My Windhager BioWin 100/150 Install Thread

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velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,066
Sand Lake, NY
Turns out, it doesn't return that gracefully from a power outage. The timers come on first. The result is that when power is restored, the pellet pump will run for 10 minutes, whether or not there is a call for heat. I don't think it's a big deal: there still is the Caleffi thermomix valve and power outages don't happen all that much.

Hopefully these relays have some longevity to them. I think I might buy some spares.
 

Paste

New Member
Aug 13, 2013
35
NH
Me too. I don't think I'll have time to mess with the bin this year, so taking off the vacuum feeder is also on the list. I will read the install manual first and take pictures of the way it currently is, so I don't forget, lol.

The bin and suction probe take about 30 min to setup. If you have any questions or want photos let me know. Go vacuum and enjoy months of freedom from hauling pellet bags. :)
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,066
Sand Lake, NY
I already have 4 tons in bags in the basement and I'm still using a wood insert.
The main thing is how the tubes will get into the house. My basement window is on the far side for the hose from the truck, especially in the winter.
The preferred location is problematic because of the way the joists are running and the porch fence. I'm leaning towards the porch and parallel to the joists, but I'll have to make some 'modifications' to the fence so that the hose can go through.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,066
Sand Lake, NY
As far as the feed goes, I'm thinking about putting the pellet bag silo in one place and building a rectangular box with a pickup and hoses in another place. That way, to switch from bulk to bags, say if I run out and want to bag it, I'd just have to switch some hoses at the vacuum unit. I'm going to try to take the vacuum unit off today and put on the cover: we'll see how that goes.

In another note, I managed to take the scrunched up foam from underneath the Froling Energy Tank. It's about 2" thick. I tried putting a cut piece of foam back in, but there was no way, with the braces and limited access. I stuffed fiberglass in there instead. The Energy Tank has 4" of foam, like a sponge, around the whole unit (except the bottom), that is covered with a plastic jacket that is held together with a zipper. It makes it easy to mount external sensors on a rail that is bolted onto the tank. There is a plastic cap that goes over the top, but that was a little problem too, since I left it off when I put the valves, fittings, etc on top of the tank, and there are only two holes on top of the cover. I cut a slit in it and managed to get it over the fittings without cracking the cover (which I felt was miraculous since the boiler drain valve and elbow and Hyvent protruded quite a bit.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,066
Sand Lake, NY
It's not THAT easy to take off the vacuum unit. I decided to keep it there for now. It looks like I can feed pellets through the top access cover. I think I will build a box with a pickup in the middle, probably square, to empty bags in, and work on the bag later.

I started up the oil boiler a little while ago and had it charge up the tank. Interesting notes: the top tank sensor got warm, 115f, while the boiler temp was 130, just when the Caleffi is supposed to start opening. The return line was indeed felt cool that whole time. Somehow the water was circulating.

Another interesting thing: with the oil boiler aquastat set at 190 or so, based on the boiler temp gauge which is new (the aquastat did not agree), the tank got to 186 top and 172 bottom when the boiler turned off. The call for heat continued since both top an bottom were set at 175, and therefore the pump kept running. I let the pump keep running for a while and there was no change in temperature, except the boiler temperature went down, mostly slowly. I changed the bottom setpoint to 170 and the heat call and pump went off. I'm thinking that the boiler aquastat is 15 degrees or so, so the pump might run a long time and the field controls oil flue damper would stay open, losing heat. I wonder how the pellet boiler will react and whether I should do anything about it, especially since the max temp of the pellet boiler is 176.

I might pose this situation on another thread.
 
It's not THAT easy to take off the vacuum unit. I decided to keep it there for now. It looks like I can feed pellets through the top access cover. I think I will build a box with a pickup in the middle, probably square, to empty bags in, and work on the bag later.

On page 26 of the installation manual: you can unscrew the top and bottom inspection panel. Now you can slide the vacuum feed turbine in or out.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,066
Sand Lake, NY
I think it also said to use two people, lol. The power and proximity switch cables also must be disconnected at the boiler. The power disconnects with no problem, but the proximity cable is routed nicely and attaches at the circuit board-I'm not sure how often I want to disconnect those wire from those push in connectors. Then, it's not exactly light. I'd have to remember to tape up the flap, and then place it gently on the ground and protect it while it was stored, maybe on the pallet. With my box concept, I'd be able to dump a ton and a quarter or so into a 4x4x4 box. If I got the bag silo going, it'd be easier to change the vacuum connections.
That's the way I'm thinking now, anyway.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,066
Sand Lake, NY
Here's a thread on the buffer tank temps: https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/buffer-tank-questions.132489

Bottom line: tweaking of the tank controller settings will be required to extract the most heat on a charge, and the modulating, lower firing rate of the pellet boiler should help with that.

I think I'm gonna petition to commission!
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,066
Sand Lake, NY
Another observation. My scheme for checking whether the pellet boiler is firing by observing the pellet boiler's jacket temperature for 20 minutes might not be that great when operating on oil alone, since the buffer tank will continue to be depleted by dhw and the heating zones (down to the 130 top sensor setpoint). There has to be another way, like a current sensing scheme, that can sense whether the pellet boiler is operational.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,066
Sand Lake, NY
Well, I thought about building a box, but I'm no carpenter, and I thought I'll wait to do the bag silo, and so, convereted it over to manual. It was kind of a pain, because it was a little awkward and heavy-ish, and sort of 'adjusted' my back on the way off and down; not too much harm done, and I still plan on playing golf tomorrow. :) The hopper didn't have any studs for the grate to mount on in the back, so I drilled a couple of holes and used some screws and nuts to secure it. The lid also took a little time to install. I disconnected the AC from the plug and threaded the proximity sensor and cable out of the vacuum unit (that was easiest). The vacuum turbine unit is on a dolly, out of the way for now. It'd go smoother the second time, but if I switch back to automatic, I'd want to keep it there. I going to feed it manually for now, until I get the storage bag set up.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,066
Sand Lake, NY
Here are some pictures.
IMGP3645.JPG IMGP3642.JPG IMGP3641.JPG
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,066
Sand Lake, NY
Having some air issues. It's gonna get to 80 here today, so not too much running in the cards. The basement is now 68-will have to do some insulation.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,066
Sand Lake, NY
I looked at what it takes to adjust the baro damper. The install manual commissioning checklist calls for .1-.15 mbar, which is .04 - .06 inches of water. I figure .05 is a target. The Windhager baro damper has a sticker on it that says each millimeter from the weight bracket to the weight equals 1 pascal. So, for .05 in. of water, the distance should be 12.45 mm. That's what I set the weight to using a digital caliper.

There is a plugged hole on the flue collar for a manometer probe, picture below. The plug is just a flattish piece of metal held on by a clip (not airtight or anything). I have an inexpensive digital manometer coming in the mail.

I will measure the draft, but if the baro damper is set correctly as per the directions, I'm not sure what measuring the draft will do, except for verification, or that it's really wild and crazy. There is a history of downdraft in the basement, so I hope everything will work as it should.

IMGP3651.JPG
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,066
Sand Lake, NY
First fire tonight, now on its pre-commissioning shakedown run! Very quiet. Some control tweaks still needed. Must put insulation on pipes: waiting for elbows to arrive.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,066
Sand Lake, NY
I've sent this as an email to Marc, who's been very helpful, and I thought I'd also put it here for posterity:

I just charged up the tank. It does take a while to do.

I set the boiler protection pump controller at 135. With the original (cooling) differential of 1, the pump was turning on and off a lot. I felt sorry for it, even though it probably isn't a problem, and set the differential to 5.

The tank controller was set at 175 top and 165 bottom. It actually got to 176/165 with a boiler temp of 177. I set the differential to 10. I can see a problem with the sensor location at top, the warmup time of the pellet boiler, along with a demand for heat. I set the circ pumps at 135/5 like the boiler protection.

The ten minute heat drain period worked as envisioned. It didn't seem to have that much of an effect on boiler or tank temps.

The pellet function test module is set at 115 within 20 minutes. The boiler probably will slowly cool, but maybe there should be a hurry to start the oil boiler. I did notice that if it does go on, once the temp is over 115 the oil burner turns off. I noticed the flue temperature didn't get much over 220 F, which is the max temp. for the Ranco controller, and the IR gun on the black single wall flue increaser section showed something like 183, so maybe that sensor could be used on there. I just checked and the boiler temp is at 179 (increased) while the flue temp is down to 163. I'm leaning towards giving it a try instead of using another controller with a thermocouple.

I experimented with the pump speed. It didn't seem to make that much difference, so I have it at about in the middle of the range.

Oh, I put in 6 more bags before I started. 8 bags is a really tight fit, lol.
 
Wonderful!

Just so you understand, from now on it will get very boring.
There is really noting to watch with the BioWIN, besides it collecting dust.;)

More time for playing golf, or mini golf in winter.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,066
Sand Lake, NY
I'll still be fiddling with the tank and pellets out sensors. I'm thinking I don't have enough headroom with the high top sensor mounting on the tank and that the bottom sensor might be useless because the delta T with the top is so low and the top sensor measures close to the boiler temperature. I'm still looking for a way to detect pellets out.

I am becoming a basement dweller.

It's a smooth running machine, for sure.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,066
Sand Lake, NY
I'm watching another buffer tank load cycle. Hey, this is what I do now. :) I mounted a couple Azel temp sensors on the tank to measure intermediate temps, between top and bottom. I have to say, I'm not seeing much stratification on loading. The tank top started at 165 or so, and then dropped like a stone to 145 when the thermomix valve opening and the pump running more. The boiler pump is cycling nicely: boiler temp 140 comes on, 135 shuts off. There're no other head loads at the moment, just the tank.

I'm still thinking of using only one sensor maybe 1/3 of the way down. That way the tank will get charged to about the same amount, and there will be some more heat left on top to circulate. Not sure though. More 'research' required.

It feels like I'm talking to myself, but in my circle, nobody wants to talk about this. :)
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,066
Sand Lake, NY
I've been spending a lot of time in the basement, lol.
I did indeed take out one of the tank sensors and relocated the one remeaining to about one third down.
Things seem to be running just fine.
The tank got charged til that sensor was 175. The boiler was modulating at 30% for only a couple of minutes. Right after the tank heat call was satisfied the pellet boiler was at 179, (it reallly only goes to 176), and after the ten minute heat drain run of the pump, the boiler got down to 177 or so which was the final temp. of the tank sensor.

Questions are, will I need to bump up the output from 10kw to 15kw (dip switch) when it gets cold? Maybe how to do oil boiler takeover when out of pellets-I think my current temp method should work well enough though.

Life is good. I always love it when things work out, knock on wood.
 
I would suggest to leave it at 10 kW.
Also, I do remember you have a lot of seasoned firewood sitting in your yard.
You will need to get rid of that also.
So keep this firewood for the real cold days, in the event the BioWIN100 does not keep up.
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,066
Sand Lake, NY
Marc,

Yep, have to burn wood as well, but we like burning wood too!

Are there advantages to running it at 10kw rather than 15kw? Is it the modulating aspect-running for longer periods of time? Does the buffer tank enter the mix? It does take a pretty long time to charge the buffer tank at the current 10kw setting, with only a smidgeon of 30% modulation.
 

heaterman

Minister of Fire
Oct 16, 2007
3,374
Falmouth, Michigan
Here's a tip to keep your run times longer on the Windhager when piped into a storage vessel of some type.
Set the Windhager control at 155-160* and then set your tank aquastat at 165-175 or there abouts.
The Windhager will see the temp coming up to its internal setpoint but still see a call for heat from the tank aquastat as it over shoots where it is set. This causes it to throttle down and reduce output but still remain in modulation mode. The tank temp will gradually creep up to the set point and shut things down when it hit the 165-175 setting. The Windhager gets a nice long burn and you enjoy maximum efficiency. :)
 

velvetfoot

Minister of Fire
Dec 5, 2005
10,066
Sand Lake, NY
Thanks! I had noticed that it modulated right down to 30% when the BioWin controller was intially set at 167. At the time I didn't have any insulation on the pipes, and it seemed like it didn't shut off-only heat the basement, lol. Since it's been at 176, it'll modulate down to 70% or so right before it shuts off. It still takes a fairly long time (an hour and a quarter maybe) to get the tank up to temperature.

Could you explain why have long, modulated burns like that is good a good thing? Could creosote become an issue? I can see too many stop/starts being bad, and I can see a quick reaction time on the boiler's part if there is a heat draw because it doesn't have to go through the ignition stage. Could even better support a wider tank differential on the setpoint (I have it at 25 right now, and will keep it there for now). I'm just worried that more hours is good for it.

I'll try it. Tank at 175, (25 diff), boiler at 160.

Thanks much. Any more BIoWin tips gratefully welcomed, or maybe start another thread for more visibility.

Hey, I got my first alarm for low pellets. I think the reserve may be around 2 bags.
 

heaterman

Minister of Fire
Oct 16, 2007
3,374
Falmouth, Michigan
I set both boiler and external parameters to 165.


You can leave the boiler max at 175 or whatever. The external demand temp is what you want to change.

Is it cold enough to burn there? We have an absolutely perfect late fall day going here. About 60, bright sun not a cloud in the sky.