Cheap Plate Chiller

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Cheap Plate Chiller

Postby GuitarLord5000 » Thu Jul 22, 2010 10:27 am

I finally pulled the trigger on buying one of those cheap-o plate chillers on ebay. You can find it here:

http://cgi.ebay.com/Brazed-Stainless-St ... 27b3920493

316L Stainless Steel
40 plates
1/2" FNPT Connections

And with a design max flow rate of 17.6 gal/min at a design pressure of 145 psi, I gotta believe that thing isn't too restrictive for gravity feeding wort. Of course, as soon as I get in from offshore, I'll be finding out for sure one way or the other.

I know we've had at least one discussion about these cheap chillers, but it just ended with a lot of conjecture and not much in the way of facts. At least now we'll have a little bit of data to go on, for better or worse. Here's hoping for NO BUYER'S REMORSE!

Cheers,
Dave
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Postby aleguy » Thu Jul 22, 2010 4:53 pm

There is an old saying that goes something like this: "You get what you pay for."
I hope you got something useful and not a very expensive doorstop. Oh, and buy a pump already! :wink:
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Postby GuitarLord5000 » Thu Jul 22, 2010 5:25 pm

aleguy wrote:There is an old saying that goes something like this: "You get what you pay for."

That's right! And I figure a hundred bucks is just about right for a small, semi-hollow block of steel and 4 fittings plus labor. :D

I hope you got something useful and not a very expensive doorstop.
You and me both! But if it turns out to be a doorstop, it'll be the most kick-ass doorstop on the block. After all, it's stainless steel! (Insert Tim Taylor grunt here).

Oh, and buy a pump already! :wink:
But I already have two! I've got a March pump from Morebeer, and one of those swanky Chugger pumps with the green paint and stainless head (a little bit country, and a little bit rock and roll). I just remember that last time we discussed heat exchangers, the yeast-man was curious if the restriction on these chillers was such that wort could be gravity fed through them, a la the Therminator. I'm not really concerned with it's gravity feed characteristics, but I figure I might as well put the thing through it's paces and see what it can do.
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Postby yeastmeister » Fri Jul 23, 2010 5:22 am

Something I would like to see is a test where we measure the flow between that one and the therminator. They are both 40 plate units, they are roughly the same size. I think all we need to do is gravity feed through each unit for a known volume, and record the time. We should use the same tubing and setup to make sure we are measuring apples to apples.

You up for that?
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Postby GuitarLord5000 » Fri Jul 23, 2010 11:45 am

Absolutely, I am! I'd also like to see how well this one cools boiling water in comparison to the therminator. I doubt that this one will do as well as the therminator in any way, but I'd be happy with good enough. Especially for the price.

Cheers,
Dave
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Postby zeeboz » Sun Jul 25, 2010 6:13 am

That would be cool.
Please post photos also.
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Postby GuitarLord5000 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 1:02 pm

Well, it's here and outfitted with quick disconnects:
Image

Just need to test the thing out. You wanna give er a whirl, Yeastmeister?
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Postby yeastmeister » Sat Aug 07, 2010 6:38 am

Bring it by today, we can do some comparisons. Mead takes a very short time.
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Postby GuitarLord5000 » Sat Aug 07, 2010 8:36 am

Wish I could make it today, but I won't be able to. Another time, perhaps.

Cheers,
Dave
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Postby jimmiec » Wed May 25, 2011 3:39 pm

How did this plate chiller work out? I suppose it does not come apart for cleaning?
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Postby GuitarLord5000 » Wed May 25, 2011 7:10 pm

Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity to use it yet. I don't have my brewstand up and running, and it isn't liable to be getting finished anytime soon. My normal 7 gallon kettle doesn't have a valve on the bottom for pumping or gravity feeding through the chiller, and I don't yet have a hop screen to filter out the pellet hops I use. This is one of several pieces of equipment that I haven't had the opportunity to use. :?


All of the plate chillers that I've seen on the homebrew scale are brazed, and cannot be taken apart for cleaning.
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Postby aleguy » Thu May 26, 2011 8:34 am

I'm told there are some that can be taken apart for cleaning, but that they are prohibitively expensive. Best thing is to suck it up and just clean it with Sodium Hydroxide after every use. (3% solution for 90 min.)
@Guitarlord, what's holding up your stand? If you need help with parts or welding or something let us know. We've built many stands from scratch and, so far, have been able to overcome just about any problem. PM me if you're more comfortable with that.
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Postby jimmiec » Thu May 26, 2011 8:54 am

Last night, I saw some pictures of used plate chiller taken apart. I think I'm going to just stick with the immersion chiller. However, I'm looking to add a whirlpool to it.
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Postby thebuddrik » Thu May 26, 2011 11:24 am

Please share these pics Jimmy.
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Postby jimmiec » Thu May 26, 2011 12:14 pm

I was searching around the internet last night. One of the websites I started reading was:

http://www.wortomatic.com/

They have a picture of a plate from a used plate chiller at:

http://www.wortomatic.com/images/2010/336.jpg

The article is at:

http://www.wortomatic.com/articles/Wort-Cooling-201

Of coarse, they don't mention the cleaning and care of the used plate chiller.
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