VC Dauntless, problems with smoke

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anniemade

New Member
Feb 15, 2021
5
Maine
Our chimney and flue are lined with ceramic. I have loaded from the top and lit from the top, but to get it to catch, I have to leave the front door open when starting from scratch. Yes, when the fire is going, we shut the damper on the back left of the stove and (every once in a while) adjust the airflow (on the front right side) down a few notches, but not closed. Then open everything up before reloading from the top. We mix hard and soft wood. Once the fire is well established, it will run for hours. Not sure exactly, but certainly overnight, 10 hours+. On a weekly basis, we empty and vacuum the stove, and empty the ashes more often. Not sure what else I can give you. Basically, we know we need 4-6# of kindling to get the fire going, aiming for a big bed of coals for the first 1-2 hours. Then, we can focus on fire building.
 
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Jmorg

New Member
Feb 26, 2021
31
Virginia
Our chimney and flue are lined with ceramic. I have loaded from the top and lit from the top, but to get it to catch, I have to leave the front door open when starting from scratch. Yes, when the fire is going, we shut the damper on the back left of the stove and (every once in a while) adjust the airflow (on the front right side) down a few notches, but not closed. Then open everything up before reloading from the top. We mix hard and soft wood. Once the fire is well established, it will run for hours. Not sure exactly, but certainly overnight, 10 hours+. On a weekly basis, we empty and vacuum the stove, and empty the ashes more often. Not sure what else I can give you. Basically, we know we need 4-6# of kindling to get the fire going, aiming for a big bed of coals for the first 1-2 hours. Then, we can focus on fire building.
Thanks for getting back. Those 10+ hours of burn times sound great! Well I’ll try to come back to the forum and give an update on how mine does this winter.
 

gthomas785

Feeling the Heat
Feb 8, 2020
493
Central MA
I just wanted to echo that cold starting does take a bit of practice with these stoves. Again - I have the Encore, not sure exactly how it's different from the Dauntless but it sounds like a very similar design. If the stove is stone cold, I do leave the front door cracked open for 20-30 minutes after lighting the fire. At first this seemed really wrong since no stove I've used in the past required that much extra air on startup, but now I've accepted that it is part of the normal stove behavior and established a good routine.

To start the stove I usually load it full of loosely stacked ~2" pieces with a few crumpled sheets of newspaper somewhere in the middle. Let that burn down on full air with the door cracked to establish a coal bed and heat up the chimney. Then I can load it up with larger splits, close the door, and start thinking about engaging the catalyst.

The really nice thing is that I rarely have to do a cold start during the winter, because even if I've been out of the house for 12+ hours the stove is nowhere near cold and I can usually just throw some splits on the remaining coals. Maybe a bit of kindling if it's really burned down.
 
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Jmorg

New Member
Feb 26, 2021
31
Virginia
Your draft will be weak in the summer. Your not really going to actually see how the stove operates untill the cooler weather comes. A good review will be with the stove running at at normal temperatures like 350 to say 500 degrees. a small break in fire at 150 degrees will not be sufficient to heat the flue and get good draft so smoke spillage would be normal, probably for any stove under those conditions

The T in the back will also slow your draft some.
Will you be putting in a K type cat probe to measure your cat temps.. will you be doing a flue probe also
How do you install the cat temp probe on these stoves?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,475
South Puget Sound, WA
How do you install the cat temp probe on these stoves?
There should be a hole on the back of the stove for this. Did the stove come with the Catalyst Performance Package (Catalyst, Temp Probe, Bracket, & Install Items) 0003406 ?
 

Jmorg

New Member
Feb 26, 2021
31
Virginia
There should be a hole on the back of the stove for this. Did the stove come with the Catalyst Performance Package (Catalyst, Temp Probe, Bracket, & Install Items) 0003406 ?
No, but available from VC for $200 for the package. I'll look around for the access hole. I assume it's closed off somehow to keep air from getting in...
 

gthomas785

Feeling the Heat
Feb 8, 2020
493
Central MA
No, but available from VC for $200 for the package. I'll look around for the access hole. I assume it's closed off somehow to keep air from getting in...
There should be a silver plug on the back of the stove near the center bottom. You pry it off with a screwdriver.
 
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Jmorg

New Member
Feb 26, 2021
31
Virginia
There should be a silver plug on the back of the stove near the center bottom. You pry it off with a screwdriver.
Another question...is it crucial to use the cat probe thermometer or is a stovetop thermometer adequate to know when to engage the cat?
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,475
South Puget Sound, WA
Instrumentation is good. It not only provides confidence in when to engage the cat, but can also help prevent damage to cat getting too hot (>1500º). It can also provide information on how different species of wood are combusting.

Ideally, I'd want a cat thermometer and a good flue thermometer. Stove top temp is less important to me.
 

Jmorg

New Member
Feb 26, 2021
31
Virginia
Instrumentation is good. It not only provides confidence in when to engage the cat, but can also help prevent damage to cat getting too hot (>1500º). It can also provide information on how different species of wood are combusting.

Ideally, I'd want a cat thermometer and a good flue thermometer. Stove top temp is less important to me.
I would maybe have to get a different kind of cat thermometer since my stove is setup as a hearth stove I won't be able to look around at the back at the thermometer very easily. Also can't see my flue pipe very easily for a flue thermometer. I'll have to stick with a stovetop temp and maybe get a digital cat probe.
 

gthomas785

Feeling the Heat
Feb 8, 2020
493
Central MA
I have cat thermometers and flue thermometers on both of my stoves. The cat thermometer won't register anything until you engage the cat so I use the flue thermometer to judge when I should close the bypass. The cat thermometer tells me if the cat is operating correctly.
Yeah the cat thermometer location is annoying on the back of the stove. To get around that you can use any type "K" thermocouple with a wire and a digital display. Or, put a mirror in the back of the fireplace.
 
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Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
1,955
Woolwich nj
I would maybe have to get a different kind of cat thermometer since my stove is setup as a hearth stove I won't be able to look around at the back at the thermometer very easily. Also can't see my flue pipe very easily for a flue thermometer. I'll have to stick with a stovetop temp and maybe get a digital cat probe.

Many people on the site are using the Auber AT 100 as the cat and flue probe.. it has a digital readout that will be easy to see and the cord to the cat probe is 6ft long so that gets you out plenty.. mine in on the wall low to the baseboard next to the wood rack so its not so obvious. I also use an IR gun to read the SST as well as a bimetal thermometer.. I have a good bimetal thermometer on the flu as well.. Or run 2 Aubers one for the cat and the other for the flue.. The bimetal cat probe is tough.. It takes a long time for it to read in the active zone and the bimetalis also are inaccurate so it may say active but may not actually be lit off. The digital probe will be up to temp in a minute and is accurate to 1 degree you you definitely know if your cats running properly.. the other benefit is to be able to easily see the display. My display is right next to the chair I sit in so I can just look down and see how my stove is running with out having to get up and look at something.. my wife can see it also from where she sits. Its super easy to look at the display and see if your cats stalled..
 

Jmorg

New Member
Feb 26, 2021
31
Virginia
Many people on the site are using the Auber AT 100 as the cat and flue probe.. it has a digital readout that will be easy to see and the cord to the cat probe is 6ft long so that gets you out plenty.. mine in on the wall low to the baseboard next to the wood rack so its not so obvious. I also use an IR gun to read the SST as well as a bimetal thermometer.. I have a good bimetal thermometer on the flu as well.. Or run 2 Aubers one for the cat and the other for the flue.. The bimetal cat probe is tough.. It takes a long time for it to read in the active zone and the bimetalis also are inaccurate so it may say active but may not actually be lit off. The digital probe will be up to temp in a minute and is accurate to 1 degree you you definitely know if your cats running properly.. the other benefit is to be able to easily see the display. My display is right next to the chair I sit in so I can just look down and see how my stove is running with out having to get up and look at something.. my wife can see it also from where she sits. Its super easy to look at the display and see if your cats stalled..
Awesome, thank you. So when you install the probe, how do you know that it is an inch away from the cat? I think my probe port is on the back/side in about the middle of the stove. I see a little knockout there. I’ll put up a pick and if you zoom in you can kind of see it…on the right hand side maybe 8" below the bypass damper handle.

E47F871C-70AF-41A1-8FCD-CDD62BACF3A3.jpeg
 
Last edited:

Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
1,955
Woolwich nj
Awesome, thank you. So when you install the probe, how do you know that it is an inch away from the cat? I think my probe port is on the back/side in about the middle of the stove. I see a little knockout there. I’ll put up a pick and if you zoom in you can kind of see it…on the right hand side maybe 8" below the bypass damper handle.


View attachment 280923

its hard for me to see in that pic there should be a plug to pop out and you just slide the probe in pull the access cover to make sure the probe is in the right spot..
 
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Diabel

Minister of Fire
Jan 11, 2008
3,252
Ottawa, ON
Awesome, thank you. So when you install the probe, how do you know that it is an inch away from the cat? I think my probe port is on the back/side in about the middle of the stove. I see a little knockout there. I’ll put up a pick and if you zoom in you can kind of see it…on the right hand side maybe 8" below the bypass damper handle.

View attachment 280923
That looks like a rear heat shield to me. The probe plug is likely hidden behind it.
 
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Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
1,955
Woolwich nj
There is a hole in the heat shield of mine that the probe goes through. there should be a plug in the back of the stove to remove and have the prob slide into.. You will need to attach the probe to the original bimetal thermometer bracket that should be on the back of the stove. If you don't have the bracket you'll need to order one.. it may come as a kit with the bimetal thermometer..
20210814_093037.jpg
 
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Jmorg

New Member
Feb 26, 2021
31
Virginia
Here’s a better pic of that knockout on the back right hand side I was talking about. I’m not sure if that’s where the probe would go or if it is underneath of the other part in the middle on the back. The owners manuals don’t really specify about the cat probe…
 

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Jmorg

New Member
Feb 26, 2021
31
Virginia
Quick update on the Dauntless…I emailed VC and they gave me part numbers and a good description of where and how to place the cat probe. Did my second break-in fire today and it did great. Got up to about 300 degrees and the draft was good and strong so no back puffing this time. I’ll attach the video if y’all care to see it in action!
 
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Woodsplitter67

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2017
1,955
Woolwich nj
Thanks…No, just the little magnetic stovetop thermometer for now until I get the cat and the temp probe.

are you getting the auber.. or will you be using something else. You can tell the stove is brand new by the color of the griddle.. mine used to look like that.. I wish you good luck burning.. wood heat, there's nothing like it
 

Jmorg

New Member
Feb 26, 2021
31
Virginia
are you getting the auber.. or will you be using something else. You can tell the stove is brand new by the color of the griddle.. mine used to look like that.. I wish you good luck burning.. wood heat, there's nothing like it
Definitely nothing like wood heat! As of right now I’ll probably just stick with the stovetop thermometer that I have and then get the cat and the cat temp probe as soon as I can. I don’t really have enough space for stovepipe access. I’ve never had a cat stove before so I never really worried about stove temp that much with my other stoves.