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Progress ( woodstock)

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by doug60, Oct 9, 2011.

  1. RAPhomme

    RAPhomme Member

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    Excellent--thanks for poking around for the info--just the kind of stuff you know is out there but is kind of hard to get hold of.

    So now I have a following question. What difference would a thermostat be expected to make, were one to become available (in any form)? What difference exactly does it make for BK stoves--or others that have one? Convenience of one-step settings, yes, but also longer, evener burns? Any idea by (very roughly) how much, etc.?

    You can find comments like this, suggesting a big difference at least in ease of use:

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  2. Slow1

    Slow1 Minister of Fire

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    I suppose the easiest way to put my expectation is that I would want the thermostat to regulate the air so as to maintain a steady heat output. By making regular adjustments to the air input (constant fiddling if you may) it could in theory even out the hills and valleys even more than the thermal mass of the soapstone does. Net effect? Well - I would expect that as the fuel is consumed and goes through the various stages of burn (from rapid outgassing through to coaling stage) the air would be adjusted to keep the effective heat output more steady, less air during the outgassing to temper the burn down more, then more air during coaling stage to keep the heat up and 'burn down' the coal bed and get the maximum heat out of the stove at that time. During the peak heating season I do this "fiddling" myself in the FV by watching the burn and turning the air up after a couple hours then opening it up to full near the end of the burn to 'blast' the coal and get the heat from them as well as burn them down. It would be nice to have the stove react automatically to these changing conditions of the fuel by itself. As I understand it the BK thermostat does a rather nice job of this.
  3. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Yep, I was told the new scoop will keep most of the fly ash away from the cat keeping the potassium poisoning down to a minimum. So far I agree, lot less ash sitting inside this scoop than the old cast iron scoop.
  4. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    Batten:

    Just wanted to get things straight, the only splits I grabbed from Dennis that day still had strings tied around them to hold them together during the car ride. The wood from WS had no such strings. Dennis did fetch some of his wood for me while I was splitting, and I am sure he knew it was his wood. The WS splits were much lighter in color, and MUCH bigger splits. I cannot explain why his wood was so moist, but it was definitely Dennis wood.
  5. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Wow, that's a tall order, don't you think? Here's a few things that I can think of that will make that quite a challenge:

    1. The blessing of 640 pounds of soapstone will prove to be a curse if they make any attempt to regulate the burn by using feedback from the stove temp to make adjustments to the air intake. The stove simply won't be able to react in time. Here is where I feel soapstone's stellar qualities will work against it. Because of the high specific heat of soapstone compared to steel and iron, it will take a lot more heat to raise the temp of the material up in temperature by the same amount. By the time the stove gets up to a higher temp, the conditions that caused it to rise in the first place would now be different. As an engineer, I'm sure you are familiar with this as hysteresis. The lag time between changes in air intake and changes in stove temp would be too long to be useful unless a "history" of how it got there was part of the control mechanism.

    2. Any attempt to regulate the burn using a thermocouple in the flue might be even more problematic. This stove seems to burn at an amazingly uniform flue gas temp over a wide range of conditions and heat outputs. The stove would somehow have to "know" the conditions that are responsible for that flue temp at that precise time. It could be 275º on the way up from startup, or 275º at the end of the burn. How will the thermostat know what way the stove wants to adjust the air? Giving more or less air will not always have the same results in different circumstances.

    3. Any attempt to control the stove by using flue gas analysis with sensors would be prohibitively expensive and ridiculously complicated. Granted, this setup would be the tits if they could accomplish it, but I don't think they are going in that direction. As a matter of fact, when I proposed such an idea to Tom last year he just kinda stood there blinking at me. I took that as a "You gotta be kiddin' me?" look.


    I have a stove with thermostatic air control, and for me, I have found I have a love/hate relationship with it. My VC stove has a block cast into the back of the stove with a bi-metallic coil that opens and closes the primary air as the stove body temp changes. It's a crude little mechanism, but an elegant solution to the problem... when it works correctly. Here's a few examples of where and when it fails.

    - In the morning when I go down to a cold stove, the air flapper is wide open since the stove continued to cool as the burn died down, and that causes the flapper to open to allow more air in. I may start it there to get the fire going closed well, but five minutes later I have to close it down before I walk away from it or I risk overfiring the stove. At five minutes into the burn, the bigger wood is just beginning to pyrolyse but the stove temp hasn't budged all that much. If I close the flapper too far, when the fire gets really going and outgassing begins in earnest, and the stove need more air to burn off those gasses, the increasing heat will work against this and actually close the draft more. This isn't just a hypothetical, I experience this phenomenon every morning of the burn season.

    - At the end of the active burn and just before the coaling stage, the stove will be at its hottest. The flapper will be as closed as it is going to get at that point as well. Everything seems to be working fine until the coaling stage is reached. At that point, the feedback from the still hot stove is causing bi-metallic coil to keep the flapper closed, even though the inside of the box is crying for more air to keep those coals burning. By the time the stove has cooled sufficiently for the flapper to allow more air in, it's too late and the coal bed has cooled and collapsed to a point when only a fresh load will burn up those coals. Plus, that wide-open flapper is allowing the heat inside to get drawn up the flue without check, even though the air velocity past the coals isn't great enough to make them burn hotter. Less heat transfer going on and no way to reverse it because the flapper won't be closing down again until the stove either gets hot again (and, of course, it won't) or until I manually move the lever to the right. Which I don't do, because I'm either asleep or am not home.

    There are several other faults with the VC system that will take too long to explain, but it is not the "set it and forget it" convenience it is touted to be, at least not in my experience. No, it is not a sophisticated control system, but I hope I have explained why I believe a better one is not an easy thing to engineer. Kudos to them if they can pull it off in a convincing manner. As for me, I'd be just as satisfied to keep to the K.I.S.S. principal in play and go with the stove as it is currently being offered. One lever, set it where you want it, and learn what it will do at that setting and in those conditions. Maybe I'm just a control freak (ask Lady BK if she disagrees), but I feel more comfortable being the one in control of my heater rather than some mechanical contraption making all the decisions, no matter how effective it might be at making them.
  6. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    'Tis a mystery then. Simple reason dictates that that ash split should have been at the same low 16% or so as that cherry split after some 9 years in a wood stack, don't you agree? I have no explanation for it, but both of our meters couldn't possibly be that far off between two different splits on readings taken just minutes apart (and I know my batteries were fresh because I just changed them a few days ago). And besides, that wood - wherever it came from - was still cool and dampish feeling inside. Suffice it to say that 25% MC wood burned quite well in the stove that Dennis placed his order for, so it is likely guaranteed that he will be tickled pink with his new purchase. At his age, he needs all the tickling he can get. :)

    Edit:

    Tony... how do you feel about mailing me that Dennis wood? I'd be only too happy to do an oven-dry test and compare it to what I get on my meter and then report the results here. I left wishing I had a couple samples to analyze (enzyme content and all %-P), but I was long gone before the idea occurred to me. But there'd be nothing like testing the actual split in question to get a more definitive answer. Shipping can't be more than a few bucks, and I will gladly pay for it. A small price of admission to satisfy my intellectual curiosity.
  7. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    Based on my Fireview experience all that would be needed is some wide open time at the end of the burn cycle to burn down some coals before a reload. Other than that the temp is pretty consistent. It was hard to know how the PH would behave in real life because people were messing with it all day. Adding wood too soon, too much air etc. The magic of the The FV and I assume the PH too is that it doesn't need much attention through the burn cycle.
  8. RAPhomme

    RAPhomme Member

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    Battenkiller--thanks for the full analysis. I agree that soapstone's heat retention would seem to foil quick up- or down- thermostat adjustments. Unless, I suppose, the thermostat were working not from surface but from internal temps to help regulate current firebox and future soapstone-surface conditions. Impossible?

    Are you willing to take a stab at why their thermostats seem to delight Blaze King owners? No soapstone buffering the feedback, but isn't that also the case with your VC, which evidently doesn't merely delight?
  9. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    I'm thinking the same thing. Micro-managing any complex system is fraught with difficulty. Maybe an internal firebox thermocouple to sense dropping temps at the end of the cycle? I'd think you'd want to let the stove "know" well in advance of decreasing stove temp that you want it to give the fire more air. Even a flue thermocouple would do this if it acted merely as a switching devise that only worked in one direction (as the flue temp decreased beyond a certain point).

    Another thing would be to place the entire stove on one of those big scales they use in the lab and monitor the fuel consumption in real-time. You could write a program that tracked the progress of the burn and make adjustments throughout the burn cycle based on how much wood you started with, how hot the stove was at startup, what the barometric pressure in the room is, the outside temp, the strength of the draft, the MC of the wood, etc. Maybe I should call and suggest this to them, eh?

    Damn... I wish I could be part of the Woodstock troubleshooting team. That place looks like an awesome place to work, and I'm sure they need a guy like me on board. :roll:
  10. Battenkiller

    Battenkiller Minister of Fire

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    Hey, you stole my idea. :mad: :lol:

    I don't know exactly why the BK thermo works so well except that it is reported to do so by almost every happy owner. As far as VC goes, I think I know why it doesn't work so well on the Vigilant. That block that the bi-metallic coil is mounted to is way up high on the back of the secondary combustion chamber, at the very end of a 55" long serpentine flame path. It doesn't really get hot until you have been running with the bypass closed for a while (or in updraft mode for a real long while). On some burns it seems to begin to choke the air down at the correct time, on others it happens way too late. At such times, too much primary air coming into the stove cools the internal temps and secondary combustion ceases. You are then left with the wood still outgassing into the back of the stove but the smoke is not burning correctly. And you never really know it since what's going on behind that cast iron fireback is just a guess.

    This has been the hardest thing about learning to operate this stove correctly for me, and I believe is at least part of why it has such a bad reputation for making excessive creosote. A near-miss is as good as a mile when it come to maintaining secondary combustion. Once you are out of the "zone" of smoke ignition (about 1100º) on the Vigilant, nothing is going to get it back up there short of opening the damper and letting the stove run in updraft mode until it is hot enough to support secondary combustion again. Most folks won't take the time to understand this, nor will they bother to constantly fuss with it to keep it going in the right direction. Many VC owners find it easier to just run the stove in updraft all the time, but I find it is a cleaner running stove if you can manage the secondary burn effectively, with longer and steadier burns as well. Still working on that one, but it's a moot point for me now since a new stove is on the horizon anyway... hopefully a PH... without thermostatic control.
  11. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    The more I think of a thermostat the less I think I really need it. If I want a low even output burn I set and forget the air at .75 and I get it. I don't think you could squeeze much longer of a burn than I already get by adding a thermostat? Maybe a thermostat would be more effective on a larger stove like the Blaze King's and PH, but a smaller stove like mine prolly no need?
  12. leeave96

    leeave96 Minister of Fire

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    FWIW, the new SS cat that Woodstock is using is from Sud-Chemie and it is resistant to potassium degradation per their literature. This is in addition to being resistant to thermal shock and vibration and lower light-off temps.

    Bill
  13. leeave96

    leeave96 Minister of Fire

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    +1

    I would only add that the soapstone IS a thermostat, leveling out the peaks and valleys of the burn cycle. My Keystone burned all night last night and when I got to it this morning, the living room was quite warm, inspite of only coals left in the firebox. Stove top temp was just under 250 degrees and the stove, via stored heat in the soapstone, was radiating nicely.

    Bill
  14. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    I agree, nicely done
  15. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Sorry that I have not read every post on this thread but it really struck me with all the talk about buying the stove and the price and what you get etc., etc. It made me think of when we bought the Fireview. Yes, we could have bought a cheaper stove and probably have stayed just as warm. But, and this is a big but, how would a cheaper stove perform compared to the Fireview? I do know that we now have a stove that burns about half of the amount of wood our older stove did and we stay a whole lot warmer. With that in mind, the cost is not much of a factor in the decision. Will there be a further decrease in our wood needs with a Progress? The general feeling is that there will be a further benefit in this way and in addition to that, the stove burns still cleaner than the Fireview.

    There are steel stove, cast stoves, cat stoves, soapstone stoves, etc., etc. Each has its pluses and minuses. You will never find one stove that everyone will agree on as to which is best. What we do know is that we are extremely satisfied in the stove we bought and feel we got our money's worth. We also feel the same way about the Progress. It's an awesome stove.
  16. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Not according to the EPA tests they posted, unless they told you something different?
  17. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Todd, think of it this way. The Progress and the Fireview with the same emissions....but the Progress burning a whole lot more wood. More stuff going out the chimney.
  18. mhrischuk

    mhrischuk Guest

    This isn't a good stove until it's been in use for a good season or two and it proves itself. I suppose Woodstock has a pretty good track record but bageez you all act like this thing has proved itself when the first one hasn't even been delivered.

    It sure looks nice and the technology looks promising. How will it hold up? No one knows. Last I saw the prototype was first fired not all that long ago. The customers end up doing the real testing.
  19. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    +1 We all hope it is going to be a winner. But it may take a season or two of burning in a wide range of conditions out of the lab to shake the final bugs out of it. One of my concerns is how it behaves when put on a 35ft tall flue.
  20. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    The claimed emissions ratings are higher than the Defiant, which is larger. So, I'm interested in seeing what comes of that.
  21. Choppedliver

    Choppedliver New Member

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    Time will tell but this is what we (the RMS crew) said about the Hearthstone Equinox when it first came out. Now it is one of our top selling wood stoves.
  22. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    It's a valid point. That skepticism is exactly why I purchased the first fiskars axe, the supper splitter (shorter 4.5 lb job).

    Handed it to a buddy who swung it 2x and handed it back w/out saying a word. A week later he handed me and the 4 other guys we cut/split wood with an x27.

    While the overall quality of the stove can't be tested until it's really been put through the paces in a lot of homes, I guarantee if you were able to see this thing operate you'd be impressed with the stove. Seeing the shop and meeting the folks building / designing it further impressed. These people weren't salesman, they were proud of their workplace, wood burning, and what they had built to hopefully improve both.

    I may be proven wrong about this stove, but I doubt it.

    pen
  23. Flatbedford

    Flatbedford Minister of Fire

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    ...and people say cat stoves are hard to operate? :eek:hh:
  24. BrowningBAR

    BrowningBAR Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, the Vig's air controls are... random? Inconsistent? Not sure the word I'm looking for. But, BK's description is accurate about the Vigilant. The newer VC stoves I've used work a lot better than that when it comes to controlling the burn.

    The most frustrating is when you are holding a good temperature but you still get smoke. So I open the damper for a few minutes to sort itself out and then close the damper again.

    I'm pretty sure this is why I find it to be a head scratcher when people complain about a Cat stove. The Vig has the extra lever of a Cat stove without any of the benefits plus inconsistent air controls.
  25. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    fwiw, the wood I took was from several different years. The 2 splits that were cut and split during December of 2002 is what Tony split (or tried to) first. Those 2 splits were put into the Progress at my urging late in the day. One funny thing was that I was talking to a gentleman and he asked about the different wood so I told him it was cut and split in December. He liked that but then I told him it was in the year 2002. He then scoffed and said it would be like burning paper and would be burned up in minutes. I just told him to watch it and left him go.

    If memory serves me (which sometimes as of late it doesn't) I also took wood from the years 2008-2009, 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. The MM from Woodstock pegged the wood basically all the same moisture which led me to believe something was just not right. I do know he had to change the setting according to they type of wood but getting all the wood within about .1 of each other was a bit suspect. To be honest, I expected the wood from 2009-2010 to be the driest. The reason is the condition of the wood when it was cut and split vs. the condition of the other woods. I really wish I'd have taken a split or two of that dead pin oak from last March.

    My thanks to Tony for bringing his splitting maul, wedge and MM. Also to BK for bringing his MM and knowledge and a big thank you to Woodstock for making all this possible.

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