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We've had a terrible time with our bottled honey crystallizing since we started filling with the Ez-Fill from Mann Lake (Nassenheider machine). Anyone else have such problems?
 

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We did on one round, and I realized, it was because the gasket seal on the front plate was leaking. Fix the gasket seal, problem goes away. We did one batch last fall of about a dozen cases, and it all ended up creamed in the bottles just a couple days after putting it in. I looked closely at the machine the next time we set it up, and realized, the blue gasket between the front plate and the pump was pinched and letting air in. Once we replaced the gasket, no more problems.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
We did on one round, and I realized, it was because the gasket seal on the front plate was leaking. Fix the gasket seal, problem goes away. We did one batch last fall of about a dozen cases, and it all ended up creamed in the bottles just a couple days after putting it in. I looked closely at the machine the next time we set it up, and realized, the blue gasket between the front plate and the pump was pinched and letting air in. Once we replaced the gasket, no more problems.
Thanks. I don't see any leaks but we'll double check and see if that improves the situation.
 

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Thanks. I don't see any leaks but we'll double check and see if that improves the situation.
What we did the last go around, once you get set up go ahead and pump the honey up the hose and into a bucket, keep pumping till the whole system is primed, and no longer producing any bubbles. Then leave it sit for a couple minutes, and see if an air bubble starts to form at the top of the hose, in our case, that's where it goes into the pipe. If you start seeing air show up there, you are leaking somewhere.
 

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What we did the last go around, once you get set up go ahead and pump the honey up the hose and into a bucket, keep pumping till the whole system is primed, and no longer producing any bubbles. Then leave it sit for a couple minutes, and see if an air bubble starts to form at the top of the hose, in our case, that's where it goes into the pipe. If you start seeing air show up there, you are leaking somewhere.
Good advice. Wetting the sealing surfaces with honey helps too. We also found that you need to balance speed and temperature. Too fast and you will introduce more air.
 

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Good advice. Wetting the sealing surfaces with honey helps too. We also found that you need to balance speed and temperature. Too fast and you will introduce more air.
We did a small run last nite, and I paid attention to various details so I could comment on them here. Warming the end of the hose with hot water prior to hooking up the bits does make the hose signifcantly more pliable, and you get a better seal if both hose and pipe are warm when you hook things up. It does say this in the manual, but, who hauls out the manual every time you set up? When tightening down the little strap that holds the hose on the bent pipe, you do have to crank it down significantly. On my first attempt, I did get a small air bubble forming when I left it set. Another half turn, then repeat, no air bubble. I will try wetting it all with honey next time, I can see how that would make a better seal.

We were doing a hundred pounds of fireweed honey, which we keep separate from the rest here. It was in a stainless tank at 39C. I often get asked how much more time efficient using the machine is, over bottling by hand, so I kept track this time, just for a point of reference.

10 minutes - Setup. Warm the hose with hot water, hook up the backflow valve, then prime the pump and hook the hose up to the pipe on top. Next we set a 2l bucket under the spout, and pump until the bucket is half full, which is enough to clear the system of air bubbles. Now wait and check for leaks. tighten and repeat if necessary. When it's not leaking anymore, set the spout hight and hook up the microswitch, setting it for the right location of your bottle size.

28 minutes - We did 5 cases of 375ml bottles, getting a 454g fill. Then we did another 4 cases of 212ml bottles getting a 240g fill. We pumped what was left in the tank into 2litre buckets, that take 6lb each. For just a couple buckets, I dont reset the fill size, just hit the button 6 times with it set to 454g. So we are running right around 4 bottles a minute, with absolute consistency on the fill size. I dont think we can get close to this hand filling.

15 minutes - Cleanup. The hose can be awkward / messy to deal with. I start by taking it off the pump end, then flip it over and let drain into the tank we were pumping from. It's a bit messy because you end up holding the end that was in the honey tank. Remove the backflow valve, then the hose cleans up easy in the sink with hot water. Now take the pump off the machine with two bolts and put it in the sink. Remove the front face, paying attention to not lose / damage the o-ring gasket. Once the front face is off, the whole thing cleans easy under the hot water tap. We usually salvage the honey from inside the pump, and get enough to fill one 212ml bottle out of it that goes on the kitchen counter for us to use.

We are using a stainless tank to feed honey, it holds about a hundred pounds. There is always some left in the bottom when the intake starts to draw air, and last nite as an example, we filled two 6lb pails with those leftovers. Normally I would have more honey ready, and just pour another 5 gallon bucket into the tank when it gets down, but this was the last of our fireweed honey, and we didn't want to mix it with anything else, so we stopped.

If you are doing just a hundred pounds like we did last nite, it's debatable if it's worth the effort after we factor in setup and cleanup time. But that really depends to on what you are filling. Earlier in the week we did a few cases of the little 40ml bottles using a 30g fill size. I didn't punch the clock to time it, but it seems we ran thru a case of 96 in about 10 minutes, it went really fast. Once you are set up, the smaller the bottle, the more efficient it gets. I cant imagine doing 30 gram fills by hand for 400 of those fiddly little bottles, but it was easy with this setup.

This thread has helped me a bit too. We want to do a batch of creamed honey next week, and I'm going to re-think it a bit. Once we have the tank seeded, I'll set up the machine and use a higher pump speed when bottling, so we get more microbubbles in the process. We did it accidentally last fall, and got perfectly creamed honey. Hoping I can repeat that on purpose next time.

Oh, and one other notable footnote. We get a little better at the setup and such every time we use the machine. Last nite's run was notable in that it was the first time we've gone from start to finish with no microswitch accidents. Until you get a little practise with the machine, it is inevitable you have microswitch accidents, which pour 2 portions of honey into one bottle, or, pour a portion of honey when there is no bottle under the spout. It is part of the learning process, and nothing makes you more conscious of the switch than cleaning up a portion of honey that has just poured onto the filling table. We consider it a 'rite of passage' now. I've done it, my wife has done it, and Dad has done it. It is an inevitable part of the learning process.
 

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Glad to hear things went better. I am using cam-lock fittings to connect mine directly to my water jacketed tank. We basically leave it connected all of the time, but if I need to disconnect it I undo the hose and put on a cam-lock cap. I am using the food-grade plastic fittings that you can get from McMaster-Carr. As long as you are bottling regularly, the room where you are bottling stays relatively warm and your not working with canola, you can just leave it setup and hooked up. Every time you rinse the honey out of something there are losses. We generally bottle at closer to 30 deg C and the unit has no problem with liquid honey down to the 20's. We don't use the microswitch very often - too many double fills. Every once in awhile I forget to hit "enter' after selecting a new size and end up trying to put 1kg of honey in a 500g jar. You can also get a 14l funnel for it that replaces the hose - works great for varietal or flavoured honeys in 12l/3gal pails.
 

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Yes, there is a little slippage every time you clean up. It's the nature of the beast for us, we dont have dedicated space for honey processing (yet).

I made the switch a little less sensative by applying pressure to the piece of metal that bottles touch, bent it out a little. Now it takes a fairly firm push to make contact and trigger a fill cycle. That solved the double fill problems, except in cases where the operator just makes a mistake. Two types of common errors, which we quickly learn to not make again.

a) accidentally push the bottle back on the switch when taking it out from under the spout, the 'fix' helped a lot with this one
b) Get distracted, then try put an empty bottle under the spout, while a full one is still sitting there. Happens occasionally when you get distracted and break the routine.

For me, it kinda got critical to fix the switch in some way. We like to get dad running the machine, it makes him feel good about 'helping out'. Problem is, he is 81 years old and his hands are quite shakey at times. By bending out the switch cover, he doesn't do the 'touch twice' anymore, which happened far to often before I bent it out.

I'm curious now, which jars are you using for 500g size ? We have cases of the 375ml, but 500g doesn't fit, so we use 454 (1lb) fills on those.
 

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One very important rule in pumping honey with a volumetric pump is to have the tank HIGHER than the pump.
With our Sweinty bottling machine, we begin with the honey at the exact temperature as last time.
Start by setting the pump at 100% and set the controller to "pump" and purge out about 6 lbs.
Now, all of the air is out of your system, and the honey tanks are above the pump so you end up with EXTREMELY precise metering of honey.
Weigh the tare weight of a test jar.
Start filling by doing a single jar.
Weigh the jar on a digital scale.
Make any adjustments up or down in grams.
Start the machine chunking out jars randomly sampling weights.
They should not change within a few grams.
Continuous filling is our goal once filling has begun.
Temps remain more constant and there are few surprises that way.
Filling bottles is a process.
Dial the process in at first, start the run cycle, randomly sample for weight and make minor adjustments as needed, usually 1/2 the amount you think needs adjusted, and then keep the process stable. DON'T OVER ADJUST!
We see a variation of but a few grams once stable.
Happy bottling!
 

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We did a small run last nite, and I paid attention to various details so I could comment on them here. Warming the end of the hose with hot water prior to hooking up the bits does make the hose signifcantly more pliable, and you get a better seal if both hose and pipe are warm when you hook things up. It does say this in the manual, but, who hauls out the manual every time you set up? When tightening down the little strap that holds the hose on the bent pipe, you do have to crank it down significantly. On my first attempt, I did get a small air bubble forming when I left it set. Another half turn, then repeat, no air bubble. I will try wetting it all with honey next time, I can see how that would make a better seal.

We were doing a hundred pounds of fireweed honey, which we keep separate from the rest here. It was in a stainless tank at 39C. I often get asked how much more time efficient using the machine is, over bottling by hand, so I kept track this time, just for a point of reference.

10 minutes - Setup. Warm the hose with hot water, hook up the backflow valve, then prime the pump and hook the hose up to the pipe on top. Next we set a 2l bucket under the spout, and pump until the bucket is half full, which is enough to clear the system of air bubbles. Now wait and check for leaks. tighten and repeat if necessary. When it's not leaking anymore, set the spout hight and hook up the microswitch, setting it for the right location of your bottle size.

28 minutes - We did 5 cases of 375ml bottles, getting a 454g fill. Then we did another 4 cases of 212ml bottles getting a 240g fill. We pumped what was left in the tank into 2litre buckets, that take 6lb each. For just a couple buckets, I dont reset the fill size, just hit the button 6 times with it set to 454g. So we are running right around 4 bottles a minute, with absolute consistency on the fill size. I dont think we can get close to this hand filling.

15 minutes - Cleanup. The hose can be awkward / messy to deal with. I start by taking it off the pump end, then flip it over and let drain into the tank we were pumping from. It's a bit messy because you end up holding the end that was in the honey tank. Remove the backflow valve, then the hose cleans up easy in the sink with hot water. Now take the pump off the machine with two bolts and put it in the sink. Remove the front face, paying attention to not lose / damage the o-ring gasket. Once the front face is off, the whole thing cleans easy under the hot water tap. We usually salvage the honey from inside the pump, and get enough to fill one 212ml bottle out of it that goes on the kitchen counter for us to use.

We are using a stainless tank to feed honey, it holds about a hundred pounds. There is always some left in the bottom when the intake starts to draw air, and last nite as an example, we filled two 6lb pails with those leftovers. Normally I would have more honey ready, and just pour another 5 gallon bucket into the tank when it gets down, but this was the last of our fireweed honey, and we didn't want to mix it with anything else, so we stopped.

If you are doing just a hundred pounds like we did last nite, it's debatable if it's worth the effort after we factor in setup and cleanup time. But that really depends to on what you are filling. Earlier in the week we did a few cases of the little 40ml bottles using a 30g fill size. I didn't punch the clock to time it, but it seems we ran thru a case of 96 in about 10 minutes, it went really fast. Once you are set up, the smaller the bottle, the more efficient it gets. I cant imagine doing 30 gram fills by hand for 400 of those fiddly little bottles, but it was easy with this setup.

This thread has helped me a bit too. We want to do a batch of creamed honey next week, and I'm going to re-think it a bit. Once we have the tank seeded, I'll set up the machine and use a higher pump speed when bottling, so we get more microbubbles in the process. We did it accidentally last fall, and got perfectly creamed honey. Hoping I can repeat that on purpose next time.

Oh, and one other notable footnote. We get a little better at the setup and such every time we use the machine. Last nite's run was notable in that it was the first time we've gone from start to finish with no microswitch accidents. Until you get a little practise with the machine, it is inevitable you have microswitch accidents, which pour 2 portions of honey into one bottle, or, pour a portion of honey when there is no bottle under the spout. It is part of the learning process, and nothing makes you more conscious of the switch than cleaning up a portion of honey that has just poured onto the filling table. We consider it a 'rite of passage' now. I've done it, my wife has done it, and Dad has done it. It is an inevitable part of the learning process.
Hi Grozzie!

I joined bee source just to send you a message, so apologies for my scant profile.

I saw a post you made a few years ago about using the EZ Fill to bottle creamed honey and I was wondering if you have any more info on that. Obvious concern is the honey heating and dissolving the creamed seed.

Let me know if you're open to chatting about this!
 

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Hi Grozzie!

I joined bee source just to send you a message, so apologies for my scant profile.

I saw a post you made a few years ago about using the EZ Fill to bottle creamed honey and I was wondering if you have any more info on that. Obvious concern is the honey heating and dissolving the creamed seed.

Let me know if you're open to chatting about this!
I thought I had answered this a couple days ago, but dont see the answer here now.

We did once end up with a bunch of honey creamed in the bottles after using the ez fill gadget. As we realized after, I had not set everything up correctly and pinched the o-ring when putting the faceplate back on after cleaning. That left us with a small air leak, so while we were pumping honey we were also putting small bubbles into the flow. A few days later when we opened one of those bottles, it was a smooth creamed honey.

In that case it was not intentional, and, I'm not sure how easy it would be to repeat
 
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