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Old January 7th, 2013, 03:44 PM
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Default pre heater build

I just recieved about 80 ft of 3/8 soft copper for nothing and was wondering if I could get a few ideas about how to put together a preheater.I have built a stainless 2x3 hood for my flue pan with a stack and damper,the hood also has a drip edge for condensation on both sides, I would just like some ideas as to how to put together the pre heater.Thanks for any help,Al
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Haynes Forest Products (January 7th, 2013)
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Old January 7th, 2013, 06:21 PM
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A few of my thoughts are sometimes free stuff paints you into a corner. Soft copper is thicker and so it doesn't transfer the heat as well. You will need to straighten the sections and fitting can be a problem ( at times) Having a coil of copper in the hood and running sap through it will pre heat the sap but it will also vapor lock and wont drain at the end of the day. The best preheaters have a slight incline built into the set up so sap will self drain. The incline also allows trapped air bubbles to raise to the top and allow the sap to move freely without getting air locked. 3/8 is a little small but doable. You also read about Parallel tube preheaters. That is because you don't want sap to run both up and down hill trapping air in the tops of the heater. The flow of the sap is important because your heater will work on gravity and as sap heats it releases its air and that air will raise and heat up and slightly steam and expand stopping the sap flow. You also want the sap to enter at the bottom of the incline and rise up the tubes and into the float box. You also need a drip tray to catch all the condensate that will drip from the tubes as the hot water vapor hits the cold coils. I can say from experiance that most preheaters are very helpful in maxing the heat from the arch and speed up the proses but are a pain to make.
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Lake View Maple (January 7th, 2013)
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Old January 7th, 2013, 06:35 PM
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I would sell the copper for scrap and buy 20ft of 3/4 and build one just like chuck said.
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Old January 7th, 2013, 07:22 PM
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Ive spent the last 3 hours reading old post about building preheaters.It seems to be a pretty big project but Im not too worried,I just needed some technical details and Haynes gave me some,I didnt think about the sap rising up into the float box but it makes sense to get rid of air bubbles,from heat build up.I was going to use 3/4 in for the manifolds and I have a solid stainless pan for underneath the copper.I also had read about venting and Flat also mentioned a bypass in case of some serious problem I could just bypass the preheater and continue to feed the float box.As Haynes mentioned the hard part will be finding fittings for that size copper ,we will see what i can find and if it works out Ill post some pics .Thanks for the input and if Ive forgotten stuff give me a shout.Thanks again and God Bless ,Al
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Old January 7th, 2013, 07:35 PM
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Lake view. You mention a solid tray under it. That can be a problem because it keeps the steam from getting to the tubes. I would look into a series of smaller channels under each tube leaving spaces to allow the steam to flow up and through the pre heater.
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Old January 7th, 2013, 09:49 PM
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Most manufactured preheaters come with a solid tray. My preheater from an older Small Brothers goes in at high point and comes out at low. I get 170 sap with a very loose fitting hood.
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Old January 8th, 2013, 08:33 PM
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I like the Inlet to be on the sap inlet on hi side and the outlet on the low side to the float box. Have had vapor lock'd a few times on 2 different Leader/Grimm style preheaters that go backwards from the mention above and i have a homemade preheater hood (that someone else made/I Bought used) on my 2X6 that vaporlocked 2X before i figured my way out of the paper bag= Leave empty and after you get boiling raw sap for a while then send it through the preheater and close the bypass and it will work flawless.

Starting up on the others was a problem with vapor lock/No vent.

My 4X8 Small Bros. hood that raw sap enters from the top and pre-heated raw sap out to the bottom NEVER Vapor Locked right from start up.

There is a way around that vapor lock problem=bypass and boil un-preheated sap for a while and then go through the preheater.
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