Running a T500, the Proper Way

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Running a T500, the Proper Way

Postby Doubleuj » Mon Feb 27, 2017 12:53 pm

So, if you're reading this its safe to say you've bought a T500 reflux still, coming from one T500 owner to another, my deepest condolences :teasing-nutkick:
But its not all a lost cause for you, with some simple modifications and learning to run the still the proper way, you can make some quite clean and nice neutral spirit.

Before i forget all i have learnt from running my T500 and from discussing with the brains trust here on AD, id like to share my knowledge to hopefully help those that are starting out.


First up, ignore completely everything you were shown in their instructional DVD or pamphlet. Its all wrong and basically unsafe.



Step 1 - ditch the plastic

(a)Replace the plastic outlet hose with a length of 1/2 inch copper pipe. The outlet spout on the still is smaller in diameter than the copper pipe so i just cut a small piece of the original plastic hose, small enough that it doesn't stick past the stainless spout and then wound a heap of pfte tape (plumbers thread tape) around until it was a nice fit. the copper pipe can be cut/ shaped to suit your bench and collection jars.
see mine below as an example:
t500.PNG


b) Don't use the plastic carbon filter provided. I'm not going to get into the debate over whether to filter or not, but just don't use the plastic one provided for obvious health reasons.

Step 2 Packing your column

When packing your column, DO NOT shake or tamp down the saddles as instructed in the DVD. This will cause surging output and potential over heating of product.
Not long into using my T500, i ditched the ceramic saddles and used stainless steel scrubbers instead. These are easier to clean and do not take on any foul smell after multiple runs.
Still use the copper saddles though as you do need some copper in the vapour path.

If youve got the model with copper and stainless steel saddles, id stick with them.

Simply pour the copper saddles into the column and don't shake.
Then gently poke down the ss scrubbers, don't over stuff these in. I find 5 is what works for me.

Step 3 run technique (based on a 25L tpw wash)

If you've got your packing correct, then running a T500 is remarkably easy, just time consuming.
Assuming a 25L tpw wash no voltage controller

connect up your water fittings as per normal
turn water on full and open the needle valve all the way, id suggest using a reticulation system
turn on boiler
wait.
wait..
wait...
should take around an hour to come to temp....
The reason to have your water on from the start is two fold
Safety, you will be able to see that the cooling water is working and
refluxing, you should be able to obtain a fair amount of 99.9% reflux which will compress your fores/ heads giving you a cleaner product and a larger hearts cut.

you should eventually see the first drip................drip................drip coming out.
this should happen at around 40-45 degrees (try to ignore the temp though, its not that important)
this is your fores, collect 100 - 150ml or so and discard, and collect as slow as possible leaving the needle valve fully on.

Now you can close off the valve a little by a little until you get more of a drip..drip.. dribble (temp should be around 45-50)
slowly collect heads then hearts in separate jars, 200ml at a time max numbering and covering them as you go.
The output speed will continue to increase at this stage but try to keep it at a nice dribble..dribble drip.
You wont ever get the toothpick like stream that you can on a pot or a bubbler unless you're running it too fast.

After jar 6 or so you might notice a drop in out put, this is because you've extracted most of the lighter alcohols and are moving more into tails.
now you can turn the water valve a little more till the output increases back up and collect the next couple of jars.

this whole process will probably take around 5-6 hrs.

air your jars for 24 hrs then try your to judge your cuts.
hope this helps, best of luck :handgestures-thumbupleft:

WJ

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Last edited by Doubleuj on Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:26 pm, edited 3 times in total.
Reason: Added link to discussion thread
Doubleuj
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Posts: 2881
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Location: rockhampton qld
equipment: 4" stainless glasser

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