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Old 03-15-2009, 02:55 AM   #1
Couevas
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Default HERMS March Pump Problems

I brewed my first batch today using my new single tier HERMS. It is also my first time using a pump. I had so many issues with it, that I almost want to tear it apart and go back to gravity.

I couldn't get the pump to push through my coil. At first, I had a 50 ft coil comprised of 2 25' 3/8 coils. That wouldn't work. So then I took one of the coils out. It still wouldn't push through it consistently. I abandoned the HERMS completely and ended up with a mash way on the low side. Oh well, it will be a dry Belgian Wit.

I also couldn't get the pump to pull through the mash. When I had the outflow dialed down to the point where it wouldn't get stuck, the pump would lose siphon and pump air.

I use soft silicone hoses. You can see the setup here.

Anyone have any ideas? Anyone else have these kinds of issues when they first went March?

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Old 03-15-2009, 03:12 AM   #2
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Here is a great discussion on pump priming. It should answer most your questions.
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/disc...riming-105461/

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Old 03-15-2009, 03:52 AM   #3
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Your pump should not lose prime when you shunt the flow on the OUTflow of the pump. You should be able to turn the valve off, then back on 10 minutes later and not lose prime. There is a problem there that could be leading to the inability to effectively pump through the HERMS.

My pump is oriented identical to yours and I have never had an issue.

Id shorten my hoses... you have awfully long hoses and that does not help with the process. Make them as short as possible...

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Old 03-15-2009, 09:48 AM   #4
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You may also need to prime the HERMS coil. I suffered many stuck mashes in the early days of using my HERMS. I eventually pinned it down to an airlock in the HERMS coil preventing the pump from recirculating the wort. This provoked me to open the valve wider than I should have causing too much suction on the grainbed.

Now I pump liquor through the coil from the HLT at full power and then syphon it back through when I'm about to start recirculating. I haven't had any problems since.

/Phil.

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Old 03-15-2009, 05:49 PM   #5
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That is a good idea with making sure the pump is primed. I will make sure there is no air in the inlet at all times. I will try to keep the coil primed as well before starting the HERM cycle.

Also, I will see if I can flip the pump over. I don't know if there will be enough room, but I will see if I can swing it. I welded a bracket to the frame and have since painted it. It sure would be a shame to have to move the bracket and re-weld it.

I will also shorten up the lines as much as I can.

I here all kinds of people singing the praises of the march pump. It sure was giving me some grief yesterday.

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"Always remember that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me."
"No soldier can fight unless he is properly fed on beef and beer."
"Make sure that the beer - four pints a week - goes to the troops under fire before any of the parties in the rear get a drop."
-Winston Churchill----brilliant man
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Old 03-16-2009, 06:31 PM   #6
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Couevas, it takes some getting used to.
do a practice run with just water, and get used to priming your hoses and chasing out bubbles, etc. once you work it out, it's much less of a pain.

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Old 03-16-2009, 06:44 PM   #7
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I find that cycling the pump on and off a few times helps flush out air bubbles when I am initially priming at the start of brewday.

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Old 03-17-2009, 12:45 PM   #8
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I had trouble with my pump pushing through the coil also. It only happens if I turn off the pump, break a connection, hook it back up and turn the pump back on. It seems like the problem is when I get air up in the coil. Makes it a lot more difficult to push it out and get things started again.

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Old 03-17-2009, 01:55 PM   #9
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I know I will eventually be able to figure it out and get somewhat efficient with the priming and use of my pump. I guess I was just initially disapointed with the strength of the pump. For such a beefy motor, it sure don't push much. I guess I got too used to my Coral Reef tank's pumps that are much more powerful when related to the size of the overall package. I had a main pump on my last system that pushed 2400 gph and lived in a much smaller package than my march pump.

I think I just needed to see that it wasn't a defect.

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"Always remember that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me."
"No soldier can fight unless he is properly fed on beef and beer."
"Make sure that the beer - four pints a week - goes to the troops under fire before any of the parties in the rear get a drop."
-Winston Churchill----brilliant man
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Old 03-31-2009, 03:03 AM   #10
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SUCCESS!!!

I brewed a nice little session West Coast Pale Ale yesterday....

Everything went flawlessly. Prior to starting, I inverted the pump so the the pump housing was under the motor. I also made sure the input side of the pump was fully primed throught the process. This made for smooth sailing! I didn't even have a problem with the HERM system!

Also pitched some newly bottle-harvested Pacman....my first attempt at bottle harvesting and my first use of my new DIY stirplate.

All in all, a great day!!!!
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BREWtality 2 Build Thread
"Always remember that I have taken more out of alcohol than alcohol has taken out of me."
"No soldier can fight unless he is properly fed on beef and beer."
"Make sure that the beer - four pints a week - goes to the troops under fire before any of the parties in the rear get a drop."
-Winston Churchill----brilliant man
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