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  #1  
Old March 21st, 2016, 09:23 AM
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Default 2016 What worked what didnt?

Hello all, I know the season is over or ending for many of us, and while I hope that you are still going strong it is starting to wind down for a good number of us. Im just looking to hear how everybody's homebuilt contraptions worked out for them this year, good news, bad news, new patents pending because of your sheer brilliance... You get the point. I know I am looking for a place to gush about how brilliantly my homebuilt water jacketed canner worked , and I know there must be others teeming with joy over how they built something out of an old matress and a transmission tunnel. Anyways take this spot to please share with everyone how it worked or didnt.

Ill start by saying my water jacketed bottler worked perfect! A stainless steel pot let into a canning pot, with a thru bulkhead fitting connecting the inner pot to the outer pot. Keeping the syrup at bottling temp was so easy, turn the flame on low when the temp got to 183, and turn it off at 190. always remained where I wanted it, and all glass bottles have no niter in them.

What did not work was our sap head tank deck... During our second boil of the year, we wondered why there was no sap coming in the rear float box,yet the IBC tote still read 150 gallons. Low and behold, we had reached equilibrium, and the level of liquid in the tote was now below the level in the pan. In a moment of quick thinking, my friend hooked the tank to his mini excavator, and suspended it in mid air. OSHA was thrilled. Of course we needed to draw right when this happened. New tank deck in order for next year.
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  #2  
Old March 21st, 2016, 09:35 AM
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I built an RO that I was very pleased with. Raw sap went in, concentrate and permeate came out. Fortunately it never failed when the big runs were coming in. I only wish I could get it to give me 8% in one pass. That would really help with my logistics because I boil alone. The evaporator is in the garage and the RO is in the basement. There's just too many trips back and forth making sure the tanks are not overflowing and flooding the basement, while worrying the pan is burning or maybe the shack caught fire. I can see the evaporator through a basement window, but attention is divided and I don't like that. Other than that it was awesome. I saved a huge amount of time and firewood and I was able to get through 600 gallons of sap that came in over 6 days without taking a vacation day.

I also installed air-over-fire which helped tremendously with smoke, efficiency, and sparks. Still getting some sparks but not like before. Unfortunately I don't think my arch will handle much more than a season or two with this upgrade due to incredible heat in the firebox. It wasn't designed for that. That's okay though since I am hoping/planning to upgrade my arch.
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Old March 21st, 2016, 10:32 AM
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I built not just one but two electric evaporators that are more convenient and will, in years of higher propane costs, be more cost effective than propane for the small hobby batch processor. They are just prototypes and nothing fancy, but the cheapest can be built for under $100 and only requires a 20A 240V circuit. This means that an electric clothes dryer or 240V RV circuit can supply it. It's made with a spa heater element mounted in the bottom of stainless steel steam table pan set in a wooden box with a switch mounted on the side. It boils at 1.25 gph, about the same rate as a turkey fryer. It uses a 4000W element.

The other one uses a cheap kitchen sink with some SS welding and a valve mounted in the funnel at the bottom. It's got a 5500W element and boils at a rate exceeding 2 gph. The two evaporators combined can be run from the same 50A panel that feeds my outdoor spa. I can top them off and leave them unattended for over an hour.
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Old March 21st, 2016, 11:05 PM
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I built a steam hood over the entire evap made out of recycled p v c pipe and fittings and some plastic sheeting I had laying around. Worked better than expected, didn't melt nearest the stack and I didn't have any rain in the sugarhouse!
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Old March 22nd, 2016, 06:41 AM
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Built an RO this year & tried putting it into service. I have now named her "Old Faithful". Unfortunately with sap coming in and a full time job I couldn't work on her for very long so she's sitting in my basement until I get some time to fix th leaks I couldn't first time.

Also made an auto drawoff and it worked like a charm! Absolutely love it. A lot more got done this season because I wasn't always checking the thermometer and pulling syrup off manually.

Had a 15"x30" drawoff tank made for me. Found out it's WAY too big for my operation. Will need to get a smaller one for next season.

And finally, my new-to-me 7 frame filter press. No more hand press for me! Saves time and my wife's arm! She loves it.

Lots of upgrades this season. Now to get Old Faithful up and running BEFORE next year!
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Old March 22nd, 2016, 08:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stoweski View Post
Built an RO this year & tried putting it into service. I have now named her "Old Faithful". Unfortunately with sap coming in and a full time job I couldn't work on her for very long so she's sitting in my basement until I get some time to fix th leaks I couldn't first time.

Also made an auto drawoff and it worked like a charm! Absolutely love it. A lot more got done this season because I wasn't always checking the thermometer and pulling syrup off manually.

Had a 15"x30" drawoff tank made for me. Found out it's WAY too big for my operation. Will need to get a smaller one for next season.

And finally, my new-to-me 7 frame filter press. No more hand press for me! Saves time and my wife's arm! She loves it.

Lots of upgrades this season. Now to get Old Faithful up and running BEFORE next year!
But Stoweski, your a teacher, is that technically a "full time job"??? :)
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2017 equipment purchased: short bank Wes fab filter press and spring tech micro elite two post ro!
Plenty of hardwood split! May take 2017 off this year...
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Old March 22nd, 2016, 09:30 AM
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I made up a sap ladder frame that is built around a cage tank that the releaser is mounted on. I believe it allowed for more sap production. I will be able to clean the tubing and store inside in the off season. They thawed out quick and were is the sun so sap was screaming thru them early.
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  #8  
Old March 22nd, 2016, 09:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by adk1 View Post
But Stoweski, your a teacher, is that technically a "full time job"??? :)
You're welcome to stop in and give it a try sometime!
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Old March 22nd, 2016, 10:58 PM
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Worked:
Hill billy oil flood on Conde dairy pump with fan assistance on the little maple grove.
Doubled continuity switches on raw sap tank and outside holding tank to bring in sap automatically to feed raw sap for ro.
Trail camera on test Shurflo setup to see all the nosey neighbors.
New layout in camp part to direct traffic during Maple weekend.
All the advertising we have done for maple weekends.
New temps and techniques I'm using for crystal coated candy

Didn't work:
Surge rv3 on maple grove( tore out the bearings)
Cdl ridgid tubing. Out if the 15 rolls purchased 5 seemed midsized and fittings slipped off while installing. Others have came off with each freeze. Very frustrating.
Poly y fittings..... Switching to ss like I should have with initial install.
Depending on others to read vacuum gauges correctly (long story)
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  #10  
Old March 22nd, 2016, 11:25 PM
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Jake do you have the mainline tool for the SS 1" fittings. I have two and couldn't get past the second bard.
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