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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > All Grain & Partial Mash Brewing > Barley Crusher spinning after one use
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Old 05-07-2012, 07:21 PM   #1
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Default Barley Crusher spinning after one use

Hello all,
I searched for info on this but all the other similar sounding problems seem to be after hundreds of pounds of grain have been put through the BC.

I rec'd a BC about 6 weeks ago. I bought 10 lbs of malt (half pilsner and half wheat) for a German hefe and got an extra pound of pils malt for adjusting my gap and my crush.

The BC was shipped with the lines not lined up for the default 0.039 gap and it also was visibly not parallel. So I set to adjusting my gap with feeler gauges and got it correctly set to 0.039 on both sides of the roller. Interestingly, on one side, the marks lined up at 12:00 and on the other it was more like 1:00 to get the correct gap. I put my pound of pils malt through it with a drill and admired my work. I read a little more about people's gap preferences and put it aside.

I had been really busy the past few weeks with no chance to brew, so it wasn't until yesterday that I went to use it. I was not sure what I had left the gap at after 3-4 weeks of not thinking about it so I went to adjust my gap to 0.039 again and noticed that it was again out of parallel. I readjusted it to 0.039 and went to mill my grain bill (I mixed the wheat and pilsner malt all in together - was that stupid?) About 1/8 pound got crushed
and then it was obvious that the thing was just spinning without crushing anything. So I dumped the grain out of the hopper, cleared the few kernels that were in the gap, rechecked the gap, and it was off again. I think that time I wasn't sure how tightly I had gotten the set screws, so after repeating the whole process (milling/failing/dumping) I was careful to get the set screws really tight. That still didn't solve it.

Long story short, I never got to mash in because I never got my grain milled. I've read plenty of reports about people having this problem but it always seems that they are gummed up with tons of crap after milling hundreds of pounds of grain.

Wondering if:
A) ..there are others who have had this on a new mill
B) ..there's anything I may have done in my gap setting to eff it up. It seems pretty foolproof but you never know.
C) ..is there any chance I will screw it up further by disassembling as others have done here
D) ..if replacing the set screws with new ones might be able to hold the settings better.

I know others have talked about conditioning their grain improving their crush but I want to start simple at first and I don't think conditioning should be a prerequisite to get out of the gate.

Looking for any and all advice, I gotta brew and I don't want to take the grain back into LHBS, because then I'm still no closer to getting my system and my numbers dialed in.

Thanks y'all!

Todd

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Old 05-07-2012, 07:28 PM   #2
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If everything looks fine on the outside then it sounds like opening it up would be the only way to see if anything is really messed up in there. Before you do that I would contact BC with your problem and see what they recommend you do. I don't know their policies as far as self maintenance and their warranty are concerned so before you screw yourself over by taking it apart try sending them an email.

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Old 05-07-2012, 07:34 PM   #3
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agreed, contact BC and see if they can assist.

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Old 05-07-2012, 07:42 PM   #4
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Mine does that when the rollers need cleaning. Take a wire brush to them and see if that helps.

The rollers my have had oil or moisture on them causing the flour to stick.

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Old 05-07-2012, 07:55 PM   #5
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Ok, I emailed the Barley Crusher people with the above info.

@ShakerD - this mill has had less than 2 pounds of malt put through it. Do you really think build-up is the issue? (I know you're trying to help)

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Old 05-07-2012, 08:14 PM   #6
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Make sure your drill was spinning the right way.

Thought my BC was FUBAR'd once, but stupid me had the drill in counter-clockwise mode. All the grain fell through the rollers just fine, but not crushed.

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Old 05-07-2012, 08:31 PM   #7
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Yeah, I checked that. Thanks

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Kegged: Ten Downing ESB, Grizzly Grundle Pale Ale Remux, Eldred Rock Light Northern German Altbier, Unnamed Kölsch.
Bottled: Brooke's Bliss Irish Stout
Primary:
Secondary: Who does that?
On Deck: German Pilsner

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Old 09-25-2012, 11:43 AM   #8
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I had this issue at my first attempt y-day. I believe it failed due to wrong gap adjustment. I tried to rotate the free roller by hand and i find it difficult to give it a full rotation. I readjusted the gap and it turns pretty easy now but i haven't fount the time to crush just yet.

By the way did you have any respond from BC stuff?



Update: Yeap that was it. For some reason gap does not adjusted linear and one has to be very carefully on even gap. The three points method (the one that you measure the gap with feeler at three points) is good but it returns only a number. The gap number. That doesn't necessarily means that cams are aligned. My advise is to find a gap that suits you and then fine tune it to the point that the roller turns smoothly by hand.

Now i believe that a two stage crush will benefit mill durability and mash efficiency with a small price of time. It wont double the crush time though. With BC two stage crush is an adventure itself so a tweak in adjustment knobs will be good. I imagine that something like CS crossbar to the knobs wouldn't be difficult to do.

Another tweak i'm on to is the replacement of the holding screws with threaded rods and nuts. This will prevent the loose of the knob grip on both sides. As far as i concerns this screws it is important in my opinion to have the less possible vibration from the drill so it must be fully aligned with the roller shaft

I am a bit disappointed with BC design and quality but except my old flake mill (Marga mill) i haven't tried anything else.

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Old 09-28-2012, 06:50 PM   #9
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The BC people were fine. They said to send it back and they'd repair it. I never did, because of the following:

I determined that my gap was too narrow for the grain - it just wasn't going through at all. I widened it to 0.051" and it is perfect. I've used it probably a dozen times since then, no problems at all.

I'm very happy with it.

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Kegged: Ten Downing ESB, Grizzly Grundle Pale Ale Remux, Eldred Rock Light Northern German Altbier, Unnamed Kölsch.
Bottled: Brooke's Bliss Irish Stout
Primary:
Secondary: Who does that?
On Deck: German Pilsner

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Old 09-29-2012, 04:08 AM   #10
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make sure your drill or motor is spinning before adding grain, if you add the grain then turn it on the passive roller stalling will happen.

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