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Anyone have a pellet boiler?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Damammel, Nov 30, 2007.

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  1. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    Lets also factor in Joe that this is the older combustion draft induced burner without the glass door. With what I know today I don't think I would want the current draft induced combustion version. For similar money I would buy a p105 Harmon - or as I say spend the extra for a BAXI. But I now burn baby Boiler because I found him as an orphan on a demo site - he had heated a two unit apartment and a bar in his previous life on cheep Marth pellets with the pellet pot I show above. That fuel wasn't as rich as the fuel I burn today so I can see how it worked - my result on the pot = I couldn't get enough combustion air to the fuel and is burnt rich and cold - reducing the third and second feed cup with a shim leaned the mixture for the hottest burn on the pellet pot. Yes I am achieving a 15% ROI over gas today - but to do that I had to secure a full truckload of hi quality fuel at a low price. Could I have made more on my 2 year supply fuel investment - possibly - but it wouldn't have been as much fun!!!!

    performance today = I filled the hopper at 6:30 am - at 1 about 20 lbs has been consumed. 40% duty cycle appx??? Hi 20 outdoors and a nice summer breeze - Ill pull the degree day data tomorrow if you like.

    Here is an excerpt from a chat with a user of the new version and the drama he faces - OF course I don't wish this critique to halt the free flow of ideas you may have - But I recall your buddy was happy to be a new dealer and may benefit from this exchange.

    A major problem with the PB150 is that the fan needs to be cleaned and the company left you no damn way of cleaning it. It is IMPOSSIBLE to take the fan off of the Boiler the way they have it designed now unless you disassemble your chimney pipe and who wants to do that? Nobody!

    So the only way to reliably and easily clean your fan is that I took a Sawzall and carefully cut off a section of he collar that currently blocks you from unbolting and removing your fan assembly.
    I sliced it up about 1 inch to the top of the collar and then across the entire top collar to remove a flat rectangular piece of metal. Then, you can unbolt your fan assembly and take it outside and blow it out with compressed air.

    Unless you don't mind you and your basement covered in ash, you have to blow these things out outside. If you blow them out while they are still attached to the boiler it is messy and I honestly believe a health hazard to have all that ash chit flying around or laying in your basement. Very very fine and very very dirty.

    Go to the auto store and get some gasket cork and while you still have the original fiberglass gasket, make up a new gasket from cork and make up a spare as well. Keep the original Fiberglas gasket as a future template in a safe place.

    Oh yes. Pinnacle hard wires the fans to the control box so to save you the grief of f*#^&)ng with the wire each time you clean your fan, I cut the cable and the wires halfway and rigged up a 3 prong plug deal. That way in the future you just unplug the fan and take it off. Reinstall it and plug the 2 plugs back together and you are in business.

    o.k.. so now we have a nice gap to spew smoke out of right where we cut the collar!?!? Cut your self a piece of that gasket cork and you will need to make up / bend up a strong "u-clip" out of spring steel that will hold that cork against the pipe collar. What will even ensure that you get ZERO smoke is that you pack the gaps with tin foil and I have never ever had a smoke leaking problem. Maybe a little puff when you first fire it back up but just take a flat screwdriver and smush the tinfoil into the gaps harder and you will not have a problem.

    I have found that I need to remove and clean my fan about every 5 weeks.

    Folks. There is no other easy way around cleaning this fan assembly unless you want to be very dirty, spend hours with a bul^#^t toothbrush and a vacuum nozzle.

    Believe me when I tell you that unless you clean your fan, you will lose so much draft that you will get "cold fires" which results in a sh*^%y burn.

    I have done a lot of modifications to the PB 150 so if there is something that I left out... just ask me and I will be happy to clarify.

    WARNING: The bolts that hold the fan assembly on. DO NOT STRIP or damage them! God help you if you do. Another nice design of Pinnacle is that if you wreck of these..... good luck tapping and dying to fix them. They should have just been simple nuts and bolts.... but hey... that would have been too easy.

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  2. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    I don't see why you had to modify the PB105 to get at the combustion fan. The cover is supposed to come off by undoing the 2 swell latches on either side and then there are 3 wing nuts that hold the fan motor in place. Loosen the wing nuts, turn the assembly CCW and out it comes.
  3. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    Ist not my applinace
    I run the older version with the hair dryer supporting combustion
    but:
    - this is not the only user I have received dispersion from in regard to the inability to service the combustion draft inducer squirrel cage.

    Do you have pictures that I might pass on to my friends - maybe there is an upgrade/update they don't have???

    Just to clarify - This is the TRAEGER PB150 not the HARMON P105
  4. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    So sorry Sting, I am only familiar with the Harman PB105. Ignore my comment then. Must say I do appreciate the use of some good old Yankee Inginuity.
  5. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    If you're getting 40 degree delta between the supply and the return, and flowing 6 GPM, you're getting 120,000 btu output.

    What reset curve are you using with the Tekmar?

    Trying to figure out what's going on. The numbers you are giving me say that you are producing the rated output.

    If you're only running 40% duty, then you're certainly making enough heat at the boiler, because it is shutting off on high limit.

    Actually, it's designed that way because you are supposed to disconnect and inspect the flue pipe. You are not supposed to be able to skip that step, which is why the fan is designed the way it is. If the flue pipe is installed correctly, all you need to do is loosen it, loosen the four bolts that hold the fan, slide the fan out about 3/4" from the draft hood, and drop the fan from the pipe. Very simple.

    If he's not making draft without cleaning it that often, though, he has another issue going on. Probably needs to clean his flue pipe, since it sounds like he doesn't actually do that.

    Joe
  6. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    If you're getting 40 degree delta between the supply and the return, and flowing 6 GPM, you're getting 120,000 btu output.
    .............

    ---Pumping is variable and controlled via the BANG-BANG methods (named by others here) with thermal reacting switches - sometimes I can see a significant Delta T - simply because pumping has lagged to adjust -You wanted to know the range and tolerances of my plant but one point: This plant isn't digitally controlled or state of the art - I live in a past life with old versions of SOME current technology - IE READ: Salvaged junk... Maybe I should monitor what I divulge but I was hoping for further interaction to my goal.

    ..............

    What reset curve are you using with the Tekmar?

    ---picture worth a thousand words?
    [​IMG]

    ...................

    Trying to figure out what's going on. The numbers you are giving me say that you are producing the rated output.

    ---at times maybe - but again don't read out of context - anything can be construed - real life its more than 60 but far less than 70

    .................

    If you're only running 40% duty, then you're certainly making enough heat at the boiler, because it is shutting off on high limit.

    ---Again that was yesterday a very low degree day [36] double that and no way will baby boiler keep up - and this month there have been a LOT of days above 60 - someplace between 50 and 60 is the threshold of Baby Boilers potential.

    ..........................



    Actually, it's designed that way because you are supposed to disconnect and inspect the flue pipe. You are not supposed to be able to skip that step, which is why the fan is designed the way it is. If the flue pipe is installed correctly, all you need to do is loosen it, loosen the four bolts that hold the fan, slide the fan out about 3/4" from the draft hood, and drop the fan from the pipe. Very simple.

    If he's not making draft without cleaning it that often, though, he has another issue going on. Probably needs to clean his flue pipe, since it sounds like he doesn't actually do that.

    Joe

    ---Ill pass that on! Can you pass on any suggestions to make more available energy from this appliance? Our goal still is to burn corn in a self cleaning pot - yet maybe with corn futures predicted over 5 bucks a bu already - pellets or coal will be the only recourse. So got any ideas to improve the burn pot or the combustion air of the old boiler design??? Or do you still think my circulation and control design it wrong?
  7. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    Please don't be sorry

    I am very grateful for the responses and the interaction

    This is the first place in two years that I have found fellows who I can look up to for advice.

    its a good feeling!

    Kind Regards
    Sting
  8. stephenmoore

    stephenmoore Member

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    Hello Delta T, How is your PB105 working ? I'd be interested in seeing the specs on your system. I am in year one of my PB 105. Burning two bags of pellets per day, although I am on my third igniter. You had any problems ?
  9. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    If it's at 40% on a 36-hdd day, then it should be able to handle roughly a 90-hdd day.

    I'm not a fan of corn for a fuel.

    I'm pretty well convinced that it's a circulation or control problem. It sounds like the boiler does fine at low output levels, but "runs out of steam" long before it should, based upon the duty cycle comparison to the heating load. These things are pretty linear. Actually, it "wastes" more fuel in pilot mode on low-load days, so it should be able to handle even more than the low-load day examination of the duty cycle might suggest.

    It's kind of hard to diagnose these things via the Internet.

    As far as producing more heat from the existing boiler, the only real way to do that would be to enlarge the burn pot and increase the feed rate, as well as increasing the air supply to match. Of course, putting more heat under the same heat exchanger is going to drop your efficiency...

    Joe
  10. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    Thank-you Joe
  11. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    Ha Ha this is good _ I was chatting with my friends that burn the new model - and of course I shared this information as I said I would

    They wonder if you have ever been next to a Traeger in service -

    And reviewing your wonderful advice after the grilling you gave me

    Well so do I?????? Hope you learned something about the lame Traeger boiler design!
  12. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    Fix your piping and controls, and see what happens. The information you posted says the boiler is working fine.

    According to what you quoted your friend saying, he doesn't disassemble the flue pipe like he's supposed to, and complains that his lack of proper maintenance is a design flaw on the part of the manufacturer.

    In both cases, you're trying to blame the equipment. In some cases, the equipment is defective. In other cases, someone used the wrong equipment and it can't do the job that was asked. In others, the equipment is working fine and the user simple is not operating and/or maintaining as it should be. The numbers and comments that you provided showed which was the case. I can go through the math in greater depth if there's some part of that determination that you are having trouble understanding.

    Joe
  13. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    NO Thank-you

    I have far enough salesman BS for one week - If you couldn't or were unwilling to critique the self cleaning corn burn pot experiment or if you were simply unable to suggest ways to improve the piss poor Traeger burn pot design -

    YOU simply should have days ago!

    Or stayed out and let the thread die.

    As to your "towing the company line" regarding your "opinion" of how the appliance should or shouldn't be maintained in the real world

    God Bless You. I am sure Mom and Dad are proud. Now go pull up you pants!

    How did that saying I learned here go??? Another salesman with puke on your shoes!
  14. BrownianHeatingTech

    BrownianHeatingTech Minister of Fire

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    I'm not a salesman, Sting. I'm an engineer. I'll give you the accurate answer, whether you like it or not, and whether it gets me a sale or not. The accurate answer is that, based on the numbers you provided, the boiler is functioning normally, providing its rated output, and there is a water flow problem, either due to piping, pump sizing, or something in the control setup. If the numbers showed a defect, I would have called up the Traeger folks and found out what could be done to solve it.

    Inspecting and (if necessary) cleaning the flue pipe is not an opinion. It's a require maintenance step in all fuel-burning appliances. That includes oil, gas, wood, pellet, corn, coal, and anything else. The only difference from fuel to fuel is the maintenance interval. But it needs to be done for all of them.

    I'd be happy to critique the alternative burn pot design that you came up with, if you post some more details. A single photo, lacking dimensions, is not sufficient for that. You seemed more interested in finding out why you weren't getting adequate heat from the system, so I figured that was a "backburner" sort of project and you would be posting the critical details later.

    Joe
  15. Sting

    Sting Feeling the Heat

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    this didn't work

    sorry :red:
  16. critterfitter

    critterfitter New Member

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    Hi All:


    New to forum . I have a Harman p105 boiler put on line in November started with igniter problems about week ago. I'll give you all background on me I'm self employed master plumber with extensive heat background. So even though is still warrantied I want to fix problem myself. I am pretty anal about cleaning burn pot and the igniter access area. It does build up a lot of granulated material almost like a sand consistency. I got the igniter to ignite again and it was intermittent at best so I put it on manual for about a week until I had time to mess with it . Today woke up and was out of pellets no error codes so I filled with pellets and tried to light but then it wasn't feeding took out the book said to check if esp probe was sensing 170 degrees I took it out scuffed up with sandpaper and seemed to fix problem a few hours wife called said went out again lit it but fire was lazy.I then took off hose leading to pressure switch an put straw on it and blew through. then tried to start it still lazy then took off access cover to the auger shoot and was filled with fines put finger in there pulled out dust and put door on and started it and then fire roared. Is building temp. now so have igniter switch back on will see if light boiler now.

    One thing will say is have to keep up with cleaning issues on unit. IE: scraping burn pot cleaning auger shoot and cleaning flue piping. Has anyone had issues with cleaning rod in upper right corner sticking??


    Bryan Smith
    All American Services
    Plumbing And Heating
  17. alaz

    alaz New Member

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    Bryan,
    How did your boiler fair? Would you recommend it? Could rod have stuck b/c poor design or warped do to heat? What does your boiler run to, hwbb, radiant, hydro coil in air handler? Did you find it efficient?
    I am close to purchasing PB 105, any input would be appreciated.
    Thanks.
  18. critterfitter

    critterfitter New Member

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    firestarter:


    Finally had rep come to look at it >At first he said my draft was to high but that wasn't the case then said was to low that wasn't true either > Also said maybe dirty but I'm anal retentive if anything and had cleaned combustion tubes and also jut took apart the flue piping. I had him put in new igniter and try an kept saying I was questioning feed rates. While we were discussing this there was and explosion and then fire. At this point he called his shop and asked about feed rates then took out control board and changed settings on feed rates. Then turned on and fired regularly in about 1-2 minutes . Has been good ever since.You have to be a hands on person.I think the rod was just bent. Overall is good but harmans tech support is poor.There like cars salesman after the sale good luck.
  19. critterfitter

    critterfitter New Member

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    effeciency good /design good/ there are some outdoor pellet boilers on market that are good almess outside. My e-mail
  20. alaz

    alaz New Member

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    My goal is to use an inside boiler. It just makes the most sense for me at this time.
    But thanks...
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