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Condenser Selection

These are various style condensers for many different applications.

Condenser Selection

Postby acetate » Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:19 pm

While my new 55 gal barrel/boiler is being done, I have started thinking about how to best leverage this beast. I've already run power down and I plan on using 2x 5500W elements for 11kw. My original thought was just to use the second element for heat up. But now that I have it I also want to strip with it. As a side note I currently use house water for my cooling water but do want to switch to a 275 gal tote at some point. So I've been trying to come up with a condenser design that meets both of these requirements:

1) Knocks down 11kw
2) Pump friendly

My default answer would have been a double coil because I've made a couple, they knock down a shit ton of vapor, and I have the tubing already. But in reading threads here it doesn't sound like a 24" coil will be very friendly to a pump due to the resistance. So that took me to a shotgun style condenser. But when I type in the numbers into the calculators I get 6.6m of 1/2" tube. That would put me at five 1/2" tubes inside a 2" pipe that is 4' long. That is one fucking crazy big condenser. My questions:

1) Am I crazy for trying to knock down 11kw?
2) Is the shotgun approach make the most sense here?
3) Are my numbers right?
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Re: Condenser Selection

Postby acetate » Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:21 pm

(and I posted in the wrong forum. sorry i made some work for the mods)
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Re: Condenser Selection

Postby kenfyoozed » Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:58 pm

well I like crazy! :D and i think it would be cool as well. And i like shotguns. what about a just a big liebig? 2 over1"? just tossing out ideas.
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Re: Condenser Selection

Postby minime » Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:15 pm

I'd go with the coil condenser if you use city water because resistance is not an issue. There is nothing more efficient than a coil and it's a really easy solution. Even if you switch to a tote for cooling use a standard shallow well pressure pump and you're done. You'll also need a short liebig to cool the product after it's condensed.
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Re: Condenser Selection

Postby Zymurgy Bob » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:37 pm

Along Minime's lines: a standard shallow well pump can be really pricey, but you can get a good variety of kinda cheesy shallow-well-small-pressure-tank pump modules from Harbor Freight:

http://www.harborfreight.com/catalogsea ... &Submit=Go

I've owned a couple like these, and they work fine of you don't let them freeze solid and burst. :doh:

edit: In case it's not clear, this is like a real well system that in that it only comes on when the pressure's drawn down.
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Re: Condenser Selection

Postby airhill » Fri Dec 16, 2011 6:47 pm

I am unsure at this stage what the condenser is for? Couldn't you just go modular with the dual coils and split the water flow before it enters each module. That way the resistance should be only the resistance of the module (I think :? )
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Re: Condenser Selection

Postby myles » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:03 pm

Airhill is thinking along the correct lines with parallel coils. However for me in this application there would be only 1 option. That would be a central cold finger feeding a stack of pancake coils.

These are flat spirals that you can wind to any diameter that you like, fed from the centre and with the return lines commoned. You can build these in series, but the back pressure is much less if you build the stack in parallel from a common feed. Construction is real easy too as the coil can be wound between two endplates on a shaft.
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Re: Condenser Selection

Postby punkin » Sat Dec 17, 2011 2:42 pm

minime wrote:I'd go with the coil condenser if you use city water because resistance is not an issue. There is nothing more efficient than a coil and it's a really easy solution. Even if you switch to a tote for cooling use a standard shallow well pressure pump and you're done. You'll also need a short liebig to cool the product after it's condensed.


Check this idea from stubbydrainer over on aussie distiller..

http://aussiedistiller.com.au/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=852

It's the neatest way i've seen product cooled yet. :8) :8) :8)
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Re: Condenser Selection

Postby minime » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:07 pm

punkin wrote:
minime wrote:I'd go with the coil condenser if you use city water because resistance is not an issue. There is nothing more efficient than a coil and it's a really easy solution. Even if you switch to a tote for cooling use a standard shallow well pressure pump and you're done. You'll also need a short liebig to cool the product after it's condensed.


Check this idea from stubbydrainer over on aussie distiller..

http://aussiedistiller.com.au/viewtopic.php?f=8&t=852

It's the neatest way i've seen product cooled yet. :8) :8) :8)


Brilliant!
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Re: Condenser Selection

Postby acetate » Sun Dec 18, 2011 6:25 pm

I like the idea of multiple coils a lot. It sounds like the two options there are doing pancake style or just multiple shorter coils fed from a common supply. I can visualize how to make the shorter coils from a common feed line. I'm not getting how to easily make pancake coils. I had to look up what one was so maybe I got it wrong. Essentially it looks to be a bunch of concentric circles. My experience is that starting the coil was the hardest part. Doing a bunch of those concentric coils sounds like hell to me. Anyone have any pointers on starting the coil? That first tight turn always kills me.

For the multiple short coils, I need to sit on that for a day or two to come up with a good way to build that for my rig/space.

Punkin, that Bok cooling solution is very cool. Nothing like turning your water line into a liebig.

As always thanks for all the input.
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Re: Condenser Selection

Postby punkin » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:41 pm

Yep, stubbydrainers work is true craftsman, like a lot of others round here...me not included. :roflmao:
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Re: Condenser Selection

Postby myles » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:49 pm

You can wind the pancake coil 2 ways. First has 1 end of the coil on the inside and the other end on the outside. Provided the first (tightest) coil is not TOO tight this is not too bad. The other way is to have a loop in the centre with both ends on the outside - this might be easier to connect to the feed and return lines.

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There are various ways to connect them into your feed and return lines. These are more suited for wide diameter condensers, for smaller diameters, parallel 3 or 4 layer helical coils would be just as good.
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Re: Condenser Selection

Postby acetate » Wed Jan 04, 2012 2:45 am

I just gave a run with my new boiler. My 55 gallon barrel with my two new 240V 30A circuits. I only had a 5500W and 4500W element so I was limited at 10kw for now. My new 5500w element should be here soon. Yesterday I ran water/vinegar to clean. Today I ran ~45 gallon water + .5 gallon junkahol and she came up to boil in about 70 mins. My old (first one I made) liebig that is 36" of 1" over 1/2" was able to knock down 8kw with a 7L/min flow rate. That's a shit ton of water considering I can knowdown 3kw with less than 2L/min. A coil would be much more efficient. I've reading that most of you do coldfinger instead of an inner coil. Is there some secret there or just drop a 1/2" pipe in the middle, cap it, and solder your 1/4" tubing at the end?
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Re: Condenser Selection

Postby punkin » Wed Jan 04, 2012 3:05 am

Only hard bit is to get the tube back around and into the coldfinger without kinking.
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Re: Condenser Selection

Postby acetate » Wed Jan 11, 2012 12:22 am

Here is what I came up with. Sorry for the quasi-crappy drawing. I decided to go modular so I can add more inline if needed. I started with two modules. Each one will be 10" - 12" long (depend on my spare lengths of pipe). Comments and suggestions are welcome.
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Coldfinger Condenser.jpg
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