Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Brewery Build #15: Pump

I first came across these pumps on the UK-based JBK forums a few years ago, when some of the UK-based home brewers started to use them for their home brew setups.  At the time they were called 'solar pumps' likely due, in a large part to the fact that the shop selling them was SolarProject in the UK.  Since that time similar, (or the same) pumps have become available relatively cheaply on Ebay and in Australian based shops, including Australian home brew shops, but I got two via Ebay more than a year ago.

Today it's more common to see them called a Little Brown Pump, because that is exactly what they are:
Even compared the the 1/2 inch valve and fittings, these things are 'little'.  They run off 12V (other 24V models are available) so it wireed up via a transformer recycled from our old cable-modem, that will be powered by one of the points on the control box.

While they are not the most powerful pump, the Little Brown Pump recirculated from what is essentially the bottom of the brew-stand to the top, at a rate of 3L per min and did so without problem for an hour.

The main reason for including a return fitting and camlock at the very top of the HTL is to allow for the recirculation and easy CIP (Clean In Place) once everything is setup and running.  A brew-stand is on the 'to do' list, but since it's not essential for making some beer, it's toward the end of the list.  For the moment the old table-thing one of our neighbors was throwing out and a few milk-crates should do an adequate job.  The milk crates are cable-tied together and to the stand so that they can't move or tip, adding an element of stability and safety.
Many home-brewers, both in the UK and Australia, use the Little Brown Solar Pumps without issue or complaint, and I was happy to do so as well, and included one in the design of the new setup.  However, after pulling one apart, I'm not sure it's something that will have a permanent place in my brewery.

I do not question that they are a cheap and useful solution.  However they also have a number of small, fiddly internal parts, some of which are made of metal, and the impeller, shaft and housing are really not sealed that well, so I can easily see wort and other contaminates getting - and staying - into the various internal components of the pump.

1 comment:

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