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Cat Thermometer Length Question

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Ralphie Boy, Dec 1, 2013.

  1. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    Anybody know what the correct length probe for a Buck 80 would be? I've having problems keeping the cat in my Buck 80 the safe range. it's be an on again, off again problem. Last January when my Buck 80 was installed it came with no Cat thermometer, Buck failed to put in it before shipping. Dealer said "No problem I'll pull one from one we have in stock." Next day I was in the area and picked it up. He said the probe came from a Buck 91 (6.5 inch length) but it was the same one used in the 80 at which point I took it home and thought nothing more about it.

    I just learned the 91 has a larger cat, actually I think it has 2 cats side by side so it must take a longer probe. I think this would mean the longer probe of the 91 would actually touch the cat in the 80 giving false high readings. Any thoughts????

    I can call tomorrow but I thought I come here first. Thanks!!

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  2. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    I couldn't find the probes on the Buck website but at buckstoveparts.com they show the same 7" probe for the 80 and the 91. The cat lays parallel to the door, so the probe comes in from the side; I don't think length of the cat makes a difference.
    If you've seen any of my posts on running the 91, you know that the cat temp will go high (1800) if I get too much of the reload gassing at once. OTOH, if I don't have enough wood burning, I've had a couple of crashes where the cat never lights off. My solution has been to pull the coals up to the front, then throw only two or three small splits on the get the stove temp and cat probe up to where I want it when I load (around 900.) I don't put the entire load on the coals, or too much of the wood will get burning early. I pull the coals to the middle, running N-S in front of the dog house, where some of the 'shotgun' air comes in (controlled by the left slider, as you probably already know.) I load the left side with no coals under it, since that side burns hotter due to the ash dump door feeding some air into the box. I leave a few coals under the right side of the load. With the coals in the middle, I'm in control of how much of the load I want to get burning. It all sounds pretty complicated, but with last season under my belt, I feel like I've got a pretty good handle on it this year. It might take me 45 minutes to get the stove cruising, but I like to burn it as cleanly as possible by getting a quick light-off. Many others are closing the bypass at lower temps and really pouring the flame to it to get the cat burning, but I don't want to risk high cat temps by getting too much of the load involved early. At almost $300 for the cat, I want this thing to last as long as possible.
    I'm probably just full of crap as usual, so disregarding all I've said would appear to be a pretty safe bet. ;lol
  3. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the info Woody. So here's another one for you: I've found that if I load the 80 N-S (per Buck manual) it runs way hotter than if I load E-W. Is the difference in the volume of wood;? I get a lot more wood in it loading N-S than E-W
  4. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    This is a Condar probe correct? Which one is it, the all black dial that reads up to 2000 or the new dial with the silver operating zone that reads up to 1700? Condar recently changed their probe to the later. I have both and I get a 100-300 higher reading with the older all black probe. I have tried calibrating them in boiling water and also with my smoker thermocouple which only reads up to 550 and have found the new probe to be most accurate at those lower temps but have no idea about higher temps.

    I guess what I'm saying is there are two different types of probes out there and I'd be a little Leary off their accuracy without comparing them to a high temp thermocouple.
  5. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    Sure is, the black one that goes to 2000 and actually, it's brand new, or just delivered on Friday from Condar. They must be getting rid of their old stock. I thought I'd try a new probe since I wanted to try the obvious first. I did not check for the correct length, which as it turns out may not be an issue. I think if I could afford to do it over again I'd buy a non-cat stove. I've not been able to make head or tails of the whole process, although when I do get it right I get great heat and long burn times, up to 14 hours.
  6. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Here's a pic of the new one with the silver face, it reads 1700 where the old black one read 2000. I think they recalibrated the new one because they found radiant heat off the stove was throwing off the readings at higher temps. We have done similar tests here on the forum and have found them to read a bit high as well.

    Don't give up on your cat stove, you'll get her figured out. I wouldn't worry about your cat temps, I bet your 2000 temp is really only about 1700. 1000-1600 is normal operating temps with a full load.
    image.jpg
  7. mellow

    mellow Resident Stove Connoisseur

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    N/S will always burn hotter in these stoves, since the air comes from the front. If I want a quick hot fire I load N/S, but if I want an overnight burn I load E/W with larger splits.
  8. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    I just love it here! So many good folks with good information!:)
  9. jdonna

    jdonna Member

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    Good info Todd. I will check mine out. I have the older style Black dial.
  10. Woody Stover

    Woody Stover Minister of Fire

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    Interesting...great info as usual, Todd. :cool: If you are getting 1000-1600 readings with a "normal" intensity glow on the Keystone, that reassures me that I haven't been running the cat too hot, despite not having the probe set up directly over the cat like you do....pretty similar to the temp readings/glow intensity I'm seeing on the 91.
    Regardless of the actual temp, when the all-black probe I have reads 1800, that cat is glowing a pretty bright orange, so I'm going to keep it well below that if I can.
    I'm getting ready to order a couple of 2.5" Condar probes for my and my SIL's Dw 2460s. We'll see if they send me the old or new style....

    Yeah, Ralphie, hang in there with the Buck; You learn a little more with every load you burn. :) My disadvantage is that I'm not usually there to observe the stove through the entire burn. I got to see a good bit of it yesterday, though. A couple splits shy of a full load....2 hrs. in, had 1400 on the probe, 400 on the stove. 3 hrs, 1440, 425, center of the load burned up. Still had nice floating flame in the box, with only the airwash air open, maybe about 3/8" (I have tweaked the airwash plate so it doesn't allow quite as much air in.) 5.5 hrs, 1150, 370. Sweet burn overall....reassures me that I'm getting a handle on this stove. Definitely not at easy to run as the Fireview or Keystone, but I love the big 91. >> Not quite as quick as the Keystone, either. Last night, I lit the Ks off in about 20 minutes from a cold stove, with 80* on the stove top. ;lol The way I run the Buck, it's more like 45 min. at least....
  11. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Woody,
    So far with this new probe I haven't been able to get the temp over 1100 but I haven't really pushed it yet, been low and slow 12 hour burns. The old black face probe reads much higher, I've seen 1400+. I wish I had access to a high temp thermocouple to see if this new probe is accurate at higher temps, it seems like it should be well over 1000 with a glowing beet red cat. I know it's right on at 500 and less according to my smoker therm. I also contacted Woodstock for some cat temp data but Jamie couldn't dig anything up.

    Typical 12 hour burn at a setting of .5 the probe maxes at 1100 for first hour, cruises at 800-1000 for about 3 hours then slowely drops to 500 by the 6-7 hour mark. Seems like it hangs at that 500 mark after all the outgassing is complete and there is just chunks and coals left. I reload when it's down in the 300-400 range and the stove top is at 200.
  12. jdonna

    jdonna Member

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  13. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    Okay so if you have followed this post some you know I received a new cat thermometer from Condar a couple of days ago and, according to some, it was their old style which may or may not read hotter than actual temps.

    Yesterday I got up and my thermometer was reading 800. I says: "Hmmmmm.... I knows dey ain't much in thar fur it ta be dat hot." After all we were near record warm temps outside and I was letting the stove cool for some clean-out with record warm soon to be followed by record cold. An hour later it still read 800 and I says: "Dat ain't right dang it!" And I reaches over and pulls dat thermometer out and dat dang probe, it cool to da touch! So I call dem folks at Candor and wilst I'm adialin' dat thermometer goes "twang" and drops to 400! As I'ma talkin' to da man at Condar it goes "twang" again and drops to 200! So there asendin' me ah new one under warranty.

    This whole thing makes me wonder 2 things; is there is any real accuracy to those types of thermometers and how much damage may have been done to the cat because of the faulty thermometer?
  14. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    The most accurate thermometer would be a thermocouple but in most cases the Condar probes are close enough. I've thought of installing thermocouples but don't like the looks of the heavy duty wire.

    Another way to make sure your cat is working properly is smokeless chimney and stove top temps. Hopefully your new probe will work out.
  15. Ralphie Boy

    Ralphie Boy Minister of Fire

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    Yep, hope so. Also ordered s stove top as well. Not sure where I'll put it on the 80 since it's an insert, most likely on the angled part of the front or well to the right of the cat probe.

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