Clean-in-place Spray Ball - ANY Fermenter/Keg

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Clean-in-place Spray Ball - ANY Fermenter/Keg

Post by PeeBee » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:48 pm

(I've copied this from a thread in "Market Place" 'cos this is a more suitable location for it. I've put it here to try and get useful feedback.)

I was intrigued by a thread in "Market Place" for a CIP ball. But the Malt-Miller's (SS Brewtech) device had a 3" Tri-clamp (Tri-clover) fitting which wasn't much use: I needed the much commoner 1.5" Tri-clover fitting. So I embarked on a search, which turned out to be a lot harder than I had thought.

eBay had some, but they were all too big in diameter and the Tri-clover fitting was the wrong-way-around (goodness knows how you are supposed to attach those things to anything). Eventually I found these on Aliexpress: https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Tri-Cla ... a522aacec1

Buying stuff from Aliexpress (China directly) gives me the willies, but it should be no worse than eBay or Amazon? So I dived in. 'Twas about £21 including carriage. Outrageously cheap for what it is; something like this would have cost £100s a few years ago - no wonder homebrewing is getting so sophisticated.

This is it fitting to a Grainfather conical:
20190407_093754_WEB.jpg
20190407_093308_WEB.jpg
I got an adapter to fit it to a 4" Tri-clover port on my 1/2 barrel conical too. And I'm working on a way to adapt it to Corny kegs (and perhaps my mini-kegs?). To drive it I've ordered one of these: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00 ... UTF8&psc=1. I'm not keen on using diaphragm pumps in "sanatory" situations, but as this will only pump cleaners (like VWP) and rinses (water and Star-San) I don't think it's a problem. And they will pump at tremendous pressures and are self-priming to boot. And £12 is again, outrageously cheap.

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Re: Clean-in-place Spray Ball - ANY Fermenter/Keg

Post by PeeBee » Sun Apr 07, 2019 1:53 pm

LeeH wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:09 am
Interested to see if you get enough flow to drive the ball peebee
Couldn't find info on the "flow" needed to drive the ball, but the pump can chuck out 5L a minute and I've seen instructions using these pumps to drive CIP balls drawing the input from the Corny keg beer-out disconnect, which will be quite a restriction. Pressure is easy; the ball needs a recommended 40-60PSI, and the pump can potentially deliver over 100PSI (0.8Mps) - careful what you attach it to (another reason not to use diaphragm pumps in "normal" brewing situations).

I'll have to wait and see.

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Re: Clean-in-place Spray Ball - ANY Fermenter/Keg

Post by PeeBee » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:16 pm

Here's the "instructions" I dug up suggesting the linked 12V pump will be adequate for the purpose: http://think.gusius.com/keg-cleaning-system/.

There isn't any evidence that the pump actually does do the job! I'll have to hang-on to prove that. Note it will require quite a hefty power supply. Most plug-in supplies won't be up to the job. Needs >6A I think. I've a 10A plug-in supply, or a much bigger permanently installed supply I used to use for a car tyre inflator.

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Re: Clean-in-place Spray Ball - ANY Fermenter/Keg

Post by LeeH » Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:45 pm

I tried one with a chugger with limited success but didn’t really persevere with it to be fair.


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Re: Clean-in-place Spray Ball - ANY Fermenter/Keg

Post by PeeBee » Sun Apr 07, 2019 3:28 pm

I'm counting on the power of these diaphragm pumps. Although a Chugger is good for about 23L per minute (x4 to x5 the pump I'm waiting for), it can only manage a head of about 18 feet; that's about 7PSI. The diaphragm pump will manage about 260 feet! *

I also take comfort from the pathetic little pump on the mega-expensive SS keg cleaner: https://www.themaltmiller.co.uk/product/keg-wassher/. I think the SS job is a spinning CIP ball, and the pump looks like a weak impeller type one (like the Chugger, but the Chugger is powered by 230V not 12V)?

* Slightly unfair. Not comparing like with like. A Chugger pump normally pushes along a 1/2", 13mm, diameter pipe, the diaphragm pump is only dealing with 9-10mm diameter. Taking just the pressure (head) or just the litres per minute isn't really telling the whole story.

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Re: Clean-in-place Spray Ball - ANY Fermenter/Keg

Post by Kev888 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:46 pm

Yes, the chuggers (and even moreso the MP range) are pretty low pressure - partly by design. Even things like the tiny solar project pumps can match or outdo them in some scenarios, so size doesn't necessarily mean a lot in this respect.

Of course, it isn't just about pressure; usually flow rate is also important as well, or there won't be opportunity for the pressure to build at the spray ball even if the pump is capable of supplying it. But it depends on the design of ball; if the manufacturer doesn't specify it then hard to say what is needed for this one, it'll be interesting to hear how it goes.
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Re: Clean-in-place Spray Ball - ANY Fermenter/Keg

Post by Digby » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:02 pm

Not sure if it is useful, but I have found my Hozelock water butt pump works really well with my SS brewtech CIP ball. Less success with the chugger style of pump as the flow rate seems inadequate.

I look forward to learning how you get on.

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Re: Clean-in-place Spray Ball - ANY Fermenter/Keg

Post by IPA » Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:22 am

I have built a keg washer and tried one of those rotating sprayballs and found it to be worse than useless unless used facing downwards and even then it it is pretty poor. I then fitted a fixed sprayball and it works fine.
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Re: Clean-in-place Spray Ball - ANY Fermenter/Keg

Post by Digby » Mon Apr 08, 2019 7:27 am

I think that is really interesting. Must all be to do with the flow rate / pressure I guess. I am really pleased with the performance of my soray ball. :)

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Re: Clean-in-place Spray Ball - ANY Fermenter/Keg

Post by PeeBee » Mon Apr 08, 2019 8:57 am

My contingency plan is one of these: https://www.amazon.co.uk/SEAFLO-11-6-Wa ... HWGAA0ZWHM.
But at five-times the price I hope it doesn't come to that. Half the pressure (45psi) but still in required spec (40-60psi) and it does push this down 13mm diameter pipe work (1/2" NPT, but at 1/2" that is very close to BSP). x3 the flow-rate (11.6L per minute).

There is a range of 12V "bilge" pumps at £20-30 that will pump 50-150L/min. But somehow I don't trust the materials used even if it is only for pumping cleaning fluids. And the pressures (head) seem low too, though many pump into 20-40mm hose.

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Re: Clean-in-place Spray Ball - ANY Fermenter/Keg

Post by Kev888 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:46 am

If it comes to investing in costly pumps then the attraction of a cheap spray ball starts to fade IMO. In that case, it could be worth cutting losses and getting a sprayball that at least has known specs (i.e. pressure and flow); it could work out cheaper than buying powerful pumps if the ball is excessive for the application (let alone a sequence of them, which may or may not work).

These things vary hugely, even rotating ones might work on as little as 15psi and 20Lpm or less 'if' designed for modest radius of spray, right up to needing hundreds of litres per minute - yet with similar pressure rating - or have completely different pressure/flow relationships. I'm guessing the cheap ones without proper specs might not be the most efficient; the flow rate is really important to know, so it seems odd for them not to mention it..
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Re: Clean-in-place Spray Ball - ANY Fermenter/Keg

Post by PeeBee » Mon Apr 08, 2019 1:32 pm

PeeBee wrote:
Sun Apr 07, 2019 2:16 pm
Here's the "instructions" I dug up suggesting the linked 12V pump will be adequate for the purpose: http://think.gusius.com/keg-cleaning-system/.
I was taking inspiration from this as it uses a similar pump. But now I notice the ball they are using; while it is the same diameter as mine, it has only half the "slots" so will presumably be driven by a lower flow.

Now I'm worried. But I've got a few weeks to wait for the pump to arrive (it's coming from China yet was purchased from Amazon). I'll also try looking for a fixed CIP ball (low total area holes not high total area slots) but getting them with the right tri-clover mounting will be a problem. Predictably (i.e. I never expected it to), it doesn't spin from the Grainfather's pump.

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Re: Clean-in-place Spray Ball - ANY Fermenter/Keg

Post by Kev888 » Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:03 pm

Unfortunately that link doesn't work for me ("this page isn't working") but I get the gist from your description, so thats fine.

Yes the number, and also the size, of slots make a big difference to the pressure and flow relationship needed, and how far it will spray on a given pump. They 'can' be designed for quite modest pumps, but generally I'm afraid they're expected to be used with purpose-designed CIP systems which tend to be fairly beefy in order to work faster and/or spray bigger vessels.

It is very lax of the manufacturers to not supply at least some indication of flow rate needed to achieve the stated pressure. Possibly if your water supply is up to it, or if you have a big pond pump or similar you might be able to test to at least get a ball-park.
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Re: Clean-in-place Spray Ball - ANY Fermenter/Keg

Post by guypettigrew » Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:20 pm

Without wishing to rain on your parade, why bother?

Hot water and a washing up brush cleans my FV out perfectly! Followed by a spray with Starsan.

Guy

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Re: Clean-in-place Spray Ball - ANY Fermenter/Keg

Post by PeeBee » Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:44 pm

guypettigrew wrote:
Mon Apr 08, 2019 2:20 pm
Without wishing to rain on your parade, why bother?

Hot water and a washing up brush cleans my FV out perfectly! Followed by a spray with Starsan.

Guy
Well, "to piss on your parade" … I'm looking for something to simplify the manual work you describe so well … because I'm severely disabled!

Others will have their reasons; best not to dig too deep.

("Severely disabled"? But I climbed 900m up an active volcano - Stromboli - last week. But I don't like being kept in my box.).

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