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Thread: How small is too small for RO?

  1. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Broome County NY
    Posts
    10

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    Dan, Thanks for sharing the info on the RO. I have been thinking about making one and after seeing your video and your website I will most likely be making one for my next boiling season.
    Very nice website and thanks for the info on cleaning equipment, etc. Hope you keep the site up so it can be used next year.
    2016 1st year open fire pit 2.25 gallons
    2017 open fire pit with tarp around it 4.5 gallons
    2018 built shed and homemade evaporator 8 gallons
    2019 7.75 gallons

  2. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    OH
    Posts
    85

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    I had 31 taps this year and wouldn't do it with the RO. I have 3 150gpd membranes and it does 2%->5% and all I do is make sure it is running. without the RO, I'd be spending 2x as much time making syrup which is not ideal with young kids at home.

    just remember that you need to keep your RO running clean just like the people with bigger ROs do. That means flushing it with clean water at the end of the day, and using special RO soap and membrane preservative if you are going more than a few days without running it.
    2020: ?? taps. 3 full size steam table pans on a custom 6x water heater natural gas burner setup.
    2019: 31 taps on silvers. Back porch gas cook top with 2 full size steam table pans. An amazing 14.9 gallons in my backyard!
    2018: 22 taps on 9 silvers. Propane turkey fryer and full size steam table pan on electric stove. I made 4.25 gallons in my backyard!

  3. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    Location
    Murrysville, Pennsylvania
    Posts
    60

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    No problem and glad you like it! Want to help spread the joy of sugaring to others!

    I hope to keep it up and running. Subscribing to the site and the YouTube channel sure help keep it going. Trying to offset the cost to keep it up.

    Thanks again
    Dan

  4. #14
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Upper Valley, NH
    Posts
    14

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    I Definitely recommend the RO. Either building one, or the RO Bucket. I have a 3 membrane system and it makes making syrup reasonable for me. Less time and a lot less wood. I usually pump my sap into a holding tank and run the RO overnight and into the next day. I crank it up to 8% concentrate. When I get home, I only need to boil for about 3-4 hours to make 3-4 gallons of syrup with my Half Pint Supreme. It's amazing, and the homemade/RO Bucket systems are accessible for most of us - way cheaper than buying a larger evaporator. In my opinion (I'm a nerdy engineer), it is the best investment you can make if you want to have a fun, small-scale syrup operation without boiling all day and all night...
    68 Taps on 3/16" "natural vac"
    Leader Half-Pint Supreme with AUF
    Souped-up RO Bucket
    3 Black Rescue Dogs
    A Bunch of Bee Hives
    A Flock of Chickens
    30 Acres of Wooded Bliss
    https://blackdogbeesandmapletrees.com

  5. #15
    Join Date
    Feb 2018
    Location
    MA
    Posts
    13

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    I have 25 taps. Bought the mid level RO bucket. Very happy I did. It cut my boil time in 1/2. I generally collected 50-100 gal of sap per week. I run it all through the RO once and start to boil. Once I start the boil I run the concentrate through a second time and cut it in 1/2 again. I can get 100 gal of sap down to 30 gal of concentrate to boil. At 5 gallons per hour to boil... Marriage saver

  6. #16
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Upper Valley, NH
    Posts
    14

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    I totally agree. Most nights I get to eat dinner! Have you experimented with the time difference between cranking the back pressure up to get 7% or 8% concentrate right from the start vs. running the sap through twice before boiling to see which is faster?
    68 Taps on 3/16" "natural vac"
    Leader Half-Pint Supreme with AUF
    Souped-up RO Bucket
    3 Black Rescue Dogs
    A Bunch of Bee Hives
    A Flock of Chickens
    30 Acres of Wooded Bliss
    https://blackdogbeesandmapletrees.com

  7. #17
    Join Date
    Jan 2016
    Location
    Shelburne MA
    Posts
    212

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    Quote Originally Posted by 30AcreWoods View Post
    I totally agree. Most nights I get to eat dinner! Have you experimented with the time difference between cranking the back pressure up to get 7% or 8% concentrate right from the start vs. running the sap through twice before boiling to see which is faster?
    My understanding is that it depends on the configuration of your RO. 50% removal per membrane is the operational limit for these small ROs. If you have multiple membranes plumbed in series you could possibly get concentrations in the 8% range in a single pass. If the membranes are plumbed in parallel, then the best you can do is removing 50% of the water (doubling concentration).
    Processing speed and concentration are inversely related. High concentrations are achieved slowly. I run my 3 membrane parallel RO at only 25% removal (high speed) to keep up with my 20gph evaporator. Next year I may try to concentrate ahead of time.
    55ish taps
    D&G Sportsman 18x63
    RB15 RO Bucket
    Stihl 044 and 026

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Upper Valley, NH
    Posts
    14

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    I have three membranes in series with a low pressure pump feeding the high pressure pump. I am able to bring 2% sap up to 8% concentrate. My method is to pump sap late in the evening, then run the RO all night, and boil the next day (with a low flow switch to shut the pumps down). I ran two membranes in parallel last year and it was definitely slower - but that was without the low pressure pump. If I get one more good run this season I will try to recirculate in the tank and take out 50%, but do two passes and see what happens. I've found that washing the membranes and replacing the filter after passing 140-160 gallons of sap helps as well. Obviously, the sap temperature has a significant impact on throughput.
    Last edited by 30AcreWoods; 04-07-2019 at 12:52 AM.
    68 Taps on 3/16" "natural vac"
    Leader Half-Pint Supreme with AUF
    Souped-up RO Bucket
    3 Black Rescue Dogs
    A Bunch of Bee Hives
    A Flock of Chickens
    30 Acres of Wooded Bliss
    https://blackdogbeesandmapletrees.com

  9. #19
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Ontario
    Posts
    4

    Default

    Can I use a RO system that is made for under the sink tap water? If not, what is the difference?

  10. #20
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Needham, MA
    Posts
    96

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    We are similar in size. Are in a sugar shack? I'm running the evaporator in the driveway and thinking about running the RO machine in the garage the night before. Problem is that I've got 30 ft between the RO in the garage and the evaporator...

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