1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Froling controller options

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by DanW, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    4,516
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    An interesting side note on the FHG50-L is that the controller can dial down the output from 50kw (170,000 btu), if I remember correctly, to 40kw and 30kw. That helps during shoulder seasons and lets the Froling operate according to demand conditions.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. How does that work? And how is it different from any boiler with a controller that also modulates the fan speed down as the boiler nears its setpoint?
  3. hiker88

    hiker88 Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    Messages:
    223
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    It monitors flu gas temps and as they get close to, or start to exceed the optimal temp for gassification, it closes down the primary to let less air go through the boiler, fan slows as well.

    It will do this even if it is below the set point.
    skfire likes this.
  4. What is the benefit of this? (Assuming you have storage)
  5. hiker88

    hiker88 Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    Messages:
    223
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    Apparently gassification does not work as well when flu gas temps start to exceed 250c.
  6. hiker88

    hiker88 Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    Messages:
    223
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    My apologies to the OP if we're getting you off track. I know your original post was asking if there were any Froling users that started off without the controls but added them later. I'm not one of those, so I probably shouldn't have said anything. I just can't help myself sometimes when it comes to talking about the boiler.
  7. My advice to the op is if you want a frohling buy it without the lambda controls. And upgrade later if you really think it is necessary. (Assuming there isnt a huge cost penalty upgrading later) But do storage no matter what boiler you buy.

    And the price quoted for the biomass seems high.
  8. DanW

    DanW New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2013
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    Tulameen BC (Southern Interior)
    Thanks for all of the replies. No apologies necessary, I've been observing here long enough to appreciate the fact that threads sometimes take a tangent, and there are strong opinions/passions/obsessions for all of us. I really liked the question about stirring the fuel if it bridges, if someone funds the project, I'm sure that we could make it happen, perhaps a magnetostrictive transducer (temposonic cylinder) to provide feedback of the stroke of the rods which do the stirring...

    May I have some input from the guys with non-Lambda boilers who say essentially "once its dialed in your done". Does MC affect that practice? How easy is start-up (read wife friendly as required)?

    Thanks

    Dan.
  9. __dan

    __dan Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2011
    Messages:
    252
    Had my first grader niece over to light the Froling. Her brother had first offer and turned it down. She put the wood in, I put the paper. She was a little freaked by the piezo propane torch I gave her to light the paper, her father helped her with that. We watched through the lighting door for a while. I thought we were done and I closed it. They kept pointing to the doors and telling me to open the doors. It was funny, I wasn't really paying attention and opened the primary chamber door. She had put in small dry splits I would not normally even notice. So the smoke rolled up and out into the bypass and lit off nice, smoke and flames into the bypass. All I could hear was "close it, close it", I was laughing.

    Nice to see the Froling getting some love. A very well balanced and finely engineered high quality piece of front line equipment. (guess I won't be able to sneak into the W G underground now)

    If you're going to modulate you definitely need a Belimo operator on the primary draft in addition to the variable fan speed. In standard applications it's a lot easier to throttle by valving the suction side of the fan or pump. The S does not show this. You have to ask the dealer, but trying to add the lambda control package at a later date could double or more the cost of the parts. The difference is usually between buying an engineered package (with the package discount) and buying the items individually at retail or repair prices. You can buy a Yamaha for $15,000 that may be $250,000 if you bought the same bike as parts individually.

    If the $2000. adder is a deal breaker, the Froling still has advantages the other manufacturers should just copy, as bad as that sounds. The cast iron nozzles with the secondary air coming in between the top of the 300 lb ceramic block and the underside of the steel nozzle is genius (and there is no visible wear). My brother was surprised how fast the secondary rumble started from a cold start, 1 - 2 min, (away three days, the house was still warm in cold weather). If you have a decent job, low debt, and can put the lambda adder on your credit card now, do it. If you wanted a guess as to if you would see it back in saved fuel, the guess is no. If you wanted a guess as to if you would see the savings in more convenience, easier operating for others when you're away, less instances of fighting the burn, the guess is yes absolutely. The Belimo operators are always moving, they do not sit there and do nothing.

    I've been cleaning my yard of debris, burning stuff that would never burn in a stove. Most of the ash stays in the bottom of the primary chamber. I've been cleaning ~ once a month taking out 2 gallon at a time. The stainless outside flue is staying clean, washed by H2O condensate. If I want to see smoke, I look at the neighbors stove flue.
    skfire likes this.
  10. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2008
    Messages:
    4,516
    Loc:
    Northern MN
    The Froling requires storage. Of the four gasification boilers with which I have personal experience (Wood Gun, Tarm Solo, Garn and Froling), none of them should have a load of wood that can't be burned to completion, and three of them (Wood Gun, Tarm and Froling) should not be loaded for a burn that will smolder with the boiler going through repeated idle cycles. Only the Garn will keep the burn going to the max on an overload without smoldering and idling, but the consequence on an overload is boiling over and possible shutdown due to low water resulting from the boil over.

    Storage makes it far easier to eliminate idling, and even for the Garn storage better allows burning wood loads to completion. But even with storage, a person needs to do some smart loading, because with a load of wood and storage with insufficient charge capacity, smoldering and idling are the natural results for the Wood Gun, Tarm and Froling, and boiling over is the natural result for the Garn.
    Fred61 likes this.
  11. skfire

    skfire Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Messages:
    318
    Loc:
    NEPA
    No, the Lambda and controller do not stir your coffee or clear your bridging, but I am sure we all have a coffee maker without fancy electronics and clocks and such for all that..and maybe we should start looking at cars without Lamda sensors and fancy electronics as well....and these computers and internet forums...damned hamsters in wheels power these things....and bridging can be avoided with smart loading and even if it happens no sweat, take care of it when u check on the boiler.

    In all seriousness, the electronics and the Lambda set up on the FGH-L are not that fancy and sensitive, they are used for different boiler models in Europe and have been field tested for years, with no known failures(I researched this in Europe before I bought the boiler). If it is a matter of the $, then by all means people can do without, but the choice is there and for good reasons.
    Different strokes for different folks and opinions are like you know what...everyone has them, but unless you have experience with something recommendations are to be considered as such.

    Regarding the adjustments, unless all the fuel is always perfectly same(size, shape, m/c, type of wood etc), the loads always stacked the same, the atmospheric conditions same, the storage status availability and heat demand at time of burn or shortly thereafter, then set values work fine. Solid fuel burn is inherently a modulating condition and having set air parameters works but not optimally, where having modulating air adjustment adopts to the fluctuating conditions and vice versa as needed.
    Additionally I like the fact that the controller runs the loading pump on/off based on boiler and flue gas temperatures after the burn has been completed preventing condensation in the vessel as well. Also like the fact that it leaves a good bed of coals for the next fire.
    In regards to gassification the optimal Flue gas range is around 350-400f for the FGH-L (around the 375 range seems to be the sweet spot,considering average maintenance conditions). Values higher than that do have a negative effect on a few levels but controlling the actual gassification parameters in the lower chamber is a complex equation and mixture constantly in a state of flux, good read re:
    http://bioweb.sungrant.org/NR/rdonlyres/F4AE220B-0D98-442C-899F-177CFD725ADD/0/Gasification.pdf.

    I do not want to HAVE TO monitor my heating system, I want it it work for me while I work or live, but I want it to be as efficient as possible.
    Not for everyone but it works for me and I do not feel the need to condemn or ridicule anything and only voice a dissenting opinion if a system or value imposes on other people.

    Scott

    .
    henfruit likes this.
  12. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 24, 2011
    Messages:
    534
    Loc:
    Maine
    I think you would still benefit from the Lambda controls with storage. The idea is that it's constantly monitoring the stack and adjusting the primary/secondary air to get the most efficient burn. It's pretty amazing to see it work, every load of wood is a bit different and the Lambda controls account for that.

    That being said there's something to be said for simple as well. My primary/secondary settings haven't changed all year and are only a very small tweak different then what I did all last year. Is it's running at it's highest efficiency all the time, probably not but it works well for me and it's one less thing I have to worry about.

    The ultimate "Simple Setup" is the Garn.

    K
  13. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 15, 2011
    Messages:
    4,263
    Loc:
    Nova Scotia
    A properly operating dump zone that would move extra heat into the living space would be a key element here in helping to avoid idling. You might have to take some clothes off for a while, but hey....
  14. hiker88

    hiker88 Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    Messages:
    223
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    Correct,

    The Froling has two temperature wells. One is for the control unit and the other is for a close on rise aquastat hooked to your largest heat zone. Mine closes at 93c if I goof.
  15. skfire

    skfire Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Messages:
    318
    Loc:
    NEPA
    Very easy.
    Last November I suffered severe blunt force trauma to my right eye and was not allowed to even look at the boiler, let alone load or light it.
    The wife and 2 kids(10 and 6 yrs old), took over, with NO PRACTICE WHATSOEVER, told then what to do and off they went and are still doing it to date.
    Only once there was bridging due to a loading error and the boiler shut off prematurely due to high O2 levels early in the burn. The wife simply opened the doors, moved the log down, closed the doors, walked away and that was that, the boiler started it's cycle and ran normally.

    Scott
  16. hiker88

    hiker88 Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2011
    Messages:
    223
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    I was skeptical about the no kindling - paper only start up but it works. I completely fill the wood box with 4-6 inch splits and add paper. One thing that I do is roll up my newspaper instead of balling them up. I find that the rolled up newspaper burns slower and it has worked for me every time. I wait until flue gasses reach 120c before closing the lighting door and safety door and this takes about 3 minutes. My wife who has never been around a wood stove or fireplace before lights the boiler once a week when my schedule has me out of the house early.
  17. Blue Tornado

    Blue Tornado Guest

    OK, Dan

    Now that you have heard all of that, what do ya think?

    I almost threw out an apology to the thin skinned posters but decided against. I posted here, directed to the original question, to lend my thoughts concerning the $2,000 investment. For me, it is just a fancy upgrade and instead will put the equivalent into storage and backup parts.

    To each their own.
  18. skfire

    skfire Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2010
    Messages:
    318
    Loc:
    NEPA
    No need for apologies here, nothing to do with thin skinned...blah blah.
    We just want educated discourse and factual analysis.
    The rest is self serving waste of time.

    Scott
    henfruit likes this.
  19. DanW

    DanW New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2013
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    Tulameen BC (Southern Interior)
    A lot of great info here. I still have some time to decide. A Vigas dealer has reached out and is putting together a quote. I am still open to options. Here is a little more about our situation.

    I am involved in process control and automation work at a softwood lumber plant. I haven't carried over any of what I do at work into my personal life, I've never owned a cell phone let alone an I-phone (population ~300 where I live, no service). I usually leave the technology at work, and do outdoor stuff when off. The difference is: at work, the investment makes money, at home, not so much. We're raising a family and doing all sorts of renos, I don't want to build the controller.

    Adding a heating system for us, will add more comfort than it will save money. The house is around 3350 sqft., 1200sqft unfinished basement heated to around 40f with electric baseboards, 1200sqft main heated with a Pacific Energy Spectrum woodstove, 950sqft upstairs. There are 16 electric baseboards in the house. The water heater is also electric. The shop is a 2 story 24' x 44' with (4) 250' runs of 1/2" pex in the slab (which is insulated on the bottom and sides). The shop has never been heated.

    My wife and I were working opposite days and someone was usually home to keep the woodstove loaded. This is about to change. My highest 2 month utility bill this winter was $329 for 2 months. The only way to keep the cost so low is to not heat the shop, keep the basement cold, and live with the huge temperature swings that cycle with the woodstove. So if you just look at the numbers, it doesn't make much sense. We are quite frugal. This has put us into a reasonable financial position. We deserve to be more comfortable. The temperature swing in the living space goes from 60 to 80 degrees every day.

    I have left a lot of these types of details out up until now because they represent more of the emotional reasons rather than the analytical side of choosing a boiler. I feel that in my situation where it is essentially an entirely new heating system, an initial overview is necessary, and then break it down into it's components. This thread was started to discuss the boiler itself. I hope to be involved in other threads regarding the other aspects such as storage, emitters, plumbing, expansion, etc...

    I'm familiar with a similar motorcycle analogy that _Dan used in #34 except that it was in the Honda 600 in the early nineties. Something like $7000 for the bike, $120,000 for the parts.

    So no cheques have been written, but I'm leaning towards the Froling with the Lambda. I appreciate all of the posts.
  20. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2007
    Messages:
    712
    Loc:
    New Hampshire-Maine border
    In the colder weather when i am filling the fire box twice a day.I can find a couple of embers from the previous fire twelve hours before, add a couple of pieces of kindling fill the fire box and hit the start button and walk away.
  21. Floydian

    Floydian Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2008
    Messages:
    438
    Loc:
    Southwestern VA
    What a turn off. I'm sure the Vigas is worth considering but that just rubs me wrong.

    Sorry DanW, just had to get that out.

    Anyway, it sounds like your on the right track towards a higher degree of comfort, convenience and efficiency. I would recommend some research on panel radiators with TRVs, sized for low supply temps.(likely easiest retrofit option) Also, consider constant circulation and outdoor reset-Its awesome! Try some searches here as well as over at http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-category/92/Radiant-Heating

    A room by room heat loss calc will be important as it will determine emitter sizing, supply temps, flow rates, storage sizing, etc.

    Will you be doing everything yourself?

    Good luck with all your upcoming decisions,

    Noah
  22. Blue Tornado

    Blue Tornado Guest

    Dan

    Sounds like you have a very nice place, and your location is pretty cool too. I do love where I am in Michigan but do have a soft spot for the northwest after living a couple years in Oregon. Was there on May 18, 1980.

    Those temp swings are a bugger and the exact opposite of radiant. Once you experience radiant heat it would be difficult to accept anything else, steady and warm 24/7.

    No doubt, with your level head that an optimum decision will be made after gathering the facts and relating them to your situation. Hoping the best for you in that regard. Enjoy!

  23. +1, Glad you said it.

    I bet I can guess who it was...
  24. DanW

    DanW New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2013
    Messages:
    20
    Loc:
    Tulameen BC (Southern Interior)

    I didn't mind so much being contacted. I'm not sure if there is a history here with that sort of thing. There was no "ambulance chaser vibe" from the dealer. If there are other products, which have similar function, I'd rather know now.

    Not a chance. I hope for help from you and many others here.

    Dan.
  25. The vigas has lambda control. But only of the primary air settings. It does not adjust both the primary and secondary like the Froling and others.

Share This Page