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Old 12-11-2009, 09:38 PM   #1
Llysse
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Default Trouble with the new stir plate? Rebel's Stirstarter Econo

Advice?

We just got our new Stirplate delivered this past week--a very small one. We have the proper stir bar, and when it was delivered, naturally, we took it out and set it up with water to ooh and aah over the cool vortex.

Today I set it up with a starter for the first time. I found it relatively difficult to get the stir bar to attract to the magnet in the base--it seemed rather touchy, but hey, what do I know? This is our first plate. After just a little fiddling, it started nicely enough and kept WLP037 in suspension admirably. This yeast is particularly chunky.

However, I just checked it a few moments ago, and it has stopped.

I looked at the starter in our flask (1000 ml), and located the bar--there it was off to the side. How annoying. So I took the keeper magnet and reset it. Put it back down on the plate, carefully centered...

... and it whirred around. Hooray! Then it promptly got flung off to the side again. The speed was not set to fast--I didn't have a vortex going or anything (I didn't think that was necessary just to keep the yeast in suspension). It was just set to a nice medium speed. I reset the stir bar again, recentered it, adjusted speed up and down and so on. No dice.

Now, this yeast is VERY chunky... but it doesn't seem to me that a stir plate is worth much if it doesn't have the power to move a little bit of chunky yeast, so it must be something I'm doing or not doing. While there's a nice sediment already, keep in mind that it's only been fermenting since this morning. There's not THAT much there.

So... can someone tell me,is there something I'm doing wrong--does anyone have tips? Do I need to turn around three times and spit?

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Old 12-11-2009, 10:18 PM   #2
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Two thoughts:

1) Have you tried a slightly lower speed? If you're throwing the stir-bar, you might just be going a bit too fast. You don't need to create a vortex, just a slight dimple. The goal is simply to keep the yeast moving and the CO2 degassing.

2) Perhaps your stir-bar isn't magnetized, and thus it's not getting a good match with the magnets on the stirrer. There are two poles on a magnet, try switching it around the other direction to see if you can get a better match.

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Old 12-11-2009, 11:54 PM   #3
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Is the bottom of your container perfectly smooth? (no dimples, ridges, convex/concave areas etc?)

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Old 12-12-2009, 01:48 PM   #4
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Hi,

If that's a StirStarter stir plate, and I believe it is, since Rebel Brewer in one of the online retailers that sells my gear, it's guaranteed! I will ship you another stir plate if you will PM with a shipping address.

I apologize for the inconvenience, I test every one before I ship. Yours must have got bumped around in shipping.

Regards,

Dan Jeska

www.stirstarters.com

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Old 12-12-2009, 03:07 PM   #5
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Turn the SiirStarter (SS) power down completely. Swirl the flask counterclockwise until you get the starter moving around a bit. Hold the flask over the StirStarter about 1/2 - 1/4" inch and move it north-south-east-west over the SS until you hear the magnet "clink". The magnet has set and you are ready to place the flask down on the SS. Slowly (I mean slowly) turn up the power clockwise - you will hear the magnet begin to spin. Gradually turn up the power or else you will throw the magnet. Works for me every time without any problem. Montanaandy

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Old 12-12-2009, 03:12 PM   #6
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BTW - don't expect to see much if any of a vortex as the starter thickens over time. You will see a small bump up of krausen in the middle but that is about it. Just listen for the magnet. You will also have to repeat the process outlined in the prior post every few hours (just as I am typing this I heard my magnet get thrown - need to turn it down a bit eh?). Montanaandy

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Old 12-12-2009, 10:30 PM   #7
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I haven't had any problems with mine getting thrown once I get it set. Just make sure the flask and the base are level. Get the stir bar line up with the magnets in the base and turn it up slowly as everyone said. If you are dealing with chunky stuff then you probably won’t be able to go full speed.

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Old 12-13-2009, 08:47 AM   #8
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I have the Stirstarter one too and cannot use it turned up all the way. For me, if I turn it up past about 3/4 of the way, it throws the bar out of the center too. But if I turn it up only to around 3/4, it works great.

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Old 12-14-2009, 03:56 PM   #9
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Thanks so much for the responses. Everything was quite level. It IS a very chunky yeast--anyone ever used WL0037 Yorkshire square?--I've never seen one so flocculent before. But the starter was only in a 1000 ml erlenmeyer, and had hardly been in very long. (Plus, I even lost a little from the tube when it fizzed more than usual when I opened it.) The starter I pitched took off a little slow, but not TOO slow, so the beer is fine.

Yes, I can't turn the stir plate all the way up and keep the little stirbar on... but I never did turn it all the way up, as I said in the OP. It got thrown originally when it was probably a bit less than 50% power. So, I can't seem to turn it halfway up, or even a quarter of the way up, either. I did somehow get it restarted at maybe 10% power, just barely moving. Basically, I had to turn it just enough to get rotation and then stop. Any faster, and it would throw the bar.

The stir bar didn't set itself strongly to begin with, unfortunately, even when I very carefully hovered the flask just above the stir plate to try to get attraction. For that reason, I wonder if it's a problem with one of the magnets? It could be either the small stirrer or the stir plate, but I only have one of each, so I'm not sure how to test that. After I pitched, I put the stir bar directly on the stir plate, and I could get it to stick--barely. It hardly seemed to have any attraction, even directly on the plate without the obstruction of the flask bottom and the interference of the yeast starter. I could set it within about a half-inch of the "sweet spot" and it sometimes didn't move to the center, even with no chunkies to get in the way. So...after fiddling with it a bit, my guess is that one or other of the magnets is the problem. I wish I had purchased a second mini stir bar so I could check to see which one!

Dan, thank you very much for your offer. I'd hate to send the whole plate to you, though, only to have it be a problem with the stir bar. Do you have any advice for checking that safely? (I don't want to throw a magnet on the plate and wrench something loose in any misguided attempts to check the magnet!)

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Old 12-14-2009, 04:30 PM   #10
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Llysse,

Yes, you can remove the four cover screws and check to make sure the two drive magnets are still seated properly. They should look the photo on the "Do It Yourself" page of my website www.stirstarters.com

Stir bars usually don't go bad, so it's probably something inside the stir plate itself.

PM me your shipping address and I will get a replacement unit out to you right away if that's the way you choose to proceed. It won't cost anything to ship the damaged unit back, I'll include a prepaid shipping label for you to attach to the returned package.

Dan

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