Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

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Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by WithOrWithoutU2 » Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:11 pm

So I am ready to go to 5500w with a 240 controller.

I just can't bring myself to pay $200+ for a completed controller (yet). I have researched and read and read on how to build them. Everyone says they are easy to do, but to be very honest I just do not understand it.

I do think I could put together the Still Dragon Kit, and they are cheap if I mess it up. HOWEVER, I have read many people have added second POTs or electric meter to provide better control. But when trying to understand the instructions on these mods to the SD Controller, I get lost against again. The instructions are not quite as simple and straightforward as the instructions are for the basic SD Controller.

So my question is, will the SD Controller provide the fine tuning/control needed for my rig without modifications mentioned?

I have a 8 and 16 gallon boiler. I plan to use a 5500w element.

For pot distilling I use a simply 2 inch column with a tee into a shotgun condenser. Height is about 2 ft.

For Reflux I have a 2 inch column with a boka. Height is approximately 48" and packed with SPP.

All responses are welcome. But if you are using a SD Controller yourself (or have) without Mods please mention this in your response.

Thanks

PS. I am open to other Kits or build but the instructions have to be crystal clear with pictures and step by step. And I would be open to paying someone if they want to sell me a completed controller. :D

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by Saltbush Bill » Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:46 pm

WithOrWithoutU2 wrote:
Tue Mar 10, 2020 11:11 pm
So my question is, will the SD Controller provide the fine tuning/control needed for my rig without modifications mentioned?
I've been using one of the SD controllers on my small gin still for a while now....it works fine for what I want.
Ive not heard of anyone else being unhappy with the way they work.
Last edited by Saltbush Bill on Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by kimbodious » Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:18 am

:?:....
Last edited by kimbodious on Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:20 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by kimbodious » Wed Mar 11, 2020 12:19 am

If you are not confident with wiring up the SD Kit, check out the 4000W controller by Kegland
https://www.kegland.com.au/4000w-power- ... oller.html
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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by Single Malt Yinzer » Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:02 am

I have one. Really wasn't hard to wire up. No issues with controlling it. I don't have a column though. I had a premade one burnout. I've been using the SD one for about a year or so now without any issues .

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by FLOB » Wed Mar 11, 2020 5:37 am

I have and unmodified one but dont have a ton of experience with it or distilling just yet. But I have had no problems dialing in a thin stream during stripping runs or tuning in a 3 drops/second during my one spirit run to date.

I went with the large box because I figured I could use the space. Before putting it together I drilled out a pattern of air vents in the box. I'm also only running 3 wires into a gfci breaker so no fan on my controller. Been checking and I haven't noticed the box ever getting warm. Got all my plugs off of ebay.

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by WithOrWithoutU2 » Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:51 pm

FLOB wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 5:37 am
But I have had no problems dialing in a thin stream during stripping runs or tuning in a 3 drops/second during my one spirit run to date.
This is what I was really looking for in terms of how finely can it be tuned including just a couple drops per second. Can you confirm you have the 5500w element?

Thanks to all for feedback.

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by LWTCS » Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:01 pm

You can absolutely dial in with 100% variability.
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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by FLOB » Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:22 pm

WithOrWithoutU2 wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:51 pm
FLOB wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 5:37 am
But I have had no problems dialing in a thin stream during stripping runs or tuning in a 3 drops/second during my one spirit run to date.
This is what I was really looking for in terms of how finely can it be tuned including just a couple drops per second. Can you confirm you have the 5500w element?

Thanks to all for feedback.
I have a 5500 element. The kit came with a sticker so you can get to about the same spot. I also found this chart on the Still Dragon site. Gives you an idea how much power the difference dial positions give.
20200311_190839.jpg
20200311_192127.jpg

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by HDNB » Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:39 pm

LWTCS wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:01 pm
You can absolutely dial in with 100% variability.
ya, but do you know how to wire it up? :lol: :lol:

does still dragon publish on their site how much $$ for an assembled controller kit
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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by LWTCS » Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:44 pm

HDNB wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:39 pm
LWTCS wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:01 pm
You can absolutely dial in with 100% variability.
ya, but do you know how to wire it up? :lol: :lol:

does still dragon publish on their site how much $$ for an assembled controller kit
SD normally prefers to stay away from the liability of providing a fully assembled control solution. There is no published pricing I'm told.

But I bet if somebody emailed an inquiry, the fella running that outfit could provide a completed unit.
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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by The Baker » Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:57 pm

I got my electronic technician to wire mine.
It'll cost a bit, dunno yet how much.
But I gave up that sort of thing after I wired my crystal radio!

I guess you young people don't even know what that is.

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by WithOrWithoutU2 » Wed Mar 11, 2020 4:08 pm

LWTCS wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:44 pm
HDNB wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:39 pm
LWTCS wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:01 pm
You can absolutely dial in with 100% variability.
ya, but do you know how to wire it up? :lol: :lol:

does still dragon publish on their site how much $$ for an assembled controller kit
But I bet if somebody emailed an inquiry, the fella running that outfit could provide a completed unit.
:thumbup:

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by WithOrWithoutU2 » Wed Mar 11, 2020 4:09 pm

Thanks everyone.

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by acfixer69 » Wed Mar 11, 2020 4:43 pm

The Baker wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:57 pm
I got my electronic technician to wire mine.
It'll cost a bit, dunno yet how much.
But I gave up that sort of thing after I wired my crystal radio!

I guess you young people don't even know what that is.

Geoff
I remember my crystal radio cica 1961. SD controller is easier then that. :lol:

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by Yummyrum » Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:04 am

acfixer69 wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 4:43 pm
The Baker wrote:
Wed Mar 11, 2020 3:57 pm
I got my electronic technician to wire mine.
It'll cost a bit, dunno yet how much.
But I gave up that sort of thing after I wired my crystal radio!

I guess you young people don't even know what that is.

Geoff
I remember my crystal radio cica 1961. SD controller is easier then that. :lol:
LOL you O’l bastards . I dreamed of having a real crystal and and farting about with a cats whisker contact . Best I had in the 70’s was one of those newfangled OA91 germanium thingys .

Jokes aside , assembling one of those SD controller kits would be a piece of piss . There are so many threads around on how to do it and if you get stuck just holla.

Wiring on a fine control pot with the Standard Corse control is dead easy . If you have worked out how to do it with one Pot ,adding the second won’t be much harder .
B3AABAEE-E085-4CE1-BC96-B71F6071C31E.jpeg

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by LWTCS » Thu Mar 12, 2020 3:42 am

100% Yummy.
The SD unit only comes with a 470k pot.
It works well but the adjustment for precision can be fine tuned with the smaller pot assisting.

Though I have to say with an amp meter you can easily see precision adjustments are not at all difficult with the 470k.

I feel like I still think like a pot stiller and ultimately gauge adjustments based on the thickness of the stream.
Drips, broken stream, tooth pic, pencil lead stream is easily achieved with the 470k pot.
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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by Saltbush Bill » Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:59 am

LWTCS wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 3:42 am
I feel like I still think like a pot stiller and ultimately gauge adjustments based on the thickness of the stream.
Anyone who doesn't think that way , is pushing shit up hill...learn to run a pot properly and you will come to understand how all types of stills work.
People can talk numbers till the the cows come home , but it wont change what comes out the spout. :thumbup:

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by LWTCS » Thu Mar 12, 2020 9:34 am

Love Yummy's diagram. So much so that I couldn't resist
Making it a bit more tidy.

SSR wiring diagram.png
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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by Yummyrum » Thu Mar 12, 2020 12:24 pm

:thumbup: :ebiggrin:

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by Single Malt Yinzer » Thu Mar 12, 2020 4:38 pm

LWTCS wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 9:34 am
So much so that I couldn't resist
You show a lot of potentiometer.

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by shadylane » Thu Mar 12, 2020 5:13 pm

20200311_190839.jpg
Instead of having 2 pots in series for fine adjustment
Add a fixed carbon resister in parallel with the pot to make the adjustment range linear.
I'm guessing the next common size around 600K would be close. just slip the wires under terminals 3 and 4
pot mod.jpg

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by OtisT » Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:06 pm

I guess I am the odd man out who thinks it is worth adding a fine tuning pot to that controller. I find the little knob useful in fine tuning when I pull foreshots slowly on my pot still, tuning to something between 1 and 2 drops a second. (I realize not everyone does it this way.). I also found it useful when I was fine tuning my VM column to pull fores and heads, using my thermometer to see how power levels and reflux impacted separation. In both cases, wIth the big knob only I was overshooting power changes more often and it took longer to dial it in where I wanted it. Most other times the big knob only is just fine.

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by cranky » Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:19 pm

I haven't posted here because I didn't buy my controller from Stilldragon. I made mine up from parts that are pretty much the same as SD sells. I have no problem dialing it in with a single potentiometer but I do have an amp gauge and can adjust it by as little as one tenth of an amp at a time, I really don't feel the need to fine tune it more than that, a second pot would be one more complication that I don't need.

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by RC Al » Thu Mar 12, 2020 7:21 pm

If your going the prebuilt route, a simple power monitor can let you fine tune very well, can be had for $10-20 around the traps, I saw one at aldi for $15 so i grabbed it, works well in conjunction with my cheapo 4000w ebay controller
It also let me know that my power can vary a good 25 volts at any given time - when the whole suburb is cooking @ 5.30-6pm, im down to around 215v, handy information if you have "sweet spot" settings, i usually look at watts for that vs voltage or amps
power.jpg
Edit: double check the amps rating if your going to use one with a 5500w element
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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by The Baker » Thu Mar 12, 2020 7:26 pm

My electronic technician has just brought my SD controller, assembled.
He installed a little fan as well.
And we had to alter the position of the 15 amp socket on the wall...
So it will cost a bit, don't know how much yet.

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by WithOrWithoutU2 » Fri Mar 13, 2020 1:18 am

RC Al wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 7:21 pm
If your going the prebuilt route, a simple power monitor can let you fine tune very well, can be had for $10-20 around the traps...

.... handy information if you have "sweet spot" settings, i usually look at watts for that vs voltage or amps

Edit: double check the amps rating if your going to use one with a 5500w element
:thumbup:

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by WithOrWithoutU2 » Fri Mar 13, 2020 1:21 am

OtisT wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 6:06 pm
I guess I am the odd man out who thinks it is worth adding a fine tuning pot to that controller. I find the little knob useful in fine tuning when I pull foreshots slowly on my pot still, tuning to something between 1 and 2 drops a second. (I realize not everyone does it this way.). I also found it useful when I was fine tuning my VM column to pull fores and heads, using my thermometer to see how power levels and reflux impacted separation. In both cases, wIth the big knob only I was overshooting power changes more often and it took longer to dial it in where I wanted it. Most other times the big knob only is just fine.

Otis
:thumbup:

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by WithOrWithoutU2 » Fri Mar 13, 2020 1:27 am

LWTCS wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 9:34 am
Love Yummy's diagram. So much so that I couldn't resist
Making it a bit more tidy.


SSR wiring diagram.png
Yummy and Larry....thanks for the easy diagram to add a second. That was very helpful and considerate of you both to provide that level of help. In theory, it does look simple.

Larry, thanks as well for the PMs with additional information and options as well. I now see why so many here recommend Still Dragon.

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Re: Still Dragon 240v Controller Fine Tuning?

Post by LWTCS » Fri Mar 13, 2020 2:28 am

Single Malt Yinzer wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 4:38 pm
LWTCS wrote:
Thu Mar 12, 2020 9:34 am
So much so that I couldn't resist
You show a lot of potentiometer.

Your pun game is strong :clap:
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