Monday, December 3, 2012

Phase 2: FIRE

Not gonna lie, phase 2 made me a little nervous. The principles were all there. Fill pipes with gas, shoot it through an orifice, and light a burner. Really no different from how your gas grill works or the turkey fryer.

But I wasn't so comfortable with it. 

Regardless I forged ahead.

This phase required a short list (relatively) of parts:

-   Black Iron Pipe and fittings.
-   1/4" Copper Tubing (for pilot)
-   Gas Rated Teflon Tape (Yellow)
-   1/4" Propane Gas Hose

There's a lesson written into the list here. Initially I had my burners, gas valve, pilot, thermocouple. I was doing some additional reading (post order) and found the gas valve was a low pressure gas valve. It would not operate correctly looking at 30 psi gas pressure. 

Well crap. 

I took out the manual and I confirmed that it was, in fact, only operable up and around 11" of water column (1 psi equals roughly 28" water column, or the amount of pressure required to lift a column of water 28"). I did some more research and found I could convert my burner to work on low pressures, hence the low pressure conversion and the low pressure regulator. You can see the regulator and the gas valve in the picture below.

Originally I didn't have enough pressure pushing through my regulator. No issues on the low pressure side, but the lack of pressure on the high side would cause flames to shoot out the back of the burner. There was not enough force to entrain the air and push it through the nozzles. The gas would pool in the venturi and just light out the back. Kind of exciting when you're not expecting it. Probably because I thought it was going to blow. Also because I was showing it off to my wife at the time, and her precious 350Z was parked right next to me. 

Switching out the regulator and cranking the pressure up to 30 PSI did the trick. So far so good. The first brew day went well. I'm not sure how much more gas the system used, but the extra juice was noticeable bringing the wort to a boil. The burners require some tweaking to get the flame just right. I still have to tweak my low pressure burner because it turned the bottom of the HLT black as Dad's "well-done" hamburgers.

Next week: Phase 3 - Plumbing.

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