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gasifier wood consumption

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by barnartist, Dec 30, 2007.

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  1. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    Forgive me for being stupid in the head - I never asked about moisture content in your wood. It looks like you're burning wood with a really high moisture content. These things need really dry wood to do their magic.

    Try getting a fire worth of really dry wood from somewhere - 20% moisture maximum, and see if it behaves differently. Based on the amount of condensation, I'd guess that it's not gasifying much of the time, especially when coming off idle.

    If you open the bottom door when it's running, you should see a large bluish flame with orange fringes, and a sound like a jet taking off. Any gas that comes out should be odorless.

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I agree with your analysis of the wood supply, nofossil, but I think his biggest problem is that there's an imbalance somewhere in his system, causing the boiler to idle most of the time. Really bad wood probably wouldn't get that hot, don't you think? I can't say because I've never burned wet wood in mine, though occasionally I'll get a moist chunk from the bottom of the stack, and that will send up a thin stream of blue smoke instead of burning clean.
  3. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

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    My whole system is pressured, I run it about 20 lbs. I wonder if it would help to close off the rear nossle as you guys talked about until I figure a new piping layout.
    Heaterman, i'll wait to see what you think too. If Nofossle can do what he is doing with a tiny eko 25, I know I should have some muscle here. Pretty impressive man.
    I dream od a season I could go on 4-5 cords, and this is why I chose a gasifier. Can anyone say how much mileage 1000 gallons can get me if heated up? Do I need 1500? Nofossle, any way I can see a pic of your plumbing? Anyone else with photos I can see?
    Thanks!
  4. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    There are a lot of pictures in the threads here. Some time browsing will get you lots of eye candy, as well as some ugly stuff.

    I'd give the one-nozzle thing a shot. See if you can get a sustained burn in the 65-75-degree range without the thing going into idle.
  5. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    I looked at your pic's and have a couple thoughts. It looks like you only have a 6in pipe and the eko60 should have an 8in. That could be choking it down making it harder to gasifiy. Also when I looked at the pic of the gasifing chamber it looks like you have the ceramic blocks in wrong. They are supposed to be stacked end to end under the nozzels. That way the gas is shot down in the bricks and forced back up to help mix the air and get it hotter. The fly ash is then blown out the ends and around the sides with the burnt gas and then up the heat-ex.
    It also looks like it is idleing way to much because of all the creosote. You need to be putting the exsess heat into the tank. It sounds like now as the boiler comes up to temp it pulls the top of the tank water back into the boiler and that makes it shut off. The temp on the tank might be 180f but the bottem could be 120f. Either pull the water from the bottem or put a heat exchanger in the bottem. Now you aren't useing very much of your tank.
    You said that you cut your wood in april and if you did that was after the sap had started to run. I cut mine in feb and march and it was stacked up in wire crates in the sun all summer and put under roof this fall and it really isn't dry enough. I estimate it to be 30 to 35% The more moisture you have the cooler your burn is at the start and it is hard to get it to gasify and if you go into idle you WILL get alot of creosote.
    Just a few obsevations and I'm sure others will chime in and help.
    leaddog

    Just reread where you said you have a pressurised tank. Run your hot water from your boiler into the bottem of your tank and take the feed to the house from the top and you shouldn't have any problem. If you want to have a faster buildup to your house from a cold tank you can pipe in a bypass manually very easily.
  6. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Good call, as usual, leaddog.

    On the chimney outlet and on the bricks--I missed both. I don't know why you have the bricks stacked that way in the back, but like leaddog says, they should be end-to-end, front to back. That might be why your back nozzle isn't firing right. Also, I keep my ash pit a lot cleaner than that. I use that little hoe tool to clear out the valleys in the bricks every couple of days. Just rake it into a shovel. I think the gasification process works better if those bricks are fairly free of debris. And if the hx outlets are blocked, which they probably are in that pic, the boiler isn't going to operate right, either. So I think a little better maintenance might pay off as well.

    And you do have a lot of unburned chunks in there. I get some, but not that much.

    One other suggestion is that you take off the blower mount plate and check/clean everything out. 12 screws. I suspect your secondary air tubes might be clogged up from the backpuffing. You want to make sure to re-set your secondary air intakes. The factory setting is 3.5 turns out, but I've got mine at 6 turns and it works better than it did with 3.5. Take the plate off of there and post a pic. I'd like to get a better look at those secondary air tubes.

    BTW, leaddog, I got mine retacked, per your excellent suggestion. It was hard to keep the air intakes set with the tube walking into the valve. Now it works like a dream. Dave reimbursed my cost, which was $40 to get a local guy over here.
  7. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

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    OK, I did cheat with 6 inch pipe, my dad had some for free. I also added a "Majic Heat" in line with the 6" pipe to try and catch more heat for the garage. Any way that hurts much?
    I am trying to figure out how you mean to place the fire bricks as you say. They have been there as they were when I bought it from Zenon. Do you mean turn them 90 degrees each? They are directly under the nossles right now. A third piece of cupped brick lies in the rear with the cupped end facing the front. Should I put this at the fron door then?
    If I exchange heat at the bottom of the tank, will the top of the tank over heat? Will it not get to a temp over 180? I have a gauge in the middle, it reads 180 when I idle.
    I just fired up and cleaned everything, even the upper chambers ash. Probably 6 inches thick with packed ashes, except around the nossle area where it was loos ash.
    I cut my wood from timbered trees. they were down a year before I sliced em up. I will to try and cut earlier this year.
    Keep it commin guys.
  8. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    Thats what I get by letting my fingers do the thinking. What I should have said was; With your pressureized tank you can pipe the hot water from the boiler to the top of the tank and get the return from the bottem. That way you will heat the tank from the top to bottem and use all the storage. Take the house heat from the top of the tank and return to the bottem. That will give you good stratification. To keep from having low water return to the boiler you need to either have an automatic system or you can install a manual valve from the hot to return. Once you have your tank up to temp and you fire it reg. you shouldn't have a problem with low water temp. I installed a manual valve that I open and close off the tank untill I once get it up to temp. and since I keep my tank up on temp it's no problem.
    leaddog
  9. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

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    Posted 2 more pics from last season, www.barnartist.com click on W.S.
    Tell me how the bricks should be.
  10. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    If you look at this thread at the pic that eric posted you will see the refactory u-shaped bricks. They are to all be facing the way his are. You should have three on the 60 and there is 4 on the 80. They are to be stacked end to end so you can see the u all the way to the back. They are loose so you can take them out if you want but they must weigh about 50 lbs. http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/12102/
    Also these pic give you a good view of the air adj. read this over good as there is some good advice and a warning of a problem with the air tubes.
    I think that useing 6in pipe and THEN using the majic heat will cause you some draft problems. You are only getting a draft temp of a bout 400f or less and alot of the time it is less, so if you start pulling off more heat it will lower your draft and you might start to condense the water vapor and that will give you ceosote and corosion problems.
    leaddog
  11. hkobus

    hkobus Member

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    Barnartist and all others,

    Happy new year and clean burning to all. I have been a bit tied up with work the past weeks and just been following threads, just no time to respond. I think you are getting most angles covered here already, and the new picks show a nice flame, but if I'm right I just see one.
    My question is related to the Laddomat, I see it in the one pic, but can not see how it is set up. I think a piping and control diagram cam be helpful here. I am wondering if it may be part of the issue as well.

    Henk.
  12. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

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    I am looking here and I dont see how mine are wrong. They are stacked as you described, but I only have 2 and then the U. My cousin, my unclle also only got 2. Should there be 3?!!!
  13. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    One other problem I noticed. Your door seals are bad. It shows creosote on the edges of the doors so they must be leaking. You can tighten up the doors. The instuctions are in the manual. Its a good thing to lube them once and a while as that keeps them plyable.
    That isn't black paint on the inside of your fan housing. It's creasote. once you get the idleing under control you won't have that problem.

    I've been looking at your work and it is great. I've always admired the barn art. My folks used to have a large barn of balloon contruction and we always wanted to have some art work done on it but never did. It went down in a bad wind storm a few years ago. It's too bad the old barns are becoming a think of the past.
    leaddog
  14. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Leaddog, I really love what I do. Something about painting the old barn I like.
    I have leaks now around my upper door since I thought I would try and adjust the door to close better. Now I cant seem to get it adjusted proper. What is a good lube to use? I used to sit and try to read and read that "manual". I may have used it to start a fire. Not really.
    Does anyone think my laddomat is holding back some power?
  15. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    Maybe on the older ones they were different but the new ones have 3 for the 60 and 4 for the 80 all the same shape and they are put in back to back. You can ask zennon at newhorizon.com and he can tell you. I don't know what the u shaped one is unless it might be a broken one??????
    How are your relatives boilers working?
    leaddog
  16. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    http://www.newhorizoncorp.com/PDF/ekomanualNA07.pdf
    Here is the new manual, It still is lacking but is better.

    I used high temp silicone, but a graphite spray will work also. Anything to help keep it from sticking to the metal. If the seal is too bad you can buy new rope seal at most stove or hardware. I got some at menards for about $8 for another stove and also some at a yard sale for .50.
    leaddog
  17. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

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    My uncle never connected his, and is willing to sell it. My Cousin has good burns, but he has to much demand and needs to load every 5-6 hours. He is looking to go bigger and might buy a central boiler. I on the other hand hope I can tweek mine and get more miles out of it heat wise. So if anyone know of someone looking for an eko, with storage, look me up.
  18. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    leaddog--I rewrote that manual for Zenon. The one that came with my boiler was something I thought could be improved upon. It's still far from perfect. Basically all I did was dress up the translation so that it wasn't such a hoot. I'd love to convince Zenon to let me write up a comprehensive manual that covers all the stuff we talk about on this forum. You know, you'd think there would be some discussion of setting the primary and secondary air, stack temps, etc. Stuff you really need to know. I think that would be fun, and useful. Nowadays, the downloadable user/service manuals are sales tools. The better they look, the more boilers you sell. If I can talk the Z-man into it, maybe you guys can help me out.

    barnartist: My 60 has three identical blocks in the gasification chamber. They're all like the one you show in the front, and stack end to end, front to back. It looks to me like you have the two back ones in kind of a t-shape, which is a little strange. But you've got an older version of this boiler, and I know they've made some changes in recent years.

    Are we helping you at all? I think all the points raised so far are legitimate, and you'll seem some improvements if you address them. The pictures were really helpful. I think leaddog's piping suggestions on your tank are a biggie. That and getting a good moisture reading on your wood. Everything else so far is just maintenance, I think.
  19. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

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    I so agree to re write that manual. I wish I knew then What I know now. Help the next guy from jumping a bridge.
    Just a few adjustments since I started here have made some differences. I need to lears about auquastats and how they work/plumb.
    What is sad id I have had my system set up the way nofossel described, using pex, it was a matter of hours for a change. My problem then was my hand made ground line, I lost so much heat in the ground. I would keep changing my plumbing, get mixed advice from Zenon, and do it again. Now I have it all hard piped, and dred changing it, but i'll take one for the team if it will help. Id love to have enough extra heat to restart my basement slab radiant again. More bad advice there, this time from a web site I found that sells stuff for radiant.
    I was able to gasify within 1 hour this evening, building a fire from scratch. This is good. I was at an idle within 2 hours, so I will in fact need to figure out how to plumb to store and use my tank correctly. I dont like all the smoke though from building new fires. Its really bad, then forget any relations with wife until a shower is performed.
  20. hkobus

    hkobus Member

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    It should not, but when it is plumbed in backwards it will, as it has one way valves inside. Also if the thing is in right it can be an asset to the system you have with the pressurised storage. It wil also prevent the the boiler from running cold at startup or when cold water returns from the heating zones.

    Henk.
  21. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I think you can greatly reduce or eliminate the smoke problem by putting going up to 8" on your chimney connector and getting rid of the heat saver. You don't need that with 300 degree stack temps. And 8" compared to 6" is huge. I'm not surprised you get a face full of smoke.
  22. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    Follow the link in my signature below. It has diagrams, pictures, and descriptions. Whether it makes any sense or not is a different question. Hope it helps. I've been following this thread, and it seems like you have several problems conspiring to give you trouble. If I were in your shoes, I think I'd approach it this way:

    1) Get the boiler burning clean, with solid secondary combustion. May need to clean out secondary air inlets, decide on blocking second nozzle, determine whether wood is dry enough, etc.

    2) Settle on a plumbing approach. Do you have a way to scan and put diagrams on line or on your site? There have been good suggestions, and perhaps there's a short term and longer term approach.

    3) Make plumbing changes.

    4) Fine-tune and learn the system behavior.

    Good luck.....
  23. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

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    when starting a new fire, its unbearable the smoke. Poor draft. Your right I should change to 8". what is the key piece though from the eko to the 8" tee? It seems to be an odd size to match up to U.S. 8".
    Well, I was out of wood this morning at 6, fired up at 10:30 last night. It was cold, got into the teens. I had a pretty easy time restarting and good gasification. I raised the water about 8 degrees even with the furnace running, but it has kind of leveled off after ah hour and half, Im guessing the load is in its stage of combusting the new wood. Last night, got up in a hurry, I probably started to idle around midnight or 1. I must need more storage.
  24. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    More good advice from nofossil.

    I wouldn't let 2" of chimney diameter get in the way of my love life. I bet just by doing that you'd fix a lot of your problems. You shouldn't really be getting smoke in your face during startup. The only time I get smoke coming out of the boiler into my boiler room is when I'm loading wood, and that's only because I don't take the time to open the ash door and give it time to vent out. The older EKOs like yours had somewhat different hardware specs. I see you have flange connections instead of threaded pipe nipples, which is what the new ones have. So the exhaust diameter might be different. Mine takes standard 8" stove pipe, but you may have to modify your pipe slightly to make it fit. Shouldn't be too big a deal. What size is your chimney?

    We have a member in southern Ohio--termite--who just got his Biomax 60 going. That's a very similar boiler to the EKO 60. I think you made a post asking if anyone in your neck of the woods is running a gasifier. I'd check with termite.
  25. barnartist

    barnartist Minister of Fire

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    I will probably limp along until I have the coin for new 8" pipe. It's 6" but I had to ad an elbow horizontally when I moved my eko this fall, and it lined up right with a roof joist. I hated doing it that way, I should grit my teeth and make it work straiter. I dont seem to have problems getting to gasify, maybe the rear nossle, but I do smoke out my lean-to.
    I'll look the guy up here see how its going. Thanks. Your like the mentor here.
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