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Good gasification?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by BoilerMan, Oct 11, 2012.

  1. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Filled the system today and had first fire in this new boiler. All was good on the water side of things, as I had all the kinks worked out when I had the NewYorker WC 130 in place of the Attack. I lit the fire and closed the bypass when a good bed of coals were formed. This is a negitive pressure boiler with an exhaust suction fan rather than the pressureized design that most have on Hearth.... That being said, I don't think I'm getting gasification as my stack temps only reached 250 with the fan at 100% during the whole burn. I burned some 6x6 KD spruce and some dry beech so I know the wood was dry. The inside of the lower door is blackish and only part of the refractory is clean. This seems to indicate a cold chamber and little if any gassification. With the negitive draft setup, I can't just open the door and see the flame, so I'm at a bit of a loss as what to do. I messed with the air settings, the factory is Primary: wide open, and Secondary: 1/5 open. It was hard to tell if the air settings made any difference. Any help is greatly appreciated. I want to get this thing dialed in and putting the BTUs to water! I'll get some pics in the morning.

    TS

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  2. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    First fire in new boilers hardly ever have good gassicifation. Refractory must dry out first. I'm even wondering if the refractory is still "green" (not totally fired).
    Was the 6x6 spruce you were burning nesting, ie, tight to each other or was there air space between them? If they were tight to each other there definately wasn't enough surface exposed to support a good fire. If I had a 6x6 to burn even at this point, I would split it or knowingly realize I will be living with a lazy fire. I suggest you leave the spruce 6x6s for a later time and burn your beech which I assume is split down to the size of a playing card as most gassifiers on this forum recommend.
  3. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Yes, if this is your very first fire with everything cold and the refactory not dried out - it'll be very slow (understatement). I'd only build about 1/4 of a firebox worth of fire, and make sure everything is split fine. Also, I've discovered that too much firestarter (paper) can lead to blocked air passages or nozzles - depending on your configuration. I'd consider at least the first burn as not a heating fire, but a drying fire. Takes a small fire or two to get the moisture out - and some time in between with air moving through helps too. Good luck with the new unit!

    EDIT: in my thread, the pic of the bottom door with the torch in it, you can maybe see streaks on the glass. There are other streaks on the metal you can't see there - that's where the water ran out of my firebox with my first fire. The wood I've been using is very dry, so it all came out of the refractory.
  4. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    Great posts show up fast here.

    Short version....

    Small fires, go slow, don't get discouraged.

    :)

    JP
  5. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Pics as promised now that everything has cooled off. I've never had this kind of tar-like creosote before, and I've run wood boilers all my life. DSC02772.JPG

    Here is a good pic of the bypass from the cleanout on top. It was stuck shut with tar......not happy. DSC02777.JPG

    Another shot of the top cleanout DSC02776.JPG

    The reftactory, no water came out that I noticed, and I did peek ALOT ;) I need to get a piece of ceramic glass and put some fiberglass rope on it so I can run this thing with the lower door open and see the secondary burn.
    DSC02773.JPG

    The nozzle from the bottom, does this look normal? DSC02774.JPG

    And finally the air settings, notice the little triangles that indicate the factory settings, I played with these throughout the burn with little effect. DSC02775.JPG


    Maple, did you stack temps get very high during the dry out phase? The highest mine reached was 275 as recorded by the temp probe and my external stack thermometer right at the flue connection on the boiler.
    Thanks for looking guys, I just need someone to tell me I'm not crazy.....well you know crazy people don't know they are crazy!

    TS
  6. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

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    I can't possibly articulate it properly.. But I remember Mark from AHONA telling me about the new, raw metal attracting a layer of creosote.

    He went into the chemistry of it, and how it was OK, and leave it alone.

    Interesting how he talked about the cycle of a burn once things were all normal, and how the creosote goes from each form and how it changes to flaky and scavenges during the end of a burn.

    Maybe someone else more into the metallurgy could explain it like he did.

    JP
  7. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    No, my temps did not get high on first burn. It took quite a while before I saw more than 100c actually. Which was not high enough to start my laddomat with the stack thermostat, which was when I found out how good it was to have it wired through an aquastat so water temp could also start it and how good that works. I'm still adjusting mine, I think I have too much turbulator going on because I still don't see stack temps above 200c - that likely played a part in my low start up stack temp and slow start.
  8. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Your photos don't look that bad to me especially after burning your first (cold) fire. These gassers do produce creosote in the upper chamber but when you have it running good and hot (and I know you will) the creosote will start flaking but will never disappear. A good HOT fire in these gassers depends on good coaling qualities of the wood. I failed to mention in my first response that spruce really lacks in the making of a good coal bed over the nozzle. If you were able to chuck your firebox full (not recommended at this time) of spruce split small, and get the whole load burning at once, you may be able to produce enough charcoal to sustain a good fire. On most small loads or oversize pieces of wood, the coal bed burns away before the wood above has a chance to produce more. I'm stating this as a matter of fact but it is mostly education that I personally have derived from over 15 years of operating a gasser.
  9. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I'd add that if the only place there is creosote or tar is in the wood chamber (none in the chimney piping either?), I think you'll be good. I also don't think your pics look all that bad.
  10. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Looks normal to me, Taylor. You'll see a lot more creosote in that upper chamber as you use the boiler. Sometimes I have to scrape it down just as a matter of principle.

    What everyone said about moist refractory. It's going to take a few burns to get everything seasoned in. In fact, my first fire of the year (tonight, as a matter of fact) is always a smokey mess. That's because the refract. sucks up moisture over the course of the summer and fall, and you have to burn it off before the boiler will work properly. So, I wait until the wind is coming from the west and fire it up after dark. Bad idea to do it in the light of day when the wind is blowing at your neighbor's house. Ask me how I know that.
  11. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    This is all good news guys, I feel much better now. I'm going to split up the beech finely and get a good hot fire going. BTW, I did fill the boiler with hot water (last oil I'll burn till spring) as this was it's comissioning as well as first fire. I thought it'd avoid some condensation. Thanks All!
    Any other suggestions/criticisms are welcome.

    TS
  12. kopeck

    kopeck Minister of Fire

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    I would get some hardwood in there. You need a good bed of coals to get the process going. I didn't have any water that I could see come out of my refractory but maybe every brand is different.

    One thing I will tell you is set the adjustments back to factory, get your fire going then slow start making small adjustments and see where it goes. Don't even start playing with it until you get a good fire going.

    My Tarm gets into good steady gasifaction after 15 minutes or so. It does depend on the wood though and of course the phase of the moon and some other things. :p

    Also, my fire box has a far amount of creosote in it but you never find any in the tunnel or the tubes. Yours looks pretty normal to me.

    These things are far less turn key as you might think, well that is unless you own a Froling. :) What I found is after I found some settings that worked I never touched them again for the season then it was just a matter of getting the sucker lit.

    K
    Eric Johnson likes this.
  13. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Oh yeah--always some of that, for sure. Kind of like me: Some days I just have trouble getting going.

    Hey Taylor, if you have any hard maple, try a couple loads of that. My EKO just loves maple. Instead of that grey, dirty-looking ash that I get with beech, the maple produces a fine, white powder. It's a complete burn, in other words. I'd be curious if the Attack is similar.
  14. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

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    I agree with the others. My upper chamber looks very much like yours.
    As far as drying things out goes, it took the first two fires for the system to dry out, and start to burn hot from the start up.
    These gassers are just what I was told they were, the dragsters of wood, they like to burn peddle to the metal.
    Like dragsters smoke is no good!
  15. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Ok I have my second fire in it now. Been going for about 45 min. I've picked out some good maple from the stacks and am going to throw that in when this gets down to coals. I've got a couple of small beech splits and a couple of small white birch as well. Stack temps have reached a whopping 230F but there is just a whisp of light blue smoke outside, I think when things get hotter that will dissapear too. Things are looking up. I wish I could get a good look at the secondary flame, it kills me that I can't peer in there with it burning as the draft stops and all goes out. I would like to see the refractory glowing or something.

    TS
  16. henfruit

    henfruit Minister of Fire

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    I know you have heard it before, dry wood and fill the fire box up at least half full.When mine is gassifying it sound like a feight train in the smoke pipe.
  17. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    You can open the secondary chamber door on an EKO and see the flame with no disturbance to the secondary combustion. I look in there all the time, but I've never seen the refractory glow. AHONA had one with a window in the secondary chamber door at one time, I believe.
  18. hiker88

    hiker88 Burning Hunk

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    I have a peep window on the combustion door on my unit. I noticed it does glow; especially around the area where the flame comes down and makes contact.
  19. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I have a window. I can open the bottom door to look in through it without disrupting anything. I think I could park there for hours watching that flame - a box of cold beer and I'd be set for the weekend down there and never move. :p
  20. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    I find it goes out as soon as the draft disappears due to the door being open. I've been burning some hard maple and we'll see what happens. The stack temp still is in the 250 range, I'd like it to be 100 degrees higher than that. Good thing I have the day off. LOL

    TS
  21. hiker88

    hiker88 Burning Hunk

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    Hey,

    Not trying to hijack your thread but I thought I would give you a laugh.

    I just started up a new system last weekend and it reports everything in Celsius. When I first read your post I was freaking out thinking, "oh no, my stack temp has only been around 150-175. I need to make some calls and find out what 's wrong."

    Need to starting thinking in "c" I guess. Seriously though, it sounds like you're in the ball park based on what others are saying and I'm sure you will work it out.
  22. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Ok, now I'n second guessing my wood. I split a couple of pieces and they averaged 19% MC. Maybe this is on the high side for this type of setup? Burns well in the Quadrafire in the LR though. I've got at least 2 cord of Beech which was C/S/S a year ago. I have some yellow birch in the back of the stacks which has been in the boiler room for two years. I may dig some of that out and give it some pyrolysis expierementation.

    TS
  23. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    I think you are probably doing OK Taylor. You are in the same phase that I was last year too... Like Maple I had a LOT of water pour out of my Varm when it first fired up. And I thought my wood was good, but I also had a lot of hissing and moisture in it. My fires wouldnt gassify for the first half hour at least since it was burning all the moisture out. THEN it would finally take off.

    Dont get too worried, just have a few more burns and get your boiler seasoned. Once the refractory and steel are up to temp, you can start to fiddle a little bit to tune to your wood.

    My stack temps didnt climb at all for the first few loads of wood this season. I had to adjust the controls to get it to keep the combustion fan running,since the boiler was sucking out too much heat. I actually ran it without some of the turbulators in it until I started to get some heat in my storage.
  24. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    I was thinking of the same thing. Removing the turbulators to get the stack up, but I don't have any tarish creosote in the stovepipe but 275 is too low for my likings.

    TS
  25. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    I would burn it a little more first, and then see if you need to start fiddlin'.

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