Brix Calibration Procedure
|First of all, the parts you see here came
from Hart & Price Corp (see vendor page). I had priced a syrup separator
from Bevcore at $10 and a brix cup at $20. But Hart & Price sold me BOTH
for $8.78. Once again, they seem to be a great bunch of folks.
Anyhow, here is the syrup separator. It is specific to a certain set of valve models. The white end goes into the valve and the black end goes into the cup.
Here is a basic brix cup. The left side is the 5:1 ratio, the right side is the 5.5:1 ratio. The center holds the soda. Notice how the diameter of all three is different. If you were to draw a solid line at 5 oz on the soda cup, then filled all three cups to this same line, you would have 5 oz of soda, 1 oz of syrup in the left cup, and 0.90 oz of soda in the right cup.
Now there was a small problem evident when I first tried to do the calibration. I guess I must have told them the wrong model number, or there was a mixup at the shipping desk, because the syrup separator I got, when put in, wouldn't let the cup make a decent seal. The tube part of the separator itself kept the cup a quarter of an inch off the bottom of the valve. So I took my dremmel to the cup and everything is alright now! I made a nice little space on each side for the tube to sit in.
Perfect! As you can see below, the tube no longer protrudes above the rim of the cup; it sits nice and flush. Of course in your case, I recommend ordering the correct syrup separator from the beginning.
Now for the actual procedure. First, look at the syrup box and locate the mix ratio statement. In this instance, my box of rootbeer says it requires a 5:1 ratio. This is the standard ratio for most regular drinks. Diets typically have a 5.5:1 ratio.
First, remove the nozzle. It is typically twisted or unscrewed right
off the bottom of the valve.
Then remove the syrup tube and diffuser, if present. They typically
look like little white plastic rings stuck up inside the valve.
Next, stick the syrup separator up into the part where the syrup comes
out and try to make a good seal. Then put the cup up and vend!
Make sure the cup is as tight as possible against the bottom of the
valve, because without the diffuser, the valve will spray soda everywhere.
Make sure you are using the correct side if your brix cup has multiple
ratios... Nothing will ruin the taste faster than calibrating a 5:1 soda
with the 5.5:1 side of the cup.
Once the syrup OR the soda has reached the marked location on the brix
cup, stop vending. Let everything settle and examine the relative levels.
If the syrup is higher than the soda water, adjust the syrup down or soda
water up. Keep adjusting until they match up.
That's about it! Not terribly complicated at all. As you can see in this picture, the syrup is at the line but the soda is slightly below. This means I need to adjust the syrup down just a little bit (or the soda up, or both). Notice that the soda water side is nice and clear... if it is slightly colored (typically brown in the case of rootbeer, cola, etc), then you don't have a good enough seal on your syrup separator and your ratio will be thrown off. Reseat the separator and try again.
Diet drinks fizz a lot more, so keeping the amount of soda to a minimum is the best idea. Set your soda water to a lower rate, then adjust the syrup down to match. For regular drinks, fast vending is better, so crank it up! Set the soda water high and turn the syrup up to match.
Yar matey! Be a land lubber, aye? Best be headin back to dry land then you scurvy dog!