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Replacing solar pumps in my HERMS

PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 23:16
by Northern Brewer
The solar pumps I have been using for the last few years are beginning to fail so need to look at replacements. At the moment I use cheap Chinese tattoo machine adjustable power supplies to vary the flow rate of the pumps.

I was hoping to make some big parastaltic pumps before I had to buy more but I have too much on at the moment so new pumps it is.

Looking at the TopsFlo TL-B10 Pump I can just use a ball valve and a static PSU, marvelous :)

Before I go and buy a couple with 1/2 BSP so I can put quick release connectors on, as I haven't really been paying attention to new shiney kit for a while, is there anything else I need to consider before buying them?

Cheers
Andy

Cheers
Andy

Re: Replacing solar pumps in my HERMS

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 09:39
by Rolfster
I got a pump and a ball valve tap and I wish I had gone down the tattoo gun route instead!
I was going to use it to recirculate my mash and then pump into the boiler, but it didn't work as well as I thought it would. I just use it for moving water from mu htl to mash tun and let the mash tun drain unassisted.... and it makes cleaning the pump easier!

Sorry, I'm rambling now!

Re: Replacing solar pumps in my HERMS

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:28
by jkp
I have one of these https://www.brewuk.co.uk/ts5-mini-pump.html (TS5 mini mag) with a ball valve on the output side and quick connections. It's mostly used for recirculating the mash(it needs to be throttled back a good amount for this job) or moving brewing liquor about. Works really well on the whole. I occasionally have trouble getting an initial prime of the pump, but I expect that's more my setup than the pump.

Re: Replacing solar pumps in my HERMS

PostPosted: Tue Sep 12, 2017 11:51
by Aleman
I'd second the TS5 pump . . . Mark at Brewbuilder has some nice ones as well . . . at a cost though :(

Re: Replacing solar pumps in my HERMS

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:30
by Northern Brewer
Thanks guys

One thing that really bugs me is priming, I put the pumps below the various tuns but it can still take a while to get the air out, my usual method is to undo the camlock a touch on the output of the pump, let the air out then swear a little while I tighten the camlock and get covered in hot wort. Looking at the various reducers, tees etc. I would need to put in an in-line bleeder, I think I shall make my own bleed valves by drilling existing fittings and putting in a small stainless thumbscrew.

Re: Replacing solar pumps in my HERMS

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 11:41
by Aleman
I never have a problem priming any of my pumps :scratch: Even with some relatively short falls from the tap to the pump. I do have a BV on the outlet of the pump though so open that with a long tube attached, open the tap from the vessel, it fills. close tap on pump outlet, swap tube for correct one, open taps as required and start pump.

Re: Replacing solar pumps in my HERMS

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 12:30
by Northern Brewer
Interesting :) I have 3 piece full bore valves on all the vessels but still get air in the tap that kind of hangs around at the top of the silicon hose for a while then decides to dive for the pump. Sometimes a judicial use of swear words and pipe wiggling gets rid of it, especially if there is some momentum of wort travelling in the hoses, other times I have to clear it by carefully waggling the camlock.

I think I shall buy some of the TS5 pumps and see how they perform first before trying to find a fitting with sufficient meat to allow me to tap it for a bleed valve. If I have to I will get a mate to weld on a bit of stainless so I have some depth to tap.

Re: Replacing solar pumps in my HERMS

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 13:19
by aamcle
is it really worth it?

you could replace a solar pump several times over for the price of one "good pump" or even buy two and have a spare to hand.

atb. aamcle

Re: Replacing solar pumps in my HERMS

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 16:26
by Northern Brewer
I have got used to the solar pumps and the tattoo PSU to control flow but they can be a bit unpredictable under load and the flow varies a bit, I can't have music on load in the brewery as I need to hear the whine of the pumps. However I'm not going to go overboard on cost, the TS5 are about double solar pumps, maybe a bit more which is just about acceptable given I have some spare ball valves for flow control, but I wouldn't go over a hundred quid for the TD5 or a chugger.

Still thinking about it, no decision yet :)

Re: Replacing solar pumps in my HERMS

PostPosted: Wed Sep 13, 2017 22:02
by Northern Brewer
Just bought a second hand TS5 pump of the bay of evil, supposedly only 10 hrs use. I can then see if I get on with the different pump and flow control without spending too many beer vouchers :)

Re: Replacing solar pumps in my HERMS

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 03:33
by jkp
Just noticed in the other thread that you're brewing some big batches there NB. What's the size of your setup?

I just increased mine to a 90L kettle, but with only 50L of wort yesterday it was struggling to keep a strong boil (lid off). Need to sort out a bit of insulation for it.

Re: Replacing solar pumps in my HERMS

PostPosted: Thu Sep 14, 2017 08:48
by Northern Brewer
Hi JKP

I'm using 100 litre SS catering pots for copper and HLT, 80 litre thermos pot for the mash tun and 120 litre HDPE conical for FV plus a 6 litre thermos pot for the heat exchanger. Here's a few pics

herms1.jpg
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mashtun1.jpg
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sparge1.jpg
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cupboard1.jpg
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Cheers
Andy

Re: Replacing solar pumps in my HERMS

PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 00:40
by PeeBee
Northern Brewer wrote:Thanks guys

One thing that really bugs me is priming, I put the pumps below the various tuns but it can still take a while to get the air out, my usual method is to undo the camlock a touch on the output of the pump, let the air out then swear a little while I tighten the camlock and get covered in hot wort. Looking at the various reducers, tees etc. I would need to put in an in-line bleeder, I think I shall make my own bleed valves by drilling existing fittings and putting in a small stainless thumbscrew.

My setup has a sprinkling of these automatic bottle air vents. From your post it seems they might have passed you by? The important bit to note is the word "automatic".

s-l500.jpg
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At first I just fitted them as a "fix and forget" device. But I do now rinse them after each session; they sit on their own check valves to allow them to be removed from live pipes. You can get them for 7-8 quid from Ebay.

I also have other schemes to be rid of air-locks: temporary valves so I can pump water into parts of the pipework to dislodge trapped air. The simplest method I use is just to wait - given about three minutes I found liquid would make its own way around the pipework.

Re: Replacing solar pumps in my HERMS

PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 09:07
by Northern Brewer
Thanks for the pointer PeeBee, I haven't seen them before, I shall take a closer look :)