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Fine Tuning BioMass

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


  1. I tried a grate over the nozzle for a few weeks. Worked great to hold the coals but I noticed increased erosion where it was sitting on the ceramic. So I stopped using it.

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  2. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Mike. Guess the verdict on the pros and cons of the grate are still out. Think I'll give the grate users time to see if they get erosion also.
  3. Trex83

    Trex83 Member

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    Far Eastern Ontario, Canada
    Hello everyone,
    wanted to provide a little update on our BioMass 60 setup of this summer.
    The pump we used on our older boiler had to be replaced. It was at about 12 GPM and the boiler started cycling (on-off) because it reached its operating temperature very quickly with the fan at 100%. We installed a pump that should have about 20 GPM if I calculated the head loss correctly. It may be too much, but it was the model over the one we had. Recommendation for others, get a good size pump.
    Comment on the primary and secondary openings: We left them back where they were when we got the boiler. We did play with them. Will post a picture soon next time I go to the boiler with the camera.
    Overall very happy with the purchase/replacement: uses approx 1/3 of the wood our older boiler used, no problem reaching the maximum temperature and delivering the BTUs its supposed to. The Danfoss VTC valve works great. For a good 30 minutes, water was going to the boiler at 130::F going out at 165::F steady with a pump at about 12 GPM (if I calc the head loss correctly). That's 70% design capacity with no adjustments and the temperature raised to 166::F and then the boiler dropped the fan output. Yes, very happy customer! We wont be able to install the flow meter we have so these are not steady state values.
    trex
    (edit: moved prior post from the biomass 60 review thread to here).
  4. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    You can turn the knob on the controller up so the fan dont shut off as soon if you want hotter water.
  5. Trex83

    Trex83 Member

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    Yes Woodmaster, we understand we can increase the temperature with the knob. It still quit because the pump was not sufficient. With the new pump at medium setting, it works great and doesn't quit even when the storage tanks are almost fully charged (10F from final temperature).

    We also changed the thermostat inside the Danfoss VTC mixing valve not long ago to a 150F minimum (its a charging storage tank thermostat). We found running the boiler hotter cuts on the start-up time, and the mixing valve now puts out hot water right away (at about 160F) instead of about 140F (with a 130F min thermostat).
    It is still installed in its original position (see Danfoss spec sheet - boiler protection installation) but we use a "charging mode" thermostat. It still functions as a boiler protection.

    This change is useful if an operator would want hot water right away (about 30 min from start-up on yesterday's coals) to send to the house instead of waiting (a few hours) for the boiler to slowly charge the tanks. Basically the mixing valve keeps the minimum temperature at 150F inside the boiler so depending on the speed of the pump and the heat output, the water coming out may be at 160-170F (instead of about 140F-150F when using a 130F min thermostat). I've also found on a website from Czech Rep. that their boilers are maintained at a minimum 150F with the Laddomat charging module. There is also the option to have a higher setting for the opening of the thermostat for the Laddomat. I would recommend taking a higher temperature to get that quick access to hot water soon after start-up.
    Cheers
    Trex83
  6. CombatVetFamilyMan

    CombatVetFamilyMan New Member

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    Newbie needs assistance....
    I had a Tarm Solo Plus 40 (no storage) installed in the basement of a new construction 2 floor colonial with a bonus room above the garage. approx 2400 sq/ft. House is heated with baseboard units, garage and basement are not heated. I've never had a wood boiler before (moved from the city into the woods of New Hampshire). I've been playing with load size with the various outdoor temps. After two nights of not sleeping because it was 80 F in the upstairs during the night, I shut down the unit and am running on LP, not what I want to do but the wife is pregnant, so.....you know...happy wife, happy life. The temp on the first floor was 62-64 F. The outdoor temp during the night was approx 20 F. I have the valve set to open when the tank reaches 140 F, I have the fan speed running at approx 70%. the valve I'll call the safety valve is set to open if the tank gets to 200 F. Grundfos circulator pumps are set on high for the two zones on the first floor and low for the upstairs zone. When I went to bed I added 2-3 more pieces of wood in the fire box that was only coals. This was the first Tarm for the installer. I had another guy who has installed several come and look at the set up and he told me it was correct. I was thinking about closing off the 2nd floor zone at night.
    Any suggestions? Go easy on me, I'm just a rookie!
  7. Trex83

    Trex83 Member

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    If the boiler is running well, maybe we need to move this post to the piping section?
    How do you manage the zones, do you have a thermostat for each floor, what is your loop/header configuration. A picture of the loop, lenght of piping, supply/return temperatures of each loop, model # of pump, and if you have a balancing valve on your header. Also would like to know more details about the LP system. Is it using the same loop and piping configuration? There is a thread on piping configurations that has a sticky to it, so it should be up in the list.
    Keep that belly warm!
    Trex83
  8. If you start a new thread more people will see it and be able to help.
    CombatVetFamilyMan likes this.
  9. KenLockett

    KenLockett Member

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    Eastern Upstate NY

    I may be of assistance as I am now one year into a Tarm Solo Plus 40 with no storage in the upstate NY area. Have learned a tremendous amount over the last year mostly through trial and error and of course from this forum. First things first, do you have a plumbing and wiring schematic(s) that you can send or post so I and everyone have a better idea how your system was installed. This is very important.
    biggkidd likes this.
  10. CombatVetFamilyMan

    CombatVetFamilyMan New Member

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    Thanks, I just started a new thread!
  11. KevinLa

    KevinLa New Member

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    Dec 23, 2012
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    Hello all,

    I have just purchased a Biomass Combo 40 (Oil) without storage. I've been running it for about a day now. I'm using wood (mostly oak) I split this spring - meter says it's 15-20% but I don't know if I trust it. I was having issues yesterday with the gasification - it would only last a few seconds and then stop. I would open the bypass (sometimes move some coals around) and close it. Every time I would close the bypass, gasification would occur (whether I moved coals or not), but only for a little while. Last night it finally was gasifying all night. This morning, I just had a few coals in there, opened the bypass, filled with wood and closed the bypass. It was not gasifying for more than a few seconds and there was ALOT of smoke coming out of the chimney. I read this forum and decided to play with the primary and secondary. Opening the secondary seemed to create a better gasification, but still only lasts a few minutes. I'm a complete newbie (over a day with this thing now) - I could really use some tips.

    Also, when I opened up the center piece to play around with the primary/secondary, I noticed the black paint appears to be burning off in the center – is this normal or something I should be concerned with?

    Thanks
  12. Oak that you split this spring probably won't be below 30% so i wouldn't trust your moisture meter. Are you resplitting the wood before you take a reading?

    The peeling paint behind the access cover by the air adjustments is normal, at least for me.

    I have a 60 so the adjustments may be different but I have found having the primaries wide open and the secondary barely open works well for the wood I am burning. Remember too much secondary air can blow out the gassification flame. Ecspecially if your wood is NOT (edit) seasoned well. The first few fires will be harder to get good gassification since the refractory pieces are still drying out.

    Do you have any other wood to try. Once you get a good deep coal bed you could burn any wood and have it gassify. But without dry wood it takes a long to get a good coal bed if at all
  13. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    sounds like you might not be getting enough air.
  14. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    It's the wood for starters. I wouldn't try to tune the Biomass with wood split last spring. I cant get good performance with any wood processed in the spring, lastly oak.
  15. KevinLa

    KevinLa New Member

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    Thanks for responding so quickly. You are right, the wood is not seasoned enough. It is closer to 33%. I do not have access to some more seasoned wood (not on Christmas eve anyway) - I just moved into this house and only have access to the wood I have split. I will try to get some more seasoned wood to see if I will have better luck. Until then, is it safe to burn the wood I have? How bad is it to burn if there is no gasification?

    Another thing I probably should mention is that the boiler is installed in the basement. I have cracked open a few windows, and will have a basement vent installed later this week. I know the booklet says this should be in a well-ventilated basement, but I'm not sure what qualifies as a well vented basement.

    I am not having a very good Christmas Eve... I left this evening at 3:00 to have Christmas Eve with family. The boiler temp was around 154 and climbing a bit before I left (I had set it for 170), so I loaded up some more wood. When I returned at 8:00 the inside of the house was VERY smokey and it was hard to breath. I went down stairs and the boiler was hot enough to turn off the fan on the back. I'm not sure where all of this smoke came from. I opened the doors and tried to get some more air in the house (and smoke out). The oil boiler started up soon after the doors were opened (it's cold outside right now) - I had expected the fan to come on and burn some of the wood that was loaded and smoldering. I was wondering if the boiler temp got too low and the oil burner triggered while I was away. I noticed if I turn the oil burner on while there is a fire going, I will get smoke in the room. Also, I notice the little black flapper that takes air in flaps like crazy when burning oil and make a really load PING PING PING... Anyone know how to stop that annoying ping ping noise when burning oil?
  16. Can you post pics?

    I leave the boler setpoint at 195, less cycling that way so you get a better fire going.

    Do you have the flue pipe sealed with high temp sillicone? If not that can be the source of the smoke.

    As far as burning unseasoned wood. Resplitting to very small pieces helps. But you will be creating creosote.
  17. KevinLa

    KevinLa New Member

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    Thanks again for replying (and so quickly). The flue is sealed with high temp sillicone, and I do not see any smoke from that area. I have seen smoke right around the area with the peeling paint. I'm also really confused why the oil burner kicked on again last night (and filled more smoke into the house). I stopped and started again - started burning wood right away. This morning it looks fine and I loaded more wood in. There was no smoke coming out of the chimney before I loaded more wood. There's a pic of the chimney right after loading more wood. I think some smoke is escaping into the house when the boiler goes idle (and especially when the oil burner kicks on). There's a really strong smokey smell (like I'm making wood alcohol). I have to go away again tonight, and I'm dreading coming home to a smoke filled house again with the oil burner going. I wanted the oil as backup in case the wood fuel ran out - if the house is supposed to get smokey when that happens, I'd rather the oil not kick on at all. How much smoke/smokey smell is normal with these things?

    Arrrgggg... While I was uploading photos, it happened again. The oil boiler kicked on and smoke filled the house. I could clearly see smoke pouring out of the top (wood loader door) while the oil burner was running.

    Attached Files:

  18. Once you get things sealed up you shouldn't have any smoke smell. The hinges and latch on the top door can all be adjusted to get a better seal.

    You may be able to disconnect the jumper wire on the oil burner primary to prevent the oil from firing at all. Usually there is a jumper wire between terminals 3 and 4 (sometimes labeled t,t) without that jumper the oil burner will not fire.
  19. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    Did the smoke in your house smell like wood or from the oil? My guess is the wood. Something is choked for smoke to come out your air supply adjustments where the paint is peeled. I'm trying to imagine how that can happen. Your flue good and clear??? My flue cap screen has gotten clogged from burning moist wood. Make sure the flue wire mesh is not clogged. You need to be eliminating what's not wrong. We'll help... Merry Christmas!
  20. KevinLa

    KevinLa New Member

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    I'm relieved to hear there shouldn't be any smokey smell (not that I don't like the smell of burning wood - I just don't want to smell like a camp fire all day). For the oil boiler, I just unplugged the oil burner (strangely it has a plug that you just plug into an electrical outlet). I think I can set modes AR1 or AR2 to not have the oil burner kick on, but It's hard for me to follow some parts of the RK-2001UA manual.
  21. KevinLa

    KevinLa New Member

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    It is definitely a wood smell and it appears now to only happen when the oil burner kicks on and there is still wood burning. Is there something in this unit to prevent exhaust from wood and exhaust from oil mixing?

    Here are some more newbie questions that I’m almost too embarrassed to ask…

    When burning wood and the boiler gets up to temp, the fan will stop – what happens to all of that smoke from the wood while it’s waiting for the fan to come back on and start the gasification again? Does is just go up the chimney? Does this create creosote while idling?

    I had my flue cleaned before the boiler was installed. I do not have a steel lining on this flue, the installer said I could wait until spring to have that done – should I wait or have that installed ASAP?

    Thanks to all for your help and Merry Christmas!


  22. When the boiler idles and the fan shuts off the fire smolders and lines the upper chamber with creosote. Which is normal it happens to all downdraft gassers. You could be getting some smoke leaking out the door then if there is not a nice tight seal on the door gasket. I had to adjust the the roller latch on the upper door in one turn after about a year of burning. The controller is set from the factory to cycle the fan every 6 minutes while idleing to exhaust the smoke. I changed mine to cycle the fan every 90 minutes and dont have any smoke smell in the boiler room.

    As far as the liner if you have a single brick chimney without a clay liner then it should be done immediately. Otherwise if you have a chimney with a liner it all depends on condition.
  23. Tennman

    Tennman Minister of Fire

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    Never be embarrassed about asking questions. We've all been there. I find it suspicious you smell or see smoke when the oil kicks on. I know nothing about the combo boilers. It might be as simple as what mike suggested and your door hinge needs adjustment to create a better seal. Sometimes using just a small mag light in the dark you can spot the smoke leak source.
  24. KevinLa

    KevinLa New Member

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    Thanks. I have some well seasoned wood being delivered today, so I will be firing up in a few hours. I'll try the mag light to see if smoke is coming from the load box when idling. I haven't seen smoke coming from the box when idling with only wood - only when the oil kicks on while there is still wood smoldering in the load box.

    ...Great, the "2 1/2 year seasoned oak" delivery guy just came to the door. I explained before having delivered that it was for a wood boiler and must have around 20% moisture. I split and checked the moisture - 30% (about the same as most of the 20 cords I split this spring). I refused delivery, but gave him $20 for driving out to the house.
    Tennman likes this.
  25. dara

    dara Member

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    Controlling the oil boiler ignition thru the Rk-2001 may be the highest wall I've hit in my first year of burning my biomass 40. Notice that I used I and My in the first sentence.That is because my wife has made it clear that there is no WE in this venture. I reprinted and read several copies of the controller operation manual, installed the wire from Honeywell R7184 oil primary to the Ar 0 ports on the Rk-2001unit. thermostat call for heat and oil boiler keep running with good fire in Biomass 40. Snipped the wire on jumper TT, now oil boiler will not fire at all.
    Zennon tells me that I need a relay. I can' fint that page in the manual.

    Oil boiler and zone valves are controlled by Honeywell L7224 electronic aquastat. Wood hot water is feeding into return to oil boiler just befor the circulator pump.

    Does anyone have a wiring diagrahm for Dummies that will fire oil only when gassifier is not up to a usable temp. Alos need to know where and what kind of relay needs installed.

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