Automating My Baby Crystal Dragon

Hi guys,

I'm starting a project to automate my process. I have no temperature ports on my still as of now. I was thinking about putting a 2"x2"x2" T below and above my 8 plate tower with temperature ports and adding another temperature port after my reflux condenser. Monitor both cooling outputs and the flow rate of product with a micro paddle wheel flow sensor. Are these the right spots for my temperature monitoring or should I also have one on the boiler?

What are the key Process variables I should be monitoring to achieve the best results? I have a PLC and BCS. I have no problem sharing my programs with members of the forum.




  • Sounds like your looking for excuses to trick out your still.
    Personally I want to know three things.
    Boiler abv, distillate abv and the reflux ratio.
    I'd add a few extra bits for safety but that's about it in terms of monitoring.

  • @CothermanDistilling is the resident BCS expert.

    From a monitoring perspective, I'd suggest vapor temp and boiler temp, from an automation perspective, start with PC and RC temperature, and go from there.

  • a sensor for liquid temp, a sensor for first vapor temp, a sensor for below RC, a sensor for above RC, a sensor for exiting pc water, a sensor for exiting RC water, and a sensor for incoming water.. and possibly a sensor for product temp.

    With something as small as the baby dragon, I would say that it might be worth just taking a .25" thermowell tube such as this one from brewers hardware, drilling a hole in the PC, RC, or baby end cap inserting the tube as far as you can towards the center, and having a good TIG artist weld it to the body.. you could get one long tube, cut it, and pinch and weld the end to save some money and maybe flatten the tube a bit to get between condenser tubes..

    the BCS cannot do a paddle wheel count or 4-20mA output for RC control, but there is a BCS pro version coming I hear...

  • jezjez
    edited March 2016

    Would SD ever bring out automation kits ? Would be a great upgrade :)

  • well there you go, @punkin - you are proof that when you do good, you get given more work ;-)

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