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Thread: 5/16 on semi flat land. Vac or no vac?

  1. #11
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    How many taps can go into 3/4 mainline? Those will be the trunk line, and will go to 1- 1/4 or 1- 1/2 main o the pump I think.
    2016 7 taps= 1-2 gallons of syrup
    2017 135 taps on bags/buckets =17 gallons syrup on block arch
    2018 75 taps on bags/buckets in new locations =50 gallons syrup (2 month season) on insulated barrel stove with auf and hobby r.o.
    2019 less taps on different ground for 1 month season. 20 gallons. Added 4x40 RO membrane and never finished 2x4 cooker.

    Creator and Mod of Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers on FB

  2. #12
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    Describe a little more what the land is like. Use a hand level and get some real numbers and learn your natural walking pace and then pace off the distances. That info will help.
    However, I have good success using 3/16 on flat ground, however I use mechanical vacuum at 26-27" using a piston pump, not a small diaphragm pump.
    The experts all say I lose production my way, but I look at what I get vs. the cost of setting it up. Last year on my sugarhouse woods I had 325 taps, and all but about 30 were on 3/16. Those 30 or so were set up before I started changing over to 3/16. On my land from the highest point on the land I have a 6' change in elevation in 800' distance. Before I started using 3/16 to pull sap as an experiment in 3 laterals from several taps that were out past that "high" spot I actually tapped some trees using a ladder to get some elevation to the main line. I then decided to experiment and I connected those trees to the mainline using 3/16. My only gauge on production was and still is just to watch the sap/air/sap/air train move thru the tubing and to the mainline. After 1 year of that ( 2017 season) on about 20 taps total, I added some new taps pulling sap from an area across a driveway from the sugarhouse in an area that was 6' lower at the far end than at the spot where I then ran 2 lines, 3/16 up a tree next to the driveway, climbing to a height of 15', going over that driveway (sags to about 14' when it has sap in it) to another tree, then it slopes down to where it ties into the mainline with 26-27" vacuum on it. One of those lines was 25 taps on sugars, the other was 24 taps on reds for a total of 49 taps. Besides the taps and tees, it cost me about 3 rolls of 3/16 tubing (1500'). From the doorway on the sugarhouse I could see the sap flow as it fell down about 11' with a slope of about 40% to the main. The only bad part of that was that it was hypnotizing. (that was the 2018 season) Yes, I likely would have gotten more sap if I'd used conventional methods using the vacuum and sap ladders or make the high point the end taps and run out the roughly 450' to the low spot, then pump the sap back to my tanks, but the cost would have been far higher. It worked so well that the 2019 I added several more laterals all in 3/16 pulling from lower sections of my land and I also changed over some of my old 5/16 laterals to 3/16 so by then all but about 30 taps out of 325 were in 3/16 laterals.
    When I do this I put 15-25 taps on a lateral and all taps are on 5/16 drops. Then each lateral flows into one of 2 mainlines, each mainline is 1" diameter and each has 2 sap ladders to get it to the vacuum pump. The only taps at this point that do not climb a sap ladder are the 30 that are not yet on 3/16 laterals because they are along the area from the last sap ladder to the vacuum pump. In 2018 I made .52 gal/tap and in 2019 I made .49 gpt.
    This next season I'm shooting for about 450 taps, with all new taps using 3/16 laterals. Could I do better, you bet I could, but at a hug investment in infrastructure to do it. Each year every tap except some Zap Bac taps are new, and the Zap BAc taps are used 2 seasons, I also use a new tee every year. Even on the Zap Bac taps. I have decided to dis continue the Zap Bac, having used up my inventory of them in the 2019 season, in 2019 I also finished off all seasonal spouts I had. From now on I plan to use my old favorite, the CV2.
    Last edited by maple flats; 11-02-2019 at 10:38 AM.
    Dave Klish about 1320 taps in '15, doing fewer each year, about 450 planned for 2020 (and after?)
    2012 Mahindra 36 HP 4x4/ loader/cab/heat/AC:-)
    added a gooseneck equipment trailer and F350 to tow it to haul more sap
    3x8 raised flue evaporator
    250 GPH converted to electric, RO by Ray Gingerich
    6.32 KW solar system, 1.48KW is battery backed up, all net metered
    http://s1041.photobucket.com/albums/...anssugarhouse/
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  3. #13
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    Tomorrow will be a nice day out and I'll string up a 1000 ft roll of 3/16 to use it as a level and see how I do. Im all soft maple(red). Haven't seen any silver leaves yet but they could be there. This area doesn't have any sugar maples that I know of. In my yard 20 miles away I have 2 large full crown sugar maples so they will grow. The land we are speaking about is pretty wet at the bottom near a swamp. Some spots are holding water that I'm hoping to drain. Maybe I'll set up where trenches go tomorrow too. This land I do not own yet for 2 weeks but I have permission to be on it. I have 600 taps flagged out. Lots of oak maple and birch but the oaks are on one corner heavy and the maples are on another corner heavy. Maybe birch tapping too!
    2016 7 taps= 1-2 gallons of syrup
    2017 135 taps on bags/buckets =17 gallons syrup on block arch
    2018 75 taps on bags/buckets in new locations =50 gallons syrup (2 month season) on insulated barrel stove with auf and hobby r.o.
    2019 less taps on different ground for 1 month season. 20 gallons. Added 4x40 RO membrane and never finished 2x4 cooker.

    Creator and Mod of Wisconsin Maple Syrup Producers on FB

  4. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thompson's Tree Farm View Post
    I'd like to see a comment from Dr Tim regarding vacuum transfer in 3/16 vs 5/16 with limited slope
    I've been away for a bit (for the annual maple conference, then some fun).

    Short answer.... 3/16" tubing is counter-indicated on flat ground. Will you get sap if you do it? Sure. Will you get more sap if you do it with vacuum? Yup. Is it the optimal approach? Definitely not. Without vacuum you should definitely use 5/16" on flat ground. Even with vacuum you should use 5/16" tubing on flat ground. If you do go with 3/16" tubing on flat ground, you'll get less than with 5/16" (and if it is really flat or really long you'll get far less). Either way, with 3/16" tubing you need to be extremely vigilant about plugging, and either sanitize (chlorine most likely) OR replace all the fittings (tees, unions, saddles) at least every other year to maintain good production levels.

    Think of it this way...when you drink out of a glass with a straw, you can use a regular straw and get a normal amount of liquid with a normal amount of suction. While you could use a coffee-stirrer and suck hard and get liquid out of it, you'll get less reward for your efforts. Despite that, some people will choose the coffee stirrer and be happy with it.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  5. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by n8hutch View Post
    I would advise against putting 3/16 up on anything less than 10% slope . It was never intended for shallow slopes like this, it will work great the first year with clean brand new everything. Most people I know including myself saw a significant drop off in year 2 and consecutive years. Due to plugged ts and friction loss from dirty/ not new anymore tubing. Sure you can put vacuum on it and it helps ,but if your going to run vac anyway why not run 5/16 and get proven results of a half gallon per tap or better.

    3/16 is cheaper to setup initially because of more taps per lateral = less saddles and potentially less tubing used per tap, and you can get some natural vacuum if you have good slope. Tubing runs cheaper Those are the pros.

    The cons are ,less forgiving of leaks,needs to be cleaned , more maintenance damages easier, plugs easier, and needs to be replaced sooner. Doesn't work well on flat ground at all if vacuum pump is broken.
    Excellent answer.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by DrTimPerkins View Post
    I've been away for a bit (for the annual maple conference, then some fun).

    Short answer.... 3/16" tubing is counter-indicated on flat ground. Will you get sap if you do it? Sure. Will you get more sap if you do it with vacuum? Yup. Is it the optimal approach? Definitely not. Without vacuum you should definitely use 5/16" on flat ground. Even with vacuum you should use 5/16" tubing on flat ground. If you do go with 3/16" tubing on flat ground, you'll get less than with 5/16" (and if it is really flat or really long you'll get far less). Either way, with 3/16" tubing you need to be extremely vigilant about plugging, and either sanitize (chlorine most likely) OR replace all the fittings (tees, unions, saddles) at least every other year to maintain good production levels.

    Think of it this way...when you drink out of a glass with a straw, you can use a regular straw and get a normal amount of liquid with a normal amount of suction. While you could use a coffee-stirrer and suck hard and get liquid out of it, you'll get less reward for your efforts. Despite that, some people will choose the coffee stirrer and be happy with it.
    Good explanation, makes sense, but wonder if it applies to a couple cases I have experienced. I have had issues with pump surging when running a short branch of 5/16" tubing (just a handful of taps) on a small diaphragm pump. It was on flat ground but the line had sags. No mainline, just the 5/16 tubing. The problem disappeared when I swapped the 5/16 tubing out for 3/16 tubing. My thought was that the sags and air pockets in the 5/16" tubing were causing the problem, which is not seen with the smaller tubing.

    I have another place where there is a few feet of rise from the last tap to the pump, where the 3/16" tubing worked very well - again no mainline, just 35 taps on 3/16 in a mostly flat, swampy area of red maples on a diaphragm pump. I can't see how 5/16 tubing would work better in either of these cases, where there may be sags in the tubing. The 3/16" tubing seems more forgiving of the sags. Thoughts?

    Dave
    Mountain Maple farm
    2019: 180 taps, 60 on gravity, 100+ on vacuum using my programmable S3 controllers
    New website:
    https://www.mountainmaplefarm.com
    https://www.facebook.com/MountainMapleFarm/

  7. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Biz View Post
    Good explanation, makes sense, but wonder if it applies to a couple cases I have experienced. I have had issues with pump surging when running a short branch of 5/16" tubing (just a handful of taps) on a small diaphragm pump. It was on flat ground but the line had sags. No mainline, just the 5/16 tubing. The problem disappeared when I swapped the 5/16 tubing out for 3/16 tubing. My thought was that the sags and air pockets in the 5/16" tubing were causing the problem, which is not seen with the smaller tubing.
    It is almost impossible to tell what is happening on in terms of sap movement by looking at the lines if they have air and sap in them since they intermix and the sap slides past the air in both directions. The only real way of knowing how much liquid is moving is by measuring it at the end when it comes out.

    I have another place where there is a few feet of rise from the last tap to the pump, where the 3/16" tubing worked very well - again no mainline, just 35 taps on 3/16 in a mostly flat, swampy area of red maples on a diaphragm pump. I can't see how 5/16 tubing would work better in either of these cases, where there may be sags in the tubing. The 3/16" tubing seems more forgiving of the sags. Thoughts?
    This is a very different case in that you are purposefully sacrificing maximum yield to get something because of the situation (pulling uphill). In this case, the capillarity of the tubing, the cohesiveness of the sap, and the movement of air bubbles in the smaller diameter tubing are all helping to prevent the sap from moving back down the slope, which is the same thing as saying that friction is your friend in this particular case, whereas it is not when you're trying to go across a flat area or downhill. While you will get something in this instance, it will be less than it would if you ran it downhill due to the friction/backpressure of the system.

    A different analogy. You're pulling a sled, and that sled is connected to another sled, and another, and another, and so on.... (those sleds are sap droplets, which stick together). You push the first sled off the top of a hill. That sled helps to pull the next, and so on (gravity is pulling the sleds downhill, overcoming the friction with the ground). How much "energy" did it take to move all the sleds down the hill, especially once you got them going downhill. Not much, especially when a number of the sleds are already past the crest of the slope...at that point the lead sleds are pulling the others down.

    When you hit flat ground, the sleds slow down and eventually stop. This is due to friction with the ground. So now you have to use energy to pull the train of sleds. It is harder to get them to move, and you have to keep exerting energy by pulling (or pushing) or they stop moving again. It takes added energy to move the train.

    Now turn around and pull the same train of sleds up the hill. It's going to take even more exertion to get those sleds up the hill. In this case, it is the tree stem pressure (perhaps along with a pump suction) pushing (pulling) the sap up.

    Only difference with a pump is that it isn't just you pulling or pushing the sled, you've got another person (pump) to help you so it seems easier, but the amount of energy expended is the same. Going downhill the energy comes from gravity, on flat areas you have input energy to overcome friction. Uphill you need even more energy to overcome friction and change the relative height.
    Last edited by DrTimPerkins; 11-05-2019 at 05:27 PM.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  8. #18
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    Thanks for the detailed explanation Dr. Tim. Love the analogies, very helpful is understanding what is happening and why.

    On my surging issue from a couple years ago, the flow was not good on the 5/16" line because when flow drops, so does vacuum (due to the diaphragm pump characteristics) and therefore total amount of sap production. I think that a 5/16" line on flat terrain with droops or sags will not perform as well as a 3/16" line, although a well pitched 5/16" line or mainline would yield the best production. This might be something I can improve on another year. Always working to improve things...

    Dave
    Mountain Maple farm
    2019: 180 taps, 60 on gravity, 100+ on vacuum using my programmable S3 controllers
    New website:
    https://www.mountainmaplefarm.com
    https://www.facebook.com/MountainMapleFarm/

  9. #19
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    You're welcome.

    To continue the analogy, in the case of sagging lines, you've pushing and pulling the sap up and down a series of small hills. Takes energy to do that.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  10. #20
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    Folks,
    Dr Tim's analogies are super.
    My only comment to the original posters questions would be: 5/16 lines down hill, tight, and follow the creek. Raise the upper end as much as you can without standing on a ladder to tap. Tap the two sugar maples in the yard too! Have fun and make some syrup!
    Regards,
    Chris
    Casbohm Maple and Honey
    600 roadside taps
    3x10 King, WRU, AOF and AUF
    12" SIRO Filter Press.
    2015 Ford F250 PSD sap hauler
    One Golden named Maggie Cat named Lucy
    Too many Cub Cadets
    Ford Jubilee and several Allis WD's, and IH tractors

    www.mapleandhoney.com

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