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Score Of The Century - Autoclave!

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jgriffin

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Got a new client the other day, it's a doctors office. In their kitchen was sitting this large stainless box that looked like an old boiler or something similar.

Anyway, i asked what it was, and they told me it was an autoclave. I looked around the "back" of the box, and sure enough, it looks like the autoclave from hell. This thing is about 80cm wide, 1m high, and has a really large "cover" that i couldn't open.

Apparently it works fine, but doesn't meet some new standards so they had to buy another one.

I asked what they were doing with it, and they said that no medical person could use it anymore, so they were going to send it to the scrap metal dealers!

It's now mine! :D :D

Only problem is that it is huge..

Anyone want to swap a small one for a big one?
 

Doc

Doctor's Orders Brewing
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One word

SCORE

Gotta love freebies.

Beers,
Doc
 

Darren

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Hey JG,
Great pick-up. One word of caution though, is that autoclaves need to be inspected by a boiler maker (yearly I think) and then they get a certificate of compliance.
If there is corrosion in the chamber or one of the door seals are damaged you might be going back to said doctor to have him put some skin back on.
High pressure steam is a great steriliser but is also quite dangerous.

cheers
Darren
 

ozbrewer

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i dont have a small one to swap....but maybe i have some other stuff to swap?
 

Scotty

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Hey what does an Autoclave look like? could you post a pic?
 

jgriffin

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Darren said:
Hey JG,
Great pick-up. One word of caution though, is that autoclaves need to be inspected by a boiler maker (yearly I think) and then they get a certificate of compliance.
If there is corrosion in the chamber or one of the door seals are damaged you might be going back to said doctor to have him put some skin back on.
High pressure steam is a great steriliser but is also quite dangerous.

cheers
Darren
[post="71951"][/post]​
Al good advice. This sucker has a digital control panel on it though to set the temp and time, so i figure i can set it, go for a walk around the block, and come back to either some strerilised plates, or a big hole in the house :)

Also, the door looks like something off a submarine, i can image the seal could leak, but no way this sucker is popping off.
 

Darren

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JG,
Good thinking to go for a walk. All autoclaves have a submarine look about the door set-up. Problem is if the rubber (i assume) seal in the door goes it will remove skin to the bone, bit like a super-heated pressure cleaner.
Also, if you are using tap water to fill the reservoir the chlorine and impurities in the water will corrode the S/Steel quite quickly. I would be particularly wary of auotclaves that are being "thrown-out". Chances are they don't meet OH&S standards (read corroded)
You could try Ebay!
cheers
Darren
 

Justin

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Autoclaves should only really be filled with distilled or deionised water for the reasons above (you can buy distilled H20 for car batteries). However I don't think I'd be too worries by a catastrophic seal breech, as if I remember I don't think they actually run at that high a pressure (I mean it's up there but it's not huge) and your not likely to have your hands anywhere near the seal when it's operating. Those doors will take the pressure, don;t worry about that.

The biggest issue I could see is if the boiler itself is corroded, then you might have a problem/hazard. And check the wiring, often the water reservoirs get over filled which causes water to overflow into the wiring and corrode the outside of the boiler. You'll need to take the back/cover off to check this.

A pressure cooker that sits on the stove makes a mighty fine autoclave that is sized right for the homebrewer but not a bad find anyhow if you've got somewhere to store it.

Cheers, Justin
 

Darren

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Justin said:
However I don't think I'd be too worries by a catastrophic seal breech, as if I remember I don't think they actually run at that high a pressure (I mean it's up there but it's not huge)
[post="72053"][/post]​
Justin it is a couple of atmospheres of pressure. Enough to shoot steam a few metres
The higher you dial up the temp the more pressure inside

Justin said:
The biggest issue I could see is if the boiler itself is corroded, then you might have a problem/hazard.
[post="72053"][/post]​
Old autoclaves are nearly always corroded. Specialists are used to check for hairline corrosion. What looks good to the average eye may actually be dangerous.


Justin said:
A pressure cooker that sits on the stove makes a mighty fine autoclave

Cheers, Justin
[post="72053"][/post]​
I agree. Stove to pressure cookers donot hold the pressure of autoclaves (just look at the thickness of the jacket). The pressure relief valve on a stove top cooker is set at much less than an autoclave.
Sorry for being so down on this. I work with autoclaves everyday and know that a faulty one is a time bomb. I would get it ispected if it were me.
Be careful out there.
cheers
Darren
 

BrissyBrew

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jgriffin if you have been turned off by the posts above I will gladly take it off your hands.
cheers
frank.
ps as hoops put it barstard!
 

Batz

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jgriffin

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OK i found out today what is wrong with it. Apparently all autoclaves used on surgical equipment now need to be hooked up to a printer that records the session temp, time etc so they can record it all. This unit has no such facility, so is useless to them. Not sure if this is a QLD health requirement or what, but i'd be asking your local small surgery if they have the same issue :)
 

Darren

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JGriffin,
Make sure you fill the reservoir with distilled water. tap water will cut through that sucker like a knife though butter. Never turn it up beyond 121 degree C and you should be right.
You do of course realise that for homebrewing nothing more than a pot of boiling water with the lid on is all you really need to sanitise all the microbes that cause spoilage.
Fire away!
 

jgriffin

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I understand but...

Pressure cooker - $100 or so
Autoclave - Free

Pressure cooker - can fit max of what, 250ml flask?
This autoclave - i reckon i can possibly fit a 2L flask in it.

For someone who is suddenly struggling with some recurring infection dramas i'm very happy to use the clave. Plus i can totally move the boiling of my starters away from the oven in the Kitchen, which i feel is probably half my problem.

Alos, why 121C? The doc reckons he always used it at 132C
 

Darren

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JG, What are you using as a boiler for your brews. You could use that to heat/sanitise your starters etc. ie half fill it with water place your starter in it and boil for 20 or so minutes (with lid on).
The reason that "pressure" is used in canning processes is because it is kills spore forming organisms, Clostridium species in particular. These organisms are quite happy to live in oxygen free enviroments and produce toxins that are toxic to humans. These organisms will not live in wort (exposed to oxygen) and donot like alcohol. Thats why it is rare to get botulinism from beer. The alcohol probably stops their growth.
So unless you are canning your starters an autoclave is un-necessary.
I can't stop you using the autoclave, nor do I want to, but if you have problems with infection I doubt that the autoclave is going to fix it.
Presuming that you are using plastic fermenters I suggest to use a BIG dose of bleach in them for a couple of days. Chuck out and replace all you plastic transfer hoses.
Ebay, and you could buy the safe, easy, pressure cooker if you think thats the way to go.
BTW I have had many an outoclave come my way (good and bad, big and small) I know I don't need it.
cheers
 

ozbrewer

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the only QLD health reg i know about is the ability to open a box of wheaties....to get your medical licence..:)








oh come on thats funny






well a little bit funny
 
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