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Vermont Castings Encore 2 in 1 ?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by emt1581, Dec 24, 2010.

  1. nekit

    nekit New Member

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    Engineroom just curious. How did the rear cover plate break? Was it dropped or just from heat cycling? I have had the 2 in 1 for about 3 weeks now, so far mines holding up.

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  2. engineroom

    engineroom New Member

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    To answer your question directly, No I did not drop or mishandle the plate.

    The refractory plate breaks when contacted lightly with wood as you load the stove. It breaks so easily that sometimes you dont even know its happened until you happen to look inside the firebox and either, see the crack, or sometimes the whole plate just falls out broken in two pieces as the fire burns down.

    The first piece that broke could not even be carefully set back into place, it would not hold its position. The second piece that broke broke at an angle where it could be carefully set in place so that it will stay in position. It does however now have a gap at the top and and an opening in the fracture area. With it set into place like this you are always worried that it will fall out again. Now I have to load the stove with extreme caution and worry that the damn thing is going to fall out of place.

    I am predicting that I will probably end up having to fabricate some solution myself. Its hard for me to imagine a big corporation acting quickly on something like this. We shall see....
  3. engineroom

    engineroom New Member

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    "Can you tell us what your chimney is like? height? double or single-wall stove pipe? Bends? Etc? It’ll help to learn this stove’s flue preferences."

    Chimney I am using with the Encore 2 in 1 wood stove:
    6 inch diameter Single wall black pipe (6 feet)
    6 inch double wall insulted stainless pipe. (15 feet)
    No bends/Straight run through interior (two levels) and out roof.

    It is producing a very healthy draft.
    I do not have a vacuum reading but its healthy I can tell ya!!
  4. pixelmountain

    pixelmountain New Member

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    Wow, I have to think your refractory pieces are different from mine. I was concerned about the same thing when I first took apart that refractory chamber, but there's no way mine would break that easily. I've taken it apart a few times, to check the catalyst and just because I like to look around and make sure everything is as it should be. So I know it hasn't broken without me realizing it.

    I'm not saying yours isn't that fragile, just that mine isn't.

    Your report worries me about replacements. If I do manage to break mine, now I'm afraid I'll get a replacement as fragile as yours. :-(
  5. nekit

    nekit New Member

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    What's the build date of each of your stoves? It in the lower corner on the back. Mine is 08 Dec 2010. Maybe we can figure out if it's a early/late build thing. So far my rear cover is holding up fine.

    Thanks
  6. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    By all means let the dealer know - that will help VC know they have a problem, and help them fix it, if they are so inclined. You might try "gluing" the piece back together with furnace cement. Apply cement, clamp and set, then bake in the oven. I have had limited (= temporary) success doing that with a few refractory pieces in my stove.
  7. Todd

    Todd Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the reviews guys. It will be interesting to hear the differences between the cat and non cat mode. Got any pictures?
  8. engineroom

    engineroom New Member

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    My dealer has notified VC a number of times. They have told me that they ordered another replacement for my broken panel.
    The company knows about the problem.
    I hope they decide to produce an upgraded part.
  9. pixelmountain

    pixelmountain New Member

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    Ah, good idea. Mine says 28 Oct 2010.
  10. Renovation

    Renovation New Member

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    Many thanks Engineroom!

    That seems useful to know--it sounds to me like your flue is pretty much what manufacturers specify--neither weak nor exceptional. Is it interior or exterior?
  11. NinoVitale

    NinoVitale New Member

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    I live in Ohio and installed a 2in 1 about 6 weeks ago. I've burned a lot of wood in it. I came from a VC Intrepid, The small stove and it was a CAT stove. I have a 6 inch pipe, running straight up 12 feet, into an 8-6 to 8 inch converter that goes into the roof and out the top. I have a 'top hat' flew topper that rotates with the wind. These really help with stopping backdraft. I have about 4 years of experience with CAT stoves. First, the CAT is easy. Anyone who says it's hard, I don't understand that. The Encore 2 in 1 is 470 pounds of iron. You have to get some heat momentum going and it really takes about 40 minutes from a cold start BEFORE you can put it in CAT mode. If you do this any earlier, you will probably flame out or get smoke in the house. If the stove has any heat left, you can achive it in sometimes 10 minutes, from say a 200 degree temp reading from the iron behind the griddle. I never use griddle temp. The griddle could be 550 and the stove is only 200. For CAT stoves, I have to get a reading on the thick iron, not thin cast iron hit directly by flames. My procedure is as follows. Newspaper, wood bark and thin pieces of wood kindling to start the fire. Only non-color regular newspaper. Not the circulars from Kohls or Home Depot. They produce creosote and other junk. I do not clean out ALL The ash, I like about a 1/2 inch bed, even it it's cold as that will heat up and provide a nice base. Anything more, I push through the holes and into the swing out ash pan for removal. I cheat and slight crack and open the ash pan to let air in from the bottom. This creates a quick fire situation. I only do this for maybe 3-5 minutes. You can also crack the front door for a similiar but less effect. Once I am getting good flame, I put a few smaller logs and get those burning. Once I have stove temp of 400-650 for about 3o minutes, I load it up with heavy wood and let that go full air and non-CAT for 5 minutes, then I close the CAT up. Simply pull the handle on the left all the way forward. I then let that go for about 5 minutes, then if I want a 400-500 burn for a long time, I push the air control handle full closed. With harder wood, I'm getting 6-8 hours. With smaller or softer wood, you'll be lucky to get 4 hours. You need good thick pieces of wood with density and gerth to get a long overnight burn. I even burn some unsplit logs that are 6 inches-8 inches around occasionally and they burn fine as long as they are at least 1 year old. Some said they heard you have to turn the CAT off. You HAVE to turn the CAT off to load this stove. I don't know of a CAT stove that you can leave in CAT mode. The entire reason for CAT is to force air through a chamber and burn ash and smoke and gain efficiency. Also, the CAT will burn in the 1100-1400 range if you do it right, producing a HUGE amount of heat in the chamber. I"ve run CAT stoves with CAT temp probes and they run well around 1200. That's where they need to be to burn the smoke. I might install one tonight as I just love to play and see what going on. It's simple though, if the stove is hot, and needs wood, turn on the air full, then turn off the CAT (these are simply swinging two handles) then slowly open the griddle. I usually wait about 3 seconds before turning off the CAT and opening the griddle to get smoke running up the flew. Then load it, close the griddle, turn CAT mode back on, leave full air on for about 3-5 minutes, then choke it back. If the temp has dropped, I will leave the CAT off, crack the ash pan for about 2 minutes, close that, let it run open for 3-5 more, then close the cat, leave air full for 3-5 mintues, then choke it back. This way, I get max heat, but don't want to burn the wood up too quickly. The faster you can get it in CAT mode, the better, but if you put it there too fast, your CAT won't burn the ash and smoke and you actually loose heat. There's a sweet spot there. In comparing the Intrepid 2 to the Encore 2 in 1, I like them both. I would never own a non-cat stove. I would burn way to much wood. I can go 6-8 hours at 450 on 6 good size pieces. In non CAT mode, with the same 6, I would get 2 hours, both chocked back. CAT mode is just that much more efficient. Someone mentioned the front panel with the flower breaking. I guess if you are slamming wood in and you have an item that is at high temp, you are likely to break anything. Mine is thick and I only let wood hit the cast iron bottom. I wear long gloves that go to my elbows and manage the install of wood all the way down. My gloves are fire proof and I put the logs where I want them, never letting them hit the glass in front of the back plate. I anticipate no problems with broken plates. I ahve burned at least 350 hours on my encore 2 in 1 already without problems. I definetly had some learning to do. My biggest complaint was I wanted 6-8 hours of burn time. I was using too small and too soft a log. I also installed a return air vent behind my stove, put a magnetic vinyl cover and a 6 inch round duct receiver, I then put a dryer vent over that, painted all this nice shiny black to keep the wife happy, and have it sitting on the flue collar. I'm drawing 160 degree air back to the return plenum of my house and my geothermal hardly ever runs. I am heating a 6000 square foot house this way with temps around 20 outside. I will say though I built the place 3 years ago and did spray foam insulation which is worth every penny. Takes very little to heat the 6000 square, no drafts, no vented softits. I live in a foam cooler. I also have an airi to air exchanger running 24/7 in the winter. I really went nuts with my HVAC. And I have a fan cycler going so even if the heat is not on, my house fan turns on, churns the heat from the stove and blows it around and shuts off, regardless if the thermostat calls for heat. It's a complicated system, but my bills are less than $250 for 8000 square total. I have other spaces above garage not on the HVAC.
  12. nekit

    nekit New Member

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    NiñoUrbana
    Thanks for the write up. I burn my 2 in 1 very similarly, but can't turn the air all the way down without smoking out the windows pretty heavily. Do you find this to happen with yours? Maybe it's my wood. How often do you have to clean your glass?
    Thanks
  13. NinoVitale

    NinoVitale New Member

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    In terms of the windows fogging, I don't have this problem but sometimes do, ha, that makes no sense. When I have the problem, it is due to what I did, IE, my wood made it past the circular /stops/posts that hold the wood away from the glass or falling out if you operate with the spark screen. (can't recall what they are called) There are two types of smoke that I see, white and black. Black is caused by fire hitting the glass directly when it is not very hot, IE, wood touching the glass. White is a normal build up that, if you don't clean the glass, just happens, although if I haven't gotten any black, the white usually wisks itself away based on the air control. If you are getting smoke, you may be choking back the air too early in the process. that's what I was told by someone else at the VC dealer. What I've noticed is its all about temp. If the temp is too low, you get smoked glass. I have my temp gauge sitting behind the griddle dead center. This is pretty thick and a lot of the heat when not in CAT mode, goes up the chimney. I don't chock it back until it's around 450 plus. If it's really cold, like last night, I wait until it's around 650 to choke it back and run it really hot. Honestly though, I rarely run my stove in NON CAT mode. It's more efficient and uses less wood and there's really no good reason to chop and haul more wood if I get the heat I need out of 6 logs instead of 12 or 18. The down side of CAT is that you don't get the nice flames, you get a single flame somewhere, that you usually can't see at best and a red glow. CAT mode is more of a smoldering then a fire burn. I have also noticed that if i don't routinely clean the glass, almost as much as I change the ash, daily, that itfogs up more quickly. I simply take paper towels drenched in water, wait until it's cooled down to 200 or so, open the doors, CAT off of course, leave them open for another few minutes to really cool them down, then wipe them several times while turning the rag. I never use chemicals or glass cleaner as these will glaze the glass permanently because of the heat and chemical reaction. Sometimes, if they are really dirty, I may need a few cleanings and rag turnings but they come very clean after this. this will take off the black and white. The black is harder to get off and takes a bit of elbow grease but will come. The way VC designs their air flow, the air should sweep by the glass and keep it fairly clean. Again though, if I choke mine back before 450, it will fog up. Try higher heat and keeping the logs back from the glass and see if that helps. OH, if the ash builds up in the front and you get flames from the ash hitting the glass, this will fog it too. I sweep the ash back from the front, and also forward from under the refractory plate (with the shell where the CAT air must go) this seems to allow the stove to breath well. Also, keep in mind, the glass really is for us and not for the stove operation. If those were cast iron doors, it would be a bit more efficient in CAT mode, but it sure does look nicer with flames dancing in the clean glass. I like it clean too!
  14. NinoVitale

    NinoVitale New Member

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    Purchased and installed a CAT temperature monitor last night. Wow did I learn a lot about what's going on in that chamber. Fairly easy install. Simply pry the metal circle button off the back fo the stove and push the probe through the heat shield (already has a hole) through the iron, through a small insulation cover (had to add a little pressure there) and I was in. The probe and gauge were $100. Runs on 9 volt. You push the button and the temp displays for about 15 minutes. Here's what I have learned just last night for the Encore 2 in 1 VC. I keep my stove temp gauge center and directly back from the griddle on the iron, not on the griddle, just in front of the flew. I got it to about 500 in non CAT mode. The CAT probe read 550. You aren't suppose to close the damper and got to CAT mode unless the CAT chamber temp is 500. I swung the handle, air full open and the within 2 minutes it went from 550 to 1200 in the chamber. The stove temp was still around 500. I kept it there and it hovered at 1300. This is a great temp to burn ash and smoke and put out a bunch of heat in CAT mode. Each time I turn CAT off to open the damper and load, the temp in the CAT would drop like a brick. usually down to 750 within 1 minute. But as soon as I close the damper it would rocket back up. This makes sense because all the exhaust is venting through the back of the refectory plate and into the CAT combustion chamber so the stove is pushing all the heat. I can even see a little flame behind the refectory plate through a small line there. the CAT chamber is behind that where you would not want flames. I don't think with the Encore 2 in 1 you could ever get flames in that chamber with the way it is double chambered. Anyway, it's teaching me a lot about what's going on. When I am in CAT mode and choke the air fully, the stove temp will hover around 500 and the CAT chamber probe reads 1100-1200. Need to be over 1000 for the CAT to burn efficiently. So all these numbers seem to do well. I wanted to see how high I could get it so I opened the air full up and got the stove to red line, 650, and the probe read 1300. I have yet to get it over that. 1700 is absolute max for the CAT from most reading I've done says it will damage the honeycomb structure. The stove will likely be cool when I get home, I'm going to clean the ash out (mostly, I always leave a little in, clean the glass and I may pull the CAT and lightly vacuum it, to get any ash off and then fire it again. If there is ash build up, this may be why I can't get it past 1300. Not that 1300 is bad, but 1500 would be better and produce more heat. I really want to tweak this thing down and get the exact procedure for most heat, long burn time. Of course, the big variable is the fuel. I try to burn dense and large logs, but I do have small ones mixed in. They still burn well in CAT mode those. Even 4 little logs will go 3 hours in CAT mode. More later if anyone is interested.
  15. nekit

    nekit New Member

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    Get info keep it coming.
    Thanks
  16. NinoVitale

    NinoVitale New Member

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  17. jetmech

    jetmech Member

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    i have the same temp probe in my intrepid II... my cat temps are very close to yours. i have had my cat at 1500 to 1600 before but it usually cools down quickly as secondary air flap closes, i have found mine to be responsive to primary air, cooler i run the stove cooler the cat runs.. this morning before work stove top was 600 cat was 1100 normal cruise temps... nice photos of your stove.. i am kicking around getting one of these, trying to crunch the numbers...
  18. NinoVitale

    NinoVitale New Member

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    I sold my Intrepid II. Ebay and Craig's List proved very helpful. Got $1100 for it after 2.5 years of use. then bought the Encore and got $250 in rebates plus 30% back from our already broke Uncle Sam in the form of a tax credit. Actually, I haven't written it off yet as I haven't done my taxes for 2010 but I think $900 is coming off the itemized side just for this purpose. My total out of pocket for the upgrade was $500 and it was worth it. I didn't use it nearly as much as the Encore. What is great is I can cut longer pieces and split less. The larger firebox is great. I'm wondering if I should have gone for the monster size. (Defiant) I have a neighbor who has it and it is bigger still. Not much more iron though, it weights 521 and the Encore weighs 471. So really, it's not a matter of heat output, but a matter of firebox size. I think he can get 8 good sized logs where I get 6. Those 2 extra logs could probably push me to 8-10 hours. I am disapointed in the burn times. They rank it 10 hours but if you have great, dense, thick wood and an already hot stove, and pack it tight, I get 6 hours at 450 max, then the temp falls off. Can't seem to do any better. I don't think the probe will help me any, just keep the wife from putting it in CAT mode before its hot enough and satisfies my curiosity as a tech guy and overal weirdo for wanting to know as much as I can with hard measurable knowledge. I'm trying to work through my faults. Lifetime journey!
  19. nekit

    nekit New Member

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    Do you turn you air all the way down against the stop, after you get it burning for a long burn? If I try this on my stove it completely chokes off all the air and starts to back puff. Even when it is burning well with a stove top temp of 550, if I go that low it chokes it off. Maybe my flapper shuts down more than yours?

    Just curious if I'm doing something wrong.
  20. Gark

    Gark Minister of Fire

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    QUOTE:
    I thought I was going to love the removable ash pan, but then realized that since I'm in the camp that believes in keeping a good ash bed rather than removing ash as soon it accumulates, I probably will only use it at the end of the burning season. So I'm pretty much ignoring that feature.
    END QUOTE

    I haven't studied the new 2-in-1 yet, but its predecessor the Encore (cat) has two 1/4" hidden holes by the front legs. These holes have no flow regulation and introduce air into the ashpan chamber and help burn the coal bed from below. If your new 2-in-1 has these holes and you let the pan chamber fill with ashes, the burn dynamic definitely changes in the firebox. I've burned both ways (pan stuffed vs. empty) and prefer the extra air from below.

    And someday I hope to learn how to use the site's quote feature....
  21. Clarks ACE Hardware

    Clarks ACE Hardware Member

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    There is no need to leave an ash bed in these stoves. That's why the grate/ash system is
    there.

    We have had our display Defiant 2n1 burning since October here in our store. My only
    criticizism is that the airwash effectiveness is not consistant and that the 14hour burn
    time is bit optimistic.

    We have sold over 25 Encore 2n1's and at least a dozen Defiant 2n1's this season. No
    complaints so far. Only 2 broken refactory covers as well.


    Here is our display Bordeaux Defiant 2n1 (looks like Majolica Brown while hot)

    [​IMG]

    The below pictures of a friend's brand new Bordeaux Encore 2n1

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  22. VCBurner

    VCBurner Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for the great pictures Clarks! I have to say I was excited to see VC come out with a hybrid and put something new on the stove scene. I absolutely love the look of the Defiant and Encore. The reliability and looks of the old VC products is what made this company. The great appearance of the stoves and brand recognition still play a role in this company today. Beautifull stoves!!

    Last year, while looking for a used, attractive EPA stove, I was faced with a choice between, a Defiant Encore Cat, and a Dutchwest Large Cat. Some people thought I was stuck between a rock and a hard place.
    I found, through a lot of research, the Deffiant Encore had a major downfall: a weak and expensive to replace refractory housing. The same refractory part was used on some other stoves they put out, such as the Winterwarm insert. I chose the Dutchwest largely because of this. It is puzzling to me that they did not learn from the past with this new line. The lack of accountability that VC still shows and their poor customer service is also scarry for people who are aware of the issue. As a happy operator of a durable VC Dutchwest I hope, for their sake, they change their way of thinking.

    It is disappointing to see them use another weak refractory part inside a firebox. In my opinion all parts inside a firebox should be able to withstand punishment from falling logs and loading abuse. I beat my stove while loading it sometimes, trying to stuff the firebox for long burns. Good luck with this and keep us posted.
  23. Clarks ACE Hardware

    Clarks ACE Hardware Member

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    I hear what you're saying in regards to them learning from their mistakes. There are still many things they need to work on. So many of their products are designed without any regard for ease of installation or longevity of certain parts.

    With that said, they have made MAJOR improvements in their manufacturing and quality control processes. I visited the factory over the summer which is when they introduced the 2n1 system. The production manager held a seminar specificly on the 2n1 system....

    These new refractory materials are very much improved (I met the guys who make them, lol). It's a completely new recipe and curing process (something about higher silicone content). It's also nice that they added the cast iron lip inside the flue collar to prevent chimney brushes from smashing the refractory.

    The assembly plant in Randolph, VT was in great shape. Their new plant manager is from Ethan Allen. They have done an amazing job at leaning out their inventory and processes compared to the CFM days. The remaining employees seem to be very happy and they are all cross-trained. They get rotated from different positions on the assembly line. Everyone, at the assembly plant and the foundry, appeared to be extremely enthuastic about the products they are helping to produce.
  24. branchburner

    branchburner Minister of Fire

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    Clarks, I am curious about running this stove as a non-cat. Is it essentially the same downdraft technology as the previous Everburn, but with a more solid refractory? Have you, or any of your customers, opted to run the stove without the combustor in place?
  25. Clarks ACE Hardware

    Clarks ACE Hardware Member

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    Yes,

    In fact we are running it right now without the cat (the picture above was from this morning without the cat). You will see a bit higher flue temps without the cat (hence, the lower efficiency) and a little livelier flame action. Very happy with the stove in both setups.

    -Jay Clark

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