Heating Element Control

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Budapest8485
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Budapest8485 » Fri Nov 23, 2018 10:17 am

A quick test with the sealed candy thermometer shows I'm about off 6 degrees at the range 177-178 range. So I'm actually around 171-172.

With more experience I'll get a feel for this. But it seems like the column wanted to stay in this range.

I will buy a new probe for my thermometer.
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 » Fri Nov 23, 2018 10:26 am

still_stirrin wrote:
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.
ss
Alright. I will pay less attention to the temp. I guess I'm supposed to use it as a guide, not as a control factor.

I'll have another batch ready tomorrow or Sunday. I'll take another shot at this and experiment more with power input to see how it all responds.
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 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:57 am

If someone wanted to have button adjustment instead of a dial, would that be possible? I'm struggling to make fine tuning adjustments with the dial... I know a PID isn't what I want because of the cycling on and off. I just want more precise adjustment of my heat input.

I want to try to take UJSSM off at 160 proof. Little tweaks of the dial are causing significant drop offs in drops per second. If there's a way to make controlled tweaks up and down in very fine increments, that would 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 Budapest8485 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:20 am

Budapest8485 wrote:If someone wanted to have button adjustment instead of a dial, would that be possible? I'm struggling to make fine tuning adjustments with the dial... I know a PID isn't what I want because of the cycling on and off. I just want more precise adjustment of my heat input.

I want to try to take UJSSM off at 160 proof. Little tweaks of the dial are causing significant drop offs in drops per second. If there's a way to make controlled tweaks up and down in very fine increments, that would help.
Maybe there's a better dial I can buy...one that goes around twice to allow for finer adjustments...
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 Dec 19, 2018 5:24 am

With your bok the flow rate is controlled by the take off valve not the input power, so I'm not sure how you're seeing the described effect. Power up and down should only impact your reflux rate which by definition in a bok must be several multiples more than your takeoff rate. 4 reflux to 1 take off, at least otherwise you loose the potential of your setup.

Remember there is a pool of liquid sitting around the take off tube, and you're letting out, at most, a thin stream. Unless you're running valve open (basically as a pot still) then power shouldn't impact this.

Is that how you're running?

Generally speaking if more fine control is required, you could use a knob with a larger diameter. I've read somewhere here about someone using a CD fitted around the knob.

Edit to your second comment: Different potentiometers can definitely impact the rate if change, however I'm not familiar enough to tell you which or how much. Having the same pot I've never had an issue.
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Budapest8485 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 9:06 am

Expat wrote:With your bok the flow rate is controlled by the take off valve not the input power, so I'm not sure how you're seeing the described effect. Power up and down should only impact your reflux rate which by definition in a bok must be several multiples more than your takeoff rate. 4 reflux to 1 take off, at least otherwise you loose the potential of your setup.

Remember there is a pool of liquid sitting around the take off tube, and you're letting out, at most, a thin stream. Unless you're running valve open (basically as a pot still) then power shouldn't impact this.

Is that how you're running?

Generally speaking if more fine control is required, you could use a knob with a larger diameter. I've read somewhere here about someone using a CD fitted around the knob.

Edit to your second comment: Different potentiometers can definitely impact the rate if change, however I'm not familiar enough to tell you which or how much. Having the same pot I've never had an issue.
No, I'm using a pot still for UJSSM, not the bokabob.

I think my pot doesn't have the fine tuning your's does. Mine isn't the kyoto you recommended. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079B ... UTF8&psc=1 That one fried on me before I got started. I'll get out my multimeter and confirm small adjustments of the dial are creating big swings in the energy input.
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 Dec 19, 2018 10:16 am

This is where an ammeter really comes in handy, you can see exactly the change that you're making. Highly recommended.
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Budapest8485 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:37 pm

Expat wrote:This is where an ammeter really comes in handy, you can see exactly the change that you're making. Highly recommended.
Okay, I ordered one. I'll see if it helps. I really think based on the pot still flow change, small tweaks are causing big adjustments.
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 Dec 19, 2018 2:37 pm

Budapest8485 wrote:
I think my pot doesn't have the fine tuning your's does. Mine isn't the kyoto you recommended. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079B ... UTF8&psc=1 That one fried on me before I got started. I'll get out my multimeter and confirm small adjustments of the dial are creating big swings in the energy input.
Order a 47K pot like this (https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-x-Full-Size- ... 3685084566" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow) and then connect it in series with your existing one (500K) . Then you will use 500K for rough settings ans a second (47K) for fine tuning. Ammeter will be useful also. This one is easy to wire - https://www.ebay.com/itm/AC-220V-0-100A ... 2121721231" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Budapest8485 » Wed Dec 19, 2018 6:29 pm

sambedded wrote:
Budapest8485 wrote:
I think my pot doesn't have the fine tuning your's does. Mine isn't the kyoto you recommended. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B079B ... UTF8&psc=1 That one fried on me before I got started. I'll get out my multimeter and confirm small adjustments of the dial are creating big swings in the energy input.
Order a 47K pot like this (https://www.ebay.com/itm/2-x-Full-Size- ... 3685084566" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow) and then connect it in series with your existing one (500K) . Then you will use 500K for rough settings ans a second (47K) for fine tuning. Ammeter will be useful also. This one is easy to wire - https://www.ebay.com/itm/AC-220V-0-100A ... 2121721231" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
This is good. Thank you!
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 soy_boricua » Tue Jan 08, 2019 5:48 pm

I built a 3d printable model with PID, SSRD WITH HEAT SINK, OUTLET-SWITCH COMBO K-STILE THERMOCOUPLE PLUG, EXHAUST FAN AND INTAKE FILTER.
https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:3332728" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow
Currently printing 1.0 and lighter lid. it is a 21hr print for box and 5hr for lid. but is well worth it!

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Yonder » Mon Jan 14, 2019 10:08 pm

Well, i finally upgraded and got rid of my old controller. Using the various plans and pix from this site I put together a nice box based on the kyoto ssr. Works like a champ and the digital display is great. Had a bit of a problem at first, popping the breaker every time i turned it on...seems the damned element was shorting to ground. Quick fix. Hotter'n a firecracker in a minute. Thanks to everyone that posted in this forum for the ground work :D (no pun intended). :ebiggrin:
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Bombo80 » Wed Feb 13, 2019 2:37 pm

sambedded ...

I have the exact same SSR as the OP. I just received my heating element the other day, but have not had time for a test yet.

My question is about the picture of the 47k pot, in the link you posted. My 500k pot has the same metal tabs pointing the same way as the rotating dial.

I gently screwed the nut and washer down, on the outside of my controller box. Can you bend them in towards the dial ?? I think yes, but am not sure.

Thanks

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by sambedded » Wed Feb 13, 2019 7:01 pm

Bombo80 wrote:sambedded ...
My 500k pot has the same metal tabs pointing the same way as the rotating dial.

I gently screwed the nut and washer down, on the outside of my controller box. Can you bend them in towards the dial ?? I think yes, but am not sure.

Thanks
Sure, you can bend them.

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Sunshineer » Wed May 22, 2019 5:40 pm

You can build a k probe pid control for about 20 bucks in parts on e bay run 2 5500 amp 240 heaters off your dryer plug do a you tube search it is easy

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Expat » Wed May 22, 2019 6:00 pm

Sunshineer wrote:You can build a k probe pid control for about 20 bucks in parts on e bay run 2 5500 amp 240 heaters off your dryer plug do a you tube search it is easy
PID isn't of value for running a still; You want constant power not temp.
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Sunshineer » Thu Jun 06, 2019 8:31 pm

Once you let the pid balance it should not cycle that often any still will benefit from one and they are easy to adapt to any voltage adding an amp and volt readout are very smiple also I can build one the big sites sell with a lot better features for under 50.00 and have two temperature displays plus volts and amps. And two temperature probes. I prefer to use 220 50 amp input and then step that down to whatever I need

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by NZChris » Thu Jun 06, 2019 9:28 pm

Sunshineer wrote:Once you let the pid balance it should not cycle that often any still will benefit from one and they are easy to adapt to any voltage adding an amp and volt readout are very smiple also I can build one the big sites sell with a lot better features for under 50.00 and have two temperature displays plus volts and amps. And two temperature probes. I prefer to use 220 50 amp input and then step that down to whatever I need
So what, exactly, are you controlling with your PID, and why?

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Expat » Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:21 am

Sunshineer wrote:Once you let the pid balance it should not cycle that often any still will benefit from one and they are easy to adapt to any voltage adding an amp and volt readout are very smiple also I can build one the big sites sell with a lot better features for under 50.00 and have two temperature displays plus volts and amps. And two temperature probes. I prefer to use 220 50 amp input and then step that down to whatever I need
Regardless of the number of features you can't control a still by boiler temp which is what a PID would do; hence no good.
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Kindafrench » Fri Jun 07, 2019 8:44 pm

A self destruct feature would be handy. Only the PID :lol: nothing else.

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by The Booze Pipe » Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:41 pm

I'm looking for a 5500W controller that's ready-to-go. Does anyone have a recommendation, maybe one that someone has bought and tested/used?
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by OtisT » Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:52 pm

Budapest8485 wrote:
Wed Dec 19, 2018 4:57 am
If someone wanted to have button adjustment instead of a dial, would that be possible? I'm struggling to make fine tuning adjustments with the dial... I know a PID isn't what I want because of the cycling on and off. I just want more precise adjustment of my heat input.

I want to try to take UJSSM off at 160 proof. Little tweaks of the dial are causing significant drop offs in drops per second. If there's a way to make controlled tweaks up and down in very fine increments, that would help.
What you need is a second dial, not a new dial.

The dial is a potentiometer (“pot”), or variable resistor. The dial rotates around 270 degrees from no resistance to full resistance, and the amount of resistance is labeled on the back of that component. If you add a second, smaller, potentiometer in series with the first, you will get the fine control you want. The new pot needs to handle the same current load as the first, but that resistance number (measured in Ohms) should be about 1/10 of the big pot.

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by OtisT » Fri Dec 06, 2019 1:02 pm

The Booze Pipe wrote:
Fri Dec 06, 2019 12:41 pm
I'm looking for a 5500W controller that's ready-to-go. Does anyone have a recommendation, maybe one that someone has bought and tested/used?
By “ready to go” do you mean in a case with cords and plugs, or just the controller circuitry that includes a heat sync, fan, and dial where you have to add your own project box and electrical cords? If you are looking for the latter, I found some cheep single dial 10,000 W controllers on Amazon for about $25 that work. I built a few stills for others who use them, though I personally still use the kit I bought from still dragon because it ain’t broke yet and I like and use the second fine tuning dial that you can’t add to the single dial cheep versions from China. Just search for a 10,000 watt power controller and you should see several all around the same provide.

I find that second fine tuning dial extremely useful for pulling foreshots slowly but it’s not needed otherwise.

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by pope » Fri Dec 06, 2019 2:51 pm

Auber instruments makes a DSPR series and also makes some out-of-the-box type kits or sets, they might have one. The DSPR is a PID controller that toggles to a % of power knob which you'll use to run the still. You probably still have some work to do but it could prevent you from doing any wiring.

It won't be as cheap as DIY and there are other, cheaper knob-in-a-box options, I just got a dspr and really like it.
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by The Booze Pipe » Sat Dec 07, 2019 11:40 am

Otis,
I did buy and try a DIY kit, but I failed, twice to make it operational. Its a strong indication that my electrician skills are non existent at this point in life. I have all the 10/3 wire, so preferably if I could just connect that to a controller that is otherwise wired and ready for power.

Pope,
What do you think of the more simple digital SSR (DSPR2)? Is this a PID?? And would this benefit from a second pot? I'm not overly interested in an automated system I prefer more hands on.
Last edited by The Booze Pipe on Sat Dec 07, 2019 1:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Slow42 » Sat Jan 04, 2020 3:14 pm

What are members using now to control the temperature in your electric pot, kettle, keg, hot plate? Is there a consensus as to what is better a PID or RHEOSTAT? I have both that I use for other purposes one 120 volts and one 240 volts. For still purposes, which I don’t have, what do you prefer? Easy or use etc.?

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Yummyrum » Sat Jan 04, 2020 4:53 pm

PID’s use a thermometer to tell a controller what temp the boiler is at . They are totally useless in distilling .

When you say rheostat , I guess you are talking about a power controller . ( Not a big arse adjustable resistor in series with the elemnent)

So yes these are what we all use . There have even been a few that ignored advise and bought a PID controller only to admit later on that they also found it useless .

PIDs have their place keeping mashes at a constant temp but they donor work for distilling .

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by The Baker » Sat Jan 04, 2020 6:38 pm

The Booze Pipe wrote:
Sat Dec 07, 2019 11:40 am
Otis,
I did buy and try a DIY kit, but I failed, twice to make it operational. Its a strong indication that my electrician skills are non existent at this point in life. I have all the 10/3 wire, so preferably if I could just connect that to a controller that is otherwise wired and ready for power.

Pope,
What do you think of the more simple digital SSR (DSPR2)? Is this a PID?? And would this benefit from a second pot? I'm not overly interested in an automated system I prefer more hands on.
I bought a DIY kit; and I am getting my local technician person to put it together!

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by Slow42 » Sun Jan 05, 2020 6:21 am

Thanks Yummyrum the unit I have is a rheostat in conjunction with a SSVR 40 amp, 220 volts. I used it in the past to keep water hot at a certain temperature for plucking bird feathers. Worked great and easy to operate. As far as the PID goes that works wonderful on my electric smoker. Odd it wouldn't work in distilling as that also just controls temperature. The only issue I see is the placement of the thermostat in the boiler or elsewhere other wise not much different than a rheostat. Both are just on/off switches. I find the rheostat easier to use as you only have to turn a dial to change temperature. The PID shows the temperature of the location placed, which is nice for reference, yes I know it’s not necessary just nice. I have enough else to learn about distilling so I’ll be using the rheostat. Thanks for the input.

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Re: Heating Element Control

Post by still_stirrin » Sun Jan 05, 2020 9:16 am

Slow42 wrote:
Sun Jan 05, 2020 6:21 am
I find the rheostat easier to use as you only have to turn a dial to change temperature. The PID shows the temperature of the location placed, which is nice for reference, yes I know it’s not necessary just nice. I have enough else to learn about distilling so I’ll be using the rheostat.
The key point here is that with the rheostat (potentiometer) you manually adjust the voltage across the control circuit of the SSR. This voltage then causes the SSR to pass a proportional amount of current to your heat element, creating the vapor production rate. It is energy per unit time and not temperature that keeps the wash boiling...more energy...more vapor production.

But if you (attempt to) use a PiD to automatically monitor some scaler measurement like temperature and then have the computer adjust the heat input as the scaler (temperature) approaches the target, the control circuit asymptotically approaches zero amps (shutting down the heat input), and the boil will slowly stop. This would happen at any temperature you would set the PiD to.

When you use the PiD in your BBQ smoker, you want a steady temperature, to come up to a set temperature and hold it there, so temperature regulation is the objective.

With distillation, steady heat input is better. And keep in mind that as you boil off the volatiles and alcohol, what’s left in the boiler will be an increasing percentage of water which will result in the boiling point constantly rising throughout the distillation process. In fact, the boiling point of the wash will always be a function of the constituents (and their proportions) in it.

So, if the PiD has a manual (proportional) control, you could use it similar to the rheostat to adjust the SSR by adjusting the percent of duty cycle (0-100%). And then use the thermocouple to simply give you a monitoring readout of the boil temperature as the run progresses.

Otherwise, a PiD is not the best tool for operating a still.
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