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Froling controller options

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

  1. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

    Nov 27, 2007
    New Hampshire-Maine border
    The Vigas does adjust the primary and secondary air.

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  2. Independently like the Froling (or effecta or varm)?
  3. Stew

    Stew Member

    Jun 10, 2008
    Quebec ca
    I've been lurking here from time to time over the years! This thread has a lot of the info I was looking for.
    I am also looking at boiler options, and after lurking for a few weeks I'm leaning towards a unit with lambda control.
    My design heatload is around 20kw, but my 21kw electric boiler never runs fullout. I have infloor in the basement and garage slab,
    and in 1+1/2" slab on 1st floor. 10% south facing triple gazing helps a lot. Whole house is 2200sq ft + garage which I have not yet heated. The total electric bill for weekend use is $800/year including heat and domestic hot water +2-3 face cords of hardwood for the EPA fireplace when we are there on weekends.
    As in DanW's case the garage is not heated, basement is 55F, and the whole house is 52F for 4 days a week.
    As we are starting to spend more time there I'm looking into finally getting the wood boiler the house was designed to have when we built it in 2008.

    So my questions are:
    1) Besides Froling and Vigas are there any others with lambda control?
    2) How much can I count on the basement slab as a heat sink?
    3) Does anyone know of a Froling or Vigas distributor in Eastern Ont or Quebec? I have Ted Kestor's name from Brockville posted by bbarbeau, thank-you.
    4) Does Bioheat have USA distributorship or USA and Canada distributorship for Froling?
    Thanks for all the great info!
  4. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

    Nov 27, 2007
    New Hampshire-Maine border
    Yes, There are two inlet holes one for primary and one for secondary. The srevo motor moves the shutter to open or close to allow more or less air as the signal from the o2 sensor is sent to the controller then to the servo motor.Mike in May we will be at the loggers show in Bangor.You should stop by and see the Vigas in the flesh.

  5. If I didnt know better Id say that sounds like a salesman trying to confuse the facts.
  6. ewdudley

    ewdudley Minister of Fire

    Nov 17, 2009
    Cayuga County NY
    It sounds to me like a single servo adjusts the proportion of air between primary inlet and secondary inlet, same as Tom Caldwell set his up. I don't see any disadvantage to the approach, plus there's one less servo to fail.
    henfruit likes this.
  7. If there is no advantage to independently controlling the primary and secondary why do other lambda boilers go through the expense and trouble of having two servo motors?

    Or for that matter why does any boiler lambda or not have independent primary and secondary air settings. Wouldn't it be easier to have fixed air settings and just adjust the total air flow through the boiler by adjusting fan speed?

    Not trying to hurt any feelings. Just trying to understand how these boilers work.
  8. Blue Tornado

    Blue Tornado Guest

    Yeah Mike, it is has been discussed on this site in past threads. Personally it seems the net gain of lambda control weather it be financial, ease of use, less consumption or emissions is not equivalent to the cost of the device. When we opt for a wood burning boiler and the system necessary for heat transfer, we should consider spare parts. Pumps, valves, blowers, sensors and such already bring up the initial outlay. With the additional $2000 up front for the lambda unit, the previous mentioned spares and whatever spares for the lambda, yikes is all I have to say about that. Well almost. It is each person's perogative as they desire, but for me the additional outlay for marginal benefits doesn't quite get it.

    If someone could point out in real terms the actual reaped benefits that exceed a non-lambda gasser that is worthy of the price tag, please jump in.
  9. BoilerBob

    BoilerBob Member

    Jan 14, 2011
    SW Nova
    Different strokes for different folks!

    Some folks will pay extra for automatic transmissions in their cars, others will clutch and shift for years, cause the extra money for automatic is not worth it.

    Some folks get hydrostatic drive on tractors, others will set throttle, clutch and shift all day long.

    As long as you enjoy what you got :):):)

    henfruit likes this.
  10. Brialin

    Brialin Member

    Dec 26, 2008
    Central MA
    I bought a Vigas 40 to replace my 17 year old tarm that started leaking. The lambda controls are worth it in my opinion. I am using 20 to 25% less wood than with the tarm.
  11. Well I asked what I thought were legitimate questions. Henfruit is a strong proponent of lambda controls. However, the boiler he sells uses a different 'lambda strategy' then the other lambda boilers. And I've never seen him explain why the strategy used by the vigas is better than the other lambda boilers.

    I was under the impression that the froling and effecta and maybe the varm and attak were a more advanced lambda system since they have independent control of the primary and secondary air settings and use two servo motors. Perhaps I was wrong about that but the response from henfruit seemed designed to confuse more than explain. If there is no advantage to having independent control why do the other boilers use this strategy?

    And henfruit Im sure your boiler is well made like most of the eastern european boilers are. It's just that I dont trust the longevity of the electrical/computer components. And personally would prefer a simpler system that I can repair myself.

    If legitimate questions are always answered with 'its a ford/chevy thing' then what's the point of having a discussion? This forum will just be an infomercial for different salesmen.
  12. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

    May 15, 2011
    Central Maine
    To each his own. I wouldn't think twice about replacing the circuit board, any sensor, or any part of my system. In fact.. I'd be apt to fix any of that stuff myself.. and hire out any plumbing.

    I prefer the lambda. I'd rather get the peak efficiency. When I look at how much it's adjusting the draft, fans and turning the pumps on and off.. I'm very happy that it's "running the show"

    If you're not a computer guy.. that's ok. But others are.

    henfruit likes this.
  13. tmudd

    tmudd Member

    Jul 30, 2011
    Central Missouri Ranch
    skfire has it right when he talks of the ease of lighting the frohling. I have the 50 with lambda control and it will literally light with three wadded up single newsprint and no kindling. I have found that stacking the load full and tight leads to the best results. For me after owning an Aquatherm Omega Gassifier and going to the Frohling 50 with storage was like going from naturally aspirated diesel to a turbo charged diesel. It really is a quality piece of equipment. It is so user friendly and automatic for a wood burning appliance. The monitor screen shows you at loading if you should load a 1/4,1/2,3/4 or full load. My brother has a 500 gallon storage arrangement with a 6150 Royal Boiler and can usually top off his storage to 180 with one charge(load) of wood. The Frohling will heat 1000 gallons from 130 to 180 in one charge. I guess this excludes me too from the WG underground.
    henfruit likes this.
  14. arngnick

    arngnick Member

    Feb 15, 2013
    Mansfield, PA
    Varmebaronon makes a boiler with lambda control details can be seen at smokelessheat.com
  15. Blue Tornado

    Blue Tornado Guest

    Hey Dan,

    My apology to you if I have gummed up your thread.

    While researching the potential benefits of having the lambda sensors and advanced controller, I see this outfit selling in North America.


    The name is Lopper and they offer the lambda controlled, modulating output wood boilers. For those who truly enjoy the light and walk away feature, this outfit has a self loader for you (1/2 face cord hopper). The boilers are available in (3/8" - 10mm) or (7/8" - 20mm thickness.) It looks like the loading unit may be a standard feature.

    scooby074 and mikefrommaine like this.

  16. Figured that deserves its own thread:

  17. scooby074

    scooby074 Feeling the Heat

    Jan 7, 2011
    Nova Scotia
    That autoloader is NEAT, but i can see so many things going slightly wrong and causing a major issue. Your wood would have to be perfect.
  18. TCaldwell

    TCaldwell Minister of Fire

    Oct 26, 2007
    860-868-9014 h 203 948 0864 c nw corner ct.
    Mike, good questions, let me start by saying, on any given day a non lambda CAN burn as well as a lambda, however not on a repeatable consistent basis.
    If you were able to identify, monitor and manipulate the known parameters a lambda boiler does, [ o2, co2 flue temp] on a real time basis you could come close. Your p/s air setting is a best case approximation for a batch burn that has consistently changing requirements. Your fixed setting has the capability to burn efficiently for one of the three burn stages if your wood pile has a consistent moisture content. I am referring to startup, middle of burn and ending, most fixed settings are tuned to the middle or longest part of the burn. This strategy works very well if you know your boiler's burn charachteristics and can change the settings if wood moisture content changes drastically. These are known documented facts.
    I think the confusion stems from how much of a advantage is lambda really? The answer is how far into it do you and the boiler mfgr want to go for a acceptable effiency increase and still be marketable. Each manufacturer creates a in there opinion a efficient boiler housing, [for water hx] and wood combustor [ transfer wood to heat] and a control package. With a highly competetive boiler market , lambda and non, alot of effort goes into the boiler housing and combustor design. It is probably safe to say most are very efficient and the playing field realitively even in this aspect, this is drilled into us with glossy multicolored boiler porn.
    Really very little info is given about the control package, other than it will burn your batch efficiently. Here lies the real difference in these boilers [ lambda] and how much effort is viable, for resale. I am going to list the differences of the degrees of lambda control, each with a different cost and effectiveness of that control, I am not able to transfer that to overall boiler effiency, and likely at the end of the day the manufacturers will want to tell you theirs is the best. All lambda systems start with a o2 sensor and a thermocouple in the flue, that feedback goes to a controller that outputs a signal to the final control element[ damper] in a draft induced system, to keep on topic I will focus on this scenario, not a fan forced draft system.
    Simply the o2/ temp feedback provides the current combustion state, forwarded to the controller to calculate a correction for the damper to make, and is reflected in the next o2/ temp sampling sent to the controller. The controller is trying to maintain a predetermined setpoint , [optimum effiency for wood combustion] each mfgr has a one set based on their combustor design, usally can be changed. With this strategy, sensitivity of the feedback, controller and dampers could be thought to be required for success, again this is for you to decide. The least sensitive would be a stepper motor with a large step change in damper position, smaller step changes, and finally a modulating actuator would be the most sensitive with respect to controller output. The controller driving the stepper or modulating actuator can be a off the shelf $30 rudimentary single input/ output to one with a propriertary designed algorithim for multiple inputs/ outputs at $5000 or more. With added sensitivity comes calibration, maintainence and other costs.
    In my opinion a well tuned relatively sensitive lambda will consistently outperform a non lambda, however each lambda mfgr has to figure if they are going to hide behind the ''lambda badge'' or exceed it, in the end there is a boiler for every buyer, you choose!
    henfruit, Floydian and JP11 like this.
  19. __dan

    __dan Feeling the Heat

    Oct 5, 2011

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