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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Soda Making > Dedicated Sping Water Soda Water Machine Build
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Old 02-16-2013, 07:29 PM   #1
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Default Dedicated Sping Water Soda Water Machine Build

Long story how I got into this.

It started with my health and needing to reduce sugar intake. I stopped drinking all sugared drinks including fruit juices. In doing so, I developed a taste for drinking just plain soda water. My wife developed the taste for it as well.

I live in San Angelo, Tx and the city water quality here just plain sucks. I have well water but have to have a softener on it that adds sodium. I don't want the sodium and don't want to drink reverse osmosis filtered water either so we've been drinking Ozarka Spring water we get at Sams ever since we moved here. The 2 1/2 gallon jugs are as large as we can get here. Can't get the 5 gallon jugs delivered.

Anyway, last year I bought a CO2 bottle and started making the soda water in 2 liter bottles with the shaking method. I'm very tired of doing that and my wife wouldn't help. She would drink what I made and leave the bottle empty.

So, that led me to research a way to construct an automatic dispenser. I really couldn't find anyone that had ever designed anything that met everything I wanted out of a system. So, I designed my own. I'm thinking that I may be the only one that has done a system like this. At least, there's nothing like this I could find on the Internet. I thought this forum would really be a good place to share what I did. It just seems there would be people out there that would want a system like this.

I got it going yesterday. It is working fantastic. I started out buying a scratch and dent (but new) refrigerator/freezer and put it in the garage. I bought a McCann carbonator and separated the motor and tank from the assembly and put the tank in the fridge and the motor behind the wall (directly behind the fridge that is under a stairwell).

On the carbonator stand where the tank was mounted, I mounted a ShurFlo pressure pump that pressurizes a small bladder type pressure tank that sits in the fridge. The pressure pump sucks the water out of a 6 gallon tank that sits at the very bottom of the fridge. This pressure tank also connects to the inlet side of the carbonator at the motor.

In the fridge, I can store up to six 2 1/2 gallon bottles of the Ozarka spring water and fill the 6 gallon tank as needed. My wife is liking the idea of the extra freezer space with this too. Plus there will be a little room on the door shelves for some other things.

I mounted a soda dispenser through the side of the fridge that's close to the door from the garage to the house.

Here's photos:

















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Old 02-18-2013, 03:05 PM   #2
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Very nice

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Old 03-20-2013, 01:59 PM   #3
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That is some A+ home engineering there. How hard do you think it would be to rig a setup like that with multiple outstreams for syrups?

Very impressive.

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Old 03-20-2013, 03:51 PM   #4
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That is some A+ home engineering there. How hard do you think it would be to rig a setup like that with multiple outstreams for syrups?
Very impressive.
Thanks!
It's still working great and we are enjoying the heck out of it.

I don't think it would be hard at all to adapt it to add soda w/ syrup. However, I don't think it would be practical. I looked into the cost of buying Coke syrup (diet in my case).
You pay more for the boxes of syrup than you can buy the soda in 2 or 3 liter bottles at grocery store.

Mostly, I drink the soda water plain. My wife puts in a few drops of lemon or lime juice concentrate sometimes.
Putting in a cap full of lemon and a couple of packets of Equal makes it taste like diet 7up and it's still sugar-free.

Btw, I'm now a big believer in the new information that's coming out about sugar being a toxin. My cholesterol and triglycerides are dramatically lower than they were.
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:57 PM   #5
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Cool project but wouldn't putting the water in a soda keg and putting co2 pressure on it do the same thing or is there something else in "soda water" besides your water of choice and co2?

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Old 03-24-2013, 05:33 AM   #6
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...wouldn't putting the water in a soda keg and putting co2 pressure on it do the same thing?...
Yes, it can be done that way but uses more CO2.
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Old 04-25-2013, 05:55 PM   #7
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You're right that nobody else had done this! I have been trying to create a setup like this for quite some time. I've been trying to do it with a corny keg, but I hate all the problems with line balancing, reducing it for serving pressure, waiting for it to carbonate....
I've never heard of this McCann carbonator before. What is that Water Works tank? Can you give sort of a play by play of how all that stuff is working together? I'm really interested but I don't think I understand what all is going on.

PS, I'm actually working on an electronic arduino based system that will pump soda syrup into your glass from a touch screen (or your phone over wifi if you don't want to purchase a dedicated tablet/computer). The "generic" bag in box syrups from sam's club are great and very reasonably priced! You can get most in 1 gallon boxes for about $15. http://www.samsclub.com/sams/lemon-l...navAction=push

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Old 04-25-2013, 06:23 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by sarink View Post
You're right that nobody else had done this! I have been trying to create a setup like this for quite some time. I've been trying to do it with a corny keg, but I hate all the problems with line balancing, reducing it for serving pressure, waiting for it to carbonate....
I've never heard of this McCann carbonator before. What is that Water Works tank? Can you give sort of a play by play of how all that stuff is working together? I'm really interested but I don't think I understand what all is going on...
This system is working like a dream! I absolutely love it. My wife does too. Friends and family have been pretty amazed as well.

The blue tank is a 2 gallon pressure tank. It is required when you use a pump for water out of a holding tank like my setup does. The water has to be pressured to the input side of the carbonator motor.

http://www.amazon.com/WaterWorker-HT...+pressure+tank

Without a pressure tank, the pressure pump would cycle on-off-on-off many, many times whenever the carbonator pump would run. That would lead to a quick failure of the pressure pump. With the 2 gallon pressure tank, there is a pressure reserve so the pressure pump only runs about 20 seconds or so when the carbonator pump runs. Does that make sense? I'd say the carbonator kicks on about every 5th or 6th 12 to 16 oz. drinking cup of soda water I fill. The pressure pump kicks on and runs every time the carbonator motor does but starts a few seconds afterwards. The carbonator motor will run about 20 seconds also so it kicks off first and the pressure pump kicks off a few seconds later.

Are you going to use a reserve tank with bottled water like I do or are you intending to hook up to a house water line? If it's the latter, you will need to do things a little differently than I did. I couldn't be happier with the way my system all works together. I you need part numbers, let me know.

Btw, I got my McCann carbonator on ebay. It was new and never used. He bought it for a for a project, stored it for a few years and changed his mind. I got a good deal on it for $238 delivered.
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Old 04-25-2013, 07:09 PM   #9
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What kind of motor is the mccann? How loud is it? Do you think the entire setup be fit into a mini fridge? Instead of a pressure tank, could you use a corny keg? Or, what about a pump that eliminates cycling like this one http://www.remcoindustries.com/Corpo...=3900.php&c=28 (i built that website, btw )

Yeah I'd like to use a reservoir tank, not hook into the water line. I want the system to be stand alone. I've already got everything in place and working for getting the soda syrup into your glass. For the soda water however, ideally I would like to just fill a tank up with water whenever it gets low, and have everything else completely automated. Hit a button, get soda. I don't want to have to do any other work such as carbonating the keg, waiting 48 hours, adjusting/monitoring pressure.... etc.

How does a McCann Carbonator work? For some reason I can't find any info/explanation online, all I get are distributors selling them

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Old 04-25-2013, 10:06 PM   #10
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Don't know about the corny keg. Never looked at them. The pressure tank is designed for this sort of use though. It has a bladder inside that you adjust the pressure in according to the pump pressure. If you use a tank without a bladder, the air in it will dissolve in the water after a while and it wont do it's job anymore. They are pretty small and cheap anyway.

I'm thinking that you could eliminate the pressure tank with a bypass type pump as long as it isn't a bypass-only type. I looked at that when designing my system but made an assumption that it wouldn't be quite as efficient as using a regular type pump and a pressure tank. However, that may be insignificant I don't know. I'm not an expert on this stuff. When I first got my system going, I crossed my fingers that it would work like I thought. It was part of the fun though.

That pump you linked to wont work however. The pressure is too high and you obviously want a 120V pump not a 12V. The carbonator can't take a water intake pressure greater than the CO2 pressure. I'd say it would be better to have the incoming pressure no more than 70 psi. My inlet pressure is 45 psi and I put 25 psi in the bladder of the pressure tank. I've got my CO2 pressure set on 90 psi and it's all perfect. You adjust the CO2 pressure up and down to suit the amount of carbonation you like. Mine is on the bubbly side at 90 psi.

I would not recommend putting the carbonator's electric motor or the pressure pump inside a refrigerator. You could do it but I don't think it's a good idea. Electric motors generate heat that the fridge would have to work harder with but the bigger concern would be some sort of leak or condensation getting them wet. The water supply tank, carbonator tank and pressure tank have to be in the refrigerator since the water coming out of the dispenser has to be cold. These type of carbonators are designed to be used with a cold plate in the bottom of a soda machine ice bin. They cool outgoing soda water as it gets dispensed. If the water isn't cold, it goes flat as it comes out.

The motor that comes with the McCann carbonator is a standard type of 1/3 HP electric motor with their proprietary pump mounted to the front of it. I believe all it does is pressurize and agitate the water and CO2 mixture within it's tank. There's a sensor mounted in the tank that tells the motor when and how long to run.

This is the pressure pump I am using:

http://legacy.shurflo.com/pages/new_...8-594-154.html

I didn't know if the 3.3 gpm would be good or not when I chose it but it turned out to be perfect. I don't know what the HP is but the motor is smaller than the McCann motor so I'm sure it's less.

Both motors make about the same amount of noise. Of course where I have my setup (in the garage), it makes no difference.
They are not real loud but I wouldn't want them out in the open in a bar area, kitchen or media room. They are louder than a fridge or freezer. Probably more on the order of a washer or dryer. You could put the 2 motors in an insulated box of some type to keep the noise down. They don't run long though so I think that would work fine.

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