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Fine Tuning BioMass

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Tennman, Dec 15, 2011.

  1. bstevens

    bstevens New Member

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    I've got a biomass 25, I've messed around with secondary and primary openings, fan settings and pump settings. I've got dry wood, even used some old hardwood flooring. I get a flame in the lower, mostly yellow-orange sometimes white but I always have white smoke coming out the chimney. This is frustrating considering I just visaited a friend with a tarm and saw how clean these gassifiers can burn. I emailed the fellow who put the fan on his biomass 40 front door. Hope I don't have to do that but I also hope somebody has some suggestions as to what I can try. Told my neighbors that this would be smokeless and now I'm looking a bit foolish.

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  2. dpsfireman

    dpsfireman Member

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    Are you sure it's smoke and not steal coming out of the chimney?
  3. bstevens

    bstevens New Member

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    I'm actually just running out the door but yes, I climbed up on the roof (very high) like an idiot just to make sure, had yellow flame at the time and 191 heat, not sure where it's getting through?
  4. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    If you have to open the upper door to get a strong burn you need to open the air adjustments more. As you said it is starving for air. That's what mine did before I opend my secondary air more. Wouldn't think you should need an extra fan on it.
  5. dpsfireman

    dpsfireman Member

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    Here are the settings I am using on my 25: primary air 9.5 mm, secondary air 8 mm, blower 80%. Note that I am using storage so some of these parameters may not be optimal for use without it. Depending on conditions and the wood in the firebox I run the shutter between 2.5 and 4 on the my homemade scale in the picture below.

    BTW, Allan wrenches make great feeler gauges for checking the air settings.

    Attached Files:

  6. bstevens

    bstevens New Member

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    Thank you, Burning Chunk. I just got back home and put those settings on the primary and secondary. I have a good white flame below but a lot of smoke coming out of the chimney. I can't figure out where the smoke is escaping up out of the boiler and into the chimney? Do you have blue flame and no smoke?
  7. q-bull

    q-bull Member

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    SE Ohio
    I could NEVER get a draft going up the chimney by just opening the bypass, had to run the blower to load & stir things up to keep gasifiying. (This helped lead me to try a pusher fan.)....Another thing that seems to be unique to my system is the lack of a coal bed. I attributed this to the wood I am burning, (often mostly pine,) On the ocasions that I did get coals, they would often pile up in the bottom & stop my gassification. Now, with my aux fan I am burning blue & without generating creosote, (another problem I needed to overcome.) Actualy had to take a heavy bar and smack the bypass open sometimes, (the poker wasn't enough to unstick it even though I was attacking the top of the flap.) Coals, when made, get burnt up when they fall thru.
  8. bstevens

    bstevens New Member

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    I have the same problem with the by pass, often have to push it from inside with something due to creosote. It's very had for me to get bed of coals without losing it through the nozzle, and I have maple and oak seasoned for two years, split small. I think I'll try that aux fan, could you tell me the brand and model of the one you got? I've seen a few squirrel fans on Amazon. I'm burning plenty hot but it's the smoke mostly that's bugging me.
  9. q-bull

    q-bull Member

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    Smoked,
    See PM I wrote before I read this post.
  10. bstevens

    bstevens New Member

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    Thanks for all your help, q-bull. It's finally cold here in CT, 14 degrees. The house is 70 so I'm not complaining. Just the same, I think I'll call Zenon and see if he has the right blower for the front of it. Thanks again. Not sure how you figured this out but it's sure nice of you to share it.
  11. MNBioman

    MNBioman New Member

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    [quote author="Tennman" date="1323991897"]My hope is this thread will become a mini BioMass users group. The recent posts about BioMass owners here getting blue flames really prompted my desire to start this because I not there yet. Although our boiler shares many of the generic gasser functions, primary and secondary adjustments are specific to the design. Hopefully we can collectively learn how to optimally operate and fix these boilers.[/quote

    Thanks for starting this thread. I have heated with wood for 30+ years and the last 20 with wood boilers. I bought a Biomass 60 this fall and installed it about 1 month ago. It is the first wood boiler I have had any problems with but it is also the first down draft gasification boiler. The last boiler I had was the greenwwod 200. It heated good but was a poor design and a piece of junk from the start. It needed a lot of design changes. I am heating a 5,100ft. sq. Pole building with my home in the first 2,000 with base board heat and the middle 1,000 being my wifes buisness with in floor heat and the last 2,000 being my garage and work shop with 12' ceiling and infloor heating. The temps have only been down to 10 degrees so far and we usualy get about 1 month of 20-30 below with rairly above zero during Jan and Feb. I have my fan opening set at about factory setting and running it at 80% with the controller. The primary's are open about 1/3 with the secondary open about 7/16". I have the circ. coming on at 165 and off at 150. I have no problems getting up to the 190 I have my contoller set at for hight temp. I don't have an axillary storage system this year. Fter messing around with neverything I get a beautifull light blue flame and my wood is about 14-18% moisture. My problem is getting the fire to keep buring with out cleaning the nozel out every 1/2 hr or so. So times it will run for 3-4 hours with no problems but other times can't go for more then 1/2 hr. I have to get up every several hours during the night and quite often find it with "FUEL" displayed, the nozel plugged up. I have been playing around with the size of the wood. I coud burn 16" dia, wood in the Greenwood furnace. The info on New Hoizons website said 7" wood for the Biomass 60 so I slit all my wood, 16 cords of Ash, to not over 7" dia. but some of it 10' the other way. After reading info on the Heath site and spent my afternoon pulling about 1/2 a cord out of my boiler room and splitting it down into almost kindling size peices. I will see how that works. If I had known I would need to cut the wood down so small I my not have bought a down draft boiler since it just about triples the time spent putting up wood for the year. The other big problem I have is all the smoke that comes out every time I have to put wood in the boiler. At the present I have only been filling the stove 1/2 way because the wood keeps getting jammed up and won't drop down to the nozel. Every time I open the stove and go back into the house my wife complains about me smelling like the wood stove. I have a 500 cmf vent fan in the ceiling of my boiler room but an considering adding another blower to the chimney or some sort of a hood over the door the stove with an 8"fan to move the smoke out when I have to open the door. I would love to get some feed back on the smoke and nozel bridging.
  12. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    mikedeams

    As far as smoke when loading , thats a problem with most all downdraft gassifiers from what I'vw read on here. You have to wait untill there is only coals left to load and load fast to avoid smoke spillage. As far as bridging That is mostly due to the way it's loaded. If you put the small straighter stuff on bottom and the bigger and ugly odd stuff on top all going long ways in the boiler
    this will reduce bridging. When you do get bridging only open the door enough to stick the poker in and make the wood fall.
    I don't Know what you mean by pluged up nozel there is supposed to be coals over the nozzel. Mine has NEVER pluged up.
    Are your air settings similar to the ones in the pictures I posted. Good luck and I think you will love the boiler once you get the hang of it. It took me almost ayear to figure mine out to a T . Im also burning dry ash.
  13. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    Great comments. I've been out of pocket so way behind. Taxi, your comment regarding my restricted settings is on the mark. It dawned on me that HOW we optimally tune depends or whether you have storage or not. I'll chime in on some of the bridging issues discussed. Mikedreams, I double what JT said. My first season and much of the second I was baby sitting that boiler every hour during the holidays when home. I discovered many things. SInce my wood wasn't well seasoned some sticks burned better than others which caused blow passages instead of a coal bed. I was always needing to stir to keep the coal bed. Because the wood was bad I had the blower up at full power just to get heat out and deal with terrible underground lines. The next season I had much better wood and learned to place smaller, really dry pieces on the bottom then able to put bigger on top. Getting a good coal bed for me is critical. Since I don't have storage last year I was blowing thru wood at high fan settings. I think for those of us without storage I was blowing thru the wood always creating blow holes. For me, cutting the fan way back helped this. But I don't get a blue flame. So I'm not convinced I to my best tune yet. I will say I'm pleased and like others here without storage creosote is an ongoing problem for me. I can now put bigger pieces on top but start with smaller on bottom. Still get bridging on occasion but less often as I learn how to load. Will post later with more. This is going better than I had hoped.
  14. goodwood

    goodwood Member

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    this is a little off topic but about a biomass 60,i was trying to clean ash from lower access covers, took the outside cover off, inside there was cover with 4 bolts which i took off but the metal piece broke off the insulation behind it any suggestions,i dont want to break the insulation by prying it off, how often do you clean these out thanks
  15. bstevens

    bstevens New Member

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    I talked to Zenon at New Horizon, he said don't worry about the insulation, just pry it off and you can replace it with silicone? Something like that. Said it was a mistake to put that on to begin with and not to worry about it. That said, I have yet to open that up myself.
  16. Mike T

    Mike T Member

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    Tenn-
    How you doin?
    Have you noticed the fan speed setting is also depeendant on heat loss/outside temperature?
    I went through a real cold weekend and turned up the fan to keep up with the call for heat. It did better that way.
    I see where you went down to 50%....but I don't know if it will work up here as I am several hundred miles and
    more than several degrees colder.

    I do not have storage but I am thinking of installing a buffer tank. I do not want a large storage tank, but I would like to
    extend the times between burns.

    How do we get this thread stickied to the top?
  17. taxidermist

    taxidermist Minister of Fire

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    [How do we get this thread stickied to the top?[/quote]


    I pm Gooserider and asked for it to be a sticky.


    Rob
  18. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    My gaskets stuck to the boiler. I cut the middle out for access and left the rest around the edge for a seal.
  19. I had a major problem with smoke this weekend. Figured I would post here so others can avoid the same problem.

    My biomass 60 has been in use for a couple of weeks now and has always had a problem with poor drafting when loading. It was getting worse but I figured it was because of the colder weather affecting my exterior chimney. On Sunday the moment I lit the fire smoke came pouring out the door and around the top cleanout. Figured it was because it was down in the single digits and the flue was cold. It never got much better so I let the fire go out.

    Today I took the top access off to see if there was a blockage. There wasn't -- but the fan blades had come completely off the shaft of the rear blower. I think it might have been slipping since the boiler went online, but it had been getting worse in the last few days.

    I cleaned the blades put it back together and tightened the set screw as much as I could AND all is good now. Much less smoke when loading then ever before. And a very strong fire. Might need to close the primaries up a little... will see.

    Anyways thought this info might help others. On mine the set screw took a 3mm allen wrench to tighten.
  20. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    Got the request, and after looking the thread over, I agree that it makes sense to be a sticky. (We try not to make to many stickies in order to keep them from cluttering things up...) However either I don't have that power, or I've forgotten where the button is to make it stick. However I've posted the request in our "secret moderator area" so hopefully someone can help me out with this shortly...

    Gooserider
  21. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    Wow Goose. We BioMass guys are unexpectedly honored. That gasket for the ash cleamout apparently bonds to semi-cured new paint of the shell. My first time off I took a hacksaw blade, bent about a 2" tab to work under the gasket to pop the paint bond lose. I'm pretty sure last season I opened that cleamout with the boiler running. Not really that hot down there. I agree that high temp gasket sealant would be fine where small pieces of the gasket stick to the case.

    Mike, I've never had my fan come loose but I think it's a good idea to take that fan off several times a season. For example yesterday I got up on my barn roof and cleaned ash off the screen on my flue cap. It was pretty dirty already. Symptomatic of my non-storage system idling a lot now during mild days. I got up to clean my cap because I was seeing more smoke spillage on loading. BUT that additional smoke can be a sign of either your problem, blocked cap, OR fans blades dirty with soot. Another byproduct of me not running clean by not running wide open dumping energy into storage.

    Mike T, It's not surprising you'd have to pump more btu's than where I live. Here it is days before Christmas and mid-50's outside. As much as I hate getting a new coal bed all the time storage is certainly getting more attractive to me. Soon I'll decide what I hate more, creosote and soot or getting a new coal bed often. But I will say I am now easily keeping my house warm and adding word stirring about every 4-6 hrs AND waking up to a good coal bed after 7-8 hours at nite. Wood consumption is good and I'm only building a new fire once or twice a week, which I love. AND essentially no smoke. Only when I get a hole in my coal bed do I get a hint of smoke quickly fixed by going in and stirring the bed to cover the coal bed. Again I will add I'd be going crazy if this beast was in my home since my non-storage operations requires me to open the top chamber door often and frequently when it is pretty active in there! Since it's in the barn I just ignore the smoke. My allergenic daughter could not tolerate it which would similarly make my life impossible.

    Thanks for the sticky status Goose. That was not expected, but appreciated.
  22. Gooserider

    Gooserider Mod Emeritus

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    As a means of preserving the coal bed, I've seen some of the other boilers that use storage where the user sets up the timer on the system to shut down the airflow after a time that should allow most of the wood to be burned, but still have a good coal bed left. (and after all the smoke producing products have been burned) - this puts out the fire but leaves the unburned coals in place.

    When ready for the next fire, load the boiler on top of the previous bed and light - the fire starting will rapidly re-ignite the pre-existing coals, and in effect give an instant coal bed... Don't know if this would work with a BioMass or not, but might be worth a try...

    Gooserider
  23. Salem Woods

    Salem Woods New Member

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    Gentlemen!
    I finally got my Biomass 60 fired up about 2 weeks ago.
    Thanks to all your input and postings it has made it a lot easier
    I finally registered so i can ask for your experienced advice on fine tuning as you have been discussing
    I have been having some of the same problems that you have been mentioning. One in particular with the danfoss bypass valve.
    I still need to flip the thermostat inside as it seems to be working the opposite way it is suppose to.
    other problems encountered were low burning temps (bypass valve?), Fuel out message, Primary port clogs and smoke stack crud.
    After a shut down and good clean-out, like those small side panels with the insulation it seems to be working much better, aside from fixing the bypass valve.
    my piping system keeps an oil fired boiler hot to supply D and HW baseboard.
    I want to work out all the problems before I fill with Cryotek so any advice you guys have I would surely appreciate
    Thanks
  24. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    Welcome Salem. Hopefully you put lots of isolation ball valves everywhere so you can do maintenance and throttle bypass flow thru the Danfoss. My first year I learned to throttle down the hot supply into the Danfoss at Taxi's recommendation. I confess I don't understand why this helped because I thot the thermostat would control the mixing flow. Anyway the ball valve going into the Danfoss I have nearly closed. I confess I should understand this device's function better since at the moment I have it almost choked to irrelevance.
  25. dpsfireman

    dpsfireman Member

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    The Danfoss valve works by opening and closing the port where water returns from the storage tanks heading toward the boiler. The port that connects to the bypass path is always wide open so if the flow isn't restricted coming into this port, a lot of the flow just goes through the loop and not back to the tanks.

    IMHO, it would be better to have a valve that closes one port as it opens the other as temperature rises.

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