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Woodgun chugging

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by mark123, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. mark123

    mark123 Member

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    I am still having trouble with the Woodgun chugging, if I open the door a bit it stops chugging and seems to run great but If I close the door and open the air inlet damper all the way it it chugs like crazy. AHS said to close air inlet and that is what I have been doing but it seems to cause a lot of little charcoal bits to get into the smoke pipe and flue and actually clogs it up. Isn't this an obvious sign of burning rich and that more air is needed? If opening the door solves the problem is this not another sign that more air is needed, What if I geared up some type of blower to force more air into the air inlet than is currently being sucked in such as a leaf blower? What about a more direct, smoother flowing smoke pipe than the design suggested in the manual, which is approx. 4' up, 4' perpendicular and then another 4' perpendicular again? This even occurs with 4-5 8" rounds , all my wood is extremely dry maple, wood room is 90F all the time.

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  2. Gasifier

    Gasifier Minister of Fire

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    Mark, I have found that putting my damper at about 60-70% closed works best for me. If the wood is really dry, close the damper all together. This also has the advantage of not going through the dry wood so fast. Also, mix in a little wood that is not as dry, with your wood that is really dry. It may seem like your Wood Gun is not running as well with the damper closed, but I found that it had no problem keeping the temperature up as long as the nozzle slots were clear. (That is they still had a good bed of hot coals over them, but were not plugged underneath those thick coals.) I have learned to check the cyclone's whole in the bottom of the cone, each time I check the ash tray. Sometimes moisture can allow the ash to block the hole at the bottom of the cyclone and keep the ash from entering the tray. Also, checking and keeping the slots in the nozzle cleared seems to help in the boiler operation. These plug up if the ash is not stirred around enough. At least I have experienced this a few times. So I try not to allow any of these things to happen anymore. It just means checking these things every other day or so. Hope this helps. You have probably been burning your Wood Gun longer than I have. :lol: Hope I did not just waste your time. Just trying to help by sharing my experience with mine. Have a good one.
  3. Singed Eyebrows

    Singed Eyebrows New Member

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    Normally chugging is caused by too much gas that can't be burnt fast enough. When you open the door you are burning it in the primary chamber. I don't think the secondary can be adjusted much, maybe Gasifier can advise. The advise about adding some wetter wood in with the others should help to keep the gas production down, Randy
  4. muncybob

    muncybob Minister of Fire

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    I also resolved the chugging by closing the damper, it's probably 80%+ closed now. AHS said to close it all the way if need be as long as the wood burns OK. My pipe is 1 continuous run apprx. 7' into the chimney at a slight uphill grade. No problem with clogging but I do need to clean ash at the chimney connection "elbow" around mid season each year.
  5. 711mhw

    711mhw Feeling the Heat

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    I just had a discussion with infinitymike about this. Have you other "Gunners" observed that the wood "gasses off" mostly during the first stages of the burn, and after a while (I don't mean down to coals) , the wood is sort of gassed out and burns much more mellow? We don't run storage (but considering it for the "shoulders") and operate it much more like a wood stove during the day, that is adding a little wood as needed. The only chugging we get is early on after the overnight loading. mark123, I have a very simple chimney pipe set up and I too ahve found that it stays blown out better with the damper wide open. I just resealed my (interior) stove pipe better and let it "chug". It takes a lot of attention to sealing the stove pipe to keep it from leaking during the "chug" phase of the burn. I don't remember reading any posts here about the science of the burn cycle, ie; does the wood "gas" equally during the whole burn or not.
  6. chiefburritt

    chiefburritt New Member

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    Remember the more charcoal pieces you have in the primary burn chamber the more surface area you have to combust which means the more O2 you need to do it. By opening the door you let in all the necessary O2 for all the charcoal surface area. Moral of the story, I found was to not let the charcoal bed to build up to a large amount. My situation is different because I don't burn straight through with my steam system, so it shuts off , sequesters the heat and waits for a call for heat. During that time the heat and fuel continue to break down and create a charcoaling effect on the fuel, waiting for the introduction of O2 to start the combustion process over. As far as gassing over the whole cycle it must, thats how the combustion process works. No Gas no fire. Your Gas is your vaporization of the wood cellular material breaking down into its basic elements.
  7. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    What exactly do you mean by "chugging"?

    I really can't hear my unit running to well because it is in the garage.
    However, the garage is attached to the house and my home office shares the same wall so I can hear it kick on.
    Basically I hear a low dull hum of the fan.
    I also can see it through the window which looks right through the side door of the breezway that leads into the garage.
    So if I don't hear it running I can see the green light.

    Occasionally as it kicks on I can hear a huge "snort" or "whoosh" from my office.

    Once I came into the garage at 5am to find the whole place filled with smoke and the smoke alarm going off.
    I guess it back feed through the air intake pipe? It was bad, I mean really filled with smoke.

    The problem I have been having lately is I leave my air damper open about 20-25% open.
    If fully closed the damper is at 12noon and 6pm then I leave it at 2pm and 8pm.
    I have been coming out and finding it completely closed. So I reset it and the next day it is closed again!
    Damper gremlins? :blank:
    Anybody have that problem?


    Some times I can have a 6"-8" bed of red hot coals I don't hear the roar of the the secondary pulling air.
    As I rake through them I will hear the amazing roar but as I level them all out the sound disappears.
    Then I load 6-8 splits on top of that and it makes a ton of smoke out of the chimney. Almost like your avatar DRY STEAM :ahhh:
    So DRY STEAM are saying I have to let the coal bed burn down a little more before loading up?

    Its good to hear from fellow "Gunners".

    Hope everybody is doing well.
  8. chiefburritt

    chiefburritt New Member

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    Ahh no not really on the charcoal with what level your talking about. I found mine after having a significant amount of coals and the the boiler sounded like an old steam train puffing down the tracks. It was starved for air, as i opened the primary door it went away as I provided it with what it needed. I will usually have several inches of coals in primary area but if I let it get to deep I get the chugging.
    A good way to recreate this is to burn a bunch of kiln dried wood or a whole lot of cardboard at once. You will get the chugging then.

    AHS is right cut the draft down significantly and you'll starve it for O2 however to much open and it will start its chugging on an extremely dry load of fuel.

    As stated before you can restrict the draft or increase the moisture content both usually have same effect, that is until your load of fuel dries out in the primary.

    Your smoke filled room is actually a backdraft phenom, I did this inadvertantly several times and I'm sure I will again. Sometimes I forget about the light and timer and accidently open the door without boiler running, as I realize my mistake and shut the door thats about when it goes whooossshh bang and the basement fills with smoke. I have had to change my pants a couple of times!!!!

    I'm still on the learning curve after four years of having the boiler but I wouldn't trade it for anything. Its a monster, its mine and I dont buy oil no mo!
    Happy burning
  9. chiefburritt

    chiefburritt New Member

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    That whooosh can change your damper position to!
  10. Der Fuirmeister

    Der Fuirmeister Member

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    WI
    Its good to hear from fellow "Gunners".

    Hope everybody is doing well.[/quote]

    [/quote]Beautiful wife, son, and daughter.
    ‘04 Silverado- 6†lift, Dmax Diesel
    ‘99 HD softtail with 18†hangers
    ‘04 Appalachian 7x12 dump trailer
    Stihl MS 311 with 20†bar
    Friends with a lot of tree cutting companies.
    Way to many tools to frame a house.
    WOOD GUN S.S E100 online since 11/18/11 [/quote]



    I like your list and can appreciate the order of importance. Good priority....
  11. mark123

    mark123 Member

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    It has no problems keeping up to my heating demand and I realize that closing the damper does solve the problem but I just feel like closing the damper is a band-aid fix for a design problem. I was under the impression that efficiency goes hand in hand with fast hot fires. There would be no point in ever adding storage as I cannot burn hot and fast. I still don't understand what the downside is to letting more air in such as with the door open. Someone pointed out that this creats a bigger burn in the primary, but what does this mean? Does it cause efficiency to go up or down, is the burn more complete than with the damper closed? If charcoal is finding it's way into the cyclone and chimney then it can't be burning efficiently.
  12. chiefburritt

    chiefburritt New Member

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    There is that thread of the garn vs. woodgun that might have some info in it. Also somewhere I saw that AHS could add a second air intake for more air movement but I think that was in reference to a wood chip version. When Carl was there at AHS, I did mention that there wasn't a big enough intake and he did acknowledge that. But the fix was still, turn the damper down.

    As far as efficiency, I'm not overly concerned with that as the house is warm, (1880's ballon frame 2 1/2 story farmhouse), and i don't buy 1700 of gallons of oil anymore. I don't moisture test my wood as the wood gun can and does like a higher moisture content. Also I'm using a one pipe steam system with the only electrical draw is the downdraft fan, and occasional smoke hood. It's the deadman's version of green! Don't get me wrong I'm all for efficiency as long as I don't have to do it. :{)
  13. Der Fuirmeister

    Der Fuirmeister Member

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    The only time my WG chugs is when "...all my wood is extremely dry..." like you. Even then it's only at the start or when I used too much paper / card board to start it. I usually leave the door open for the first few minutes if I use paper. I try to fill it up when there are some coals left so there's no chugging. Having said that, it does help to reduce the intake damper. I would NOT add forced air induction for safety reasons. This boiler is not designed to operate with a turbo-charger. You are correct in your thinking that there's not enough air. But I'd suggest you consider that there's enough air, but too much fuel. Try using less fuel. The fire box is that big for air, not to be filled up. I normally start with 4-6 splits 4-6" in size. No more. You can't make a 200kbtu boiler out of a 100kbtu unit by adding more wood. If I want the burn to last longer I don't add more splits, I use fewer, larger pieces and usually rounds which have more fuel for the surface area. Because you're not having this problem when the door is open I don't believe it's a flue restriction issue, which is what I think you mean by "smoke pipe".

    I should add that I run with my damper wide open and I burn into a storage tank so no cool down or cycling. But I don't add wood to a large bed of coals either. Try making smaller fires / fewer splits and see how that works. My Garn puffs when I add too much dry wood so it's not just a WG issue....

    And finally, an old timer I knew who lived to 84 years burning wood in various stoves once told me to, "mix your wood", meaning that if you have any one type that's too wet, dry etc, you'll tend to solve many of your problems. It took me a few weeks to find the sweet spot.... 'hope you find it as well.
  14. chiefburritt

    chiefburritt New Member

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    In lieu of a facebook "like" button......... like!
  15. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    [/quote]Beautiful wife, son, and daughter.
    ‘04 Silverado- 6†lift, Dmax Diesel
    ‘99 HD softtail with 18†hangers
    ‘04 Appalachian 7x12 dump trailer
    Stihl MS 311 with 20†bar
    Friends with a lot of tree cutting companies.
    Way to many tools to frame a house.
    WOOD GUN S.S E100 online since 11/18/11 [/quote]



    I like your list and can appreciate the order of importance. Good priority....[/quote]

    Thanks.

    But it seems since I got the unit online the order of priority has shifted from family to wood processing. :eek:hh:

    But I rationalize it by saying I am caring for the warmth and comfort of my family. ;-)

    Speaking of which I gotta go. gotta get outside and split some wood for next winter. :coolsmile:

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