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Clarification on BK fire starting procedure needed 4 newb

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Bster13, Apr 30, 2013.

  1. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    From the manual:
    http://www.blazeking.com/PDF/manuals/en/wood/OM-PI1010A E V1.06.pdf

    So when starting from cold, leave the bypass open and bi-metal thermostat on High until the needle starts to get into the Active zone, then shut the bypass and let the stove run on High for the next 20 minutes. I get this part.

    Next, the manual states:

    So after running it on High for 20 minutes, it then says I can move the thermostat towards medium at 20 min intervals... well my thermostat has 10 marks on it (1 marked High, 1 marked Low, and 8 dots in between), and assuming medium is in between the 4th and 5th mark that's at least 1:20 I need to take to step down the thermostat, dot by dot, ever 20 minutes? A dot is an "interval?" Seems excessive, no? Heavens forbid I want to step down the thermostat to "Low" for a shoulder season burn. :eek:

    Can anyway clarify the instructions for me? Thx.

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  2. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    The quality of your wood will determine how fast you can turn it down. I usually turn mine down in 3 stages, once my fire is started I don't burn on high I usually turn it down a touch to 2 3/4 or so. Once the full load of wood is engaged I'll turn it down to 2 and let it burn there for 10 minutes after that I can usually dial it down to the bottom edge of normal(1 3/4) this is usually my desired setting for most of the burning season. I regulate heat output with fans or no fans. You'll get a feel for the stove when you start burning it more often.

    I very rarely deal with cold starts, when I do stone cold to dialed down takes me about 45 minutes. I like to establish some coals to keep the wood smoldering along once I turn it down to the flames out/smolder low setting. From a start with coals worst case is about 30 minutes to get out the door.

    The easiest way to get the stove going when it was new to me was to burn half a 5 gallon bucket of kindling to start, I used this to establish a coal bed. I'd burn this down on a high T-stat setting. Once that burned down I'd load my full size stuff and burn it like I normally do. Now I load the stove full with a super ceder or similar tucked in the bottom front of the load and let it burn.
    Bster13 likes this.
  3. BKVP

    BKVP Burning Hunk

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    It's been way over due, my apologies for not addressing this question sooner.

    The thermostats in our wood stoves are unique to each unit. What makes them unique is the bi metallic coil spring itself. (Also rod length does vary as well in some units).

    The bi metallic spring reacts to heat. It does not know if a door is cracked open, if the by pass is open, or what type of fuel you are burning (and all associated variables).

    What is does do is react to temperature and as it gets hotter, it shrinks (tightens) and closes down the air shutter. If you get the stove really hot, the shutter closes down to keep the unit operating within a prescribed burn rate. When the spring tightens or shrinks and thereby reduces the amount of air getting into the firebox for combustion, and you also turn it down by moving the knob to a lower setting, it can take longer periods of time for the spring to relax and allow the shutter to open.

    When this is done, you get the roll over effect you often see when the fire seems detached from the fuel load and burns in the dome area of the stove. (Put on some Hendrix and you get the full effect).

    One observation, this process is a really rich air to fuel mixture and the combustor can really take off and see higher temperatures.

    Thank you for the purchase of your Blaze King. And also thank you for your question.

    As always, maintain a tight door seal and you will see great burn times and extend the life of your combustor.

    Chris
    privatejoker75 and Bster13 like this.
  4. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Hi Chris, no worries on addressing my questions. I have a lot of them on this forum and am just happy senior forum members and vendors are around to help. It probably takes a lot of effort to stay on top of all my questions. Haha.

    Ok, so you're cranking along getting your fire roaring, bringing the CAT up into the active zone and as that happens, the bi metallic spring starts to tighten so as to regulate the fire and heat output and not over fire the stove. And then if I turn down the thermostat from high to medium too quickly, I am in effect tightening the spring ON TOP of what the bi metallic spring was already trying to do, so that could dampen the fire more than I was hoping in the first place. I think I understand that. What Ineed clarification on is those "20 minutes intervals." Do I really need 1:20 to drop the thermostat dot by dot every 20 min until I hit the middle/medium setting on the thermostat?
  5. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    For some strange reason, the insert model has the stat labeled with dots. All other stoves use numbers. So you need to ignore the dots and just consider % throttle or try and convert your dot sequence to the number sequence that the stoves use if you want to compare notes with the rest of us stove users. I hope your stat dial at least has the "normal" range hilighted with a gold color zone?

    No, you do not need to sit at each dot for 20 minutes. This is one spot where I think the manual needs to be corrected. The stat is awesome, let it do its job. Start the fire and get the cat into the active while on high (full throttle), then engage the stat and leave it at about 80% throttle for 5-10 minutes, then slam your stat down to the desired cruise setting. For me that is 1.75 which corresponds to the very bottom of the "normal" range. Your stat coil is still tightening at this time and you will notice that over the next 30 minutes or so the stat will completely close and the flames will go out. Like Rdust, I have found it better to regulate heat output with the fans as needed.

    The only time that I've gotten a firedome effect, too much wood gas, is when I've left the stat on too high a setting for too long and then when I closed the stat to my cruise setting I was actually closing the stat shut, could hear it click. Then the wood gasses became excessive. Nothing bad happened, and the cat never got too hot or anything but this was caused by too much time at too high a setting before shutting down to cruise speed.

    Another thing is I hate to waste the energy and burn time to leave that stove high settings for an hour.
    Bster13 likes this.
  6. BKVP

    BKVP Burning Hunk

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    "What he said" High Beam's comments are right on....but you noticed he did not comment on the Hendrix influence!
  7. Patapsco Mike

    Patapsco Mike Feeling the Heat

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    I agree with Highbeam also. If your wood is dry, and you get your combuster into the active range, you can dial down way more quickly than the manual suggests.
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  8. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Ok with a new fire, do what Highbean said (thanks), and you guys tend to just turn up the fan when u want more heat unless of course you find your standard thermostat setting and high fan setting isn't cutting it, then you bump the thermostat.

    On reload with hot coals, are you just opening the bypass, packing the stove to the gills with splits, shutting the stove door and immediately re engaging the CAT so long as the probe on top of the stove monitoring the CAT was in the active zone? Or are you turning the stove's thermostat back up to High again, then 80% for a few minutes and reslamming it down?
  9. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    That's Jimmy Hendrix right? He was born in WA but died nearly 7 years before I was born. I've seen some pictures and probably heard some songs but no, I can't relate him to a BK.

    I had a non-cat for a long time and really appreciated the cool effects of purple fire floating around the top of the firebox completely disconnected from the wood. Like purple rain, wait, isn't that a hendrix song or was it that short guy?
  10. rdust

    rdust Minister of Fire

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    Most of us still turn it down in steps and engaging the cat after it's burned for a bit with the bypass open.
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  11. BKVP

    BKVP Burning Hunk

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    You know very well Jimi did Purple Haze and that guy formally known as Prince (the short guy as you call him) did Purple Rain. Age does not discriminate against talent.

    Try flipping the thermostat quickly from an intense fire to low and you will get some roll over like you've never seen! BUT, doing so cna really lead to a rich mixture...best not to mess with it to often.

    Thank you for helping out!

    Chris
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  12. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    The fan on high is pretty loud, instead, I set the fan at 50% and the throttle at 50% and this stove makes pretty much max mojo. Any higher on the stat setting and it seems that the cat is unable to eat it all and I get chimney smoke. Really haven't had to spend much time at high output settings, that's the benefit of a cat stove, low and slow all the time makes for clean burning and steady room temps.

    On reload with hot coals (poor planning must have occured) you disengage cat, run the stat at full throttle, pack the stove to the gills while smoke is spilling out of the loading door into the room, let it ignite, shut door and do not engage cat immediately. Instead, wait to see the cat probe rising within the active range and then engage. The cat probe is slow to respond and a full load of fresh splits will knock the smoke temps down to the inactive range despite what the cat meter might say. Once you notice the cat probe climbing within the active range, you are safe to assume that you are indeed in happy active land. Basicly, not much different than a fresh load and cold stove except all the smoke in the room.
    alforit likes this.
  13. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Ok ,I did read the cat probe is 4-8min slow to react to what the cat is actually doing. Thanks for all the help.
  14. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Well this evening is supposed to go down to 38F, so I couldn't help myself. I put 3 4x4 splits and two pieces of pallet wood in, some newspaper and splitter shrapnel and....

    -Opened the bypass
    -Lit it @ 9:18pm
    -Cracked opened the door for ~20-30 seconds
    -Shut the door with thermostat on highest setting
    -Let it burn until CAT was a bit in active zone, then shut bypass
    -Turned down thermostat to 80%
    -@9:36 turned thermostat to lowest setting and turned on fan to lowest setting
    -Watched flame go by by
    -Stare into the black abyss
    -Continually get up and check that CAT stays in active zone, so far so good.
  15. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Pretty fast to go to lowest setting. Is your cat glowing? I don't get much glow at all with the really small loads. I also discovered that I the lowest setting is too low. I run just at the bottom of the normal range as my "low" setting.

    No shame in burning at 38. Most of the season the low temps are high 30s to low 40s here in WA. My last couple of fires have been when outside temps are in the upper 50s.
  16. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Cat never glowed. This morning the fire was out and there was a decent chunk of wood left, doh.

    On the insert there is the highest mark, marked "High" and the lowest mark, marked "low." There is no normal range marked on my insert:
    [​IMG]

    Is that too low for most normal BK Princess burners? It was going well for a few hours slammed that low before I went to bed (as in the CAT was well into the active range)
  17. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    Those dang BK buggers. Why in the world must they stick you insert guys with that crappy sticker. Thing is, there is some sort of linkage between the dial and the stat on the insert. On the freestander, the dial is way on the back almost right on the stat mechanism. Due to your extra linkage it would be risky to assume that the center of my dial matches the center of yours.

    When your stove is cold. All the way cold. Turn that dial from high to low at a moderate speed. At about 1/3 up from the bottom you should hear a clink or click of the flapper closing. Mark that spot somehow or just remember it really well. That spot is the lowest that you can set your stove nomatter how much farther you turn the dial. There is a similar condition on the top end where the flapper maxes out but that is harder to find.
  18. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    I have def. heard the "clink." Are you saying going lower than the "clink" = cutting off all air to the fire and dooming it?
  19. Highbeam

    Highbeam Minister of Fire

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    No, but going lowere than the clink will have no effect since the flapper is fully closed. The flapper has a hole drilled into it that is meant to prevent full snuffage. There is never a reason to fully turn the dial to zero.

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