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Thinking Wood Gun...any advice or experience?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by avc8130, Sep 24, 2012.

  1. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Did you tell the elves that Thanksgiving break is over? Maybe they thought they had an extended vacation. "Some people's elves..........these days"

    TS
    mikefrommaine likes this.

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  2. Woodsrover

    Woodsrover Member

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    I'm usually making a mess of myself in some fashion or another. Used to wash in warm, now I wash in hot.
  3. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Oh no! I sure hope these aren't the same elves that are going to be overwhelmed with prepping gifts for kids this Christmas season. If that is the case, I'll NEVER have a warm boiler! !!!

    ac
    Taylor Sutherland likes this.
  4. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    LOL, Depends on how good the kids have been. Could give them a lump of coal, but there is another source of heat.

    TS
  5. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    It's amazing how we age. My first thought: "Really? You Promise?!?!"

    They make a gun for that too! LOL

    ac
  6. I think we're saying the same thing. A car meters the fuel and air mixture to produce the desired rpm or output. When it's ideling it uses just enough air and fuel to keep from stalling.

    A wood gasser works the same, gotta give it enough air to mix with the fuel to keep it from stalling. That's what your cycle timer is doing. Keeping your boiler idleing. Other boilers have the cycle timer built into the controller. Mine does, but I cant set it to turn itself off. The longest I can go between cycles is 120 minutes with the fans coming on for 1 second.
  7. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Let me ask you this:

    When your car idles, is there not exhaust?

    When I first had issues with my WG flue connection, I had a full on fire established just after a major smoke show. I flipped the switch off and the fan stopped and the damper closed. I completely removed the flue connection. Absolutely nothing on the cycle.

    NOT a whisp of smoke. Nothing. No exhaust.

    ac
  8. The exhaust on idleing car is intermittent. The engine is just cycling on a much faster basis than a wood boiler so the exhaust seems continuous.

    On an ic engine there is a intake stroke, compression, power and exhaust stroke.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Arbeitsweise_Zweitakt.gif
  9. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Like I said. Whatever helps us sleep at night. I really don't care. Idling, off, lying in wait. Doesn't matter to me. As long as the house is warm I don't see the point in fighting semantics.

    ac
  10. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    And you will also get to the point AC where you will not need to measure the right amount of wood in the boiler. It took me a while but if your splits do not create a bridge effect and there is enough demand for it to turn on once every couple of hours or so, it will not go out completely. It is a balancing act, that is for sure. I have had my boiler go for much longer than that and had that little ember get fired back up again by that powerful fan. And away the gassification went. So many variables involved. But getting that good coal bed going and keeping it over the nozzle. I drink a cold beer with my elves sometimes. It seems to help. Hopefully my wife won't ever hear me talking to them when I am down there. :oops:
  11. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I have confidence. I'm not worried. I'm LOVING this stupid thing. I am home enough that the house itself hasn't gone cold, just the boiler. If I just put more wood in it, I probably wouldn't have any problems. I'm just hung up on how little wood you guys put in. If I just load the darn thing, it works fine.

    No matter how I slice it, this house has never been this warm since we moved here!

    On a side note: my "smell" seems to be coming under control. I think it was caused by the curing refractory and the LARGE amount of liquid creosote/condensation created by the initial firing from 50F well water to full temp.

    ac
  12. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    How many times do I have to tell you guys?! There is no such thing as fire elves! Only fire GREMLINS
    [​IMG]
    Gasifier and Coal Reaper like this.
  13. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Remember I caught one in the act of relighting the fire after it was off and not idling :p
    Coal Reaper likes this.
  14. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I caught one in the act this morning too! I opened the boiler to cool to the touch coals and log remnants. As I turned around and reached for the tool and some fresh wood charge, the fire sprung back to life. Maybe it was idling, maybe it was out, maybe I still haven't found my elf/gremlin's hiding spot. I really don't care. What is certain is that it heated my house and it didn't burn any oil!

    I did have an interesting experience this morning. When I opened the loading door initially, I got a splash of WATER at my feet. I mean legitimate water. It was black and smelly, so I know it was from the combustion chamber. It got all over the front of the unit. I cleaned it all up. I have a feeling these 24" lengths of oak just aren't seasoned fully.

    ac
  15. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    ac, that's the reason I let oak season for 2+ years. We had a fire going outdoors late summer during a small party and I decided to throw in a few oak splits that were probably 1.5 yrs seasoned...just about put the fire out!

    I used my cycle timer last night for the first time this year since the night before I woke at about 4am with a chill I just could not shake. It was nice to have a 70+ degree house 1st thing in the morning and instant hot water...not that it was a big deal before as I have several "chores" to do 1st thing in the a.m. that allow the WG to get me hot water when I need it. The trick to me in order to find the sweet spot on the timer is to be sure there is a nice bed of coals to begin with and a roaring fire going...then I engage the cycle timer to give that first burn run at about 30 minutes out...it's then on 1 clip every 60 minutes from that point. Soon this will be a mute point as the nights and days will be getting cold enough not to use the timer.
  16. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, this oak is 2 years old...but apparently I'm going to mark the rest of it for 2013/2014 winter.

    Really? Just 1 clip? That is only ~2 mins of running. I guess that would be sufficient since when I use the purge the fire is usually fully engaged again within 1-2 minutes.

    Are you rotating the dial to put the next clip ~30 mins out after you reload?

    ac
  17. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    It's getting colder here (-12c when I got up this morning, not getting above freezing in the daytime), but I'm still only burning in the evenings although starting a bit earlier the last couple days (just before supper vs. just after). Last evening I put around 2-1/2 not-full firebox loads through, last 1/2 was on the way to bed at 10pm. When I checked things this morning at 7:30, my top of storage was still over 180f - lots to keep the house warm until this evening again. I need to start from scratch every day with the fire building unlike you guys with the elves/gremlins & cycle timers, but I absolutely love the warm house when getting up, and not needing to feed the boiler first thing in the morning or even all day until the evening. Storage changes everything - even more than gassification does.
  18. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    That sounds nice. However, right now I touch the boiler twice/day. Really. Once in the morning and once in the evening. Roughly 12 hours apart. I really don't find this difficult. Storage would cost me ANOTHER ~$2k+. That just extends the pay back even further. This WG is working without storage. It is working just fine to me so far. I have been burning 8 1/2 days and I couldn't be happier.

    ac
  19. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    That's great to hear too.

    I'm just as happy as a pig in, well, you know, about how mine is doing too. Everyone has different preferences or priorities - for me, after the past years of living with late night & early morning stumbles to the fire to keep us warm, not having to worry about firing for basically a whole day is big. I think I could also get through a couple of days with no one home with everything heated up before I left.
  20. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Being able to leave for a few days without having to worry about loading would be nice, but again, $2k+ for the storage setup buys a LOT of oil for use in a backup sense.

    ac
  21. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    I keep forgetting that AC has some other things I have to remember. First. A Wood Gun that is big enough to heat 2-1/2 times what he is heating right now. !!! Yea baby! And the size and insulation of his house.

    I have a 400 gallon buffer tank, as they like to call it. And I am keeping my eye open for another inexpensive air reciever tank to add to it. This time I will need something that is easier to move into the cellar and will not require me to cut through the concrete floor and pour concrete base and walls, etc, etc. I still can't believe I did all that. But it was fun and the tank is working great. I have my eye on a 200 gallon tank that would go into the basement easy enough. It would be nice to have 1/2 again what I do now. And then I would still have room to add another one beside it.
  22. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I'm having my doubts about WGs btu claims. I would say I have been filling the WG up to about even with the loading door lately when the nights are in the 20s. That gets me ~12 hours. With my 24" splits, the load is pretty even and packed. When it gets down to ~10F I'm not sure this WG would be able to heat 2.5x my house for 12 hours.

    What is a "full" load by definition? Is it all you can stand to jam in there? If so, then I am probably at 1/3-1/2 capacity right now?

    I have been meaning to ask you about your 400 gallon "buffer". What is that affording you? Did you run your gun without it at all?

    With my baseboard heat, my delta T is very small relatively speaking. I could probably push storage to ~190F and it would really only be usable to ~150F. I wouldn't want to get below 130/140F for fear of condensing when I go to recharge, not to mention that low would actually cool my indirect hot water heater.

    Storage is not out of the question for me, but I have to experience a whole year before I go crazy. I started pricing things out. Expansion would probably cost ~$500/500 gallons? Another pump: $100. Zone valve/controls: $2-300? Plus tank(s), insulation and plumbing. I see $2k-$3k easy.

    ac
  23. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I'm thinking just by reading what you posted above about your oak that you'd see quite an improvement on what your unit could heat if the wood was drier? I know when I grab some pieces from the pile that aren't as dry as others, it sure makes a difference in heat output.

    Just one more on the storage - everyones mileage will differ depending on their local sourcing potentials & current system layout, but I think the storage part of mine 'only' amounted to about an extra $1k. Major components were boiler ~ $5500, laddomat ~ $650, propane tanks ~ $800 (including one for an expansion tank), welding ~ $200. The rest of the necessary controls, pumping, etc. to use storage my system already had. Piping & fittings to tie everything else together, plus the electric boiler & new electric hot water tank etc. remain to be totalled - I'm kinda scared to do that.
  24. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Yes, I turn the dial so the next clip will run the WG in 30 minutes...then it's on it's own every hour with 1 clip.

    I would LOVE to have storage(buffer) just for the convenienvce in the shoulder seasons to load up and burn all out once every other day or so, but as mentioned it's a lot of money and space needed to do this and I really don't mind visiting the WG twice a day since it's in my basement and usually very toasty down there :) I would suggest anybody using a WG go through at least 1 full season before adding storage...I'm glad I did.

    As for what a full load is, I think this is a different amount of wood for everybody. As an example, prior to this year I was still using the smoke shield and this would allow me to only load about 6 to 8 splits(depending on their size). Now that I have removed the shield and am using the smoke hood I can load alot more although I have not yet done that since I have not had the demand, but I'm guessing I can probably fit about 12 to 14 splits in there. I'm not convinced yet that I will ever do this as it seems to me that I will be inviting "bridging"...we'll see soon enough I guess.
  25. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Your 400 gallon storage would buy me ~132k usable btus based on 50 degree usable drop. That would be ~5 hours based on my calculated heat loss.

    So you don't use a bladder style tank for your expansion on your storage?

    I'm keeping my eyes open for tanks that could be used for storage. If I could piece it together cheap enough, I'll jump on it.

    ac

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