I invest in a kettle valve (no weld) to make my life easier. Has it? Hell no!
What I have: A converted sanke keg. Stainless ball lock weldless, from bargain fittings. My pickup tube is 1/2" soft copper soldered to a copper male npt fitting which is screwed into the stainless coupling. The pickup is bent down to the center of the kettle bottom. I usually stuff a stainless scrubby under it to do some coarse filtering.
Sometimes it drains okay, sometimes not. There does not seem to be any rhyme or reason. It can not flow when there is only a 5 gallon batch or a ten gallon. It might flow fine with a lot of hops and not at all with a malty low hopped beer. Generally I end up scooping or using my auto siphon.
What I have done to fix it so far:
I have tried a longer piece of hose attached to the hose barb on the outside of the kettle to lower the outlet of the liquid. I have tried it with and without the venturi device on the end of the vinyl hose outlet. I have resoldered the pickup connection, it seems solid. I have used teflon tape on the threads. I attempted to bend the tube even closer to the bottom. I have used a large hop bag (5 gallon paint strainer suspended in the kettle.
I just bought a new piece of soft copper tubing and am going to try to redo it in hopes of a better outcome. I was thinking perhaps I should position the diptube to the side instead of the bottom. Any idea here folks or did I waste my money and time on a drain and just g back to the old autosiphon. Which by the way could be hit or miss also!
If I left out any crucial info let me know. I can try and take pictures at some point to if that would help. I just want to be able to drain my beer int the fermenter without cursing the whole time. Is that so much to ask!!!