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Old February 15th, 2012, 03:35 PM
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Default Homemade flow/calibration tube w/pics

Finished the 2" flow tube for mxzgotcha. Its serves as a sight tube for the elevated 55 gallon s.s. tank and also a flow tube to get accurate gph evaporation rates. It should allow any changes he makes to the evaporator , blower damper, wood, stack temp, etc....and then be able to check flow rates after and easily see what adjustments are the most or least efficient. Its scaled for a 30" span and Max flow of 34gph with a 45 second time. :)
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Old February 16th, 2012, 05:38 AM
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WOW, that looks very impressive. Good job.
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Old February 16th, 2012, 11:35 AM
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Ok I like the idea of this and I think I understand how it works but if it works like I'm thinking is it really accurate at all.

So the vertical tube is a vented and calibrated about of sap, right? so you shut off the flow from the tank and then as the flow tube goes down it will tell you your GPH. Or at least thats what it looks like. Only problem I see with that is the flow rate could fluctuate greatly depending on if the float is shut off, open, or trickling.

Im I close or no?
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Old February 16th, 2012, 12:10 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmayerl View Post
Ok I like the idea of this and I think I understand how it works but if it works like I'm thinking is it really accurate at all.

So the vertical tube is a vented and calibrated about of sap, right? so you shut off the flow from the tank and then as the flow tube goes down it will tell you your GPH. Or at least thats what it looks like. Only problem I see with that is the flow rate could fluctuate greatly depending on if the float is shut off, open, or trickling.

Im I close or no?
I have used a realtime flow meter and can confirm how much the flow rates vary over time, with big changes when drawing or when firing. I figure my average rate into the evaporator is about 45GPH, but could often peg the meter over 60 and see it stop completely during the day. Still, it can be a good and interesting bit of information.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 02:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmayerl View Post
Ok I like the idea of this and I think I understand how it works but if it works like I'm thinking is it really accurate at all.

So the vertical tube is a vented and calibrated about of sap, right? so you shut off the flow from the tank and then as the flow tube goes down it will tell you your GPH. Or at least thats what it looks like. Only problem I see with that is the flow rate could fluctuate greatly depending on if the float is shut off, open, or trickling.

Im I close or no?
Good point, i have a float switch in my head tank so what i did is i ran the pump until the switch shut the pump off than i measured the amount of water that was in the tank until the pump turned back on. My plan is to time how long it takes to evaporate 23 gallons of sap ( the amount of sap that is in between pump on and pump off in the head tank ). Not perfectly accurate but close enough for me.
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Old February 17th, 2012, 11:56 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmayerl View Post
Ok I like the idea of this and I think I understand how it works but if it works like I'm thinking is it really accurate at all.

So the vertical tube is a vented and calibrated about of sap, right? so you shut off the flow from the tank and then as the flow tube goes down it will tell you your GPH. Or at least thats what it looks like. Only problem I see with that is the flow rate could fluctuate greatly depending on if the float is shut off, open, or trickling.

Im I close or no?
, I have used calibration tubes for years in my job to measure flow of various chemicals. They are highly accurate within reason, however, accuracy is not the main goal as we are looking at what changes can be made to increase the evaporation rate without "guessing " the volume left in a 55 gallon barrel laying horizontal.

We boiled today for the 1st of the year. Flow tube works perfectly. Jamayer, you do have if right. Shut valve and time 45 seconds and see what evaporation rate is. What really worked good about this tube is you get a "snapshot " of rate and as we made adjustments to the evaporater ( blower damper, level of sap in pan, wood) we could see results in a matter of minutes. We waited to check after the evaporator was up and running good. Obviously, when drawing off syrup you don't check the rate. Another reason these tubes are popular is that unlike mechanical flow meters they require no maintenance or re-calibration after parts are worn. Btw, total cost for 8 ft of schedule 40 2" clear PVC was $24. Add a couple of fittings and your still under $30! :)
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Old February 18th, 2012, 09:21 AM
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Wishlist,
Now I understand how to operate this flowmeter. How is it calibrated??
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Old February 18th, 2012, 10:01 AM
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Originally Posted by lpakiz View Post
Wishlist,
Now I understand how to operate this flowmeter. How is it calibrated??
You will need a couple numbers to start. Inside diameter of pipe and span. Depending on what your maximum evaporation rate would be expected. Example, Rob has a 2x6 pan and added a blower and preheater this year. He was hoping to get upper 20's gph so I have a 30" span which at a 1.049 radius of pipe and because we don't have the tank elevated very high I timed it a 45 seconds. 1 minute would be more easy to remember and is a standard that used with commercial flow tubes. The longer the time the more accurate.
The formula is radius squared x pie x length (as used 30inch span.) That is volume of cylinder then divide by 231 to convert to gallons of cylinder. Multiply gallons x 60 ( minutes in hour ) which equals gph. So lets say it worked out to 30 " was 24 gph, you then know at 15 inches you used 12 gph. Just keep dividing the span down. I probably didn't explain that very easy but it really is. I will be more than happy to give anyone a hand.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 04:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wishlist View Post
Finished the 2" flow tube for mxzgotcha. Its serves as a sight tube for the elevated 55 gallon s.s. tank and also a flow tube to get accurate gph evaporation rates. It should allow any changes he makes to the evaporator , blower damper, wood, stack temp, etc....and then be able to check flow rates after and easily see what adjustments are the most or least efficient. Its scaled for a 30" span and Max flow of 34gph with a 45 second time. :)
Interesting....two small suggestions.

1. Leave a longer piece of straight horizonatal PVC after the elbow coming off the barrel to reduce turbulance errors in flow.

2. Put a bobber or cork into the standpipe to make it easier to see the liquid level. Be sure to attach a piece of fishing line to it so it doesn't get sucked down into the tee and into your line when you drain the system.
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Old February 18th, 2012, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by DrTimPerkins View Post
Interesting....two small suggestions.

1. Leave a longer piece of straight horizonatal PVC after the elbow coming off the barrel to reduce turbulance errors in flow.

2. Put a bobber or cork into the standpipe to make it easier to see the liquid level. Be sure to attach a piece of fishing line to it so it doesn't get sucked down into the tee and into your line when you drain the system.
Not sure about a longer piece of PVC after the barrel? When checking flow rates you close the ball valve on on the inlet side of tee which is downstream of the nipple. The bobber/cork idea is a good one but so far its very easy to see the level from anywhere in the sugar shack. I used a 2" male adaptor on the bottom of the tube to allow easy cleaning when necessary. :)
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