canning season is here again
Dish third axis, FOCUS
Sue picked a huge crop of cucumbers, and wanted to make some pickles.
We did the first batch of 7 quarts on the electric stove. The canning pot took a full hour to reach boiling, then 5 minutes at boil for a total of nearly 2KWh to preserve them.
I prepared the dish for canning so the subsequent batches could be processed by the sun, but did not want to deal with the fabric thermostat, so I added a focus adjuster. The focus system has to be strong enough to raise the heavy pot of jars and water, and my rule that I must be powered with the same 50W solar panel required some digging in my surplus motor box. I found a Pitman 19.5:1 gear ratio 24v motor, that did the job with power to spare. The lead screw was a surplus acme threaded rod with a single ball bearing on the bottom end, and a bronze acme nut at the top.
The parts were surplus from the polyscan bone density/thyroid scanner that I designed and built back in the 80's.
I got 6 inches of travel out of the focus, and made a new mount for the pot hanger to put the pot bottom just at the sharpest focus when at the bottom of travel. Once the pot starts to boil over, I adjust the focus by raising the pot reducing the solar energy. I was able to maintain a gentle boil without boiling over.
In theory this could be automated to maintain a fixed temperature. I processed 9 quarts of pickles this morning. Yummy and with no guilt as far as carbon production.