Quadra-Fire Expedition II Insert

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jebatty

Minister of Fire
Jan 1, 2008
5,789
Northern MN
Quadra-Fire Expedition II Insert

We purchased and had the dealer install a new Quadra-Fire Expedition II Insert on December 16, 2020. We already have a wood stove in our living room, a See Fire which is 30 years old. Age of this stove, plus the desire to use our fireplace and re-center our living in a way which takes advantage of the fireplace, were the prime factors in adding the Expedition II. The fireplace as a wood burner was too inefficient to use for any serious heating, but was great for ambience. Our plan is to keep the old stove in place until Spring when we can more safely work on the roof to remove the old chimney.

The Expedition II is a 2020 EPA certified stove with a heat output of 25,000+/- btus and an emission rate of 1.8 grams/hr. Design unique features include automatic combustion control (ACC) and automatic blower control. The “uniqueness” of the design is both its strong and weak points, but in our opinion if the weak points accomplish the low emissions and if the stove still provides adequate heat, this stove will be a “win.”

The ACC works by eliminating operator control over the draft, which now basically has a fixed setting with the ability for the operator to give one (or more) boosts in draft of 20 minutes length by operating a plunger which activates a mechanical timer.

My experience with our old stove, as well as the Tarm boiler in my shop building, is that draft is frequently a moving target depending on many factors, including chimney height, obstructions, wind direction and velocity, and outside temperature.

My early experience with the ACC is that it works, sort of. The boost feature does increase the draft and the fixed draft without boost is pretty good for our chimney characteristics with outside temperatures of mid-teens to low 30's F. Colder temperatures should work to increase the draft. But currently on starting the stove and bringing it up to operating temperature, and sometimes when refueling, the firebox door needs to be left open a crack to get adequate draft, and then closing the door when the burn is well established. However, opening the firebox door a crack to improve draft also was necessary at times with our old stove, and based on comments of other wood burners is not unusual. Also, the lack of ability to close the draft means that more attention needs to be given to not over firing the stove.

Initial conclusion on ACC: this is OK as is, but more time and burning experience under various conditions will allow for a more considered opinion. The Manual with the stove at page 12 gives this advice, which I think is good for the Expedition II as well as any wood stove:

“Since there are no user controls to adjust the burn rate, the easiest method is to learn how many logs you need at a time for the amount of heat desired. In addition to the amount of wood and the size of the logs, take the time to experiment with split and unsplit logs as split logs will burn faster than unsplit logs.”

The automatic blower control does not seem to be operating properly on my Expedition II. It is not turning on the blower reliably as the stove heats up. When it does operate it has so far shut the blower off as the stove cools down. The blower control, if it works, would be a benefit but for me is not a significant issue. The blower also can be operated manually with five speed settings. Operating the blower increases heat output but also cools the stove. Care also will be needed to operate the blower so as not to over-cool the stove to result in an efficient burn. I will be contacting the dealer regarding the apparent problem with the blower control.

I have more to report on the Expedition II, but I want to gain more burn experience first. Let me know if you are interested.
 

agonyzhou

New Member
Nov 29, 2019
97
Maryland
Initial conclusion on ACC: this is OK as is, but more time and burning experience under various conditions will allow for a more considered opinion.

The automatic blower control does not seem to be operating properly on my Expedition II. It i not turning on the blower reliably as the stove heats up. When it does operate it has so far shut the blower off as the stove cools down.

The ACC eliminates operator errors and also take away operator's freedom. It is fantastic for cold starts, not so great for reloads because cold starts are all similar but reloads can be very different.

The blower control is a bog standard snap disk, not different from most other stoves on the market. I am not happy with it too; and replaced the whole blower with this:
 

vbu

New Member
Mar 3, 2019
30
MS
I have the same insert. I use the acc on startup, and sometimes when reloading. The wood usually takes right off so there's no point in activating it for me. I have the same issue with the fan, and I'm not too happy with how much noise it makes compared to CFM output.

How's that replacement part, is it quieter/ does it blow more air?
 

vbu

New Member
Mar 3, 2019
30
MS
quieter, yes. more air, no. Overall it is an improvement to me.
Even that would be worth it to me. I can't stand having to turn up the tv because the thing is so loud.
How'd you mount the control box? Was it overall pretty easy to replace?
 

agonyzhou

New Member
Nov 29, 2019
97
Maryland
Even that would be worth it to me. I can't stand having to turn up the tv because the thing is so loud.
How'd you mount the control box? Was it overall pretty easy to replace?
I ripped the whole blower assembly out; owner manual figure 22.3. There are only a few screws but this thing is very tight.
I used HVAC tape to tape the blower in place and use some furniture leg padding to fill some small gap so it wont move. not the best looking job, but it works.
You can mount the controller box anywhere; the wire is pretty long, > 6 ft. There are 2 wires, one to the temp sensor and one to the blower. Stove is burning so bear with me for this lousy picture.
 

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vbu

New Member
Mar 3, 2019
30
MS
I ripped the whole blower assembly out; owner manual figure 22.3. There are only a few screws but this thing is very tight.
I used HVAC tape to tape the blower in place and use some furniture leg padding to fill some small gap so it wont move. not the best looking job, but it works.
You can mount the controller box anywhere; the wire is pretty long, > 6 ft. There are 2 wires, one to the temp sensor and one to the blower. Stove is burning so bear with me for this lousy picture.
Gotcha! It's hard to tell from the picture, do you still have the mesh in front of it? Or can it not be used
 

jebatty

Minister of Fire
Jan 1, 2008
5,789
Northern MN
I'm not too happy with how much noise it makes compared to CFM output.
I didn't find the fan noise to be objectionable. On low it is barely audible, and yes, the noise increases at higher speeds, but it is moving lots of air on the high speeds.

As for replacing the fan assembly, maybe, but that decision will await more experience with the stove.
 

agonyzhou

New Member
Nov 29, 2019
97
Maryland
I didn't find the fan noise to be objectionable. On low it is barely audible, and yes, the noise increases at higher speeds, but it is moving lots of air on the high speeds.

As for replacing the fan assembly, maybe, but that decision will await more experience with the stove.
There is no magic fan to move air through this very narrow channel, make 2 90 degree turns along the way, and make no noise. I replaced the fan assembly mainly to get better control and observability.
 

jebatty

Minister of Fire
Jan 1, 2008
5,789
Northern MN
The automatic blower control does not seem to be operating properly on my Expedition II.
One month of burning and the ACC still does not work. If someone has used the ACC and can explains in detail how it works, i.e., 1) at what burn point does it come on? 2) how long does it take to activate? 3) does it automatically speed up and slow down the blower? 4) are there "tricks" to get it to work well?

I put the Kill A Watt on the outlet used by the blower, and these are the wattages shown for the various speeds:
Low: 40 watts
+1: 60 watts
+2: 75 watts
+3: 85 watts
+High: 110 watts
 
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agonyzhou

New Member
Nov 29, 2019
97
Maryland
One month of burning and the ACC still does not work. If someone has used the ACC and can explains in detail how it works, i.e., 1) at what burn point does it come on? 2) how long does it take to activate? 3) does it automatically speed up and slow down the blower? 4) are there "tricks" to get it to work well?

I put the Kill A Watt on the outlet used by the blower, and these are the wattages shown for the various speeds:
Low: 40 watts
+1: 60 watts
+2: 75 watts
+3: 85 watts
+High: 110 watts
The ACC has nothing to do with the blower. The ACC is just a mechanic timer that controls the boost air intake (the dog house).

Your measurement seems very high to me. However, I don't have a meter and I have replaced the blower with a 3rd party one so I can neither confirm or dispute.
 
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jebatty

Minister of Fire
Jan 1, 2008
5,789
Northern MN
The ACC has nothing to do with the blower. The ACC is working well.
My mistake and glad you noticed it. I should have said the auto blower control does not seem to work, and my questions relate to that control.
 

agonyzhou

New Member
Nov 29, 2019
97
Maryland
The blower control is a plain old snapdisc. It turns on when it get hot enough, and turn off when it get cold enough. It does not control speed at all. There is no spec but I assume turn on temp > turn off temp > reasonable room temp
The location of the snapdisc can be found in the manual.
 
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