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Let's talk about cooling a moment

edited October 2013 in Usage

Hi All

Just to show y'all I actually do our craft as well as other endeavors, I have a topic. I use pretty cold cooling fluid when either in pot or reflux mode. I have seen threads where this might not be good. While I seem to get very good results with this, I am curious to the opines that can be offered.

I use 2.5 gal old Distiller Water Jugs that I have frozen in the deep freeze. I get about an hour outa each jug - water to the condenser is about 48-51F. I also run the output water from the condenser into the column lines which have a good sized wad of copper mesh wrapped around them (In pot mode) and Raschid chips (and no copper) in reflux mode.

I use about 3-4 jugs in a low n slow run.

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  • I mostly run a Dash now and that's CM. A consistent water temperature is probably more important, at least to the dephlegmator.
    I find the icy cold winter water to be more finicky to set the dephleg than in the much warmer summertime water - where I'm forced to use way too much cooling water.

    I really need 2 different dephlems for the two extremes, the winter dephleg that is not efficient at all and the summertime dephleg that is much more efficient.
    Been playing with the plumbing to help compensate for the difference in the seasonal water temp by using the product condenser exhaust water to add some pre-heat to the dephlem water. I much prefer for the dephleg to have its own dedicated supply but just can't quite get my head around how to inject a measured amount into the dephleg from BOTH the product condenser AND from the mains at the same time.

  • I find that now I am using a PID controller to regulate water flow and temperature to the dephlegmater, the problem is now solved.


  • edited October 2013

    @olddog said: I find that now I am using a PID controller to regulate water flow and temperature to the dephlegmater, the problem is now solved.

    What are you using and wher'd you get the gear?

    @Smaug, I use a splitter from the main water, get a enough cooling to the PC, and then fiddle with the DF. if you change the flow to the PC the whole system needs to be re-tweaked.

    At some point I will invest in some BIG easy to turn valves.

  • Lloyd, what would you say is an ideal temperature and flow rate through the dephlegmater for a Dash 1?

  • I run a measly 13 gallon boiler (3000 watts), with a 2x Torpedo/12 inch packed section, baby dephlegm and 24 inch shotgun...

    But for what it's worth, this is how I do it:

    My cooling starts from a pump suction cupped to the bottom of my (filled) sink. Then there's one hose out of the pump to a Y-splitter. One hose goes to a needle valve, then the dephlegm, the other goes to a needle valve (which I almost always leave wide open) then to the shotgun.

    Both condensers empty back into the kitchen sink. (**see below for a comment)

    The night before running I pack my freezer with 2L bottles filled with water. I can fit about 8 in my freezer.

    So, I let her run for a little and put a couple frozen 2L bottles in there when the water gets warm.

    I'll occasionally drain some of the sink, re-filling it with cool water from the tap.

    Then put replace the 2L bottles with new frozen ones, and let it go for a while.

    Then drain/fill, change bottles, etc until the run is over.

    That seems to be more than enough for my 3kw set!

    **My old lady says I should let it drain into the tub when it starts getting really wet so she can take a nice bath. Not a bad idea at all!

  • If you use one of these Danfoss AVTA valves for your Product Condenser cooling water, you can run domestic water and only fill a 60 gallon barrel in a 4-8 hour run. (depending upon ground water temp and how cool you want your product). Depending upon how you use it, the Dephleg, err 'RC' :-), may use more, but you could use recirculated water in a barrel from the previous run for that... then use it to mash, water plants, or wash the dog.. you get three uses out of water..

    here are a couple on eBay for 6 more days, I would snap them up, but saving pennies for opening commercially...DANFOSS 003N-6162 THERMOSTATIC WATER TEMP VALVE

    The only thing better is a swimming pool that needs topping off every once in a while!

    well, maybe a dash-2 heated hot-tub... ;-)

  • edited October 2013

    @CothermanDistilling, at which temperature do you run your cooling water from the PC ?

  • 45c works good, up from 23-26c domestic water... would like to be able to set it higher, around 60c... have seen near 76c(170f) on a setup that used a homebrew coaxial counterflow chiller on a PDA-1, which, near vapor temp is about as efficient as you can possibly get, but that is what counterflows are good for, the product had a long contact path to cool down to incoming temp, and the cooling water has an equally long path to heat up to near vapor temp...

  • at 45c that leads me to think I am running my water waaay too cold..

    @CothermanDistilling said: which, near vapor temp is about as efficient as you can possibly get

    thanks for that description =D>

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  • Thanks CD.One more question : cooling water at 45C, what is then the temperature of the distilled product ?

  • It has to be close to 50C at least and at that temperature evaporation of the ethanol could be an issue?

  • @Lloyd - not true, in a counterflow chiller, you can have near even exchange of temperatures.. the product temp is within a few degrees of the incoming cooling water, that is the whole idea behind flowing the twe things in opposite directions.. the long 2" SD PC is OK, but the product path is too straight, and gravity pulls the liquid drops down too quick, if the tubes were the convoluted ones, the liquid would spend 3-4x as much time and it would be more efficient... Look at the graph in this wikipedia article.

  • I guarantee that, on a SD Dash, if you used a short 2" SD PC, then the surge breaker, then a counterflow like this (of say 3/8" id, 3/4" OD) below it (maybe pulled apart so less tightly wound and better gravity path if not perfectly level), running the water through the CF, then the SD PC you would have efficiency that would put a smile on your face...


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  • That design will smear the head, hearts and tails - guaranteed.
    I agree that a coil, either SS or copper, is more efficient but much more costly to produce and to make available as modular.
    If height is the problem its not usually on the product condenser side of the still, its always on the column side. A shotgun by SD is so cheap you can easily gang them together.

    Personally, I'd like a copper worm in a SS modular shell to save water but I don't want to pay for it. Maybe I'm missing an opportunity here? If I want it then there is a really good chance that others want it too. After all, that's how StillDragon got started! Marrying a copper coil in a SS modular shell would kick some serious vapor ass but the price would be high and it would need to be available in 4, 6 and 8". Each would require custom tooling and a whole lot of thought.

  • Ok, to avoid smearing, use the convoluted tubes, but straight down, so that a single drop has 3-4x the travel, but will not lead to smearing because it does not hold liquid, it just slows it down. Unfortunately, this brings into play the ability to get someone to weld multiple tubes to the end caps.. which is a deal-killer.. A worm is not as good as counterflow, but is better, and if copper, is doubly better.. 2" boka people use a coil inside a 2" tube for condenser cooling water, I think we could for product... I have some ideas... need to fab up some of them

  • edited October 2013

    @CothermanDistilling said: need to fab up some of them

    Make it modular or it don't count.

  • @Lloyd said: Make it modular or it don't count.

    LOL... OK!

    here are some of the beginning ones i drew up a month ago..


    Chiller ideas.jpg
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  • edited October 2013

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  • I like to use a pressurised system. All my supply lines are at 1.1 bar, one for each condenser, and the flow controls are on the output side of each condenser. That way no condenser can influence another one.

    The only exception would be the dephlegmator where I would put the flow control on the input. I have been told this is too much, but it would be my preferred option, for a cold feed system.


    Use a 3 way valve common to both supply and drain lines. One position gives you a variable (low) coolant flow dephlegmator using the middle port as the drain. Use the other position and you get a max flow supply to the middle port (and still a low flow to the lower port) and the top port is the drain.

    variable flow dephlegmator.jpg
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