Maxi cooler python pump

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PeeBee
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Maxi cooler python pump

Post by PeeBee » Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:34 pm

I cool my casks/kegs from the cooler's "python" line. It keeps the cask/keg contents at about cellar temperature. Any keg beers that need to be a bit cooler are pushed through the "product" lines (I've variable shunts on the product coils so as to have some control of the temperature of individual beers using them). All good so far …

But. To keep the casks/kegs at a fairly constant cellar temperature the cooler needs to be run about 15 minutes every two hours during the day, and it's flippin' noisy! To keep the product lines effective the cooler needs be on for only 30-60 minutes a day.

So the "solution" is to only run the cooler once (maybe twice?) a day and fit a small, quiet "auxiliary" pump on the cooler "python" line to run at other times of the day. Has anyone else tried/done/doing this? Does it work? Any pitfalls?

The auxiliary pump will be an inline 12/24V impeller type (i.e. not self-priming). The auxiliary pump will be kept primed by the cooler running every day. So the cooler will be expected to pump past the auxiliary pump (be it running or not) though the cooler's pump will no longer be essential for maintenance of cellar temperature for the cask/keg contents.

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Maxi cooler python pump

Post by ingo » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:03 am

On my big gear I have two big water bath coolers for the temperature of two fermentation tanks and four lager tanks. The coolers thermostats are set on coldest. On each cooler is a pump that runs continuously, it has a bypass with a valve. Each tank has a thermostat and depending on demand it opens a valve to get cold water/glycol (and then closes the bypass valve). Everything is hooked up to a under floor heating distributor so all tanks can be set to get the same flow. The reason for the bypass and continuous flow is that the pump is not self priming and is difficult to start (it sticks).

So, I think your setup will work and a bypass may be something to keep in mind if it's not fully working as expected.

How do you cool your kegs from the python, just wrap some tubing around them?

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Re: Maxi cooler python pump

Post by Kev888 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:19 am

I have used auxiliary pumps with maxi coolers, though in my case they were brushless solar-project types that were fed by a bottom outlet installed in the water bath. They worked well, the only down-side was some small extra heat gain due to the heat from the aux pump (the original pump design has more separation between motor and coolant).

Alternatively, I have also controlled the maxi's original pump via a relay-based 'or' gate so that either the maxi or an external signal can turn it on, which may be another option if you just wanted the pump going when the maxi wasn't. It isn't quite as quiet as the solar-project pumps but by itself isn't actually loud.

I'm not sure if I fully understand your intention, but if it is to cool the kegs when the maxi compressor wasn't on I'm not sure how long it would take to exhaust the ice bath and see temperatures start to rise. Plus it would potentially postpone rather than reduce compressor time, in having to re-establish more ice later. Perhaps some testing would help verify the feasibility beforehand, if you have any doubts.
Last edited by Kev888 on Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Maxi cooler python pump

Post by Kev888 » Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:24 am

As an aside I have improved the noise levels of a maxi cooler partly by replacing the fan. Two slower and much quieter 12v fans were chosen to (in total) provide an equivalent airflow and air pressure with some new ducting between them and the radiator.

It was a distinct improvement, though not as much as hoped, I think there was some interaction going on with the vibration of the two fans. However their speed was voltage-variable so at less demanding times could be slowed, and that certainly did work. There may be some danger involved though; get insufficient airflow for the conditions and potentially things could overheat.

(Another aspect was to stop ice being created either by a warmer bath temperature and/or with a non-poisonous form of glycol. This made the maxi come on for less time but in some cases might cause it to do so more often, so could be either good or bad depending on circumstances).
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Re: Maxi cooler python pump

Post by PeeBee » Mon Sep 09, 2019 11:32 am

Kev888 wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:19 am
… I'm not sure if I fully understand your intention, but if it is to cool the kegs when the maxi compressor wasn't on I'm not sure how long it would take to exhaust the ice bath and see temperatures start to rise. Plus it would potentially postpone rather than reduce compressor time, in having to re-establish more ice later. Perhaps some testing would help verify the feasibility beforehand, if you have any doubts.
"Postponing" the Maxi's "on" time is the plan; I do not try to delude myself into thinking I can reduce compressor time. I'm keeping cool four Corny kegs (maximum), but only to 14C (maybe a bit less for some, say 10-12C), so I'm not too concerned about excessively warming the ice-bath (but not sure if I shouldn't be concerned). Note I'm only trying to maintain cool, not attempting to cool beer down (from say 18C).

I'm planning to have the auxiliary pump in-line with the existing python lines. The lines appear to stay full when the Maxi is off (i.e. don't drain) so I don't think I'll trouble keeping the pump primed, but as the pump will have to "lift" water on the (primed) input side by about 200mm that's one bit I'm worried about.
ingo wrote:
Mon Sep 09, 2019 9:03 am
… How do you cool your kegs from the python, just wrap some tubing around them?
The kegs are wrapped with 18mm neoprene insulation with inbuilt three turns of PVC tubing (3/8" bore) of which one turn can be optionally isolated. Not much, but then I don't care for icy beer.

I might fit a bypass (shunt) with a not particularly low "cracking pressure" one-way valve as a safety device (I am using a "solar project" style mini pump, but these newer pumps have an enclosed impeller and block up more readily than the older open impellers).


Thanks.

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Maxi cooler python pump

Post by PeeBee » Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:56 am

"Auxiliary" pump in place (part of perpetual home improvements - I need the beer to blind myself to what needs doing next). No kegs in shot 'cos they'd hide the pump (all a bit cramped under the stairs).
20190919_140809_WEB.jpg
Works okay. The cooler pumps water past the auxiliary, and the auxiliary draws water past the cooler.

The only problem (so far): Those cheap Chinese 12V pumps (this one is actually 24V) may be more powerful than the old brown "solar" pumps, but make a noise like a 1000 angry bees.

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Maxi cooler python pump

Post by DaveGillespie » Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:12 pm

Is the piping here a closed loop? I'd be interested to see more detail as I'm going to be using a Maxi to control FV temp on a Fermzilla and have a bedroom over the garage where it's going to live so am not sure if the python pump is too noisy for that.

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Re: Maxi cooler python pump

Post by PeeBee » Tue Sep 24, 2019 3:24 pm

DaveGillespie wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:12 pm
Is the piping here a closed loop? I'd be interested to see more detail as I'm going to be using a Maxi to control FV temp on a Fermzilla and have a bedroom over the garage where it's going to live so am not sure if the python pump is too noisy for that.
It's a loop, in that the photo shows the "flow line" (with the pump) and the other is the "return line". But it's not "closed" because the cold water tank in the Maxi is effectively "open".

I'd say a Maxi has no place in a home because they are noisy. But I don't have mine on at all after 2200, and it doesn't come back on until gone 0800.

If using the python lines to cool kegs as I'm doing the Maxi has to run at regular intervals during the day (depends on day, but I reckon on running 15 minutes in every 90) to prevent the kegs warming up. The python lines will not cool a warm keg down again very well (at all? But I've only 3 turns of pipe around the kegs). The setup is to maintain cool beer, not create cool beer. The insulation (18mm of neoprene) is probably essential.

The auxiliary pump is to cut back on the times the Maxi is on (it's noisy!) but my current pump isn't quiet enough. I've got some pumps once used for water cooling PCs that might be better?


If just using the product lines of the Maxi to cool beer, the Maxi only has to come on for 30-60 minutes a day to keep the water bath cool. The water bath should best be agitated while dispensing. But keeping kegs cool (if not quite as cool as dispensed at) reduces foam issues.

Note I'm good with beer at 7-15C (depending on beer), if you want beer as cold as a morgue, get a big fridge.

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Maxi cooler python pump

Post by PeeBee » Tue Sep 24, 2019 5:51 pm

Ah … just noticed that question was about cooling a fermenter, not kegs.

I do use a shelf cooler (python lines) to cool my fermenter. An Inkbird ITC-308 doing the controlling. It is in an "isolated" part of the house, not under a bedroom. You might get away with having the thing on timer so it doesn't come on in the early hours.

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Maxi cooler python pump

Post by Kev888 » Tue Sep 24, 2019 9:33 pm

DaveGillespie wrote:
Tue Sep 24, 2019 2:12 pm
Is the piping here a closed loop? I'd be interested to see more detail as I'm going to be using a Maxi to control FV temp on a Fermzilla and have a bedroom over the garage where it's going to live so am not sure if the python pump is too noisy for that.
I use a maxi 110 (the smallest, least noisy of the maxi models) for my FV cooling; it is quite noisy in my flat, but with the internal door closed it isn't too intrusive so I'd guess it should be pretty acceptable through an insulated bedroom floor. You may well be able to use it just 'as is'.

The python pump itself isn't hugely loud, but if needed then replacing it with a solar-project pump immersed in the cool bath does cut down on noise somewhat - I hung mine on silicone tube and rubber bands so that it didn't vibrate against the cool bath's base.

The fan adds appreciable noise too, probably more. My latest build has a switch added to allow the fan to be turned on permanently if I wish, which may sound odd but it is most noticeable when bursting into life, or by its absence when the thing turns off.

There isn't much that one can do about the compressor, but it isn't much worse than a reasonably loud fridge, it just adds to the fan and pump noise.
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Re: Maxi cooler python pump

Post by PeeBee » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:12 am

The noisy pump will have to go! I have a couple of water pumps from my old water cooled computer/server - Dtek dB-1s. Interestingly there doesn't seem to be a lot of cross-over with these technologies. Now we have cheap powerful noisy pumps, whereas back then (there isn't much call for them anymore with low powered, cool running, PCs) we had expensive (more then twice the cost) 1/2 the power quiet pumps. I'll see what can be done with them.

Lots of useful bits from these old water cooled PCs - should have been using them earlier. Silent fans, low-noise pumps, anti-vibration mounts, quiet power supplies, fluorescent coolant (okay, scratch that one). Loads of stuff to silence noisy old Maxi coolers (damn, Maxi coolers would have been perfect for those servers 10 years ago). Gawd knows how I put this stuff together, I wouldn't have had a clue what "G1/4" meant ...

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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Re: Maxi cooler python pump

Post by timtoos » Wed Apr 07, 2021 9:11 am

Hi all,

I know its an old post but Im looking for some advice.

Im using a maxi 210 chiller for cooling. At present I use the agitator python pump in order to pump the glycol through my chiller. This pump is controlled from the FV controller and the Maxi looks after itself on a separate controller set at -5C.

It seems to unction great and much cheaper than a grainfather or SS alternative. However the Maxi python pump unit does not seem to have a massive head and the pressure is low. Could it need replacing? I seem to spend ages getting this to prime. Once going its ok.

Anyway, I have 2 solutions.
Either replace the maxi agitator python pump (if this is at fault) OR
Add a pump into the coolant tank and pump straight out of there leaving the agitator to run when the Maxi is chilling.

The question I have is what would be best? I was thinking of adding a 24v Solar pump into the tank but not sure if it would work at -5C temperature environment. the other pump I know would do the job is the 12v SS brewtech type pump - but they are about £40.

Any ideas, advice? Does it sound like the Maxi pump unit is at fault? Is the pressure can usually pretty high from them?

If I added a another pump then I could pump to a manifold and control 2 vessels at once from the same chiller.

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Re: Maxi cooler python pump

Post by ArtyMarty » Tue Jul 06, 2021 9:18 am

Did you get this resolved

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Re: Maxi cooler python pump

Post by timtoos » Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:54 am

Hi,
Not really. The python pump isn't good at all. I have bought a couple of SS Brewtech pumps to install when I can empty the chiller.
I intend to just run the python pump as a agitator and pump out with the pumps. 2 pumps will allow me to chill 2 FVs.
Cheers

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Re: Maxi cooler python pump

Post by PeeBee » Wed Oct 13, 2021 4:50 pm

timtoos wrote:
Wed Oct 13, 2021 8:54 am
Hi,
Not really. The python pump isn't good at all. I have bought a couple of SS Brewtech pumps to install when I can empty the chiller.
I intend to just run the python pump as a agitator and pump out with the pumps. 2 pumps will allow me to chill 2 FVs.
Cheers
Sorry. Missed these posts as I wasn't following this old thread.

But as you've said, the python pump isn't really up to it. I've got a 210 "clone" and is fitted with a single submersible pump in the water-bath. It services a second FV (the python pump is okay for 1 FV). But such a "hybrid" arrangement might not suit you. And I'm using water alone, not a glycol mix.
20211013_161553_WEB.jpg
20211013_161553_WEB.jpg (76.86 KiB) Viewed 65 times
I've also a 310 being modified at present. It has two submersible pumps (12V) for cooling 4 kegs (not FV). The circuits they feed also have inline 12V "silent" pumps from a computer water cooling setup. Those inline pumps can't self-prime, but the submersible pumps ensure the lines are primed. The submersible (and python) pumps are not so quiet so not run as often. So, a similar setup to you're arranging ... and it does work!

Cask-conditioned style ale out of a keg/Cornie (the "treatise"): https://drive.google.com/file/d/0BwzEv5 ... V1bWc/view

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