end of the inner tube with a rubber bung you can take it out occasionally from time to time to clean it out especially if it has been  sitting for some time and you also have a pressure relief outlet if you get too much pressure build up in the boiler. Failing this if you want to just cap it just extend the inner tube 3/4"  and braze a slip on cap on. This can also be drilled out and again you can use a smaller rubber bung and thermometer or whatever.
      If you want to improve the efficiency and prevent any hot and cold spots you can make a helical spiral which fits and is inserted between the two pipes by taking 600 to 750mm of 1/4" or 3/16" soft copper tube and making a coil of it wrapping it around the inner tube crimping and soldering the ends and teasing it out a bit so it creates a spiralling downward vortex of water which rapidly condenses the vapour with minimal water flow.
      If you make a smaller 2nd condenser placing this on the outlet of your needle valve to further cool the takeoff distillate you will find you can run your still  at maximum efficiency not having to drop the temperature back too much in the first condenser initially. This is a concept of mine that I have come up with that I find is a great improvement of John Stone's original design.
      Please note that the energy input ( boiler heating) is equal to energy takeoff (heat energy removed by condenser) less heat losses (radiation and convection) and heat retained (final temperature of condensate c\f to initial wort temperature). If you understand this statement properly and get everything right you will find that your system works brilliantly and gives you virtually no problems at all. Good luck with your endeavours.
      B.r., David  
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