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The EKO Has Landed!

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Eric Johnson, Oct 18, 2007.

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  1. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Well, I inadvertently deleted this thread. I suppose I could recreate it, but it's probably best just to move on. I apologize to anyone who contributed whose wisdom is now lost to the sands of time. There were some good posts, but I'm sure there will be more in this new forum. Thanks again, Craig.

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  2. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    I just tried to post this message and it wouldn't take it and now I know why. There was some very good info lost. but we'll just keep posting and learn together.

    I talked to zennen yesterday and he said to open the inside primary opening all the way, mine was shipped closed and wouldn't burn. Then to set the secondary screws 3-1/2 turns out from where they touch the tubes. He said it sounds like I am trying to burn to wet of wood and that is why I get smoke and have trouble getting to gasification sometimes He is probly right as I've been trying to burn on some very humid days and weve had some rain and heavy dew so some of my wood has been damp. I'm waiting for some cold days so I can fine tune things. Also he said that it is hard to get gasification until you get to 70c and my boiler will shut down at 80c. I'm going to make some changes so I can burnup to 90c as I don't have to worry about over heating with all my storage. That way I will keep the stove up at a higher temp. Did it today and it was better. I'll keep you posted on how things work when it cools down in a week or so.
    leaddog
  3. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    A couple things along those lines that I've noticed. One is that these boilers like a big load of wood. Think about it--more fuel means a bigger fire in the gasification chamber. I've noticed that when I've got a small fire, which is all I've been building in this warm weather, sometimes you get a little smoke and you have to poke it around and baby it a little bit. Kick the wood in the firebox around and maybe throw in another chunk or two, and it really lights off and burns clean. I've also noticed that it takes longer with small loads to get up to temp. Even if the water temp at the probe is 75 or 80, the refractory brick may not be up to temp, and you won't get the gasification. Again, I think a full firebox speeds up that process.

    Adjusting the primary air intakes made all the difference for me. And if you have trouble with one of the nozzles lighting off, try opening the corresponding air vent with the screw. Nofossil has a more sophisticated understanding of this than I do, but my working approach has been: more air equals a cleaner, hotter burn; less air equals smoke and difficulty getting gasification off the ground. And, as you suggest, I think colder temps will make everything easier. Nofossil also said you need really dry wood to start things off. Mine has all been sitting in the barn all summer, so it's very dry and I haven't really had any problems.

    How do you turn the thermostat up beyond 80?

    Funny how none of this stuff is covered in the manual.
  4. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    As far as turning up the temp, I moved the temp. probe from the top of the boiler to the discharge pipe. I put it right on the pipe under the insulation. Before when the thing turned off my discharge temp was only 170 and now it is about 183. zennen also said that I can put a 50to55K resister on the probe and that will raise the temp. You have to be careful to have storage or a heat sink or you will over heat the boiler if it shuts down. I think that is why they made the reg. to only go to 80c. With my storage I really would like to go to 190. My boiler is close loop so I could run it up to 220 and still not boil water in the boiler. Not that I want the relief valve to vent at that temp.
    I'm going to play with it and try different things while I can set and watch it when it gets colder and see what works best. today it is 77degrees out and WINDY so its not the day to play fire tender
    leaddog
  5. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I had a Marathon "Yankee Longwood" boiler for years that the mfg. said to run at 200 or 210 in order to try to achieve secondary combustion in the firebox. I doubt if it ever did, but I sure had a lot of domestic hot water and a boiler that did a lot of interesting things at those temps. And it was a gravity-feed circulation scheme to boot. No pumps or zone valves. But that's living a little close to the edge--180 works for me if it gets the job done.

    My 60 kicks off at about 80, and back on at around 76. The hottest I've seen it is 83. But like you, I'm suffering through 70 degree days, so there's not a whole lot of draft to pull the thing over the edge. I need to put a big cast iron radiator in the greenhouse; the 24 feet of copper-fin baseboard I put in a few weeks ago ain't gonna cut it alone. Then I should be able to dump some heat if necessary while I'm getting the tank figured out.
  6. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    Well 80c is only 176f so it kicks off at that so you would have a hard time ever getting your storage up to 175f. If I can get mine to kick off at 90c that is 195f and with my storage I could get it up to 190safely. Being it is a closed system I would still have a safety margin of 25degrees. I think they made the reg to kick off at 80c to cover all types of instillations. That would keep the boiler from over heating in a system with no storage or heat sink and the power goes off.
    Zennen said that it is hard to get GOOD gasification if things are under 70c (158f) so the way things are set up now you are on the edge. With another 15 degrees you can get things up to heat and be in the sweet spot easier.
    The manual that is on line has more instrution than the one I got with the unit but they don't tell you to much. This is why forums like this are so important. I have several people around here watching mine real close as they are very interested in going gasification but there isn't much knowledge out there yet. The dealers are not close and they are learning also. I'm hoping that I can help them out.
    leaddog
  7. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Well you're helping me out, 'dog, that's for sure.

    I'm getting pretty good gasification at around 70, but my dealer said the boiler runs best at 170 and higher, so I'm going to see if I can bring it up a few degrees.
  8. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    I hope that we can collectively get the whole gasification / startup puzzle solved. A couple of observations - I may have mentioned some of these in the lost portion of this thread, but I'm very interested in seeing if these hold true for others:

    1) Starting the fire with really dry wood seems to help. A lot.

    2) Flue temperature (as measured by a cheapo magnetic flue thermometer) is a much better indication of readiness for secondary combustion than water jacket temperature is.

    3) Reducing the thermal mass surrounding the secondary combustion zone helps a lot. A giant slab if cold refractory cement is not good.

    For me, a flue temperature of 300F is the sweet spot. Almost guaranteed, even if the water jacket temp is only 40C.

    I've gone to some considerable effort to build a low-mass insulated combustion chamber / labyrinth. Waiting for cold weather to try it out. Previous attempts have been promising, but it's tough to find materials that will hold up.
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