Am I wrong to hate my Lopi Freedom insert for not being a Blaze King?

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,895
SEPA
Wouldn't it be nice to have a knowledgeable Lopi employee on this forum, as we have from BK...

The quality of the help from BK applied to the Lopi might make a sufficient difference to have you make the choice of keeping the Lopi.

I'm just saying...
Here, Here!

I actually think the best thing about BK is the person who supports them on here. He's terrific.

I totally agree, other stove companies are not doing everything they can and should to support their products. I'm a huge SBI fan, but why don't they have someone from their marketing team on here? Not to push, but to gather feedback and provide support. Same with Travis, Englander, VC, etc.?

I suppose it's because they are all likely run by engineering types. Just a guess.

It's a mistake for them to not pay attention to this channel.
 

stoveliker

Minister of Fire
Nov 17, 2019
553
Eastern Long Island NY
.. I'm a huge SBI fan, but why don't they have someone from their marketing team on here? (...)

I suppose it's because they are all likely run by engineering types. Just a guess.
Now I do favor engineering types over marketing people... At least they *understand* what they are talking about... (From someone biased because of having a mat sci and engineering MSc degree and a physics PhD...)
 
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Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,895
SEPA
Now I do favor engineering types over marketing people... At least they *understand* what they are talking about... (From someone biased because of having with a mat sci and engineering MSc degree and a physics PhD...)
Spoken like a true engineering type!

The best marketing people are promoted from the engineering ranks because they want to increase their pay, influence, and responsibilities. And have read "How to Friends and Influence People", or the like.
 

pvfjr

Burning Hunk
Nov 18, 2015
150
Lyons, OR
Well I tuned the thing up, and used it for a few weeks. It was much improved, but I'm still not in love with it. I did get an 8 hour burn ONCE. That required finding the perfect pieces of wood to fully utilize the box, and about 45-60 minutes of supervision after the reload. So that left me with 7 hours for sleep. That's OK, but it also requires that everything be timed perfectly, and I don't always know when I'm going to go to bed or wake up, so the added planning just complicates life.

The tune-up included fixing a bit of a design flaw with the air control. They have two squares holes sliding past each other, and the edges were catching. It felt like the "stop", but it was a false stop, and I could see I was never actually contacting the stop screw. A little sheet metal tweaking fixed that up.

The bypass also had a more defined stop after I cleaned up all the rust scale. I had better secondary burns after this too. I think I got a lot more heat out of the wood after the tune-up. But, in the end, we'll be saying goodbye to the Lopi. I just don't like an open-loop control system. It's too fiddly. I find it far too easy to not get the air "just right". My wife never could find the sweet spot, and she'd either cook us out of there or smoke it out. And with open-loop, changing wood species will alter the sweet spot. I can't expect her to compensate for that all the time--that's just not a reasonable request. The doesn't have 30+ years burning wood under her belt, and she doesn't have a mental BTU chart for all the wood species, or the wood identification experience either. There's just too many variables, and thermostatic control fixes all that.

I did find that burning an insert mostly on it's lowest sustainable setting was mostly adequate for our home during a week of below average daily temperatures. Here's some more furnace data from our test period.

Screenshot_20210104-213256.png Screenshot_20210104-213248.png

You can see we had a couple days with no fire, a couple days with fires starting late morning or early afternoon, one overnight when we didn't manage to save the fire, and a couple overnights when we did save the fire. I wish I had my reload times plotted on the graphs, but I wasn't that diligent.
 
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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
23,597
central pa
Well I tuned the thing up, and used it for a few weeks. It was much improved, but I'm still not in love with it. I did get an 8 hour burn ONCE. That required finding the perfect pieces of wood to fully utilize the box, and about 45-60 minutes of supervision after the reload. So that left me with 7 hours for sleep. That's OK, but it also requires that everything be timed perfectly, and I don't always know when I'm going to go to bed or wake up, so the added planning just complicates life.

The tune-up included fixing a bit of a design flaw with the air control. They have two squares holes sliding past each other, and the edges were catching. It felt like the "stop", but it was a false stop, and I could see I was never actually contacting the stop screw. A little sheet metal tweaking fixed that up.

The bypass also had a more defined stop after I cleaned up all the rust scale. I had better secondary burns after this too. I think I got a lot more heat out of the wood after the tune-up. But, in the end, we'll be saying goodbye to the Lopi. I just don't like an open-loop control system. It's too fiddly. I find it far too easy to not get the air "just right". My wife never could find the sweet spot, and she'd either cook us out of there or smoke it out. And with open-loop, changing wood species will alter the sweet spot. I can't expect her to compensate for that all the time--that's just not a reasonable request. The doesn't have 30+ years burning wood under her belt, and she doesn't have a mental BTU chart for all the wood species, or the wood identification experience either. There's just too many variables, and thermostatic control fixes all that.

I did find that burning an insert mostly on it's lowest sustainable setting was mostly adequate for our home during a week of below average daily temperatures. Here's some more furnace data from our test period.

View attachment 272602 View attachment 272603

You can see we had a couple days with no fire, a couple days with fires starting late morning or early afternoon, one overnight when we didn't manage to save the fire, and a couple overnights when we did save the fire. I wish I had my reload times plotted on the graphs, but I wasn't that diligent.
Did you ever figure out if you have a full insulated liner and blockoff plate?
 

pvfjr

Burning Hunk
Nov 18, 2015
150
Lyons, OR
Did you ever figure out if you have a full insulated liner and blockoff plate?
That's a no to both. I consider myself lucky they pulled a liner through there at this point. The smoke shelf is fairly tight fitting around the liner though. It almost functions as a block off plate, but not quite. I'm considering adding a plate and one of those cementitious vermicular type insulations. There's really no space for fluffy stuff.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
23,597
central pa
That's a no to both. I consider myself lucky they pulled a liner through there at this point. The smoke shelf is fairly tight fitting around the liner though. It almost functions as a block off plate, but not quite. I'm considering adding a plate and one of those cementitious vermicular type insulations. There's really no space for fluffy stuff.
But there is a full liner? It is always tight in that area that is why we cut that area out to make room
 

john26

Feeling the Heat
Oct 27, 2008
463
Wildwood MO
I put new rope gaskets in my Lopi freedom it helped some but not enough. Next step was a piece of stainless in the chimney in attempt to reduce draft. I cut a piece of stainless sheet metal 2"x11" bent it in a U shape and inserted it through the bypass into the chimney. This definitely reduced draft a low temps, cold start and reload but didn't seem to help when the fire was burning hot. Next step was to remove the air control. The slide rod opens and closes primary and secondary at the same time. Primary in front secondary in rear. The primary inlet is 2"x2" secondary is 2"x4.5". On low the primary is 100% blocked the secondary is 3/8" open. The slide is a little sloppy so it it does leak air. I placed tape foil tape 3/16" of an inch on the front secondary slide plate this helped greatly. My burn time was approximately 2.5 to 3 hours longer. I plan on reworking the secondary slide moving it 3/8" forward to fully block the secondary inlet. When I modify I will post pics.
 

pvfjr

Burning Hunk
Nov 18, 2015
150
Lyons, OR
I put new rope gaskets in my Lopi freedom it helped some but not enough. Next step was a piece of stainless in the chimney in attempt to reduce draft. I cut a piece of stainless sheet metal 2"x11" bent it in a U shape and inserted it through the bypass into the chimney. This definitely reduced draft a low temps, cold start and reload but didn't seem to help when the fire was burning hot. Next step was to remove the air control. The slide rod opens and closes primary and secondary at the same time. Primary in front secondary in rear. The primary inlet is 2"x2" secondary is 2"x4.5". On low the primary is 100% blocked the secondary is 3/8" open. The slide is a little sloppy so it it does leak air. I placed tape foil tape 3/16" of an inch on the front secondary slide plate this helped greatly. My burn time was approximately 2.5 to 3 hours longer. I plan on reworking the secondary slide moving it 3/8" forward to fully block the secondary inlet. When I modify I will post pics.
Good luck with all your mods! I'll be curious to see how it turns out for you. I'm normally tempted to tamper with things too, but being a tube burner, I was concerned that turning it down too far would just result in less clean burning. It's certainly a good looking, quality built stove, but I've opted for something more utilitarian. This stove can serve someone else as a backup heat source or for occasional ambiance. For us though, it's just fundamentally different from what we desire out of a 24/7 stove. Being only 6 hours from Walla Walla, it was just a matter of time before I found a deal on a used BK.
 

john26

Feeling the Heat
Oct 27, 2008
463
Wildwood MO
Update restricting the secondary air inlet caused a slow smoldering burn with a black window and a heavy smoke smell outside and when opening the door. I abandoned this idea and explored the idea on an internal damper fixed to the bypass yoke but that won't work either. A key damper may work but will require shorting my liner and adding a piece of stainless single wall pipe. For now I blocked the area where smoke leaves the firebox to enter the secondary chamber with 3 light weight firebricks. The exhaust is sucked through the gaps in the bricks occasionally the edges of the brocks will glow. The fire has slowed down considerably and longer burn times stove top temps are in the 400-500 F range. I inspected the stove and chimney yesterday chimney was fairly clean and secondary chamber had very fine fly ash. I am happier with the stoves performance but it still doesn't compare to my smaller less expensive Napoleon 1401. I have had thoughts about getting another 1401 or 1402 but I would have to extend my hearth protection, my wife doesn't like that idea. If I find a deal on Osburn 3500 or Napoleon S25 I may go that route.
 

tadmaz

Feeling the Heat
Dec 21, 2017
456
Erin, WI
My folks have a Napoleon 1401 and at their new place they are building they are getting an S25. Seems like bulletproof stoves.
 

john26

Feeling the Heat
Oct 27, 2008
463
Wildwood MO
I found out Country Flame Ovation 2600 has the same size firebox and secondary burn technology as the the Napoleon 1401 with a 35" wide overall width so it can set back in my fireplace. I think I may replace my Lopi with one of them.