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Importance of Sight Glasses

For all the plate variations out there, bubblecap, valved, perforated etc.

Importance of Sight Glasses

Postby Drunken Unicorn » Thu Feb 06, 2014 6:28 am

I went to a craft distillery recently. The guy had a plated column with out sight glasses.

Now that I'm considering making a plated column, I think I could build one for a reasonable price without the sight glasses. My question is, what is the importance of them? To see if the chamber is flooding? Can I operate the still well without them?


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Re: Importance of Sight Glasses

Postby the Doctor » Thu Feb 06, 2014 7:30 am

DU as someone whodistills daily and who has had stills with and without sight glasses, I must advise that I consider sight glasses essential to achieving a quick and even balance of product on the plates. I monitor the depth of product on the plates during the run, and appreciate the feedback that visual inspection provides. I am for sight glasses.
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Re: Importance of Sight Glasses

Postby JayD » Thu Feb 06, 2014 8:30 am

I agree with Doc, the visual information they provide is priceless... :handgestures-thumbupright:
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Re: Importance of Sight Glasses

Postby Kapea » Thu Feb 06, 2014 9:12 am

I recently added a bubble ball to the base of my VM column. Then I ran my column the way I have been running it for years, thinking it was in a balanced state while being run that way. The bubble ball has a sight glass. I was able to watch the liquid level on the plate above the bubble caps. I was flooding the bubble ball with those settings. It turns out that I have been overdriving my column with heat and reflux valve settings that I thought were right for a balanced run.

I was able to watch the effects created by heat changes and reflux valve adjustments. Truly amazing! I learned more about how my column works in one run with a sight glass than I did in years of running without one. Well worth the extra money if you can afford it! IMHO
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Re: Importance of Sight Glasses

Postby acfixer69 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 10:39 am

Been running my plated for a couple years now and feel they are priceless for the instant feed back. You can run with out but not worth the wondering when something changes. Seeing is instant feed back and you will see differences when running. All the variables ambient air, condenser feed water temp. turn down, and take off, shows in the window.
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