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Adobe Problems- Owner Unite

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by muleman51, Feb 19, 2008.

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  1. muleman51

    muleman51 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
    Messages:
    230
    Loc:
    SE Minnesota
    I purchased an Adobe boiler last March, it came when I was busy in the field and didn't do anything with it until Nov. At that time I found it was short pieces, contacted company and recieved little help. Never did talk to a live person or receive a return call (haven't to this day). Finially Got it together (thanks to help from Mark at Valley Trailer), only to have the damper stick open and melt off waterline, melt down the pump and gauges. No reply or response from company. Put it back together, tightened spring on damper (poor unsafe design) Got it working again. Anyone who put one of these in there home would have a potential disaster on their hands. You put these outside for a reason. Mine is in a machine shed away from my house, I had an AquaTherm first. Long story short, burns too much wood, doesnot recover well, have to feed it every 5-7 hours. leaks smoke all over, and is probably not gasifing. To top this off after further examination, trying to figure out why it won't keep up. I started to measure and the boiler they sent does not have the dimensions of the one I ordered, however did does have an ALTERED SERIAL number to match the model that I paid for.Guess what no response. I even put up a whole new insulated chimney. Thanks for listening. If you want more details get in touch. Maybe other owners should band together. Ihave contacted both Minnesota and Maine Attorney General offices.

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  2. rsnider

    rsnider New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2007
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    Loc:
    ohio valley
    does the valley trailer guy build for adobe? are they the same company under diff names. how did you find the valley trailer guy on the Internet.
  3. altheating

    altheating New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    Messages:
    172
    Loc:
    Central New York
    I had posted this in another topic yesterday, so I'll repost it here. Maybe with some help in here muleman51 and others will get some satisfaction.
    I spoke to muleman51 earlier today. He is having the same issues with the folks at Adobe as I had. No phone calls back from the factory, they wouldn’t ship parts, the instruction manual was not complete, the DVD failed to show many of the parts in their proper placement. Then they had the nerve to say the boiler was not properly assembled. It was assembled just as the directions and DVD had shown. Parts were missing, the boiler can’t keep up with the heat demand. He actully received the wrong size boiler and they won’t take it back. The folks at Adobe actully altered the tag according to muleman51, according to him they hand wrote over the tag to change the BTU rating. (and all this time I thought you had to burn more wood in a bigger boiler to get more BU’s) The owner of the Adobe here in NY will most likely purchase an Econoburn to replace his Adobe. Muleman51 stated that his boiler is actully blistering and the blistering is being caused by the metal rusting through. Call the company and tell them you want to buy a boiler and they are all over you ask about a problem you are having and they don’t know you. The guy here in NY had to tell them he wanted to purchase a boiler in order to get through to finally discuss his disaster and to finally order parts. I agree with muleman51, go look at a boiler that has been in operation for awhile ask the owner about the factory service that was received. It unfornitute that there are companies out there that are operating in such a fashion. Saving a few hundred dollars up front may actully cost you several thousand in the long run. Just ask muleman51. Go with one of the top manufacturers who have good ratings in this fourm.

    Good luck muleman51
  4. sparky1961

    sparky1961 New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2008
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    Loc:
    maine
    valley trailer does not manufacture boilers for adobe . adobe has problems in design . He has been through a number of manufacturers.
  5. antknee2

    antknee2 New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2007
    Messages:
    253
    Loc:
    NY
    Spring of 2007 I contacted Adobe boiler and was ready to by one because of the price and lower flue pipe bypass . I only wanted a diagram of the of the boiler construction , at that time it was not on theree web page . There brochure arrived in the mail one month later , figured there very busy . A couple days later I called to order a boiler and had couple questions , believe it or not they did not call back until October . By that time the big Seton found a new home in my boiler room . I would like to see some pics of the Adobe boiler . Anthony
  6. firebird400

    firebird400 New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2008
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    Loc:
    hamden,ct
    hi everyone thanks for all the info i guess i will keep looking the price was great i thoutht but i sure dont need all the problems . the price was in the budget will keep saving
  7. roaring fire

    roaring fire New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
    Messages:
    33
    Loc:
    newfoundland
    I purchased an Adobe Boiler March2007. I didn,t do the install until Oct 07.
    Some of the problems encountered I chaulked up to my inexperience with those refactory units.
    The biggest manufacturing problem , the outer skins rusted through in6 wks.Contacted Dirigo manufacturing
    & got the same run a round I have been reading on this forum. When I bought my unit
    my payment went to RC Trailor, so they were at least assembling & selling the Adobe at least up to
    March 07 & as I understand it they are selling The Greenfire.The RC Trailer guy has promised to send me new
    skins which are galavized & thicker than the originals. I will let this forum know if I actually
    receive what was promised.
    My research tells me the Adobe is based on the Seton technology
    One difference is the forced air using an air box.
    I have not seen this on any of the other clones of the Seton
    Any Adobe owners have opinion on this
    I have a chronic problem with the water vessel collecting creceote
    Any suggestions to improve this.
    I have good draft & burn hot fire with seasoned wood
  8. steam man

    steam man Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2008
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    652
    Loc:
    Northern Maine
    I looked at an adobe boiler in operation at a friend's home and it was a creasote making monster. Another friend has one and had issues of overheating to the point he almost sold it. To me they are oversized, no storage, and some installation/control issues. It sat smoldering under no load. One did burn the damper motor after an overheat condition. I understand they are offered with forced or natural draft. My feeling is the damper drive could be improved to protect it from the heat. Also, a thermal safety link on a spring loaded flap may help in severe overfire condition. I understand the damper is either open or closed. Perhaps the aquastat needs some tinkering to prevent the extreme lag in getting it back up to temperature. Less differential? I am also thinking that if the air could be modulate through a "flap" with some kind of throttling characteristics, the swings in temperature could be averted. I would also have a thermostatic valve on the boiler return to maintain the highest temperature possible in the boiler. Both setups I am aware of are remote located and drag a lot of relatively cool water back before any effective heat gets to the load which has to cause some creasote. I don't know why the cold start bypass flap couldn't be thermostatically controlled to maintain stack temperature by passing part of the heat exchanger. The design does appeal to me since the quality of the wood is not so much an issue as a "pure" gassifier though it will burn more wood. I would like to get my hands on one just to tinker with it.
  9. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Welcome to the Boiler Room, roaring fire. I like your edited post better than "mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm." Hopefully we can help you get better performance out of your boiler. We do have quite a few Seton and Greenwood owners on this site, and, as you suggest, the basic designs look similar to me.
  10. muleman51

    muleman51 Member

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2008
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    Loc:
    SE Minnesota
    Last week I removed the back of my Adobe and cleaned it out, had to cut the back out and put in a whole new thicker back. Hopefully it will come off easier the next time, although probably not as much silicone as I used to seal it up. I took out a couple of gallons of ash and creosote. it was completely plugged around the lower manifold, it doesn't seem to be enough clearance in this area to me. I have installed a new chimney also. The only way I get areal hot fire is to use the fan , but then it wants to smoke as it seems to not be able to remove the exhaust. I have added to my chimney and that has not helped. I am wondering if a draft inducer fan might help. but I am getting sick of trying to put band-aids on it. Already after one week it seems to not be drawing as well. I am beginning to think it may have to do with internal clearance. I also have not had any help from Adobe only from Mark. I know I will probably have to spend more money and add storage to make this work. I'm liking this boiler less everyday, it needs too much babysitting.
  11. roaring fire

    roaring fire New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2008
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    33
    Loc:
    newfoundland
    I went through the same ritual, took side panel of and found entire lower section of the vertical vessel completely clogged . The water vessel is critical to performance & I would really like to know if there is an Adobe owner out there who has found a way to lick this problem. I installed a draft inducer & it stopped the smoke from belching out of every crevice of the unit. I have also tinkered with aquastat ie. shortened cycle to keep lower temp above 160f. The probe on my aquastat is staapped to an iron fitting but it reads about 10 degrees lower than my temp guage which is installed in the boiler water itself. Is there a way to more accurately install my aquastat probe?
    Thanks for your imput sofar. This is a great site & my compliments to the moderator for the clarifications & keeping everyone on track.
  12. steam man

    steam man Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Northern Maine
    I would venture a guess that a "strap on" aquastat may have some temperature lag in response to an immersion type. At least the pipe around the aquastat should be insulated. I would consider changing to an immersion type with a well installed in a tee fitting. One with an adjustable differential would be nice for tweaking things. I still like the idea of a thermostatic valve for the boiler return.
  13. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    The important thing to remember about aquastats is that they require flow in order to work. If you have one on a section of pipe that stops flowing, then it's only going to read the temp at that point in the system. So if you have a stat that makes the connection on temp rise piped into a dead spot, it won't work.
  14. antknee2

    antknee2 New Member

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    NY
    Don't give up ! when I get back from vacation , I will try to explain my theory on utilizing the untapped heat producing potential of a boiler with your style heat exchanger . Learning everyday . Anthony
  15. muleman51

    muleman51 Member

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    Roaring fire, I knew other people had to be having trouble with these Adobe boilers. Do you run your draft inducer and draft fan at the same time. It seems that if you push and pull it should work, maybe put the push fan on a timer so it shuts down once the fire gets hot and let the inducer pull the heat around. I know there is a fine line between pulling enough draft and pulling the heat out. My aquastat is also on the pipe just outside the top , it lags by about 10* but that doesn't matter, you just set it at 10* under what you want. That's the least of the problems this boiler has.
  16. steam man

    steam man Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    652
    Loc:
    Northern Maine
    Lag is not the same as just reading 10 deg low. It is more of how fast the aquastat responds to the change in temperature. That's kind of a minor issue. I am wondering what return temperature to the boiler is and for how long. If the boiler is getting plugged where the cold water enters the boiler I would want to get the temperature up fast and keep it flowing rather than on-off cycling. My plan would be to get a thermostatic valve to maintain boiler return temp and start thinking about a thermal storage plan. Not getting a "hot" fire is a problem. I would think that if the air intakes are clear, you have a proper draft, and the wood is decent then the boiler should be able to go into melt down if you let it. Both of the ones I looked at have done that numerous times. Anthony D is pretty good with these and he should be able to help you out. Come to think of it I did have a problem with a ceramic lined stove years ago that would not burn well until I modified the air intake to allow more air into the firebox. Having to resort to both forced and induced draft would almost seem obscene.
  17. muleman51

    muleman51 Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    SE Minnesota
    I agree with you about needing to push and pull but I'm getting sick of this. Since I cleaned the back out it has been above 25* and in the 30-40 range during the day. It has been a problem keeping the water temp up. You can't put enough wood in to make it through the day, unless you are there at least every 6 hours. I do plan on putting storage (milk bulk tank or I have two 300 gallon NH3 tanks that I can use) . I think I want to stay with non-pressure storage, can't decide if I want to build a loop or use a HX. Don't really want the other pump. Is there a way to get the water to circulate enough without electricity in the event of a power outage. I had 1 meltdown don't want another.
  18. NNYorker

    NNYorker Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2008
    Messages:
    257
    Loc:
    Upstate N.Y.--45 min. to the Canadian border, eh!
    Hello everyone, my first post concerning Adobe. My story begins in March 07 when I purchased an Adobe 100-Indoor build on site. My sales pitch was .... beat the price increase and get this boiler with all the new improvements. I bought the pitch after researching boiler options for appprox. 1 yr. The boiler was delivered and sat in my garage until final install was complete in the last two weeks of Dec. 07. I begin assembly of the unit in Oct/ Nov.07 with the vague instructions provided and find that the assembly instruction CD and fire brick diagram are nowhere to be found. I call Adobe and get my first taste of Adobe customer service. I talk to Phil , who sold me the boiler , he basically wants nothing to do with these issues . He refers me to Mark ,who is not an Adobe employee, who takes care of these things. Further into the assembly I am missing pins for insulation installation. I call Adobe....Phil's response- They sell those at all welding supply stores and they cost pennies. So I spend half the day of MY day off from work to search for the pins . Well guess what, not everybody stocks them but they can order a box of 100 when I need 12. Again I call Mark and he does what he says- he sends the pins to me . Mark becomes my Go To Guy when I have a question. Forward to mid to late Feb. 07- I notice the paint bubbling in several places on the right side panel. I blow this off figuring it to be bad paint as it was applied with no primer below it. I pop these bubbles and discover creosote running out of all bubbles- pinholes in this side panel everywhere the paint is bubbled . There are approx. 50 pinholes covering 1ft.x2ft. area about 3ft. up from the bottom of the boiler. This cancer is getting worse each day. The boiler has been in service 3 mo. at the most ! I see my problems mirror several others on this forum. Apparently I need to contact the Attorney General to see if they can help me. Customer service and you do not exist after the boiler has been paid for. If anyone has questions feel free to contact me.
  19. muleman51

    muleman51 Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    SE Minnesota
    Welcome to the club, I think you wrote my story. Hopefully we can get these to work. Mark has been very helpful. I have contacted the Minn. AG they have tried twice so far to get in contact with Phil. I have also contacted Maine. You need to contact you state AG and Maine. I can give you more particulars if you want . Good Luck
  20. steam man

    steam man Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
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    I think the devil is in the details. I wonder how big a heat load you have and what the boiler is rated for. Is the boiler cycling on/off alot? That could be a BIG problem. I am curious as to how your boiler is piped to the system. Is the wood good quality or is it wet and sizzling with steam coming out of it? If you have good looking fire the heat is going somewhere. What is a typical stack temperature in mid-cycle? The in and out temps of the boiler? Is the boiler radiating a lot heat throught the casing? Are the tubes actually clean or totally encased in creasote deposits? One oddball remote problem is the possibility your heat exchanger is partially plugged internally from sludge/sediment so your not getting flow through all the tubes. I've seen large industrial boilers with similar problems over the years.

    I would guess that if your boiler is cycling on/off storage would help to prevent this. When the power is out you could use a generator, batteries with inverter, use a gravity loop where the tank would have to be higher than than boiler where the different densities of the hot/cold water would naturally circulate, or as Eric says-have an automag valve open on power failure to dump to a zone above the boiler.
  21. muleman51

    muleman51 Member

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    I'm not sure of my heat load. As for the size of my boiler,good question as I didn't get the boiler I ordered. The dimensions don't match the dimensions on the invoice, and the serial number seem to be altered and since no one will reply or answer the phone it's pretty hard to get to the bottom of it. The boiler does cycle on and off, if it didn't you could never keep enough wood in it. I haven't had time or the money to buy all the monitoring equipment. I have a well insulated home 2900sq ft . I only put heat in the basement and main floor, bedrooms just get what comes from below. The boiler is outside in my machine shed. I have a sidearm and heat exchanger in the furnace (that is on a programable Tstat and zone valve. There is some fintube in the basement on its own zone valve. I have some wirsbo in a 12 x 24 addition on its own stat (that is on very little). And there is a steel wall radiator on north basement wall that is throttled way back. For the most part supply and return are not to far apart in temp (touch method). So you can see I have a real dukes mixture. I know that storage will help (more money). If I was rid of this boiler I'd have a Garn by fall. This sure is more complicated than my old AquaTherm and all I wanted to do was burn less wood.
  22. druzzy

    druzzy New Member

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    i dont know if i'm responding right--but i'm another victim to this scam adobe bioler sold me--its roting to death and eats wood like no tomorrow--i'm trying to contact them--and no response! i'm a military guy just returned from sunny downtown bagdad and asked one of my fellow sevice men to e-mail them and they responded--i need help to fix these unamerican bums!! my unit is less than a season old and very disappionted--i cant believe there american company's operating and doing this to hard working american--help!!
  23. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
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    Western Mass.
    Sorry to hear of these problems. I have never heard of Adobe Boilers...and perhaps I don't want to! My advice to people would be NOT to experiment when it comes to boilers....buy ONLY from a company that has a 8-10 year+ GOOD experience and reputation with difficult weldments/pressure vessels, etc.

    There is NO excuse for the type of service that you have been getting and certainly no possible reasons for pinholes in a relatively new boiler.
  24. muleman51

    muleman51 Member

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    Everyone needs to contact the attorney generals office. Talk to them. They are selling these boilers over state lines. The more people that complain the better chance we have, also the more states .
  25. roaring fire

    roaring fire New Member

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    Thanks fro the brain storming steam man. You mentioned heat loss through the casing. I installed my boiler in a remote workshop 1000 sq ft.
    The workshop is much more comfortable than my house ie. just radiant heat from the Adobe. I have 160000btu water to air heat exchanger in the plenum of my hot air furnace, 10 cords of wood in 3 months heat output is marginal at best trying to heat 2500 sq ft.
    Burning chunk back to the push & pull. After installing the draft inducer I disconnected the forced fan & tried natural draft. The result was good & bad.
    The gases stopped forcing there way out through the panels & the bad odour from the gases disappeared. O n the other hand the thing took forever
    to reach cut out temp 180 degrees & the fire was very lethargic. I am suspect that the creceote problem increased during this period.
    So I wired the forced fan back up, I actually wired the forced fan & the draft inducer together so they cut in & out simultanously with the damper & controlled by the aquastat. The result good & bad. Super improvement in output. from 160 to 180 degrees with no load in 4 minutes.
    On the other hand the bad odour was back & small amount of gases were evident. My theory is the forced draft was creating to much pressure
    inside the unit & was forcing gas & odour out through the unit. So I took a piece of metal sheet & covered 50% of the air inlet on the forced draft.
    The result I still have a hot fire no odour & no sign of gas seepage. Still worried about the water vessel, no way to check the vertical section without
    tearing down the unit.
    ps I have a battery power pack in my basement hooked up to my circulator, learned the hard way, cooked everything first power outage.My advice
    buy a heavy unit to keep circulators going several hours , as you know the refactory holds heat long after unit shuts down.
    My heart goes out to you Burning Chunk
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