the modern distiller

VM Cleaning run - so what's going wrong?

VM Cleaning run - so what's going wrong?

Postby kimbodious » Sat Apr 30, 2016 3:49 pm

Loaded up the boiler with 18 litres of 50% vinegar solution. Turned power controller to 2200w element flat out. Gate valve shut off.

Fluid escaping from the top of the dephlegmator! :-o looks like I have flooded the column?!

So this is what I have done in reaction:
Backed off power controller to what I call my sweet spot (for TPW wash).
Opened up gate valve to drain off excess liquid in column.
Closed gate valve again and even with the power controller backed off fluid is still escaping from the top of the dephlegmator!

I can breathe down the column so I don't think it is too tightly packed. I do have two centering rings in the column drilled out to 25mm but if I can breathe down the column with those in they can't be choking the column?
I do have scrubbers stuffed down each tube in the dephlegmator.

Suggestions? Tips? Words of condolence? Help please!
--
50L Beer keg boiler, 2200W element
Modular SS Pot Still 2"
Modular SS CCVM Reflux Column 2"
Modular SS Gin Head 2"
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Re: VM Cleaning run - so what's going wrong?

Postby kimbodious » Sat Apr 30, 2016 4:11 pm

Okay so I have removed the scrubbers from the dephlegmator and there's no more liquid escaping. Up at the dephlegmator it is making the spattering sound you get when water drips on to a hot frypan but there is still steam escaping. On the other hand I can hear the liquid refluxing from three metres away. So I have backed the power controller even more and looks like I will be able to knock all the steam down. Phew!
--
50L Beer keg boiler, 2200W element
Modular SS Pot Still 2"
Modular SS CCVM Reflux Column 2"
Modular SS Gin Head 2"
kimbodious
 
Posts: 473
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:56 pm
Location: The deep North of Queensland, Australia

Re: VM Cleaning run - so what's going wrong?

Postby kimbodious » Sat Apr 30, 2016 5:17 pm

Let's hope others can learn from my chaotic attempts at stilling :)

I backed the power controller right back and let everything cool down. I lightly packed some scrubbers in the dephlegmator. I have slowly brought up the power controller and the temperature in the tee has stabilised at 100. That spattering noise is quite audible from the dephlegmator but there is no heat steam or whatever escaping out the top.

My mistake(s) Overwhelming the column with vapour by having everything turned flat out and Packing the tubes in the dephlegmator too tightly - what was I thinking?! I hope you've all had good entertainment at my expense!
--
50L Beer keg boiler, 2200W element
Modular SS Pot Still 2"
Modular SS CCVM Reflux Column 2"
Modular SS Gin Head 2"
kimbodious
 
Posts: 473
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:56 pm
Location: The deep North of Queensland, Australia

Re: VM Cleaning run - so what's going wrong?

Postby kimbodious » Sat Apr 30, 2016 10:26 pm

Great wash up. Upended the column and when hosing out the two sections could see the distinct columnar flow via the centering rings. Water came out initially quite brown and turbid but quickly cleared and with no discernible taste.
--
50L Beer keg boiler, 2200W element
Modular SS Pot Still 2"
Modular SS CCVM Reflux Column 2"
Modular SS Gin Head 2"
kimbodious
 
Posts: 473
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:56 pm
Location: The deep North of Queensland, Australia

Re: VM Cleaning run - so what's going wrong?

Postby bigfoot » Sun May 01, 2016 5:42 pm

I've had this happen previously, with my boka .
If the water temp is up, if the second element is still on, iffy he water flow is impeded, it doesn't knock down the vapour and it escapes through the top...
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Re: VM Cleaning run - so what's going wrong?

Postby kimbodious » Sun May 01, 2016 7:38 pm

Hey Bigfoot, it is kind of "interesting" when something that is not sposed to happen does happen. I had streams of liquid running down all that lovely stainless steel. The dephlegmator was making a fist of condensing the vapour but the condensate couldn't get down past all that packing! You really only start learning when things aren't turning out right!

As for impeded cooling flow, I am wondering about the necessity for the needle valve I've set up on the cooling exhaust side of the dephlegmator.
--
50L Beer keg boiler, 2200W element
Modular SS Pot Still 2"
Modular SS CCVM Reflux Column 2"
Modular SS Gin Head 2"
kimbodious
 
Posts: 473
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:56 pm
Location: The deep North of Queensland, Australia

Re: VM Cleaning run - so what's going wrong?

Postby bigfoot » Sun May 01, 2016 8:02 pm

I learn something every run...because as you've said - there is always something that doesn't quite go to plan...no matter how small. But that's where ya learnings are.

You can see how the pressure builds really quickly...if there were no escape holes in the top cappings, a large bomb would be building...and building...and building.
Bf
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Re: VM Cleaning run - so what's going wrong?

Postby kimbodious » Sun May 01, 2016 8:57 pm

Okay so when things were running more like I'd expected I stood on a chair to put my little finger down one of the tubes in the condenser to feel what the temperature was, it felt cool-cold. The other thing I felt was slight suction ?! could that be possible?
--
50L Beer keg boiler, 2200W element
Modular SS Pot Still 2"
Modular SS CCVM Reflux Column 2"
Modular SS Gin Head 2"
kimbodious
 
Posts: 473
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:56 pm
Location: The deep North of Queensland, Australia

Re: VM Cleaning run - so what's going wrong?

Postby S-Cackalacky » Sun May 01, 2016 11:01 pm

Could any of it have anything to do with it NOT being an alcohol run?
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Re: VM Cleaning run - so what's going wrong?

Postby kimbodious » Sun May 01, 2016 11:44 pm

Good question, I wondered the same thing. The vapourisation temperature point would certainly be different and the density of that vapour might be that none would split off at the tee and "fall out" down the Liebig.

I've got a couple of 24 litres fermenters of TPW to strip, maybe I won't wait to ferment any more and give this next lot of low wines a go through the VM?

My wife reckons my panic stations reaction was pretty funny.

I am an excitable kid still at heart, so keen to get cracking with the cleaning run on the new still that I didn't think things through properly. One thing is for certain I will bring the boiler up to temp really slowly next time. Best piece of kit in my whole stillin' set up is the $50 home made power controller!
--
50L Beer keg boiler, 2200W element
Modular SS Pot Still 2"
Modular SS CCVM Reflux Column 2"
Modular SS Gin Head 2"
kimbodious
 
Posts: 473
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:56 pm
Location: The deep North of Queensland, Australia

Re: VM Cleaning run - so what's going wrong?

Postby bigfoot » Mon May 02, 2016 9:31 pm

Mate - you need to be careful.
Get a small piece of cotton or paper strip and test around the unit for sucking / pressure differences.
I always have my gate valve closed during heat up and tbh, it always concerns me just a little - it could be something from left field - that blocks a passage...dead vermin, corrosion, or some weird thing.
Safety first. Pressure can build fast and it doesn't discriminate.
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Re: VM Cleaning run - so what's going wrong?

Postby RefluxEd » Wed May 04, 2016 3:53 pm

I reckon your problem is the 50% vinegar solution. That's way too rich a mix IMHO.
Vinegar foams incredibly even at a 30% solution when it gets to the boil. Knock it back to 10% and you should avoid foaming and you'll still get a good cleaning run.
2 inch BOKA/LM/VM
Bubbler with 14 4x3x4 inch tees and 15 bubble plates under a 4 inch section under the dephlagmator (RC).
2 inch Pot still.
2 inch to 4 inch Gin head.
2x 1.2 mtre Leibig condensors.
2 inch x 800 mm shotgun condenser.
Love it!
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Re: VM Cleaning run - so what's going wrong?

Postby kimbodious » Wed May 04, 2016 8:45 pm

Great tip thanks RefluxEd! True enough Bigfoot, I'll be careful!
--
50L Beer keg boiler, 2200W element
Modular SS Pot Still 2"
Modular SS CCVM Reflux Column 2"
Modular SS Gin Head 2"
kimbodious
 
Posts: 473
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2015 7:56 pm
Location: The deep North of Queensland, Australia


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