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  • Nate Jackson
    replied
    Never really had a problem with the sniffer other than the occasional blockage, though I'll probably look into getting a Flex-Hone anyway since I have cut a fair share of o-rings trying to slide those valves back into place.

    Another issue that popped up for me last week was the rolling wheels for the pedestals under the filler. Somehow one of them had just gotten shredded on the inside and was causing the filler to shutter violently as it turned to that spot. I replaced all 12 just be be safe, but I'm curious to see if you've replaced those or maybe it's a deeper underlying problem as to why ours would have failed like that. Here's a picture for reference.

    Click image for larger version

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  • TGTimm
    replied
    Wow! A miracle cure!

    I've just got to recommend the Flex-Hone fix to all you GAI users! We had a horrible problem every time our snifter orifice got clogged, since it was about a 1:1 chance the inner o-ring on the valve body would get sliced when re-inserting the valve. This would result in nasty foamers and a re-clogged snifter orifice--this time, with a little slice of o-ring rubber.

    Well, a couple of minutes per filler head with the Flex-Hone seems to have fixed this problem 100%!

    Not often one finds a quick, simple, and cheap miracle cure--

    Timm

    Terminal Gravity Brewing
    Enterprise, OR.

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  • TGTimm
    replied
    Thanks, Nate!

    I found the main cause of our vibrator instability. It was the two potentiometers on the frequency control unit (FQ2). Unfortunately, there are no identifying marks on these, only that one is 22 kOhms, the other, 10 kOhms. $135 from Pros, but our frequency and amplitude rarely have to be adjusted now.

    I will take a look at those bolts, like maybe right now as we're doing a double bottling run tomorrow.

    Just checked--bolts and nuts are fine. Something to keep an eye on, 'though.

    Thanks again--

    Timm
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise, OR.
    Last edited by TGTimm; 02-25-2013, 05:36 PM.

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  • Nate Jackson
    replied
    Originally posted by TGTimm View Post

    Our biggest problem is the cap feed unit. We have to tweak the frequency and amplitude at every start-up, and usually several times during a run. I haven't heard of others having this problem, so maybe it's our frequency drive.
    I see this post is a year old, but I used to have this problem with the GAI 3003 I run. Turns out a couple of the bolts that attach the vibration rods to the metal plate under the hopper bowl were completely split in half. We've since replaced most of the stainless steel bolts under the bowl with aircraft grade bolts and haven't had a problem.

    Cheers,
    Nate

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  • TGTimm
    replied
    GAI solutions!

    It's time for our annual seal and o-ring replacement again, and the prices the distributor charges for these rubber bits is exorbitant. I spent some time doing my research, and found Cascade O-ring in Beaverton, Oregon. I sent Chris samples of all the o-rings, and we got enough for several years of annual and run-time maintenance for >$50!

    Hopefully Chris will be cross-referencing these rings to the GAI part #s.

    If you do your own maintenance, call Chris at Chinookor.com

    Another problem I seem to have found a solution to: The valves on the filler heads--particularly the snifter valve-- love to eat o-rings. This is due to the 45 deg. cross-bores, which are razor sharp where the rings must pass over them. I found a product called Flex-Hone, mfg'd by Brush Research Manufacturing, brushresearch.com The ones I bought, after consulting with one of the techs, are model BC58600, 5/8" dia, 600 grit, silicon carbide. I bought two, but one did all three valve bores on all twelve heads.

    These are abrasive brushes meant to be driven at low speeds with a hand-held drill motor. I used our cordless. BRM sells a special lube for honing with the brushes, but I rejected it as not compatible with beer contact, and simply used soapy H2O instead. About 45 sec. per valve bore seems to have worked wonders, following the honing instructions on the packaging and website. We've not had an o-ring failure in these valves since.

    Good brewing--

    TGTimm
    Last edited by TGTimm; 02-20-2013, 02:28 PM.

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  • TGTimm
    replied
    Thanks, jbs.

    I've heard the same warning about the capper safety from another GAI user, and consequently have started testing it at every start-up.

    So far, our biggest problem was an oversight in the manual. It does not mention anything about disassembling, cleaning, and lubricating the capper assembly--the part that puts the caps on (and which contains a couple of large, dangerously pre-loaded springs). As a consequence, the lower spring unit--the bit that has the closing cone and cap ejector--froze up completely and started shattering bottles. We had to replace almost the entire assy. I now take it down, clean, lube, and inspect it about once a month.

    We had a problem with caps getting mangled in the capper, but re-adjusting the capper (the way it's described in the manual is only part of the procedure and doesn't really work all that well) and setting the point at which the flipper thingy pulls the caps back, fixed that entirely. We are now getting perfect caps every time (oops, I probably shouldn't have said that).

    Our biggest problem is the cap feed unit. We have to tweak the frequency and amplitude at every start-up, and usually several times during a run. I haven't heard of others having this problem, so maybe it's our frequency drive.

    I'm putting together some photos of various parts of the GAI, which I'll put up on my Flickr page so we can, hopefully, discuss problems and suggestions without referring to parts as "that flipper thingy". The diagrams in our manual do not name parts, only giving a long part number, which is frustrating.

    Thanks again, and I'll repeat the call-out: If your brewery uses a GAI bottler, please post experiences, tips, etc. here! It is a great machine, but like all complex devices, requires care, maintenance, adjustment, and holding one's mouth just right.

    Timm.

    Oh, yeah--we use CO2 pressure to push our product, so no help with the PD pump.
    Last edited by TGTimm; 03-28-2012, 11:58 AM.

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  • jbs
    replied
    We use the same machine

    One thing that happened to our machine:
    Safety shut off on the crowner star failed so when we had a bottle jam the machine didn't stop and the edge of the crowning head came down on top of a bottle and actually bent up the bolts that hold the piston arms in place. Also, pushed most everything on the crowner out of adjustment. So now we check the safety switches under the machine more often.
    If your getting smashed crowns, go through the adjusting procedure outlined in the manual. It fixed one of our problems.
    It is a great machine.
    Is anyone using a rotary lobe pump coupled to a pressure switch to supply their bottling line with beer?

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  • TGTimm
    started a topic Calling all GAI Filler/Capper users

    Calling all GAI Filler/Capper users

    We've been using a GAI 3003A-Bier 12-head filler/capper for about 4 years now.

    Things are starting to wear, the manual is near incomprehensible and incomplete; so I thought it might be a great idea to get any users here together to share tips and suggestions and maybe brainstorm about solutions and preventative maintenance needs.

    BTW, the GAI 3003A is BY FAR the best filler/capper we have used in over 14 years of operation--and it's our third filler/capper. We run at 3,000+ bottles per hour, one or two days per week. No complaints, but, hey, we need to talk....

    Timm

    Terminal Gravity Brewing
    Last edited by TGTimm; 03-20-2012, 03:19 PM.
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