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General Category => All Grain Brewing => Topic started by: boulderbrewer on April 02, 2011, 04:15:12 AM

Title: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: boulderbrewer on April 02, 2011, 04:15:12 AM
I have a Barley Crusher that is 4 years old, I have oiled her and taken great care of her but now she won't crush. The free wheel won't spin to get the crush started. I help the dead wheel and then she works for awhile, but It is a bit to ask to keep the dead wheel running with your hand. I'm sure a few of you have had this problem what have you done to eliminate it. I love my Barley Crusher but not now.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: euge on April 02, 2011, 04:35:56 AM
I have a Barley Crusher that is 4 years old, I have oiled her and taken great care of her but now she won't crush. The free wheel won't spin to get the crush started. I help the dead wheel and then she works for awhile, but It is a bit to ask to keep the dead wheel running with your hand. I'm sure a few of you have had this problem what have you done to eliminate it. I love my Barley Crusher but not now.

I also have a troublesome BC. The grain won't feed easily. Perhaps it is time for an upgrade.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: BarleynYeast on April 02, 2011, 05:50:42 AM
I was having the same problem and found the alignment on the free wheel to be the problem. I had tightened the bolts holding the sides to the base too much and tweaked it just enough to cause a problem. Try making a new base out the hardest wood or plastic you can find and use the old base as a template. I did this about 3 weeks ago and I have put over 100 pounds of grain through and knock on wood (pun intended) not one problem so far.

If this does not help, right the guy from Barley Crusher bcproducts@peoplepc.com As it says on their website. “Precision machining with Quality Control and a LifeTime Warranty assures the homebrewer that this will be the only grain mill they will ever purchase!”

Matt
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: Malticulous on April 03, 2011, 02:27:22 AM
Mine's worn out too. I turned the free side around an it helped. I still have to reach under to help it grab from time to time.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: weazletoe on April 03, 2011, 02:31:13 AM
Mine was doing that same thing after about 3 batches. I pulled it apart, cleaned the bearings up on the rollers, and once back together, good as new.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: euge on April 03, 2011, 04:08:06 AM
Mine was doing that same thing after about 3 batches. I pulled it apart, cleaned the bearings up on the rollers, and once back together, good as new.

Did you take it completely apart? How did you get the knurled knobs off? They must unscrew.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: lonnie mac on April 03, 2011, 04:28:16 AM
I have posted before on several forums about the great BC. I loved my old BC, but they do wear out over time. My Knurling was simply to the point of being smooth and the dead roller was simply that, dead... I have flopped it several times. It's not a base adjustment, it is simply worn out. I moved on... But I will not take away from all the great years and batches my old BC gave me. At the same time, I am LOVING my new getup...! This thing is a hawg!

(http://www.alenuts.com/stuff/mill2.jpg)
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: richardt on April 04, 2011, 01:44:04 AM
Mine was doing that same thing after about 3 batches. I pulled it apart, cleaned the bearings up on the rollers, and once back together, good as new.

Did you take it completely apart? How did you get the knurled knobs off? They must unscrew.

Euge,
The phillips head type screws along the back plate basically lock in your mill gap knobs (which are basically eccentric cams).
You need to unscrew all the screws on both faceplates (those would be the thinner sheets of aluminum), i.e., front and back sides.
You need to unscrew the two larger hex screws on the undersurface of the particle board base.
Then you should be able to disassemble the box-like mill housing.
Then do as weaze suggests and clean the axle and sides of the rollers.
You can get cheap o-ring rubber gaskets to put on the rollers so that the free roller will be driven by the drive roller, the problem is that the rubber tends to get cut up and eventually breaks off and ends up in the mash.  (doesn't seem to cause any untoward efects though).  It gets dumped out with the spent mash.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: blatz on April 04, 2011, 02:00:27 PM
ditto lonniemac - get a Monster.  Best new tool of the decade for my brewhouse.  BC had around 2tons through it, but its been decommissioned.

Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: boulderbrewer on April 05, 2011, 03:56:50 AM
I have more than 2 tons on mine, I'l give those boys a chance to help out. The Monster looks good though, maybe the hardened rollers that are 2" in diameter.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: blatz on April 05, 2011, 01:52:21 PM
maybe the hardened rollers that are 2" in diameter.

yeah, that's what I got - they are sweet.  I do my "Tim Allen/Tool Time" grunt when I crush grains now.  That helps I think.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: spikedhelmet on April 06, 2011, 10:25:27 PM
You can purchase new rollers from BC Products for $50.00.  The roller knurls are all that really wear out.  Fifty bucks is a lot cheaper than buying a new mill.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: lonnie mac on April 06, 2011, 10:36:01 PM
The BC touts a lifetime warranty. Should not need 50 bucks, although that is a pittance really. I gave the mill to a friend that didn't have one and told him to pay the 50 and get new rollers, and basically have a new mill that will last a long time for his brewing needs. I have not heard any great stories of folks trying to get new rollers under the warranty, actually, I have heard otherwise... You can't beat 2" hardened steel or stainless on the MM, but some don't need a MM.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: jjflash on April 06, 2011, 11:26:03 PM
The rubber "O" ring on the free roller works wonders for this problem.
My old Automatic grain mill did the same thing after the first year.
Probably put ten more years on that old mill using this trick.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: uthristy on April 07, 2011, 12:03:46 PM
  BC had around 2 tons through it, but its been decommissioned.

(http://i162.photobucket.com/albums/t248/Beer_Tour2/bow-down-wave.gif)
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: euge on April 12, 2011, 06:43:59 PM
I pulled it apart, cleaned, oiled and reassembled the BC. Had to tweak it so everything spun freely. The mill works better but still won't grab grain if the gap is narrowed anything past a hair wide open. The crush isn't optimal, leaving a goodly proportion barely crushed.

To me the culprit is the knurling on the rollers. The knurls aren't as sharp as they once were and are pretty rounded. Comparing them to the adjustment knobs I see a huge difference.

I'll try the o-ring approach for the time being. Maybe investigate the lifetime warranty, but I refuse to buy more rollers for this mill. Haven't run half a ton through this unit yet, so if it gets worn out this easily then switching manufacturers is a must.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: blatz on April 12, 2011, 07:40:34 PM
yep - sounds exactly like what I experienced.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on April 16, 2011, 03:06:15 AM
I just ordered 3 roller MM.
BC is starting to act up. It does not like harder malts.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: ccarlson on April 16, 2011, 11:23:23 AM
If you're feeding grain into your 2 roller mill via a funnel, make sure that the spout of the funnel is not too close to the rollers. It has to be high enough so the grain can distribute itself over the entire length of the roller gap. I had this problem and almost never figured out what was causing it.

Also, especially when you're first getting started, you might need to give the non-driven roller a little nudge.With the motor running and being very careful, just take your fingers, lay them on the outside of that roller and pull up on it, IE start it spinning it in the correct direction. It doesn't take much force and that will usually get it going. It may stop again, but if so, just repeat this step, just get those fingers out of the way once it gets going.

I can mill 25# of grain and never have it stop and other times it stops 3-4 times during that same size batch. IMO it has to do with the moisture in the grain, but that's just a guess on my part.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: hopshead on April 17, 2011, 12:29:14 PM
I am glad to see that others have had this issue as well.  I thought my BC problems were just me doing something dumb.  I have had my BC for about 4 years and have brewed almost 25 batches per year with it (average grain per batch is about 14 lbs).  So what is that?  1,400 lbs.. Not bad, but the BC is showing its age.  I have to take it apart every other brew and clean it and then brush the rollers with a metal wire brush and this "seems" to help.  Eventually, I will buy a monster mill.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: amish electrician on April 17, 2011, 03:26:50 PM
Same problems here....  I think because of its age it has started not to like certain brands of grain when the roller gap it tighter than original.  I noticed that it always seemed to have a hard time with Gambrinus Pils but the ESB went through fine.  Rather than fight the dead roller I've just reset the gap to stock and then double crush my grains.... Definitely less frustration that way and it feels like it is faster.... I may try another o-ring on the dead roller too.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: euge on April 17, 2011, 05:12:14 PM
Yesterday I got some #13 O-rings from Lowes. A pack of 10 for $2. These were the smallest that I could stretch and fit over the roller.

Installed on the passive roller. Hand cranked one pound through. The used a drill to zip through another. The o-ring survived and the crush is just about perfect. No problems.

So for the time being a big +1 for the o-ring trick. I still have reservations. How will it stand up to running through 20+ pounds of grain?

Looked into the Monster Mills and Crankandstein. One feature of the Crankandstein is the gearing on the rollers that mesh- insuring there is no passive roller.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: narcout on April 17, 2011, 07:34:20 PM
I'm surprised to hear of all these problems with the Barley Crusher. I've run about 500 to 600 lbs. of grain through mine and have never had an issue. After reading this thread, I went and checked the rollers and the knurls don't seem to be the least bit worn down.

I wonder if that is because I hand crank - maybe that puts a little less wear and tear on the rollers than powering them with a drill.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: euge on April 17, 2011, 07:56:59 PM
I'm surprised to hear of all these problems with the Barley Crusher. I've run about 500 to 600 lbs. of grain through mine and have never had an issue. After reading this thread, I went and checked the rollers and the knurls don't seem to be the least bit worn down.

I wonder if that is because I hand crank - maybe that puts a little less wear and tear on the rollers than powering them with a drill.

This bag of 2-row seems particularly hard and the kernels are smaller and rounder than usual. I just ran through another 6 pounds of malt. Ah, it's like rekindled love... With suspicion lurking there in the background...

IIRC the mill comes with an O-ring on the passive roller.



Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: oscarvan on April 19, 2011, 08:31:40 AM
So for the time being a big +1 for the o-ring trick. I still have reservations. How will it stand up to running through 20+ pounds of grain?

I have the JSP which came with a rubber o ring on it..... So far the ring has survived well over 200 pounds, and is still going.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: richardt on April 19, 2011, 05:05:06 PM
On the BC it does not seem to matter which roller gets the O ring.  As long as the O-ring bridges the gap and touches the other roller, it will help drive the passive roller.  In theory, the grains should help drive the passive roller w/o the need for an O ring.  The O-ring exists so that the BC people can do a quick quality check to make sure the passive roller turns before the BC is shipped out.  In the opinion of the BC folks, the O-ring does not need to be replaced, but it can be if you desire.  That's what I was told by the BC folks who responded to an e-mail I shot them when my original O-ring broke and ended up in the grist and was never found again.  It had to be somewhere in the spent grains, but I wasn't going to go looking for it since it was a 10 gallon batch.

The longevity of your O-ring depends on the mill gap and the level of compression the rollers place on the o-ring itself.  If I set my mill gap too narrow (in attempts to increase my efficiency), the knurled rollers basically shred the O-ring and it pops off quickly within a batch or two and looks like a worm that has died a death of a thousand cuts.  Leave the mill gap at the factory preset and you should get several uses before it pops.

Edit:  One more thing.  If you're using a motorized drill or motor to drive the rollers, get the rollers running at speed before adding the grains--it makes crushing a lot easier on the equipment.
Title: Re: So your Barley Crusher won't Crush?
Post by: morticaixavier on April 19, 2011, 08:19:37 PM
I started looking into a mill and one of the options that many of them have is a hardened steel roller set. It says on several websites that the knurls will last much longer with the hardened metal and, at least the ones I looked at, specifically state the worn out knurls are not covered by the warrantee. It's like the brakes on your car. They WILL wear out so they are not covered by any warrantee. The hardened ones are a lot more expensive but I suppose it it's cheaper to spend up front than have to replace or re-knurl the rollers every couple of years it might be worth it.