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Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:41 pm
by Lowenthal
Hi Everyone. I've been involved in home brewing for a bit over 10 years now, making wine kits and some fruit fermentations (I'm really proud of my apple cider). I first found this site two years ago I think it was, and spent hours every night it seemed reading through posts and trying to soak up some of the knowledge here. I should have kept reading because I think I've already made a huge mistake. I purchased a 3-pot stainless still setup (5 gallon boiler). Once it was delivered I discovered to my dismay that it had been manufactured in China, and the "support videos" were not available. As yet I've had no response to my email to the merchant either. If you look at the picture below you'll see that not only are there inappropriate materials used but the thumper and flake stand/worm are ridiculously small. There is another problem I saw which is the input to the thumper is a hole in the bottom of the pot. Can a still setup like this even work as intended? If I ever get a response from my email I'm going to see about getting a refund but if that falls through...would it be better to try to fix the issues with this setup, or just toss everything but the boiler and start from scratch? I already have enough 1/2" copper line to make a reasonably sized worm for the boiler capacity. FYI be forewarned. This still was from Ama+TrulyStep on Amazon.com aka FayeLong on AmazonEurope. Don't waste your money on this trash.

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:32 pm
by Lowenthal
Let me clarify lest anyone be mislead. I've been home brewing for 10 years, but I am new to distilling.

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:33 pm
by GrassHopper
Sorry for your misfortune. Maybe all is not lost.
Besides the odd thumper, what are the other concerns? What does it look like inside the thumper? Why not run it without the thumper?
The worm condensor does look small, but if the water can be refreshed enough it may work fine. Is there a valve where that air lock is to close off the pot?

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 7:50 pm
by StillLearning1
I have seen that still around here before. If i remember correctly that is not a thumper at all it is a type of jin basket. You are supposed to put oranges or whatever you may want inside it and it will infuse your spirit with that taste. I think the bigger concern with the still was synthetics being used at all the seals. Be careful to check for anything plastic that may be in the vapor path!!!

With all that said I'm sure you can still use it one way or another. Might just need a few...."adjustments" first.

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:33 pm
by Lowenthal
There is a valve on the airlock. The two flex hoses connecting the pots look like stainless steel, but they are not (I'm thinking aluminum?). I don't even think the couplings are stainless. Inside each coupling is a rubber gasket. The seals around the top of the boiler and thumper appear to be silicone. One more thing I just noticed is that the top coil of the worm drops beneath the edge of the pot and then rises a bit before continuing down to the outlet. It would seem to me that makes the worm a total loss. I guess I can make plans to dispense with the thumper for the time being. I'd say this is a decent example of every material you should NEVER use building a still. At least the ss pot looks ok.

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 8:51 pm
by GrassHopper
Lowenthal wrote:There is a valve on the airlock. The two flex hoses connecting the pots look like stainless steel, but they are not (I'm thinking aluminum?). I don't even think the couplings are stainless. Inside each coupling is a rubber gasket. The seals around the top of the boiler and thumper appear to be silicone. One more thing I just noticed is that the top coil of the worm drops beneath the edge of the pot and then rises a bit before continuing down to the outlet. It would seem to me that makes the worm a total loss. I guess I can make plans to dispense with the thumper for the time being. I'd say this is a decent example of every material you should NEVER use building a still. At least the ss pot looks ok.
That's a tough lesson Lowenthal. You can test the flex hoses with a magnet to see if they are aluminum. I can't imagine that they would be aluminum? The gaskets can be wound/ wrapped with ptfe teflon tape to be safe. The coil must have a continuous slope as you seem to know. You seem to know pretty much what the issues are so, I guess it's your call. I sympathize with your frustration. But, it could work, until you get something built or purchase what you want.

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Mon Feb 08, 2016 10:08 pm
by bearriver
Some of the Chinese are making gorgeous and highly functional distillation equipment. I am sorry that still is not among them...

However, an educated consumer could and would have identified those problems with the product just by looking at a picture of the still. The disproportional dimensions and synthetics are apparent.

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:42 am
by Lowenthal
bearriver wrote: However, an educated consumer could and would have identified those problems with the product just by looking at a picture of the still. The disproportional dimensions and synthetics are apparent.
You are correct regarding the size of the worm in particular. Many of the problems I've found weren't apparent from the picture. The flexible piping looked to be stainless but isn't, rubber seals were hidden inside. I assembled the still and tried running some tap water through it to check for leaks and function. The worm would have worked I think with the water flow I had available, but it's wound incorrectly which I didn't pick up on until it only produced water in spurts not a steady stream. I remembered a similar situation being diagnosed in previous posts.

I'm packing the entire thing up and whether the seller will take it back or not, I'll eventually get most of my money back through Amazon, minus the return shipping probably...I hope.

I'm still a newb at the distillation thing, but hopefully I know enough about the process through the fermentation to help others up to that point.

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Tue Feb 09, 2016 9:24 am
by bearriver
Amazon policy is great. They will facilitate you a refund. :thumbup:

I once went to return a few still parts to Amazon and they told me to keep the parts before issuing me a refund on the spot.

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Wed Feb 10, 2016 10:43 pm
by MoonBreath
Welcome to HD!
I can already tell you haven't been through the Parent site much, if at all.
What did you pay for the mantel set and conversation piece?
If nothing else, I'd keep it, stare at it, learn every piece, bein able to point out all the wrongness and explain what correct changes are needed ...Use it as a learning tool, turn your mistake around, start fresh after some (mucho) studying, then just put it on display like diecast or other collectables.
Education always cost, consider it a mistake and be able to explain why ..There may be something salvageable to mate with another still, depending on size restrictions.
Chin up, good luck, be safe ..Let this be a motivator.

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 4:15 am
by Danespirit
Welcome in... :wave:
Well...you should have read a little more in here, but you can't use that hindsight for anything now..unfortunatly.
You can't use that "still" as it is right now.
bearriver wrote:Amazon policy is great. They will facilitate you a refund. :thumbup:

I once went to return a few still parts to Amazon and they told me to keep the parts before issuing me a refund on the spot.
I sure hope they offer you a refund too.
If they do and also tell you to keep the parts, they can be utilized for other purposes or to build a small still..
So don't give up yet...

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:56 am
by LWTCS
As far as the way the thumper (if it were a thumper) is set up, the inlet thru the bottom is not the issue as much as elevation. It would evidently drain back the entire thumper charge back to the primary as it currently sits.

Vapor chamber for infusion is more likely as Shady says.

Check out how Olddog set his drain up on the frankenthumper.

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:32 am
by RumDummyDrunk
An airlock on top of the boiler. What's the purpose of this? Do they intend you to distill your fermented mash all in one pot? You still have to siphon off or rake your mash into your still pot anyway it just seems like a waste. You're still going to have to rake your mash, wash and clean your still pot before you can run it. You get all kinds of nasty off flavors from all the yeast and nutrients not to mention scorching excetera.

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 9:38 am
by der wo
RumDummyDrunk wrote:An airlock on top of the boiler. What's the purpose of this? Do they intend you to distill your fermented mash all in one pot? You still have to siphon off or rake your mash into your still pot anyway it just seems like a waste. You're still going to have to rake your mash, wash and clean your still hot before you can run it. You get all kinds of nasty off flavors from all the yeast and nutrients not to mention scorching excetera.
Yes. That is the most stupid detail at this still.

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Thu Feb 11, 2016 8:36 pm
by RumDummyDrunk
[/quote]Yes. That is the most stupid detail at this still.[/quote]

Wow... Thanks Der wo.... Just wanted to make sure my Alzheimer's wasn't kicking in...lol

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:51 am
by thecroweater
You been sold a pup, maybe its ok for oils but thats about it. A good copper pot still built yourself will give you change out of a 100 bux and there it no paper trail for revenuers to chase up

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Fri Feb 12, 2016 8:58 pm
by RumDummyDrunk
The more I think about this still it baffles me. 1st off why would anyone buy a still? That's putting a bullseye on your back in my opinion. 2nd as my previous post says... Bad idea to ferment and distill in same pot. 3rd the materials used are inferior and dangerous. 4th that worm is a joke!! If I was in you position I would send it back for refund.

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Sat Mar 12, 2016 5:45 am
by Shine0n
Boy I'm glad I did ALOT of research before making that mistake. I almost did the same thing and before building a keg still I did A LOT more research.

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Tue Mar 15, 2016 10:47 am
by JayTeeDee
Lowenthal wrote: If I ever get a response from my email I'm going to see about getting a refund but if that falls through...would it be better to try to fix the issues with this setup, or just toss everything but the boiler and start from scratch? I already have enough 1/2" copper line to make a reasonably sized worm for the boiler capacity. FYI be forewarned. This still was from Ama+TrulyStep on Amazon.com aka FayeLong on AmazonEurope. Don't waste your money on this trash.
Hi, Did you ever get your money back? Or were you able to make it work for you?

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Sat Oct 31, 2020 11:53 pm
by Alkyholik
thecroweater wrote:
Fri Feb 12, 2016 4:51 am
You been sold a pup, maybe its ok for oils but thats about it. A good copper pot still built yourself will give you change out of a 100 bux and there it no paper trail for revenuers to chase up
I have this exact same still and yesterday it worked brilliantly. 1st stripping run yesterday produced 2.7l of between 50 to 60 odd % of clean alcohol.
Yes the 2nd pot as a thumper is useless but hey that's life.
I got a £50 refund because of this so it ended up costing me £100. By the time my 1st spirit run is done its probably paid for itself so imho, for a beginner it's a not-too bad buy!!
Some people expect too much maybe from a Chinese company? Btw the seals are all food grade silicon.
I'm looking to either make a good still or looking for someone to make 1 for me so if anyone can help please message me. Thanks

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Sun Nov 01, 2020 12:10 am
by Yummyrum
Alkyholik wrote:
Sat Oct 31, 2020 11:53 pm
Btw the seals are all food grade silicon.
Well thats one good reason not to buy it right there .

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Sun Nov 01, 2020 1:05 am
by Alkyholik
Yummyrum wrote:
Sun Nov 01, 2020 12:10 am
Alkyholik wrote:
Sat Oct 31, 2020 11:53 pm
Btw the seals are all food grade silicon.
Well thats one good reason not to buy it right there .
Some folk are too picky lol. I'd drink liquer out a shitey cloot haha. Someone else put up something about the seals the guy uses. They're totally safe seemingly. I'm not worried in the slightest

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Sun Nov 01, 2020 1:25 am
by Saltbush Bill
Alky I suggest that you read the forum rules slowly and carefully before you continue this conversation.
Pay particular attention to rule "i"
Suggest that you also think about the fact that what is in your still is not food.
Start thinking beyond the bullshit sales talk used by the sellers of these cheap rubbish stills.

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Sun Nov 01, 2020 2:05 am
by Alkyholik
I grovel before you,writhing on the ground,begging forgiveness lol

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Sun Nov 01, 2020 3:27 am
by Saltbush Bill
Less time begging and groveling ....and more time using your brain will get you further.
If you don't like the Forum rules feel free to move right along.
Take this as friendly advice to help you understand how things work here.

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Sun Nov 01, 2020 5:00 am
by Alkyholik
Saltbush Bill wrote:
Sun Nov 01, 2020 3:27 am
Less time begging and groveling ....and more time using your brain will get you further.
If you don't like the Forum rules feel free to move right along.
Take this as friendly advice to help you understand how things work here.
No problem cheers

Re: Hello Everyone! -Notsoproud owner of Chinese Still

Posted: Mon Jan 25, 2021 10:24 am
by WaWalky
"Yes. That is the most stupid detail at this still." said Der Wo.

I've made my first distilling steps with the very same set, minus the herb-basket. Cost about 120$, works like hell.
The boiling kettle can also be used as a fermentation basket, by just swapping two valvehandles.