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Thread: My first attempt at small scale RO

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Oxford, OH
    Posts
    16

    Default My first attempt at small scale RO

    After reading a few others post about their DIY RO systems, I decided to try it myself. This is what I've come up with. I'm just a backyard hobbyist with only 15-20 taps and I do my boiling on the weekends. I'm hoping that I can significantly reduce my boiling times by processing the sap through this system first. I will be tapping my trees in a few days and will give it a test soon thereafter. I'd be interested in hearing any suggestions or criticisms.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Posts
    162

    Default

    Looks good - keep us posted. I might have to bite the bullet one of these years and build an RO. I'm mostly concerned about storage space for concentrate, permeate and the rig itself.

    How much money do you have invested so far, if you don't mind my asking. And where did you source your parts?
    Dave
    2014 30 taps, steam tray pans
    2015 ~100 taps, in conjunction with University of Louisville
    2x5 Smoky Lake hybrid pan

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2019
    Location
    Oxford, OH
    Posts
    16

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    I have about $300 invested in this, ordering most of the parts from Amazon and picking up the rest from Home Depot. After I built this I saw something about The RO Bucket, https://www.therobucket.com/Wordpress/, which looks pretty nice and might inspire me to reconfigure mine into a more storage-friendly configuration.

    I'm doing my boiling on a few propane-fueled turkey fryers. Last year I ended up with a little less than 3 gallons of syrup when all was said and done. Maybe for next year I'll work on some sort of wood-fired arch and evaporator. At my small scale I don't expect to ever recoup the cost, but it's worth it just for the enjoyment I get from it. I saw one member of this forum with a username of "$1000 pancakes" which sounds about right.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Posts
    162

    Default

    Ha, ha. Yep, it's about the journey!
    Dave
    2014 30 taps, steam tray pans
    2015 ~100 taps, in conjunction with University of Louisville
    2x5 Smoky Lake hybrid pan

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2014
    Location
    Waccabuc NY
    Posts
    6

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    When I finally get my RO, I am going to have to change my name to $1500 Pancakes.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    OH
    Posts
    155

    Default

    Oxford - looking good. I made a very similar RO 2 years ago. It will process about 8 gallons in (4 gallons out) per hour. Just adjust it so you get a 50/50 ratio of concentrate to permeate. You'll cut your time in half by doing so.
    And remember that concentrate will spoil quicker than raw sap, so try to get it boiled within a few hours of making it.
    2020: 31 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!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    West Falls, NY
    Posts
    135

    Default

    Do you have larger containers? I have a home made set up with 4 membranes and it's the best thing ever. Being able to make progress on weekdays is huge especially during the big push in the spring. BUT if you are going to run it from buckets you are basically going to have to constantly be there watching it. You don't want that pump to run dry, or overflow your concentrate container.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    South Cayuga, Ontario
    Posts
    90

    Default

    Made an R/O 2 years ago. 3/4 hp motor Procon Stainless Pump, 4x40 Membrane, 5 micron pre-filter fed by a submersible pump. Membrane is rated at 2400 gallons per day. With this setup I was running approx 40 to 50 gallons per hour through it.

    R:O1.jpg
    Yep, I'd TAP That !!!

    325 Buckets
    2x6 Drop Flue Set
    Home Built Arch ~ The Battleship
    16'x26' Sugar Shanty ~ New 2016
    Bombardier SW48 with 300 gallon tank

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Location
    Lebanon, IN
    Posts
    281

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by 82cabby View Post
    Do you have larger containers? I have a home made set up with 4 membranes and it's the best thing ever. Being able to make progress on weekdays is huge especially during the big push in the spring. BUT if you are going to run it from buckets you are basically going to have to constantly be there watching it. You don't want that pump to run dry, or overflow your concentrate container.
    I have no affiliation with RO Bucket except that we just bought one, hopefully we'll be using it later this week. Ours didn't come with one (we're adding it in) but he sells a low-pressure switch that will shut off the pump if you either run out of raw sap or have a leak in the system that causes it to lose pressure. Something like that might be worth adding to your system.
    Doug
    Maple Creations
    Coatesville, IN
    300 taps on 5/16 tubing & 3 Lunchbox pumps
    RO Bucket R20
    Wood-fired 30"x8' D&G Model 500 raised-flue w/Steam hood & blower
    Sunrise Metals finisher, D&G canner & Wes Fab 7" pressure filter
    http://www.facebook.com/maplecreations

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    10,470

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    The main point for using an RO is to realize that you either should not RO ahead or if you must, store the concentrate at 28-30F, even in a tub of water with ice surrounding it and a little salt to lower the temperature will help. Concentrate spoils fast. That is because you not only concentrated the sugar but also the micro-organisms that feed on the sugar.
    Dave Klish about 1320 taps in '15, downsized after I lost my help, about 450-500 planned for 2021 (and after?)
    2012 Mahindra 36 HP 4x4/ loader/cab/heat/AC:-)
    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

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