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  1. Medman

    Medman Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jul 8, 2008
    Messages:
    425
    Loc:
    Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario
    There's not too much info here for those of us using the EKO 25, so here are my results and observations so far:

    Silicone sealant on every surface possible - I am still having a small problem with smoke pushing past the seal at the flue collar when I first close the bypass damper.

    Primary air set to 9 mm open each side
    Secondary air 4 turns out
    Draft fan shutter 1" open across widest point
    Burning good dry Sugar maple and red oak

    I have been able to achieve incredibly powerful gasification with the speed setting of the draft fan at 60%. Any higher than that and the flame turns orange instead of blue and I get burn pockets in the upper chamber which lead to bridging and burn times are also reduced. Of course, with this setting it takes longer to reach a good working temp from a cold boiler, which in my case is above 170*.

    Using these settings, I get burn times of 9-10 hours with a good bed of coals left, even with the wind blowing to 50 mph and the temp hovering around 10*F like last night. I have a lot of idling due to the lack of storage.

    Stack temps run right around 300*F when gasifying at maximum. I usually leave bottom door open with bypass open and fan on when starting the fire, and I wait until the stack temp is above 400*F before closing bottom door and bypass.

    I have been burning continuously for the past week and I have filled one 2 gallon metal pail with ash. Given the amount of wood loaded in the unit during that time - about half a face cord - I think this is fantastic.

    My next test will be to reduce the primary air openings even more. I am curious to see how long I can push burn times by reducing the primary air.

    Hopefully this will help those running the 25. The smaller firebox presents some different challenges and settings seem to be slightly different than the 40 or 60.

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  2. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    574
    Loc:
    Jerusalem, Ohio;
    Medman, I too had a hard start from cold, a harder start than with my previous "too open" settings.
    Looks like your settings are not too different from the settings on the 60, but reading the manual on New Horizon is a good idea.

    I plan to utilize my timer to leave some unburned coals for the next loads. This does add some ashes, but I'll trade a little for an easier restart. Since my wood is outside, not only does it get some moisure on it from snow, it is like putting icecubes into the boiler, so this probably also leads to a harder restart.

    I think if this boosts efficiancy like it looks to, I will simply put less wood into the boiler. Probably less chance of bridging then too.

    Now it does seem like it might be a benifit to be able to adjust the primary air without taking off the panel.
  3. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,436
    Loc:
    S/W MI
    barnartist,
    "Now it does seem like it might be a benifit to be able to adjust the primary air without taking off the panel."

    Next project............................soon. Stay warm
  4. Tree farmer

    Tree farmer New Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2008
    Messages:
    132
    Loc:
    Central NH
    I'm with you MM at same settings but have the fan shutter at 60% open and primaries at 10mm I set them to the moist wood recommendations but they were pretty darn close to this already and I have the fan speed set at 60%. Observed a real good blue flame (formerly orange fireball) when it got up to a good burn after adjustments. The new manual is a real manual now thanks to other posts I found it and have downloaded it.
  5. rickh1001

    rickh1001 New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2008
    Messages:
    126
    Loc:
    upstate NY
    Eventually, I suppose there should be a new thread, part 2 on this subject. However, it is good to group everyone's experience so far in one place. So if it's ok, I would like to add my latest update on the EKO saga.

    With the 50 F weather that passed through yesterday, I shut down the EKO 60 for a cleaning, inspection and re-adjustment. It has been about a month since I last did this. First off, despite both good and bad burns, and after nearly 2 cords of wood through it, the smoke pipe and metalbestos chimney were absolutely clean. No cresote whatsover, and only a handful of sand like grey dust residing in the stovepipe. This is the second time I have inspected the chimney thus far, and even with some bad burns, there seems to be no cresote formation. The HX's are dry and clean, except for the same sandy dust hanging around on them.

    The upper chamber is another story. I am so used to looking at the ashes under the wood, everything looked normal. However, this time I attacked the upped chamber and cleaned it our down to the firebricks. I emptied out about 10 gallons of ashes! It has just been building up and building up, so it looked normal when I loaded the firebox. I wondered why the gasification on the front nozzle seemed weak - the fire was going down through probably 6 inches of accumulated ash. So the firebox was a clean as new when I got done.

    I closed off the primary slides from 10-11 mm down to 9 mm. I noticed that the bolt slot extends over to the air inlet area, so I am assuming that the EKO manual takes that into account with their settings. The more you close the slide, the more the bolt slot is exposed, although it is much smaller area. I checked the secondaries. My boiler was built in Feb of 2007 according to the stamp on the top of the upper chamber. My secondaries were aligned well with the closure disks. Also, shining a light down the secondary tubes, they were perfectly clean. My secondary tubes do not have any holes in them, so I am not sure of Cave's observation that the tubes can be mis-aligned. I think EKO has been changing the design over time, but for mine, there is only a solid run of tubing to the back of the boiler, but no holes or anything that can be aligned. I reset the secondaries to 3.5 turns out, since I had removed the outer cover, and wanted to make sure all the settings were correct again.

    Firing it up (in my beautifully clean upper chamber), was normal. It took about 30 min to get to gasification. Initially I set the fan speed on its lowest setting of 50% as I built up a bed of coals. After everything stabilized, and I got a bed of embers, I increased the fan speed to 70%. Everything looks beautiful. I am getting almost perfectly blue gasification, with a full hot flame, but not anything too roaring. So the settings I have now are:

    Air Supply:
    Fan Speed 70%
    Fan shroud opening ~ 1.25" at the widest measurement

    Primary Air:
    9 mm

    Secondary Air:
    3.5 turns out from closed

    It is operating cleanly, and rapidly recharging the tank.

    With these settings, and with dry wood that is at about 18-22% moisture (stored indoors near the boiler) it is operating almost perfectly. Any further tweeks from this point on will be minor, probably to compensate for changes in wood moisture as I move into different stacks.

    Putting it all
  6. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    574
    Loc:
    Jerusalem, Ohio;
    Now that my settings are close to the manuals, I still can't see any changes while I adjust the secondary screws. I need to fix this I know since they are not lined up properly, but for now I have metal tape covering 2/3rds of the pipe, and I am just shy of 1/2" at the primary. I can only get a mainly orange flame with minimal blue colors, but maybe it is more orange toward the early part of the burn.
  7. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2007
    Messages:
    912
    Loc:
    Hesperia, Michigan
    If you have 2/3 of the secondary covered you aren't getting enough air. Make some larger plates for the secondary, take off the tape, close the fan openings to about 1/2 to 3/4 in when you make your adj. and if you still have prob. close your primarys alittle more. Also make sure you tape the cover so you don't get air leaking around the gasket. The older ones don't have as many screws and you will get air leaking which will mess you up.
    leaddog
  8. quinn0507

    quinn0507 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 17, 2008
    Messages:
    9
    Loc:
    Northern Maine
    I've just started to burn wood in my eko 40 and I realize that there is a lot of tweaking and learning to be done. I have storage pending, but I do not have the means to hook it up this winter. Two things are apparent. One is that there is a lot of smoke that come out the upper door during loading even with the lower door opened and secondly is the amount of idle time, when the boiler is smoldering without a call for heat. Is this common for many of you?
  9. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    574
    Loc:
    Jerusalem, Ohio;
    I got rid of the tape, added some bigger plates to the secondary screws by rivets. While in there I closed off the primary just a bit more, but I think too much now. I am back to blue flame, but still can't seem to see much difference in the gasses as I adjust. Sure seems to take longer to get steady gasification, but I think it might be starving the primary just a bit now.

    Hate to tape it up when I have been removing the cover so often.

    I had thought today of cutting a hole out of the cover so I could get to the primary adjustment. I thought about using a heavy magnet material to cover the hole. Something like a truck sign magnet, but was unsure how it would handle the heat.
  10. tuolumne

    tuolumne New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2007
    Messages:
    172
    Loc:
    Now living in VT, and building new home in VT
    Out of curiosity, has anyone tried loading wood vertically? I wonder what this would do to the startup time, efficiency, and burn times.

    Looking at the other posts, I actually think I must have mine tuned pretty well. I can usually get to gasification in under 5 minutes from a cold start. Most of the time I have a continuous fire going with no storage buffer, so this isn't necessary. I have emptied out around 3 gallons of ash since this heating season started. The boiler easily goes 12 hours on a load with good coals left. I have my fan at 60% and I keep the boiler temperature set at 185. Right now my primary is a bit under 1/2", the secondarys are 3.5 turns out and the fan shutter is around 1" at the widest. I plan to play with the secondaries soon to see if I can change the flame color. I've been burning sugar maple that sat in logs for a bit over a year and has been split and in the basement for a month. I've also been burning a lot of green ash which I've been felling, bucking and splitting as needed to try to catch up. I have no idea what the moisture content is. I'm filling the twin 500 gallon tanks over the weekend, and I'll be welding on my fittings and plumbing things in on Monday. Hooray!
  11. Dave T

    Dave T New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Messages:
    299
    Loc:
    Dansville NY
    Barnartist,
    You mentioned that you cleaned the EKO fan blades in another thread (which inspired me to do the same they were nasty and needed to be scraped) but all of the debris off of the fan blades dropped down into the bottom of the fan just like mine did, I was having problems getting back to good gasification untill it dawned on me that some of the fan debris had lodged in the nozzle and was partialy blocking the air flow..I was able to let the EKO burn out and used a right angle blow gun and light pressure and blow the debris back through the nozzles and I am back to blue and direct gassification give it a try it maybe where your problems are..Dave
  12. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    Burning without storage is an acquired skill. You'll find ways to avoid excessive idling as you get more experience with the boiler.
  13. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    574
    Loc:
    Jerusalem, Ohio;
    Taco,
    I just cleaned my fans a few weeks ago so they are good. I knew they were dirty because they were so off balance and vibrating everything. Now they are nice and quiet.

    Loading the wood vertically would be a tall order, unless you mean crossways, but that just would not work.

    I think I'll have to open up my primaries a bit more. Today with my latest settings my boiler ran really close to how it used to before the fiddling started, lots of blue. But it was a weaker flame. I still cannot seem to get any visible changes when I turn my secondaries. I get the most change when I adjust the fan shutters.

    Anyone here that thinks they have their Eko tweeked right and if you have a cell phone with video, send the video to me. 740 310 7494.

    Also, is it common or not that you lose the visible flame for much of the burn. My stack is still at a reasonable temp (say 275-300) with no visible flame. Should it be a goal to have the visible.gasses untill almost all of the wood is consumed?

    Once again I am reasonable happy with my unit this year, but want to take advantage of anything I can.
  14. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2005
    Messages:
    5,705
    Loc:
    Central NYS
    In the latter stages of many of my burns, I get no visible flame in the secondary combustion chamber. I don't know if that's the way it's supposed to be, but as long as I get heat and no smoke and the wood gets burned completely, I assume everything is OK.
  15. sdrobertson

    sdrobertson Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2007
    Messages:
    733
    Loc:
    West Michigan
    Do you see large temp swings with the chimney temps when you loose the flames?
  16. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,436
    Loc:
    S/W MI
    Timing your burns so you know when your are mostly down to coals will help control the smoke as smoke with or without storage is common when there is a burn going on and you open the loading door. If you must load while there is a burn in process, shut off the boiler and open the bypass damper (idling causes abundant creosote in the upper chamber and the damper/flap will usually stick so this portion will always cause smoke while burning because you will probably have to open the loading/upper chamber door to bump the flap with the long poker, just do it quick and close the upper chamber door to "almost" closed) and let the boiler set for a few seconds tor establish draft through the draft in the upper chamber.

    The bypass damper sticking problem will reduce noticeably when you get your boiler flame tuned and you use wood that only has a moisture as specified in the manual. Wetter wood than recommended tends to keep the creosote problem current and uses more wood.

    As referenced in this thread adjusting your blower intensity and tuning your flame can allow you to use a smaller flame which causes the boiler to run longer but more wood efficient and with less idling time. There is a limit how far you can turn your blower down but generally (on many 40's anyway) the manual blower setting is too strong. PM me with your set up and I can share some of my "no storage" experiences and settings and maybe help you get "dialed" in.
  17. Duetech

    Duetech Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2008
    Messages:
    1,436
    Loc:
    S/W MI
    Yes I have and like barnartist says it's a hassle and because of the shape of the gassification chamber vertical loading tends more to cause hang ups and is next to intolerable unless you do complete burns be fore reloading. Reaching in to adjust/readjust the wood while loading, trying to avoid the creosote coated sides and a live bed of coals plus not being able to get a complete load in the front because of log length and the extra time it takes to load make horizontal more appealing. I wasn't really scientific when I tried so I don't know if the unit was more efficient but it didn't see like it was so I stick to horizontal and let gravity help me load. Good question though.
  18. VeggieFarmer

    VeggieFarmer New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2008
    Messages:
    24
    Loc:
    CT River Valley, Vermont
    I'll add my two cents that this has been an extraordinarily valuable thread. Thanks everyone. I was on track to burn 8.75 cords this winter (when NoFo put out the "18% done" post) and now think I'll end up closer to 7 cords thanks to making the adjustments recommended here. I had been running the primaries all the way open, and while this created tremendous heat and a deafening roar in the secondary chamber, I know realize that much of the heat was being blasted straight through the heat exchangers and up the chimney.

    I'll be interested to see if others are also noticing wood savings.
  19. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    574
    Loc:
    Jerusalem, Ohio;
    Your right Veggie, much info to take advangage of here.

    I'm looking at the ad at the bottom of this thread. Looks like its burning to yellow.
  20. Dave T

    Dave T New Member

    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2008
    Messages:
    299
    Loc:
    Dansville NY
    I felt the same way that their ad is burning very yellow, but if you try to take a picture of the EKO gassification chamber it is very hard to show blue gassification in a picture, I took the pics shown earlier in this post in pitch black and had to take several pics to get one that actually showed the blue flame, also I looked at the youtube vids and saw mostly orange and yellow flames and a sound like a blast furnace, to me this is inproper gassification BUT I could be way off..Just wanted to say I am enjoying looking out and seeing lots of snow but not trudging through it to load the EKO..Dave
  21. taxidermist

    taxidermist Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,031
    Loc:
    Fowlerville MI
    I cut my fan speed down to 50 percent and have good gassification no bridging and plenty of heat. primaries are at 1 inch and secondaries are at 4 turns out and chminey temps are around 250 to 300 so far so good. I cant say I always have blue flames but I do get blue during the hottest part of the burn.


    Rob
  22. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    574
    Loc:
    Jerusalem, Ohio;
    Taco your right about the pics of the burn, thought i'd see what some folks thought, but also your correct about the blast furnace. I used to be able to hear my gasification with the door closed if I stood reasonably close to the boiler, probably from the stack too.

    Rob, how are your restarts going at those settings? Maybe I have lost my touch, but seems like I have a much harder time getting it up to heat and a steady gasser.
  23. taxidermist

    taxidermist Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 11, 2008
    Messages:
    1,031
    Loc:
    Fowlerville MI
    No problems as a matter of fact my wife started it tonight while I am at work with no troubles. I loaded it this morning at 5:00am ish and I had a great bed of coals from my 9:30pm fill My wife went out at 9:30 tonight and relit the fire. The water temp at boiler was at 158 and the incoming water at house was 150 and the tank water was at 160. Also my valve for my return protection(balancing valve?) is just cracked about 1 and it holds my boiler around 190+ while at steady state burning.


    Rob
  24. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2007
    Messages:
    574
    Loc:
    Jerusalem, Ohio;
    Just an update...
    Even with my bigger plates added to the old secondary plates that are suppose to help close off the air to the secondaries, I felt like I was still not mixing with the primary right. I went back in there and put metal tape over half of the secondary pipe, and moved my primariy out to 3/4". This seems to be a good operating level for me. I get much faster restarts and almost no visible smoke, and I seem to be able to change the gasification flame with the fan openings. When I cut the fan openings back now, I can change the color of the gas, which almost sounds like what some of you say the primary screws do.

    Maybe I have greener wood than some, I don't have a moisture meter. (send it to me for Christmas Hearth). My wood was stacked in an ideal long single row with lots of wind and sun, and a very dry summer, but only for 7-9 months.

    I don't realistically see myself ever getting 2 seasons ahead with wood, but I hope to. Maybe then I can close my primary air down to 9mm, but from here I can't operate well at that setting.
  25. 88rxn/a

    88rxn/a Member

    Joined:
    Feb 12, 2008
    Messages:
    145
    Loc:
    northeast PA
    after reading the mini-coldsnap thread i wonder? do these settings account for ALL types of weather? or do adjustments need to be made each time it dips into single digits?

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