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Thread: Free Trip to Guatemala! To help us with bottling issues.

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2016
    Location
    Central America
    Posts
    3

    Free Trip to Guatemala! To help us with bottling issues.

    We are having constant foaming issues with an HDP DFC4 (see previous thread here: https://discussions.probrewer.com/sh...re-I-need-help) and are frustrated to the point where if there is anybody out there who is an expert on the machine, we would be happy to pay for a trip down to Antigua, Guatemala to help us figure it out. The weather is beautiful and the beer is even better.

    Please reply here, by email at sroclaj@gmail.com, or feel free to call at +502 4914-8796

    All help appreciated.

    Regards,
    Steve Johnson
    Cerveceria 14

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    949
    I would love a trip to Guatemala, but in the interest of time....
    Leak has got to be there. Have you disassembled the solenoid valves and looked at the seats? I have a pretty old one, don't know if the same valves are being used. But on mine you take a nut off and the coil slides off, then there is a shaft and on the base there is 2 small indensions if you have a pin spanner wrench you can unscrew the shaft from the base and take a look at the seat and spring on the valve. I had one that was leaking from the where the shaft meets the base, I think there was an o-ring that seals the shaft to the base as well. Could be an old or damaged valve seat too, could have debris blocking it from closing.

    It only takes one bad valve to send beer into the manifold. when it is running do you see beer flowing thru all lines back to the manifold or one line?

    Also, have you checked your pressure gauges accuracy?
    Have you checked all the hose clamps? I remember those machines having lots of hoses.

    Cheers.
    Joel Halbleib
    COO / Zymurgist
    Goodwood Brewing Co
    636 East Main St
    Louisville, KY
    goodwood.beer

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Antigua, Guatemala
    Posts
    32

    Solenoids

    Quote Originally Posted by BrewinLou View Post
    Leak has got to be there. Have you disassembled the solenoid valves and looked at the seats?
    Hey, Joel
    I haven't taken apart the solenoids but I did talk to Kevin Henderson at HDP about doing that. We both kind of thought that the solenoids probably aren't the problem because all 4 heads are acting this way and the chances that all 4 solenoids are bad is pretty slim, but it guess it's worth a try. At this point I'm chasing every possible solution. Did you ever see the problem I'm experiencing with your machine?


    As for other leaks, I found quite a few and fixed them. All other equipment I've installed here has been brand new and I have tried numerous different gas regulators and working off 2 BBTs. Same problem with all combinations.



    With regards to BBT pressure, were you adding additional pressure to your BBT to feed beer to the machine - i.e. if your carbonated beer head pressure was 14 psi for 2.6 vol/CO2, would you bottle at 16 psi head pressure or increase to keep the machine fed?

    Thanks!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Louisville, KY
    Posts
    949
    I am working from experience on a much older machine that I never had a manual for... If all 4 beer line solenoids are closed and the lines full of beer the hydraulics of the situation dictates there is nowhere for the beer in the lines to be pushed. So your options are... The pressure of the co2 is over powering the 4 solenoid valves and pushing the beer back past them, or there is a leak in some manifold which I am sure you would noticed. If all mechanics are working you could have a plc or programming issue.

    If your regulator can keep up the pressure consistently as you are running the line you should be fine. If I remember correctly the beer pressure had to be 5-10 psi higher than the co2 pressure?

    Could you post a pic of the back side with all the valves and plumbing so I can see if the plumbing has changed much?
    Joel Halbleib
    COO / Zymurgist
    Goodwood Brewing Co
    636 East Main St
    Louisville, KY
    goodwood.beer

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,812
    Do you have a pressure gauge for the beer on the machine? This is the pressure that matters--not the head pressure in the bright tank. Remeber that you need to add the static head of the beer based on the height of the vessel to the head pressure in it.

    We got a nifty tool with our ABE canning line called a Watchdog. ABE doesn't seem to list it on their website, but it's very effective. It monitors the pressure at the outlet of the bright and adds CO2 to the headspace to keep it uniform. It's made a big difference in our canning, kegging and bottling.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    16
    +1 On the watchdog. This has made all the difference for us when canning and bottling.

    Quote Originally Posted by TGTimm View Post
    Do you have a pressure gauge for the beer on the machine? This is the pressure that matters--not the head pressure in the bright tank. Remeber that you need to add the static head of the beer based on the height of the vessel to the head pressure in it.

    We got a nifty tool with our ABE canning line called a Watchdog. ABE doesn't seem to list it on their website, but it's very effective. It monitors the pressure at the outlet of the bright and adds CO2 to the headspace to keep it uniform. It's made a big difference in our canning, kegging and bottling.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Antigua, Guatemala
    Posts
    32

    Foam, foam, foam, ugh

    Quote Originally Posted by BrewinLou View Post
    If all 4 beer line solenoids are closed and the lines full of beer the hydraulics of the situation dictates there is nowhere for the beer in the lines to be pushed. So your options are... The pressure of the co2 is over powering the 4 solenoid valves and pushing the beer back past them, or there is a leak in some manifold which I am sure you would noticed.
    There's definitely no leaks in the manifold or plumbing anywhere. I've had the back open for much of my bottling attempts looking for just that. As for the CO2 pressure overpowering the solenoids, that was my hunch for the first few bottling sessions, now however, I'm running the CO2 at the bare minimum to achieve the proper counterpressure in the bottle prior to fill. I'm not really convinced anymore that the beer in the line is being fully "pushed" back into the manifold (read - past the closed solenoid) but it is absolutely being pushed into the back of the machine as you watch from the front and that beer in the line is being turned to foam and shot back into the bottle before my fill cycle can even begin. This amount of foam is then reeking havoc on the fill cycle. I've got the fill going so slow no extra foam is created but this initial foam is kicking off the "auto fill" sensory too early on every single bottle, thus short fills.

    The machine has a "EZ Setup" to detect the pressure of the BBT and then sets the purge and counterpressure automatically. There is no way to manually override these. I have to run CO2 about 5 psi above the EZ Setup BBT psi or I can't achieve counterpressure.

    Here's a photo of the solenoid. For some reason no other photos will upload right now. I have a couple good videos of the problem in action. You can clearly see the foam being created in the transparent beer line and then being shot into the bottle but I can't seem to compress it enough to upload here. I can send via FB and WhatsApp.

    Thanks for your help.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Location
    Antigua, Guatemala
    Posts
    32

    Watchdog

    Quote Originally Posted by TGTimm View Post
    Do you have a pressure gauge for the beer on the machine? This is the pressure that matters
    So the machine has this "EZ Setup" which detects the pressure of BBT feeding the machine. There's no apparent way to override it. Not much in the way of static pressure on these tanks, 30BBL tank with only 1/2 batches in them as of yet, so 15bbl. And they are shorter and more squatty then I'm used to seeing. They are new tanks with new pressure gauges and the "EZ Setup" pressure and the gauges are pretty much exactly equal every time.

    I'll check into the Watchdog however. Thanks.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Posts
    16
    FWIW I think my watchdog was right around US$1700, now I don't now what plane tix are right now, but hey it's worth a call to ABE at the least.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Kent View Post
    There's definitely no leaks in the manifold or plumbing anywhere. I've had the back open for much of my bottling attempts looking for just that. As for the CO2 pressure overpowering the solenoids, that was my hunch for the first few bottling sessions, now however, I'm running the CO2 at the bare minimum to achieve the proper counterpressure in the bottle prior to fill. I'm not really convinced anymore that the beer in the line is being fully "pushed" back into the manifold (read - past the closed solenoid) but it is absolutely being pushed into the back of the machine as you watch from the front and that beer in the line is being turned to foam and shot back into the bottle before my fill cycle can even begin. This amount of foam is then reeking havoc on the fill cycle. I've got the fill going so slow no extra foam is created but this initial foam is kicking off the "auto fill" sensory too early on every single bottle, thus short fills.

    The machine has a "EZ Setup" to detect the pressure of the BBT and then sets the purge and counterpressure automatically. There is no way to manually override these. I have to run CO2 about 5 psi above the EZ Setup BBT psi or I can't achieve counterpressure.

    Here's a photo of the solenoid. For some reason no other photos will upload right now. I have a couple good videos of the problem in action. You can clearly see the foam being created in the transparent beer line and then being shot into the bottle but I can't seem to compress it enough to upload here. I can send via FB and WhatsApp.

    Thanks for your help.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Enterprise, Oregon
    Posts
    1,812
    Just to note: At that price, I'd consider building my own version of the Watchdog. It's just a temperature controller using a 0-25 mA pressure sensor instead of a temp probe, and outputting to a solenoid valve.
    Timm Turrentine

    Brewerywright,
    Terminal Gravity Brewing,
    Enterprise. Oregon.

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