Ok, the discussion of sealing the front of the stove is getting a life of it's own, and I realize that I haven't stated the detail of not sealing the front cover of the stove to the body of the stove with silicone. DO NOT DO THAT!! What I'm talking about is making a gasket that builds up the front cover to seal the gap to the stove body. I did this by putting a bead of silicone on the cover only that is slightly taller than the gap at each point. It needs to be lower at the bottom, and taller near the top, wherever there is a significant gap. Then overlay that with wax paper strips and gently return the cover to place. Let it set up very well - 24 hours if you can stand it, and voila, you have a REMOVABLE gasket that matches the contour. It'll be stuck to the cover, but not the stove. The wax paper will stick to the silicone, but you can trim most of it off and the rest will go harmlessly to dust from the heat. An alternative to the wax paper would be some viscous hand or dish soap applied to the body of the stove to keep the silicone from sticking. I think the wax paper is better in this case, since there's a bit of sliding contact when you put the cover on to form the gasket, but it doesn't hurt to use a little soap on the stove body if there is an area where you think the silicone might squeeze out and touch the stove body around the wax paper. If you use the right amount of silicone, you'll end up with a 1/4 to 3/8 flat top, and it wont squeeze out so it's visible with the cover installed.
Sorry for all that. I just don't want to own somebody's grief from them gluing their pretty new furnace into a solid block that they'll need a hammer and chisel to open for maintenance.
I talked to Daryl about this too. It was kind of an aside to one of the conversations about water heating we had. He was interested in the details of how I did it, but never mentioned anything about the gaps being intentional... I'll leave it at that. That is the hottest part of the stove, at least in the normal configuration with the baffle installed over the burn chamber, but from what I've seen, there's pretty decent air flow there. I did a lot of probing and temp taking during my water heating project, and that's the air flow I've harnessed into my DHW heat exchanger. I can tell you that the air coming out of that area runs about 165-185 with the fan on and the gaps sealed, so regardless, we're not talking smoking hot.
It's easy to seal those gaps, and it made a significant difference in the delivered air temp, as well as a noticeable difference in heat performance at the hard-to-heat ends of my house. It also made a large difference in the temp of my furnace room, in spite of the fact that I have a return air intake in there. If you have trouble moving heat around the house, like I do, you might try finding your best heat resistant stuffing for those gaps and see if it helps you. But, laying a bead of silicone along that gap to make a permanent gasket, is probably easier than trying to chink those gaps with something. It just requires a not-hot stove for at least 8 hours until it hardens up.
We are unable to modify our computer without resubmitting the VF100 to be retested. This is a very expensive proposition, thousands of dollars. My suggestion to you would be to install another 24V wire that extends the current 24V wire coming off the (C) terminal on the relay all the way upstairs to go through a switch (located in a convenient spot) and then goes back downstairs to the 24V computer to complete the circuit. When the switch is ON, the computer works normal. When the switch is OFF, you would shut off the computer from upstairs and have only pilot air, which would conserve your coal bed longer.
Make sure that when you turn it off, it's very near the end of the burn and on NO. 3, otherwise, you could get creosote. This would save you from going downstairs as often. You would have to estimate how long your burn is going to be.