Neutraliser - Vapour Leak

Perforated & bubble cap plated columns

Neutraliser - Vapour Leak

Postby hgwells » Wed Sep 02, 2020 7:34 pm

Hi Guys,

Gave my still it’s first run today (completed vinegar clean and sacrificial run).
Bit paranoid about vapour leaks so kept checking with a mirror on all joins. Towards the end of the run noticed small drip of water from two of the tri clamps between two of the bubble plates, checked them with a mirror and there was slight frosting on the mirror on two clamps.
Tried tightening up both clamps but no change. Shut still down, was close to end of the run.

I’m intending to pull the still down in the morning and reset the two problematic sections

Does anyone have any other tips on how to fix and ensure that I won’t get vapour leaks once and for all?

Cheers

HG
.
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Re: Neutraliser - Vapour Leak

Postby The Stig » Wed Sep 02, 2020 8:01 pm

I use a small shifter on the wing nuts to tighten them.
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Re: Neutraliser - Vapour Leak

Postby Guyross » Thu Sep 03, 2020 12:42 am

I use a shifter, and also seal one end of the stack with a 4” plate and fill the column with water and let stand for a while. But basically it takes a bit of tightening.

Also make sure the plate does not sit below or above the seal - has to sit inside the seal. Do you have the right seal, with the inner lip removed? It can be a bit tricky to get the bubble plate dead centre so it does not foul on the seal.

I do recommend the plate to seal the column so you can fill with water and test before you run.
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Re: Neutraliser - Vapour Leak

Postby Sam. » Thu Sep 03, 2020 7:28 am

A tap evenly around the clamp with a rubber mallet will help set the clamp before tightening
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Re: Neutraliser - Vapour Leak

Postby Amberale » Thu Sep 03, 2020 3:16 pm

Guyross wrote:I use a shifter, and also seal one end of the stack with a 4” plate and fill the column with water and let stand for a while. But basically it takes a bit of tightening.

Also make sure the plate does not sit below or above the seal - has to sit inside the seal. Do you have the right seal, with the inner lip removed? It can be a bit tricky to get the bubble plate dead centre so it does not foul on the seal.

I do recommend the plate to seal the column so you can fill with water and test before you run.



Where did you get your 4” plate?
I remove the parrot and back flush with a hose while connected to my milk can but it uses a lot of water before the pressure builds up enough to flood the column.
Also, how do you then empty the column?
Maybe a tap in the 4” plate?

I made a tool to tighten the clamps from an old spark plug wrench.
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Re: Neutraliser - Vapour Leak

Postby Guyross » Thu Sep 03, 2020 5:00 pm

Amberale wrote:
Guyross wrote:I use a shifter, and also seal one end of the stack with a 4” plate and fill the column with water and let stand for a while. But basically it takes a bit of tightening.

Also make sure the plate does not sit below or above the seal - has to sit inside the seal. Do you have the right seal, with the inner lip removed? It can be a bit tricky to get the bubble plate dead centre so it does not foul on the seal.

I do recommend the plate to seal the column so you can fill with water and test before you run.



Where did you get your 4” plate?
I remove the parrot and back flush with a hose while connected to my milk can but it uses a lot of water before the pressure builds up enough to flood the column.
Also, how do you then empty the column?
Maybe a tap in the 4” plate?
I made a tool to tighten the clamps from an old spark plug wrench.


The plate you get from 5 star: (presume it is ok to post this link)

https://www.5stardistilling.com/product ... p-end-cap/

I pull the entire column of Tees off the still (ie pull,off the reflux condenser, etc) and put the end cap on. 5 plates is about 750mm long. I fill the column from the other end, which will fill right up (4 or 5 litres of water). I let it stand on end overnight to make sure no leaks. Make sure to tie it off so it doesn’t fall. :-D

When it is time to empty it, I just turn it over and the water pours out. I have also cleaned the plates with vinegar and citric using the same system. Seal the column, and pour in the hot vinegar/citric solution, and overnite I get clean plates and column. Pour out, rinse, reattach to the rest of the still.

The hardest leak to seal I’ve had is a sight glass. Finally had to Teflon tape the threads on one. But now that I have done this a few times, it goes pretty fast. And cleaning the plates without taking apart the entire column saves a lot of effort. Uses more vinegar and citric, but saves time and frustration.
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Re: Neutraliser - Vapour Leak

Postby hgwells » Thu Sep 03, 2020 6:14 pm

Thanks to all for the suggestions on how to ensure there are no leaks.

I pulled the still apart today and checked that I had used the correct seals as per @Guyross and it turns out I had not used the right ones.

I reassembled with the right seals and as per @Sam tapped evenly around the tri clamps with a rubber mallet and as per @the stig tightened the wing nuts with a shifter.

All of the clamps on the tees are now even with approx 20mm of thread showing on each one. There was a definite feeling of the clamps seating properly when using the rubber mallet.

Ran out of time to put a blanking plate and fill up with water to test. Will do that tomorrow.

Think I’m getting there!! :handgestures-thumbupleft:

Now have to wait for a couple of washes to clear. Have two on the go with EC1118 - my God!!! It’s slow.
Two Kale with bakers yeast, will put another two on tomorrow with some of the stigs yeast.

Cheers

HG
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Re: Neutraliser - Vapour Leak

Postby Amberale » Sun Sep 06, 2020 9:20 pm

Thanks guys.
I have an electric winch over my set up so it is easy to raise the still off the can and should be a doddle to put a blank plate in.
I still think I’ll put a tap in it.
OpenIng it slightly will allow backflushing with water though the PC and cleaning with citric.
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Re: Neutraliser - Vapour Leak

Postby Ned » Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:28 pm

Guyross wrote:
Amberale wrote:
Guyross wrote:I use a shifter, and also seal one end of the stack with a 4” plate and fill the column with water and let stand for a while. But basically it takes a bit of tightening.

Also make sure the plate does not sit below or above the seal - has to sit inside the seal. Do you have the right seal, with the inner lip removed? It can be a bit tricky to get the bubble plate dead centre so it does not foul on the seal.

I do recommend the plate to seal the column so you can fill with water and test before you run.



Where did you get your 4” plate?
I remove the parrot and back flush with a hose while connected to my milk can but it uses a lot of water before the pressure builds up enough to flood the column.
Also, how do you then empty the column?
Maybe a tap in the 4” plate?
I made a tool to tighten the clamps from an old spark plug wrench.


The plate you get from 5 star: (presume it is ok to post this link)

https://www.5stardistilling.com/product ... p-end-cap/

I pull the entire column of Tees off the still (ie pull,off the reflux condenser, etc) and put the end cap on. 5 plates is about 750mm long. I fill the column from the other end, which will fill right up (4 or 5 litres of water). I let it stand on end overnight to make sure no leaks. Make sure to tie it off so it doesn’t fall. :-D

When it is time to empty it, I just turn it over and the water pours out. I have also cleaned the plates with vinegar and citric using the same system. Seal the column, and pour in the hot vinegar/citric solution, and overnite I get clean plates and column. Pour out, rinse, reattach to the rest of the still.

The hardest leak to seal I’ve had is a sight glass. Finally had to Teflon tape the threads on one. But now that I have done this a few times, it goes pretty fast. And cleaning the plates without taking apart the entire column saves a lot of effort. Uses more vinegar and citric, but saves time and frustration.


Guyross. Might try that for my 4 plater as I have a blockhead with 4" plate so can use that.
What ratio of vinegar to citric acid to water do you use. :text-thankyoublue:
Last edited by Ned on Sun Sep 13, 2020 1:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Neutraliser - Vapour Leak

Postby Guyross » Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:32 pm

Guyross. Might try that for my 4 plater as I have a blockhead with 4" plate so can use that.
What ratio of vinegar to citric acid to water do you use. :text-thankyoublue:[/quote]

Not a lot of science to it. Chucked a litre or so of vinegar and a couple of tablespoons of citric in a bout 5 litres of water, gave it a mix and poured it in the top of the sealed column. When I check it next day the copper is clean, and no leaks. Dump that out, fill it and empty it a time or two to give it a good rinse, and ready to go back on the still. Probably a bit wasteful, as five plates can be soaked in a half litre of vinegar, but it is a pain in the arse to pull it all apart, clean the plates, put it all back together, and then still have to check for leaks. This saves a fair bit of time. No name vinegar and a couple tablespoons of acid aren’t too dear.
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Re: Neutraliser - Vapour Leak

Postby Ned » Sun Sep 13, 2020 9:47 pm

Guyross wrote:Guyross. Might try that for my 4 plater as I have a blockhead with 4" plate so can use that.
What ratio of vinegar to citric acid to water do you use. :text-thankyoublue:


Not a lot of science to it. Chucked a litre or so of vinegar and a couple of tablespoons of citric in a bout 5 litres of water, gave it a mix and poured it in the top of the sealed column. When I check it next day the copper is clean, and no leaks. Dump that out, fill it and empty it a time or two to give it a good rinse, and ready to go back on the still. Probably a bit wasteful, as five plates can be soaked in a half litre of vinegar, but it is a pain in the arse to pull it all apart, clean the plates, put it all back together, and then still have to check for leaks. This saves a fair bit of time. No name vinegar and a couple tablespoons of acid aren’t too dear.[/quote]

:text-+1:
Yes no name is very reasonable, will give it a go :text-thankyoublue:
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Re: Neutraliser - Vapour Leak

Postby Guyross » Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:09 pm

Let us know how you go.
Last edited by Guyross on Mon Sep 14, 2020 4:11 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Neutraliser - Vapour Leak

Postby Ned » Tue Sep 15, 2020 9:18 pm

Guyross wrote:Let us know how you go.

:text-thankyoublue:

Fantastic,I found I had a small drip coming out of the top glass on the T piece. Did not show up on the mirror
All fixed now.

Pretty happy with how they cleaned up too, beats pulling them apart.
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