I've documented my experiment with a DIY vacuum pump for transfering wine between carboys, degassing and eventually bottling. This will be a work in progress as the system matures and I optimize the setup.
Imploding carboys can be very bad for your health. Check your carboys for cracks before you put them under vacuum. A carboy could theoretically implode under any amount of vacuum even if there is no cracks. Do not move or contact the carboy with any foreign object while the carboy is under vacuum. I am not responsible for any damage or injury caused by the use of this information.
If you do not have the tools or mechanical ability to build the pump and are looking for something consumer grade, I suggest the All In One Wine Pump
. It is a beautiful piece of machinery.
Much of this build was inspired by Wade E. Check his thread here
Total damage = $73.35CAD
Receiving Carboy Cap
- 1 x Vacuum pump from All Electronics. $35.95CAD shipped to Canada. Thanks to SLOweather for the find. Link
- 1 x Double Spout Carboy Cap from my local shop. $3.40CAD
- 1 x Vinyl Braided Reinforced Tubing 1/2 in. OD x 1/4 in. ID x 10 ft. $8.80CAD Link
- 2 x Curved Plastic Racking Cane from my local shop. $2.50CAD
- 1 x Standard Racking Hose to fit the canes from my local shop. $2.00CAD
- 2 x Hose Adapter 1/4 in. Brass Barb x Male NPT. $5.06CAD Link
- 2 x Coupler 1/4 in. Brass FPT x FPT. $4.04CAD Link
- 2 x Large washers from my junk box.
- 1 x Jar from my wife.
I chose to use a carboy cap instead of a bung. Although the cap does not make a 100% air tight seal with the carboy lip, it does seal well enough and I find it quite convenient for my setup. I had to cut 1cm off the top of the main spout to allow the racking tube to slide through. It is an extremely tight fit. Push the racking tube far enough so it reaches to the bottom of the carboy to minimize splashing and oxidation.
The vacuum tube from the pump connects to the secondary spout on the carboy cap. I used the end of a standard BIC pen. The barrel fit the carboy cap perfectly air tight but still loose enough that I can remove it when required. The hose end even has a barb to keep the hose tight. Couldn't be more perfect!
Here you can see the finished receiving carboy cap assembly. The hose I chose is PVC with a vinyl braid reinforcement. It's probably overkill but I can guarantee that this hose will never collapse at the pressure that the pump can generate. It's also a little unwieldly, I would have liked something a little more flexible but the selection at Home Depot was limited. The material is PVC so it isn't food safe, but this section of hose will hopefully never touch wine so I'm ok with that.
An overflow tank is required to protect our pump from sucking up any liquid. If the receiving carboy fills to the top and starts to draw up wine, it will first empty into the overflow tank which gives you an extra buffer to realize your screw up and shut the pump off. I never intend on running the pump unattended so I only chose a small jar as my overflow tank. I suggest you use a larger jar if you are easily distracted or the forgetful type. The overflow tank is really just an airtight vessel with two seperate hose barbs. You can make it with whatever materials you have on hand. Probably the nicest solution would be a Buchner flask if you happen to know a chemist.
Put one washer on the hose barb adapter and slather on the silicon sealant. I just used regular bathtub sealant because that's what I had lying around.
Drill the jar lid with two holes. Fit the threaded end of the hose barb adapter through the jar lid. Apply ample sealant to the next washer and place on top.
Put the coupler bolt on the back and tighten them down.
Clean up the excess sealant with a damp finger. This is your finished overflow tank lid.
This shows the inside of the lid. The coupler bolts are a little awkward but they were the only thing I could find with the correct threads. If you can find proper bolts, go ahead and use em. Make sure the inside washers do not interfere with the jar when you close the lid. Let the lid sit overnight before applying vacuum so the sealant can set.
Put It All Together
This is the completed system. Connect a short hose from the lower port on the pump (upper port is left empty) to one of the barbs on your overflow tank. Connect the other overflow tank barb to the carboy cap as shown. The pump needs 12 volts DC at about 2A when it is peaked out (pulling max vacuum). I'm currently using a 12V battery pack that I had in my junk box but I just ordered a 12VDC 6A laptop power brick from eBay
for $10 that should work perfectly. I wired it through a common light switch to provide an easy way to turn the pump on/off.
Here's a dull and boring video of the pump moving water. 4 minutes to move 23 Liters.
Power Supply. Ordered and enroute.
Vacuum gauge. Ordered and enroute.
Degassing configuration description.
Vacuum release button. Ordered and enroute.
Bottling adapter. Need a bottle stopper with two holes.
Hydrophobic filter. Drawing board.
Whole house filter. Ordered and enroute.
Build case. Drawing board.