Blichmann conical glycol jacket

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Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby Hilltopbrewer » Sun May 10, 2009 5:34 pm

I have a Blichmann 14 gal conical and am trying to put together a glycol jacketed cooling system for it. The way that Blichmann has designed and attached the three legs to the conical makes it impossible to wrap coils of copper tubing around the upper part of the fermenter. As far as the handles go I was just going to remove them. The design of morebeers conical makes it easy to wrap the upper portion. I was wondering if anyone that has a Blichmann that has encountered this and has overcome it. I was thinking of reversing the legs and making a stand-off to get some space between the leg and the fermenter, but I'm not sure if that will be stong enough when the conical is full. I would appreciate any ideas. :?: :?: :?: :?: :?:
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby Roc-Craven » Mon May 11, 2009 9:50 am

Just a thought here. You could run the coils in a s pattern between the legs bring a loop under the leg to the next section.
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby hwasone » Mon May 11, 2009 11:55 am

Try calling Blichman for advice?
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby Backyard Brewer » Mon May 11, 2009 4:53 pm

I walked someone through this and I think he ultimately removed the legs and had the edge against the conical machined to open space for the coils. So then your coils would fit about 1/2" above and below the mounting screws.
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby Hilltopbrewer » Mon May 11, 2009 5:52 pm

Thanks for the input. I think I will give blichmann a call. I was going to use 1/2" tubing to wrap it, and I don't think an S patternwould provide enough room to bend the tubing between each set of legs to allow enough of the tubing to come in contact with the conical. I have seen a few pictures after googling with a blichmann wrapped (but with insulation over the tubing its hard to see what was done) and it looks like the legs have'nt been moved. Cutting a slot under them does sound likethat might be the way to go.
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby usmcruz » Mon May 11, 2009 5:55 pm

Coming from a fabricators standpoint, Id drill holes through the legs, and run the copper through the holes. Those channel legs, even after being drilled will still be tough as nails.
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby Backyard Brewer » Mon May 11, 2009 9:49 pm

Having coiled a conical before, I would not recommend trying to thread copper through holes. You'd never get it done. I was thinking something like this:

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Here's my B3 conicals coiled:

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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby fossilsrocks » Tue May 12, 2009 3:59 am

Would you consider using a peltier plate like B3's conicals use? That looks a lot easier, to me.
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby marvelman74 » Tue May 12, 2009 5:33 am

If you were to use a peltier plate on a 7 gallon conical how many watts worth of them would you have to use? I was thinking of doing this after seeing something on tv about peltier coolers. You put power through them one way and it cools and put power through it the other way and it heats. Just wonder how many to use.
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby fossilsrocks » Tue May 12, 2009 8:54 am

Good question. I would think that it depends a lot on how much heating or cooling you wanted, how well you insulate it, how it is installed, the size and configuration of the heat sink fins, etc.... Sorry I don't have a more definitive answer; I just thought that it sounded easier that a glycol jacketed system. Plus, B3 currently sell a system using that technology rather than a glycol jacketed system; I figure there is a good reason for that.
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby Wild Bill » Tue May 12, 2009 9:34 am

I e-mailed John Blichman when I began my investigation into this and unless he has changed his attitude he will be of no help. he just could not understand why anyone wouldn't want to put the conicals into a refrigerator. We did discuss reversing the legs a bit but he was conserned about the rigidity.

I like Derrin's idea of cutting out an area in the legs. I would not go with 1/2" copper though it's overkill. I would say 3/8" OD / 1/4" ID is just fine.
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby Backyard Brewer » Tue May 12, 2009 10:34 am

Yeah, Bill's right on a cut-out go 3/8" that's what I have.

When I decided to cool mine, I looked long and hard at the Peltier option. I chose against if for several reasons.

1) it's very inefficient and it takes a lot of current to get those things to really hum.
2) They require very large heat sinks to work well, not a big problem but important and introduces additional considerations.
3) The require a perfect surface area connection to the conical to get acceptable conduction. B3 machines and then surface hones a block to the conical. This is a great way to do it, but requires quite a bit of machining to accomplish, not to mention being able to hone the two pieces together. Not all that DIY friendly.
4) B3 used to make a probe that penetrated the conical wall but discontinued that method.
5) A power supply capable of delivering the required current is expensive. A computer PS will not work well because even though it might be rated for several thousand watts, most of that power is only available @ 5.0 & 3.3V, not the 12V
6) Finally, to really work well, the power needs to be throttled or modulated (PWM?), not just switched with a Ranco. The problem is that the chip itself is a very effective conductor of heat. If you shut the thing off quickly, the heat built up in the heat sink will immediately flow right back into the cold block and into your beer. The best way would be to use a micro controller to monitor the temp and then throttle back until the heat sink cools and then turn it off. Ideally you'd never shut the Peltier off completely and use it to create a thermal insulator so it doesn't become a path for cold to escape and heat to enter.


It's not a bad option, just a lot to consider. I believe that B3 uses the technology because it's the simplest complete solution. If they provided some sort of jacket, they would also have to provide some sort of glycol or chiller as well and that would get expensive and complicated.

Just my .02. I did a lot of research before building my chilling system.
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby fossilsrocks » Wed May 13, 2009 3:57 am

I agree with much of what you wrote Backyard Brewer, but not all.

I have a peltier setup that I used to cool a fermentation chamber. I use a computer power supply to power it, and it easily outputs the proper voltage & amperage (12VDC, 6 amps). Computer power supplies must sense a load to work properly. I had to add a resistor on a 5VD output to stabilize the output (They are a "Switching" type power supply), but it wasn't difficult. Heat sinks (Aluminum fins) came with the unit I purchased. The application of the unit to the conical is indeed something that needs to be done well, but that is also true with a glycol jacket. Without good surface to surface contact neither will work well or efficiently. What you mentioned about the control of the plate is also true, but I can tell you from experience that a on/off controller (Like a Ranco) works pretty well in real life. AND, if you shut off the circulation of the glycol chiller, you will also let heat back into the system. If you consider the refrigeration system, all of the potential areas for heat transfer (Inefficiency) in a glycol system, and the power that the pump uses I'm not at all certain that a glycol system would be more efficient that a peltier system. You can easily heat your conical with a peltier system, too. That's a nice option for those who have cool brewing environments during the winter months (Or if you just want to ferment your Belgian beer at higher temperatures).
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby Mr. Wonderful » Wed May 13, 2009 4:06 am

Silicone Tubing Can be used can it not ? I was thinking about making Jackets for my fermenters where glycol is pumped through the silicone tube which i sewn onto a jacket that is velcro or belt strapped to the fermeneter. Easy on, easy off .
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Re: Blichmann conical glycol jacket

Postby fossilsrocks » Wed May 13, 2009 4:07 am

Silicone is very poor heat conductor.
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