pid controller

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mulligan
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pid controller

Post by mulligan » Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:11 am

I'm feeling brave after a good sup of my own produce so will risk Rad's wrath that temp control can't be done ....

Let me preface by saying I have no interest in full automation or distilling without supervision.

I am a little disabled and my wife a little more so, so while I am always present while distilling, there are occasional distractions of more importance.

Concept is purely with reminders/alarms and not automation other than failsafe..

I want to initially control temperature with a pid so that temperature is maintained just below ethanol boiling temperature. I will get an alarm when this is reached and give the still my attention. Heads will continue to be distilled and I can continue until majority of heads are done and gradually increase temperature or shut still down if required. If I miss alarm, power will shut off after x minutes ie run aborted.

I will then re-set pid to raise temperature to just below that which is before end of hearts and before start of tails and set another alarm for that being reached (this will require trial, error and experience). In (my) theory, product output will stop when there are no more hearts and pid can be set to turn power off if for whatever reason I have not done so after x time, as it would in initial phase. New grainfather controller would do this if basic pid controller cannot?

Similar process after hearts and shutoff after tails.

I fully understand smearing can and will happen Repeat that not wanting automation. Concept is that obvious heads, hearts and tails will be separated with manual human separation in between and a failsafe at each stage in case of distraction/outside issues.

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Re: pid controller

Post by mulligan » Wed Nov 23, 2016 12:32 am

On reading back, I guess it's not clear that I want heads in a collecter with product stopping at some point if wife calls me etc and same for hearts without a huge puddle of flammable stuff on the floor

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Re: pid controller

Post by NZChris » Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:43 am

What type of still is it?

What products are you making?

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Re: pid controller

Post by mulligan » Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:01 am

NZChris wrote:What type of still is it?

What products are you making?
still spirits T500 boiler with pot head (standard T500 lid, no copper dome)

running sugar washes while trialling, but golden syrup and rum washes are goal.

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Re: pid controller

Post by still_stirrin » Wed Nov 23, 2016 7:23 am

Mulligan,

Do you understand how a PiD manages "temperature control"?

As the measured liquid's temperature approaches the "set temperature", the regulator (control circuit) reduces the current. And as a resistive element receives less and less current, it produces less heat (at the rate of the square of the reduction of current). (for resistive elements, P = I x I x R)

What this means is that when your liquid is near the set temperature, the element is conducting almost no current at all! What will happen is that the vapor production will STOP....not continue producing vapor of a specific boiling point.

Typically, when members use a PiD control, it is used in the manual mode with the setting being a percentage of "full power". For example, they'll set it at 100% to start heat up, then dial back to 50-60% for the run. It sends that percentage of the full load current to the element, not try to maintain a "target temperature".

I don't believe the PiD will do what you want it to do. Sorry.
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Re: pid controller

Post by rad14701 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 2:32 pm

I have to agree with still_stirrin that a PID isn't going to get you where you think you want to be... I also have concerns that the OP making it sound as though he can walk away from the still during warm-up which is the time frame when most leaks and accidents happen...

As I've stated before, if you can't commit full attention to running a still, from beginning to end, then perhaps this isn't the hobby to be dabbling in... I shudder every time I hear ideas about automation, quasi-automation, or any other bastardized version of automation that fools someone into thinking they can be less than attentive... Shit goes sideways way too fast so even one minute between alarm and shutdown might be long enough for catastrophic results... It takes a lot of sensors and a lot of code to make a still even marginally safe... Two handicapped adults in a house with a supposedly automated still just sounds like a recipe for disaster...

I would implore the OP to rethink this idea, but if he is dead-set on proceeding then either a Raspberry Pi or Arduino would be better platforms for such tasks... Both of which have their own inherent learning curves...

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Re: pid controller

Post by DFitz » Wed Nov 23, 2016 3:54 pm

Maybe consider one of these instead.
http://www.auberins.com/index.php?main_ ... cts_id=444" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" rel="nofollow

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Re: pid controller

Post by shadylane » Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:10 pm

mulligan wrote:....Let me preface by saying I have no interest in full automation or distilling without supervision.
....I am always present while distilling.....
Concept is purely with reminders/alarms and not automation other than failsafe....

I want to initially control temperature with a pid so that temperature is maintained just below ethanol boiling temperature. I will get an alarm when this is reached and give the still my attention. Heads will continue to be distilled and I can continue until majority of heads are done and gradually increase temperature or shut still down if required. If I miss alarm, power will shut off after x minutes ie run aborted.

I will then re-set pid to raise temperature to just below that which is before end of hearts and before start of tails and set another alarm for that being reached (this will require trial, error and experience). In (my) theory, product output will stop when there are no more hearts and pid can be set to turn power off if for whatever reason I have not done so after x time, as it would in initial phase. New grainfather controller would do this if basic pid controller cannot?

Similar process after hearts and shutoff after tails.

I fully understand smearing can and will happen Repeat that not wanting automation. Concept is that obvious heads, hearts and tails will be separated with manual human separation in between and a failsafe at each stage in case of distraction/outside issues.
Sound's like a game plan :thumbup:
The only reason not to have several "failsafes" is it may lead to compliancy.
But, your going to have fun figuring out all the set points for variations in the still charge and ect... :lol:

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Re: pid controller

Post by mulligan » Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:35 pm

I cannot stress enough that leaving the still unattended is absolutely not the point.

Having an alarm when a certain point in the process is reached and a safety cutoff in the unlikely event that I fail to react to the alarm is surely a good thing?

Leaving a still unattended is just as dangerous as leaving a deep fryer unattended and I know that.

I am surprised that potentially adding a layer of safety is being criticised.

Still_stirrin gets my point but somehow misses it. I totally agree that vapour will stop if I fail to manually increase temperature at end of heads (for example) and that power will then be cut off after x minutes. That is exactly what is intended. In the unlikely event I were to be distracted, fall asleep etc, the still would automatically shut down.

Same thing after I manually re-set pid to go to and maintain next temperature. In the (again) unlikely event I fail to adjust temperature manually, pid will cut power after x minutes and still will cool down.

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Re: pid controller

Post by Badmotivator » Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:40 pm

I understand mulligan's motivation and his plan has some merit. As far as the "being called away" problem goes, what I would do is just turn off the machine if I had to walk away. 100% safe, 100% reliable, cost-free, no downside.

If you do work something out like your plan, Mulligan, I'd be interested in your process. It's not for me, but it's interesting anyway. :)

Cheers.


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Re: pid controller

Post by mulligan » Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:46 pm

shadylane wrote:
Sound's like a game plan :thumbup:
The only reason not to have several "failsafes" is it may lead to compliancy.
But, your going to have fun figuring out all the set points for variations in the still charge and ect... :lol:
Thanks! It's an interesting part of the hobby for me as there is a clear correlation between temp and abv and the boiling point of various alcohols but I repeatedly read that we can control by abv but not by temp which is frankly bollocks.

Somehow vapour will stop coming off if you keep temperature just below the boiling point of ethanol is a bad thing? Isn't that end of heads?

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Re: pid controller

Post by mulligan » Wed Nov 23, 2016 4:49 pm

Badmotivator wrote:I understand mulligan's motivation and his plan has some merit. As far as the "being called away" problem goes, what I would do is just turn off the machine if I had to walk away. 100% safe, 100% reliable, cost-free, no downside.

If you do work something out like your plan, Mulligan, I'd be interested in your process. It's not for me, but it's interesting anyway. :)

Cheers.


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All good. We can all get a phone call or whatever and expect reasonably to continue with the still run. I mostly can too, but when my disabled wife calls me I can't realistically tell her I've got to get back to the still, nor is it practical to turn the still off every time.

edit : again, I mean I don't know if I'll be with my wife for 30 seconds, 3 minutes, 30 minutes. I am always within a few feet of the still and a fire extinguisher etc. I'm just not continuously looking at it, just like most of the rest of us. I can't find a single bad thing about an alarm that warns me to either attend to the still or turn it off and a failsafe that turns it off if I don't.

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Re: pid controller

Post by ShineonCrazyDiamond » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:20 pm

What's your boiler charge%?
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Re: pid controller

Post by acfixer69 » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:26 pm

mulligan wrote:
Badmotivator wrote:I understand mulligan's motivation and his plan has some merit. As far as the "being called away" problem goes, what I would do is just turn off the machine if I had to walk away. 100% safe, 100% reliable, cost-free, no downside.

If you do work something out like your plan, Mulligan, I'd be interested in your process. It's not for me, but it's interesting anyway. :)

Cheers.


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All good. We can all get a phone call or whatever and expect reasonably to continue with the still run. I mostly can too, but when my disabled wife calls me I can't realistically tell her I've got to get back to the still, nor is it practical to turn the still off every time.

edit : again, I mean I don't know if I'll be with my wife for 30 seconds, 3 minutes, 30 minutes. I am always within a few feet of the still and a fire extinguisher etc. I'm just not continuously looking at it, just like most of the rest of us. I can't find a single bad thing about an alarm that warns me to either attend to the still or turn it off and a failsafe that turns it off if I don't.



And if you are attending her and the alarm goes off, what then, hang on Honey I'll be back.

AC

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Re: pid controller

Post by shadylane » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:28 pm

mulligan wrote:Somehow vapour will stop coming off if you keep temperature just below the boiling point of ethanol is a bad thing? Isn't that end of heads?
This sounds like you might not understand the relationship between the boiling point of a water/ethanol mixture.
The majority of the time there's more water to boil than ethanol
On a typical pot still run, Figure a 10% alcohol charge will start boiling around 200f ish
The boiling temp would rise to around 212f or slightly less. As the alcohol boils off
posting with SCD

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Re: pid controller

Post by mulligan » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:29 pm

Respectfully Rad, I knew you'd be the first to say it was a non starter. I think raspberry pi and arduino are fine options but will likely go with the new grainfather controller.

I refuse to accept that my physical limitations mean I can't safely enjoy this hobby.

That is exactly why I want extra safety measures in place.

I did know in advance you'd say temperature control cannot be done and I do call BS. It isn't best, it isn't accurate etc but it can to an extent be done even on a hobby scale.

I can clearly get fores, heads and maybe some hearts and then no more product at a certain temp.

I can clearly get hearts within a certain temperature range.

I can then get hearts and tails with no clear distinction between the two.

In other words it's totally inefficient but it can be done.

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Re: pid controller

Post by mulligan » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:30 pm

acfixer69 wrote:
mulligan wrote:
Badmotivator wrote:I understand mulligan's motivation and his plan has some merit. As far as the "being called away" problem goes, what I would do is just turn off the machine if I had to walk away. 100% safe, 100% reliable, cost-free, no downside.

If you do work something out like your plan, Mulligan, I'd be interested in your process. It's not for me, but it's interesting anyway. :)

Cheers.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
All good. We can all get a phone call or whatever and expect reasonably to continue with the still run. I mostly can too, but when my disabled wife calls me I can't realistically tell her I've got to get back to the still, nor is it practical to turn the still off every time.

edit : again, I mean I don't know if I'll be with my wife for 30 seconds, 3 minutes, 30 minutes. I am always within a few feet of the still and a fire extinguisher etc. I'm just not continuously looking at it, just like most of the rest of us. I can't find a single bad thing about an alarm that warns me to either attend to the still or turn it off and a failsafe that turns it off if I don't.



And if you are attending her and the alarm goes off, what then, hang on Honey I'll be back.

AC
I think you missed the bit where power will cut off x minutes later

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Re: pid controller

Post by mulligan » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:34 pm

shadylane wrote:
mulligan wrote:Somehow vapour will stop coming off if you keep temperature just below the boiling point of ethanol is a bad thing? Isn't that end of heads?
This sounds like you might not understand the relationship between the boiling point of a water/ethanol mixture.
The majority of the time there's more water to boil than ethanol
On a typical pot still run, Figure a 10% alcohol charge will start boiling around 200f ish
The boiling temp would rise to around 212f or slightly less. As the alcohol boils off
posting with SCD
I proposed boiler shutoff if I had not made a manual adjustment x minutes after temperature had been reached, where x would be determined on the safe side of what was decided through experience.

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Re: pid controller

Post by ShineonCrazyDiamond » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:41 pm

mulligan wrote:
In other words it's totally inefficient but it can be done.
In that case, why use temp at all? 180, 190, 205... doesn't really matter if your literally trying to achieve nothing.

I say just put a timer kill switch in line, then. Say, every 15 minutes it shuts down unless you push a reset button within that 15 minutes.

More effective than temp, for what you are trying to achieve.

Or were you just fishing?
mulligan wrote:I'm feeling brave after a good sup of my own produce so will risk Rad's wrath that temp control can't be done ....
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Re: pid controller

Post by still_stirrin » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:43 pm

mulligan wrote:...again, I mean I don't know if I'll be with my wife for 30 seconds, 3 minutes, 30 minutes. I am always within a few feet of the still and a fire extinguisher etc. I'm just not continuously looking at it, just like most of the rest of us.
I cannot condone this action...ever. I ALWAYS sit by and WATCH my still when I'm running it....ALWAYS. A failure is simply too devastating if it occurs. And flash fires are nearly invisible when burning alcohol. Dangerous stuff here.
mulligan wrote:...I can't find a single bad thing about an alarm that warns me to either attend to the still or turn it off and a failsafe that turns it off if I don't.
OK, so using a PiD to control an alarm for you as the temperatures rise is one thing. It could be beneficial, sure.

But, you CAN NOT, I repeat cannot, run a still with proportional control by temperatures. As the temperature approaches the set temperature, the power will go to ZERO...and that means that you WON'T have vapors of any sorts coming off of the boiler at the very temperature you want to "produce" clean alcohol. It won't work that way. You must hold power at some level in order to produce vapors.

And remember, the composition of the wash in the boiler is ALWAYS changing...alcohol and volatiles are being vaporized and the wash is always becoming more and more water waste (backset).

What you are dreaming of doing, many have tried to do. The PiD just won't do it for you. Those who use computer control to adjust the temperature settings of the PiD continuously throughout the run may have some element of automation. But the PiD alone is not set up to do that for you.
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Re: pid controller

Post by mulligan » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:53 pm

ShineonCrazyDiamond wrote:
mulligan wrote:
In other words it's totally inefficient but it can be done.
In that case, why use temp at all? 180, 190, 205... doesn't really matter if your literally trying to achieve nothing.

I say just put a timer kill switch in line, then. Say, every 15 minutes it sits down unless you push a reset button within that 15 minutes.

More effective than temp, for what you are trying to achieve.

Or were you just fishing?
mulligan wrote:I'm feeling brave after a good sup of my own produce so will risk Rad's wrath that temp control can't be done ....
No, but I knew I'd get a hard time as it's a subject where the regs are very set in their ways, even though Odin has proven that zigging when you guys zag is fine

I have suggested that I can safely get heads separated in one big jar and then closely (manually) monitor the transition from heads to hearts by gathering in little jars and then gather hearts in one big jar and then manually closely gather the transition from hearts to tails in little jars before going to big jar for tails AND I proposed a safety feature that you guys don't have and you are mostly all calling BS.

I'm scared to ask how you think the commercial operations separate different chemicals.

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Re: pid controller

Post by mulligan » Wed Nov 23, 2016 5:59 pm

still_stirrin wrote:
mulligan wrote:...again, I mean I don't know if I'll be with my wife for 30 seconds, 3 minutes, 30 minutes. I am always within a few feet of the still and a fire extinguisher etc. I'm just not continuously looking at it, just like most of the rest of us.
I cannot condone this action...ever. I ALWAYS sit by and WATCH my still when I'm running it....ALWAYS. A failure is simply too devastating if it occurs. And flash fires are nearly invisible when burning alcohol. Dangerous stuff here.
mulligan wrote:...I can't find a single bad thing about an alarm that warns me to either attend to the still or turn it off and a failsafe that turns it off if I don't.
OK, so using a PiD to control an alarm for you as the temperatures rise is one thing. It could be beneficial, sure.

But, you CAN NOT, I repeat cannot, run a still with proportional control by temperatures. As the temperature approaches the set temperature, the power will go to ZERO...and that means that you WON'T have vapors of any sorts coming off of the boiler at the very temperature you want to "produce" clean alcohol. It won't work that way. You must hold power at some level in order to produce vapors.

And remember, the composition of the wash in the boiler is ALWAYS changing...alcohol and volatiles are being vaporized and the wash is always becoming more and more water waste (backset).

What you are dreaming of doing, many have tried to do. The PiD just won't do it for you. Those who use computer control to adjust the temperature settings of the PiD continuously throughout the run may have some element of automation. But the PiD alone is not set up to do that for you.
ss
I respect you more than almost anyone on this site.

I do not understand why vapour production stopping below ethanol (and water's) boiling point is a problem?

Surely this is exactly the point to increase temperature knowing that the lowers have been boiled off and ethanol is next?

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Re: pid controller

Post by still_stirrin » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:10 pm

mulligan wrote:...I'm scared to ask how you think the commercial operations separate different chemicals.
Don't be afraid...go ahead and ask. Here, I'll answer it for you....EXPERIENCE. After producing the same recipe in very controlled processes time after time, the cut points will be very predictable. They do the same recipe over and over...Repeatability.

And get this....since they're in the business to make money through the sales of alcohol, they DON'T do cuts expressly. Sure, they'll cut the fores (if they use a batch process). But most don't do cuts after that. They collect it all down until the vapor coming off the still is not economical to continue the run, i.e. - the end of the run.

When I visited Jack Daniels Distillery, they do indeed have a control room that has sensors monitoring the distillation processes. They monitor the heat input (boiler power) and the inflow pumps. They monitor the flowrate of the the distillate running through the distiller's safe. They monitor the progress of running the mash into the boiler and collection out of the still. There are temperature monitors throughout the process. It is a very elaborate system, well beyond the control a PiD would provide.
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Re: pid controller

Post by ShineonCrazyDiamond » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:13 pm

mulligan wrote:[
I'm scared to ask how you think the commercial operations separate different chemicals.
That's cute that you think they actually worry about seperating them that much.

It's fores, by someone watching the still, then collect money.

Anyways, you got your answer right? Even if the realization is that it wasn't the one you wanted. Let's just all move on.

Edit. Posted with ss.
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Re: pid controller

Post by mulligan » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:15 pm

All good. Minor flaw in what I was told above is that temperature cant be used as it would keep rising after power applied was zero, which would really upset the power companies and the physics guys.

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Re: pid controller

Post by still_stirrin » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:16 pm

mulligan wrote:I do not understand why vapour production stopping below ethanol (and water's) boiling point is a problem?

Surely this is exactly the point to increase temperature knowing that the lowers have been boiled off and ethanol is next?
Obviously you haven't read enough.

This is very well explained on the parent site...the changing saturation temperatures of the mixture as the composition of the mixture changes. You MUST do more reading. You're continuously arguing a point here that clearly points out your lack of understanding of the distillation process.

Go read....
ss
Attention new distillers: Cranky's spoon feed info
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Re: pid controller

Post by mulligan » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:17 pm

ShineonCrazyDiamond wrote:
mulligan wrote:[
I'm scared to ask how you think the commercial operations separate different chemicals.
That's cute that you think they actually worry about seperating them that much.

It's fores, by someone watching the still, then collect money.

Anyways, you got your answer right? Even if the realization is that it wasn't the one you wanted. Let's just all move on.

Edit. Posted with ss.
LOL I can tell you never tried to get your nail polish off.

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Re: pid controller

Post by mulligan » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:18 pm

still_stirrin wrote:
mulligan wrote:I do not understand why vapour production stopping below ethanol (and water's) boiling point is a problem?

Surely this is exactly the point to increase temperature knowing that the lowers have been boiled off and ethanol is next?
Obviously you haven't read enough.

This is very well explained on the parent site...the changing saturation temperatures of the mixture as the composition of the mixture changes. You MUST do more reading. You're continuously arguing a point here that clearly points out your lack of understanding of the distillation process.

Go read....
ss
:thumbup:

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Re: pid controller

Post by mulligan » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:23 pm

You clearly stated that below the boiling point of ethanol, vapour production would stop. No vapour (total reflux), but the composition of the mixture will change?

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Re: pid controller

Post by mulligan » Wed Nov 23, 2016 6:34 pm

still_stirrin wrote:
mulligan wrote:...I'm scared to ask how you think the commercial operations separate different chemicals.
Don't be afraid...go ahead and ask. Here, I'll answer it for you....EXPERIENCE. After producing the same recipe in very controlled processes time after time, the cut points will be very predictable. They do the same recipe over and over...Repeatability.

And get this....since they're in the business to make money through the sales of alcohol, they DON'T do cuts expressly. Sure, they'll cut the fores (if they use a batch process). But most don't do cuts after that. They collect it all down until the vapor coming off the still is not economical to continue the run, i.e. - the end of the run.

When I visited Jack Daniels Distillery, they do indeed have a control room that has sensors monitoring the distillation processes. They monitor the heat input (boiler power) and the inflow pumps. They monitor the flowrate of the the distillate running through the distiller's safe. They monitor the progress of running the mash into the boiler and collection out of the still. There are temperature monitors throughout the process. It is a very elaborate system, well beyond the control a PiD would provide.
you didn't mention a single control that wasn't temperature based

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