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Defiant NC Everburn Doesn't engage

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by swestall, Nov 11, 2007.

  1. swestall

    swestall Minister of Fire

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    LIFTOFF.........Finally engaged. Here is how it went. I pulled the wood away from the Masonary Fireback thinking perhaps you have to preheat it a bit. Then I let the flue temp go up to 600+ and closed the damper. There was a slight opening in the splits so I can see the flame being sucked into the secondary burn chamber. And, there is NO smoke coming out of the stack at all. Now, I just need to figure out how to consistently do this and teach my lady. These stoves operate very differently than my previous VC units. For the record, looking at that other thread, I think the DW is put together the same way. But, I think I'll go by a dealer and take a look to be sure, then report back: unless somneone already knows. Agian, you folks are great and I hope all this info helps someone else as they approach this problem. I thought this would be my last stove for a while, but it looks like I'm already thinking about those improved units that are going to come from all these real life experiences. I hope VC will take the ball and run with it; but I'm not just buying because they "say so" ever again. Thanks again to all... In case some of you were wondering that red thing is my 35 Chop Top Sedan: that's for my summer HOT! I'll be around the forum for a long time. Steve.

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  2. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Glad you are now at least seeing what it can do and getting some secondary combustion. Oh and yea, you don't want "cold" logs blocking the flow of gasses into the secondary combustion chamber.

    I’ve basically come to the conclusion that my stove works as its supposed to, but “as its supposed to” means you have to build up a huge red hot coal bed before dampering down, and you should use wood that facilitates building up a huge red hot coal bed, and you should sometimes expect to spend hours building and managing this coal bed before you can damper down. This seems to pretty much be the way VC expects it to work and agrees with the very short blurb in the owners manual describing how to run it. They probably leave out all the detail because they don’t want to scare potential buyers away.

    This is all fine and dandy as long as you know what you are getting into from the beginning. I think a potential buyer should understand all this before they make their purchase, and they should also check out other types of stoves to see if they might be less hassle. Like I've always said, I've never burned any other stoves, so I can't offer any comparisons. For all I know, other designs have their own quirks, flaws, and drawbacks... I look forward to reading more reviews and feedback from others on this in the future. And one of these days I have a feeling the real world g/hr emissions monitoring IS going to happen, that is going to reveal a whole lot, especially when it comes to everburn stoves.
  3. swestall

    swestall Minister of Fire

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    Hey Gordo..You pretty much sum it up. It seems to be the way VC/DW want it to be: but it is a lot of hassle. I will reserve my final judgement for later in the year when it is colder. Something tells me I don't have the patience to live with this in the long run and I will be shopping for something as pretty but that works with a lot less effort. I actually think I'm going to get the CAT stove out and rebuild it. I didn't have any problem with it even when the CAT was no good, it still burned clean....
  4. Rob From Wisconsin

    Rob From Wisconsin Minister of Fire

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    So, what do you think was the "magic bullet"??
    -Hot Stove
    -Hot, Drafting chimney
    -Cold Temps
    -Correct positioning of fuel/coals
    -Or-
    some or all of the above??

    I'm also interested what kind of burn times you get when it is
    operating properly....
  5. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    I'm certain we will find the answer - but my question is why they moved away from the sloping grate and smaller bottom - which would seem to make it vastly easier to build up the initial critical mass...and keep it! Perhaps the key is that these new units are designed for cold climates to constant use. Even then, one look at that acclaim patent cutaway - shows that the coal bed forms very easily and is always resting against the rear - that would seem ideal. But, then again, I don't sit around in test labs or designing stoves.
  6. BurningIsLove

    BurningIsLove New Member

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    I'm not sure if those holes do get clogged or not (tough to tell w/o disassembly), but about once a week I use the shop-vac that has a dust filter and vacuum the stove out paying special attention to those tiny holes.

    During those days when Im burning 24x7, ash does build up but it doesn't seem to affect performance. As tradergordo summarized, it's more about coal depth than anything else. When adding fresh splits, with a CAT you can normally engage the secondary burn (close the bypass) in about 1/2 the time that is necessary on the Everburn stoves.

    I'm posting my everburn procedure as a separate thread because this isnt specific to the Defiant/DW/other everburn stoves:

    http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/10996/
  7. swestall

    swestall Minister of Fire

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    Hot stove: I seem to have to get the pipe temp up to 600+, measured 2' up the pipe w/condar magnetic therm.
    Hot draft: it takes a long time and a lot of heat up the stack to get there.
    Temp: not sure that makes any difference as draft is good.
    Coals: you do have to have a lot of them, 2-3" bed with many hot coals in front of the throat.
    If I don't get these conditions on the first fire of the secondary burn, it will stall. you can hear the rumble/blast subside and then see smoke start out the stack. Once the Everburn is engaged it seems easier to add splits to it and re-engage it: as long as there are lots of coals to keep it going. From what I can see what is happening is the coals are preheating the gasses/smoke, the siphon holes are providing air and the rumble is a blast furnace affect that results from the draft pulling the igniting gasses/smoke up and out.
    Once Everburn is engaged, you can lower the primary air supply to minimum if desired.
    Burn time is 8-10 hours with a bed of coals left in the morning to start a fire, but you have to build them up to re-engage the Everburn mode. I suspect this will become simpler as it gets colder because we'll burn more wood to keep warm, thus feeding the need of the stove for lots of coals.
    There is another thread that has been started regarding Everburn and it takes off where this leaves off. CFM/VC is going to listen and asks for Hearth input,GREAT I think.
  8. kevin fitzsimmons

    kevin fitzsimmons New Member

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    I had (key word had) an VC non cat with everburn. The stories here and on the other thread about the DW non cat ring true. When it worked, it worked well. All and all way to much effort was required to burn properly. I was spending hours trying to get the cat engaged, running out to look a the stack, run down to see it has stalled and the temps were tanking,... When the secondary was working properly i felt like i should get some sort of medal or prize, then i tried to figure out what the key elements were. Never really did. Seemed like I needed a ju ju chiken foot more than a manual for the stove. Most of the burning was with the bypass open, therefore pretty inefficient. I was pretty frustrated. While the everburn seemed to be a good idea, my thoughts were drifting to a PE super 27. After the first few fires of the season i was back to the frustration, and really not wanting to even burn (Gasp). So, the vC is gone, the PE is in. Set it and forget it.
  9. kwburn

    kwburn New Member

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    where do the Harmon Oakwood users fit into this picture? it's the same technology right?
    the half dozen or so reviews of the Oakwood in the ratings are all very positive. maybe they have chimed in on a different thread, its hard to keep track.
    i'm curious...
  10. swestall

    swestall Minister of Fire

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    Why don't we start a new thread, "Experience tells us replace the Everburn stoves with......" Perhaps we can get some concensus as to what burns clean and easy and what to stay away from. I looked at that PE stove (t-5 and t-6) It looks nice but I thing I need a top loader...where does that leave us. Someone is going to get a Defiant NC 1/2 price at some point!
  11. mikeathens

    mikeathens New Member

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    1/2 price is what I got on trade for my dutchwest NC. Luckily, I got a used Hearthstone Heritage for about 1/2 price, so it all worked out in the end. Your stove might make a good planter for the wife, or possibly a great mailbox. Hit THAT with a ball bat...
  12. BJN644

    BJN644 Feeling the Heat

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    Well, I took a chance and bought an Oakwood after a few people tried to discourage me. I have all the same problems you see posted. I don't get the "thermonuclear" burn that other have mentioned, but all the other problems. The only way to get the secondary burn to stay sustained is to keep the stove on high fire, just to un-realistic, the stove would be burned out in no time, not to metion my house too. The stove is very solidly constucted and I love the top loading feature, just need to get this burn thing straightened out or find a way to get my money back on the stove.

    If I would have waited 1 week I would have read these multiple post and pages about this sytem and would definately bought something else. I did base alot of my decision on the positve reviews in the ratings section, maybe those people don't see all the smoke?
  13. kevin fitzsimmons

    kevin fitzsimmons New Member

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    1/2 price is what i got for my VC NC. A bit of a kick in the teeth to start over again with a new stove, but i just came from home where i fired in a few pieces of wood, let them char up, set the air at low, let the secondary take over, and jump in truck. looked a the stack as i pulled out, beautifully, not a hint of smoke, no evidence of a fire in the system at all. Honestly, i would be 10, 15, 20 min late to work while i was trying to get secondary in the VC, i would finally give up and tell my wife the she could do what she liked with the fire, let it go out, work with , whatever i give up. I had better luck on weekends and evenings when i could work it. Even then if the coals got low at all, a start all over. Pretty much don't leave for more than a few hours. Not to bring other everburn users down, but this is far to much fussing to accept as normal opp procedure.
  14. kwburn

    kwburn New Member

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    i fell in love with the oakwood when i saw it last month at a dealer. if looking for a new stove, i too would buy it on the spot after reading a couple of good reviews.
  15. BJN644

    BJN644 Feeling the Heat

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    I truley hope I can get it to work properly because it really is a nice stove. I'll keep following the forum and watch for updates. On a side note it is burning good right now, except for the glass being black.
  16. swestall

    swestall Minister of Fire

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    I'm going to go see that Pacific Energy t-5 tomorrow. Ya know that was a funny one about the mailbox. I finally had to get a mailbox in town because the high school boys kept bashing my mail box in with a baseball bat. I wish I had one that was strong enough, I'd give it and the Vermont Castings Neverburn NC stove to them.

    Well, if we have these dirty stoves, at least we have each other to hash it over with. Like most others, I sure wish I'd gotten this thread opened before I bought this nice anchor.

    It snowed here for a while today, enough so that many drivers were all over the road, we had ice under the little snow. The cold is now coming at us. Seems pretty late and they say it may warm up again next week. If this warming thing keeps on, we may be able to heat with a can of sterno in these things.

    Happy Thanksgiving to All.
  17. QuailRunner

    QuailRunner New Member

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    I have a different problem with the burner - I have a VC Encore NC, and I have been able to get the "rumble" fairly consistently, with minimal effort, after lighting the fire and leaving the bypass open for 13-30 minutes, the stove will fire well, and the everburn system will engage even with the air supply lever set to minimum. The stove gets quite hot (550 at 15" up on the stove pipe, outside), but the griddle does not get really hot (500 or so, although my gauge may not be too accurate). The problem is that the stove burns through a medium/large load quickly (5-6 hours), and I think the draft in my chimney is the issue (note that when the stove is burning, I can see a little smoke, mostly white, outside, but nothing like the 1979 VC Intrepid that I replaced with the current stove in Dec, 2005). The type and moisture of the wood I burn affects the smoke's color a lot, but its generally quite low volume; its usually not visible at all during the day once the damper is closed). The chimney is 8' round, with a liner and is cleaned every spring. The sweep (professional) indicated that the chimney was fairly clean when his crew was out last spring.

    Two days ago, I was cleaning the ashes from the various nooks in the firebox and saw some non-ash material fall from inside the everburn entrance at the lower back of the stove. I reached up and more of it crumbled off into my hands. This appears to be the fibrous material that has been referenced in previous postings. I have contacted the seller (an authorized VC dealer) and they are contacting VC about it. My question is; is this what I think it is (or, more generally, what is this stuff), and should I expect that this will be a warrantied repair if it needs to be repaired?
  18. tradergordo

    tradergordo Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like the white/grey, fibrous, ceramic secondary burn chamber liner to me. Its beginning to sound like this stuff is more delicate than VC might have thought? Assuming there is no evidence of overfiring, it IS covered by your warranty and should be replaced free of charge. I hope the few cases of this that have been reported so far are exceptions and not the rule.

    Anyone know if that meterial is essentially the same thing used in those ceramic brickettes they sell for propane grills? After firing they both have a similar color I think. Those brickettes don't last forever either. Elk said VC uses the same material to insulate molten iron in the foundary - I wonder how often they replace that stuff in the foundary?

    p.s. In case anyone was wondering where Elk went, he was banned from the forum.
  19. QuailRunner

    QuailRunner New Member

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    [quote author="tradergordo" date="1196203414"]Sounds like the white/grey, fibrous, ceramic secondary burn chamber liner to me. Its beginning to sound like this stuff is more delicate than VC might have thought? Assuming there is no evidence of overfiring, it IS covered by your warranty and should be replaced free of charge. I hope the few cases of this that have been reported so far are exceptions and not the rule.

    Thanks -- my dealer just got back to me from VC, and they determined between the two of them that the "shoe gasket" is the source of the deteriorating material. From my description, does this make sense at all? I think the quote above is *much* more likely to be accurate, given the diagram in the manual, which shows the shoe gasket lying horizontally below the opening to the chamber.
  20. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Q, it does sound like some parts of the soft ceramic - you really should not even touch that stuff with your hands and fingers because it will fall or crumble apart. It can do OK if not shocked.

    A small amount of it does not mean it has to be replaced - there may be internal ribs or small extra pieces which crumble off.

    As far as this being the same material used to line melting furnaces, I have my doubts! There are many types of alumina refractory bricks, many of which are much harder than this soft stuff. We have some engineers here who might be able to qualify that, but I remember literally 100's of formulations of refractory materials.
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I am wondering if the refractory composition might be an area where VC everburns differ from the Harman Oakwood and/or Lopi Leyden. Would anyone know this or be able to find out?
  22. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    When Elk and I were up at the VC factory, we were told that the stuff they made the refractory chambers out of, and both the Everburn and the cat stoves use the same stuff, was the exact same castable refractory that they used to line their crucibles with at the foundry... Don't know this for a fact, but it's what we were told.

    Doesn't seem to explain the failure, but who knows.

    Gooserider
  23. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Goose, that sounds interesting, because the stuff I have seen looks more like "spun" ceramics or pressed boards glued together as opposed to cast stuff. I mean, think about it, how are you going to pour a couple tons of iron at 2500 degrees into this stuff if your finger can go through it?

    Here is some idea of the types available:
    http://www.azom.com/SearchResults.asp?AppKeyWord=Furnace linings

    Also, see:
    http://www.inproheat.com/ceramic_board.asp?parent=refractory

    I think if they do use this in their furnaces, they use it as "back up" insulation as that pages says, and it is not exposed to the iron. In other words, encased between the metal pot and the alumina firebrick interior.

    This stuff has always been a pain when it gets touched. We sold some multi-fuel furnaces that used this as liners for the pot that the oil fired into, and we sold regular replacements because a piece of wood occasionally would touch it, and it would flake off.
  24. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    As I said, I don't know the details, just what I was told... Presumably you could pour the iron into it if you had some sort of spreader so that you didn't hit in one place with the initial pour, or even if it poured in with the material supported so that it couldn't punch through. Once the liquid iron starts to build up you would have a uniform pressure on the material that should be able to handle it.

    I think part of the problem with the way we see this stuff being used in a VC is that it isn't supported by a backing of any sort, you just have a block of it sitting there. In the iron crucible you would have a solid pot that has a layer of this poured over it and cured so that it has solid support.

    What we saw in VC's plant was that they had molds, and would mix the stuff up like cement and pour it into the mold. It would then be baked in a high temp curing oven which would burn out all the carrier ingredients, leaving the spun ceramic looking stuff behind.

    KeithO has some experience with insulators and ceramics of this sort IIRC, perhaps we can get his opinion on it?

    Gooserider
  25. QuailRunner

    QuailRunner New Member

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    This is a fairly accurate description of the stuff that has fallen out of the everburn chamber in my stove. I'm somewhat convinced that it is the shoe gasket, after using a mirror to look up at the damage. Willing enough to pay the $40 for a replacement from VC with instructions. I'll post after I get it, to indicate whether or not this diagnosis is correct.

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