4" plated still problem

Perforated & bubble cap plated columns

4" plated still problem

Postby akkanomore » Wed Dec 07, 2022 6:27 pm

Ok so I bought a 4" 5 Star still last week after my trusty T500 stopped being trusty albeit after 7 years it has been unreal and a lot of dollars saved. I understand it's a learning curve to get on top of the plated still, BUT, this thing doesn't seem to be working as I have read or seen on this forum.

1. It has 2 x 2400 elements and the top element is on a voltage regulator. I cannot turn the top element off or even down! As soon as I turn it off product stops and even after 20 minutes nothing. I have turned the RC off.

2. When I first run it 3 days ago I had the elements going into a power board because i only have one power point in the shed. The power board kept tripping SO I got a doubler adapter and it was working BUT the doubler adapter got welded to the extension lead obviously through heat.

3. Today I tried again and run an extension lead from a.power point in the house, one lead wasn't quite long enough so I connected 2 leads.... guess what? The 2 leads where connected got welded together. I did contact. Any advice would be appreciated.

4. Near new 4" Plate bubbler soon to be going cheap in the for sale section.

5. If I cant run this thing on the bottom element only i can't run a 30 - 35 litre wash. I dont get how the product just stops if I dont have both elements on or at least 75 percent voltage. And the big problem is why is overheating the power? Even the power points are quite warm. Surely this can't be normal?
Last edited by akkanomore on Wed Dec 07, 2022 6:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 4" plated still problem

Postby RC Al » Wed Dec 07, 2022 7:08 pm

Ok...

Go buy some good leads*, connect them to seperate circuits on the property, try to keep the distance as short as possible. Send household elsewhere, turn everything except the fridge off. (Large household and lack of decent power where i still has me using gas)

Check each element is still working.

You cant expect a still to keep running when you take half the power away.

Use the controller on the bottom element if your doing a one and done or a spirit run, you only need both for heat up and stripping runs

Slow down, take your time.

Might just be distance, but I dare say you have a massive shortage of power how you are set up.

*Preferably 1.5mm wire, but beggars can't be choosers. I grabbed a bunch of 15amp caravan leads from Aldi last time they had them, couldn't buy the cable cheaper even by the roll
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Re: 4" plated still problem

Postby akkanomore » Wed Dec 07, 2022 7:15 pm

RC Al wrote:Ok...

Go buy some good leads*, connect them to seperate circuits on the property, try to keep the distance as short as possible. Send household elsewhere, turn everything except the fridge off. (Large household and lack of decent power where i still has me using gas)

Check each element is still working.

You cant expect a still to keep running when you take half the power away.

Use the controller on the bottom element if your doing a one and done or a spirit run, you only need both for heat up and stripping runs

Slow down, take your time.

Might just be distance, but I dare say you have a massive shortage of power how you are set up.

*Preferably 1.5mm wire, but beggars can't be choosers. I grabbed a bunch of 15amp caravan leads from Aldi last time they had them, couldn't buy the cable cheaper even by the roll


Thanks but there is not muxh power being drawn at all. If you think the missus will let me turn everything but the fridge off, Forget it. The lead that welded was 20.amp

Looks like another T500
Last edited by akkanomore on Wed Dec 07, 2022 7:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 4" plated still problem

Postby The Stig » Wed Dec 07, 2022 7:19 pm

Did you have both elements on the extension cord with a double adapter ?
And a melted cord will be causing a drop in power due to resistance so the element isn’t getting full power
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Re: 4" plated still problem

Postby akkanomore » Wed Dec 07, 2022 7:24 pm

The Stig wrote:Did you have both elements on the extension cord with a double adapter ?
And a melted cord will be causing a drop in power due to resistance so the
element isn’t getting full power


You know I didnt Andrew I explained all to you today. So the answer is no.
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Re: 4" plated still problem

Postby The Stig » Wed Dec 07, 2022 7:25 pm

I couldn’t remember that detail :-B
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Re: 4" plated still problem

Postby bluc » Wed Dec 07, 2022 7:46 pm

2400w is absolute max for 10a circuit. Most leads (and even wall sockets)will not handle full power for extended times. +1 with al good quality leads are a must. The longer the lead thicker the inner core needs to be.

I use a 3600w element that is really 2x 1800w elements in one.
So i get 600w 1/4 of max wattage headroom and I also use 10a leads with 15a spec core. They barely get warm...
Stay safe :handgestures-thumbupleft:
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Re: 4" plated still problem

Postby akkanomore » Wed Dec 07, 2022 7:50 pm

bluc wrote:2400w is absolute max for 10a circuit. Most leads (and even wall sockets)will not handle full power for extended times. +1 with al good quality leads are a must. The longer the lead thicker the inner core needs to be.

I use a 3600w element that is really 2x 1800w elements in one.
So i get 600w 1/4 of max wattage headroom and I also use 10a leads with 15a spec core. They barely get warm...
Stay safe :handgestures-thumbupleft:


Certainly wish all this is explained when your in the bush and fork out nearly 3k. I might stick a.gas burner under it
Last edited by akkanomore on Wed Dec 07, 2022 7:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 4" plated still problem

Postby Wellsy » Wed Dec 07, 2022 8:57 pm

Power supply is often an issue, especially with the new earth leakage cutoffs and circuit breakers.

I had similar issues when I got my still, had both elements plugged into wall sockets in my brand new shed, and tripping the circuits constantly. I run one element from the shed and the other from a good quality lead from the house and no longer have that issue.

The problem is we just don’t know what we don’t know mate and until we get the gear in our own location we can’t be sure the pump will be powerful enough, or the reserve of water will stay cool enough. That we have enough cuts jars etc.

Hang in there akanomore we have all struggled with the initial stages of getting ourselves set up. In the end the product that you make will be well worth it. Grab a old blanket to insulate the boiler as every little bit helps.
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Re: 4" plated still problem

Postby akkanomore » Wed Dec 07, 2022 9:52 pm

Wellsy wrote:Power supply is often an issue, especially with the new earth leakage cutoffs and circuit breakers.

I had similar issues when I got my still, had both elements plugged into wall sockets in my brand new shed, and tripping the circuits constantly. I run one element from the shed and the other from a good quality lead from the house and no longer have that issue.

The problem is we just don’t know what we don’t know mate and until we get the gear in our own location we can’t be sure the pump will be powerful enough, or the reserve of water will stay cool enough. That we have enough cuts jars etc.

Hang in there akanomore we have all struggled with the initial stages of getting ourselves set up. In the end the product that you make will be well worth it. Grab a old blanket to insulate the boiler as every little bit helps.


Well new pump is fine, 5000 litre water tank is handling things fine. If I have to run around putting a blanket on the thing then it's all over for me. Sounded good at the time. And yeah the product is good. You got a T500 boiler for sale have you? 4 plate still as new going cheap.
Last edited by akkanomore on Wed Dec 07, 2022 9:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 4" plated still problem

Postby Wellsy » Thu Dec 08, 2022 5:40 am

[quote="akkanomore"

If I have to run around putting a blanket on the thing then it's all over for me. [/quote]

Many of us insulate our boilers as it makes a big difference to both heat up times and power usage. But if that is a deal breaker that is your decision and no one here will judge you for that. I was going to suggest you check with the electrician who wired your elements to see if he could put heavy duty leads instead of the standard. I know I was impatient when I got my boiler and whizzed out to Bunnings and got the grey lead and wired them myself. My nephew is a sparky and when he came around he swapped them for thicker leads which got rid of my leads warming up problem.

It sounds like you have already decided on your next course of action, which is cool, absolutely up to you, all the best whatever you decide
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Re: 4" plated still problem

Postby B-Man » Thu Dec 08, 2022 6:15 am

I'll swap you my t500 for the 4" bubbler...

Now before you start getting silly and get rid of it I see a few problems.

1. You changed from a 2200w still to a 2400 x2.
It uses over double the power.

2. You don't understand electricity.
(most people don't)

3. I don't believe you used a 20amp lead as they have a different size plug.

First off.
Get another circuit in your shed.
Get it put next to the other one. Even get a 15amp point put in.
Is your power point in the shed currently from a sub board in the shed or literally 1 power point run from the house?
What amp is the circuit breakers?

If you don't want to put another circuit in get a decent power cord. One that is either 1.5mm² or preferably 2.5mm² and in one full length made to b basically the exact length. (Most extention cords are 0.75mm²)
Even if you have to get it made by an electrician.
I got 2x 8m 2.5mm² cords made up with orange circ. Cost me a carton of beer and a bottle of my finest. They worked a treat.

Work out how many circuits and what else runs on the circuits that you are plugging the elements into. Most things don't use a heap of power. Turn off one circuit breaker and go around plugging a lamp into the power point and note what ones the lamp doesn't turn on then change the circuit and go again.
Kitchen and laundry are normally seperate. The laundry one might be a good choice if the washing machine doesn't run when you do your still runs.

Once you have your power sorted everything should be smooth sailing.
The reason the plug weld themselves together is poor connecting creating resistance which creates heat.

Make sure the plugs are seated firmly in the power points.

And finally have you read how to run a plated still thread?

I use 6000w to heat up and 3600w for my run. But I guess voltage controlled I feel somewhere between 3000w and 3600w is a good place.

So if you ran the bottom in the shed and the top in the house voltage controlled at between 60v (600w) and 120v (1200w) that would give you 3000w to 3600w of power.
Running the voltage controlled from the house would also help it from heating the cables as it would be drawing less power.

You don't have to use both but heat up will take longer without.
I also have my boiler permanently wrapped in 10mm formshield. It keeps the heat in. And don't run the still in a windy area.

Good luck
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Re: 4" plated still problem

Postby chipboy » Thu Dec 08, 2022 7:01 am

If its stopping after the top element goes off then the bottom one isnt working.

As said insulate your boiler it will allow you yo run one element, 2 by 2400 is more than enough, I use 2 by 2400 initaillay too but on an insulated boiler and then I run on 1 at about 160V RMS normally.

As stated, your power board is only good for 10 Amps, 240V resistive (230 these days actually) load, which is what your elements are. Mots house power circuits are rated at 10 Amps and wired accordingly, The circuit breaker will be 20Amps for safety only not as a running level of power draw. Melted leads are heat issues caused by power draw, mine get warm but hey are short and to saperate points/circuits. This is all a learning exercise, lots to learn. (BE Elec, what would I know)

All the advice above is completely valid too.
Have fun
Last edited by chipboy on Thu Dec 08, 2022 7:06 am, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: 4" plated still problem

Postby akkanomore » Thu Dec 08, 2022 7:05 am

Thanks for the advice. Sorry I meant 20amp cable but there are 10amp plugs on it.
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Re: 4" plated still problem

Postby chipboy » Thu Dec 08, 2022 7:13 am

Keep it simple. insulate.

I used air cell roof insulation (like bubblewrap with silver foil both sides) double wrapped around boiler. This will enable you to work with one element albeit slow on starting. Running a still is a very good lesson in thermodynamics. I liked that subject.
Last edited by chipboy on Thu Dec 08, 2022 7:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: 4" plated still problem

Postby Nathan02 » Thu Dec 08, 2022 10:24 am

You need separate points on their own circuits. Go 15 amp outlets...
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Re: 4" plated still problem

Postby RC Al » Thu Dec 08, 2022 2:16 pm

Geeze N02... All that bling and a particle board shelf...

:laughing-rolling: just yanking ya chain, i know what u got going on :romance-kisscheek:
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Re: 4" plated still problem

Postby Nathan02 » Thu Dec 08, 2022 5:03 pm

Haha stop in some time arsey I'll give you the tour. I need some more angel off ya :handgestures-thumbupleft: :happy-partydance:
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Re: 4" plated still problem

Postby akkanomore » Thu Dec 08, 2022 5:36 pm

3. I don't believe you used a 20amp lead as they have a different size plug.

First off.
Get another circuit in your shed.
Get it put next to the other one. Even get a 15amp point put in.
Is your power point in the shed currently from a sub board in the shed or literally 1 power point run from the house?
What amp is the circuit breakers?
[/quote]

Well I had a look today and the power point that i had the extension lead in was a 20amp power point. The circuit board has two breakers a 10amp and a 20amp. There is a double power point that I was running from that is 20amp ( I do have a caravan and know what a 20amp power point is) the other breaker is 10amp and runs 3 double power points. The shed I have the still in is running off it's own 10amp breaker at the house and a double power point in the shed.
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Re: 4" plated still problem

Postby chipboy » Thu Dec 08, 2022 6:00 pm

20 Amp breaker is for 10 Amp circuit, there is 100% safety in this, this is standard. You can be lucky if the wiring is up to it to draw 20 Amps but the breaker and wire size are the determinants of this. Certainly in a shed with long runs this will not be the case.

You need to check the lower element for continuity from the sounds of it it might either be open circuit or not connected.
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