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# Width Of Column, Vapour Speed, and Watts

edited May 2017

What's the ideal vapour speed, in your opinion, for a reflux / compound column? I've read that 20 inches per second is the max desired vapour speed with a mesh packed column for reflux seperation efficiency. But I will have CD bubble sections as well as a packed section when running for vodka.

The reason I ask is that I'm trying to calculate the minimum watts I need to drive a 4" 6 plate CD with a 400mm packed section (total 1105mm + or -). Packing would probably be Amphora copper mesh (claimed to have a good reflux ratio when used as packing).

I'd really like the answer to be less than 3KW, but I'm worried that I'm way short of power. Wish my math was better so I could understand the calculation. Also, maybe I don't need any math and someone will have a reassuring comment / practical guideline. ^:)^

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• edited May 2017

Minimum for a 4" column is 2400watts and up to 3200 or so, you can push up much harder than that with ProCaps.

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

• edited May 2017

@punkin Great news, thanks.

I'm wondering if 3KW would drive ProCaps in this sort of setup, I think I read somewhere that you need more power for ProCaps as opposed to the regular bubble caps?

• edited May 2017

3kw will be fine. You can use ProCaps at the same speed as regular caps, you just don't reap the extra benefits is all. You can save some money on the initial purchase going with regular caps but if you decide you want to upgrade the power later it will be more expensive to rerig.

Like having nitrous injection in your car and not using it. ;)

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

• edited May 2017

There are formulas for this which presently is long time past me. I am not sure where I picked up this chart but in any case is shown. Right or wrong .. am not sure.

• @punkin ..nitrous injection in your car and not using it..

Ah, I see. Hmmm, interesting quandary. Is there a known typical wattage at which a column like the one described would start to exploit the procaps?

• @richard Interesting table. Looks like it starts with column diameter and calculates the other values?

• I wouldn't trust any of those values except to say that 2 inches is definately 50.8 mm or so.

SWIM

Flidget i'll let some actual owners answer that one. has run even packed 2" columns at 2400 watts and produced aezetrope.

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

• @punkin Blimey, that's a keen eye spotting the mm / inches conversion in the table - totally missed that myself.

I wish I could get my brain to accept that as high as possible 2" packed column with a Dephlegmator on top is going to provide aezetrope. I honestly don't know why it's taking so long to sink in. It must be because those bubble sections look so darn good.

• edited May 2017

5,000watts did well running my 4" x 30" packed column, but not to my calculated theoretical max take off.

DAD... not yours.. ah, hell... I don't know...

• @dad said: 5,000watts did well running my 4" x 30" packed column, but not to my calculated theoretical max take off.

StillDragon North America - Your StillDragon® Distributor for North America

• @flidget 5.5kW. You can always dial it down but use the higher power for faster heat up

• edited May 2017

@punkin said: i'll let some actual owners answer that one. has run even packed 2" columns at 2400 watts and produced aezetrope.

Can't help there, my column is 2" and 48", pulls azetrope no problems but would be flooded out by 2200W

• I had been getting a quart every 12 minutes from a 3" at 3,500watts and was expecting to get almost double the output. It was ~8 min a quart in 4" at 5,000watts.

DAD... not yours.. ah, hell... I don't know...

• edited May 2017

That table is one of mine and here's the reference.

Explanations are contained there.

Cheers,

Mech.

• edited May 2017

@Unsensibel said: flidget 5.5kW. You can always dial it down but use the higher power for faster heat up

I'll second this as a minimum element purchase. Go big and regulate down.

Just another real world data point for folks. I have 13ea, 4" procap (or equivalent) plates. I normally run for 95%+ neutral (using the base ferment) at 7600 watts and heat up with 15000 in a 150l boiler. Take off at that power level and purity is typically 4.5-5.5 liters per hour.

My 50l boiler got retrofitted for a second element to give 10000w total capacity as I felt the procaps could just flow so much more once I had the super reflux condenser. IIRC I typically ran 7 plates with ~6500-8500w for stripping runs and dialed down to 5500-6000 for spirit runs.

I'm dialed in pretty efficiently now and anything more than the 7600w into my 4"x13 plate will flood the top plate from reflux or drop output levels below 95%.

IMO 3500w is ridiculously low. I wouldn't even purchase anything less than 4500w ULWD if I was going to make it adjustable. YOU DID however ask about minimum. My advice there would be to listen to punkin.

Hope that give real world data points for folks.

• @Fiji_Spirits said: Hope that give real world data points for folks.

These are some massive power requirements for a hobby user mentioned. Even to run a single 5.5KW you would be told flat out by any competent sparky to install a dedicated 30A spur from your main distribution box (still too small a supply for 7.6KW). In the EU you can only draw 13A from a socket for 1 hour before the fuse will blow - the 13A rating meaning 13A for 1 hour, not enough time for a run. Also, a 30A spur cannot go to a normal socket in the EU, it has to be terminated at a dedicated wired in socket. We don't want any small fingers in a 30A socket, or big ones for that matter.

Consequently 3KW is your max for a normal household plug and socket (it has to be under 13A). Some people think a double wall socket is rated for 20A, which it is, but that's a practical limitation on drawing 13A instantaniously from two devices not a rating for the box overall, from either sockets. Plus to get 20A from a double socket you need to replace a 13A fuse in a plug with something bigger. These fuses are not available in the EU and so it's off to eBay and China, to get one that you hope is sand filled, and not simply a nail in an authentic looking fuse cover.

To add more salt into the wound, building regs need a notification to be raised and any new 30A spur signed off with the local building dept. In fact this is also the case for any outside power supply, even an outside security camera. Especially, if you are wanting to sell the property later, and not run into issues. There has been a ferocious EU clamp down over the years on DIY electrical work.

You could safely and legitimately run two 3KW elements, on two separate ring mains with a very long extension cable in most cases. Two elements is not an option from SD in the EU on the 50L Milk Can (hobby level). So your limited to 3KW on a single household socket. Or, a professionally installed spur to a dedicated end point, with a building regs sign off certificate (think expensive).

You may be lucky and get away with a 5.5KW single element, but if it starts a fire, you will get a severe spanking for DIY electrical work - especially as you would have had to use a 30A fuse from China that managed to slip through customs and trading standards. The EU is a very safe place to live, day to day.

• @flidget said: In the EU you can only draw 13A from a socket for 1 hour before the fuse will blow - the 13A rating meaning 13A for 1 hour, not enough time for a run. Also, a 30A spur cannot go to a normal socket in the EU, it has to be terminated at a dedicated wired in socket. We don't want any small fingers in a 30A socket, or big ones for that matter.

That's only correct in the UK AFAIK - lots of modern houses in other EU countries have 16A groups and Schuko sockets, which is not the same socket as the UK and can stand 16A for as long as you like. And you can have a special bigger group (more amps, or three phase) for equipment that requires more power: big electrical oven, electrical water heater... But that does require either a hardwired connection or a different socket like the red ones for three phase.

• @squeakyclean - I better move quickly!

• edited May 2017

EU is like a third-world country when it comes to availability of electrical power, just saying.

I have two 50a plugs (NEMA 14-50) in my garage. 1 for my welder, 1 for my car charger. I even have a 30a in the laundry room that isn't used (have a gas dryer instead).

• In Australia 10 amp = 2400w is the household norm with 15 amp = 3600w also common along with the possibility of 20 amp = 4800 w all backwardly plug accepting. Then you would go to a 32 amp = 7600W round pin but here you would be starting to consider availability of supply. Not 100% but a normal new house would have an 80 amp supply at 240v . Older houses 65 amp. Then you would have to go three phase if available.

I know with my supply running my 50 l with 9400w ( 40 amps on punkins nitro heat up ) on a 65 amp SWER line I have to be real careful what else is on in the house as I will pop the incoming breaker.

• Can you guys even make toast and coffee at the same time?

• don't even think about running the iron.... hell, do they have electric ovens?

• Grim don't forget our power has twice the grunt as your piddlie stuff - unless it gets complicated like another recent discussion we had.

• our ovens and ranges and clothes dryers all run on 240... and our service ratings (100A, 200A, etc) are all based on the same 240V... y'all clocks just a bit slow on that 50hz

• Long and slow - just right

• edited May 2017

Crazier yet is most new construction out in my neck of the woods are now spec'ing 320/400a service (at 240v).

Astronomical amount of potential electrical consumption.

When I talked to my electrician buddy about it, I would have thought that the propensity of LED lighting out here would be reducing electrical usage, not increasing it. But, he says that branch circuit sizing still needs to be done based on the potential maximum wattage in a fixture. So if it's 100w, it's spec'ed there, not the 12w LED that will be installed.

Pretty easy to top out 200a these days - big double oven - 50 amps, induction cooktop, 40 amps, central air - maybe 2 units, charger for your Tesla - I think you can spec a home model that can use 100 amps now. You can't charge your car, make a turkey, run the AC, and make coffee and toast at the same time.

Signed, Wasteful American

Hey Trump - you get those coal mines running again, god knows we need it. :)

• So how much does it cost ? Our small house with two people \$1000 per quarter or say \$12 a day @ around \$0.36 per kWh

• edited May 2017

I think I pay \$0.13usd per kWh. Heating and hot water are natural gas out here.

3 of us in a 2400 square foot house - maybe \$100 a month on average?

I'm all LED now - it made a huge difference.

• Really depends on how the house is insulated and at what temperature you're comfortable. I've lived in a house with shitty insulation spending \$350 / month in the winter. Now it's about \$100 on average between gas & electricity

• @flidget

You in the U.K. too? I run a 5.5kw element and now feel I couldn't make do without it.

I called a local sparky. Told him I'd pay cash and wouldn't need an invoice/receipt.

He put a new 30A breaker in a free spot on my board and dropped a heavy duty cable right out of the bottom of the fuse box with a commando socket attached. This connects to a 10 meter section of cable for my element which I can coil up and put away when I'm not using it.

Charged me about £90 if I remember rightly including all the parts.