QuickConnects or Camlocks for hot side?

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khannon

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Recently moved from outdoor brewing(gas) to indoor(electric). Hot side, and I guess edge of cold side (Brutus Pro, I cannot say enough good things about this chiller Brutus Pro Counterflow Wort Chiller | Exchilerator ) are all currently 1/2 in NPT with barbs for connecting 1/2 in silicone hosing. I have a mix of 5/8 inch OD barbs(hassle to get the tubing off), and 1/2 inch OD barbs(sometimes leak/come off easily)

It's a 3 vessel system, 10-14Gallons depending on strength, with 2 pumps, the chiller etc.. Outside a little leaking was no issue except in the dead of winter. Inside it sucks. I've had a few times where hoses come loose dumping quarts of liquid on the floor.. Mostly this is my fault, and I catch it quick enough, but it is usually at the cost of minor burns on my hands due to boiling wort.

So, enough of the background. I'm looking at moving to connectors. It seems like camlock or QD seem to be the way to go. I suppose I could go tri-clamp as I already have some 1.5 and 2" tri-clamp stuff, and want to make sure I can interface with that, but that seems excessive on a homebrew level on the hot side(mostly). However, before I drop $4-500 on new connectors(6 or so hoses, sink connectors, replace the barbs on all hot side valves etc..) I figured I would see what thoughts here were. The cost seems roughly the same, so I'm looking at ease of use, longevity of equipment, ease of proper cleaning etc...
On a related note, Any vendor suggestions? I would prefer to buy from an HBT sponsor if possible

Have thoughts? Chime in..(Though not to say "Have you tried BIAB".. I have, it's great, but not how I like to brew..)

Thanks
 

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I love my camlock fittings. I got most of them from brewhardware.com. I also used them on some non-standard (for brewing) sized hoses related to my water chiller and sourced them online as well.
 

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I've used the camlock and QD fittings in the past. IME, the QDs are easier to connect with. I was having issue with some of the camlock fittings NOT connecting completely (couldn't get them to fully lock into position). IME, I had to use both hands with camlock fittings where I could connect/disconnect the QD fittings with just one hand. IMO, one of the flaws with both items are the o-rings or gaskets. When they're good, they're great. As they age, they become less so.

That being said, I recently switched over to all TC barb fittings for my lines. I'm using 5/8" barbs (1.5" TC) for everything since using those for the latest round of QD fittings as well. They can be tricky to remove, but that's part of the point of using the larger barbs. With those, you don't need to use clamps on them. If you use 1/2" barbs with 1/2" ID tubing, you need clamps to ensure they don't separate (as you've experienced).

I've also created a manifold setup for the kettles and such. Since I have two pumps (water and wort) it wasn't all that bad to do. NOT cheap, but I'm liking how much easier it is to change the flow of liquids. I have only one T fitting on the water pump outlet (both pump heads are TC, so the manifold is also all TC). The HERMS coil inlet also has a T fitting since it can run from either the wort or water pump (depending on the step). Wort side has a T on the inlet and then a pair of stacked T fittings on the outlet since it needs to run to any of three different paths.

I've also converted my plate chiller to TC fittings to make things easier there too.

I got the TC to barb, plus elbow, fittings from Brewers Hardware. The T and butterfly valves for the manifolds came from Amazon (availability and cost played a part there). I'm using a combination of straight and 90 degree bend TC to barb fittings on the current setup. I'm sure it will change again at some point. Seems to happen often enough.

Keep in mind, manifolds are not for everyone. You'll want a way to really secure the pumps. Especially with everything connected to them. IMO, TC pump heads are optimal. Since it means you can take them completely apart easily for a great cleaning. Of course, pretty much all of my brewing setup is using TC connections now. The only item that's not TC native is the plate chiller. I hope to change that sometime soon (no idea when).
 

Beholder

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Camlocks here with all hoses (silicone for wort, garden / high temp for cooling water) with female connections and all hardware (pumps, kettles) with male.

I also consider triclamp for full compatibility, but came to the same conclusion of overkill and instead went with a cam lock to triclamp adapter piece for pushing wort into the fermenter. Also, I suspect hoses with triclamps swinging around on them might be heavier and more cumbersome.

With wort pumps at low pressure, one can get away without clamps (I prefer the oetiker crimp ones over the worm drive), but one blown connection and it is regretted immediately. I had clamped all mine save the time I needed to make up a longer jumper hose and skipped the clamping bit. Worked great until I used it to boost in some water from my wall bib, and boom water everywhere with the high 60 psi water pressure. Imagine hot wort instead of water…yikes! Clamped shortly thereafter!

The comment on getting them attached is true. Some have tighter tolerances, so require working both arms synchronized, whereas others are looser so can be done one after the other. I have one in all my collection that’s tough, but most are pretty easy.
 
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If you are moving couplings a lot, camlocks suck big time. I hate them. Used to have the quick disconnects, and they were awesome - one hand needed.

Big downside to the QD's are the inside diameter. If you're an all-grain brewer, you WILL have blockages in there. So, if you go this way, make sure to get a larger size (whatever that is). Not even sure that's an option, but if it is I'd probably switch.
Second, if you go QD, ONLY get stainless. I had brass (or some facsimile) and after a year or two, it was inoperable. Bearings and moving parts all locked up.

If you're on a budget, camlocks are your friend. I bought mine from Bobby (^^) and they are fine.
 

sibelman

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With some practice, I've found that camlocks can usually be operated with one hand, though it's not a simple one-and-done movement as with QDs. There are fans of each. Camlocks have worked well for me. I sometimes wonder about the QD road not taken, but not enough to replace everything.
 

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If you are moving couplings a lot, camlocks suck big time. I hate them. Used to have the quick disconnects, and they were awesome - one hand needed.

Big downside to the QD's are the inside diameter. If you're an all-grain brewer, you WILL have blockages in there. So, if you go this way, make sure to get a larger size (whatever that is). Not even sure that's an option, but if it is I'd probably switch.
Second, if you go QD, ONLY get stainless. I had brass (or some facsimile) and after a year or two, it was inoperable. Bearings and moving parts all locked up.

If you're on a budget, camlocks are your friend. I bought mine from Bobby (^^) and they are fine.
All the QD's I have (granted I'm not using them anymore) were 1/2" ID at the narrowest point (or just a hair over 1/2" ID). So the same as the ID of the tubing. That was with the female QD to barb being 5/8" on the barb end. I'm sure if you used 1/2" barbs they would be smaller than 1/2" ID.

At this point, I'm not moving connections around during brew day. Advantage of the manifold setup and TC connections all around. I have a few more fittings that arrived since last brew day and I'll be making up a couple more lines for sending the wort into fermenter as well as cleanup.
 
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With some practice, I've found that camlocks can usually be operated with one hand, though it's not a simple one-and-done movement as with QDs. There are fans of each. Camlocks have worked well for me. I sometimes wonder about the QD road not taken, but not enough to replace everything.
Yep, I do it too, just lock down one wing. I've made it work for a lot of years, but when (if) I do a major upgrade, I'm going back to QDs.
 

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QDs require immediate cleaning to keep the ball bearings from getting stuck but once you figure that out and abide, they are great.

Camlocks can be ridden hard and put away wet. The other advantage with camlocks is when you need a joint to stay put (rotationally). QDs will always swivel about their centerpoint. That rarely matters unless it does.
 
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khannon

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Thanks everyone.. QD connectors seem to be where I'm headed. I think it comes down to finalizing what I need and ordering it from BrewHardware.

Secondary question, and I know they are not needed at 5/8's barbs, but any thoughts on the diameter of oetiker(sp?) clamps needed to hold 1/2" id silicon tubing?
 
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sibelman

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Thanks everyone.. QD connectors seem to be where I'm headed. I think it comes down to finalizing what I need and ordering it from BrewHardware.

Secondary question, and I know they are not needed at 5/8's barbs, but any thoughts on the diameter of oetiker(sp?) clamps needed to hold 1/2" id silicon tubing?
Smooth hose clamps (various sizes, see this) work well with silicone tubing on barbs. I use Oetikers on gas & beer lines in the kegerator.
 

Golddiggie

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Thanks everyone.. QD connectors seem to be where I'm headed. I think it comes down to finalizing what I need and ordering it from BrewHardware.

Secondary question, and I know they are not needed at 5/8's barbs, but any thoughts on the diameter of oetiker(sp?) clamps needed to hold 1/2" id silicon tubing?
IIRC the 22mm clamps work for the 5/8" barbs and 1/2" tubing. You want to look at the clamping range of the items to make sure they go smaller than the OD of what you'll be using them on. I believe I would use the 21.1 clamps for 1/2" tubing on 1/2" barbs.

That being said, I've not needed to use clamps with 5/8" barbs and 1/2" ID tubing. The way the tubing goes onto the barbs gives a solid connection. Not saying to NOT use clamps if it makes you more comfortable, it's just not needed nearly as much. Maybe if you have a very high pressure flow going through the tubing you'd want them. Then again, the tubing will probably burst before it comes off the barb. ;)
 

superiorsat

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Thanks everyone.. QD connectors seem to be where I'm headed. I think it comes down to finalizing what I need and ordering it from BrewHardware.
I gotta say I'm not a fan of Blichmann but their thread on garden hose style quick ( slightly less quick than others ) connectors are my favorite connector on my 20 gallon set up. Ease of use ( one handed) a rugged high temp rubber gasket that seems to never wear out. If you need to crack one slightly open to prime a pump they work well for that also ( there are situations where hot liquid can make contact with fingers just so you know but it doesn't bother me) rather than a tee and another ball valve for priming ( more to clean). Basically zero maintenance.
Bobby used to have these but I think he said somewhere the other day that Blichmann cut off local HB shops.
 

Bobby_M

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Thanks everyone.. QD connectors seem to be where I'm headed. I think it comes down to finalizing what I need and ordering it from BrewHardware.

Secondary question, and I know they are not needed at 5/8's barbs, but any thoughts on the diameter of oetiker(sp?) clamps needed to hold 1/2" id silicon tubing?
The 5/8" barb on the BLQD-Cplus QD forces the OD out to almost 7/8" so the 25mm or 1" Oetiker is what I use. It requires a full crimp but definitely grips the tubing. I place the clamp near the tip of the barb, maybe inset by 1/8" so that it keeps liquid from getting too far into the barb/hose joint and fouling it up.

I consider oetikers to be the best solution on silicone tubing. Not cutting and definitely lowest profile for less bulk in the hand.
 

Bobby_M

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I gotta say I'm not a fan of Blichmann but their thread on garden hose style quick ( slightly less quick than others ) connectors are my favorite connector on my 20 gallon set up. Ease of use ( one handed) a rugged high temp rubber gasket that seems to never wear out. If you need to crack one slightly open to prime a pump they work well for that also ( there are situations where hot liquid can make contact with fingers just so you know but it doesn't bother me) rather than a tee and another ball valve for priming ( more to clean). Basically zero maintenance.
Bobby used to have these but I think he said somewhere the other day that Blichmann cut off local HB shops.
I feel the opposite about those connectors for two reasons. The first one is principal alone. How dare they call that a quick disconnect. It's a quick disconnect if triclamps were quick disconnects. Another angle on this is that if requiring 4-5 full rotations of a fitting to disconnect is "quick", why do they make separate quick disconnect fittings for garden hoses? Right... because four full turns is a pain in the butt.

The other reason is that if you grant that hand threading a connector together is quick enough, they could have made that nut half as thick so that you get gasket contact with only 2 full turns. Still not "quick" but not unnecessarily tedious like the current design.
 

superiorsat

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I feel the opposite about those connectors for two reasons. The first one is principal alone. How dare they call that a quick disconnect. It's a quick disconnect if triclamps were quick disconnects. Another angle on this is that if requiring 4-5 full rotations of a fitting to disconnect is "quick", why do they make separate quick disconnect fittings for garden hoses? Right... because four full turns is a pain in the butt.

The other reason is that if you grant that hand threading a connector together is quick enough, they could have made that nut half as thick so that you get gasket contact with only 2 full turns. Still not "quick" but not unnecessarily tedious like the current design.
I don't necessarily disagree with any of that other than I like the full threads. That is why I said slightly less quick than others. I guess I don't have a reason for an instant connection or disconnection. I like being able to leave half way threaded on and open the valve lets say from the mash tun to fill that little air filled piece of tubing after transferring the output from HLT pump to out put to mash tun for recirculation air slips out and the tube fills then twist the rest of the way on so I don't have to re-prime my pump. I don't have my Riptide pumps with their burn the heck out of yourself squirt everywhere pull ring pump primers as they both got returned and I don't want a T and another ball valve attached to my pump either. I've got a bunch of tri-clamp also neither is particularly fast but the Blichmann is at least a one handed process and they work if needed to prime a pump or fill a tube to get rid of an air bubble. Just figured I'd give a little input from a different perspective.
 
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2hennepin6

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Camlocks work for me. I have added enough valves to my 3 keg HERMs system so I don't have any disconnecting to do until after boil -that is transferring from boil kettle (keg) through chiller to fermenter. As easy as quick disconnects are regardless of type, it was a PIA and messy disconnecting and reconnecting through the brewing process.

I want to get my brew all the way to the fermenter without disconnecting but I haven't figured that out yet.
 

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I don't necessarily disagree with any of that other than I like the full threads. That is why I said slightly less quick than others. I guess I don't have a reason for an instant connection or disconnection. I like being able to leave half way threaded on and open the valve lets say from the mash tun to fill that little air filled piece of tubing after transferring the output from HLT pump to out put to mash tun for recirculation air slips out and the tube fills then twist the rest of the way on so I don't have to re-prime my pump. I don't have my Riptide pumps with their burn the heck out of yourself squirt everywhere pull ring pump primers as they both got returned and I don't want a T and another ball valve attached to my pump either. I've got a bunch of tri-clamp also neither is particularly fast but the Blichmann is at least a one handed process and they work if needed to prime a pump or fill a tube to get rid of an air bubble. Just figured I give a little input from a different perspective.
Hey, variety of opinion is perfectly fine with me. Again, my biggest beef is mostly semantics but call them "connectors" rather than "quick disconnects".
 

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@Bobby_M I just placed an order with you for a bunch of Camlocks, pump, etc. It occurs to me that I’ll probably want to wash everything before service to get rid of manufacturing oils or greases. How do you typically do that? PBW for everything? Other?
 

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Camlocks work for me. I have added enough valves to my 3 keg HERMs system so I don't have any disconnecting to do until after boil -that is transferring from boil kettle (keg) through chiller to fermenter. As easy as quick disconnects are regardless of type, it was a PIA and messy disconnecting and reconnecting through the brewing process.

I want to get my brew all the way to the fermenter without disconnecting but I haven't figured that out yet.
That's why I built the manifold setup on my pumps. Now I don't have to worry about changing any connections from start to finish (wort in the fermenter). It's a bit of a monster, but it works. Also went with all TC barb fittings since I was already using the TC connections. No disconnects means less things to clean on any wort side items.
 

2hennepin6

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That's why I built the manifold setup on my pumps. Now I don't have to worry about changing any connections from start to finish (wort in the fermenter). It's a bit of a monster, but it works. Also went with all TC barb fittings since I was already using the TC connections. No disconnects means less things to clean on any wort side items.
Very curious how your manifold works! Photo/description?
 

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I changed the cross on the wort pump for a pair of T fittings. Same flow control, I just like it better (right now). Since I still have the cross fitting, I could always change back later.
 

Bobby_M

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@Bobby_M I just placed an order with you for a bunch of Camlocks, pump, etc. It occurs to me that I’ll probably want to wash everything before service to get rid of manufacturing oils or greases. How do you typically do that? PBW for everything? Other?
Yes, hot PBW soak for an hour, rinse with clean hot water.
 

Go4wide

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I'm trying to improve the operation of my brewing process, and this thread piqued my interest. I am trying to learn the connection options; cam lock, quick disconnect, etc. Do any of you know of YouTube videos, articles with pictures etc., that might help visually describe these choices. I also have questions about which of these connections is best for hot wort, fermented beer, cleaning....
 

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Thanks Bobby..
I settled on camlocks. They came in the mail yesterday..
Excited to get to re-work the brewing setup.
I noticed that there are two camps here; one that likes the ring quick disconnects and the Camlocks. I have both on my system, Camlocks on my hot Liquor Tank/ mashtung and QD on my kettle. I have no preference.
 

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Watch this first..
Okay, I drank the koolaid and followed the advice from this guy on BrewHardwar.com and invested into more camlock style quick connects. My LBS only had two, so I purchased the other three from Amazon. Comparison to fit and finish as well as dimensions and sizes of o-rings were very different. I can interchange the connectors, but they are too loose on one and too tight on the other. What is very concerning and very frustrating is that the O-rings are completely different and not interchangeable. This all is in contrast to what this guy is claiming, that these camlocks are compatible across different manufacturers. THIS IS NOT TRUE!!!!!!! The cost differential between camlocks and ball locks depends on where you shop. My LBS could have sold me ball locks at $2 USD more than camlock. So the take away here, is that price and compatibility are no longer an advantage. If anyone is interested, I'll gladly add photos of the camlocks.
 

2hennepin6

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I think the problem is Amazon. Bobby and brewhardware.com know their stuff and are top-notch.

Camlocks don't have o-rings. Are you mixing apples and oranges?

Amazon pretty much stinks especially if one needs any support or guidance.
 
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Deric

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I have a ton of camlocks on 2 different brew setups. All of them purchased from Brewhardware or Bargain Fittings. Some are tighter than others. Some go on VERY easy. I've never had a single leak in the 10+ years I've been using them. I have found that replacing the flat gasket/washer they come with with o-rings makes them more consistent feeling.
 

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I've never used them before, and just washed my new ones in PBW yesterday. I found them to be very hard to engage, hoping the loosen up a little.
 

rhorwitz

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I think the problem is Amazon. Bobby and brewhardware.com know their stuff and are top-notch.

Camlocks don't have o-rings. Are you mixing apples and oranges?

Amazon pretty much stinks especially if one needs any support or guidance.
2hennepin6, yes the lower quality ones purchased were Amazon. The major gripe with the Amazon fittings is that the cam levers are mems based, with no post machining or finish making them difficult to actuate. However, the key point I am making is that these fittings are not made to the same dimensions. BTW- Camlocks have rubber washers which I called O-rings.
 

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I've been using QDs from the getgo. Make sure they are SS, keep them clean, and have some extra red o-rings in case things go sideways. Also have the male side on HLT, MT, BK connections, and the female (WAY more expensive) connectors on the hoses. Buddy who runs a brewpub uses a mix of TC and QD, and I HATE the TC connectors; can't connect/disconnect with one hand, and if you drop the gasket on the floor (which always seems to happen on the cold side) you are fooked unless you have someone there to grab/sanitize/connect another one. I considered camlocks when I redid a lot of things in the brewery earlier this year, but the expense to change them all out stopped me. I have eight of the female QD connectors on various hoses, and can get new red o-rings from Bobby or amazon, and always have some on hand. Also, a small plus, the female QD connectors will connect to the HD garden hose connector male side, if I need to go that route.
 

matt_m

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2hennepin6, yes the lower quality ones purchased were Amazon. The major gripe with the Amazon fittings is that the cam levers are mems based, with no post machining or finish making them difficult to actuate. However, the key point I am making is that these fittings are not made to the same dimensions. BTW- Camlocks have rubber washers which I called O-rings.
I got a 1.5" TC fitting from Amazon that didn't fit others? That that make TC not a standard?
 
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