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Amazon Shop: ½ Pint Jars, Agar, Laminar Flow Hood, Paul Stamets, Pressure Cooker

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OfflineJeremy_Davis
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My Filter patch bags melted to my 931!!! lil help please...
    #4530328 - 08/13/05 03:50 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Hey everyone!
I just spent my whole day sterilizing a mix of substrate for my reishi grow, and failed miserably. It's definitely humbling to have these setbacks, so I guess it's good for me, but any help you can lend me will be greatly appreciated. I filled my 931's (two of them ) with four filter patch bags each. The bags were layered on top of the aluminum separators that come with the PC's, 2 on top of a separator, on top of two bags, on top of a separator on the floor of the PC. I put just over half a gallon of distilled water in each PC before loading with the bags.

I brought the PC's to pressure and planned to keep them there for 4 hours. After about 3 hours, I noticed the pressure dropping a little, and smelled a campfirey burning wood smell. I say I noticed, but I had been inside and not monitoring it too closely between hour 2 and 3, where the problem developed. I also noticed a brown colored liquid escaping from the pressure release regulating weight (where the steam escapes). I'm growing reishi, so the substrate is mostly hardwoods, so I knew a burning wood smell was really not a good thing.
I thought that I had steamed off all the water from the PC, and was cooking the wood. I was confused though, because if the water was all gone, it should have been at zero pressure. I worried that I had spent ALMOST all the water, and still wonder about that. The PC's were both still at 14 PSI, and 16 PSI respectively.
At this point I pulled the PC's inside and placed them in front of a flow hood to reach atmospheric pressure. When they were at 0 PSI, I opened them, and tried to pull out the top two bags. They gave resistance, so I tried to lift one bag. It tore, I tried to get the second bag out more carefully. It also tore. I gave up on getting out the bottom two bags, and tried the second PC. The same thing happened event though my care increased. I have no idea how bad the bottom bags were, though the top bags seemed mostly intact until I tried to pull them out, but were still melted to the PC, and maybe even the separator.
I took the PC's outside and washed them down. Some of the substrate was stuck to the bottom of the PC/separator, I think the bags melted on both sides sticking sub to PC. It wouldn't wash off, so I have them soaking right now. Tomorrow I'll wash and sterilize them back to working condition.

Okay - how do I avoid this in the future?
I remember Stamets saying to place wet cardboard around the inside of the PC, so the bags don't contact the metal directly. I will definitely try this on Monday when I try again. Will it help with the separators too, should I layer them with wet cardboard too.

How much water should I be putting in there? They are AA 931 PC's, and I'd like to sterilize them for 4 hours. These are standard Unicorn bags, but I think I got the cheaper ones ($30/100 bags instead of $50/100 bags, maybe I got what I paid for?)

Thanks for helping me learn! I figure I learn more every time I make a mistake, and then move to correct it, than I learn with ten successes.
Light and Love to all you for your help!!!!
Jeremy Davis


--------------------
Jeremy Davis
Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization, Inc.
Check out the ECHO mushroom blog page to see our lab, growing facility, and more-www.echotech.org/greta


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Invisiblemushrx1
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Re: My Filter patch bags melted to my 931!!! lil help please... [Re: Jeremy_Davis]
    #4530976 - 08/13/05 08:35 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

You're so right, Jeremy.

You can't learn without making mistakes.

What happened is that the bags were in contact with the bottom of the PC. That should NEVER happen. Since it did, the bags kept water from returning to the metal as it was heated to evaporation. So water evaporated from under the bags, then without water the metal became too hot for the bags, then the bags melted. That's where it gets funny- well sort of in a learning way...

The melted bags opened to spill substrate into the water volume. That absorbed the water and made a slurry of your thermal, predictable latent heat, heat distribution system (the pool of water that keeps the pressure and temp predictable). Without that, the temp skyrocketed and all the bags eventually gave out their mechanical strength. Polypropylene bags can stand 280F or so, and your pressure cooker is designed to plateau around 250-260F. So the bags got brittle and broke once you tried to get them out.

And that's messy- but you'll never do that again! =)

You've got to put the separator on the bottom of the PC (designed to keep about a half inch of air space between the cntents and the bottom of the pc). You can have more up higher in the stack of bags, but the one on the bottom is most important. It keeps the water in contact with the heated metal that sits on the burner (or electrical element).

The other thing you'll probably learn at one point is that you should ramp the temperature fairly slowly, since the bags toucing the sides can be heated beyond the tolerance range by super heated sides (only water vapor touches the sides, so the thermal transfer is way cut down. I guess the cardboard thing could work too, paper bags work well for sterilizing tools and such. The sides shouldn't get hotter than the bottom of the pc at any point. And the water level must be maintained... a good slow PC is better than one hissing loudly- which forces too much water out too fast leaving your pc time cut short.
if the water evaporates too fast you will end up with the same broken bags and problems.

Congrats on a successful mess-up. NObody got hurt and you did learn a bunch. Now you're ready to grow some killer reishis.

(Just think about having left that mess melting on the stove... house burnt down, explaining to the authorities.

btw. you also learned that leaving a pressure cooker can be asking for trouble. It's so tempting over the hours of PCing, but you have to be onhand to make sure nothing goes wrong.

Why don't we have good programmable PC's? Maybe we can work on that- thermocouples, nichrome element, touchpad display, programmable ramp. Oh yeah, they exist already, but for $6000.00 & up. :frown:

wanna swap reishi for lion's mane?


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Invisibleagar
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Re: My Filter patch bags melted to my 931!!! lil help please... [Re: Jeremy_Davis]
    #4531174 - 08/13/05 10:01 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Go to a thrift or retail store & buy a few big THICK terry cloth beach towels. Soak the towels in water. Then, line the PC with them and/or wrap bags with wet towels.

Your problem was, you packed the bags to tightly in the PC. So, bag material was in DIRECT contact & under a little internal pressure with the metal sides of the PC.

You can also use THICK wet cardboard as a liner (doubled).

I did the same thing - with an AA 925.

That is one of the reasons, I upgraded to 941 sterilizers. Because they have an insert / liner - pot. So, when jam packed full, nothing comes in direct contact with the wall of the PC.





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OfflineJeremy_Davis
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Re: My Filter patch bags melted to my 931!!! lil help please... [Re: agar]
    #4532038 - 08/14/05 02:04 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Thanks so much you two! It's too late, and it's been a long day, so I'm going to sleep, but I'll get back to this tomorrow!
All my light and Love,
JD


--------------------
Jeremy Davis
Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization, Inc.
Check out the ECHO mushroom blog page to see our lab, growing facility, and more-www.echotech.org/greta


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OfflineJSshroom
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Re: My Filter patch bags melted to my 931!!! lil help please... [Re: Jeremy_Davis]
    #4643001 - 09/10/05 07:24 PM (12 years, 3 months ago)

well he did have the spacer on the bottom. so the problem lies in that the bags were touching the sides of the pc? I was thinking of getting some bags so I am glad you guys learned this lesson for me!


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First Grow No more carpet tek


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OfflineRiver77
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Re: My Filter patch bags melted to my 931!!! lil help please... [Re: JSshroom]
    #13547850 - 11/27/10 01:49 PM (7 years, 20 days ago)

I just line my PC with a layer of the thickest tin foil I can find. I kinda crinkle it up so it doesnt lay flush against the side walls.  Haven't had a problem since. And it is alot less mess than cardboard or wet towels.


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InvisibleJavadog
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Re: My Filter patch bags melted to my 931!!! lil help please... [Re: River77]
    #13547861 - 11/27/10 01:51 PM (7 years, 20 days ago)

I have an AA 925X and only remove the "insert container"
that Agar refers to when PC'ing quart jars.

Good luck, and sorry to hear of the troubles,

JD


--------------------
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OfflineMr Mycoman
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Re: My Filter patch bags melted to my 931!!! lil help please... [Re: Javadog]
    #13547879 - 11/27/10 01:57 PM (7 years, 20 days ago)

I use 5#s of grain/bag and roll up each bag with 2 layers of news paper. I make nice neat little logs. I fit 5 bags in my 931, four on bottom and 1 on top of them. I use a 3" tall rack to lift the bags off the floor of the pc........MM


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Amazon Shop: ½ Pint Jars, Agar, Laminar Flow Hood, Paul Stamets, Pressure Cooker

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