Recirculation pump on an ACE boiler

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wolfenrook
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Recirculation pump on an ACE boiler

Post by wolfenrook » Tue Mar 13, 2018 9:42 pm

Been busy today, putting together a setup to recirculate on my ACE mash tun boiler. TS5-A12-1403 pump from brewbuilder.co.uk doing the work. Nice large, half closed, impeller that is supposed to cope with solids.
impeller.jpg
Then I took the 2 parts of the lid apart, and drilled out a hole big enough to take the return pipe in the bottom part of the lid, and ground it down to a nice smooth surface. I ran my finger around on both sides and inside the hole, not a scratch:-
makingahole.jpg
Then, with my wife's help (she put the gasket back on for me) I put the lid back together, after removing half of the plastic vent cover over the hole I'd made.

I then build a U-bend, using 2 1/2" elbows, and a 1/2" threaded "nipple". On one side of this, I installed a type-F (male 1/2" BSP) cam & groove fitting, on the other I screwed in one of their xl pickup tubes. The pickup tube will actually function as the return pipe.
UBend.jpg
Return.jpg
Lots of PTFE on all of the threads (actually added more, and some vaseline, when leak testing... lol).

The pump, I fitted a 1/2" BSP hose barb on the inlet. On the outlet I fitted a 1/2" BSP mini tap, and onto that a 1/2" BSP hose barb. The mini tap is my flow control.

Then just a matter of attaching the platinum cured silicone hose to form a loop, thumb drive jubilee clips on each barb holding them in place (for easy removal. A type C cam & groove clamp connects to the type F fitting to attach the pump to the return rig. Et voila, one recirculation pump fitted.
installed.jpg
I purchased a stainless steel veg steamer doodad that I'll be sitting on top of the grain to stop the return disturbing this. I should imagine a fair few of you are familiar with this trick, it's not something I came up with by any means. :lol:

Anyway, I made a short video whilst leak testing (2nd time around, was leak free in the 3rd leak test finally), it shows much better how it all is fitted together. Thanks to the thumb jubilee clips, and the cam & groove fitting, it comes apart super fast.


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donchiquon
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Re: Recirculation pump on an ACE boiler

Post by donchiquon » Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:18 pm

Looking good! Will you be connecting it up to a temperature controller?

I did something similar but without using the mash bag and ended up finding that even with the false bottom sealed in with a silicone gasket I had to upgrade the pump in order to deal with the odd bits of grain than inevitably get through (I also ditched the bazooka filter which tends to clog when you recirculate without the bag).

The stainless return pipe you are using reminds me of the ones you can get for kettles for a whirlpool return. The smaller diameter produces quite a jet. If you find this is too powerful you can simply swap it for a length of silicone hose with a 1/2" barb and stainless T fitting which spreads the wort out horizontally without distubing the grain bed. You can simply dangle it in at the right height for the mash depth you are using.

Look forward to seeing it up and running with a mash on! :D
Ian

wolfenrook
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Re: Recirculation pump on an ACE boiler

Post by wolfenrook » Tue Mar 13, 2018 10:43 pm

No temp controller, the boiler has one built in. That's what the smaller of the 2 dials is, a jog dial for the digital temperature control. It usually overshoots by 1 to 2 degrees, but I've found if I set it a degree lower than my target it hits the right temperature then.

There is quite a jet from the return yeah, I can always try turning the flow down though see how that works.

The bazooka filter that came with the boiler clogged constantly with trub, so I switched it out for a larger one with a coarser mesh, not one blockage since.

New one at the back, supplied one at the front.
bazooka.jpg
It even lets small bits of grain through now, as I found when recirculating using a jug. :lol:

I'll be brewing with it tomorrow, so I'll probably get a video of it in action at some point, assuming it doesn't go horribly wrong and leave me in a panic... :lol:

mb
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Re: Recirculation pump on an ACE boiler

Post by mb » Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:26 pm

do you reckon this would safely hang over the edge of a boiler/mash-tun or does it need to be fixed in the hole to be stable? i've been thinking about something similar as a multi-purpose recicrculator that can be hung over the edge of any vessel. cheaper and easier than drilling holes and putting taps and fittings on every vessel but obviously you don't want anything to come loose and spray hot wort around.
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wolfenrook
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Re: Recirculation pump on an ACE boiler

Post by wolfenrook » Wed Mar 14, 2018 12:53 pm

It'll safely hang over the rim, which is what I'll do with it in the last 15 minutes of the boil. It's quite heavy, and should happily stay put.

I didn't want to do that whilst mashing though, as an open lid is a big gap for heat to escape through. Sure, the 900 watt element will bring it straight back up to temp, but that's more energy used... lol

The hole was VERY easy to drill though. I happened to have a bunch of drill bits for metal girders (don't ask... The things my wife picks up in Lidl sometimes... lol), one of these made short work of the job. I aimed it between 2 of the small vent holes, then wibbled it around to make the hole bigger. Then I just used a grinding tip on my rotary tool and cleaned the hole up. I have ZERO DIY skills, and a tremor in my hands, so if I can do it then nearly anybody who actually has working hands should be able to. lol

Doubt it would work without a bottom tap on the vessel though. These pumps aren't self priming, so need to be filled with liquid to prime them before use. With a vessel with a tap you just put them lower than the tap and open the tap, job done. If you're wanting the intake and return hanging over the rim, you'd need a way to start a syphon action going in order to fill the pump to prime it. All I can think of is to put a T piece with 2 taps on it, 1 to the pump and 1 to a short length of hose. Close the pump tap, open the hose tap, use something to suck on the hose, then close that tap once you had liquid in the pipe, then open the pump tap...

That's a lot of faff.

Or find a self priming, food safe, brewing pump. lol

Oh and brew under-way, currently mashing.
Mashing.jpg

mb
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Re: Recirculation pump on an ACE boiler

Post by mb » Wed Mar 14, 2018 2:08 pm

thanks for the info, i have bottom taps on the vessels - just looking to try to automate the re-circulation as simply and cheaply as possible. not going to continually re-cirulate the mash, just re-circulate at the end of the mash to clarify before running off. also looking to re-circulate in the kettle to speed up chilling (i currently stand over it with a big spoon stirring). looks like this kind of fitting could do the job for both.
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wolfenrook
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Re: Recirculation pump on an ACE boiler

Post by wolfenrook » Wed Mar 14, 2018 5:00 pm

Yeah, will definitely do the job.

My software is telling me that after mashing and sparging, I got 82% efficiency into boil (26 litres with an SG of 1.025, from a teeny tiny grain bill), so numbers are good from no stir recirculating mash...

I was going to do the same as you, and just recirculate the mash out to act as a lazy vorlauf, but a member on another forum suggest I recirculated the entire mash rather than stirring, seems to have worked very nicely.

Wort wasn't all that clear (although the sparge was crystal clear), however I found a load of grain in the bottom of the FV after emptying, so looks like my wife missed the bag a fair bit again. I could easily see through it in a jug though, where before it was like brown milk in there... I also found that there was a LOT of grain on top of the veg steamer when I emptied the wort, so looks like I put this in too soon. In future I am going to let it all settle for 15 minutes before I add the steamer insert and turn on the pump.

Proof of the pudding though will be the final product really. Final proof will be the next brew, as that's going to be a stout, which should properly test it's efficacy when mashing.

On the big plus side, no problems with the bag getting sucked onto the sides etc, wort flowed freely through the grain no bother. I had it on about 1/4 flow though, which looked about the same as I've seen in vids of folks using all in one brewers.

wolfenrook
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Re: Recirculation pump on an ACE boiler

Post by wolfenrook » Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:13 pm

Here you go, this is it just hooked over the rim of the boiler, whilst cooling the wort.



Works just fine like that, and you can see that it's doing a good job of speeding up cooling. From boiling to 27 degrees took 14 minutes.... If I separate the coils of the chiller a bit (some thick copper wire or something) it might be even faster, as the wort will be able to get through it then, form a better whirlpool.

wolfenrook
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Re: Recirculation pump on an ACE boiler

Post by wolfenrook » Wed Mar 14, 2018 6:29 pm

Darn it! Whilst I was typing this, I overshot the pitching temp.... That's fast! I now need to warm it back up....
overshotpitching.jpg

wolfenrook
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Re: Recirculation pump on an ACE boiler

Post by wolfenrook » Fri Mar 16, 2018 1:06 pm

Made a couple of alterations to the return and lid.

First up, I moved the mini ball valve tap from the pump to the U-bend. I was finding it difficult to adjust attached to the pump, plus this allows me to shut the flow off further up the pipe. It also extends the length of the top of the inverted U, giving me more leeway with mounting.
ModifiedOutlet1.jpg
Then I drilled a second hole in the boiler lid, allowing me to mount the return further into the pot, rather than right by the wall.
NewHole.jpg
You can see that the 2 combined move the return further towards the middle than before.
AlteredFitted.jpg
I noticed when I used it on Wednesday that it was difficult getting the return lined up with the veg steamer insert. This should improve things in this regard hopefully.

wolfenrook
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Re: Recirculation pump on an ACE boiler

Post by wolfenrook » Sat Apr 07, 2018 12:24 pm

Right, I made some tweaks to this (thanks to Lardy at Brew Builder for the parts and excellent customer service).

First up, I removed 1 90 degree elbow and the 1/2" BSP nipple from the jet returns. It didn't really serve a useful purpose (1 elbow is plenty, as the silicone hose is plenty flexible enough to reach) and added more points where leaks could occur:-
JetReturn.jpg
Next up, I cut a 20mm hole into the lid of the boiler using a Q-Max cutter (Tip: Check you have the right hex key when planning to use these, I ended up using a spanner as mine are all too small.). I then created a fitted return to use whilst mashing using a male camlock to male 1/2" BSP fitting, a 90 degree elbow, a 65mm 1/2" BSP nipple fitting, 2 1/2" BSP recess back nuts and 1 O-ring (was going to use 2, but the inside one just pops out of the recess when I tighten it as the inside of the lid isn't 100% flat) and finally a 1/2" BSP T fitting.
MashingT1.jpg
MashingT2.jpg
MashingT3.jpg
MashingT4.jpg
More>>>

wolfenrook
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Re: Recirculation pump on an ACE boiler

Post by wolfenrook » Sat Apr 07, 2018 12:32 pm

MashingTConnecteds.jpg
This will be where I connect the hose when I am mashing, so it's a gentler return and also higher up in the boiler (making it easier to fit my veg steamer insert below it). I got the idea for this from donchiquon's suggestion. It wasn't so much that it was too powerful (the veg steamer blocked it nicely) but just too deep in the boiler, making it hard to fit the steamer under it without it been sat on the grain. It worked fine, but heh tweaking is fun right? :wink:

Last, but far from been least, I totally altered how I attach the pump and hose to the boiler. Enter liberal use of 90 degree elbows and some nice quick disconnnects:-
Pump1.jpg
Pump2.jpg
Note to self, don't forget to buy some heat-shrink to go over that power connector to keep splashes out.... :shock:

Super easy to remove for cleaning etc, with the bonus of been much more secure than having it dangle. It's still below the bottom of the boiler though, so should prime just fine. I mean, ideally I'd have lots of taps so I could isolate every part of the system before removing, but that'd get expensive and kinda silly.

Anyway, looks nice and tidy. All that's left to do now is to leak test it once again. [-o<
Tweaked.jpg

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