+ Reply to Thread
Results 1 to 7 of 7

Thread: Kentucky Backyarder

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    4

    Default Kentucky Backyarder

    I've used this community site for quite some time now and I figured it was time to pay it forward. Share my current setup, thoughts, and how things have been going this year. Almost everything in this post are things I've learned through this community. I can't thank you enough!

    As the title makes clear, I'm a Kentucky backyarder. I've been making syrup in Louisville, KY for 5 years now. I started out with buckets, about 50 taps, and a turkey fryer where I made 2.5 gallons of syrup. Now, I have all of my taps on vacuum (I'll make a post on it later), an RO system, and I've brought my operation inside my garage (so much better than being outside in the weather). This year I'm on pace to make more than 10 gallons of syrup.

    I've attached some images of my setup for my RO and my evaporator.

    My evaporator is electric. I have a 5500 watt Dernord heating element screwed into a steam table pan. The pan sits inside the wood box for insulating purposes. The hood is stainless steel wrapped in EPS foam insulation to prevent a ton of condensation inside. I have a copper coil preheater inside the hood made with 1/4" soft copper tubing with a drip tray. I tried for a long time to make a mechanical float valve that is food grade, but gave up and made an electrical version. I use an arduino coupled to a stainless steel float sensor with an electric motor to pinch/open the silicone tubing coming from the 4 gallon white bucket you see in the image. It's not perfect but works "good enough". My boil off rate is 2.24 gallons an hour.

    With the RO, I'll be the first to admit it's not perfect and it took me a long time to get where I am. I'll make a second post later today to share my design along with it's ups and downs.

    Happy sugaring!
    Zac

    PXL_20210223_194930187.jpg
    PXL_20210223_194916892.jpg
    PXL_20210223_194854836.jpg
    PXL_20210223_194731239.jpg
    Last edited by zachary.g.wiles@gmail.com; 02-23-2021 at 05:09 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Tolland, Ct
    Posts
    128

    Default

    I would LOVE lots of pictures of details of your electric stuffs!!! Any idea how much electricity you go through in a season?
    2020 - 1st year 14 taps 1 Gallon Jugs + 4x 5-Gallon Buckets + Propane Grill + lots of headaches
    2021 - 2nd year - 19 Taps (and some free sap from a friend in the same own!) 145 or so OZ
    2022 -

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2011
    Location
    Louisville, Kentucky
    Posts
    175

    Default

    Hi Zac, nice to see another Louisville sugarmaker on here. Your setup sounds interesting. I've been making syrup for about 8 years now. The weather this year has been challenging. I tapped January 15th, and got a few good runs before the Deep Freeze!
    Dave
    2014 30 taps, steam tray pans
    2015 ~100 taps, in conjunction with University of Louisville
    2x5 Smoky Lake hybrid pan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
    Location
    Nashville, MI
    Posts
    490

    Default

    Zachary, glad that you have gleaned so much information from the trader and finally got onto the site welcome. How do you plan on growing your operation from where you are now? I congratulate you on your ingenuity of making an evaporator using electricity. I wouldn't want the electric bill. Whew Have fun and keep us posted on your success.
    2004 - 2012 2x3 flat pan 25 to 60 taps
    2012 2x3 new divided pan w/draw off 55 taps
    2018 - didn't boil surgery - bought new evaporator
    2019 new SML 2x4 raised flue high output evap. 65 taps
    made 17 gal syrup
    2020 - only put out 53 taps - made 16.25 gal syrup
    2021 - going for 50 bags and 50 on tubing

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    4

    Default

    The electric evaporator isn't for everyone. First off, the boil rate really isn't that great. The most basic wood fired hobby backyard evaporator "1/2 pints" from name brands like smokey lake, cottage craftworks, Mason custom welding, and leader will get 4 to 7 gallons an hour. Also the cost of the electricity can be a big problem in some states.

    One of the main reasons I went this way is ease. Now that I have the autofill setup, I run out into the garage and check it every 20 minutes or so, make sure everything is working correctly, then go back in and hang with the fam. That's it. No stoking the fire, cutting fire wood, standing in the rain/cold, etc. If only I had a sugar shack :-).

    The second main reason I went this way is startup cost. The total setup for heating element, steam pan, wood for holding the pan, and electric cable was approximately $90. I was fortunate to already have 220v in the garage, so that was a big cost avoid. At the time I didn't know how long I would be bitten by the maple syrup bug and didn't want to sink a lot of money into it.

    I just boiled 106 gallons today. In total, the evaporator has been running 11 hours today. My electric cost is $0.093 per kWh. The heating element is rated at 5500 watt hours. Assuming it's running perfect at 5500 watts, (most of the time these heating elements fall short of their rating) the calculation is 11*5.5*.093 = $5.63.

    That doesn't count the cost to run the RO. I'm guessing the RO eats up about 1000 watts an hour (110v * 10 amps), so that's another 11*1.1*.093 = $1.13.

    I've come to peace with $6.76 for around 2 gallons of syrup.
    Last edited by zachary.g.wiles@gmail.com; 02-23-2021 at 10:23 PM.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2016
    Location
    Kentucky
    Posts
    4

    Default

    I'll work on the pictures tomorrow. There's not too much to see. Steam table pan, 1" hole cut as close to the bottom as I could (use a stepped drill bit), Dernord heating element with stainless steel 1" nut screwed into place, assemble 6 feet of 600v 10ga cut to length cable and 220v socket to heating element. I put the list of components below.

    https://www.acemart.com/kitchen/food.../CHEFSTP1-6-24

    https://www.harborfreight.com/power-...lls-96275.html

    https://www.dernord.com/collections/...27359006621760

    https://www.amazon.com/DERNORD-Fitti...43800052&psc=1

    https://www.lowes.com/pd/10-AWG-4-Bl...e-Foot/4284327

    https://www.amazon.com/L14-30R-Gener...33961962&psc=1

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    Location
    Tolland, Ct
    Posts
    128

    Default

    I have a much higher electric rate, (about 2x that) but even at $15 for a gallon, it is the same cost as the propane refill.

    A regular pan WAS going to be my 1st upgrade (instead of steam pans), BUT if I made an electric setup, I could go with an RO instead. I Love hearing about other peoples setups because it gets the wheels turning in my own :-)
    2020 - 1st year 14 taps 1 Gallon Jugs + 4x 5-Gallon Buckets + Propane Grill + lots of headaches
    2021 - 2nd year - 19 Taps (and some free sap from a friend in the same own!) 145 or so OZ
    2022 -

+ Reply to Thread

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts