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Re: Still improvement question

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  • Dene Oehme
    ... Makes sense but what about the pressure build up in the boiler and column? This thing is by no means a pressure vessel and would quickly come apart at
    Message 1 of 17 , Dec 2, 2002
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      > If you cut off the amount you take off you force it
      > back down the reflux column allowing it to redistillate
      > and hence become more pure.

      Makes sense but what about the pressure build up in the boiler and
      column? This thing is by no means a "pressure vessel" and would
      quickly come apart at the seams even under relatively low pressure.

      Dene
    • Brian Rowe
      Good point !!! Thank god you didn t follow my advice. Ok more lateral thinking needed. ... From: Dene Oehme To:
      Message 2 of 17 , Dec 2, 2002
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        Good point !!!
        Thank god you didn't follow my advice.
        Ok more lateral thinking needed.
        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Dene Oehme" <waterline@...>
        To: <new_distillers@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Monday, December 02, 2002 8:58 PM
        Subject: [new_distillers] Re: Still improvement question


        >
        > > If you cut off the amount you take off you force it
        > > back down the reflux column allowing it to redistillate
        > > and hence become more pure.
        >
        > Makes sense but what about the pressure build up in the boiler and
        > column? This thing is by no means a "pressure vessel" and would
        > quickly come apart at the seams even under relatively low pressure.
        >
        > Dene
        >
        >
        >
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      • peter_vcb
        only 50%?? are you sure of this. try putting your alcoholometer in some water to see if it is reading ok, then try it in some commercial spirits (without
        Message 3 of 17 , Dec 2, 2002
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          only 50%?? are you sure of this. try putting your alcoholometer in
          some water to see if it is reading ok, then try it in some commercial
          spirits (without sugar). does it taste like 50%. my old column was
          only 680mm packed and i easily got 92% from it (with reflux). how
          many ml/min are you collecting at. with a 1m column and a variable
          power contol you should be in the 90's even with no forced reflux. if
          you turn down the power enough the vapour will travel slowly up the
          column leading to more time for separation and if the power is low
          enough it will have sufficient internal reflux for a pure distillate.
          try aiming for about 10 or 20ml/min i.e. about 1 or 2 700ml bottles
          per hour. you mention diluting distillate back down to 10% leaving it
          strong will obviously give you a stonger output, the main reason for
          diluting back down is just to ensure your elements will still be
          covered in liquid when you are coming near the end of a run, you have
          no reason to dilute it back down since you have no elements. try
          blowing through your column to see if it is packed too tightly. also
          how are you measuring the percentage of such small amounts?




          --- In new_distillers@y..., "Dene Oehme" <waterline@o...> wrote:
          > --- In new_distillers@y..., "Dene Oehme" <waterline@o...> wrote:
          > >
          > > > Hi Dene,
          > > > Just some loose ideas...
          > > > Fill the column entirely with scrubbers,
          > > > Don't insulate the top part of the column.
          > > > Don't try to control the boiling temperature of the wash.
          > >
          > > Thanks Dirk - Giving it all a try now. Will let you know
          > > how it goes. I've also lengthened my column to just
          > > under 1 metre.
          >
          > Ok.....New Question...... I've just run the still with the
          > improvements Dirk suggested and the longer fully packed column. It
          > ran with a head temp at around 79 - 80oC for most of the run,
          > increasing gradually towards the end but never over 88 or so. How
          > come I still got a distilate of only 50% average?
          >
          > I was measuring alcohol percentage every 60 mils or so and the best
          > was the first at just under 80%. The rest were lower, dropping
          > proportionally throughout the run even though the head temp was
          still
          > around 80 degrees for most of the run. I thought with the head
          temp
          > around there I should be looking at about 90%. What am I not
          > understanding correctly??
          >
          > Thanks in advance
          >
          > Confused.
        • homedistiller
          Dene, How much distillate did you collect ? You have a very small boiler. A 4 liter wash at 10% will give you only 0.4 liter 80% (= what you measured). And for
          Message 4 of 17 , Dec 2, 2002
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            Dene,

            How much distillate did you collect ?
            You have a very small boiler. A 4 liter wash at 10% will give you
            only 0.4 liter 80% (= what you measured). And for you, this is a
            theoretical, since there isn't much to control the reflux in your
            column. Towards the end of the distillation you need much increased
            reflux to get some purity. As Peter advises, trim the heat input to
            the very minimum when you have a boil. This will give the highest
            natural reflux possible with your set-up. And indeed when you
            redistill,there is no need to dilute the distillate: it makes you
            just run in circles.

            See also Tony's site:
            http://homedistiller.org/dtw.htm#collect
            http://homedistiller.org/theory.htm#strong

            Greetings,
            Dirk

            > Ok.....New Question...... I've just run the still with the
            > improvements Dirk suggested and the longer fully packed column. It
            > ran with a head temp at around 79 - 80oC for most of the run,
            > increasing gradually towards the end but never over 88 or so. How
            > come I still got a distilate of only 50% average?
            >
            > I was measuring alcohol percentage every 60 mils or so and the best
            > was the first at just under 80%. The rest were lower, dropping
            > proportionally throughout the run even though the head temp was
            still
            > around 80 degrees for most of the run. I thought with the head
            temp
            > around there I should be looking at about 90%. What am I not
            > understanding correctly??
            >
            > Thanks in advance
            >
            > Confused.
          • Dene Oehme
            Thanks for the response Peter, Alcometer reads zero in water - heven t got anything to check the top end with. With my limited experience it does taste like
            Message 5 of 17 , Dec 2, 2002
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              Thanks for the response Peter,

              Alcometer reads zero in water - heven't got anything to check the top
              end with. With my limited experience it does taste like 50%

              > if the power is low enough it will have sufficient
              > internal reflux for a pure distillate.

              That's what I was hoping.

              I'm collecting at under 10ml/minute. Haven't worked it out exactly.

              The main reason I diluted my already collected alcohol down to 10%
              for these test runs is becasue I'm guessing that's about the strength
              of wash I'll be using once I distill some real stuff. Basically I
              wanted the still to run as close to what it will with a real wash.

              > try blowing through your column to see if it is packed
              > too tightly.

              I do that each time I assemble the column and it's always flowed fine.

              > how are you measuring the percentage of such small amounts?

              I put the alcometer in a test tube, hold the test tube under the
              condenser outlet with a magic arm, once I collect enough to get a
              reading I note it and tip the contents of the test tube into a jar
              then start refilling the test tube again. Time consuming and tedious
              but accurate I suspect.
            • Dene Oehme
              Thanks again Dirk, ... About 400ml at an average of 50%. I could have gone longer and got more out of it but when it got to producing at about 15%, I stopped
              Message 6 of 17 , Dec 2, 2002
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                Thanks again Dirk,

                > How much distillate did you collect ?

                About 400ml at an average of 50%. I could have gone longer and got
                more out of it but when it got to producing at about 15%, I stopped it
                for the day.

                > And indeed when you redistill,there is no need to dilute the
                > distillate: it makes you just run in circles.

                Yea, I realise that in the real world, if I'm after best product, I
                wouldn't do that but as I explained to Peter, I'm assuming that when I
                do a run with a real wash I'll be starting with something at about 10%
                so I wanted to simulate that situation.

                > http://homedistiller.org/theory.htm#strong

                I've been going by that graph for my assumptions regarding strength.
                That's why I raised the question earlier about why with a head temp of
                80 degrees am I still only getting 50% alcohol output.

                Regards

                Dene
              • peter_vcb
                the theory and temps you say all add up to you having good distillate especially running under 10ml/min even with no forced reflux it should be better. does
                Message 7 of 17 , Dec 2, 2002
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                  the theory and temps you say all add up to you having good distillate
                  especially running under 10ml/min even with no forced reflux it
                  should be better. does the distillate taste nice? what is its smell
                  like?

                  more technical stuff to check.
                  1 is the thermometer accurate? try it in boiling water.
                  2 is the probe reading temperature in the right place in the column?
                  it should be ideally placed right where the take off tube is.
                  3 does the probe need a certain portion to be covered? many glass and
                  digital thermometers need a certain lenght to be exposed to the
                  temperature. many digital probes have their devices 1/3 the way up.
                  this can be checked by putting the tip in boiling water to see if you
                  get 100c
                  4 is there a possible hole in your condenser side letting water
                  trickle into your distillate. this can easily happen and is hard to
                  spot with a worm type condenser like yours. at such low take offs it
                  will add up even if it is just a few drops. try removing the worm
                  from the barrel, turn the still upside down and try to fill it
                  entirely with water to spot any leaks, plug up the outlet.
                  another way to check would be to accurately measure 1 litre of water
                  and distill it until the still is totally dry, then simply measure
                  what came out and see if it is over a litre



                  --- In new_distillers@y..., "Dene Oehme" <waterline@o...> wrote:
                  > Thanks again Dirk,
                  >
                  > > How much distillate did you collect ?
                  >
                  > About 400ml at an average of 50%. I could have gone longer and got
                  > more out of it but when it got to producing at about 15%, I stopped
                  it
                  > for the day.
                  >
                  > > And indeed when you redistill,there is no need to dilute the
                  > > distillate: it makes you just run in circles.
                  >
                  > Yea, I realise that in the real world, if I'm after best product, I
                  > wouldn't do that but as I explained to Peter, I'm assuming that
                  when I
                  > do a run with a real wash I'll be starting with something at about
                  10%
                  > so I wanted to simulate that situation.
                  >
                  > > http://homedistiller.org/theory.htm#strong
                  >
                  > I've been going by that graph for my assumptions regarding
                  strength.
                  > That's why I raised the question earlier about why with a head temp
                  of
                  > 80 degrees am I still only getting 50% alcohol output.
                  >
                  > Regards
                  >
                  > Dene
                • John Vandermeulen
                  1) Alcoholmeter - you can check higher alcohol ranges by dropping the alcoholmeter into a bottle of wine, and into a bottle of vodka. The latter should give
                  Message 8 of 17 , Dec 2, 2002
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                    1) Alcoholmeter - you can check higher alcohol ranges by dropping the
                    alcoholmeter into a bottle of wine, and into a bottle of vodka. The latter
                    should give you a credible reading for 42%abv.
                    2) Leaky condenser - that suggestion is a good one. Try turning on the
                    condenser water lines, without any heat. Can you isolate the condenser? And
                    watch for water coming from the drain spout. (Which it should not.)
                    John
                  • BOKAKOB
                    It appears that your heat power is too high. try running the still with a spacers between the hot plate and the pot. you may want to use machine nuts. if it
                    Message 9 of 17 , Dec 2, 2002
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                      It appears that your heat power is too high. try running the still with a spacers between the hot plate and the pot. you may want to use machine nuts. if it works out then you will have to think how to control input power for your heating element. i am so happy i use natural gas.

                       deno752002 <waterline@...> wrote:

                      I've given my new still a few more runs.  I am finding it difficult if
                      not impossible to get the still to run with the column head
                      temperature below 90 degrees C. 

                      On the last run it stayed at about 93 degrees pretty well the whole
                      time untill the run was finished and I wound up with distilate at
                      55% which matches Tony's graph for vapour alcohol content. 

                      I want to get the percentage in the distillate up a bit - more
                      like an easily achievable 80% for which I would need a column head
                      vapour temp of about the mid 80s.  (Am I basiccally correct
                      here??) 

                      At the moment my column is 2" by 2 feet high with scrubbers for 18
                      inches in it.  Would lengething the height of the column by 380mm (15
                      inches) and adding another foot or so of scrubbers allow it to run
                      with a cooler head vapour temp?

                      If not I might just have to make an internal reflux coil for it after
                      all. 

                      Any suggestions most welcome.

                      There is a photo of the still in it's current form at;

                      http://www.oldengine.org/members/dene/still.htm

                      Thanks in advance
                      Dene
                      getctat the top of the column



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                      I can be wrong I must say.
                      Cheers, Alex...



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