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Thread: Unique Evaporator

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2020
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    Kentucky
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    3

    Default Unique Evaporator

    Well folks here is my DIY mild steel evaporator. Unique in that I tried to give myself the option of all electric, or wood heated. My heat source for electric is two 3500watt water heater elements, 220V. I had the parts cut, but welded it together myself. 20 X 30 with one divider and a pre warming pan. Warming pan has a 1500watt 115V heating element. Nice huh??? well it doesnt work. I put in 10 gallons of water in the main evaporator today right out of the hose, it was 49F. At 45 min I had achieved 170 F. At the one hour mark it was steaming, but my max temp achieved was a piddly 185F,,,just not enough power. It was at the upper limits for my #10 wiring. Anyone ever try this before??? I assumed the two elements would have an easy time of it. Your thoughts??? I have a barrel stove wood fire box for it, I just wanted to try easy. Figured at my age If I got to ill to cut wood I could plug it in and have my syrup. [ATTACH=CONFIG]21685]
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
    Location
    Southern Ohio
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    1,118

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    Well, the electric company would be a lot richer or they would shut you down for hogging power.
    125-150 taps
    Smokey Lakes Full pint Hybrid pan
    Modified half pint arch
    Air over fire
    All 3/16 tubing
    Southern Ohio

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2017
    Location
    Granville, PA
    Posts
    356

    Default

    It sounds and looks like the heating elements used are from a hot water heater and some of those have a high temp cutoff. Those cutoffs are typically set at 180 to 185 degrees. There are elements available that do not have that feature or there may be a way to override the existing cutoff.

    The electric element that is in my bottler will definitely boil water (I mistakenly had the settings on metric and went too high). Might want to look at what your elements are set to.

    Also, are you planning any control features like a PID controller so that you can set limits and know what is going on.

    Good luck with your project, it looks interesting.
    Matt,
    Minehart Gap Maple

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    OH
    Posts
    166

    Default

    I thought about going electric after my first year when I was boiling in my kitchen with a steam pan across 2 1800w burners and a middle 800w bridge burger. Total wattage is 4400w. It takes about 20 minutes to heat 1.5" of cold sap to a low boil on the steam pan (they are about 20" x 11".

    Based on the numbers, your setup should work. But if you boil outside then you'll lose some heat too.

    There have been other people who used heating elements. I bookmarked this one but I haven't read through it recently. You may want to check it out: http://mapletrader.com/community/sho...-Design-Page-1
    2021: 28 taps. 18"x36" flat pan and dual natural gas burners.
    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!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2015
    Location
    Cornwall, CT
    Posts
    337

    Default

    A good mock-up for what you're end up with but you're regular steel isn't appropriate for boiling sap. At best you'll taint the flavor but I'm going to guess you'll get rust and rusty syrup in very short order. It needs to be stainless.

    And, I don't know much about electricity but its going to take a whole bundle to boil off sap. Unless you've got a hydro-dam on your property you'll want to find a different heat source.

    I applaud the effort and enthusiasm!
    1980 - 6 taps, stone fire pit, drain pan evaporator, 1 pint of syrup
    2016 - 55 taps on 3/16 and gravity, new sugar shack, 2x3 Mason XL, 16 gallons of syrup
    Inception of Young Love Maple
    2017 - 170 taps on 3/16, 30 on buckets, 2x4 Mason XL, NextGen RO. 50 gallons of syrup
    2018 - 19 more acres, 250+ taps on gravity and buckets, 2x5 Smokey Lake arch and Beaverland pan.
    2019 - 250+ taps on gravity. A few buckets. 35 gallons of syrup.
    2020 - 300+ taps on gravity. 50 gallons of syrup.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2015
    Location
    Tennessee
    Posts
    179

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    They make home brewing pots with elements already in them , plug and go. The one my friend has works really well.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2020
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    3

    Default

    Just thought Id give an update. Finished processing 60 gal of twice RO sap, still getting the bugs worked out but syrup taste wonderful. got about a gallon and a half, boiled it to 64 brix. No bad taste and no rust. did a baking soda preboil to clean the steel last week. Wiped it down with peanut oil so no rust. Electric on the warming tank helped alot. Didnt use the 240V elements. put the pan on my barrel
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Caledonia, MI
    Posts
    10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Woodsrover View Post
    A good mock-up for what you're end up with but you're regular steel isn't appropriate for boiling sap. At best you'll taint the flavor but I'm going to guess you'll get rust and rusty syrup in very short order. It needs to be stainless.

    I applaud the effort and enthusiasm!
    Actually, there's nothing wrong with using mild steel as long as you understand what you are doing. My pan is mild steel and it works fairly well it just requires a few extra steps before using it for the first time in a season. The day before boiling I scour it out with a scotchbrite pad and vinegar, maybe a little steel wool if there is a stubborn spot. Then rinse with water and immediately dry it out with a heat gun. (don't let it air dry) Then I basically buff the entire inside surface with crisco to seal the metal against humidity in the air. As soon as you start boiling, the spattering near syrup coats the inside of the pan and soot from the smoke coats the outside of the pan which essentially protects it from any further rust. The only spot where any rust developed at all was on the top flat edge of the pan which is a good 5"-6" away from anywhere the sap ever goes.

    The boil rate isn't as great as SS, but the advantage is that I had my 20" x 66" pan made for $175 vs $700-$1000 for the same thing out of stainless. And since the steel is 18 gauge vs 22 gauge SS, I don't have to be quite as careful with handling it.

    The downsides may be a problem for someone looking to bottle commercially, but for a hobbyist, I don't think it's a big deal.
    2019 - 61 taps, 20" x 66" mild steel pan, block arch (8 gallons of syrup)
    2018 - 7 taps in 5 Red Maples, 2 steam pans w/block arch (2 Gallons of syrup)
    2017 - I thought I preferred "Lite" Fake syrup over maple.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Location
    OH
    Posts
    166

    Default

    Nothing wrong with putting in a little extra elbow grease. But if you want to upgrade to SS in the future, there are some expensive routes and some cheaper ones. I just paid $200 for a custom 18x36 18g flat pan from maplesyruppans.com The turnaround time was short and I'm happy with it.
    2021: 28 taps. 18"x36" flat pan and dual natural gas burners.
    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!

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