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Thread: Maintaining vacuum from 3/16 to mainline

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
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    Default Maintaining vacuum from 3/16 to mainline

    Hey all, I'm hoping I can communicate my question effectively here but know all the great minds here will find a way to have this make sense to me:

    We recently moved to a new (much larger) property with some great slope with multiple drainage areas that follow that same slope and are littered by maples. I've never done tubing before due to scale and lack of slope of my former property but, as I'm mentally mapping this out, now my lack of knowledge about tubing setups is clear.

    So, here's the question: I know I'll be able to get great vacuum on the 3/16" lines for up to 20-30 taps at a time but how do you maintain vacuum when tying the various lines into a mainline that also goes down the slope? Are you dependent exclusively on the gravity from the 3/16" to carry into mainline or is there a trick / technique for also developing/maintaining that gravity vacuum straight through to a collection point?
    --
    2015: 8 bucket taps (7 red, 1 sugar) on DIY barrel evaporator
    2016: 13 taps (bucket and tube) on bock arch and hotel pans
    2017: 25 taps...same setup
    2018: 25 taps on 2x3 flat pan and resurrected barrel arch
    2019: 25 taps...same setup plus DIY 3x150gpd RO filter
    2020: 50 taps, all buckets...same setup with 50
    2021: Planning for 100 taps (50/50) on 2x4 divided pan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    DeKalb, NY
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    1,702

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    Basically, once the sap is in the mainline and headed downhill there is no need for the vacuum. Vacuum is needed at the taphole to increase sap flow from each individual tap. As long as your mainline slopes to the collection point it (the mainline) does not need vacuum.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
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    The vacuum is needed at the tap hole, that increases 5-7% more sap on average for each inch of vacuum on the tap hole. When you get to the mainline, which must be sloped downhill as Thompson said, you then drain the lateral into the mainline. For that you want a saddle and a connector. If you run the mainline tied to a tight support wire, you hook the connector to the wire, then a loop of tubing with no tension on it, curves around and connects to the saddle. If you are using the Rapid Tube method, with no support wire, use a length of the flat chain type strap used with RapidTube, hook it around the mainline with a tail facing the uphill incoming lateral. Attach the hook connector into an open space in the strap, then have a loop of tubing from the connector to the saddle. You need to understand that 3/16 requires cleaning. Clean it shortly after the season and again in mid to late fall, when temps are above freezing. I use calcium chloride, you can use sodium chloride but it can often attract squirrels looking for the residue salt.
    I use 5/16 drops and 5/16 loops and saddles on my 3/16 laterals.
    Dave Klish about 400 taps, down from much more. Retired from collecting and boiling in 2021. Mostly because of a bad hip.
    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
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Southern Ohio
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    You need slope all the way to the mainline. Run all your 3/16th down slope far enough to keep drop in it, the more the better. If possible keep fall after your last tap for 20-30 feet. The mainline should not start until your 3/16th lines all have slope below them. No need to have a mainline up the slope, just run longer 3/16 until you have the desired slope, it doesn't have to have taps on it. The mainline doesn't need much fall at all, it only serves to collect sap and requires only enough fall to drain into your collection tank.
    125-150 taps
    Smokey Lakes Full pint Hybrid pan
    Modified half pint arch
    Air over fire
    All 3/16 tubing
    Southern Ohio

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Saratoga, NY
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thompson's Tree Farm View Post
    Basically, once the sap is in the mainline and headed downhill there is no need for the vacuum. Vacuum is needed at the taphole to increase sap flow from each individual tap. As long as your mainline slopes to the collection point it (the mainline) does not need vacuum.
    Got it, I think that makes sense - thanks for the reply!
    --
    2015: 8 bucket taps (7 red, 1 sugar) on DIY barrel evaporator
    2016: 13 taps (bucket and tube) on bock arch and hotel pans
    2017: 25 taps...same setup
    2018: 25 taps on 2x3 flat pan and resurrected barrel arch
    2019: 25 taps...same setup plus DIY 3x150gpd RO filter
    2020: 50 taps, all buckets...same setup with 50
    2021: Planning for 100 taps (50/50) on 2x4 divided pan

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Saratoga, NY
    Posts
    310

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by maple flats View Post
    The vacuum is needed at the tap hole, that increases 5-7% more sap on average for each inch of vacuum on the tap hole. When you get to the mainline, which must be sloped downhill as Thompson said, you then drain the lateral into the mainline. For that you want a saddle and a connector. If you run the mainline tied to a tight support wire, you hook the connector to the wire, then a loop of tubing with no tension on it, curves around and connects to the saddle. If you are using the Rapid Tube method, with no support wire, use a length of the flat chain type strap used with RapidTube, hook it around the mainline with a tail facing the uphill incoming lateral. Attach the hook connector into an open space in the strap, then have a loop of tubing from the connector to the saddle. You need to understand that 3/16 requires cleaning. Clean it shortly after the season and again in mid to late fall, when temps are above freezing. I use calcium chloride, you can use sodium chloride but it can often attract squirrels looking for the residue salt.
    I use 5/16 drops and 5/16 loops and saddles on my 3/16 laterals.
    Thanks for the explanation, I think I follow on most points but two questions: 1) what is the RapidTube you refer to? I guess a Google session is in my future... 2) so you're saying you use the larger diameter tubing from the taps and then 3/16 tubing/line to create the vacuum on the laterals? assuming yes, is this just a cost saving exercise or is there a rationale to have the greather diamater from the tap?
    --
    2015: 8 bucket taps (7 red, 1 sugar) on DIY barrel evaporator
    2016: 13 taps (bucket and tube) on bock arch and hotel pans
    2017: 25 taps...same setup
    2018: 25 taps on 2x3 flat pan and resurrected barrel arch
    2019: 25 taps...same setup plus DIY 3x150gpd RO filter
    2020: 50 taps, all buckets...same setup with 50
    2021: Planning for 100 taps (50/50) on 2x4 divided pan

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Saratoga, NY
    Posts
    310

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by buckeye gold View Post
    You need slope all the way to the mainline. Run all your 3/16th down slope far enough to keep drop in it, the more the better. If possible keep fall after your last tap for 20-30 feet. The mainline should not start until your 3/16th lines all have slope below them. No need to have a mainline up the slope, just run longer 3/16 until you have the desired slope, it doesn't have to have taps on it. The mainline doesn't need much fall at all, it only serves to collect sap and requires only enough fall to drain into your collection tank.
    Ah, that makes sense to me and sort of helps with my situation. I was trying to figure out how to balance achieving good slope from the tap lines (laterals) while also having long runs of mainline that maintain steep slope but what you're saying helps in my application. I was imaginging sort of a high-wire act of installing mainline at the top end but I won't worry so much about that I guess.
    --
    2015: 8 bucket taps (7 red, 1 sugar) on DIY barrel evaporator
    2016: 13 taps (bucket and tube) on bock arch and hotel pans
    2017: 25 taps...same setup
    2018: 25 taps on 2x3 flat pan and resurrected barrel arch
    2019: 25 taps...same setup plus DIY 3x150gpd RO filter
    2020: 50 taps, all buckets...same setup with 50
    2021: Planning for 100 taps (50/50) on 2x4 divided pan

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
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    5,713

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    Find some sugarmakers nearby who use tubing somewhere nearby and take a look at their tubing systems. Or take a tubing course from Cornell if they offer one in your area. A general overview of tubing systems can be found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6lp...&index=9&t=57s There are also other videos there on specific tubing installation techniques. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC2K...JgJT749KgnE-aA
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Oneida NY
    Posts
    11,132

    Default

    For info on Rapitube start here https://youtu.be/L6u2Hg_YgqE
    To get more info search "Rapitube for maple sap"
    It costs more to buy but saves lots to install and maintain.
    Dave Klish about 400 taps, down from much more. Retired from collecting and boiling in 2021. Mostly because of a bad hip.
    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
    website: www.cnymaple.com

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Saratoga, NY
    Posts
    310

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by maple flats View Post
    For info on Rapitube start here https://youtu.be/L6u2Hg_YgqE
    To get more info search "Rapitube for maple sap"
    It costs more to buy but saves lots to install and maintain.
    Thanks, this was the video I landed on after a late night google search. Looks pretty easy to install compared to a fence-tensioning wire-syle system.
    --
    2015: 8 bucket taps (7 red, 1 sugar) on DIY barrel evaporator
    2016: 13 taps (bucket and tube) on bock arch and hotel pans
    2017: 25 taps...same setup
    2018: 25 taps on 2x3 flat pan and resurrected barrel arch
    2019: 25 taps...same setup plus DIY 3x150gpd RO filter
    2020: 50 taps, all buckets...same setup with 50
    2021: Planning for 100 taps (50/50) on 2x4 divided pan

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