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how to design some perfect control for distill,want any suggest


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I am in the process of building my still and was just curious how many people have automated, or semi-automated control panels for their stills.

I have already started work on a panel for my mash tun that will use a PID unit to monitor temperature and control a steam valve, as well as have a switch for the pump and a timer, etc. Basically a simplified version of the Electric Brewery Control Panel: www.theelectricbrewery.com/control-panel

With the mash tun its pretty simple; monitor temperature, control steam.

The still on the other hand is not so straight forward. I am building a 150 gallon, steam powered, 4 plate pot still with a dephlegmator. The way I see it there are two data points I could potentially monitor, the collection vapor temperature or the dephlegmator cooling water output temperature rise. And also two inputs that could be controlled, the amount of steam (energy input) or the rate of dephlegmator cooling water flow.

So potentially I could use a PID to monitor cooling water temperature rise or vapor temp, and adjust steam input. I don't really think this would get me much though..

Another option would be to monitor cooling water temperature rise and adjust its speed to maintain consistent reflux. With this arrangement adjusting the setting on the PID would control the amount of reflux. Steam input would be manually controlled and vapor temp would just be monitored with an alarm set at various collection points. This arrangement seems like it would be more practical.

The easiest option would be to skip the 'control panel' and just build a 'monitoring panel' with displays for cooling water temp, vapor temp, and an alarm.

So yeah. I'm curious if anyone else is using a PID or other type of controller, what their setup and experience are. Or if you just have feedback on if you think this would be helpful or is just overkill..

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im trying to control the heating element to control the element amperage to lower the amperage to slow the exiting condenser speed so the condensed liquid temp will be lower, below 64. I had a problem with a flash off because i forgot to run the water in time because i had the rheostat too high. i'd like it to sense temperature and adjust input amperage to slow output flow enough with the water running the whole time. i also was thinking of adding another solenoid to the water to start at 140 degrees because this is when i'm seeing flow and would like to leave the first distillation alone and run it slow so i can do stuff around the work area without forgetting to turn the water on at the appropriate time. i always tie a can on the neck but if im out of earshot its a problem. it seems easy enough i just needed some brainstorm juices.

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For a pot still its pretty easy, you just make sure you have a good cold water supply and run the still as fast or slow as your distillate can be cooled to 60 degrees on the output. If it gets too hot it will lose flavor and get aggressive bit to it. There are lots of options for measuring column temps as well, everyone seems to let it rest for a period of time until its stable and starts to bleed it off, there are lots of yYouTube videos about getting it to 172.

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