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Introducing The StillDragon Electric Parrot

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  • edited October 2015

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

    Happy to help out but not sure if this would be the tool for the job, it's not how I would be going about it anyway. (Obviously I have know idea what your planning). Feel free to bounce some ideas past me via PM if you like.

  • edited October 2015

    @jacksonbrown said: 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.

    My first thoughts are "Could it be used to drive another controller" that will run a semi auto system.

    I have a Johnson's 0-10v proportional valve just waiting to be used on the deflag water flow for control via a pid and temp sensor. I'd have no problem hooking this up with the new parrot if it was supported or able to use readily available parts to integrate.

    I can see a market for modular control systems. We have the SD SSR based controllers for elements as a start. Many postings on pid controllers for reflux control, (plus a tease on Old Dogs design)

    But now an "accurate" electronic parrot, looks like a real game changer, cant wait to see the refinements and applications for it.

    I'd imagine it will not be one size fits all, as already said, options for mounting the probe, bare-bones or case-less options, further options/outputs such as live recording data during runs along side other data streams, running valves, the list goes on.

    Like many others watching this thread, looking forward to seeing it in action and the results compared to the current floating units.

    Cheers

    Fadge

  • You'll have it tomorrow, you can decide then B-)

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  • edited October 2015

    Control output needs to be 4-20ma, which would need to feed in to a PID that can take a process value as input. This would also provide the widest range of compatibility to PLC, data loggers, etc.

  • Hi fadge
    The issue with integrating into existing systems is if you're not careful every job becomes a custom one.
    That's actually the kind of work I love doing but it's not really the smart way to go about things.
    In the future we'll need to work with all you guys to work out the 'must haves' and get a pro unit that works for the majority.
    As has already been mentioned though we've got our work cut out short term getting this first model ready for market.

    I've said it before but the real work is in getting these ideas mass produced at the right price.
    I've got plenty more fantastic ideas on the burner at the moment.
    They work great but that don't mean squat if they can't be produced at a fair price.

  • @grim said: Control output needs to be 4-20ma, which would need to feed in to a PID that can take a process value as input. This would also provide the widest range of compatibility to PLC, data loggers, etc.

    absolutely correct

  • How accurate do you expect this device to be? +/- 1% etc Also will it need calibrating annually? like most other electronic measuring devices?

  • It is by far more accurate than a standard parrot where you have a flow pushing the alcometer up, a dilution as the run progresses because of the volume in the parrot and the time that volume takes to make it's way through the device. The electronic one is reading in real time.

    I have quite a few electronic thermometers but i've never calibrated one more than once.

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  • edited October 2015

    The flow pushing the hydrometer up offsets the proof to provide a temperature correction :)

  • edited October 2015

    Yes, will be right twice a day somewhere too. :))

    In the end the use of a parrot is a very handy guide in some instances. The more accurate it is the better the guide. This is more accurate than any system i have ever seen or heard of at a price point under thousands of dollars.

    Well and truly more accurate than a traditional parrot and well and truly more accurate than the dodgy one linked to above.

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

  • Anavrin, it’s a bit hard to put an exact figure on it because it depends on where in the range your looking but what Punkin says is spot on.
    Compared to what most of us are currently using it is a massive improvement.

    The biggest factor is the quality of temperature readings so a bit of consideration put into probe positioning can make all the difference. All the air pressure stuff is automated. You don't have to adjust anything, ever.
    There's only one button and most people won't bother pushing that either.
    I’ve had the thing working great here as has Punkin but I’ll be very interested to see what the current line-up of testers come back with in terms of ease of use.
    The real world testing with real users is the only thing that matters at the end of the day.
    The other issue we’re having is finding a good yard stick to test against. Finding a discrepancy in readings could mean two things. Which reading is the one that’s out?

    No, calibration is not required but we might be able to offer a factory calibration service in the future to shave off some slight inaccuracies. I really don’t think it’ll be worth the effort and cost though.

  • edited October 2015

    Look at one of the drawbacks this way;

    Current model SD parrot with drainvalve and Dragonfire alcometer running at 60% abv holds almost exactly 200ml of distillate.

    At that point in a run on a potstill or a plated still the abv is dropping fairly fast.

    If you are running your 4" still at 3.5l/hr, the output is taking almost 4 mins to change out that volume for fresh, but because of the nature of the parrot it is never really a straight swap volume for volume it's a smeared combination of all that's gone on in the last however long.

    If you are dropping abv pretty fast, how accurate do you think the figure your alcometer is showing?
    It's a minimum of 4 mins behind and probably longer.

    Now add that you are running a larger rig, pushing tails out faster, running heads slower etc......

    This unit shows the abv at the top of the condensor right now. If you pull a 200ml sample and test it in a jar you loose the second problem, but you still have a combination of the last 4 mins worth of condensate you are measuring. If you averaged out the abv shown by the electric parrot it would be the more correct.
    I have the luxury of having plenty of alcometers. Remember these are instruments that cost a few dollars each, not the calibrated ones the pros have.
    I have tested them against each other and against known commercial samples.

    We'll have results from more real members from this unit posted over the next few weeks. i know the guy who was testing it here was so impressed he's waiting for them to be stocked so he can upgrade.

    In the end our customers will tell us if it's good, and i have a very good idea what they will say.

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

  • edited October 2015

    Got two boxes from Cole Parmer worth $1000usd. All hydros. Damn the law and their revenue!!

  • I am betting the only place that will really benefit from calibration is at azeo, where a tenth of a degree makes a bunch of difference... if it has the ability to do a three point calibration, and you can set your rig to drip azeo, and also run distilled water through it, you have 2 of the three points...

  • Single point cal in boiling water would be damn close to where the action is and is easiest for an end user.

  • Well I hope it's as good as you hope.

    One main advantage I can think of is not having to be messing with the PC water flow to ensure the distillate is collecting at 20°c, with this device, all you need to ensure is that its at least liquid :-)

  • @Anavrin making sure product is coming off at 20c should not be a priority

  • edited October 2015

    @Anavrin said: with this device, all you need to ensure is that its at least liquid :-)

    Very true but bringing steaming distillate off is still not advisable for obvious reasons. :)

    @CothermanDistilling said: I am betting the only place that will really benefit from calibration is at azeo, where a tenth of a degree makes a bunch of difference... if it has the ability to do a three point calibration, and you can set your rig to drip azeo, and also run distilled water through it, you have 2 of the three points...

    The problem is greater at the other end of the scale but it's certainly at the extremities where any problems become more obvious.
    Using your rig to attempt azeo as a set point is a really bad idea IMO. It'll only be as accurate as the capability of the still and I can tell you right now from extensive testing that it is extremely hard to get there, almost impossible.
    95% is extremely easy, 96 isn't too hard but pushing past that...
    And if your going for a set point to calibrate how can you be sure what you actually have?

    With bit more care you can even mount the e parrot under the RC and get readings at 100%RR and you can actually see the drop in ABV that one drop every couple of seconds will make.
    I honestly feel that 95% of the claims of pulling Az at a stream are pure BS. Not intentionally so but the equipment used just isn't capable of producing or testing to that level.

    The idea of calibration is is to go against a known quantity (obviously) but even the temp boiling water will change depending on the back pressure of your column. My boiler is a couple points over 100° with the full column on top.
    The unit displays to the nearest whole number. As far as I'm concerned, anything past that is just junk data anyway.

    I've already had all these thoughts and done a ridiculous amount of testing.
    At the end of the day, even if it's off by half a bees dick, it shouldn't matter too much when you look at we've been using in the past.
    As long as it's constant. That's the main thing.

    Accuracy versus precision.

  • I'm at 1645m according to google maps. (Albuquerque, NM, USA)

  • edited October 2015

    Contender :D
    Maybe shoot me or Punkin a PM with the details of your setup?

  • Funny, I literally just added a digital ABV reading to my arduino based still-bot that I've been using to monitor temps. I'll take some pics when I get home.

  • Hi Nardi getting a rough unit going isn't to hard. If you go back through my posts you'll see I've been playing with them for well over a year. Have you had a chance to test yours out yet?

  • @punkin said: You'll have it tomorrow, you can decide then B-)

    Nah...did not arrive.....was going to do fast full power strip test tonight wirh notes and pics. Perhaps it will turn up tomorrow, looks like a Sunday run at this stage.

    Fadge

  • edited October 2015

    is this panel mountable? If so sign me up.

  • edited October 2015

    @jacksonbrown said: I honestly feel that 95% of the claims of pulling Az at a stream are pure BS. Not intentionally so but the equipment used >just isn't capable of producing or testing to that level.

    I feel that most significantly underestimate the impact of hydrometer temperature correction, especially given most are running undersized condensers and producing warm distillate - nowhere near 60F/15C.

    Don't call it an Electric Parrot, call it the Lie Detector.

    :)

  • edited October 2015

    The new product condenser line should be a huge improvement for the pros in that regard.

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  • Are you taking trade in's Smaugly? :D I am sure that will be the next question ... =))

  • You guys are worse than Apple! :)

  • Just trying to continue to make improvements. The smaller condensers do perform as published.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

  • Nobody is worse than Apple.

    StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

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