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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. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, I don't think there is any secret to getting this one to work again. Something internal has failed.

    I see they are $15 at Home Depot. I put an email in to Darren at AHS to see what he says.

    I might just replace it with a light switch.

    ac

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  2. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    Woodsrover, you are going to need a seperate zone and filled with something like glycol. Cheaper and probably safer alternative is an infrared heater or a small outdoor fire pit if zoning allows it. We have a huge fire pit made of stones found on our property over the years and get some great fires going, gotta love that country living. Nothing like a hot dog on a stick!
  3. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Yup. I do not leave my boiler if I use the purge timer. I only use it if I want to load the boiler before I go to work and it is not running. Mine started out sticking and then I would just tap on it like Bob said. But then it stopped working altogether. Not happy about that. But, all I need it for is to get that fan going and "purge" the system of gases and then load before I leave for work or go to bed. I am thinking of installing something else in place of the purge timer. Some type of new button that I can just push and it will run the boiler for a short time, say one minute. I think I am going to try to do this when I install the cycle timer. After I find out from AC and Mike how theirs are working. ;)
  4. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Agreed. That is about the only time I use the purge timer, on the way to work when time is critical. In the evening I just wait until I hear it running.

    I am leaning heavily towards a simple light switch to replace the purge timer. Even if I forget to turn it back off, it will be no worse than the purge timer being stuck which seems common enough.

    The problem with shopping for a replacement is the short duration necessary. Everything seems to be 15 mins or more. I want something ~5 mins.

    The cycle timer itself works. Getting the settings "right" is the only variable.

    Right now I have 3 pins every hour. I rotate the timer to be 30 mins to next pin when I reload.

    So far, so good.

    ac
  5. Woodsrover

    Woodsrover Member

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    We don't worry too much about zoning 'round here. We have a big chiminea that we burn all the time but it would be nice to have the whole deck heated. We have a pretty small house and live out there all summer long. It would be nice to start in March and stay out there through November.
  6. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    You could actually get away without antifreeze. I assume the deck is higher than the boiler. Just put a valve and drain cock on the supply and return and you can drain the loop each winter. That would save the need for heat exchangers. I would probably run the "deck" zone on a timer or similar so you can turn it on and it will automatically shut off so you don't forget and wind up adding to global warming all night.

    ac
  7. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Man O man do I HAVE A LOT OF READING TO DO!
    You guys have been busy here.
    I don't know what happened but I got left behind on page 17.
    Ok gotta go and catch up . Wait for me guys. Don't leave me behind.
  8. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Everyone post and run away from Mike!

    You've been too busy scrounging Sandy to concentrate on us mere boiler buddies.

    ac
    infinitymike likes this.
  9. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Mike. Have you been staring at your boiler again? Do you have a comfy chair out there that you fall asleep in?
  10. Woodsrover

    Woodsrover Member

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    If only your Woodgun came with a window into the lower unit and a computer screen on the upper door.
  11. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I would LOVE a gassification view port!

    ac
  12. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    WHEW! I'm caught up.

    Now don't do that again. I have abandonment issues!
  13. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Welcome back to the fray!

    ac
  14. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    My engineering side of me wants to weigh wood and figure out all the btu's also but then the other side of me, the lazy side, says "ahh just stick some wood in and make the house warm"

    So far my purge timer is still working.

    I got my cycle timer Wednesday.
    Amazing, I ordered it Sunday night and received it wednesday morning (total cost $90) Meanwhile my local electrical supply house wanted $180 and it would take 2 weeks.
    Gasifier likes this.
  15. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Excellent! Now wire it in and start tuning.

    I got some boiler "toys" too!

    I picked up this ash bucket from Lowes. This will give me a quick spot to empty the cyclone into every few days.
    [​IMG]

    I also got this monster plastic bin trash picking from a local industrial area. It holds about 4 days worth of wood and lets me skid it all from the doorway to the stove. Now I just take a rack and place it at the top of the hurricane doors and then pitch the wood straight into this bin. Push the bin next to the boiler and burn.
    [​IMG]

    ac
    Gasifier likes this.
  16. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I realized the previous post was useless without pics of my "rack" system...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Each holds ~1/4 cord. Moving 1/2 cord has never been so easy.

    I have been amassing a collection of these. I am up to ~30 so far.

    ac
  17. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    AC. You are the man. Put some wheels on that plastic bin and you'll be set.
    That is a sweet set up with the racks.
    If I could pick a cheap bobcat, I would do the same thing.
    And since mine is in the garage I could just drive right in
    So for now I fill the rack next to the WG by bringing it in with a wheel barrow.
    20 splits at a time and about 8-9 trips depending on the split size.
    Speaking of split size, those look pretty damn big. They look like the size of the ones I had bridging with.
    Most of everythingelse I have is probably half that size.
    Real nice piece of property. What are you sitting on, a few acres?
    I need to get off this sinking island. It is so damn congested I can't take it anymore.
  18. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    ac, you got it made man!! Nice tractor/property and good use of it 4 sure.

    I normally empty the cyclone ash outdoors due to the fine stuff that floats in the air, but since installing the smoke hood I can do it indoors now into something like you have there.
  19. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I think the lack of wheels is why the bin was in the dumpster. I only have to slide it ~20', so I'll probably wait until after the burning season to tackle project mobility.

    Cheap and Bobcat don't go in the same sentence often. I ran a Bobcat to move the boiler from the trailer to the basement (it was just outside the lifting capacity of the Kubota). I also borrowed the Bobcat for a few weeks. Having run it and my tractor, I would NEVER want a Bobcat instead of my tractor.

    Those splits look BIG? I hope you aren't talking about the ones in the plastic bin. That bin is filled with absolute crap from a wooden bush thing I chopped up. Burns like crap. Those splits are ~2-4" from tip to back. I loaded the boiler up from the nozzles to the door and woke up to 120F boiler this morning. This wood has no BTUs.

    I had AWESOME results with 24" long, 6-8" from tip to back oak last week. My boiler loved the bigger splits. I had awesome coal beds and actually went ~16 hours on a load from nozzles to door.

    We have ~13 acres. My family lives on Long Island. I can't stand it. I don't know how you guys do it. I am so impressed that you burn wood on the island! I'm not surprised you get all of those offers for wood, no one on that island burns anything but LIPA gas. Out by me, people shoot each other for firewood. Every chimney's smoking on the way to work!

    ac
  20. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Since I'm such a tinker-er, my next thought is to attack my circulator pump setup.

    Here is what I have:

    My supply is 1.5" from the boiler. There is a Tee that has 2 ports: 1 1/4" and 3/4".
    3/4": Indirect Hot Water. This has a dedicated circulator pump and Tees off BEFORE the heating zones to make a "priority loop" for DHW demand.
    1 1/4": Has a TACO 007 circulator and feeds 5 heating zones through 5 zone valves.

    My return is 1.5" into the boiler. The 3/4" DHW return feeds into the return first, then the 5 heating zones come in.

    I am thinking one of the more modern circulators to feed the zones might make the system as a whole more efficient.

    The question is: "which one?"

    Grundfos Alpha:
    ECM motor (supposedly much cheaper to run)
    Delta P
    ~$160
    I think this would adjust pump speed to maintain a consistent flow through the zones as the valves open/close based on pressure drop.

    Taco Delta T:
    Not ECM motor
    Delta T control
    ~$160
    I think this would adjust pump speed to maintain a consistent temperature drop from supply to return, adjusting speed as the zones open/close and the heating demand changes. One of my concerns is that I can't get an accurate "return" temp without influence from the DHW return. Would that be a problem? Will this pump cost more than the Alpha to run since it isn't ECM?

    Taco Viridian:
    ECM Motor
    Delta P
    Price: Unknown

    Does swapping the circulator to a modern one sound like a good idea? If so, which one?

    ac
  21. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Now you've just complicated the whole thread. o_O
    I have no idea.:)

    No seriously bro. I don't know, but hopefully someone will chime in.
    But when you say "more effecient" what do you mean?
    Cost of electric efficiency or flow rate of water efficiency?

    Because if it's electrical, how long would it take to recoup the $160?
  22. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    I started another thread to try to figure this out.

    Electric:
    Of course both manufacturers tout serious electrical savings. Theoretically the pumps pay for themselves in a pretty short time. Grundfos claims the average circ pump uses 550kwh/year and theirs uses 115kwh/year. $.15/kwh? $82 vs $17. 3-4 year payback? That is pretty close to my break even on the Wood Gun and I don't have to bust my back to get the benefits of the circ pump...

    Water:
    Theoretically, if I went with a delta T pump, using my circulator aquastat, I would basically wind up with a low water temp protection system for the boiler. Assuming my radiator zones were sized for 20F delta T, it would rock them at peak efficiency. The theory with delta P is that the zones were designed for a 20F drop at a given flow rate. Constant flow rate would keep them at peak efficiency also.

    All of this is "theory" to me.

    On a side note that is more related to the fun with the Wood Gun: the rack of wood I brought over now SUCKS. I don't know what this crap is, but it has no BTUs. I think I remember making this rack. I think it is a bunch of branches and limbs from a rather large bush that went wooden that I cut down. I must have thought it would make good shoulder wood. Full up to the bottom of the door is good for ~8 hours and leave NO coals to speak of. I can't wait for this rack to be over (I won't have to wait long, no way this 1/4 cord is lasting a week)!

    ac
  23. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    So nothing goes on the Normal Closed?
  24. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Not unless you can think of something you'd like to open when the timer cycles.

    ac
  25. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Soooooo, How's she burning?

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