2022/23 VC Owner thread

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Eman85

Member
Oct 10, 2022
229
E TN
Makes sense, I just installed my DW pipe so I don't want to drill a hole in it just yet.
 

arnermd

Member
May 16, 2014
57
Tolland, CT
Yesterdays burn data.... for the first load I did not rake coals to the front.... cat went to 1400+. It was a small load so short burn.

On the second load I did rake coals to the front. Cat peaked at 1200.

Raking coals to the front seems to give me repeatable lower peak cat temps. Although it takes a lot longer to get the cat hot..... not sure if this is a good or bad.... Might check for smoke to see what that looks like.
11182022.jpg
 

GrumpyDad

Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2022
562
Champion, PA
Anyone have any similar situations with the newer VC’s? My Dauntless is loaded for the night, but the cat seems to be really taking off and causing a abnormal airflow, almost like it’s sucking air in. I have my bypass closed and the air control is 1 or 2 clicks from fully closed off. Usually in this setting the stove is just smoldering, and the cat gauge is at about the mid section. Right now the cat gauge is maxed out. The oddest part is the stove top temp is below average for the amount of air flow that seems to be going on inside the firebox.



View attachment 302738
I hate my dauntless. That said though, I believe the 'automatic temperature control' is flawed at best. Try turning your air control all the way up, leave it there for a few seconds, then slowly bring it back down to where you had it.
I once had a stove run away on me with the damper closed and air control at the lowest setting. I probably turned white thinking of all the ways things could go wrong from there with my brand new stove. After doing the above though, it seemed to reset things and the air choked off considerably bringing down my temps therein rather quickly. Ive learned over time that this is just one of the quirks of this stove.
 

Eman85

Member
Oct 10, 2022
229
E TN
@arnermd interesting in the theory that raking the coals makes a difference in cat peak temp. I don't rake coals before reload on my Encore. I might stir them up a little to make the ash drop and then just reload on top. I'll leave the air open but can usually flip the damper pretty quickly and the cat temps will rise.
 

arnermd

Member
May 16, 2014
57
Tolland, CT
I hate my dauntless. That said though, I believe the 'automatic temperature control' is flawed at best. Try turning your air control all the way up, leave it there for a few seconds, then slowly bring it back down to where you had it.
I once had a stove run away on me with the damper closed and air control at the lowest setting. I probably turned white thinking of all the ways things could go wrong from there with my brand new stove. After doing the above though, it seemed to reset things and the air choked off considerably bringing down my temps therein rather quickly. Ive learned over time that this is just one of the quirks of this stove.
I have no experience with a Dauntless but I can say for sure I have had air choked way down on my Defiant and the cat temps rage.... I suspect the cause is a very smoky fire (due to lack of primary air) and all that smoke gets combusted in the cat where it has lots of excess air. Opening the air up a bit shifts some of the combustion from the cat to the firebox, thus reducing the fuel for the cat and reducing temps. I think the cure is as you said, bring the primary air down slowly, little bit at a time.

Wet wood will also cause this.... Anemic primary burn and lots of smoke = high cat temps....
 

GrumpyDad

Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2022
562
Champion, PA
I have no experience with a Dauntless but I can say for sure I have had air choked way down on my Defiant and the cat temps rage.... I suspect the cause is a very smoky fire (due to lack of primary air) and all that smoke gets combusted in the cat where it has lots of excess air. Opening the air up a bit shifts some of the combustion from the cat to the firebox, thus reducing the fuel for the cat and reducing temps. I think the cure is as you said, bring the primary air down slowly, little bit at a time.

Wet wood will also cause this.... Anemic primary burn and lots of smoke = high cat temps....
sounds like what this guy deals with...and it sounds like VC has had this crappy design for many years
 
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Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,471
Woolwich nj
So should we not be pushing coals to the back on reload? Or just let the coal base burn down more?

I dont rake the coals back. I rake them around sometimes to get them out of rhe ash or if very fiew to the middle.. I normally let the wood catch and keep the wood at the back and it will.coal up itself and maintain a consistent coal bed..
 

GrumpyDad

Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2022
562
Champion, PA
I dont rake the coals back. I rake them around sometimes to get them out of rhe ash or if very fiew to the middle.. I normally let the wood catch and keep the wood at the back and it will.coal up itself and maintain a consistent coal bed..
Back...what back. There is no back. The stove is so small there is no way to split the front from back 50/50 and have the majority of the coals in the 'back'.
 

JohnDaileyNH

New Member
Oct 10, 2022
59
Seacoast, NH
Back...what back. There is no back. The stove is so small there is no way to split the front from back 50/50 and have the majority of the coals in the 'back'.
I burned overnight 9:00 PM-6:40 AM when I took this photo. This is raked to the back. Notice the pile up against the back wall. Obviously my Encore is going to have a bigger fire box than the Dauntless. But there is clear visible space in the front of the box

Next time I will just stir them and restart see how it goes. But it's basically been running for a full week as primary heat in my 2500 sq ft house. Let it burn down Thursday to clean some ash out

20221120_064000.jpg
 
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Kevin Weis

Minister of Fire
Mar 3, 2018
1,050
Union Bridge, Md
Perfect. Exactly how the manual specifies a reload. It even goes so far as to say not to break the coals into smaller pieces. Have found that in order to not to have to rekindle the coals must be still at a 2-3 inch depth close to the refractory. Typically this is going to be once all wood starts to go into coaling stage.
 

arnermd

Member
May 16, 2014
57
Tolland, CT
sounds like what this guy deals with...and it sounds like VC has had this crappy design for many years

That video is spot on! Exactly my problems and my feelings. Great stove features and aesthetics.... terrible burn.
Thanks for posting this.
 

Jimmy C

Member
Jan 30, 2020
120
Guilford, CT
I have no experience with a Dauntless but I can say for sure I have had air choked way down on my Defiant and the cat temps rage.... I suspect the cause is a very smoky fire (due to lack of primary air) and all that smoke gets combusted in the cat where it has lots of excess air. Opening the air up a bit shifts some of the combustion from the cat to the firebox, thus reducing the fuel for the cat and reducing temps. I think the cure is as you said, bring the primary air down slowly, little bit at a time.

Wet wood will also cause this.... Anemic primary burn and lots of smoke = high cat temps....
This is my experience as well, especially since closing off the secondary air. It takes longer to shut down the primary air all the way but will usually keep the CAT under 1500 that way. When wood is over 20% this seems to be even more true.

I also experienced the added creosote after closing off the secondary. I am hoping this was due to not having a good bed of coals/ closing down primary too fast/ or wood supply. This year I have remedied all those issues so if it happens again, the secondary air mod is going back to the way it was. Keeping CAT under 1200 is not a possibility. I am just aiming for under 1600.
 

arnermd

Member
May 16, 2014
57
Tolland, CT
A new experiment..... I had an old piece of refractory laying around from one of my previous rebuilds, so I stuck it in front of the secondary inlet to keep coals from piling up right there and force the flame into a smaller area. The refractory is the piece that goes against the catalyst frame, right behind the fancy cover plate.

Data is below. Takes a while to get the cat up to temp. The first load was pretty full, although the wood is not great, it is dry but old oak so not real dense. Did have a spike above 1200 up to 1400, lasted 15-20 minutes. Glass is clean so that's a good sign. I see smoke out the chimney but cat is never above 1000 when the sun is up.... I think to literally see zero smoke the cat has to be up over 1000 to see nothing or just steam.

Not perfect, but better I think....

If you do not have a piece of refractory I am thinking a nice piece of steel C channel might work too....

PB210001.JPG 11212022.jpg
 

GrumpyDad

Minister of Fire
Feb 23, 2022
562
Champion, PA
Yesterdays burn data.... for the first load I did not rake coals to the front.... cat went to 1400+. It was a small load so short burn.

On the second load I did rake coals to the front. Cat peaked at 1200.

Raking coals to the front seems to give me repeatable lower peak cat temps. Although it takes a lot longer to get the cat hot..... not sure if this is a good or bad.... Might check for smoke to see what that looks like. View attachment 303077
Id be really curious to see what your glass and up inside from the primary into the stove pipe what your stove pipe looks like after a cycle like this. Mine would be completely soot covered all over burning that low.
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,471
Woolwich nj
Looks like the wife has the Dauntless down pat…this is what I came home to

View attachment 303446 View attachment 303447

I love it.. My wifes good with the stove also.. The house was plenty warm for her today so she dialed it all the way back when it was mostly coals.. came home from.work to clean glass and the stove still at 300 degrees, from when I loaded it up at 5.30am..

Good for you...
 
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Kevin Weis

Minister of Fire
Mar 3, 2018
1,050
Union Bridge, Md
A new experiment..... I had an old piece of refractory laying around from one of my previous rebuilds, so I stuck it in front of the secondary inlet to keep coals from piling up right there and force the flame into a smaller area. The refractory is the piece that goes against the catalyst frame, right behind the fancy cover plate.

Data is below. Takes a while to get the cat up to temp. The first load was pretty full, although the wood is not great, it is dry but old oak so not real dense. Did have a spike above 1200 up to 1400, lasted 15-20 minutes. Glass is clean so that's a good sign. I see smoke out the chimney but cat is never above 1000 when the sun is up.... I think to literally see zero smoke the cat has to be up over 1000 to see nothing or just steam.

Not perfect, but better I think....

If you do not have a piece of refractory I am thinking a nice piece of steel C channel might work too....

View attachment 303431 View attachment 303432
Since your keeping the coals further away from the cat makes sense it takes longer to to ignite. In fact since your secondary is really not your secondary anymore your cat is the secondary now. And cat lit under 800 will have some smoke. So yes, for a cat to produce no smoke at all it will need to be north of 900f. With the setup pictured I can see the cat doing double duty. Might work? Wondering if your draft is too strong? The VC's have a maximum draft recommendation. For my Intrepid it's 0.065 water weight. The Encore, a bigger stove is probably a little more. To note some cat stoves have this max as a minimum draft so go figure.
 

arnermd

Member
May 16, 2014
57
Tolland, CT
Since your keeping the coals further away from the cat makes sense it takes longer to to ignite. In fact since your secondary is really not your secondary anymore your cat is the secondary now. And cat lit under 800 will have some smoke. So yes, for a cat to produce no smoke at all it will need to be north of 900f. With the setup pictured I can see the cat doing double duty. Might work? Wondering if your draft is too strong? The VC's have a maximum draft recommendation. For my Intrepid it's 0.065 water weight. The Encore, a bigger stove is probably a little more. To note some cat stoves have this max as a minimum draft so go figure.
I thought about a possible draft issue, oddly I can not find a min or max draft specification in the manual.... unless I just missed it. I have a digital manometer and have been checking pressures about 18" above the stove at various temps, it seems to run about .07 to .09 iwc.

I think excess draft is an unlikely culprit for a couple reasons, but I am still investigating
  1. The over firing does track with outside air temp. I would expect the problem to be more frequent in cold weather conditions as draft will be greater. I do not notice the problem occurring more frequently when it is cold.
  2. I have a key damper installed in the exhaust pipe and I have run with it in various positions. I would expect the issue to not occur with the damper closed and that is not the case. Seems to make no difference. I even welded up the holes in the damper so I could reduce open area.
Where did you find the max draft number?
 

t0asty

New Member
Oct 12, 2021
64
NJ
I love it.. My wifes good with the stove also.. The house was plenty warm for her today so she dialed it all the way back when it was mostly coals.. came home from.work to clean glass and the stove still at 300 degrees, from when I loaded it up at 5.30am..

Good for you...
I don't let my wife touch the stove. One time when we had the old 1975 Defiant, I came home from work and see a smoldering oven mitt in the snow and next to it a shop-vac slowly melting from the inside out. Apparently she felt the need to clean the house including the wood stove (including the ash inside) with the shop-vac when there were still a few hot coals. True story. I love her though.
 
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Eman85

Member
Oct 10, 2022
229
E TN
My Encore is old, model 0028 but since I replaced the cat and installed a temp probe I am struggling with it. I've had the cat start to run away and can't get it to cool down. It will start whooshing like it's really over firing and I have to shut the primary air off to get it to calm down. I've had it raise the flue temp very high. With my old cat and no probe I never had any problems like what I'm having now, I know it's not the probe. When my old cat was pretty much spent out I just burnt the stove in non cat mode which is what I'm doing now. I'm still waiting for the secondary air flap spring but I really don't think that will be the answer. I can control is if I only put a couple of splts in and let it burn down, if I load it I can't control it with the damper closed. If I don't close the damper I can load it and get 8+ hour burns using the stove like a conventional stove. I don't think I've got too much draft as my chimney is short straight up through a single story roof.
 

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
2,471
Woolwich nj
I don't let my wife touch the stove. One time when we had the old 1975 Defiant, I came home from work and see a smoldering oven mitt in the snow and next to it a shop-vac slowly melting from the inside out. Apparently she felt the need to clean the house including the wood stove (including the ash inside) with the shop-vac when there were still a few hot coals. True story. I love her though.

love that story
 

Kevin Weis

Minister of Fire
Mar 3, 2018
1,050
Union Bridge, Md
I thought about a possible draft issue, oddly I can not find a min or max draft specification in the manual.... unless I just missed it. I have a digital manometer and have been checking pressures about 18" above the stove at various temps, it seems to run about .07 to .09 iwc.

I think excess draft is an unlikely culprit for a couple reasons, but I am still investigating
  1. The over firing does track with outside air temp. I would expect the problem to be more frequent in cold weather conditions as draft will be greater. I do not notice the problem occurring more frequently when it is cold.
  2. I have a key damper installed in the exhaust pipe and I have run with it in various positions. I would expect the issue to not occur with the damper closed and that is not the case. Seems to make no difference. I even welded up the holes in the damper so I could reduce open area.
Where did you find the max draft number?
The draft specs are in the installation manual, not the operators manual. A lot of info from the installation manual does appear also in the operators manual but not all of it of course. That installation manual should be on their web site.
 

arnermd

Member
May 16, 2014
57
Tolland, CT
Oddly enough the VC website does not have an installation manual for the Defiant. The manual I have is labeled as "Homeowners Installation and Operating Manual", but there is no mention of draft levels.

The Encore 2040 manual indicates 0.03 - 0.065 IWC (as you said earlier). My readings are running .06 with my key damper closed and .10 with the key damper open. Stove was hot, Flue damper closed and full primary air.

Last night I returned my stove to factory configuration and ran a full load, cat slowly climbed up to 1450 even with key damper and primary air full closed. I had no choice but to open up the flue damper for an hour to drop the cat temps. Once I re-engaged the cat it was fine.

Cat temps are definitely related to fuel load, with smaller loads I struggle to get cat temps over 1000, full loads and cat temps are going to 1450+.
 

Kevin Weis

Minister of Fire
Mar 3, 2018
1,050
Union Bridge, Md
I think a cat running between 650 and 900 is just fine. North of 1300 may be considered too hot. The Condar web page says above 1300 for the steel cat is too hot and may cause it to not function. But other VC stoves have a ceramic cat which maybe different.