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Old 10-26-2008, 06:32 PM   #1
caspio
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Default Major equipment upgrade v. march pump

I've been lurking around on HBT a lot lately, I had sort of an idea in my head about what I wanted, but cruising threads on here really helped me get things sorted out. As of a few months ago I was doing 5 gallon batches in a turkey fryer. This latest round of upgrades is the culmination (for now) of my upgrade to a 10 gallon system. Big thanks to edwort and others in the many threads on quick-disconnects, and thanks to its02003 for the sight glass.


The first big part of my new setup was the HLT. I've been using a turkey fryer pot for heating sparge water, but at only 7 1/2 gallons it was causing trouble on 10 gallon batches. I wouldn't have enough to mash out and sparge in one go, so I'd have to either heat more water (resulting in a longer mash and dryer than intended beer) or sparge with water that wasn't up to temp (causing efficiency to suffer).



I picked up a 13 gallon imperial keg from the brewshop with the intentions of turning it into my HLT. At first I fooled around with weldless fittings, but they kept giving me trouble. I took the imperial keg and my existing keggle to Alan to get them all welded up. The HLT has a 1/2 fitting for the ball valve, and a second fitting welded in for my sight glass and thermometer probe. The sight glass is marked off in 1/2 gallon increments and was really helpful.

As a part of all these upgrades I purchased a march pump. Since I knew I would be swapping connections back and forth, I purchased some brass quick disconnects.


Here's a shot from the top of the HLT. You can see the thermometer clipped to the side, which is something I need to work on. The clip doesn't hold on that well, and I knocked the thermometer into the (full) HLT twice while brewing. The top number is the actual water temperature, and the bottom number allows you to set an alarm. When I tested it, the digital was within 1 degree of my old thermometer, so I think the calibration's pretty spot on. The other bit you can see slightly out of focus back there is a copper coil for recirculation. I can pump wort out of my mash tun, through the coil, and back into the top of the mash tun. Because the coil is immersed in water, I can control the temp of the water to control the temp of the mash. In this case, it worked great. I missed the mash temperature by 3-4 degrees, and the big grain bill on my IPA left me with less than an inch of space to the top of the cooler. I just heated the HLT to about 160 and recirculated with the pump at full flow. The outflow from the coil was about 152 at first, and as most of the mash came up to temperature that raised a little. After giving everything a good stir, I was right at 151-2.



Here's a shot of things hooked up before the brew started. In this one, I'm pumping hot water with PBW out of the HLT, through the heat exchanger, and then into a bucket. This helped get the pump and all the lines clear, and also got all kinds of nasty oxidation out of the copper coil.

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Old 10-26-2008, 06:33 PM   #2
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Other than falling a little short on temps, the brew went really well. The new HLT was great and let me mash much closer to the schedule I wanted. At the end of the brew, it was time to chill the wort. I usually just run some iodophor through my counterflow, but I've always been paranoid that some nasties were lurking in there. Thanks to the pump, I gave it a good internal soaking with PBW and then flushed it out with plain water. In this pic, I'm pumping hot wort through the chiller and right back into the boil kettle, without cooling water running through the hoses. The boiling hot wort should be plenty to sanitize it.



Once everything was ready to go, we fired up the cooling water and started pumping into the carboys. I really like the counterflow, even with the faster flow rate given by the pump (vs gravity before) there was still no measureable difference between the tapwater going in and the chilled wort coming out. Now that's efficiency!



Speaking of efficiency, can't forget to take the hydrometer sample. I came out a bit lower than expected, primarily because I didn't boil off as much water as anticipated. Once I corrected my recipe for the extra volume, I got about 75% efficiency. I'd like to do better, but I'll settle for not having a drop in efficiency (from my usual) on the first batch with new equipment.



Anyway, that's pretty much it. Yes, I know the setup is still pretty ghetto, and I really need to find a solution for the march pump that's going to protect it. I have access to scrap steel and someone who welds, but unfortunately I just don't have a spot to keep a single tier stand right now. I'm pretty happy with how everything came out, and my back is really thanking me for the pump today. Again, a big thanks to everyone on HBT for the amazing amount of knowledge you all have.

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Old 10-27-2008, 01:39 AM   #3
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Nice -

I wonder why the march pump doesn't include a switch ? Would be alot easier than having to pull the plug.

Nothing a $3 power strip can't fix..

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Old 10-28-2008, 01:46 AM   #4
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well it's rated for continuous operation, so I imagine as long as it wasn't cavitating you could leave it on for the entire brew, just control output with the valve. If I get the funds and space to build a single tier stand, I'll probably cut the plug off and see if I can find a waterproof switch to wire in.

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Old 10-28-2008, 02:29 AM   #5
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I leave mine on for the whole brew... just swap the QDS and use the valves to stop the flow.

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Old 01-17-2011, 06:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kappclark View Post
Nice -

I wonder why the march pump doesn't include a switch ? Would be alot easier than having to pull the plug.

Nothing a $3 power strip can't fix..
It's more than $3, but I find this foot switch to be the best addition to a March Pump:

http://www.harborfreight.com/power-m...tch-96618.html
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Old 01-17-2011, 06:56 AM   #7
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x2, I use the harbor freight foot switch and love it.

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Old 01-17-2011, 08:02 AM   #8
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Where did you get the copper coil from?

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Old 01-17-2011, 01:23 PM   #9
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I use a wireless remote control switch designed for use with Christmas lighting. Was $10 at HD. Been using it for a number of years and have found it to be a very convenient way to control the pump. I like the switch so much that I bought a second one to have around as a spare, although the original has proved to be very durable and reliable.

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Old 01-17-2011, 03:21 PM   #10
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Sweet! I need to install the coil in my HLT.

Build a brew bench, with the switches built in:



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