Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Perforated & bubble cap plated columns

Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby B-Man » Fri Jan 01, 2021 1:20 pm

Hi guys,

Just ran my home made bubbler for the first time and dont know if im any better off that the T500 or alembic pot! :scared-eek: So needing some help.

Done my vinegar cleaning run then rinsed out RC and below with water yesterday.

Started my sacrificial run today from a heap of old wine and left over heads and tails then chucked some water in to make sure the elements would be covered.

I have my 4" 550mm packed section with 28 SS scrubbers and 4 plates (16mm bath depth)

I was hoping this would be making a high abv neutral spirit.

I ran like the first post said and worked a treat.
It started off ok but the abv just kept dropping pretty fast.
And the run was taking very similar times to the T500.

Do I need more plates or packed section to get vodka at 95°?

Once running my RC barely has any water flow to keep the stream output even remotely like a match stick yet my cooling water isnt that cold. Product coming out at ~30 - 33°
It can hold back the 2400w element no worries at all.

After 2L its low abv and even with the RC off its struggling.

Is my issue the poor wash? The fact it had some heads and tails contribute to the fact it seemed like it hit tails very early on?

I was planning to do a feints run but havent done 1 before so maybe i should run my wine wash that im use to doing so i can get a gauge of how it works.

Also whats the trick to cleaning/ rinsing this after a run? As the plates seem to hold a bit of alcohol on them.
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Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby bluc » Fri Jan 01, 2021 1:52 pm

How much wine at what abv how long did you hold it in full reflux?
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Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby RuddyCrazy » Fri Jan 01, 2021 2:15 pm

Eh B-man as this is a new still have you gone over EVERY weld/joint with a mirror to check to see if there are any vapour leaks, as from what you described this sounds like it is the culprit.

I found the same problem with my bubbler on the first run and found a vapour leak so shut it down, let it cool and fixed it. now that solved the problem and I have no problem getting 90+ aBV with 4 plates and a 500mm packed section.

Cheers Bryan
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Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby The Stig » Fri Jan 01, 2021 4:04 pm

What elements ?
You should be able to run at around 2.5lt/h at around 93-94% with ease.
Turning the RC off the still will run as a straight pot still so the ABV will drop.
If your only trickling water into the RC , maybe you need more power
My 5 plate and 250mm packed section runs nicely on 2 x 2400w , 1 flat out and the second around 50% or just a little more
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Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby B-Man » Fri Jan 01, 2021 5:47 pm

bluc wrote:How much wine at what abv how long did you hold it in full reflux?


6 or 7 random bottles of wine ~13%
2L of old sacrificial run @ 60ish%
~10L water
3 bottles of heads or tails. Unknown %

Forgot to measure the wash abv. Havent done a run in almost 10 months

RuddyCrazy wrote:Eh B-man as this is a new still have you gone over EVERY weld/joint with a mirror to check to see if there are any vapour leaks, as from what you described this sounds like it is the culprit.

I found the same problem with my bubbler on the first run and found a vapour leak so shut it down, let it cool and fixed it. now that solved the problem and I have no problem getting 90+ aBV with 4 plates and a 500mm packed section.

Cheers Bryan


I had a couple of leaks with the vinegar run 2 were pinhole leaks where i tigged. fixed them and 1 of the seals leaked.

They were all fixed. Went over with a mirror and didnt notice anything.

The Stig wrote:What elements ?

I have a 3600w element and 2400w one. Ran the 2400w on full.
The 3600w I used to get to temps but the plugtop at the powerpoint was quite warm so decided not to use it.

The Stig wrote:You should be able to run at around 2.5lt/h at around 93-94% with ease.
Turning the RC off the still will run as a straight pot still so the ABV will drop.
If your only trickling water into the RC , maybe you need more power
My 5 plate and 250mm packed section runs nicely on 2 x 2400w , 1 flat out and the second around 50% or just a little more


So if I ran more temp i could up the RC flow creating more reflux but with more temp it might let a similar amount through so id have the same stream with more reflux?

Yeah the abv dropped when the rc was turned off but i got no flow increase.
I guess I got 400% bigger diameter column but im only pumping 120% more power into it.

Can you flood the plates by too much reflux?
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Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby RuddyCrazy » Fri Jan 01, 2021 5:56 pm

The idea is to load the plates fully now what I do with a 4 plate with a 500mm packed section is leave it open to collect the fores then go into full reflux for about 1/2 an hour until all plates fully load. This insures all the higher fractions stay and the lower ones go back to the boiler.
Then open the RC a tad to let the heads come out which are compressed and take about 200ml then put it back in reflux for 15 minutes or more to load the plates again. Then when the plates are loaded open the RC out a tad to get a trick just more than a few drops and the ABV should be 90 + ABV

It will keep this ABV for the full run until the bottom plate fogs up then time to do a full reflux again to compress the tails. after one or 2 cut jars the ABV will fall off rapidly and thats the end of the run.

Cheers Bryan
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Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby woodduck » Fri Jan 01, 2021 8:14 pm

Not enough reflux. More power= more reflux= more cycles through the plates= higher %.

No reflux = low % like you found out when you shut the rc off, the % dropped.
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Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby B-Man » Fri Jan 01, 2021 8:44 pm

cheers guys makes sense. it had good plate volume to start with but it was getting a little light on the further into the run I went.
How much is too much on the plates or is there not really?? I somehow got the 3rd plate pretty full after stuffing around with the RC for a while and the others stayed pretty light on.

If the weathers good I'll be running a wine run tomorrow and then a feints run the day after. Will take the packed section out for the wine run and see how we go.
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Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby woodduck » Sat Jan 02, 2021 6:07 am

Watch this video, it's 16 mins of your life you'll never get back but it might help :laughing-rolling:

https://youtu.be/cMKYjrCtlSo
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Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby Wellsy » Sat Jan 02, 2021 6:37 am

Great video Wood Duck

Thanks
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Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby scythe » Sat Jan 02, 2021 8:59 am

B-man,
I would say half module height of bubbles is good.
The plates should self regulate, if they flood into the plate above it back off the power until they don't.

Check your plates for leaks if they are loading unevenly.
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Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby EziTasting » Sat Jan 02, 2021 12:00 pm

woodduck wrote:Watch this video, it's 16 mins of your life you'll never get back but it might help :laughing-rolling:

https://youtu.be/cMKYjrCtlSo


Excellent vid., WD especially for old hands that don’t get to run their boilers as often as they would like (or should) to keep up their competence!

Nothing more to add to this discussion as it’s all been said, and now, shown! Spend time with your rig, get to know her, keep a sample with a date then come back and retaste them periodically so you can see how you’re improving! :-D

Stay safe at all times and enjoy.
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Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby hgwells » Sat Jan 02, 2021 12:04 pm

EziTasting wrote:
woodduck wrote:Watch this video, it's 16 mins of your life you'll never get back but it might help :laughing-rolling:

https://youtu.be/cMKYjrCtlSo


Excellent vid., WD especially for old hands that don’t get to run their boilers as often as they would like (or should) to keep up their competence!

Nothing more to add to this discussion as it’s all been said, and now, shown! Spend time with your rig, get to know her, keep a sample with a date then come back and retaste them periodically so you can see how you’re improving! :-D

Stay safe at all times and enjoy.



:text-+1: :text-+1:
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Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby B-Man » Sat Jan 02, 2021 4:52 pm

Done my run.
Didnt see the reply about the vid. Will watch that later.

Ran on 3600w pretty good most of the run. Got about 92% down to 88% around the start of tails.
Had it running at a perfect 2.5L/hr for the middle part of the run.
Slowed down towards the end guessing around the tails.
Had somewhere to be so put 6000w into it to blast a liter of tails out.
Deflag cant hold back 3600w either need colder water or more flow. So couldnt compress the fores, heads or tails. Will have to try some things. Turning down the PC helped but output was starting to come out a bit hot.
I only run on good summers days so its covered under solar so water is always a little warmer than I want.
Is there any alcometers calibrated to 30°c as thats about what my product comes out as.

All in all fix a few issues and Its very easy to run.
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Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby bluc » Sat Jan 02, 2021 5:10 pm

Turning down pc hot output = bad, dangerous..
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Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby The Stig » Sat Jan 02, 2021 8:10 pm

All alcometers are calibrated to 20 deg C
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Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby B-Man » Sat Jan 02, 2021 10:45 pm

bluc wrote:Turning down pc hot output = bad, dangerous..

Yeah I know.
should of expanded on it when it started getting hot I opened it back up. I could turn it down about 1/4 without it doing too much but about half flow the shotty started getting hot towards the end. So open the flow back up and instantly cooled back down.
Last edited by B-Man on Sat Jan 02, 2021 10:49 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby B-Man » Mon Jan 04, 2021 9:43 am

Run a feints run with packed section
Pulled solid 93 the whole way.
Still got the brandy taste. Was hoping to get neutral.
Do I need to increase bath depth? Currently 16mm or chuck more plates currently 4?
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Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby M8Harry » Mon Jan 04, 2021 6:26 pm

I love reading how everyone has a different method of doing the same thing.

I have 2 x 2400 watt elements going full noise then when the bottom glass is hot to the touch I kill the top element and dial the bottom element down to 80%
I let the system stay in full reflux for 30 minutes minimum and then aim for about 1L per hour output. That way there is wiggle room if water pressure changes and I dont have to stress too much while its running.

I could go faster but im in no rush.
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Re: Running a Plated Column. the easy way

Postby B-Man » Wed Jan 13, 2021 5:44 pm

M8Harry wrote:I love reading how everyone has a different method of doing the same thing.

I have 2 x 2400 watt elements going full noise then when the bottom glass is hot to the touch I kill the top element and dial the bottom element down to 80%
I let the system stay in full reflux for 30 minutes minimum and then aim for about 1L per hour output. That way there is wiggle room if water pressure changes and I dont have to stress too much while its running.

I could go faster but im in no rush.


Having my water recirculator I don't have water pressure fluctuation issues.
I built this bubbler to get a faster take off rate so I wasn't sitting in the shed all day watching the still when I have other things to do. my t500 was pulling faster take off rates than 1L/h if I run a low wines or feints its an 8-9 hr session at 2.5L/hr Including heat up.
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