Blocked Pump !

A forum to discuss one pot automated brewing systems.
Post Reply
Jomay
Tippler
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:52 pm

Blocked Pump !

Post by Jomay » Thu Nov 08, 2018 6:10 pm

Hi looking for a bit of advice on my blocked pump. Had a brew today and when I came to do the cooling into the fermenter the pump didnt pump. Made a noise but only a drip came thro. The filter had come off; and as I was usung leaf hops then I suspect they are jamming up the pump. This is the second time this has come off. The first I blame on myself, think when I was stirring the hops I could have knocked it off, this time I was v careful so no idea why it came off. Have also on two other occasions had the rubber "bung" on the filter fall off, its now fastened on with a bit of wire. Am not pleased with my purchase of GF, its one small problem after another. While the main bits are fine, its the details that need sorting out, its almost like a beta or pre-production model, there are a load of minor things that need sorting, the filter and its attachment being just one of them.

Anyway, moan over, before I attack it tomorrow with a v large hammer and a pair of stilsons :-) any hits or tips on taking it to bits to clear the blockage. Have already squirted water into the inlet, taken off the none return valve and blown down the pipe - no luck. Am thinking I need to dissasemble the "impeller" (if it is an impeller type of pump) chamber and clean it out?

Thanks J

steviebobs83
Steady Drinker
Posts: 75
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:19 am

Re: Blocked Pump !

Post by steviebobs83 » Thu Nov 08, 2018 11:45 pm

I too have suffered many small problems but I've persevered and botched bits together here and there. I'm so used to its idiosyncrasies now that I'd struggle to go back to a BIAB setup and can't afford anything else at the moment.

My pump blocked a few times at first and I emailed grainfather who told me to flick it on and off a few times and leave it running for 5 mins or so. It did actually fix itself and I very rarely have problems with it now. Although I gave up on chucking hops straight into the boiler and now use hop socks for all my additions to no ill effects. I find them easier to empty and clean than a hop spider and I can hang them off the distilling attachment hooks to stop them sinking to the bottom.

Another tip I picked up along the way is to turn the filter around so the cap is jammed against the temp probe, which stops it coming off.

Hope this helps

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk


steviebobs83
Steady Drinker
Posts: 75
Joined: Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:19 am

Re: Blocked Pump !

Post by steviebobs83 » Fri Nov 09, 2018 12:13 am

Oh and it is an impeller by the way

Sent from my SM-G930F using Tapatalk


Jomay
Tippler
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:52 pm

Re: Blocked Pump !

Post by Jomay » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:04 am

Thanks for your reply SB. Yes Im also from a BIAB background, the one thing the GF is good at is the mash, extreemly accurate compared to BIAB. Not that my beers actually taste any better :-) I dont intend to sell will keep using it but given my time over I would not have bought it. Thanks for the info about the switching and leaving it on - will give that a try before I start dissassembly. When the filter and cap came off before I didnt have any probs with the pump. It pumped a load of crud, and may have been slower but nothing special. When the filter and the cap stay on I have never had any probs with the filtering - results within reason. I have a load of bags from my BIAB days so can give them some more use. Wrt the filter bung, I use a bit of copper wire shoved thro the holes in the filter and across the rubber bung - wire just twisted together. With the filter itself, I suppose it might be possible to put a circlip. Will need to look at this more carefully, I do have a bazooka filter maybe I could fit that. Whatever I do would prefer something more posative than the rubber push fit used at the moment.

Once again - thanks

gobuchul
Steady Drinker
Posts: 39
Joined: Mon Aug 20, 2018 12:07 pm

Re: Blocked Pump !

Post by gobuchul » Fri Nov 09, 2018 11:13 am

I must admit I think the filter design on the Grainfather is a bit crap.

For the money, you would think that it would have a screw fitting rather than a rubber bung. Also there should be a more connection to the pump, a clip or similar.

However, saying that, I have never had a problem with it as a use hop spider so don't whirlpool.

Jomay
Tippler
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:52 pm

Re: Blocked Pump !

Post by Jomay » Fri Nov 09, 2018 3:07 pm

An update ;-) I have unblocked the pump - Hurrah. The problem was a slug of compressed hops blocking the exhaust outlet. I took the hose off the outlet first, meaning to take the whole pump out, but i could see some hops just sticking out. Got a pair of tweezers and pulled them out, it looked like a big hop pellet! pretty solid. I think it must have been a whole hop flower that got compressed Thats about all the hops there was in it, circulated water expecting more, just a few small bits and that was it.

For anybody who is interested to dissassemble the pump unit - first take off the s/s cover plate, its a bit of a b** You just press in the ends, but its v v fiddly, I found it better to press the upper in first and sort of lever it out carefully, the botton one then comes out easily. You then need to take off the corrugated plastic flexible hoses - take the end at the pump off not the end at the pipe. These just push on and pull off. They are a push on seal that has a black plastic retaining/pressure ring, sort of like a circlip, excepting you cannot tighten or loosen, it is just a ring. These can be a right B* mostly to get back on in the tight space. The pump itself is just held on with two phillips screws and there are 4 screws holding the impeller chamber on - I never took these off. The pump says its a magnetic drive pump, so that is what makes it so reliable. It also says do not run dry, but thats normal for most pumps.

V Best Wishes - J

Cobnut
Sober
Posts: 4
Joined: Fri Aug 24, 2018 4:23 pm

Re: Blocked Pump !

Post by Cobnut » Tue Nov 13, 2018 12:04 pm

Warning this is a "me too" post! ;-)

I'm now up to 10-12 GF brews and on the whole I like it. I too was a BIAB-er before taking the GF plunge.

I brewed over the weekend and for the first time I used pellet hops loose in the boiler.

I "whirlpooled" with my mash paddle. The wort came through the CFC OK - maybe a bit slow - but rather murky, especially to start with.

The problem came when I was cleaning afterwards as it refused to pump through the CFC. Seems I'd managed to knock the rubber end off the filter with my "enthusiastic" whirlpooling. Took me a while to work out where the blockage was: the ball-bearing check valve. Once I'd cleared that out all was well.

I haven't opened up the pump to check that out, but a friend at my local HB club who's had his GF for a couple of years says he opened his up to clean it out only to find it was plenty clean enough.

I usually prefer whole hops loose in the boiler as they give a good "filter bed" when transferring the wort, but the GF filter is certainly one of the weak points of the design; I am on the look out for a better solution! In the short term, I think a piece of wire round the rubber end-bung sounds a workable solution.

Hopefully my Vienna Lager will eventually end up beautifully clear given enough time.

Happy Brewing!

chefgage
Hollow Legs
Posts: 467
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:37 am

Re: Blocked Pump !

Post by chefgage » Tue Nov 13, 2018 3:36 pm

When whirlpooling make sure you only stir about half way down. You can still get a good whirlpool going without going any way near the filter.

If the rubber part that connects to the pump outlet has started to become loose, try a jubilee clip around it. That will stop it coming loose.

The best thing i did was switch to whole hops from pellets in the grainfather. There is now no need to whirlpool and my wort to the boiler is very clear due to the whole hops acting as sort of second filter.

Jomay
Tippler
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:52 pm

Re: Blocked Pump !

Post by Jomay » Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:08 pm

Yes, a jubilee clip sounds the easiest. I like to clean out the filter after every brew, so that means getting the screwdriver out etc etc was hoping to avoid that. Am at a bit of a loss how it came off, it had come off before so I was being careful not to stir too deep, and no I hadnt had a pint while brewing :-)

I nearly always use leaf hops because I grow some of my hops. I like leaf hops, they produce a sort of filter bed around the filter, ie when it doesnt come off :-) I have used pellets for dry hopping, but am mostly happiest with leafs. I suppose the pellet hop fans can point to the effisiency etc etc but we all brew in the way that makes us feel comfortable
Very best wishes J

chefgage
Hollow Legs
Posts: 467
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2015 10:37 am

Re: Blocked Pump !

Post by chefgage » Wed Nov 14, 2018 1:00 am

Jomay wrote:
Tue Nov 13, 2018 9:08 pm
Yes, a jubilee clip sounds the easiest. I like to clean out the filter after every brew, so that means getting the screwdriver out etc etc was hoping to avoid that. Am at a bit of a loss how it came off, it had come off before so I was being careful not to stir too deep, and no I hadnt had a pint while brewing :-)

I nearly always use leaf hops because I grow some of my hops. I like leaf hops, they produce a sort of filter bed around the filter, ie when it doesnt come off :-) I have used pellets for dry hopping, but am mostly happiest with leafs. I suppose the pellet hop fans can point to the effisiency etc etc but we all brew in the way that makes us feel comfortable
Very best wishes J
Hows this then. I brewed last weekend. The filter did not fall as i never fitted it in the first place! I realised this luckily after mashing in. So it was a lift the basket to drain. Then onto the sink goes the basket. Then trying to be brave with rubber gloves on i then managed to fit the filter on in 65'c mash water/wort. The hands then went straight under the cold tap :)

Not really sure how i ended up not fitting it in the first place :)

Jomay
Tippler
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:52 pm

Re: Blocked Pump !

Post by Jomay » Thu Nov 15, 2018 2:32 pm

Hello Chef, you are a hero :-) As I mentioned, I take and clean the filter off after each brew, often dont put it back until ready to brew. Have forgotten it, but never when its got to 65 degs. Yoy must have cast iron skin, or 3 pairs of gloves, but even then Im thinking the water would come over the top of the majority of kitchen type gloves. Still maybe it has its compensations, bet you never forget again :-)

V Best Wishes - J

Post Reply