Vacuum gauges

I’m hoping that there is something between my 20$ gauge that basically tells me its close to max (the basic JB gauge) and the 600$ digital gauges… Maybe an analog that can get me within 10 microns or something?

Please? :slight_smile:

It seems most people are using the bullseye gauge which is $500.

I couldn’t justify spending that much as my entire 2l turnkey distillation setup was just $3600. I found this gauge on amazon to be a great compromise at just $130:


Sadly no, there is no replacement for a good vaccum guage.


Try eBay for a good used gauge. Laboratory autions may have what your looking for as well - Labx etc


Used on eBay I see process industry and lab guages all the time pop up for a fraction of new prices

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Read the reviews on that gauge…they’re rated at like 2 and a half stars

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I’ll have to keep my eye out… Some of the analog gauges seem a little better such as

Thanks for the advice :slight_smile: Along the same vacuum lines I’m trying to stick with 3/8" ID rubber gum tubing and I’m wondering if there is something that will fairly easily hook into that and give me some better control than a brass ball valve.

Heh I think I found a slightly better analog gauge for cheaper:

After digging a little more I found these:
And there are used Pirani sensors for like 60$ so for around 120$ maybe with some shopping around I could do a pirani style sensor setup.


We run both pirani and thermocouple style sensors on our vacuum trolly.

The pirani guage is good for very low vacuum measurment, you can see one mounted
upstream amd downstream of the diffusion pump.

heres the stainless cold traps, and the refrigerated units that chill the traps.
The red quick action valve is the “oh shit” valve to isolate the diffusion side of the system!


Not sure if both those vacuum pumps are hooked up, but seeing them reminded me of a lot of people mentioning auxiliary pumps. What is the purpose of running two pumps during a run? Or am I misunderstanding their use?

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One is for backing the diffusion pump, the other is meant to rough down the system before the diffusion vacuum pump can be turned on.


Did you make the cold traps. Think I’m gonna make some stainless traps like bhogard. I like the big one. Did you repurpose those?


made all the stainless, originally the traps come with glass cold traps.

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I just finished up my high vacuum gauge/controller. Its probably 4 or 5 on the diy difficulty scale, but it works great and has better features then the expensive name brand controllers. Here’s a few pictures of the setup. I use an arduino mega and some mks 901 active micro pirani sensors. You can pick up the sensors on ebay for $40-$60 all day long. It currently can support 2 sensors and can switch on or off equipment if you want it to. Although, i’m not sure why i added that feature. I dont think ill use it at all. I’d be willing to post a small write up if people are interested. I’d also be willing to release the alpha code for anyone that doesnt have coding skills. The alpha code only has support for one sensor and no error handling. Really basic, but should be enough for most peoples needs. I dont have time to do a full how to, but i can try to answer questions as best as i can.


i personally find this super interesting. I already have a bullseye and im interested in a writeup and would actually like to build one. This is right up my alley. What did you write the code in? I have some experience in VB and C+.

After running my distillation setup yesterday. i relized the importance not only to know what pressure your pulling on the vac. but know the vacuum of the system would be sooo helpful. I now know why i see these bling bling distillation setups with mulitple vac gauges.

Please do a write up and if i can help or make one id be happy to do so as well for the community…This is super bad ass.


Please do a write up!!! I was a comp sci major and can code fairly well in quite a few languages and would love some of the in between steps for this!

The vacuum gauges beyond the HVAC digital variety are way too expensive, please share in as much detail as you can. Maybe someone will assemble some for a reasonable price for those lacking the technical proficiency, like what was done with e-nails when they first came out.


I’d buy one in a heartbeat


I think if somebody could find or post how to interpret the serial code from the MKS 901P then you could even use an old ass computer / laptop to just watch the data on the serial in realtime. On a computer it would be easy to have it dump the data in a spreadsheet and show a real-time graph.

Hè soxhlet Nice setup :grinning:
I was wondering would a one stage leybold b25d be an option as pump before
I go for the cannabinoids
So say till 160C head temp on a one stage 15cfm and then over to a diffusion backed by a 2 stage 7 cfm
Or would You swap the pumps
Or only work with a 2 stage roughing and baking. Pump
Thx in advanced

If the ultamate vacuum level is approprite it should be just fine, cmf is a moot point once their isn’t any air left to move. I usually watch the guages, once the vacuum improves and the head temp is right I know their arent any volitiles left to strip. I set the mantle back 20*c then throttle on the diffusion pump. Then I creep back up on the heat to start the canabinoids coming over.