Since I've had to mention it several times I figured it was time to stop procrastinating and get down and make the changes to my methanol recovery webpage. That is now done, but seeing as I am using the same condenser and only the pot has changed I've linked to the older version from the new page so that tha parts list can still be easily accessible.
Those who have bookmarked the page will not have to change anythig as the URL stays the same. This is the new page. It is pretty simple, a 50Lt watr heater who's plumbing has been removed and replaced with black iron. Th e ilet is 3/4" as opposed to the old system's 1/2". This makes for quicker loading. A nice addition, and one that I didn't do, would be a T fitting at the top so that a venting valve (ball valve?)could be installed to vent the pot while filling it so it doesn't gurgled back out the top. I just have to be careful when filling it so it doesn't do that, but a vent would eliminate the potential.
I use 20 Lt carboys that are vented. I run the condenser tube down into the carboy and once I'm done I tighten down the cap. I can usually get 2-3 batches run before I have to empty it ito my dedicated drum for recovered methanol.
Simplicity is my moto. I load it cold, it can sit there for a couple days before I get around to distilling.
When I do fire it up I just flip the switch and turn on the ShurFlo pump to start circulating the water, stick the outlet tube in the carboy and go about my business doing other biodiesel phases and forget about it. I monitor the head temp occasionally and may even pop open the inlet valve once or twice just to be sure the condensing tube isn't bocked and buidling pressure, but that's it.
To get out methanol so that it is suitable for soap making I will leave it on all day (08:00 - 17:00) and that is for 30Lt's glycerine. I do this when I do a double batch (both reactors going) but if only one batch then I do not keep the glycerine after only 5 hours from a cold start as there is still methanol present and I don't want to let it go solid in the still so I toss it.
I suspect that loading it hot would move things along quite a bit, however if you're keeping it for soap then it makes a difference how you drain the glycerine, so that there is no biodiesel in the mix as this will adversely affect the outcome. I will be happy to explain this fully in PM if you care to do so.