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Boil kettle condenser - no overhead ventilation needed

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Bobby_M

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I have been getting a ton of questions about adapting the Slayer to the Anvil Foundry and I've been answering them one by one without keeping any reference material. I finally took a picture of one solution that doesn't require any drilling or welding. Weldless 1.5" TC, Elbow, Spool, Slayer.

 

Tommydee

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Have been off HBT a while, just checking in about 20 batches and 18 months with a 1.5" 9gph beta steam slayer from @Bobby_M , and very happy. I've been creeping up to 35% on my 5 gallon batches, 38% on my 9 gallon max batches. (5500 W ripple from brewhardware) Thanks to @BrunDog for sharing the concept. I'm BIAB, so I cap the port during mash on my max batches, which have my level near the rim, but when I pull the bag, I'm just under th port at 11-12 gallons. Slap on the slayer, and good to go. I've managed a few medals on fickle styles, so no need to worry on the DMS front, but I do keep to 90 minute boils on pilsner malt recipes.

I've been slowly creeping up the boil power from low 30's to near 40, I just like the boil rate closer to 1 gph, but I've been noticing some head retention loss lately....catching up on posts, I think I'm gonna drop back down to 30, adjust my boil off rate, and see if that helps.
 
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Curious if anyone has the spike condenser with pump. My understanding is that pump is 6 psi. It seems this pressure would be inadequate To fully atomize condensing liquid for efficient conversion, but it’s likely a particular nozzle. Any pics or experience?
 

IanMC

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Curious if anyone has the spike condenser with pump. My understanding is that pump is 6 psi. It seems this pressure would be inadequate To fully atomize condensing liquid for efficient conversion, but it’s likely a particular nozzle. Any pics or experience?
I just got mine yesterday and haven't had a chance to test it yet, so I can't confirm how well it works first hand, but the reviews I've seen so far are very positive and suggest that it's definitely getting the job done. Also, the nozzle can be swapped for another one if you wish, as it has a standard 1/4" NPT thread.
PXL_20200911_212901161.MP_copy_756x1008.jpg


Also, I will measure the output pressure on the pump as soon as I can, but the posted specs definitely state 6 PSI. I imagine it's a custom nozzle that's made to work with the lower pressure.
 

IanMC

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So I tried my Spike condenser lid today, and I have a few questions. Before turning on the spray water, the temperature was at 209*F, which is boiling temp at my elevation. After turning it on, it dropped to 199*F and stabilized there, without changing the heat input level. The effluent water was quite hot at first, and then dropped down to around 91*F. The fact that the temperature dropped so much in the kettle is a bit concerning, but maybe it's just an effect of the local pressure in the kettle dropping due to the condenser vacuum being created, which dropped the boiling point of the water inside the kettle. I'm not sure what the expected partial vacuum should be, but online calculators show that 199*F is boiling point at around 7000 ft (I'm at 1500). The difference in atmosphere pressure is around 2.6 PSI.

Is this expected behavior? Do other people experience the same temperature drop? Thanks!
 
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Something doesn’t sound right. Ideally, the net effluent is just below boiling temp. That means just the right amount of spray water volume is being used (just enough to cause a phase change). In practice, perfect atomization and conversion won’t happen, but you should get an effluent around ~170 degrees. If it’s much lower, it means either the spray atomization is poor or there is the spray volume rate is more than needed. There is no downside to the latter one of these other than you will waste more water than needed, and if draining into a bucket, will need to change it more often.

A gentle vacuum will occur, but 2.5 psi seems like a lot.If the lid sealed, with the pressure, you wouldn’t be able to lift the lid off unless you could crack it enough to equalize the pressure.
 

IanMC

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Something doesn’t sound right. Ideally, the net effluent is just below boiling temp. That means just the right amount of spray water volume is being used (just enough to cause a phase change). In practice, perfect atomization and conversion won’t happen, but you should get an effluent around ~170 degrees. If it’s much lower, it means either the spray atomization is poor or there is the spray volume rate is more than needed. There is no downside to the latter one of these other than you will waste more water than needed, and if draining into a bucket, will need to change it more often.

A gentle vacuum will occur, but 2.5 psi seems like a lot.If the lid sealed, with the pressure, you wouldn’t be able to lift the lid off unless you could crack it enough to equalize the pressure.
Huh.... Well I don't know what to say. Maybe water is dripping in through the lateral arm and lowering the temperature? It doesn't look like that, but it's hard to judge. I asked Spike for advice, so hopefully I'll get something straight from the source soon. In the meantime, though, when you say '"atomization", are you actually getting like a high-pressure fine atomized must? Mine is definitely not fine, which seems to tie in a lot with the question you asked a few posts ago about the Spike nozzle. Then again, the reviews for this product are good, so clearly it works.
 
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matt_m

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One of the prototype reviewers had that happen. IIRC the arm should have a slight downward slope and they discovered his review unit was straight.
 

Bobby_M

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One of the prototype reviewers had that happen. IIRC the arm should have a slight downward slope and they discovered his review unit was straight.
Unfortunately that is really a design flaw. The tip of the sprayer should be low enough to avoid the horizontal port. With that much vertical real estate, there was no reason for the sprayer to be up that high.
 

Rob2010SS

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So I got the spike condenser lid as well and used it once so far. I did not run into the issue of the temp in the boil kettle dropping at all. Mine typically settles around 209 - 210 for a nice rolling boil and it was still there with the condenser lid.

The condensate that was draining out was not super hot. I could put my arm in that water and not get burned. It was warm but not hot. From other points made above, I think it's just that it uses more water than is necessary. I think I went through about 18 gallons of water. I did not track it accurately, that's just an estimate.
 

IanMC

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Thanks for the feedback. It is good to hear other people's experiences, and how this doesn't line up with them. I'm not sure what to think now... The lateral arm does indeed have a downward slope, and it seems unlikely that water would be spraying up into it. But then again.... what else could be causing this? In Larry from BEER-N-BBQ's review of the prototype unit, he didn't claim that his boil temp dropped, even though he definitely had water leaking in from the sprayer. Then again, I'm on a possibly underpowered induction plate, so maybe I just don't have enough heat output to overcome that.
 

Spartan1979

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Thanks for the feedback. It is good to hear other people's experiences, and how this doesn't line up with them. I'm not sure what to think now... The lateral arm does indeed have a downward slope, and it seems unlikely that water would be spraying up into it. But then again.... what else could be causing this? In Larry from BEER-N-BBQ's review of the prototype unit, he didn't claim that his boil temp dropped, even though he definitely had water leaking in from the sprayer. Then again, I'm on a possibly underpowered induction plate, so maybe I just don't have enough heat output to overcome that.
Do you have the lid on while getting to boil? If not, once you add the lid, you should be able to reduce power, so being underpowered shouldn't matter.
 

Cool_Hand_Luke

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Thanks for the feedback. It is good to hear other people's experiences, and how this doesn't line up with them. I'm not sure what to think now... The lateral arm does indeed have a downward slope, and it seems unlikely that water would be spraying up into it. But then again.... what else could be causing this? In Larry from BEER-N-BBQ's review of the prototype unit, he didn't claim that his boil temp dropped, even though he definitely had water leaking in from the sprayer. Then again, I'm on a possibly underpowered induction plate, so maybe I just don't have enough heat output to overcome that.
Another question. Are you sure you were still actually boiling? Did you see a drop in volume between pre-boil and post-boil? If not, or you saw an increase that might shed some light on if it was spraying back into the kettle.
 

IanMC

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Do you have the lid on while getting to boil? If not, once you add the lid, you should be able to reduce power, so being underpowered shouldn't matter.
Good points. I had the lid on the entire time, pre-boil and during. I've used this induction plate for brews in the past before I got the condenser lid, so I know it can handle it, even with the lid off. I was just thinking that the addition of cold influent water might have been overpowering it.
 

IanMC

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Another question. Are you sure you were still actually boiling? Did you see a drop in volume between pre-boil and post-boil? If not, or you saw an increase that might shed some light on if it was spraying back into the kettle.
This is a good question. I will need to do another test to confirm the volumes. Thanks!
 
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Unfortunately that is really a design flaw. The tip of the sprayer should be low enough to avoid the horizontal port. With that much vertical real estate, there was no reason for the sprayer to be up that high.
And for that matter, I'm unsure why they included so much straight tube below the port... seems like a waste of stainless and adds unnecessary weight.
 

IanMC

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Okay... I'm stumped, and am looking for help. I've made a video documenting this behavior, which I think may be helpful to look at. It's only 1 minute and 47 seconds, with some sped-up parts to show the passing of time. You can find it at
, and will see the following:

1) An overview of the setup, showing the steam condenser on the kettle and all ports closed. The induction cooktop is on, cold influent water is in a bucket with the pump, the temperature is reading at 209*F, and steam is emitting from the kettle, showing that it is boiling.
2) I turn on the pump and start showing the temperature drop over time. The effluent is initially quite hot. This section is sped up, and shows the temperature drop down to 205*F, with some minor fluctuations around this number.
3) The effluent is now lukewarm, and the boil seems to have stopped. I turn off the pump, and then begin recording the temperature rise again.
4) The temperature rises to 209*F. This section is also sped up. Steam is emitting from the kettle again, showing that the boil has been regained.

Please note that the heat input level is consistent throughout. The only variable changing is the pump on the steam condenser being turned on. I've tried this at different power levels and other heat sources, and have confirmed that the heat input level does determine the resting temperature with the pump on. Theoretically, with a stronger heat source, I could overcome the temp. drop and keep it at 209*F even with the pump on. However, this doesn't seem like the intended behavior. From what I'm hearing from others, they do not see any temperature drop with their steam condenser on.

Finally, I confirmed that influent water is not leaking through the lateral arm of the condenser attachment. I did this by detaching it from the lid and turning it in air at all angles, trying to get water to drop out of the attachment. It would not, even at extreme angles, so I am confident that this is not what's happening - unless there's some kind of effect which is causing a vacuum inside the kettle and sucking water in, but to my understanding, the vacuum is just under the spray nozzle where the steam is condensing.

Any ideas? I feel like I've exhausted all of my leads so far, and am starting to get a bit disheartened :(

Thanks,
Ian
 

AntoineLeclair

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To tripe check that the water is not leaking to the kettle, you could also let it run for a while and compare the final volume with the starting volume. Beer and BBQ Larry on YouTube, when he had the issue with the prototype, he had more water after the boil than before the boil.

In case you missed the video:
 

Brewbuzzard

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I'm going to throw my two cents in. 1. Are you sure the heat on the induction cook top is constant?
2. Does your pump have enough pressure output to deliver the needed gpm to the spray head consistently? 3. Does the spray nozzle produce a good spray pattern?
I noticed steam coming coming from the seal on the lid, this indicates a high pressure instead of a vacuum. I have 27 gal kettles and use the 1.5 inch Steam Slayer from Brew Hardware (Bobby) it uses the 9 gpm spray head and I have 80 psi of water pressure. Also, my lid doesn't fit as well as yours so I use 3 spring clamps to improve the seal. I never see steam coming from the lid/kettle junction. I am not a physicist but I think some how the spray is getting sucked into the kettle and dropping the temperature. It doesn't take much to produce a few degrees drop and wouldn't show a large enough increase in volume to show on a sight glass. If the induction cooktop is not fluctuating I'm suspecting the pump. Maybe it can't handle the back pressure from the spray head.
 
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Well, I suppose this is something Spike needs to address since they "engineered" this solution. It is odd that your boiling is slowing down... If a legit vacuum were being created, the boiling would increase at the same temperature. The condenser generates only the slightest of vacuums, so it isn't really a thing.

I wonder if the pump is drawing some power from your circuit, reducing the power provided by the induction plate? Pumps wouldn't draw much, but if your feed circuit were weak (say, an extension cord), a small voltage drop would occur.
 

Brewbuzzard

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Well, I suppose this is something Spike needs to address since they "engineered" this solution. It is odd that your boiling is slowing down... If a legit vacuum were being created, the boiling would increase at the same temperature. The condenser generates only the slightest of vacuums, so it isn't really a thing.

I wonder if the pump is drawing some power from your circuit, reducing the power provided by the induction plate? Pumps wouldn't draw much, but if your feed circuit were weak (say, an extension cord), a small voltage drop would occur.
A small gage extension cord can cause a significant voltage drop. I experienced this with my 120 vac welder. I made a 10 awg cord and much better performance. I don't know what the current demand is for the induction cooktop but I would assume it is up there.

I'm still interested in the psi of the pump.
 

Rob2010SS

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A small gage extension cord can cause a significant voltage drop. I experienced this with my 120 vac welder. I made a 10 awg cord and much better performance. I don't know what the current demand is for the induction cooktop but I would assume it is up there.

I'm still interested in the psi of the pump.
PSI of the pump, per spike, is 6. See this thread...

Kind of a simple, dumb question for @IanMC but I'm going to ask anyway.

Is the kettle sitting flush? Spike's directions with the lid tell you it must be sitting level otherwise you'll get the back flushing of that water running into the kettle. Have you checked if your kettle is sitting level?
 

IanMC

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Great points and questions. Thank you very much for your help. I will try to answer them below:

1) I've seen the BEER N BBQ video, and while I haven't seen evidence of water coming in through the condenser arm so far, I will do another test tonight where I measure the pre- and post-boil volumes.
2) I believe the heat output of the induction burner is constant. It does not drop below 209*F at any point before turning on the condenser. It is an 1800w unit, which I have plugged in using a 12ga extension cord. Also, the pump is on a separate circuit, and is only rated for "0.6 A max" anyway.
3) Steam does come out around the lid before the condenser is turned on, but once it's on, the steam stops coming out.
4) The pump is 6 PSI. I can't vouch for how effectively it is supplying the spray nozzle or the efficacy of the spray pattern, but I know that these are things that Spike is specifically controlling for by including everything together as a set. In another thread, they stressed the point strongly that the whole setup was assembled and tested to work together to provide the desired results.
5) I didn't measure the kettle with a level, and wouldn't be surprised if it's slightly off, but also I did a test where I tried to get the spray to backwash into the lateral arm of the condenser unit, and couldn't get it to do it. I basically held the condenser tube in my hands with the sprayer attached but the other two ends open, such that it was not connected to the lid but instead free floating in air. I then turned on the water and rotated the condenser around all axes. At no point was I able to get water to come out of the lateral arm.

I did receive an interesting suggestion directly from Spike today, which was that perhaps the steam being sucked out by the condenser is itself causing the temperature to drop, as the induction plate may only be able to achieve boil with the added heat of the entrapped steam. I don't know if I totally buy this yet, as I feel that I have been able to achieve a boil with this induction plate before, even with the lid off. And I also tried this setup on my gas stovetop burner, which puts out a lot more heat, and had the same effect: the temperature dropped. In this case, however, it only dropped 1 degree, which leads me to believe that there is an input heat level that would be able to overcome the temperature dropping effect of the condenser and maintain a boil throughout. But is this really normal or necessary? Is everyone else, who isn't experiencing this, using some big-ass burners or something?
 

Rob2010SS

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Great points and questions. Thank you very much for your help. I will try to answer them below:

1) I've seen the BEER N BBQ video, and while I haven't seen evidence of water coming in through the condenser arm so far, I will do another test tonight where I measure the pre- and post-boil volumes.
2) I believe the heat output of the induction burner is constant. It does not drop below 209*F at any point before turning on the condenser. It is an 1800w unit, which I have plugged in using a 12ga extension cord. Also, the pump is on a separate circuit, and is only rated for "0.6 A max" anyway.
3) Steam does come out around the lid before the condenser is turned on, but once it's on, the steam stops coming out.
4) The pump is 6 PSI. I can't vouch for how effectively it is supplying the spray nozzle or the efficacy of the spray pattern, but I know that these are things that Spike is specifically controlling for by including everything together as a set. In another thread, they stressed the point strongly that the whole setup was assembled and tested to work together to provide the desired results.
5) I didn't measure the kettle with a level, and wouldn't be surprised if it's slightly off, but also I did a test where I tried to get the spray to backwash into the lateral arm of the condenser unit, and couldn't get it to do it. I basically held the condenser tube in my hands with the sprayer attached but the other two ends open, such that it was not connected to the lid but instead free floating in air. I then turned on the water and rotated the condenser around all axes. At no point was I able to get water to come out of the lateral arm.

I did receive an interesting suggestion directly from Spike today, which was that perhaps the steam being sucked out by the condenser is itself causing the temperature to drop, as the induction plate may only be able to achieve boil with the added heat of the entrapped steam. I don't know if I totally buy this yet, as I feel that I have been able to achieve a boil with this induction plate before, even with the lid off. And I also tried this setup on my gas stovetop burner, which puts out a lot more heat, and had the same effect: the temperature dropped. In this case, however, it only dropped 1 degree, which leads me to believe that there is an input heat level that would be able to overcome the temperature dropping effect of the condenser and maintain a boil throughout. But is this really normal or necessary? Is everyone else, who isn't experiencing this, using some big-ass burners or something?
Not at all being argumentative in any way, really just trying to help, but my only comment regarding you not being able to get water to flow back into the kettle is we've already seen that it CAN happen. Beer and BBQ by Larry had it happen and the spike engineers were able to recreate the same effect, according to Larry's video posted above. So it CAN happen and even Spike's instructions warn of it. The fact that you couldn't get it to do it, I'm not sold that's not the problem yet....

Spike's theory would be able to be tested pretty easily - try a boil with no lid at the volumes that you typically boil. If you can boil successfully, I think you debunked it.

In regards to your question, my system uses a 5500w element to boil. There was no sign of reduced temperature at all during the boil with that.
 

IanMC

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Not at all being argumentative in any way, really just trying to help, but my only comment regarding you not being able to get water to flow back into the kettle is we've already seen that it CAN happen. Beer and BBQ by Larry had it happen and the spike engineers were able to recreate the same effect, according to Larry's video posted above. So it CAN happen and even Spike's instructions warn of it. The fact that you couldn't get it to do it, I'm not sold that's not the problem yet....

Spike's theory would be able to be tested pretty easily - try a boil with no lid at the volumes that you typically boil. If you can boil successfully, I think you debunked it.

In regards to your question, my system uses a 5500w element to boil. There was no sign of reduced temperature at all during the boil with that.
No problem at all, I appreciate you helping to investigate my ideas and assumptions. I'm familiar with what happened with Larry, but if I remember right, this was because he had a prototype unit where the angle of the lateral arm on the condenser was not steep enough (something like ~1* vs. 3*). Once he bent it a bit, it worked fine. Perhaps the formulation of my "experiment" to try different angles was flawed. Please let me know if you can see anything wrong in the reasoning, as this is something I don't feel super confident in.

I agree totally about testing Spike's theory. I'm going to do that tonight, and will report back.

Regarding your setup, it's good to know that you are indeed using a much higher-powered heat source. Are you using a Spike steam condenser also, or another one?

Thanks!
 

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Yep, you're right about that with the angle being off so that was definitely a main contributor there. Unfortunately, I'm not smart enough to pick apart the details of your experiment to see if it makes sense or if there's anything wrong in the reasoning, LOL. I'll leave that to the smarter individuals here.

In regards to mine, yes, it's the spike steam condenser. I didn't modify anything and used it as they designed it. I will say that the water coming out of mine is not hot, also. It starts out hot but quickly just becomes very warm. I didn't measure the temperature of it, but I could put my bare arm in there and hold it there indefinitely without any issue. Not sure if that has any importance but figured I'd throw it out there.
 

IanMC

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Yep, you're right about that with the angle being off so that was definitely a main contributor there. Unfortunately, I'm not smart enough to pick apart the details of your experiment to see if it makes sense or if there's anything wrong in the reasoning, LOL. I'll leave that to the smarter individuals here.

In regards to mine, yes, it's the spike steam condenser. I didn't modify anything and used it as they designed it. I will say that the water coming out of mine is not hot, also. It starts out hot but quickly just becomes very warm. I didn't measure the temperature of it, but I could put my bare arm in there and hold it there indefinitely without any issue. Not sure if that has any importance but figured I'd throw it out there.
Thanks, yes I have the same experience with the temperature of the water coming out. Not sure exactly what to think there, but I've read from other people in here that it should be quite hot unless the sprayer is putting out more water than strictly necessary for condensing, which is what we seem to have with the Spike nozzle.
 

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It's hard to tell if you have any steam coming out of the lid when the condenser is operating - since you don't really show any video of the lid when the condenser is running.
But.....you shouldn't see any steam coming out of the lid when the condenser is on. If you do see steam coming out anywhere up-top, you don't have a vacuum pulling steam out of the kettle. The only place you should see steam is out of the condenser output tube into the bucket.

I question if your water pressure is high enough into the sprayer nozzle. In my homemade condenser, I can just disassemble it and watch the spray pattern to ensure it's high enough pressure. Can you do the same with your setup? I hook up household water to the condenser, which is probably in the 40psi range (but I do throttle it down some). I'd think you would need more than 6psi feeding the spray nozzle.
 

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It's hard to tell if you have any steam coming out of the lid when the condenser is operating - since you don't really show any video of the lid when the condenser is running.
But.....you shouldn't see any steam coming out of the lid when the condenser is on. If you do see steam coming out anywhere up-top, you don't have a vacuum pulling steam out of the kettle. The only place you should see steam is out of the condenser output tube into the bucket.

I question if your water pressure is high enough into the sprayer nozzle. In my homemade condenser, I can just disassemble it and watch the spray pattern to ensure it's high enough pressure. Can you do the same with your setup? I hook up household water to the condenser, which is probably in the 40psi range (but I do throttle it down some). I'd think you would need more than 6psi feeding the spray nozzle.
You don't need more that 6psi. I'm using the same product and works just fine. Spike compensated for the 6psi by using a more aggressive spray nozzle, for lack of a better term. That's discussed by Spike in the thread I linked above.
 
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Lots of posts, so here are my random musings:

1. I remain skeptical that 6 psi can truly atomize water. It may create a spray, but mixing and surface area are the name of the game. 40+ psi will give you fine droplets with an appropriate nozzle... Atomization is all about pressure differentials, so I'm just not sure about 6 psi being adequate - but I'm willing to be proven wrong.

2. You don't need to assess changes in boil volume - that is a long road. Just put the condenser lid flat on a surface (or slighty canted downhill) and turn it on. If any water falls below the center of the lid, then there is a problem as the spray nozzle is ejecting water back toward the lid.

3. @IanMC... does the temperature all when you remove the lid completely? It should, since a great deal of heat is leaving the vessel when open. With the lid on, all that heat is trapped. When the condenser is on, some of the heat is removed... so yes, if your power input is low (1800W is barely enough), then this will happen organically. I don't think I realized how little your available power input was, so this is likely the problem. From experience, for relative example, an open 15 gallon kettle needs 72% power when open and 30% power when sealed with an operating condenser. That is a BIG difference. I don't know the power required to maintain the boil when sealed with no operating condenser, but given the ~40% swing above, it is likely on the order or 15% or more.
 

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I am not sure how this system works. Is the 6 PSI the pressure on the high side of the pump, or is 6 psi the vacuum in the boiling kettle? If it is the vacuum level, then you should be boiling at 12F lower temp than before (2F per psi change). It could be that you are getting a good seal, and drawing a vacuum, while others don't get the same seal, and have a much lower vacuum. Only a small vacuum is needed to scavenge the vapors, and the condensation works on the pumps output pressure, so would still work 100% with a leaky vessel. My first thought is that some folks may not be using the silicone gasket, or there is a rubber hole plug for the recirculating pump that was not designed to be air tight, but more as a dust cover, and this prevents drawing a vacuum.
 

rkhanso

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How I understand this......
You should see steam escaping the lid or port on the lid when boiling but the condenser is not spraying (off). Old-school boil with steam.

When the condenser is spraying water (in use), if there is no steam escaping the lid area or any port on the lid, then you have a vacuum and the condenser is operating OK from a "pulling vacuum" perspective. The exiting water should be hot or warm (depending on volume of water used in the condenser spray).

If you have steam escaping the lid area when boiling wort and the condenser is on, then there's no vacuum and problem with the condenser or a big leak in the lid area. Check the condenser output to make sure it's not under water in the bucket, plugged, or has an uphill slope anywhere on it (think P-Trap).

If you pull a vacuum (boiling and no steam from the kettle lid area - Condenser working OK) but your wort increases in volume, cools off or even stops boiling (and maybe you've not even yet turned the heat source down to compensate for the compressor being used), the only thing that can cause that is cold water entering the kettle through the condenser port. If you have this situation, maybe adding a super-short nipple between the condenser top elbow and the spray nozzle would help by getting the spray a little lower in the tube and not prone to flow down into the lid and cool the wort. I'm not sure how far you could go down past the horizontal "tee" portion and still have the condenser work like it should.

I still think it's worth hooking up the pump to the spray nozzle with it outside the condenser tube and take a look at the spray pattern. It should be a fine atomized mist. My guess is it may not be.

My homemade condenser (Thanks BrunDog for the example) uses less than $.05 of water on a brew day. I'll take that with the ease of not having to keep filling a bucket and then pay $.05 to run a pump.
 
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IanMC

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Hi all,

I did another test today. 5 gallons of water, condenser lid on but sprayer off, heated to a boil. Then, I took off the lid, and..... it dropped, down to at least 203 before I stopped the test. Well, it looks like my burner isn't putting out enough heat to maintain a boil with the lid off, which also fits well with Spike's theory that the entrapped steam may be necessary to maintain the boil I was seeing before.

Why didn't I notice this before? Because this current setup is fairly new, and previously I was using a different pot that had Refletix insulation. I've brewed with this setup since I got the new pot, but I typically have left the lid on until the boil was reached, then removed it, and I suppose I wasn't actually checking the temperature to confirm it from that point on. There was always still evolution of steam bubbles and the wort moving around a bit, I just didn't realize that it wasn't actually at true boiling temp. It still made beer, though. Also, I have no doubt that a bit of insulation on this pot would also give me the few extra degrees I need to keep a vigorous boil going with the steam condenser running. But, I really don't like the insulation, and given that I'm just barely reaching my goal anyway, I think it's time to graduate to a higher wattage induction cooktop. I just need to wire a 240v outlet in my garage first...

Also, for those of you who asked what the spray pattern coming out of the Spike nozzle is like, behold: Spray pattern video. Apologies for the portrait aspect ratio.
Does this look at all like the spray on your high PSI nozzles?

Thanks to everyone who helped me get to this point. I appreciate your great suggestions and experience!
 
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