Tote Heating Experiment

Collecting, filtering and dewatering of WVO SVO vegetable oil. For Biodiesel producers too.

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Tote Heating Experiment

Postby tubular031 » Fri Nov 21, 2014 5:39 pm

NERD ALERT!!!! NERD ALERT!!!!
The setup:
I have 2 totes stacked on top of each other. The top tote (dirt Oil) has about 225 gal of oil in it that turns into the constancy of apple sauce at about 50 degrees. At 30 ish it’s about as thick as jello. The dirty tote has 100 feet of ½ inch pex pipe in it. As I was feeding in the coil of pex, I had 1 side held captive which caused the pex to twist, flip, and flop as it was fed in (think of holding a spring at both ends and trying to un twist it). This actually worked out well because the tube was more spread out and spread in many directions. The pex is in the top half of the tote. Hopefully it will settle to the bottom as the tote is emptied. The pex is connected to a 40 gal water heater with a 1/25 taco circulation pump attached.

To collect the data I used 2 raspberry PI boards with ds18b20 temp sensors attached. There are 2 versions of the temp sensor in my setup, the waterproof probe version and the transistor looking sensor. For some reason the 2 types can not work together on the same bus and the dallas 1-wire protocol on the Pi only allows 1 bus per Pi (on GPIO 4) so that is why there are 2 Pis in my setup. The waterproof probe is in the tote sitting about 1-3 inches from the bottom (remember the pex is only in the top half of the tote). The other sensors are zip tied to the metal/brass parts to read temp. This is not super accurate, but close enough for the experiment. On the PI I have a python script to read the sensor and convert it to Fahrenheit. The snmpd service is configured to pass the value of the script to an OID that can be queried from the network.

Above the PIs is an APC switch PDU that I can monitor total power usage and also switch each outlet on and off via the internal web server management or by sending SNMP strings. There is an older dell Vostro desktop running windows 2008r2 (demo mode free for 180 days) and PRTG network monitor from Paessler (30 sensor free version) to query all the sensors to collect the data and then draw the graphs you will see later on. There is a small 5 port switch to hook this all together via Ethernet and an ubiquiti nanostation mounted outside to bridge the garage network to the house 200 ish yards away. Everything can be accessed, monitored and controlled remotely via the exceed satellite internet service (yea we are way out there in the country and there is no internet available….) with an ssh tunnel into pitemp1 and then a tunnel to the desktop to see the PRTG GUI.

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The Data:

I turned on the HWH at about noon to heat the water up. The tank got to about 94 degrees and at 4 ish I turned on the circulator pump. Ambient temp in the garage was about 39 deg. Tote temp was 36 deg. The temp in the HWH tank quickly dropped as the heat was being transferred to the tote. The HWH element (4000 watt at 220 running at 110v about 1000 watts) never turned off till the next day and as you can see from the graphs, it slowly warmed the water but could not keep up. Also notice the ambient temp going down as the night went on and the bottom at about 27 degrees. Then the quick warm up when the sun came out and the polar plunge went passed us in Texas. I arrived back at the garage a little before noon the next day. The system ran all through the night.

Ambient temp in the garage:
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HWH tank temp:

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Tote temp:
Notice just before noon the tote temp jumps? I turned on the oil pump and that started to mix up the tote. The temp sensor is just about on the bottom and the pex tube is in the top half of the tote.

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Watts from the PDU:
Notice the HWH element never turned off. It was giving it all she had and could not keep up with the heat transfer to the tote. The 132 watts before the HWH element was turned is all the electronics (POE injector, switch, 2 Pis, desktop.)

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I am amazed at the results!! Even through the night as the temps fell to below freezing the uninsulated tote with 225 gal of THICK oil still warmed up. I was really afraid that the pex being plastic would not be good enough at transferring the heat to the tote. This experiment proved that the pex was actually doing a really good job at transferring the heat and the weak link was the 1000 watt electric element in the hwh. If I had 220vac in the garage to run the hwh off of this would work even better!

Please feel free to pass this info along anyway you want. copy paste, re post, link, re tweet bla bla. I did not find anyone that had any info like this on the internets that I could find so pass it along! I hope this was useful and educational in some strange way. I sure had fun (mostly..) putting it together. I plan to make this prettier in the garage and also make this more permanent for the cold times of the year.

FYI PRTG is AWESOME!!! I use it all the time at work for us and our customers. Raspberry Pis are cool too. So many things to do with them just takes time to figure it out and program something to work with your application. APC PDUs are good too, again use them all the time at work for our stuff and customers. So far I have real good luck with ubiquiti WAPS too. I have 3 of them on the property, 1 as the main WAP and 2 as clients both about 200+ yards away. We can pick up the main WAP 200 yards away on the phones and tablets too.
01 F350 CCLB SRW

Veggie conversion done!
http://www.burnveg.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=623
tubular031
 
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Joined: Tue Apr 29, 2008 2:47 pm

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