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Introducing The StillDragon Electric Parrot

edited October 2015 in Accessories

Introducing The StillDragon Electric Parrot

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As some of you are probably aware, we've been working in the background here on something special for quite a few months now. Those who follow Artisan would have noticed i mentioned it a few weeks ago.
In conjunction with one of our members here over the last few months we've been developing the design and function of the first Electric Parrot to be released at a retail price that is within reach of ordinary people.

We're very proud to announce it as almost ready to go into production.
It is our members design that he will also be offering through his own shop but we are working together as a bit of a joint venture to try and get the price as attractive as possible for you guys. This work is ongoing.
We will be proudly stocking it at SD and most likely producing our own custom SD version down the way.

Why an Electric Parrot?

Our Electric Parrot suffers no smearing due to pooling liquid and gives a real-time display with very little lag.
What it displays is what is running though your still head at that instant.
There's no more glass tubes to break and it can be clearly seen from over 15 metres away.
A few people that think they’re easily pulling Aze might get a bit of a surprise as you can’t ‘misread’ the bright red digital display.
There is no error from high flow rates like those caused by the glass alcometers getting pushed up out of your old style parrot and no need to measure distillate temperature and correct the errors there.
No more temperature conversions. Just mount the probe and plug in a standard phone charger. Simple.

It’ll clearly show exactly what’s going on from the other side of the room.

The display is setup to clearly show ABV but can give you the temperature in Celsius at the push of a button.
It can also easily switch to US Proof and Fahrenheit for our US cousins.
It has a fore’s indicator for the start of your run and can also let you know if you column is building up dangerous pressure.

The development of the concept has been ongoing for a few years with many algorithms designed and discarded, usually due to poor accuracy.
The final design is very accurate through the entire range of 0% through to azeotrope and it auto compensates for any weather variations or altitude with a built in barometric sensor.

It has been tested from 0m to 400m above sea level but we’d really love to push it to its limits.
If anyone out there in Australia is well above 1000m (3300ft) elevation and wants to be a tester, please throw your name in the hat.

Special thanks to @jacksonbrown for helping to make this a reality.

Here's an early test pic.

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We are very excited to be the first to bring this to the distillers that have asked for it and it should be in the retail stores within a month or two.

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StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

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Comments

  • edited October 2015

    @punkin Australia is the lowest continent in the world with an average elevation of only 330 metres. The highest points on the other continents are all more than twice the height of Australia's highest peak, Mount Kosciuszko which is 2228 metres above sea level.

    Highest cities and towns by State/Territory

    STATE/TERRITORY               CITY/TOWN NAME   HEIGHT (m)
    New South Wales               Perisher Valley  1740
    Victoria                      Hotham Heights   1700
    Tasmania                      Reynolds Neck    1100
    Queensland                    Ravenshoe         930
    Western Australia             Tom Price         750
    Northern Territory            Areyonga          700
    South Australia               Amata             700
    Australian Capital Territory  Canberra          660
    
  • Thanks Harry, just trying to save international postage two ways.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • He's right mate : )
    If the right tester puts their hand up I recon we can stretch out. There's some fantastic opportunities over the ditch.

  • edited October 2015

    Sadly I'm 13 meters.

  • No worries, opened up world wide then.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • How does this thing work? I'm not asking how you made it, but how would I use it?

    Can you post a picture of the probe we mount? And where and how?

    How does it monitor both outlet proof and internal still pressure? Are there two probes?

  • edited October 2015

    Didn't we have a thread floating around here on that? Presume it's vapor temperature corrected for atmospheric pressure against a look up table or otherwise to yield the corresponding abv.

    I thought the problem we ran into during the brainstorming session was accuracy on the top end, since the relationship got flat and very small temp changes yielded large abv changes.

  • Neat! Is the price-point more aimed at pros or is it in the hobbyists realm as well??

  • edited October 2015

    We are just starting the sourcing project, but as it stands the price point will be well within the reach of hobbiests. We are going to do our very best to source the parts more competitively priced and drive the cost down as low as possible. Our goal is to have it at a similar price point to a tradtional parrot kit (around $250 in Australia) eventually. Whether we can get it right down there atm is unknown but we are hopeful.
    In the meantime there will be some stock available at a slightly higher price point as all the parts so far have been bought in small quantities and expressed to Australia from countries around the world.

    The testing unit has been in Tamworth with a mate for a few trials and has just been shipped south to a distillers club yesterday so it can be extensively tested in the real world by a bunch of keen SD'ers.

    At the moment it looks a brilliant alternative to the traditional analogue parrot and solves quite a few drawbacks.

    We have a custom, high quality ¼” probe sensor that can be set into variety of fittings to suit your still.
    The easiest is probably a ½” threaded male fitting with a built in compression nut.
    These will certainly be made available. For a less permanent fitting just replace the larger compression olive with a few wraps of Teflon tape.

    image

    image

    We are looking at quite a few other mounting options like 3/8” NPT threaded or a one piece Tri to compression fitting to go on a port or CIP bend.

    We need to know what you guys as the end users need/want?

    We've found before the product condenser to be a perfect spot to install the probe but there’s a fair bit of flexibility there.
    As long as the probe is getting fresh vapour and no cool reflux or air on it the readings should be true.

    We are pricing parts and assembly in China atm but our preliminary pricing has these a little more exe than a traditional parrot.

    This shows the demo model as shipped (without the extension lead) to the distillers club yesterday, they should get it tomorrow. The probe is mounted atm in a 2" x 1/2" rims cap.

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    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • @grim said: Didn't we have a thread floating around here on that? Presume it's vapor temperature corrected for atmospheric pressure against a look up table or otherwise to yield the corresponding abv.

    I thought the problem we ran into during the brainstorming session was accuracy on the top end, since the relationship got flat and very small temp changes yielded large abv changes.

    JB has solved those sets of problems and many more. It's up to the people who are copying his early work to solve them for themselves if they want to catch up.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • looks great love the natural timber housing and brass fixings

  • Very sweet, it looks great.

  • Should I just give you my bank account info? You guys just keep thinking of amazing things to take my money...

  • Wow. Looks great!! Definitely interested and ken to hear how things progress.

  • Raising the bar. Again. Hats off.

  • Glad to see it come to reality, here is the old thread.

  • if you are reducing cost, would a straight section with the compression fitting welded to it at the factory be best?

  • We are trying to make it retrofitable and modular like all our products. The actual fitting it goes in will be chosen by the customer and not included at this stage. It will be a basic kit with probe to give the greatest flexibility.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • Oh, OK... well, anyone using these kind of fittings, this is the compression ferrule I use, it does not crimp the stainless tube and is cheap..: parker 60PT-4 @ Google

  • A Teflon ferrule might be a good alternative, not sure how well Delrin handles hot vapour?
    The test rig currently has a silicon o-ring in it which seems to be doing the trick but I think we can do better.
    Plenty of options there but a simple gland made out of Teflon tape seemed to be the easiest and cheapest.
    We can work with customers to get the best mounting options in terms of cost and also to suit their specific set up.
    As time progresses the easiest is probably to collate a bit of a gallery of what's working for others. Pictures speaking a 1000 words and all.

  • edited October 2015

    Acetal/delrin should be fine in that application but I always go Teflon where I can.

    Whatever the suggested mount please be sure you recommend something something vapor tight with a solid sealing mechanism.

  • edited October 2015

    Heads-up. Seems you've got competition @ AD. :-O

  • Ours is a working product not something on a breadboard with all the programming still to do. I'm told that the one pictured has no provision for changes in barometric pressure, hence it's like a broken clock.
    Right twice a day at a particular place.

    Generous to offer to open source tables you've got from somewhere else too. :))

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • @punkin said: hence it's like a broken clock.
    Right twice a day at a particular place.

    Generous to offer to open source tables you've got from somewhere else too. :))

    =))

  • I'm happy to put mine up against there's.
    Pretty sure I know where they're getting their algorithms from and there's been over a year of solid, quiet development since then. Many bridges have been met and crossed.
    A bag of cheap bits and some dodgy code won't stand up as far as I'm concerned but good luck to them.
    I don't really want to get caught up in someone else's feud but everyone should know that I put in the work, time and dedication as well as a fair bit of my own money.
    I was going for a finished product. A refined and accurate Plug and Play tool.
    All that is best left to the independent testers to show but I think the proof will be in the pudding.

  • What's the chances of being able to take an output from a device like this and use it for control purposes?

  • Very good question. We do intend to research a Pro Model for this, but it is a fair way down the track ATM. We will be opening it up for ideas and suggestions at a later date and we already have talked about some ideas in that regard of our own.

    First thing is to get the production model into the stores and that should be happening in a limited way very soon.

    StillDragon Australia & New Zealand - Your StillDragon® Distributor for Australia & New Zealand

  • More of a custom job but I do here easy enough (among other wired and wonderful things).
    My shed is kinda like an alco Willy Wonka factory :))

    What did you have in mind? I could give you a 5v analog out very easily.

  • @jacksonbrown , sounds like I need to visit your shed!

    Nothing specific at the moment, just spit balling. I have stripping columns on my mind once again...

  • edited October 2015

    @jacksonbrown: I was going for a finished product. A refined and accurate Plug and Play tool.

    Kudos. Awaiting its arrival across the pond...

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