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Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby limitedsky » Sun Aug 02, 2015 10:46 am

I was hoping I could get some advice on the biggest issue I have run into with my boka, cooling and condensing using a water pump. I originally made a dual 100mm 1/4" coil condenser for my 2" boka. Did a good job on it, no kinks and running it off mains worked an absolute treat. But it wasted a ton of water, so I bought a decent powered pond pump for its second run.

It was supposed to do 760LPH at .5 of a meter (the height from the water level of tank to top of boka), but it was a total fail. Without the connection to the 1/4 inch it had great output, and I wouldn't be surprised if it was 800LPH or so. But when connected to the 1/4" it hardly produced a drop. I also tried a more powerful 2nd hand bilge pump a friend sent me, but still hardly produced any output.

I then found out after some investigation that the length and size of the 1/4" coils require far more pressure than any pond or bilge pump can offer and I would have to invest in a 600-1000w transfer pump in order to produce the 1L per min or more that I needed through it. The expense of buying the pump is not really an issue (tho still need to spend $150-$200) but I just don't want to add another 600w and a big noisy pump to this set-up. Electricity is not cheap here, I'm already sucking 2400w in the boiler and it simply seems like a waste.

In a fit of frustration I thought I would use some copper leftovers I had lying around to try to make something that might work better, a 100m single 1/4" coil around a 1" cold finger. I hooked it up to the pump and managed to get about 750ml a min out of it! So fired up the boiler, and gave it a shot. It allllmost worked. If I ran it real real real slow, but the inner temp was always jumping around and it took almost constant looking after.

So back to the drawing board. I'm almost at the point of starting from scratch and building a 3 or 4" version and using 3/8 to make a dual coil. But was playing with the idea of instead just lopping the top of my 2", getting 100mm of 4" and a reducer and just placing the coil in that. But before I do that I thought I'd ask the brains trust if they had any better ideas.

Also, has anyone successfully run a 3/8 coil off a pond pump? I'd hate to go through the all this just to find out I still couldn't run off a low powered pump.
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby Maheel » Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:12 am

try wraping the cold finger in SS scrubber

have you thought of using a shotgun condenser on top ?
thats what i use now and does not create much back pressure

if you have the ceiling height thats one if the easiest ways to solve pressure / water flow issues....

or expand out the top cooling section of your boka to 3" and make a 3/8 coil / coldfinger looking thing
wrap it in SS scrubber for ome extra cooling action... (slows vapour a little and expands surface area)


pumps can be a pain in the butt...
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby limitedsky » Sun Aug 02, 2015 11:38 am

I had actually played with the idea of a shotty. The one on my pot works an absolute treat with my lil pond pump. But I kind of afraid of creating back pressure and hadn't seen any boka builds using one. You got a link or some shots/specs of yours?
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby bigfoot » Sun Aug 02, 2015 1:32 pm

I have a 3500lph pond pump that feeds a lieberg and a boka, about 8ft in height.
But I had to create a head tank up off the ground to make it work.

I have a 1000 litre water tank outside. The tank sits up on 4 pallets which helps the pressure. This gravity feeds into a 100 litre tank, that is up off the ground as high as I can get, with decent flow to match the pump flow rate. It's about a metre off the ground. The 3500 lph pump just manages to push through a perfect volume for 2400watts but a 4500 is on order.
I have the pump on a 12v battery inverted to 240, small solar panel feeds it.

Very happy with the way it all works.
Maybe you could integrate a header tank?
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby bigfoot » Sun Aug 02, 2015 2:01 pm

Not wanting to draw away from this post - I'm curious as to what temp of output is considered high?? What might the temp be that would result in product loss from evaporation....
My product comes off at 9 degrees C but a friend with just a boka has an output temp of 45 degrees C - which is getting up there...
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby Maheel » Sun Aug 02, 2015 2:24 pm

will get some pics later but the shoty is about 300mm long in 2" with 5 X 1/2 tubes running up it.
i put a little SS scrubber in each 1/2 tube to get the vapor to move about in the tubes

as for temps
when i ran a bOKA i had everything to steamy output without a liebig to 20C water temp using a liebig
i prefer it cooler for safety
now i run VM and it's at my cooling water temp
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby Yummyrum » Mon Aug 03, 2015 12:18 am

Limitedsky...I think I saw you asking similar question on Home distiller forum .
Ok so gou are in Aussie.
I have a 2" reflux with a 1/4" dual wound reflux coil .I agree you are pissing in the wind using a pond pump...they just wont work in this application.

I use a 300 watt submersible pump I got from Bunnings...cost around $70 from memory.
It is more than adiquate.
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby limitedsky » Mon Aug 03, 2015 6:14 am

Yeah posted there about it- throwing the net wide :) It's great to hear that one of those 300w submersible units will do the job. But wondering if it's not just a better idea to upgrade the condenser anyhow.
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby Yummyrum » Mon Aug 03, 2015 8:08 am

Sure but you will find that pump will be useful for other jobs like if you build a pot still for stripping washes fast ....even the bubbler guys use them. Some guys have the 900 w vesions but this would be total overkill.
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby bigfoot » Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:00 am

My pump that currently works well is 60w.
I am upgrading to 100w to future proof the set up.

I have seen the 300w submersible from bunnings...that moves an insane amount of water...with my set up, I would be concerned re the amount of pressure over kill that might create - especially if your cooling water could have any sand or particles within. Just 2 cents worth.
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby limitedsky » Mon Aug 03, 2015 11:59 am

I just don't have the ability or room of getting a set-up like yours Bigfoot i.e head tank and lifted tank. I don't use the set-up that often either. Out of interest tho, is your 100L just gravity feeding into the condenser. I.e pump from the 1000L into the 100L, then gravity feed into coil? I can't imagine that would produce anywhere near enough pressure, so I must be misunderstanding.

The pond pump I have is 60-80w (can't quite remember) and is perfect for my shotgun condenser on my pot. More pressure is not an issue for me, even the 900w thing I was looking at doesn't produce the amount of pressure that my mains water does.

I was just hoping to figure out a method that would be easily powered off my lil pond pump. Anyone running a 3/8 coil off a lil low powered pump?

Before I do chop the top off and build a better/bigger condenser and top section I'll have a go packing the my cold finger design with some scrubbers and see if it helps at all as Maheel suggested. But I've got a feeling its still going to be troublesome.
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby bigfoot » Mon Aug 03, 2015 1:13 pm

Yeah - your misunderstanding - but it's difficult to get ya head around with words - i'll try.

The outside 1000 litre tank, gravity feeds into a inside "bin"(100litres) at a full flow rate of about 2000lph.
The 'bin' that sits next to the rig - houses the small 3500lph pond pump. I try and match the flow rate from the external tank and what the pond pump puts out, so the 'bin' wont empty or wont over flow.
Initially, the bin/pump would not reach the top boka, because the pressure required to get through the Lieberg and then up to boka, so I lifted the "bin" onto a made stool - about 750mm up in the air.
The external tank still gravity feads the same amount but the bin/pump doesn't have to work anywhere near as hard. Once the water leaves the boka, it gravity falls back outside into the external tank - simply because the "bin" is not quite large enough at 100 litres to ensure water temp stays cool.

This made all the difference. If you can get a decent sized bin, as close to the lieberg as possible - then your pump should be adequate.
If you considered a wheel bin or something as a water container - then as long as you could put in a shelf 3/4 the way up the bin inside to place your pump on, then this might be the answer. Get your pump as close as possible in vertical height - to reduce the gravity restirction on the pump.
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby just sayin' » Thu Aug 06, 2015 12:31 am

Sky, you stated you have a dual cooler. How many meters of 1/4" and is it in one pass?
You can reduce your back pressure by building a wrapped cold finger with two or more parallel coils, think coiled shotgun. Four 1/4" ID tubes have the same cross sectional are as a 1/2" ID tube.
I have seen posts of the above cooler with glowing reports. Looks like a very tedious build though.
Dog300 (@HD) has had great results with a dead simple coil of corrugated stainless steel gas line tubing. Takes two minutes to build.
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby Maheel » Sun Aug 09, 2015 2:09 pm

that shotgun i was talking about.

is 320mm end to end and
4 1/2 tubes in ti with a little scrubber

is happy to run at about 2200W under a little power control
i find this column sometimes floods a little at 2400W (gets a flutter up in the shotty that i think is it flooding)

in use right now :)
i use a water tank pressure pump throttled using a valve and T return to take back excess pressure to tank and
it runs all day happy as.

pump uses a bit of power (500w?) but i do a fair size run and the product makes up for power use...
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby coffe addict » Sun Aug 09, 2015 9:23 pm

I use a parmax water supply pump available from any boat store for about $200. It draws about 10amp on 12v and it has to pump a two Metre head to get out of the boat. I have a tap to restrict the flow to about half. Works great and the top half of my condenser is cool with the top quarter at or just below room temp.
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby limitedsky » Mon Aug 24, 2015 1:38 pm

Thanks for the pic Maheel. Before jumping into a shotgun build I thought I'd try a lower powered submersible tank pump and get my tank up as high as possible. Success! Just over 1 L/m! But... still wasn't enough to keep the temp at the magic 77.6c that mains did. However by winding back the power to 50% on single 2400w element I managed to get a consistent 78c and around 95% ABV.

This was a win.. but another problem soon reared its ugly head, my tank water temp started rising super quick. Its 120L but within in hour its no longer cold and after 2hrs its warm and the boka temp has risen to 79c. Thing is its still outputting 95%ish ABV. So I'm wondering...

Is running the still a bit hot 79-80c a problem if the output is still 94%+ ABV?
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby limitedsky » Mon Aug 24, 2015 2:06 pm

Actually scratch that I wound power too low and obviously wasn't getting enough reflux, played around with power settings a bit more and settled for 65%. With 25c water in the tank the column is back to 78.1c. But I'm guessing once the tank water gets a bit hotter tho this will still increase. Should mention wash is around the 20% ABV mark, was a strip run and some tails.

My question on column temp Vs output is still relevant tho. As long as output is still above the 94-95% ABV does it matter what temp the column is? i.e are there compounds in a typical TPW or other wash that will come out at higher temps and are particularly undesirable?
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby Maheel » Mon Aug 24, 2015 8:32 pm

Temp rising indicates a lack of % in the section you are taking the temp

so + 78.4 = less than 95% (theoretically) an your temp gauge is perfect

this could mean your relfux ratio / offatke is to high for given amount of alc in mix
you could increase some power to push a bit more alc and get a little more reflux (bringing temp back to 78.4)
or lower off take to increase reflux ratio increasing % up and lowering temp to 78.4
or your just running out of ALC in the mix (and hitting tails)

all that said 94% is till very good :)

it's a balancing act finding your sweet spot between all the variables you can out into it

the cooling water can heat to a point where it just wont cope with the heat input from the boiler
this depends on the efficiency / length / size of the condenser etc

then you will need to cool / change / increase the tank of the water etc

hope that all helps (or confuses you more) :)
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby limitedsky » Tue Aug 25, 2015 9:18 am

Cheers Maheel. Managed to keep it around 77.9- 78.1 for the run, had to empty half the tank and refill with cold water as temp started to rise once the water got too warm. Output is super low, turning off completely only lowers temp about .1-.2. Tried increasing boil power but condenser couldn't cope, pressure from pump still doesn't compare to mains water pressure.

Would running far higher ABV washes help? I could double strip with the pot still and get a wash of 40+ ABV pretty easily.
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby limitedsky » Tue Aug 25, 2015 9:39 am

All and all tho, it was a super annoying run. Running my pot with its shotgun condenser is a dream in comparison. Could happily run all day with its lil 50w pond pump and even after 5hrs once the tank has warmed up to jacuzzi temperatures it seems to make no real difference.

This bloody boka runs super slow and with the pump requires almost constant attention. Running with mains is just an insane waste of water and not an option, at not till summer when I could at least water the garden. Starting to think about returning the pump and building either a similar shotgun design to yours or a 4" wide section for the top with a big 3/8+ coil or even starting from scratch and making a 3" or 4" full version.
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby bigfoot » Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:31 pm

Is it worth dumping some blocks of ice into your water?
I've seen people freeze milk cartons specifically for running - drop one in every 30 mins and bobs ya uncle.
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby Maheel » Tue Aug 25, 2015 6:59 pm

bigfoot wrote:Is it worth dumping some blocks of ice into your water?
I've seen people freeze milk cartons specifically for running - drop one in every 30 mins and bobs ya uncle.
Bf.


i think the energy to make the ice costs more than wasting water. but would have to do the clacs
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby Maheel » Tue Aug 25, 2015 7:11 pm

do you have the tools gear to build a shoty? (do you have a link to a pic of your boka)
imo it's a solution to the pump issue

my method is pretty quick and effective

here is the link to my build method
how I build my shotgun condenser
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby limitedsky » Thu Aug 27, 2015 11:57 am

Nice build page Maheel. How many litres is the tank that you use?



I built my pot still and made the shotty for that, so feel pretty confident I could pull off one for my Boka. I just don't have much time to set aside to do it.
Also a bit unsure about the top of it on your column. Is it sealed? Or do you have all 5 holes just exposed?
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby limitedsky » Thu Aug 27, 2015 6:52 pm

Made a shotty today. Well, made most of it. Bout 30cm long, and returned the overpowered pump. Still gotta do a bit of filing and think its got a leak somewhere. Still like to know what to do at the top of it.
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby Maheel » Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:27 pm

all 5 holes exposed with a little scrubber down each tube to break up vapor flow
when running it's just open to the top 5 holes pointing skywards

my tank i think is about 2000L so a reasonable size it's on the other side of wall just near my shed
i have water piped in through a window with pump out on the outlet of the tank.

i hope the shotty solves you pump / cooling issue (i reckon it will)

to test mine for leaks i put a valve on the shotty outlet and pressurise with mains supply (mine is very high) and look for any weeps / leaks
i open and shut the valve a few times to simulate some pressure changes for any fail spots etc
i test it every now and then depending on use...
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby limitedsky » Thu Aug 27, 2015 7:37 pm

Yeah, this will fix the pump issue for sure. My only worry is the tank size and hot water. I'm just using an old wheelie bin which is 100L if I'm not wrong, and although the pot seems fine running warm/hot water the shotty is almost twice the size.

So you'r running out of a big ass rain water tank then Maheel?
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby limitedsky » Sat Sep 05, 2015 5:15 pm

Works like a fucken dream! Running off a 60w pump and the most stable temp its ever had. Been running for a couple of hours now and once stacked its been stuck on 78.6c at 75% power and hasn't moved, not even .1! Tank isn't heating up too fast, be interesting to see what happens when it gets warm, but worst comes to worst I just half empty the tank and fill with cold water. Even taking off at twice the mls/per sec that I would normally the temp is stuck and so is the percentage at 95-6%!

Why isn't a shotgun suggested more commonly than a coil? It is SO much more efficient and just as easy to build in my mind!
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby Maheel » Sat Sep 05, 2015 7:03 pm

glad to hear it works :)

i agree shotty is way better than coil, i think many kick off using tap water (mains pressure) so coil is no an issue to you factor in a pump..
if you can master soldering (to a "good" level) then a shotty is pretty easy to make

thats a yes on rain water (not a super big one but)
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby limitedsky » Sun Sep 06, 2015 11:31 am

The shotty is far more effective than the coil. Plus cheaper and easier to get the bits a pieces for! The 1/4" pipe was on of the most expensive elements in the build and the single hardest to source. Winding it was a bitch of a task, especially the outer coil over the inner and I royally screwed up my first attempt by just not thinking for 1 second and accidentally putting a kink in it and making it completely useless. If you're making a Boka you're going to have to get some silver solder to make the flange, and perhaps some aqua safe soft solder to put the the plates and pipes in. You'd most likely have cut up some 2" pipe annealed it and beat it flat for the plates and if you've gone that far its really not that hard to just make a couple more plates, drill some holes and solder a few more pipes.

I ran the column for 6hrs yesterday and the water never got hot enough to make a difference, it reached a temp of 35c after about 3hrs and then stabilised. I am now feeling an amazing sense of satisfaction!

I got into this hobby to prove to myself (and friends) that you could build an effective reflux still and pot still at home that would create top-notch spirits with little effort or expenditure. And apart from the extremely annoying inability to run this Boka without wasting a ton of water or spending a bunch of cash on a high powered pump (that would also chew up a sizeable amount of kWh) I had pretty much achieved my goals. So finally finding a low powered easy solution to this is a massive relief!!

I had toyed with the idea of making a shotty for the Boka since creating one for the pot still, but after a bit of forum searching turned up pretty much jack I had half concluded that they perhaps weren't an effective solution in a vertical position at the top of column. So thanks again Maheel for telling me to go back to to my gut!

The question is... now what? :think: I have solved the problems, I have made some incredibly effective stills and produced some great spirits. I really enjoy distilling and improving recipes and experimenting with others (made a pretty incredible gin last month!) but a single run makes far more than I know what to do with!!
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby Maheel » Sun Sep 06, 2015 3:01 pm

it's a s;slippery slope....

now you might start to think "i need a bubbler / plate with 10 windows"

be careful.... lol
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby limitedsky » Wed Sep 09, 2015 8:04 am

Ha! I have thought about it. But I don't really see the point. I really don't want to up the amount of product produced, although cutting down time would be nice so I have thought about doing a VM mod to the Boka, but that's about as far as I'd take it I reckon. As it is the Boka happily produced some amazing neutral at 96% and the pot does what a pot does can be run at full boil power and produces flavourful spirits at a good percentage and at a great pace.
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby bigfoot » Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:50 pm

limitedsky wrote:The shotty is far

I had toyed with the idea of making a shotty for the Boka since

The question is... now what? :think: I have solved the problems, I have made some incredibly effective stills and produced some great spirits. I really enjoy distilling and improving recipes and experimenting with others (made a pretty incredible gin last month!) but a single run makes far more than I know what to do with!!


So if a single run makes more than enough, why not up the stakes and look to triple distilling with harsh cuts - you'll up your quality to levels reserved for the few...
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby limitedsky » Thu Sep 10, 2015 9:21 am

Good idea bigfoot. I'm pretty damn harsh with my cuts anyway due to this reason, and just did my first double distill with the last run... considering whacking it thru one more time. Also considering making a charcoal filter.. tho there seems to be quite a bit of debate over the effectiveness and its need.
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby Jims71duster » Wed Jan 06, 2016 2:23 pm

limitedsky wrote:The shotty is far more effective than the coil. Plus cheaper and easier to get the bits a pieces for! The 1/4" pipe was on of the most expensive elements in the build and the single hardest to source. Winding it was a bitch of a task, especially the outer coil over the inner and I royally screwed up my first attempt by just not thinking for 1 second and accidentally putting a kink in it and making it completely useless. If you're making a Boka you're going to have to get some silver solder to make the flange, and perhaps some aqua safe soft solder to put the the plates and pipes in. You'd most likely have cut up some 2" pipe annealed it and beat it flat for the plates and if you've gone that far its really not that hard to just make a couple more plates, drill some holes and solder a few more pipes.

I ran the column for 6hrs yesterday and the water never got hot enough to make a difference, it reached a temp of 35c after about 3hrs and then stabilised. I am now feeling an amazing sense of satisfaction!

I got into this hobby to prove to myself (and friends) that you could build an effective reflux still and pot still at home that would create top-notch spirits with little effort or expenditure. And apart from the extremely annoying inability to run this Boka without wasting a ton of water or spending a bunch of cash on a high powered pump (that would also chew up a sizeable amount of kWh) I had pretty much achieved my goals. So finally finding a low powered easy solution to this is a massive relief!!

I had toyed with the idea of making a shotty for the Boka since creating one for the pot still, but after a bit of forum searching turned up pretty much jack I had half concluded that they perhaps weren't an effective solution in a vertical position at the top of column. So thanks again Maheel for telling me to go back to to my gut!

The question is... now what? :think: I have solved the problems, I have made some incredibly effective stills and produced some great spirits. I really enjoy distilling and improving recipes and experimenting with others (made a pretty incredible gin last month!) but a single run makes far more than I know what to do with!!


Do you have any instructions to build this??
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Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby Maheel » Thu Jan 07, 2016 9:54 pm

Maheel wrote:do you have the tools gear to build a shoty? (do you have a link to a pic of your boka)
imo it's a solution to the pump issue

my method is pretty quick and effective

here is the link to my build method
how I build my shotgun condenser



look up the thread and see "my build thread"
click the blue link :)
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50L electric Kegs
and associated shed filling stuff......
Maheel
 
Posts: 876
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2012 7:20 pm
Location: Brisbane

Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby Charis » Thu Jan 07, 2016 11:11 pm

Maheel,
This may be a silly question to ask but do you put the SS scrubbers at the top of the shot gun? do you leave the top of the shot gun open so as not to build up pressure?
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Charis
 
Posts: 33
Joined: Mon Aug 31, 2015 9:06 pm
Location: Adelaide

Re: Advice on a better condenser for my 2" Boka

Postby Maheel » Sat Feb 13, 2016 1:15 pm

saw this post just now (very late)

yes a little teased out scrubber in the vapour tubes
yes just leave open no cap as you dont want any pressure that might = B-0_M-B
VM / Boka / ?
Shotgun Pot head
50L electric Kegs
and associated shed filling stuff......
Maheel
 
Posts: 876
Joined: Sat Aug 25, 2012 7:20 pm
Location: Brisbane


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