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Got the scoop on the new Quadrafire pellet stove design.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by MountainStoveGuy, Aug 10, 2006.

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  1. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    As a lot of you know, im not the biggest fan of pellet stoves. Having that said, im not trying to promote a name brand, the way i see it im reporting on new technology that might take the pellet stove market forward. Im not shure where to start. The design is completely different from anything i have ever seen.
    The main points are:

    dc motors

    burns every kind of fuel. Grain, corn, commercial grade pellets, grass pellets, sunflower seeds ect.

    Heat exchanger chamber that has airfoils shaped like airplane wings so all the avalible surface area is used. This system does not use tubes. The firebox is cast iron with the airfoil fins on both side. The DC blower blows in the chamber created by the firebox, this relieves backpressure that heat exchanger tubes creat, enabling them the use a slower speed, larger turbine, comvection blower, that runs virtuatly silent.

    Anvanced energy system. <--- the word that Quad labled this system
    Computer Controlled operation. There is a control on the wall that has many functions. Some of the main points would be that it self diagnoses problems and reports the problem on the screen. This system is tied in to the auto clean burn pot. Some of the messages it will provide:
    Missed ignition
    low firepot temp
    Auger motor stalled
    Auto clean stalled
    Check thermocouples
    Check combustion blower
    check convection blower
    vacuum error
    It tells you a few more things then that, but thats the important stuff.
    The auto clean device uses the fuel type that is programmed in the controller to montier the cleaning of the fire pot. If you pick “commercial pellet” on the controller the stove modifies its feed rate, combustion air, and frequency of cleaning of the fire pot. The bottom of the burn pot comes out. They have 6 fuels as of now that they have wrote programs for. The bottom of this cleaning fire pot has a rake on it to move the ashes to either side to keep it out of the way.

    Something unique about the blowers, they gradually spool up, slow enough that it is impossible to hear a blower kick on. They claim that the motors will last 10 times the amount of the old AC motors. (100,000) hours.
    They also addressed noise issues by changing to a round drop tube. They claim that pellets rattle less in a round tube vs a square one.

    They have what they call a “soft start” when ever the unit calls for heat, it starts off on low for 5 minuted, medium for 5 minutes, and high for 5 minutes. This enables them to use light weight fuels like grain with out blowing it self out during startup.
    A couple of minor points:
    Sealed hopper, no more dust leaks (they claim)
    decreased noise by 60% from there AC model
    Blowers snap out and are pinned for easy change out.
    Top fed auger has only one screw to take out to remove.
    The controller interfaces with your laptop or PDA to upload firmware.
    Thats about all i can think about right now. I will post some photos later.
    I still stand by my advice to wait a year before you buy into this new technology. This stove is a complete redesign, the only thing that remains of the old is the igniter system, the auger system, and the shape of the burn pot.

    Oh yea, this is the new Quadrafire Mount Vernon. The rest of there line is changing to this next year. To sum this up, they have developed a stove that will trouble shoot it self, burn almost anything, clean it self, and run so quite you hardly know its on.

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  2. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Great review MountainStoveGuy .
  3. smirnov3

    smirnov3 Feeling the Heat

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    this sounds like a pretty sophisticated machine, with a lot of computer control. What operating system does the stove run? Is it something proprietary, or is it something like WindRiver? or *shudder* WindowsCE?

    (ie, is the stove going to crash in the middle of the night & require a re-boot?)
  4. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    time will tell. There isnt alot of computer control, its all computer control. Its as bad as modern cars. Embedded OS's usually work pretty well. And if there is a software glich, you can always hook up and update it. Its almost a little scary where this stove is going, but exciting. When they lost the tubes and went to the airfoil heat exchanger, am amazing amout of heat pumps out of these things with so little noise. The heat out put blows away the old whitfield advantage II T, its that good. Now only if it doesnt crash, I wont find out. I wont handle them untill next year.
  5. smirnov3

    smirnov3 Feeling the Heat

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    That's what I'm asking about - WindRiver is a top of the line embedded, real-time OS (it's what runs half the machines in a hospital). WinCE, on the other hand, is NOT a reliable embedded OS, despite, MS marketing it as such.

    So I was wondering if QuadraFire bought something like WindRiver, or if they cheaped out and went with Windows.

    I guess we will find out when they start shipping the stoves.
  6. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I'm not sure it has a real operating system to the level of WindRiver or WinCE. I suspect it's more similar to the controlers on modern heatpumps. FWIW, Quad has had a basic computer controlling most functions for awhile. The control box on the 1200i takes the inputs (thermostat, safety devices, thermocouple temp) and regulates the outputs (exhaust blower, ignitor, room blower, auger) via a basic controller that is much like our propane furnace's. It should be fairly robust as long as they've sized the triacs to the load. The early 1200i triacs were a bit close too close to load spec for my liking. But Quad has always made an advanced, quality product and they seem to be working hard to keep ahead. The new Mount Vernon sounds like it could be a winner. Ryan, were you able to get any specs on pellet capacity and btu output?
  7. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    I could just see it now. "Honey, the pellet stove is white hot and it's got the blue screen of death...should I reboot or call the fire department?" :)
  8. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    As promissed, here are some shots. The first one is the self cleaning pot.

    Attached Files:

  9. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    Here is the heat exchangers, and the drop tube assembly.

    Attached Files:

  10. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    This is more of a complete shot of the back, you will notice the metal skin that covers the exchanger in this photo. no more tubes! Also is a shot of the front with the burn plate removed.

    Attached Files:

  11. smirnov3

    smirnov3 Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah, I know about that. But when you start having multiple programs, self diagnostics and up-loadable firmware, you are moving into operating system territory.

    But you're right - they may well have written their own proprietery 'mini operating system'.

    Slightly off topic - have you guys heard about some heating systems being wired to the the internet, so that you can turn the AC (or heat) on from work as you head home? Is this actually being installed, or is this somebodies pipe-dream?
  12. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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  13. Choppedliver

    Choppedliver New Member

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    Do you know how much$$ the new stove will be. DC motor are not cheap
  14. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Impressive stove and innovative design. It will be interesting to see how these perform. It looks like it could be an industry influencer. Thanks for the detailed report and pictures Ryan. It's not often that one can see all the working parts without the outer shell. Can I assume that one still have to regularly vacuum out the fly ash?
  15. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    You've pointed out a number of times that there are not tubes. Why is that significant? I'm not a pellet stove owner, so I'm in the dark here.

    You also pointed out that they used a tube for the drop assembly, other stoves (I know Harmon is one) use a bottom feed auger directly into the burn pot. That would seem to eliminate the "plink plink plink" of pellets dropping into the burn pot that some people find annoying. Why is this an improvement and innovative?

    The picture of the self cleaning burn pot show a cast burn pot. I know others use a removable Stainless burn pot. Advantages of both?

    And finally, as asked above... What's it gonna cost. This is more technology than in my furnace....I hope it doesn't cost that much.
  16. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Tubes are where the heat is exchanged to the blower chamber. They require occasional cleaning as they build up a fine ash powder over time. This decreases efficiency, especially if one doesn't clean them regularly. The 1200i has a built-in tube scraper, so it's a pretty easy task. I did it usually once a day or two with the pellet fill up. Takes about 15 seconds. At the end of the season one takes the cover plate off the tubes and vacuums out the assembly. It looks like Quad has really worked on making the stove more efficient, quieter and lower maintenance. They've just eliminated the whole process tube cleaning process and made the stove more efficient to boot.

    Quads have had cast iron burn pots for as long as I have used them. After 5 yrs, there was no sign of wear on ours. I think the plinking of pellets is a marketing plug. The stove mst be pretty quiet for this to be in anyway annoying. I'd be a happy camper if all one heard was the gentle plinking of pellets in the burnpot.
  17. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    The lack of tubes create less backpressure on the motor, which makes it run more quiet, and you dont need as large of fan to crank air through it , in this case, the exchanger has way more surface area to exchage off of.
    When i was there i asked how other manufactures were burning grain sucessfully, and what makes this so different. There reply was that bottem fed systems have a long shut down time, and dont cycle well. I have no idea how true this is, i have never operated a bottem fed pellet stove. You will still have to vacume out fly ash and what not, what you wont have to do is scrape the burn pot because the program tells it how often to clean it, and it is supposed to clean it pretty often so you dont get any buildup sticking to the sides.
    As far as cost, its going to be the same price point as the current Mt Vernon. They claim that the unit is cheaper to produce because of all the pre cast parts, even though the parts are more expensive, its ofset by labor.
  18. Choppedliver

    Choppedliver New Member

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    Harmans PC45 Corn Stove and the Europa GF75 can also burn grains like wheat, Corn and Whole Tree pellets, In Colorado (Denver area) this has never been a big thing because of the price of these types of products are more expensive then just regular pellets. There is a whole tree pellet plant that should open in colorado in the next year or so and may make a cheap source of fuel for people with these new types of stoves

    Also Mountainstoveguy says "The lack of tubes create less backpressure on the motor, which makes it run more quiet, and you dont need as large of fan to crank air through it , in this case, the exchanger has way more surface area to exchage off of."
    this is also some thing Harman has on most of there stoves and it works well for them
  19. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    yea, we'll have to see how it works.....give it at least 2 years, one year to find the "bugs", another year to work them out....will be interesting!
  20. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    Agreed Mr Back. I usually only wait one season, but two wont hurt. I will be foreced to move faster then that because i dont have that many of the old ones left. I would suspect by december i will have to bring some in, and i will cringe every time i sell one. I have seen the same basic pellet design for years, it nice to see somthing unique.
  21. rhcvpi

    rhcvpi New Member

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    I'm a pellet stove newby - I have used wood stoves pretty much all my life. I am thinkin gof making the change to pellets and am interested in the Mt Vernon insert. I have heard it doesn't hit the street until next month, but curious if you know the dimensions of the system (there isn't any literature available yet). I am curious to see how big it is in comparison to the Castile or the Harman Accentra (my top contenders for the new purchase).
  22. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    I didnt measure it, but its substantually larger then the casile. for some reason 33x21 is whats sticks in my brain. I would honestly recommend you wait untill next burn season, they will have the bugs worked out. No matter what they say, there is always bugs. Its a very cool system, and is very impressive demonstration of technology, good luck!
  23. heatxchanger

    heatxchanger New Member

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    Hello MountainStoveGuy,

    Thanks for sharing all of the great info and the pictures!

    Now I have a few questions regarding this new pellet technology and inserts.


    Currently, the Mount Vernon is not available as an insert but rather only as a free standing stove. The only pellet inserts that Quadrafire sells are the 1200I, the Castile, and the Santa Fe (the Castile and the Santa Fe have the same guts). Do you know if this new technology will be available from Quadrafire as a pellet insert?

    To be even more specific:

    Is an insert version of the Mount Vernon coming out?
    Will the 1200I be converted to this new technology?
    Will the Castile/Santa Fe be converted to this new technology?

    I want this new technology in an insert!

    Thanks,

    Pellethead
  24. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy Minister of Fire

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    yes, the new version is sold as a insert
    the 1200 will not change, its going to china and is going to be a price point.
    they claim that everthing else will be this way by next years burn season.
    glad i could help!
  25. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I'll second the "Thanks" While I'm not in the market for a pellet stove, I certainly like to read about them. Like reading about new cars.

    One thing that's important for Quad is the notion that they will be quieter. When looking at stoves, the one thing that really struck me about the Quads (at least when I saw one in action) was how much more noise there was compared to the Harmon's and the Breckwells. The Quad seemed very blast furnace like.
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