Important poisoning alert

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Important poisoning alert

Postby Arismac » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:41 pm

I have no doubt that this has been said many times before but it may be worth reminding.

We fired up our new Boka yesterday and a couple of hours later my partner started to exhibit the classic symptoms of methanol (wood alcohol) poisoning. Check Wikipedia for details.

Suffice to say here that methanol turns to vapour at about 64C. So by the time it is time to open the product valve at 78C the Boka will have vented the methanol from the condenser via the top breather vent hole.

The lesson learned. Run the Boka outside the house or if this is not possible open all doors and windows and switch on exhaust fans until after the heads have been collected. By this time the methanol will have been vented and you can return to normal.
Last edited by Arismac on Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:51 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Important poisoning alert

Postby P3T3rPan » Wed Aug 14, 2019 6:48 pm

Wow.
So is there a reason why the methanol is not condensed and collected? ( I have no hands on experience with this type of still)
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Re: Important poisoning alert

Postby Arismac » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:01 pm

Yes and this is the beauty of the Boka over the T500. We do not start collecting spirit from the Boka until the vapour reaches 78C. Other reflux stills do not provide this option so the methanol is collected as part of the product spirit. Running the Boka in reflux only mode without collecting spirit for 15-30 minutes before collecting means that only methanol FREE spirit is collected. Ethenol without methanol. This makes the Boka a very much safer option in reflux still design.
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Re: Important poisoning alert

Postby bluc » Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:48 pm

I wouldnt have thought it would produce enough to be a problem, unless you had top of still in mouth...i ran mine indoors the times I used it...first time I have heard of this anywhere..the hole at top is not to vent methanol its to stop pressure build up..the rc coil should knock down everything put bit copper scrubber into coil to increase effeciency...(are you sure you didnt have a leak and sit there breathing ethanol vapour, did he go to hospital) what was the wash?
Last edited by bluc on Wed Aug 14, 2019 7:52 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Important poisoning alert

Postby P3T3rPan » Wed Aug 14, 2019 8:04 pm

bluc wrote:I wouldnt have thought it would produce enough to be a problem, unless you had top of still in mouth...i ran mine indoors the times I used it...first time I have heard of this anywhere..the hole at top is not to vent methanol its to stop pressure build up..the rc coil should knock down everything put bit copper scrubber into coil to increase effeciency...(are you sure you didnt have a leak and sit there breathing ethanol vapour, did he go to hospital) what was the wash?

Yes
this was my understanding as well
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Re: Important poisoning alert

Postby Sam. » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:07 pm

Was your partner drinking any other product at the time?

Methanol poising displays the same symptoms as being intoxicated (until the death part which is bad).

Even if there was any methanol that was vented to atmosphere you would have to be running your still in a tiny completely sealed compartment for any amount to build up.

Also what wash were you distilling? If it was a sugar head there is next to no methanol to start.

I think there may have been a coincidence/paranoia going on here....
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Re: Important poisoning alert

Postby Andrew » Wed Aug 14, 2019 9:19 pm

This conserns me greatly .
I'll call you tomorrow afternoon
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Re: Important poisoning alert

Postby Carol » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:09 pm

Not sure what the problem might be. I have run my Boka in a small bathroom without any difficulties.
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Re: Important poisoning alert

Postby The Stig » Wed Aug 14, 2019 10:09 pm

This shouldn't be happening.
1 - too much power.
2 - not enough cooling water
3 - take off valve closed too long
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Re: Important poisoning alert

Postby coffe addict » Thu Aug 15, 2019 8:08 am

I think your understanding of this still is not very good.
There's only one way that it won't collect methanol if methanol is present and that's by not having cooling water running through the coil. This would have high abv vapour steaming out the top... This is extremely unsafe. Literally a bomb or asphyxiation time bomb.
With adequate cooling running through the coil all methanol will be condensed back to liquid.

A small amount may evaporate from your jar but an open door or Windows will see it dissipate.

I suggest looking into the operating procedures before returning it to use
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Re: Important poisoning alert

Postby Arismac » Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:19 pm

It is important to get a little better perspective on a couple of points here. There were five people in the house for the "Boka Launch" Only one, an 84 year old woman exhibited the symptoms. She was an RN for over fifty years and realised quite quickly the nature of the problem.

We immediately sort medical opinion at the local health campus and the initial diagnosis was confirmed. The lady was not admitted but was given an oxygen mask for about twenty minutes. She then returned home and went to bed with a mild headache. All symptoms had gone by next morning.

I spoke with the others who had been present and three people claimed they had been able to smell the methanol but had no issues. The fifth person, a heavy smoker, had not been able to smell the methanol.
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Re: Important poisoning alert

Postby woodduck » Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:31 pm

Methanol or some other chemical that comes off as heads? Sniff a bottle of acetone, pretty sure that would give you a headache too?

To me it's beside the point whether it was methanol or not. You should not have vapor escaping your still, if you do there is something wrong. As said above most likely cause is not enough cooling water, not big enough condenser, too much power or you may not have had the cooling water on at the time? A boka should be able to be run with the take off tap closed completely and no vapor escaping the top. It should be able to sit there like that all day with no problems.
Last edited by woodduck on Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Fixed typos
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Re: Important poisoning alert

Postby Arismac » Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:49 pm

I completely agree. My biggest suspicion at the moment is that we did not have sufficient water flow. I have taken steps to ensure that this will not happen next time. In any event if this has done something to increase awareness among our community then it has been worth while reporting.

I intend suggesting to Andrew that perhaps some sort of user manual be made available to to first time purchasers of a new Boka. After all, Australian regulations insist that any equipment is sold with safety instructions if it has potential to cause harm either through use or misuse.
Last edited by Arismac on Thu Aug 15, 2019 12:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Important poisoning alert

Postby Chocko6969 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:02 pm

Arismac wrote:I completely agree. My biggest suspicion at the moment is that we did not have sufficient water flow. I have taken steps to ensure that this will not happen next time. In any event if this has done something to increase awareness among our community then it has been worth while reporting.

I intend suggesting to Andrew that perhaps some sort of user manual be made available to to first time purchasers of a new Boka. After all, Australian regulations insist that any equipment is sold with safety instructions if it has potential to cause harm either through use or misuse.



Grey area mate, I suggest people purchasing such equipment should ensure they have a very good basic understanding of what they're doing, the safety aspects and not 'push the envelope' knowingly or otherwise.
I don't know what vapours come off while distilling water and/or essential oils????
Do you get an instruction manual when you swap your gas bottle at Bunnings? :D

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Re: Important poisoning alert

Postby Arismac » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:20 pm

Chocko6969 wrote:Do you get an instruction manual when you swap your gas bottle at Bunnings? :D
Chocko


No, but I sure did when I purchased the Barby with a NEW gas bottle.
See page 3. https://www.barbequesgalore.com.au/medi ... h-cart.pdf
Last edited by Arismac on Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:29 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Important poisoning alert

Postby woodduck » Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:35 pm

From the newbies corner of the forum.

viewtopic.php?f=57&t=11919
Last edited by woodduck on Thu Aug 15, 2019 5:36 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Typos
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Re: Important poisoning alert

Postby bluc » Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:43 pm

You didnt kink the line when you bent it did you...no still should ever vent vapour of any kind ever :naughty:
If your all sitting round still why is it only one got sick?...sorry dont want to be offensive but sounds like hysteria to me. Does said person have experience around stills?
Last edited by bluc on Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Important poisoning alert

Postby Chocko6969 » Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:47 pm

Arismac wrote:
Chocko6969 wrote:Do you get an instruction manual when you swap your gas bottle at Bunnings? :D
Chocko


No, but I sure did when I purchased the Barby with a NEW gas bottle.
See page 3. https://www.barbequesgalore.com.au/medi ... h-cart.pdf


I'm sorry if I annoyed you mate, not my intention.

Lighting and using a BBQ is legal, distilling ethanol is not unless you have the appropriate licence/s. Stills are perfectly legal for anyone up to a certain capacity, and only for the purpose of distilling water and/or essential oils. This is all I'm trying to convey.
It's a bit like bongs years ago, perfectly legal to sell at the Vic Market, but you'll go for a holiday in a green tracksuit if you have too much hooter lying around!

If I'm incorrect could someone please set me straight.

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Re: Important poisoning alert

Postby The Stig » Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:47 pm

The water tap wasn't on all the way .
Lesson learnt :music-deathmetal:
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Re: Important poisoning alert

Postby bluc » Thu Aug 15, 2019 6:50 pm

You reakon it really was "methanol" or intoxicating ethanol? I ran with a leak for 45min once and got quite tipsy. Even registered on my breathylser..at 11am with nothing to drink night before :doh: :naughty:
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