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Re: Surge Boiling

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  • boe_didley
    OK thanks, What sort of controller should i be looking at? What are they usually called?
    Message 1 of 12 , Oct 27, 2008
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      OK thanks,

      What sort of controller should i be looking at? What are they usually
      called?
    • abbababbaccc
      ... A controller based on a solid state relay. I made mine from a SSR connected to a computer s parallel port. Building instruction at Simple low cost stills
      Message 2 of 12 , Oct 27, 2008
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        --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "boe_didley" <boe_didley@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > OK thanks,
        >
        > What sort of controller should i be looking at? What are they usually
        > called?
        >

        A controller based on a solid state relay. I made mine from a SSR
        connected to a computer's parallel port. Building instruction
        at "Simple low cost stills" in Harry's alcohol library and there's I
        think two versions of software in the files area of distillers group.
        You can also buy ready made units with adjustment knob.

        Cheers, Riku
      • duds2u
        What type of wash were you distilling? If it was grain based it sounds like it puked on you. This happens a lot with grains where they foam when they first
        Message 3 of 12 , Oct 27, 2008
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          What type of wash were you distilling?
          If it was grain based it sounds like it "puked" on you. This happens
          a lot with grains where they foam when they first come to the boil. A
          couple of things will help here. First bring it to the boil gently
          and second when you get the first drops of alcohol out of the
          condenser back the heat off for about ten minutes until the foam
          subsides.

          --- In new_distillers@yahoogroups.com, "boe_didley" <boe_didley@...>
          wrote:
          >
          > Hello Group.
          >
          > I've been a member a while and have spent time reading up and
          > learning.
          >
          > So eventually, i built a simple still. It is a 4.5ltr boiler with a
          > 38mm copper column, about 90cm tall. I have a 45o elbow from the
          top
          > into a jacketed condenser, which is very big. In total length, the
          > condenser is 1.5m long. I wasn't sure what sort of temperatures or
          > pressures i was dealing with, i had the copper tubing lengths so i
          > just made it big.
          >
          > The column is fixed to the boiler lid with a bulkhead fitting and
          > i've made gaskets to seal the rim while little bulldog clips hold
          the
          > lid down.
          >
          > My heating for the boiler is a hot plate, 2K adjustable.
          >
          > The first time i ran the thing, it heated up nice and slowly, but
          > when it got to 60oC, the temp rocketed and the whole thing boiled
          up
          > into a mess.
          >
          > The second time i tried a double boiler to try and act as a buffer.
          > It worked but only slightly. I did a water run to test the system,
          > but it's impossible to hold a temperature.
          >
          > Do i have this wrong? If i only use plain water will it be
          impossible
          > to keep at a steady temperature below boiling? Because it's just
          > water, will it just try and get to boiling point and that's it?
          >
          > If i had alcohol mash to distill, would the temperature go up more
          > steadily?
          >
          > I added a few thermometers inbetween run 1 and 2 for control and it
          > helped a lot with the hot plate settings. I'm constantly clicking
          it
          > on and off but there's so much lag between the knob and any real
          > world change, it's near impossible to control. The temp difference
          on
          > run two was 90oC at the boiler and 14oC at the take of point on the
          > still head.
          >
          > So it seems that the hardest part is temperature/boiler control.
          How
          > do other people do it? Is it easier when there's an alcohol
          component
          > in the water, so there's two boiling points? Would an indirect
          system
          > be better? Should i get a better hotplate or do i need to take a
          temp
          > reading somewhere else?
          >
          > Thanks for any input you guys can give.
          >
          > Cheers,
          >
          > Harry
          >
        • boe_didley
          Well, the first time round i ran through a couple of big bottles of cider from the local supermarket. Second and third runs were with plain tap water - It got
          Message 4 of 12 , Oct 28, 2008
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            Well, the first time round i ran through a couple of big bottles of
            cider from the local supermarket.

            Second and third runs were with plain tap water - It got very
            'exciting' the first time so i just wanted to learn about the running
            of the still and check it was all ok without worrying about alcohol.

            Thanks for the tip, sometimes I forget to think about whats happening
            in the boiler and always focus on the coloumn.
          • Robert Hubble
            Hi, Harry, I think at least part of your concern is a direct result of using a potstill, especially a potstill with a column. With a column- type potstill with
            Message 5 of 12 , Oct 28, 2008
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              Hi, Harry,

              I think at least part of your concern is a direct result of using
              a potstill, especially a potstill with a column. With a column-
              type potstill with the thermometer placed at the head, just
              before the vapor enters the condenser, head temperature
              is intrinsically and wildly non-linear, for the following reason.

              As energy is added to the wash in the boiler, the wash
              temperature will increase in a more or less linear fashion,
              but as long as the wash temp is less than boiling temp,
              relatively small amounts of vapor travel up the column to
              heat the thermometer at the head, and any changes in
              head temp occur much more slowly than wash temp
              changes.

              In the last very few degrees before wash temp boiling,
              however, heated vapor starts moving in the column, and
              head temp rockets up, and by the time you actually see
              head temp in the range you expect for distillation, your
              wash may already be at a full boil. If that wash is a foamy
              one, like rum, you may already be puking foam through
              your condenser.

              I also run a potstill with an unpacked column, and it's a
              great still design for flavored boozes, and I also have to
              deal with the head-temp non-linearity you must deal with.
              I use a digital kitchen thermometer with a remote probe
              for my head thermometer, and it includes a programmable
              temperature alarm. I start each run with that alarm set to
              40C. (Using propane heat) I turn the gas on full until the
              alarm goes off. I then turn the gas down to perhaps 1/3
              and watch like a hawk as the head temp increases. At
              perhaps 60C I turn the gas on lowest and watch the head
              temp creep up to whatever the wash's starting temp is.

              If I'm stilling a rum wash, I may set the alarm at 30C.

              As far as the wild fluctuations *after* you first start
              boiling, I haven't a clue.

              Oh, And two comments inline.

              I hope this helps.

              "boe_didley" boe_didley@...   boe_didley wrote:

              >Hello Group.

              >I've been a member a while and have spent time reading up and
              >learning.

              >So eventually, i built a simple still. It is a 4.5ltr boiler with a
              >38mm copper column, about 90cm tall. I have a 45o elbow from the top
              >nto a jacketed condenser, which is very big. In total length, the
              >condenser is 1.5m long. I wasn't sure what sort of temperatures or
              >pressures i was dealing with, i had the copper tubing lengths so i
              >just made it big.

              >The column is fixed to the boiler lid with a bulkhead fitting and
              >i've made gaskets to seal the rim while little bulldog clips hold the
              >lid down.

              >My heating for the boiler is a hot plate, 2K adjustable.

              >The first time i ran the thing, it heated up nice and slowly, but
              >when it got to 60oC, the temp rocketed and the whole thing boiled up
              >nto a mess.

              >The second time i tried a double boiler to try and act as a buffer.
              >It worked but only slightly. I did a water run to test the system,
              >but it's impossible to hold a temperature.

              >Do i have this wrong? If i only use plain water will it be impossible
              >to keep at a steady temperature below boiling? Because it's just
              >water, will it just try and get to boiling point and that's it?

              YES

              >If i had alcohol mash to distill, would the temperature go up more
              >steadily?

              NO

              >I added a few thermometers inbetween run 1 and 2 for control and it
              >helped a lot with the hot plate settings. I'm constantly clicking it
              >on and off but there's so much lag between the knob and any real
              >world change, it's near impossible to control. The temp difference on
              >run two was 90oC at the boiler and 14oC at the take of point on the
              >still head.

              >So it seems that the hardest part is temperature/boiler control. How
              >do other people do it? Is it easier when there's an alcohol component
              >in the water, so there's two boiling points? Would an indirect system
              >be better? Should i get a better hotplate or do i need to take a temp
              >reading somewhere else?

              >Thanks for any input you guys can give.

              >Cheers,

              >Harry


              --
              Zymurgy Bob, a simple potstller
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