Extra Fizzy Homemade Carbonated Beverages

Have you ever been disappointed with how flat your homemade rootbeer or soda is? After spending an hour watching rootbeer and dry ice bubble in a cooler you would expect something fizzy, sadly the concoction never lives up to expectations.

In order have carbonation strong enough to spray soda everywhere you need three things:

  1. Cold temperatures
  2. CO2
  3. High pressure

The drink cooler plus dry ice method provides both CO2 and cold temperatures but is missing the crucial third ingredient, high pressure, and therefore makes flat soda.

Commercially, high pressure CO2 is provided by a CO2 tank and regulator setup as seen here. Unfortunately the equipment is somewhat expensive.

Another method of obtaining pressurized CO2 is yeast, sugar, and a sealed bottle. The drawback to this method is it takes 3-4 days.

Finally, and this is the extra fizzy quick cheap method, using a safety valve, sealed bottle, and dry ice. Now you probably know that a tightly sealed bottle and dry ice combine to make a powerful dry ice bomb. This is due to the dry ice building enormous CO2 pressure until the bottle ruptures. To harness this high pressure CO2 without creating an explosion, a soda bottle is fitted with a pressure relief valve.

The pressure now rises until it reaches the set point of the relief valve. The valve then continuously and safely vents the excess CO2, always keeping the bottle at the perfect carbonating pressure. This results in deliciously fizzy carbonated beverages in about ten minutes.

Here is a recipe I tried:

  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 10 cups cold water
  • 1/4 (2 ounce) bottle root beer extract

Mix well, pour into carbonator bottle, add several chunks of dry ice, screw cap on tightly, allow 10 minutes to carbonate then enjoy.

This is how I attached the safety valve to the bottle cap:

Drill a hole in the soda bottle cap

Fit the safety valve to the cap

Secure valve with the locknut

Valve and bottle

The valve and locknut can be ordered from mcmaster.com:

  • $5.26 48435K71 Extend-Life ASME Pop-Safety Valve W/Test Ring Brass, Medium Flow, 1/8 NPT Male, 60 PSI
  • $1.67 50785K141 Med-Pressure Brass Threaded Pipe Fitting 1/8 Pipe Size, Locknut

Be aware that carbonated water (carbonic acid) can corrode the brass valve. Keep soda off of your safety valve and store soda capped with a regular cap.

Simple Water Heater Emergency Heat

This year’s Halloween nor’easter has started me thinking about how to heat my apartment if the power goes out for an extended period of time.

If the water and gas are still on, one possibility is to make a simple hydronic heating system using the water heater. The basic idea is to hook a hose to the hot water faucet, run it around a room, then to a drain.

As a proof of concept I picked up a faucet to garden hose adapter and some extra hose from Home Depot. After setting up the system I turned off the furnace and went to sleep.

Table of Results

Time Room °F Flow Rate GPM °F in °F out BTUs Notes
10:00 pm 70.1 0.5 150 100 12,500 Max. flow water heater can sustain
10:23 pm 76.8 0.2 150 100 5,000 Reduced flow
10:27 pm 77.4 0.2 150 95 5,500
10:57 pm 79.3 0.2 150 95 5,500 Too hot, opened window and door
11:19 pm 77.5 0.1 150 90 3,000 Reduced flow, closed window and door
04:30 am 75.9 0.1 145 85 3,000

 
The system worked extremely well. I suspect it could easily heat two rooms.

Setup Details

Procure a dual thread for 3/4 inch hose or male 55/64 inch adapter, model number 37.0109.98, $5.95. Alternatively the hose could be attached directly to the washing machine faucet.

Attach adapter to hot water faucet

Attach adapter to hot water faucet. Connect hose to adapter


Spread hose around the room

Spread hose around the room


Ensure there are no kinks

Ensure there are no kinks


Drain waste water into tub

Drain waste water into tub


 Questions?

Arduino AVR High-Voltage Serial Programmer

My son Paul is the author of this guest post.

This Arduino sketch is useful for rescuing ATtiny microcontrollers rendered useless by incorrect fuse settings. It does this by putting the bricked tiny into high-voltage serial programming mode and writing the fuses to safe values.

Connection Diagram

Diagram

Click to enlarge

The Arduino is connected to the tiny though 1k resistors and a 2N3904 transistor is used to switch 12 volts applied to the tiny’s reset pin. After uploading the sketch the Arduino sends “Enter a character to continue.” repeatedly until communications are established by sending a byte through the serial monitor. The Arduino then programs the fuses.

Serial Monitor log

Enter a character to continue.

Enter a character to continue.

Enter a character to continue.

1

Entering programming Mode

lfuse reads as 62

hfuse reads as 5F

efuse reads as FF

Writing hfuse

Writing lfuse

lfuse reads as 62

hfuse reads as DF

efuse reads as FF

Exiting programming Mode

Download the program: hv_serial_prog.pde

Based on work by Jeff Keyzer.

Let me know if it works for you.