+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast
Results 1 to 10 of 36

Thread: Switching from buckets to Shurflo on solar vacuum help

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    Central Pennsylvania
    Posts
    128

    Default Switching from buckets to Shurflo on solar vacuum help

    I've added a few more trees to tap in a low-lying remote flood plain that is totally flat and would like to put them on vacuum to increase sap production. They're all reds, so they don't produce much on just gravity into buckets. I have my 5/16" drops from last year, sterilized and cleaned for re-use and a roll of 3/16" that I purchased by mistake and never used, so I'm planning on putting the 5/16" drops on 3/16" line into a Shurflo set-up. There will be 18 trees with 20 taps. My questions are:

    1. Is there any reason to replace the spouts on my drops with CV spouts since the drops are 5/16", thus already preventing most backflow into the tree during freezing?
    2. Since the area is totally flat, will there be any problem with the Shurflo 4008 pumping sap "up" a few feet into the collection container? Or will this decrease my vacuum in the 3/16" line?
    3. Can/should I put all 20 taps on the same line, or run 2 lines with 10 taps each?

    Thanks for the advice and any suggestions.
    2020 - 1st year - 13 black walnut taps - 4 bottles syrup
    2021 - 50 taps, 22 black walnuts/28 red maples - 4 gallons syrup
    2022 - 53 taps, 11 black walnuts/42 reds, 20 on vacuum

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2009
    Location
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Center, Underhill Ctr, VT
    Posts
    5,795

    Default

    Quick comments:

    - Don't use 3/16" tubing on flat ground. It will not help you in any way in terms of natural vacuum, but will reduce pumped vacuum transfer and be more difficult to clean as it ages. This is especially true on flat ground where sap can pool and form sludge which will clog any fittings. 5/16" tubing is far less susceptible to this problem.
    - How did you "sterilize" your drops? It is far more likely you sanitized (cleaned and disinfected, thereby reducing dirt and microbes) the drops rather than "sterilized" (totally removed all traces of life) them.
    - Assuming you cleaned the drops and sanitized them well (maybe rinsed them afterwards depending on the sanitizer used), then simply putting on a new spout is fine. Research has shown that sanitizing is pretty good (for maintaining sap yield), replacement is generally better, especially with CVs, but doing both is just a waste of time and money (in terms of sap yield).
    - If you're using pumped vacuum, the "strive for five, no more then ten" rule is best. Most high-yield production is less than that, typically 2-3 taps per lateral, with no more than 5.
    - The Shurflo will pump uphill a bit without greatly affecting vacuum on the other side. These types of systems always have some pulsation going on, but it is unlikely to be greatly affected unless you're trying to push uphill a good bit.
    Dr. Tim Perkins
    UVM Proctor Maple Research Ctr
    http://www.uvm.edu/~pmrc
    https://mapleresearch.org
    Timothy.Perkins@uvm.edu

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Lawrence County Ohio
    Posts
    281

    Default

    3/16 on flat ground is not ideal as Dr. Tim says. Mike Heasley, a retired Physics professor from WVU did some experimentation with a flat run of 3/16 the end of a down hill run and the friction overcomes the natural vacuum very quickly. However, with one or even two laterals and a shurflo, you'll have way more sap than you ever had in a bucket, and maybe more than natural vacuum. I'd put em all on the same run. The shurflo will pull em. I've got two 1600' laterals with 44 & 48 taps running straight down a steep hill, and they both pull 28"/Hg, they both produce sap for two days even if it doesn't freeze.

    I found I didn't need CV spouts on 5/16 drops. I started 6 years ago with mostly 3/16 laterals and drops. I did have one 5/16 lateral, and had both CV and economy spouts on it. I went out and watched the sap draw backwards when it began to freeze in the evening. The sap in the 3/16 drops would pull all the way up the drop and back into the tap hole. I had the one 5/16 lateral and the sap never made it more than 10 inches up the drop (I make 30" drops).
    I had planned on using all CV spouts on the 3/16 lines the following year, but I found the discussion on the forum here suggesting 5/16 drops on 3/16 laterals. Some people didn't like the idea because they didn't want to spring for another tubing tool. I started out with a single hand 5/16 tubing tool. I found this site, read about the benefits of, and decided to use 3/16 since most of my woods are on steep hillsides. I took a 1 1/2" piece of 5/16, cut it lengthways and slid it over the 3/16 tubing and the jaws hold it just fine. I'll tell ya I wasted a lot of time, running 3 1/2 miles of tubing, up to 600 taps now with that single handed tool. I finally bought a couple double hand 3 and 5/16 tools used this summer. I was hesitant to switch out all those drops,* but once I found the 3-5-3 tees from CDL, it was a breeze.
    I increased from 125 to 250 taps that next season, replaced the 5/16 lateral with 3/16, and put 5/16 drops on all of em. Our season is pretty short down here in southernmost Ohio, We tap early January and hope for the best about the end of Feb. I've seen sap run for 10 weeks out of a 5/16 drop on 3/16 tubing. I had a tree at the top of the hill uproot the first of March, when it fell, it fell on the spout. I pulled all my other taps that weekend and a few weeks later when I went up there the sap was still running down that lateral. I have a video of it on my FB page.

    Two things with the CV spouts A: I have had dozens of the clear plastic leader spouts crack, and they suck air and you lose your vacuum, whether natural or on a pump. Both the economy and CV spouts have cracked here. I'm using soft faced 6 oz hammers to tap with. I don't know if they are freezing or what, but I've not been satisfied with them- I went back to CDL white health spouts last year. I have had zero issues with them. That's what I used the first year, and will until I find something better.*
    B: the little ball in the check valve will get sticky with sugar and sometimes it will stick. Again we have warm spells down here towards the end of the season and that could be a factor.
    I've been running about 60 taps, 4 laterals on 3/16 into a shurflo 4008 the last 3 years, 45 sugars and 15 reds. It pulls 26 in/Hg. I had two days last season with 150 gallon a day out of those trees and that little pump. Most days over 100 gallon. One of those four laterals is all but level, 17 taps, and lower than the pump, it pulls uphill about 4 ft over 100ft from the last tree. I'm about to run another 1200' of 3/16 this year on 200 silver maples, they are flat and grow along our creek bank, They bud out so earlier than my sugars and reds, so there's no way I can justify running 5-7 taps per lateral on 5/16. It'd take 5x more tubing. I've got two more shurflos to go on these trees. I'm no expert, goin into my 6th year, and have had at least one 12V pump on some of my trees every year. I'm just lettin ya know what has worked for me. Now my 3/16 laterals on the hill side come straight down the hill and into the mainlines. I worked really hard not to have any flat runs after the last tap. I've used a transit to shoot my mainline paths.

    If you keep your lines tight and leak free, and clean that lateral as SOON as you pull your taps. I think you'll be happy with your shurflo set up. The newer 4 diaphragm shurflos pull much better vacuum than the 3 diaphragm everflo and seaflow pumps.

    Those 20 taps may very well turn into many many more in just a few years! Good luck.
    Last edited by bmbmkr; 10-30-2021 at 12:51 PM.
    2012 15 jugs
    2017 125 3/16 - 18"x 6' drop flue set up
    2018 240 3/16 - Deer Run 125 RO
    2019 450 3/16 - Converted RO to electric, Procon 330 pump & added a membrane
    2020 600 3/16 - Maple Pro 2x6 Raised Flue, added AOF/AUF
    2021 570 3/16 - Built a SS steam hood, new Smoky Lake SS filter press
    2022 800 3/16 - Upgrade RO to 4 4x40's,Procon 660, adding a Sap Guzzler to 400 taps

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    Central Pennsylvania
    Posts
    128

    Default

    Wow, lots of good practical info. Thanks a bunch.
    Makes me feel a little more confident about trying the vacuum on these reds in the flat.
    Will just have to get that roll of 5/16 and fittings.

    Is the double fitting tool for installing T's essential? Or is it possible to push the T's together by hand if I'm only doing 20?

    Regarding the solar power, I'm not an electrician, but I can do simple wiring. Do you know what the furthest distance would be that I could have the solar panels from the controller and battery? I'm using a Shurflo 4008, have (2) 100w solar panels (200w total) and am planning on using 10ga wiring from panels to battery/controller box.
    Thanks again for the help.
    Last edited by Openwater; 10-31-2021 at 09:26 AM.
    2020 - 1st year - 13 black walnut taps - 4 bottles syrup
    2021 - 50 taps, 22 black walnuts/28 red maples - 4 gallons syrup
    2022 - 53 taps, 11 black walnuts/42 reds, 20 on vacuum

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    Location
    Northern Michigan
    Posts
    455

    Default

    You will want/need the double fitting tubing tool to fully insert the T's into the 5/16" tubing. It makes inserting the drops into the lateral easy after you have pulled the lateral tight.
    We operate 4 Shurflo 4008 pumps at different locations in our woods and all of them sit close to the ground and easily pump sap into the tanks located above them. One of the pumps actually pumps sap up approximately 6' to a 3/4" line that crosses a trail before dropping into a tank located 80' away.
    Good luck with your project.
    Gary
    16' X 24' Sugarhouse
    2' X 6' Leader Inferno Arch with Revolution Raised-Flue Pans, Smoky Lake preheater and hood
    Deer Run Maple gas-powered 250 RO
    WesFab 7" filter press
    Kubota 1100 RTV with tracks and 125 gallon tank for transporting sap
    600+ taps on gravity and vacuum
    Very supportive wife who is the best coworker
    http://mapletrader.com/community/sho...ing-Sugarhouse

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Princeton, MA
    Posts
    459

    Default

    I tend to go low budget on some things when first starting out. The tubing tool makes things easier but with only 20 taps it is not essential. We did 80 taps on tubing our first year and installed all fittings and taps outside using a thermos of hot water. Dip the end in for 10 seconds and push it on. Didn't have any leak problems.

    For the solar wiring, 10 gauge will work perfectly fine, and if you can swing it, that is great. If a smaller gauge wire is used, if will still work but won't be as efficient due to wiring losses. Your battery will still charge but it will take longer. I used 200' of 14 and 16 gauge extension cords to my 200W solar panels. Yeah, I know the wiring is undersized, but it fully charged my two paralleled batteries to 14 volts on a sunny day. Now after 4-5 years of use, it is time to think about replacing my marine batteries since they don't hold charge like they did when new. Or maybe I can squeak just one more season out of them...

    Dave
    Mountain Maple farm
    2021: 260 taps, 70% red maples. Mountain Maple S4 diaphragm pump controller with automated sap transfer and text messaging
    New website:
    https://www.mountainmaplefarm.com
    https://www.facebook.com/MountainMapleFarm/

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2013
    Location
    Speyside, Ontario
    Posts
    200

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Openwater View Post
    I'm using a Shurflo 4008, have (2) 100w solar panels (200w total) and am planning on using 10ga wiring from panels to battery/controller box.
    100w at 12V is only 8amps. Normal house wiring is good for 15A. I'm not sure why you would need 10gauge wire. What am I missing?
    2015 - 8 buckets, 332L sap, 8.5L syrup - Barrel evaporator, 2 steam pans
    2016 - 8 buckets, 432L sap
    2017 - 10 bags, 470L sap, 9L syrup
    2018 - 20 bags, 1050L sap, 17.6L syrup
    2019 - 20 bags, 970L sap, 22.2L syrup
    2020 - 17 bags, 813L sap, 17L syrup

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Princeton, MA
    Posts
    459

    Default

    For low voltage DC, the wire size should be larger than for AC for a given current to reduce wiring losses (or voltage drops across the wire).

    A solar charger puts out something closer to 20 volts. For a 10 amp load with 100' of 14 gauge wire, you lose about 6 volts (30%) round trip which brings you down to 14 volts at the solar charger input. Barely enough. If you were using 115V AC power, the same losses would give you 109V, which might not make a difference. Going to a heavier wire gauge decreases the losses. Hope this makes sense.

    Dave
    Mountain Maple farm
    2021: 260 taps, 70% red maples. Mountain Maple S4 diaphragm pump controller with automated sap transfer and text messaging
    New website:
    https://www.mountainmaplefarm.com
    https://www.facebook.com/MountainMapleFarm/

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2020
    Location
    Central Pennsylvania
    Posts
    128

    Default

    Thanks for chiming in, Dave. I read a lot of your past posts about solar charging systems.
    So with (2) 100w panels, a deep cycle marine battery running a Shurflo 4008 and maybe a silicone heating element; would I be ok running 200' of 10g wire from panels to controller?
    Will the monocrystalline panels still work much on cloudy days? I've never used solar panels for anything.
    2020 - 1st year - 13 black walnut taps - 4 bottles syrup
    2021 - 50 taps, 22 black walnuts/28 red maples - 4 gallons syrup
    2022 - 53 taps, 11 black walnuts/42 reds, 20 on vacuum

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Princeton, MA
    Posts
    459

    Default

    200 watts of solar panels is more than enough for the 4008 pumps. I normally see less than 20 watts consumed by the pump. Your heater will likely take more power than the pump. Any solar panel will produce less power on a cloudy day than on a sunny day. Good positioning of the panels can help. I have seen a new deep cycle marine battery run the 4008 pump for about 35 hours with no charging, so you have to hope that there is enough sunlight to carry through multiple cloudy days. I think you are doing everything possible in this area, let us know how it works out.

    Dave
    Mountain Maple farm
    2021: 260 taps, 70% red maples. Mountain Maple S4 diaphragm pump controller with automated sap transfer and text messaging
    New website:
    https://www.mountainmaplefarm.com
    https://www.facebook.com/MountainMapleFarm/

+ Reply to Thread
Page 1 of 4 1234 LastLast

Posting Permissions

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