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Old 02-12-2010, 06:15 PM   #1
DilvishTheDamned
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Default Proposed Hybrid Chiller Design

Got an idea for a hybrid chiller, and I'm wondering if anybody can spot the flaws.

Basically my idea is to put the copper coils in a 4-5 gallon bucket. The bucket is then filled with ice and water, and the hot wort run through the inside of the copper coils like a counter flow wort chiller. There's a hole at the bottom of the bucket to allow copper coil to drain out using gravity.

Pros:
* Allows use of ice
* Saves on water bills
* Allows me to convert my immersion wort chiller simpler, basically just one bend, instead of going through all the trouble of straightening it out, inserting it into the hose.
* Requires much fewer fittings, maybe one for running the coil out the bottom of the bucket.

Cons:
* Water will be heated by the water (This could be fixed by dumping the water)
???

I'm not even sure that keeping the water is a bad thing, since it's going to be around 40-50 degrees, which is always going to be colder than the hot wort.

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Old 02-12-2010, 06:25 PM   #2
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Drawing:

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Old 02-12-2010, 06:27 PM   #3
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The only problem I can see is the amount of ice you'd need. To cool a boiling wort to 68 degrees would require about 40-45 pounds of ice. You would have to find a way to drain out the water as it got warm and keep adding ice as it melted.

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Old 02-12-2010, 06:29 PM   #4
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This is essentially a counterflow chiller, without the counterflow.

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Old 02-12-2010, 06:42 PM   #5
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I used something similar to this design but did have a water exchange - in at the bottom out at the top. It worked ok. I then took half of 25 of the 50 feet of copper and made a real CTF and it takes less than half of the time and less water to chill my beer. I have made both and the Bobby's CTF is just as easy if not easier. I didn't solder mine but it still works great.

I borrowed the idea from www.zymico.com "El-Cheapo Chiller" - I just checked and that site is down now sorry

Good luck.

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Old 02-12-2010, 06:42 PM   #6
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What I plan to do when I have my chiller built is to use a small pump I already have. Place the pump in a 5-6 gallon bucket filled with water and LOTSA ice. Pump the water into the chiller; output of chiller goes back to the bucket. If more ice is needed, dump it into the bucket, but be careful not to overfill it. I bought this pump about a year ago from Northern Tool for less than $40.00.

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Old 02-12-2010, 06:45 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weirdboy View Post
This is essentially a counterflow chiller, without the counterflow.
Well... not exactly. There is no counter flow, which would make things interesting I suspect. IMHO, that's a rather large difference, which may or may not cause problems. The big question is how hot the water is going to get from the hot wort flowing in. If it gets too hot then it might make sense to go to a full counter flow chiller.

Yooper - You might be right. My plan is to just add all the ice in the ice bucket and then fill the rest with cold water from the tap. I think this will probably give me an initial average temp of 40-50 degrees starting out. It's been my experience with the icy baths that I've added kettles to in the past that they don't heat up that quickly due to the large thermal mass the water represents.

The good news is that this is pretty cheap to try, since I've already got everything I need, and if it doesn't work I can go to a counter flow chiller.
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:46 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BillyBeer View Post
I used something similar to this design but did have a water exchange - in at the bottom out at the top. It worked ok. I then took half of 25 of the 50 feet of copper and made a real CTF and it takes less than half of the time and less water to chill my beer. I have made both and the Bobby's CTF is just as easy if not easier. I didn't solder mine but it still works great.

I borrowed the idea from www.zymico.com "El-Cheapo Chiller" - I just checked and that site is down now sorry

Good luck.
Okay, I think that answers that question, all the water flowing through really is critical to the success of the chiller.
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Old 02-12-2010, 06:47 PM   #9
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If you have a chest freezer or other large freezer, you could put water in the bucket and freeze it around the coils. Encasing it in ice. Then as the hot wort runs through the coils, it would melt the ice. You could then just put the bucket back in the freezer to freeze the water again.

Of course, I don't know how efficient the ice block would be once the wort starts to flow and there is a water insulation layer between the coil and the ice.

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Old 02-12-2010, 06:51 PM   #10
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I liked the idea at first, but the more I think about it, the less I'm sold on it.

The big problem I see is that the amount of thermal mass of 4-5 gallons of water isn't very large. Take up the area with the chiller, and you probably really have 3 gallons of cold water in there.

5 gallons isn't that much thermal mass. Say that you have 3 gallons of water at 32F, and 5 gallons of hot water at 212F. Just think about that logically. There's a 180 degree difference between the two, and the hotter has twice the volume. I'd be surprised if you got below 120F. You'll probably go through the same amount of water as an immersion chiller, if not more.

With an immersion chiller, you're typically running quite a bit more than 5 gallons through. Same with a counterflow. This is why they work; they just keep supplying cold water until the temp is right. Brute force.

Now if you were running more water into the bucket all the time, it would be similar to an immersion with pump, but worse since you can't control water temp as easy.

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