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Thread: RO build VS. RO bucket

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Mid-coast Maine
    Posts
    55

    Default RO build VS. RO bucket

    I知 going to take the dive into an RO for this coming season. I知 handy enough to put an RO together but wondering how many guys have built their own and how much $$ you致e actually saved over just buying a similarly sized RO bucket. Any feedback is much appreciated!!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Plymouth,ME
    Posts
    27

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    While I can't answer directly I'm in the same boat as you. I plan on building one with three 400GPD membranes and an Aquatech pump. Here is my approximate costs.
    Membranes and housings - $190
    Aquatech 8855 pump - $115
    Sediment filter and housing - $25
    RO pressure gauge - $11
    Needle Valve - $5
    Low pressure switch - $15
    Fittings / Hose - ??

    I'll be around $400 with this setup. It's about $125 cheaper than the RO bucket. Also with the recommendation to rotate the membranes between runs and such I like the idea of mounting it to a board for ease of swapping as well. Hoping I can knock some of the cost down during black Friday sales and such.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    NY
    Posts
    54

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    Hi, I am the "RO Bucket Guy" so I am obviously biased but I am also honest. Most sugarers are handy and totally capable of putting an RO system together. The two main issues are the time you are going to spend to learn and the materials you are going to choose.

    The RO Bucket design has been rigorously tested over the past several years. We use high quality parts that have evolved over time based on our experiences and the feedback of our customers. If you try to build your system using the cheapest parts you can find online you might be able to build a cheaper system but you are likely to encounter issues with leaks, pressure loss, etc.

    For example, our membrane housing is manufactured out of 1/4" plastic, has two O-rings in the cap, and all fittings are o-ring (so no Teflon tape). They are rated to 300psi. The larger housings from typical vendors are less than 1/8" thick, have a single o-ring, and are very difficult to get to stop leaking after 80psi. Anyone that has used a cheap 3012 membrane housing will attest to that! (The smaller 2012 housings hold up to pressure very well).

    Our membranes have been developed and tested to withstand the relatively low flow rates of hobby RO's. We have sold VERY few replacements as of yet.

    The low pressure switches from common online vendors will not turn off your RO for over an hour after it runs out of sap or develops a leak. They close at around 1psi, and it takes the system a very long time to bleed down to that pressure.

    We sell Do-It-Yourself kits at a discounted price from our ready-to-use buckets. Our RB10 Kit (smallest kit) sells for $385 and will process roughly 12 gallons of sap per hour. Our three membrane kit (RB15kit) is $470. Prices are important to us as we truly want all hobby producers to have access to the benefits of reverse osmosis - it is a game changer!. We welcome everyone else's feedback based on their own experiences.

    That stated, anyone that has made a hobby RO themselves is probably super happy with the way it has worked, regardless of any issues, leaks, etc., merely because of the enormous amount of time it has saved them! Buy one or make one, you won't regret it!

    Thanks!
    Last edited by carls47807; 11-10-2019 at 09:31 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Mid-coast Maine
    Posts
    55

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    Thanks for your input Carl!! I知 honestly leaning your direction and will pull the trigger soon. I look forward to less boil time and more time for other early spring projects in 2020👍🏼

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Wind Lake, WI
    Posts
    341

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    I recently bought the RB20 kit from Carl and have it pretty much setup. I was looking at piecing an almost identical RO together but this saved me a crap-ton of time for a few bucks more - worth it. Some pics in my 2020 Season gallery.
    42.82N
    2015 - Small operation. 25 buckets. One excited 5 year old and one 35 year old that feels 5 again.
    2016 - One year older. New Homemade 2x4 Arch, Smoky Lake Pan and looking at 52 maples, 17 box elders and 2 walnut trees.
    2017 - Shurflo 4008 hooked to 42 stingy silver maples and a few Norways. A couple buckets on sugars and Norways. 10 box elders.
    2018 - ...a few more taps.
    2019 - ...more taps on 3/16 gravity. This spiral is heading downward in a hurry.
    2020 - 4x400 RO - RB20 (uh-oh!)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Mid-coast Maine
    Posts
    55

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    Little tapper,
    I just finished up ordering the same model,I知 looking forward to the extra time,as I知 sure you are as well!! Have a great 2020 season,it値l be here in a flash👍🏼
    Quote Originally Posted by littleTapper View Post
    I recently bought the RB20 kit from Carl and have it pretty much setup. I was looking at piecing an almost identical RO together but this saved me a crap-ton of time for a few bucks more - worth it. Some pics in my 2020 Season gallery.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Whitelaw, Wisconsin
    Posts
    60

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    i bought the biggest one that Carl sells last season and it was a BIG time saver, I bought the kit you had to put together it was a fun little project, I saved some money and gave me something to do for a few winter days, you'll ask your self why didn't i get this sooner!!!!!!!!!!
    80 Taps and just as many trees

    2008 10 taps and milk jugs and turkey roasting pan
    2009 and 2010 15 taps , buckets and barrel set up
    2011 22 taps buckets and barrel set up and pre heater
    2012 25 taps buckets and barrel set up and pre heater
    2013 Who knows yet!!!!!
    2014 50 taps, buckets, bags and a better barrel set up with pre heater
    2015 80 taps, all bags, custom built arch with half pint pan
    Sap hauler 2004 Honda 450 es Foreman and a 3ftx4ft yard cart

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2015
    Location
    Wind Lake, WI
    Posts
    341

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    Quote Originally Posted by In da bush View Post
    Little tapper,
    I just finished up ordering the same model,I’m looking forward to the extra time,as I’m sure you are as well!! Have a great 2020 season,it’ll be here in a flash����
    Yes, it'll be here in a hurry! Same to you and have fun!
    42.82N
    2015 - Small operation. 25 buckets. One excited 5 year old and one 35 year old that feels 5 again.
    2016 - One year older. New Homemade 2x4 Arch, Smoky Lake Pan and looking at 52 maples, 17 box elders and 2 walnut trees.
    2017 - Shurflo 4008 hooked to 42 stingy silver maples and a few Norways. A couple buckets on sugars and Norways. 10 box elders.
    2018 - ...a few more taps.
    2019 - ...more taps on 3/16 gravity. This spiral is heading downward in a hurry.
    2020 - 4x400 RO - RB20 (uh-oh!)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2016
    Location
    Western Ny
    Posts
    269

    Default

    I pretty much built the more expensive ro bucket but I only have 2 membranes, can add another If i want. It was quite an undertaking getting all the parts on my own, imagine it would have saved me a bunch of time research if I just bought it from robucket but I'm the type of stubborn person who will go through stupid amounts of work to save a few bucks. In all I think it makes most sense to buy the robucket.
    2019- RO
    2018- 25 taps made 8 gal syrup.
    2017- 25 taps -built a 2x3 flat pan, and a fuel tank arch for it. 335 gal 7.34gal syrup.

    2016- 15 taps, 4.3gal syrup boiling on cinderblock arch 3 roasting pans, 1 redneck trash can with a pot, and a turkey fryer.

    2015- 4 taps 44 gals of sap made 2.25 gal of lite syrup.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Location
    Upper Valley, NH
    Posts
    110

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    I'll chime in here that I bought the mid-size RO Bucket from Carl a few years ago, and have been working with him ever since to add membranes, switches and an additional low flow pump to increase capacity. I've swapped from running parallel membranes to membranes in series, etc. Carl has been great to work with, and he's stood behind a couple of minor issues that popped up as we have worked through the growing pains. The systems he builds now are improved over those from a few years ago for the reasons he described in his message below. I will add that for someone with a full-time job, kids, and a homestead, the RO Bucket is a massive timesaver that allows me to enjoy making a decent amount of syrup. I'm an engineer, and love to make my own stuff whenever possible, but I am happy that I purchased the RO Bucket, and am super appreciative that Carl has been willing to work with me as I tweak things along the way to improve performance and throughput (yes, always an engineer!). For us small producers, it makes much more sense to invest in an RO system than it does to buy a larger evaporator. Larger evaporators need more wood (or oil, or gas), more sap and more time (and more $$). An RO system offers a ton more flexibility and ultimately reduces the amount of wood and time required. Like other folks have noted on here: once you buy it and have it running, you'll wish you'd done it years ago!
    110 Taps on 3/16" "natural vac"
    Leader Half-Pint Supreme with AUF
    Souped-up RO Bucket
    3 Black Rescue Dogs
    A Dozen Bee Hives
    A Flock of Icelandic Chickens
    30 Acres of Wooded Bliss
    https://blackdogbeesandmapletrees.com

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