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Thread: 100 GPH RO Build for $2,000 - Pics, Video, Diagrams... Oh My!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Chardon, OH
    Posts
    442

    Default 100 GPH RO Build for $2,000 - Pics, Video, Diagrams... Oh My!

    It’s a Christmas miracle; I’m done with my RO build!
    We recently added another sugarmaker to the family (3-month old son), so I needed to make some adjustments since time is now my most prized possession. In walks the RO idea…

    Honestly, I never thought I would build one since I felt it was messing with nature too much, and –like many- heard it detracted from the flavors and health benefits that make syrup so great. Well…Thanks to a ton of recent research from Dr Perkins and some innovations with membranes, the claims have been debunked. The impacts are less than 1%. Good enough for me.


    Anyways, I spent hours weeding through posts on here looking at other’s builds and talking to Dave aka “bowhunter” a bunch of times to get the technical information I needed (pump size, membrane format, etc), and the below build is what I came up with. I also attached simple diagrams for both the hose routing from Dave and my electrical schematic for wiring the work box.

    Below is my profile so you know where I’m coming from:
    - D&G 2x6 raised flue which boils about 30-40 GPH… depending on wood and load frequency.
    - Natural draft- I leave the ash door open and its good enough for me until I build an air over fire chassis. Never cared for AUF.
    - ~225+ taps on buckets and gravity
    - 40 amp 240v service in sugarhouse with water.


    I wanted to future-proof myself as much as could on the major components so I built it as beefy as you can get within reason. Someday I will have many more taps and didn’t want to replace any of the components, just add another membrane.
    - 1hp shallow well pump
    - All 1” ID hoses before the Procon
    - 2hp motor powering the 330gph Procon
    - Biggest wheeled dolly I could find
    - 1/8” thick square tube
    - 3/16” thick flat iron braces
    - 4.5”x10” Pentair Big Blue filter
    - L090 oversized Lovejoys
    - Large independent contactors for electrical


    I knew I wanted to eventually put another 4” membrane next to my current one so made the flat iron wide enough to accommodate that.
    I chose a 1HP well pump with 1” lines so I could supply the future double-membranes with enough sap as well. The 1” was tough to work with compared to the ½” hose but I know it’ll be worth it when I have 2 membranes and need the flow.

    The unit is 240v since I have that in the sugarhouse. I brew beer in the shack throughout the year and need the 40 amps for the elements and chugger pumps.

    I heard all the stories about how filmy concentrated sap can get when stored, and you need to clean out the equipment that touches it daily… so I decided to produce concentrate on the fly, rather than ahead of time and let it sit overnight until I boil. I will use a 30 gallon container to feed my evaporator with concentrate. It’ll be very accessible to clean after every boil.

    After talking with Dave (Bowhunter), I knew the size of membrane I needed, the size of my pump, and the flowmeter range so I can dial this puppy in. The Procon decision was simple. This was the highest GPH pump in the series 4 lineup. Anything larger would have been over 2x more money, and 2x the repair cost when rebuilding.



    Based on the parameters above with recirculation, I will remove 66% of the water if my flowmeters are set at:
    Permeate: 1gpm
    Concentrate: .56gpm
    That’s why I chose a .2-2 permeate flowmeter, and a .1-1 concentrate flowmeter… the reading is smack in the middle of the gauge. Again, this is all based on a rough 33gph boil rate. This can all be easily adjusted via needle valves if I had a bigger rig/boiled faster, or wanted to slow down the output if I’m hosting an open house, or just drinking more beer than I should while boiling  .



    Some other notes:
    • - US Plastic has the best selection of Kynar fittings and high pressure hose (http://www.usplastic.com/ ). I debated on using brass compression fittings, but it was more money and it’s near impossible to find a 1/2” OD tube that can withstand 250 PSI AND be flexible enough to make those bends behind my control panel. The Kynar fittings are 250+ psi workable, and functioned flawlessly. No need for Brass if Kynar makes the fitting.
    • - I looked everywhere for pressure switches that were 100% waterproof and adjustable. The Gems have tested flawlessly.
    • - I went with an XLE-4040 membrane since they have the highest GPD rating and work at a lower pressure.
    • - I used horse stall mat to pad the SS membrane housing straps and the motor/pump mounts. It may or may not help with vibration dampening but doesn’t hurt.
    • - The harbor freight dolly was on sale for $50 minus a coupon I got online made it $35. I was going to weld up a dolly on my own which I really to, but this was too cheap to pass up. I’m glad I did this since the 13” tires and axle hardware would have been $45 alone, not including the $60 of steel for the homemade dolly frame.
    • - The electrical box was done the right way with 12-4 SOOW cord which can handle 30 amps (currently 13.9A total draw with 240v).
    • - 4 30-amp independent relays: 1 for main, 1 for the momentary switch, 1 for the well pump and 1 for the Procon.
    • - Temperature controller was only $15 on Amazon, but it only came with a simple probe to dangle into a pot. I instead bought a rtd probe that could thread into a npt connection but it wasn’t compatible with the box, since the box takes thermistor-style probe which are a pain to find in with npt fittings. So I suggest getting an Auber PID-style controller that takes 3-wire rtd probes (highly available) and just use it for temperature readout. Then-if you want- you can use it to control a wash tank later down the road. I didn’t need a wash tank as I have several 5-20 gallon PID-controlled SS pots with heating elements nearby I can use.
    • - I have a low pressure switch set to 30psi and a high pressure switch set to 250.
    • - The unit will drain fairly well, but no matter what you will have water in some of the hoses. You can use an air compressor and gently blow some air into your outlet hose ends.
    • - I chose the Winters 2.5” gauges since they were nice and large and flush mount. I looked real hard for liquid filled gauges in flush mount but all the mounting designs seemed to not be compatible with my aluminum plate. As a result, the dry gauge needles have a bit of a shake to them when the unit is on, but they work fine.


    Well, that should do it for now! I had a lot of fun building this thing and can’t wait to use it with some real sap! I hope this info inspires you to get working on building your own!
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Chardon, OH
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    Default

    More pics and diagrams...
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Chardon, OH
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    more pics...
    Attached Images Attached Images

  4. #4
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    Feb 2009
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    Chardon, OH
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    the guts...
    Attached Images Attached Images

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    Campbellford, on
    Posts
    682

    Default

    Very nice build. So when you add a 2nd membrane will it be in series or parallel?
    Maple Rock Farm
    www.Maplerockfarm.ca
    400 taps on Vacuum
    18”x60” Lapierre propane evaporator with Smokey Lake auto draw off
    Homemade 3 post RO with MES membranes
    Ford TS110 tractor sap hauler

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    New Hartford, N.Y.
    Posts
    2,071

    Default

    That's a good looking unit. Nice Job!
    The only thing I'd be concerned with is taking the filter apart and the liquid getting on whats below it.
    Congratulations on the new sugar making equipment and the new sugarmaker!
    Steve
    2014 Upgrades!: 24x40 sugarhouse & 30"x10' Lapierre welded pans, wood fired w/ forced draft, homemade hood & preheater
    400 taps- half on gravity 5/16, half on gravity 3/16
    Airablo R.O. machine - in the house basement!
    Ford F-350 4x4 sap gatherer
    An assortment of barrels, cage tanks & bulk tanks- with one operational for cooling/holding concentrate
    And a few puzzled neighbors...

    http://s606.photobucket.com/albums/t...uckethead1920/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2014
    Location
    Rochester, NY USA
    Posts
    637

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    Great job on the build. I wish I had built mine on a dolly so I could run it in the sugar house. But then again, I don't have 240v service out there so it would have added a major task to the project.

    I think I am going to have to get the same flow meters you have. My recirc line is set up the same way and after to talking to Dave, 0.2-2.0 meters make more sense. My current meter won't really register anything usable if I run it the way Dave suggested.

    Congrats on your new apprentice too.
    Smoky Lake 2x6 fuel-oil fired, raised flue, hoods, SSR, concentric exhaust
    Home-built auto draw off
    Home-built RO - double XLE 4040, PLC controlled
    8x10 Sugar Shed
    200 taps on tubing with Shurflo vacuum with solar
    https://www.facebook.com/flowercitymaplesyrup/

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Chardon, OH
    Posts
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    Default

    Thanks guys. Couldnt have done the build without Dave's diagram.

    Questions answered:
    • i will run them in parallel if adding another membrane.
    • i have removed the filter full of water 3 times already on test runs and no water spills below... if youre careful. Nice thing is the electrical boxes below have rubber gaskets on them so im covered
    • ya these flowmeters work great and were only $65 for both. i have a parts list if anyone is interested
    • you can run this whole setup on 120v, both motors can do 120. It would be 28 amps on 120 though.
    Last edited by WoodButcher; 12-28-2016 at 07:28 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Columbia CT
    Posts
    67

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    Great build, I am going to be building mine (a single 4x40, 120v unit) in Jan and your photos and drawing are going to be a big help. I would love to see your parts list, this is almost exactly what I am looking for.
    700 taps, Smoky Lake 2x6 drop flu, 2 post RO. 16x20 Sugar House

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2012
    Location
    Michigan
    Posts
    152

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    Nice build ! On my build I started with 1 membrane , then 2 , then last year 3 lol. I use xle4040's and run them in series . When you get to 3 , and it will happen, go with a multistage booster pump. Big difference in flow and less premature fouling of the membranes . I run around little over 3 gpm permeate and 5 plus gpm concentrate . I usually shut it down around 12% and still have good flow thru the membranes after running 600 gallons thru. Cost wise the booster pump is on par with the bigger procons and as a added bonus it will heat your wash water .
    CDL 30x10
    Homebuild R.O.
    Wes Fab filter press full bank w/air pump
    ornery wife
    1 mean Stihl 460 woods ported chainsaw

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