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Automatic Controls for Wood Stoves

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by RegencyNS, Jan 26, 2009.

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  1. RegencyNS

    RegencyNS New Member

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    This is one aspect of wood stoves that blows my mind. Wood Boilers and Wood furnaces have had automatic air and draft controls for years yet wood stove companies still don't make them. Yes, I love the wood stove for its window and heat and so forth, but a little technology would never hurt. I have heard the argument that it would be dangerous having automated air and draft control on a wood stove. Thats a bunch of bolgne, like I said wood boilers and furnaces have had them for years, does that make them all unsafe?????????
    It doesn't even have to be automated. Something to adjust the air and draft with a remote. Yes, sometimes i like adjusting the wood stove manually and getting that great fire, but for instance, my wife is home right now trying to get the fire going good, adjusting everything, its -15 degrees celcius and no matter how many times I show her, she can never get it as hot as I can simply because I am used to the stove. An automated air and draft control would be perfect, she could then just open the door and fill with wood.
    GGRRRRRRRR...

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  2. roac

    roac New Member

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    Some stoves do have automatic air control. They use a mechanical control that opens and closes the air supply as the bi-metallic coil heats and cools. Quadrafire, Blaze King and others come to mind. It is a technology that has been around since the 70's.
  3. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    To explain how well mine works. If my stove is idling along at a constant temp with the stat satisfied and no visible flame in the stove and I turn the fans on, you will see stove temp drop, then a few swirls of ash in the stove with coals starting to glow brighter. Sometimes it will break into a flame again until the stove reaches that original temp again. If I wanted automation /digital control I would have bought a pellet stove. I cant trust or rely on that stuff in this climate.
  4. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    Hey Pooker, The answerer to that = CATALYTIC me thinx %-P
  5. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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  6. downeast

    downeast Guest

    Right Yukon !!

    Most of the cat stoves use a simple bimetallic coil for air control when the cat is "lit'. Examples: Woodstock, the older Jotul Firelight, and ( forbid the mention ) VC cat stoves work well giving longer fires, more efficiency, cleaner burns than non-cats. We have one of each. We load the cat stove much less than our non-cat for the same species and space.

    Any wood heating device will have some loading effort involved including boilers, and Masonry Frieplaces. If you want no effort, burn fossils for auto heat.
  7. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    The PE Summit and T-6 have EBT, so non cats can do it too.
  8. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Feeling the Heat

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    I would love, love, LOVE an air control/blower speed remote.
    You'd just toss the wood in and not have to get up again.
  9. daleeper

    daleeper Minister of Fire

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    I don't believe the Woodstock has this type of air control, and "some" would be more accurate than "most". I believe the Blaze King cat stoves, and some of the VC cat stoves (not the Dutchwest models) have bimetallic air control in current production, and that is it as far as I know. Buck, Appalachian, and a few other current cat stoves are all manually controlled. Someone please correct me if I'm wrong, as this is a feature I want, and would like to see more options in the market.
  10. ControlFreak

    ControlFreak Feeling the Heat

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    Been there, done that...

    Take a look here: www.inveninc.com
    Also, take a look here: http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/14421/#158782

    Dan
  11. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    You're right daleeper, the stat is very rare in teh stove world. Even on Cat stoves they are very rare. The PE EBT system isn't really a stat as much as an idle control that holds a minimun temp only.

    Another member posted this negative... If you have a stat set to keep the stove temp at a minimum temp then on those overnight burns you will wakeup to a cold stove with no coals since the draft was flipped wide open by the stat. I really like being able to restart my warm stove in the morning from those smaller coals vs. start a cold stove from scratch.
  12. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Our last 2 Shenandoah's had a bi-metal thermostat that worked well but they would only hold up for a couple of years before they needed replacement. It controlled a little flapper valve that would let more air in to maintain a general temp like Low, Med and High. The stove was always smoking but I thought they both worked OK with the thermostat.

    I guess you had to be there but those newer pre EPA 'airtight' stoves were quite the step up if you burned with an older Franklin stove...that stove was a bottomless pit for wood. At the time we were both WOWed by the performance.
  13. Stephen in SoKY

    Stephen in SoKY Feeling the Heat

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    Bimetal thermostats are one the big reasons they still sell so many Wonderwood stoves. Not much to look at, but extremely convenient & relatively efficient.
  14. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    My RSF Onyx uses a bi-metal thermostatic air control and it works OK but if I want finer control, I adjust the wood loading or the doghouse air.

    Back in the 70's I had a round, top-load stove with a bi-metal control that regulated a hinged flap. It had a propensity to start bouncing up and down which in turn caused the stove to surge and puff like a dragon. Sure got your attention.
  15. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    Why do I keep spelling automatic controls for wood stoves YUPPIE?? Or should that be spelled "city slicker"?? :roll:
  16. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Good question. Why do you?
  17. RedRanger

    RedRanger New Member

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    Coming from a guy that can`t get his own house above 66 degrees--that kind of response doesn`t surprise me.

    At least this time around you didn`t plagarize my name. So I will try and correct my spelling and lets see--KCYUPPIE.!!

    There we go, and I can see the temp rising already!!
  18. rg500930

    rg500930 New Member

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    i took the ebt off my summit insert and installed a electronic controller hooked up to a car idle controller air valve.so when i have the insert running i set the damper to the burn rate i want.the electronic valve will be closed.as the insert cools the valve will open and give more air.it will give more even heat.or i can set the draft and when the temperature is steady i set the controller to the same temp.this way it will keep it that that temp.im still playing with it.seems to work good though.i can hear it clicking on and off.would like to find a larger air valve.nice having a digital readout also and cost me about $15.good old ebay.
  19. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    What are you using for a power supply? Where did your EBT get its air from before? Also what and where are you using for a temp reference?
  20. rg500930

    rg500930 New Member

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    power supply for the air valve?just a 12v power supply say off of a cordless phone.the EBT has its own air intake into the stove.i didnt like how the EBT valve worked.
  21. Heem

    Heem New Member

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    could easily be built with a servo motor and some linkages depending on if yours is in/out or right left... hmmmmmmmmmmm
  22. rg500930

    rg500930 New Member

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    the controller is 120v.what do you mean by temp reference.most of the time i just have the valve set to open at 400f
  23. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    I am just trying to figure it out. There must be a relay of some sort if the components are from an auto. The main controller is 120V? 12V DC would be your required output. The temp reference would have to be located somewhere on the stove and would be rated at some higher temp. The existing EBT I thought was modulating. Not on/off as an air valve would be. Just curious.
    Any photos?
  24. rg500930

    rg500930 New Member

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    yes theres a relay built into the controller.if i remember its something good up to 2 amps.the transformer is in milliamps so i dont have to worry about burning anything out.the airvalve is a 3 wire.its like a soledoid.one wire opens the valve,one closes.the other negative.the EBT is at the bottom of the firebox.under the firebrick,ashes etc.i watched the flap move.long story short it would work if it was at the top of the box not at the bottom.as for variable its a small hole the size of your small finger so i dont think would make much of a difference.i ground the ebt hole a little bigger.can only grind it so big because its welded to a small pipe inside.was thinking of attaching a second air valve and have that operate off of the controller/relay alarm side.the probe i have it above the front of the door.so say i have the stove running at 500f as it cools to 400 the valve opens and lets more air in.brings the temp back up.i can hear it clik on and off a few times.and just for info that small air hole has more of an affect when the temp is higher.so say if i had it open at 200f it doesnt do much.ill get some photos tomorrow.i didnt want anything that made a drastic affect on the stove just incase something happens with it while im away.like power goes out while controller is on high(if i had something that let alot of air in)
  25. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    Thanx for the info and explanation rg500930. If the air valve is a normally closed valve than you should have no worries. The temp sensor must be adjustable and sounds pretty unique.
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