Heating Element Control

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sambedded
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by sambedded » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:23 am

Most likely your SSR is fried. It's very sensitive for load shortage. You can check a pot using multi-meter.

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Budapest8485 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 9:36 am

sambedded wrote:Most likely your SSR is fried. It's very sensitive for load shortage. You can check a pot using multi-meter.
Is this something I did, or should I try to get a refund from the seller? I did nothing other than what you see in the pictures.
3 x 60 inch Bokabob, 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

3 inch pot still head, reduce 2, then to 48 inch 1/2 condenser. 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by sambedded » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:31 am

Budapest8485 wrote:
Is this something I did, or should I try to get a refund from the seller? .
Hard to say. Check your pot first (connect Ohmmeter probe directly to SSR terminals abd try to rotate it). If it's OK - try to get a refund.

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Budapest8485 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 10:41 am

Expat wrote:I don't know if it makes a difference, but from what I can see your pot wires are reversed at the SSR compared to mine. Perhaps try switching them?

I reversed them on the SSR and it had no effect. Do you think I need to switch them on the POT itself? I think I have it on the correct terminals...same as in your picture and others I've seen.

I ordered a new SSR and POT from Amazon. It'll be here Monday...$15 no shipping cost.
3 x 60 inch Bokabob, 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

3 inch pot still head, reduce 2, then to 48 inch 1/2 condenser. 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Expat » Sat Nov 03, 2018 2:29 pm

From what I've seen, you haven't done anything wrong. Likely it was just a defective part, which is bad luck. This is why two of everything :-)
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Budapest8485 » Sat Nov 03, 2018 6:14 pm

Expat wrote:From what I've seen, you haven't done anything wrong. Likely it was just a defective part, which is bad luck. This is why two of everything :-)
I don't think I did anything wrong, so I will request a refund or replacement. I am impressed how quickly this thing gets up to temp. 20-25 minutes and it was blowing steam at 212 degrees. I don't have any insulation around the boiler or the column, so it will likely get there even quicker once that's in place.

Thanks again for all the help
3 x 60 inch Bokabob, 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

3 inch pot still head, reduce 2, then to 48 inch 1/2 condenser. 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by sambedded » Sat Nov 03, 2018 8:18 pm

SSR can be easily destroyed by overheating. Did you monitor it's temperature constantly? Did you apply thermal grease when you mount SSR?
Without proper cooling a triac core can melt in a couple minutes.

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Budapest8485 » Sun Nov 04, 2018 4:55 am

sambedded wrote:SSR can be easily destroyed by overheating. Did you monitor it's temperature constantly? Did you apply thermal grease when you mount SSR?
Without proper cooling a triac core can melt in a couple minutes.
It never got hot. I do have thermal grease between it and the heat sink.

I think it was working to some extent when I first hooked everything up. The volts went from 170-190 while it was operating. That's obviously not what I wanted...I want the full 212 I'm seeing at the plug.
3 x 60 inch Bokabob, 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

3 inch pot still head, reduce 2, then to 48 inch 1/2 condenser. 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Budapest8485 » Mon Nov 05, 2018 12:59 pm

New SSR and POT installed. It works perfectly! 0 volts at 0% and 212 at 100%

Ethanol cleaning run tonight! Yes!
3 x 60 inch Bokabob, 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

3 inch pot still head, reduce 2, then to 48 inch 1/2 condenser. 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Expat » Mon Nov 05, 2018 2:19 pm

Fantastic! Glad to hear you got that sorted.
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Budapest8485 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:47 am

Expat wrote:Fantastic! Glad to hear you got that sorted.
Holes are drilled to vent. Lost the screws/bolts to close the box though... :crazy:

Also discovered I'm going to want a means to "plug" and "unplug" the heating element side. Carrying this boiler to the sink is hard enough; with a power cord attached makes it even harder.
3 x 60 inch Bokabob, 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

3 inch pot still head, reduce 2, then to 48 inch 1/2 condenser. 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Expat » Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:26 am

Budapest8485 wrote:
Expat wrote:Fantastic! Glad to hear you got that sorted.
Holes are drilled to vent. Lost the screws/bolts to close the box though... :crazy:

Also discovered I'm going to want a means to "plug" and "unplug" the heating element side. Carrying this boiler to the sink is hard enough; with a power cord attached makes it even harder.

You know my thoughts on vent holes... But at least you won't get a melt/fire so long as there is sufficient airflow.

Plugs are handy for a number of reasons, both convenient and for safety. Though what you really want to add is a bottom drain. Saves you having to lift and pour boiling water.
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Budapest8485 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:05 am

Expat wrote:
Budapest8485 wrote:
Expat wrote:Fantastic! Glad to hear you got that sorted.
Holes are drilled to vent. Lost the screws/bolts to close the box though... :crazy:

Also discovered I'm going to want a means to "plug" and "unplug" the heating element side. Carrying this boiler to the sink is hard enough; with a power cord attached makes it even harder.

You know my thoughts on vent holes... But at least you won't get a melt/fire so long as there is sufficient airflow.

Plugs are handy for a number of reasons, both convenient and for safety. Though what you really want to add is a bottom drain. Saves you having to lift and pour boiling water.
Yes, I wish I would have bought a milk can with a second outlet. I'm not a welder so I don't know about adding one now. I was thinking about buying some kind of transfer pump empty the boiler. I'm guessing this thing is near 100 pounds full. I can put that up on the countertop, but it's not easy and this is a hobby I'm not able to ask a friend to give me a hand...
3 x 60 inch Bokabob, 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

3 inch pot still head, reduce 2, then to 48 inch 1/2 condenser. 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Budapest8485 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 7:13 am

https://www.glaciertanks.com/tri-clamp- ... 5-050.html

Something like this would take the heating element further outside the boiler... But it would give me the drain option without welding.
3 x 60 inch Bokabob, 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

3 inch pot still head, reduce 2, then to 48 inch 1/2 condenser. 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Expat » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:04 am

More experienced members may disagree, but I would think that having good sized part of your element within a tube would cause one hell of a hot spot. I'd be worried about.
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Budapest8485 » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:20 am

Expat wrote:More experienced members may disagree, but I would think that having good sized part of your element within a tube would cause one hell of a hot spot. I'd be worried about.
A pump of some sort is probably my best option for getting enough out of the boiler to make it easier to move. I'll have to look into that.

My plan is to do pot stilling on the countertop, so siphoning is an option in these cases. But with my reflux column it's not going to happen.
3 x 60 inch Bokabob, 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

3 inch pot still head, reduce 2, then to 48 inch 1/2 condenser. 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Expat » Tue Nov 06, 2018 9:50 am

IF you go that route, best be very careful to use a hose which is high temp rated, else it will collapse.

Also, don't get a mouthful of boiling backset while starting the syphon. Seems like a safety issue.

Topics for another thread...
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Cross flow condenser viewtopic.php?f=87&t=47632
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Budapest8485 » Wed Nov 21, 2018 11:33 am

Is there a good option for a digital potentiometer? I struggled with small adjustments using a dial. Maybe it's not better, but I think adjusting it by the 10th of an amp up and down might give me more control than the dial offers.
3 x 60 inch Bokabob, 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

3 inch pot still head, reduce 2, then to 48 inch 1/2 condenser. 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by sambedded » Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:48 pm

Budapest8485 wrote:Is there a good option for a digital potentiometer? I struggled with small adjustments using a dial. Maybe it's not better, but I think adjusting it by the 10th of an amp up and down might give me more control than the dial offers.

What kind of precision you are looking for? Is it OK if you will be able control power (not amps) with 1% granularity? In you case it will 45 Watts per step.

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Expat » Wed Nov 21, 2018 4:57 pm

Budapest8485 wrote:Is there a good option for a digital potentiometer? I struggled with small adjustments using a dial. Maybe it's not better, but I think adjusting it by the 10th of an amp up and down might give me more control than the dial offers.
Do you have an ammeter you can check your adjustments on?
With the pot you have it shouldn't be too hard to make fine tuning adjustments if you can see exactly what the result is.
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Cross flow condenser viewtopic.php?f=87&t=47632
Modular 3" Boka - pics tbd
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Budapest8485 » Wed Nov 21, 2018 6:10 pm

I don't have an ammeter...maybe that's what I'm asking for. I'll look into installing one in my box.

Being able to actually see the number I'm adjusting would help me I think.
3 x 60 inch Bokabob, 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

3 inch pot still head, reduce 2, then to 48 inch 1/2 condenser. 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Expat » Wed Nov 21, 2018 6:26 pm

Yup, you can do adjustments by ear but its a guessing game.

I have one of these. Nice and big so its easy to read. Wire in before the SSR.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/AC-0-30A-Analo ... :rk:1:pf:0
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Cross flow condenser viewtopic.php?f=87&t=47632
Modular 3" Boka - pics tbd
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Budapest8485 » Thu Nov 22, 2018 7:34 am

Expat wrote:Yup, you can do adjustments by ear but its a guessing game.

I have one of these. Nice and big so its easy to read. Wire in before the SSR.

https://www.ebay.com/itm/AC-0-30A-Analo ... :rk:1:pf:0

I want to get a digital one, so I can see the incremental adjustments by the 10th of a unit. Preferably part of the pot with a push button to turn it up and down by the small increments.

I found even the slightest adjustment up or down with my dial moved the temp more than I wanted. Fine tuning is what I'm after.
3 x 60 inch Bokabob, 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

3 inch pot still head, reduce 2, then to 48 inch 1/2 condenser. 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by still_stirrin » Thu Nov 22, 2018 8:58 am

Budapest8485 wrote:...I want to get a digital one, so I can see the incremental adjustments by the 10th of a unit....Fine tuning is what I'm after.
I think you’re “over-thinking” this. Remember, the resistance of the element will “integrate” the current flow “peaks” such that it will tend to be slightly “reactive”. Thus, decimal corrections/adjustments are simply “over-rated”.

For sure, an analog gage will give you plenty of data to tune your boil. Just be sure the ammeter is the appropriate measurement range, that is - you don’t want a 60 amp ammeter to measure the current flow if you’re only expecting to draw 15 amps.

If you’re running a 5.5kW element on 220VAC, then you’ll need an ammeter that measures 0-30 amps. If you’re running a 4.5kW element on 220VAC, then you’ll need an ammeter that measures 0-25 amps.
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by still_stirrin » Thu Nov 22, 2018 9:04 am

Budapest8485 wrote:...I found even the slightest adjustment up or down with my dial moved the temp more than I wanted...
What are you doing here....trying to run the still by temperature? This is an extremely difficult thing to do...in fact, I don’t believe you can actually do it (successfully).

Use the heat input (current to the heat element) to adjust the vapor production rate and consequental production at the outlet.

Use your reflux controls to adjust the purity, not the temperature.
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Budapest8485 » Fri Nov 23, 2018 5:04 am

still_stirrin wrote:
Budapest8485 wrote:...I found even the slightest adjustment up or down with my dial moved the temp more than I wanted...
What are you doing here....trying to run the still by temperature? This is an extremely difficult thing to do...in fact, I don’t believe you can actually do it (successfully).

Use the heat input (current to the heat element) to adjust the vapor production rate and consequental production at the outlet.

Use your reflux controls to adjust the purity, not the temperature.
ss
I'm not trying to control it by temp. I'm struggling with the fine tuning of my dial. The smallest tweak is a bigger adjustment than I want.

I'm told at 178, it too hot at the take off slant plate. I struggled to keep a stable temperature lower than that. It was easy to keep 178. I was taking about two drips per second off with the valve.

I could smell the heads and made that cut. But I never detected the tails or any type of off taste/smell. The temp went all the way to 196 before I turned it off.
3 x 60 inch Bokabob, 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

3 inch pot still head, reduce 2, then to 48 inch 1/2 condenser. 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Expat » Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:03 am

Just a thought, but have you done a calibration test on your thermometer? It might explain why you're getting higher than expected head temps.
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Cross flow condenser viewtopic.php?f=87&t=47632
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Budapest8485 » Fri Nov 23, 2018 8:57 am

Expat wrote:Just a thought, but have you done a calibration test on your thermometer? It might explain why you're getting higher than expected head temps.
That thought crossed my mind. I've used the thermometer a lot for cooking and it seems right not for food done-ness. At room temp it's on the money as well. I have a candle thermometer, so I'll run it through a test today.
3 x 60 inch Bokabob, 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

3 inch pot still head, reduce 2, then to 48 inch 1/2 condenser. 8 gallon boiler, 4500w

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by still_stirrin » Fri Nov 23, 2018 9:05 am

Budapest8485 wrote:I'm told at 178, it too hot at the take off slant plate. I struggled to keep a stable temperature lower than that. It was easy to keep 178. I was taking about two drips per second off with the valve.
So a re-group here....you're running a Boka LM reflux still, right? And you're trying to keep the temperature (measured at the slant plates) at, or below 178*F, right? And when you "lower the head temperature", the production diminishes, correct?

Well, the measured temperature is the vapor temperature at the head. 178*F, or so is appropriate for ethanol...it's what I'd expect. And yes, it will stay stable there as long as you're producing alcohol. It will rise when you reach the back end of the run as more and more steam (H2O) is produced with the remaining (less & less) alcohol. Don't worry so much about the temperature...in fact, disregard it.

If your reflux condenser is working properly and you have complete knockdown of the rising vapors, you should be able to adjust the liquid take off rate to a fast drip/slow (pencil lead) stream while still maintaining a high reflux ratio and keep the purity high.

So in summary, you shouldn't need such a fine-tuned heat input adjustment to keep the process steady. Once you've set the heat input and balanced the reflux condenser to knock it all down, you should be able to start drawing off the liquid and the process should remain stable. If it isn't, then increase heat and destabilize the RC. This will increase the reflux and allow you to draw off the liquid without destabilizing the process.

Don't try to run the still using the thermometer. You can observe the temperature...but don't try to run it using the measurement.

Your questions here about operations of the Boka would find more and better answers in the Column forum.
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Expat » Fri Nov 23, 2018 9:27 am

Budapest8485 wrote:
Expat wrote:Just a thought, but have you done a calibration test on your thermometer? It might explain why you're getting higher than expected head temps.
That thought crossed my mind. I've used the thermometer a lot for cooking and it seems right not for food done-ness. At room temp it's on the money as well. I have a candle thermometer, so I'll run it through a test today.

Boil up some water, check what it reads.
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Current boiler and pot head viewtopic.php?f=50&t=71855
Cross flow condenser viewtopic.php?f=87&t=47632
Modular 3" Boka - pics tbd
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