Q. Is it safe to transport the ER1200 without damage after I have filled it with the lye?
A. Yes. We ship it without lye because of 'dangerous goods' laws. Once you have it in your possession and fill it with lye, there are very few reasons to ever drain the lye out. Just make sure the Gas Out fitting is plugged in case the WaterTorch tips over during shipment. We highly recommend using a proper shipping crate.
Q. I will be hauling and unloading the WaterTorch to different locations, is there any special procedure I need to follow?
A. Just be careful to have the liquid level equal in all cells before using it. This is a concern only if the machine was tipped off level while being moved. Just let it set level for 1/2 hour before operation.
Q. Are there any problems with the function and safety of the WaterTorch in freezing temperatures?
A. Concerns yes, problems, no. The WaterTorch is designed to take freezing in storage without damage.
The concern is operation of the WaterTorch in freezing weather. The check valve and tower bubbler are the issues. They are specifically designed to have pure water, which will freeze.
If the torch is turned on with the tower bubbler frozen, the torch will build pressure until a hose slides off a tube, or it self-explodes inside. This is because the pressure switch cannot 'read' the actual torch pressure through the ice in the tower bubbler.
Once the WaterTorch is in operation (making BG), it will produce enough heat internally to prevent freezing. How low of temperatures it can operate at have not yet been verified.
We recommend storing the torch indoors, (above freezing) or put heaters on it to prevent it from freezing. Some of our customers are using thermostatically switched heat tape.
Q. How much does an ER1200 WaterTorch weigh when it is ready for shipping?
A. The ER1200 WaterTorch is shipped in a wooden crate. With all options, it weighs about 270 lbs.
Q. Do I need a special electrical outlet to operate the ER1200 in my home?
A. We ship the torch with a standard appliance plug, 20 amp 240 volt. You can exchange it for a different one if you wish.
To all places outside of North America, just exchange our plug with whatever plug is standard in your area.
Q. Can the ER 1200 operate on household electrical (15 amp and 120 volts)?
A. No. Not that anything bad will happen, it just won't work. It needs at least 160 volts to even start functioning.
Q. Does the ER1200 need to run to a 30-amp breaker?
A. We recommend a 30-amp breaker because there isn't a 25-amp size. The machine usually has no problem with the 20-amp breaker if it is in good condition.
Q. In Europe, we have a different current system. Can the ER1200 be operated at a higher voltage?
A. The ER1200 is designed for MAXIMUM 270 VAC, if you operate it at a higher voltage, it may burn out components. The ER1200 is designed to operate on worldwide power standards. It will operate efficiently with voltages as low as 190 VAC to 250 VAC and from 45 to 65 Hz.
Q. How much would I pay for electricity in order to run the ER1200 torch 1 hour producing maximum amount of gas?
A. (You need to know the cost of electricity in your area). We calculate using 3 watt-hours to make each liter of gas (it usually uses less). So at 1200 liters per hour it is taking 3600 watt-hours or 3.6 kilowatt-hours. It costs us $0.06 cents for each kilowatt-hour in our area. The BG costs us about $0.22 cents in electricity.
Water is another cost. Each liter of water will convert to 1860 liters of BG. A liter of pure water costs us $0.25. During that hour, we converted about 60% of a liter of water into 1200 liters of BG. This cost us about $0.17.
Assuming we were running the machine at full volume, our total cost of operation for an hour is $0.39 to make 1200 liters of Brown's Gas.
Q. How long do the electrodes in your electrolyzer last?
A. At least 20 years. The entire machine is designed to be virtually maintenance free (except to add water) for at least 20 years.
Q. Do we need to add electrolyte?
A. Yes. The electrolyte is Sodium Hydroxide (lye) and is added during the initial water fill, it does not need to be changed for the life of the machine. The electrolyte is a catalyst which allows the efficient splitting of water into BG.
Q. What is "Lye"?
A. Lye is sodium hydroxide (NAOH). Get as pure as you can, at least 99%. Impurities can cause problems in the machine.
Q. When setting up the WaterTorch, where do we put the electrolyte solution?
A. Electrolyte Solution is poured into the fitting located on the top of the tower. You need to remove the hood and locate the tower on the middle of the main electrolyzer tank.
Electrolyte is a one time fill, you do not need to do it again unless you drain it out. The setup of the ER1200 is shown visually on the "See Water Burn" video, (shipped with each WaterTorch). The ER1200 WaterTorch 'setup' is a few minutes at the end of the video, following the main video section.
Q. How often do we have to refill lye?
A. Never. The lye is a catalyst that stays in the machine.
Q. What do I do if I lose some electrolyte, should I add more?
A. Not unless you lose a lot. In the normal operation of the machine you will not lose enough electrolyte to matter. Just add pure water as the liquid level goes down.
Q. What do I do if electrolyte gets in the Bubbler?
A. Just drain it and rinse with warm water. Refill with fresh water.
Q. Can you advise some brand names of the "lye" needed for the WaterTorch?
A. There are many brands. Just be sure it is at least 99.99% pure Do NOT use any electrolyte but pure sodium hydroxide (NaOH). There are many reasons, including efficiency, materials compatibility, foaming, etc. Do NOT use 'Draino'.
Q. Where can I buy distilled water that is pure enough for the ER1200?.
A. From the grocery store or the drug store.
Q. The initial water fill, (according to the ER1200 Operation Manual), was not enough to bring the level to the middle of the sight tube maximum/minimum marks. How much water is required to raise the level?
Q. Can we fill and refill with any water?
A. Always use 'Pure' water. Any impurities stay in the machine and form sludge that starts to affect the performance of the machine. We recommend distilled water. Deionized water is not consistent in purity, so we do not recommend it.
Q. Are the refills done through the hole on top of the tower or through the syringe?
A. ONLY 'pure' water is put in through the Luer fitting on the front panel, using the syringe. This is the normal refill.
The hole on the top of the tower is used only for the initial fill of lye solution.
Q. After preparing the 8-liter lye solution and pouring it in the electrolyzer, why do we then an additional liter of water through the syringe?
A. To fill the internal bubbler, which needs 'pure' water to protect the pressure switch and gauge from the pressure spike of a backfire.
Q. How often do I have to refill water?
A. One liter of water makes 1860 liters of gas. Refilling water depends on use. If you are using 600 liters per hour of BG (a typical brazing torch volume) you'd use about a liter of water every three hours. The ER1150 and ER1200 WaterTorches hold four liters between the low level and full marks.
We recommend running the torch with the water level closer to the high level, because it's generally more efficient. Do not ever allow the liquid level to drop below the low level mark.
Q. How much water (gas) per one fill up?
A. Each liter of water makes 1860 liters of gas. There is a 4-liter capacity for water, so you can make 7440 liters of gas per 'fill up'. The ER1200 is designed to be filled 'on the run' without being shut down and depressurized.
Q. I have noticed a few pounds of pressure increase when the ER1200's water fill is closer to maximum. What level is more efficient?
A. More water in the machine will cause the pressure to rise faster, because there is less room to fill with gas.
The pressure in the machine is regulated by the pressure switch and it maintains the same pressure regardless of how much water is in the machine. If your torch valve is closed and you put in a lot of water, you will note a temporary increase in pressure, until you open the torch valve and let some gas out.
Q. How often do we have to drain the ER1200?
A. Assuming that you only put in pure water, about every 500 hours of use. The solution gets more efficient with use.
Q. How do I drain the ER1200 WaterTorch?
A. First, unplug the machine while draining.
1) Drain out the electrolyte with the tube provided on the front plate. If it looks OK, save it and filter it to put back into the machine. It normally looks green to brown after it's been used.
2) You can (mostly) 'drain' the check valve by injecting a bunch of air and positioning it high to keep water out of it. Or you can take apart the check valve and drain the hoses.
3) Then you can (mostly) drain the inner bubbler assembly (in the tower) by tipping the torch (carefully) all the way forward on it's face, then all the way back .
Q. How much water to fill the Bubbler?
A. About a liter, water level must be 8 inches from the top, with both hoses disconnected.
Q. Does it matter if the level of water in the bubbler is higher than 8 inches from the top?
A. No, except that if it is too high you'll get some water in the flame. But too low of water level will allow backfires to reach your WaterTorch.
Q. Any suggestions as to how to tell how full the bubbler is? Should I use some kind of dipstick?
A. A wooden rod works well
Q. Can I back fill the WaterTorch from the bubbler?
A. The bubbler is specifically designed to NOT allow the liquid to flow either direction.
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