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Help me with my intake control design

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by DeeGore, Feb 8, 2013.

  1. DeeGore

    DeeGore New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2011
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    minnesota
    Hello,
    I am trying to come up with a way to automaticaly control the air intake on my wood stove.
    Right now everything is manual.

    I have a thermostat set to run a fan at the intake to stoke the fire when the room temp gets too low.
    I want to add a damper that opens when the fan kicks in.

    I have a door lock solenoid from an old dodge van. I have wired it up and it will open the damper. A spring will keep the damper closed when the fan cuts out.

    My question is, is there a better way to accomplish this?

    My setup is running off a 12 volt battery charged by a solar panel, so efficiency is important. I am worried that the solenoid will waste too much power holding the damper open.
    I know it is probably not rated for continuous use, but it was free.

    Is there a bolt on intake damper/fan available for sale? I have been searching but maybe using the wrong words.

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  2. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Mar 7, 2012
    Messages:
    6,199
    Loc:
    Philadelphia
    No advice on the specifics, but do keep in mind your system (any system) will eventually fail. Will it fail safely?
  3. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2012
    Messages:
    1,366
    Loc:
    Pittsburgh, PA
    I don't have direct experience with these, but I'd read whatever I could find about the bimetal thermostats some older stoves (and maybe a few newer ones) have built-in to control the intake air. Such a thermostat would require no power, and have a graduated response rather than the binary off/on of a solenoid actuator. It would adjust according to stove temperature, not room temperature, but frankly I doubt you'll do better than that without computerized controls and fairly sophisticated algorithms. Here's a thread to get you started.

    No way in heck would I attach a blower to a stove not designed for it. Woodstoves are not forges or furnaces. Pushing air into the firebox (as opposed to letting the chimney draw it in) could end up pushing toxic combustion products out into the room through bad seals or through the secondary air supply tubes.

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