DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser - Page 10





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  1. #181
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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    Quote Originally Posted by plunger View Post
    Are you reading the temperature at the element or at the top of the column .?Where are you supposed to read it.
    At the point that the steam leaves the upright column and enters whatever contraption you have after the column.

    So in theory one could just use the pid to read accurate temperature if you just didnt connect the relay.
    Correct but then you can get away with something way cheaper.
    The beauty of the PID is that you have infinite control.

    Also the hydrometer and ph tester you bought. Are they local bought products. I see you are using a 3 kw element. Is this not overkill or is faster better.
    The ph tester was online. The hydrometer and alcohol meter was bought from a local brew shop.

    I am a total rank amateur but the importance of the pH tester (from what I understand, from what I have read) is that washes can often stall due to an incorrect starting pH. Apparently yeast is a little fussy about it environment and the food it eats. So this I see as a critical part of the process and I want it right. Perhaps the more seasoned guys can add their experience here.

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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Leigh View Post
    I am a total rank amateur but the importance of the pH tester (from what I understand, from what I have read) is that washes can often stall due to an incorrect starting pH. Apparently yeast is a little fussy about it environment and the food it eats. So this I see as a critical part of the process and I want it right. Perhaps the more seasoned guys can add their experience here.
    yes indeed

    Lots of yeasts prefer something under 6pH. Slightly acidic.
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  3. #183
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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    Just some feedback. The cheap and nasty PID controller works a treat. It reads to the nearest degree and when you dial in a temperature it gets there and holds it. This can only bode well for the control of the process. The biggest advantage for a newbie will be to assist in making the cuts without having to guess. It also allows the newbie the freedom to concentrate on all the other things going on without constantly tweaking the knob.

    So I need to find a position to locate the thermocouple for best results. The still will in time be converted into a CCVM still so I need to keep the column clear. This is where I want to locate the thermocouple, any reason why I should not?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The red are must be kept free for a condenser coil which turns it into a CCVM.

    So the plan was to take my still on our hunt in two weeks time but the government put paid to that. So the pressure is off on getting wash done ASAP.

  4. #184
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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Leigh View Post
    Just some feedback. The cheap and nasty PID controller works a treat. It reads to the nearest degree and when you dial in a temperature it gets there and holds it. This can only bode well for the control of the process. The biggest advantage for a newbie will be to assist in making the cuts without having to guess. It also allows the newbie the freedom to concentrate on all the other things going on without constantly tweaking the knob.

    So I need to find a position to locate the thermocouple for best results. The still will in time be converted into a CCVM still so I need to keep the column clear. This is where I want to locate the thermocouple, any reason why I should not?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    The red are must be kept free for a condenser coil which turns it into a CCVM.

    So the plan was to take my still on our hunt in two weeks time but the government put paid to that. So the pressure is off on getting wash done ASAP.
    Wow a CCVM those are some big plans for the future!
    I think the proper placement for your thermometer would be on your main column below the lower part of the T as the thermometer is usually meant to go just before where the vapours can't "go back"
    Last edited by ColeGP; 2020/07/28 at 07:29 PM.
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  5. #185
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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    Like here?

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  6. #186
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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Leigh View Post
    Like here?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    There would be perfect if it leaves you the space you need for the coil later on.
    Can go a inch lower if necessary, it doesn't have to be at the "absolute" point of no return.
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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    HaHa just watching a youtubevideo where a guy reckons pid is not good.He has made me confused now.
    Andrew how do you do such nice drawings. What do you use.

  8. #188
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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    Quote Originally Posted by plunger View Post
    HaHa just watching a youtubevideo where a guy reckons pid is not good.He has made me confused now.
    Andrew how do you do such nice drawings. What do you use.
    I find that the thinking of PID is "bad" is that a person should really be watching / monitoring their distillation process (mostly from a safety point of view), most people want a PID so they can stick a big vessel under the condenser and walk away and come back and not have had the still overrun and produce tails, so it just turns the whole still off at x degrees.
    As long as you are safe and follow the "general guidelines" there is no better one way over the other.
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  9. #189
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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    Quote Originally Posted by plunger View Post
    HaHa just watching a youtubevideo where a guy reckons pid is not good.He has made me confused now.
    Andrew how do you do such nice drawings. What do you use.
    It is a free Cad Drawing program called CadStd which you can google and download. Take the free version.

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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    Quote Originally Posted by plunger View Post
    HaHa just watching a youtubevideo where a guy reckons pid is not good.He has made me confused now.
    Manual Control - You stoke the fire with another stock or two, turn up the gas flame / stove plate. This is best left for the seasoned distiller that have perfected their art.

    Fixed Control - You use a Thyristor or similar circuit to control the temperature, you generally will require an additional temperature probe to see the temperature. This for me is semi- automatic. You set your dial and the Thyristor will feed through current in pulses at the rate of the "volume" setting on the knob. So the advantage is that the element seldom gets to max temperature and the heat transfer is not dramatic. You still have to tweak it as the boiling point of the wash alters according to the % alcohol. As the alcohol evaporated so the temperature changes. These methods control the current to the element which leads to a reasonably constant temperature.

    Fully Automatic = PID, has a feed back loop which will constantly adjusts to the temperature required. So the set point (set temperature) is maintained irrespective of the altering boiling point in the wash.

    That's my take on it.

  11. #191
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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    I dont have the luxury of using a pid as mine is gas heated. But I was going to buy a pid for now and just use it as a thermometer.
    But I have found a digital thermometer with one meter cable for R90 at Mantech. He says it has a one degree accuracy.
    I might buy that. I wanted to get an analogue dial thermometer as I have tried hard to make my still look old and beaten but cant find one.

    I am quite nervous to trust my knowledge after learning you can go blind doing this.
    I can watch a million you tube videos but have such a short concentration span ,nothing sinks in. I watch tv ,two youtube videos at the same time and this forum as well as a couple of other forums.

  12. #192
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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    Quote Originally Posted by plunger View Post
    I dont have the luxury of using a pid as mine is gas heated. But I was going to buy a pid for now and just use it as a thermometer.
    But I have found a digital thermometer with one meter cable for R90 at Mantech. He says it has a one degree accuracy.
    I might buy that. I wanted to get an analogue dial thermometer as I have tried hard to make my still look old and beaten but cant find one.

    I am quite nervous to trust my knowledge after learning you can go blind doing this.
    I can watch a million you tube videos but have such a short concentration span ,nothing sinks in. I watch tv ,two youtube videos at the same time and this forum as well as a couple of other forums.
    Having a thermometer in the column is nice, but not crucial, if its more a PITA than anything else to get it in then don't bother, it helps but you wont be "incapable" of running the still without one.
    Below is an extraction of how much foreshots you should take, just follow that once your distillate comes out, then collect the rest till it "doesn't taste or smell lekker anymore".
    It gets easier the more you do it.

    Not only do foreshots contain very little ethanol, but they’re also the reason why you get that headache when you’re hungover. So this is what you want to collect—and then discard. You’ll collect the foreshots until your vapor temperature reaches about 175°F (80°C), and Rick recommends collecting at least 4 ounces per 5 gallons that you’re distilling. This would be at least 5.2 ounces for a 6.5 gallon batch, or 10.4 ounces for a 13 gallon run. Again, this is what we recommend as a minimum to collect and discard. Someone else might say you can get away with collecting less, but we just don’t think it’s worth it.
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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    A couple of things;

    1. I desperately need a piece of copper tube / pipe 28mm OD and 300mm in length. This is for my spider.

    2. I am busy making a fermentation vessel from a 50l sealable open neck plastic drum. I would like to fit a tap to the base area so that I can tap off product without getting the sediment come through. How far from the bottom of the vessel should the tap be located?

    3. I have not seen it openly stated but it would appear as if the fermentation has an exothermic reaction? Does this abate as the fermentation progresses?

  14. #194
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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Leigh View Post
    2. I am busy making a fermentation vessel from a 50l sealable open neck plastic drum. I would like to fit a tap to the base area so that I can tap off product without getting the sediment come through. How far from the bottom of the vessel should the tap be located?
    I would say not LESS than at the 5L mark. However this depends on your yeast pitching rate and the yeast propagation rate.

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Leigh View Post
    3. I have not seen it openly stated but it would appear as if the fermentation has an exothermic reaction? Does this abate as the fermentation progresses?
    Yes and yes. As the sugars deplete, the yeast goes into death or dormancy phase and the temp will drop.
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  16. #195
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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    Houston we have a problem.

    So I want to braze a parallel threaded socket to my column in order to take a compression gland fitting for a thermocouple.

    So I have a 1/2" BSP SS parallel threaded socket but the problem is that the only compression gland fittings that I can find are all NPT thread.

    As all my other fitting and design is in inches I would prefer to use BSP throughout.

    Where can I get BSP compression fittings locally?

    All these small niggles are really frustrating me now.

  17. #196
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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Leigh View Post
    Houston we have a problem.

    So I want to braze a parallel threaded socket to my column in order to take a compression gland fitting for a thermocouple.

    So I have a 1/2" BSP SS parallel threaded socket but the problem is that the only compression gland fittings that I can find are all NPT thread.

    As all my other fitting and design is in inches I would prefer to use BSP throughout.

    Where can I get BSP compression fittings locally?

    All these small niggles are really frustrating me now.
    Sounds a lot like my journey, everything has to be difficult.
    Why not get the gland fitting braised straight into the column?

    Click image for larger version. 

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    Last edited by ColeGP; 2020/08/01 at 10:41 PM.
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  18. #197
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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Leigh View Post
    Houston we have a problem.

    So I want to braze a parallel threaded socket to my column in order to take a compression gland fitting for a thermocouple.

    So I have a 1/2" BSP SS parallel threaded socket but the problem is that the only compression gland fittings that I can find are all NPT thread.

    As all my other fitting and design is in inches I would prefer to use BSP throughout.

    Where can I get BSP compression fittings locally?

    All these small niggles are really frustrating me now.
    npt and bsp are compatible to an extent.I havent really understood what you are trying to do.

  19. #198
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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    Quote Originally Posted by ColeGP View Post
    Sounds a lot like my journey, everything has to be difficult.
    Why not get the gland fitting braised straight into the column?
    I just like doing things "right". I will probably resort to this.

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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    Quote Originally Posted by plunger View Post
    npt and bsp are compatible to an extent.I havent really understood what you are trying to do.
    The thread pitches are rather different.

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    Default Re: DIY - Alcohol Pot Still using a Copper Water Geyser

    Quote Originally Posted by Andrew Leigh View Post
    The thread pitches are rather different.
    In what way.?What fitting are you dealing with.?An npt fitting will go into a bsp fitting.At least I think it does from memory.

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