My homemade PC-based "Coal Trol" and stoker control theory

Re: My homemade PC-based "Coal Trol" and stoker control theory

PostBy: BlackRockBurner On: Tue Nov 17, 2009 3:08 pm

LOL, I tried to keep it clean because I have the deal with the Spaghetti-O stuff every day :mad: .
It's so much fun doing stuff like this, and it's even better when you throw the switch and everything...
just works... :punk:
I spent the last few days weighing all the coal I put in the hopper to get a daily usage "before" baseline.
The idle times seem to be working good so far, so I'll load it up tonight and do a few days of weighing
to try and estimate the coal savings. I'll post the numbers when I 'm done, but just watching how small
and steady the fire is now compared to the old system, it should be pretty decent.

Mark
BlackRockBurner
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K (old one)

Re: My homemade PC-based "Coal Trol" and stoker control theory

PostBy: daluds On: Tue Nov 24, 2009 8:20 am

Highlander and BlackRockBurner,

Do you have more information on this controller? I think this is the way to go to keep my system running. I'd like to run it more than 2 times an hour.

Thanks,

Dave
daluds
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: EMF
Stove/Furnace Model: DF-520

Re: My homemade PC-based "Coal Trol" and stoker control theory

PostBy: BlackRockBurner On: Wed Nov 25, 2009 10:53 pm

Most any of the controllers in this thread will work just fine for running a basic stove. I used a MicroLogix 1000 because thats what I had laying around, but it may not be the best choice for all. If your looking to control a boiler, something with analog inputs would be way better. Also, the one I have needs a computer to program (the software is free tho), where as some of the others have a faceplate LCD screen which can be programed right from there. Most of these units can be had from Ebay for a pretty good deal, but setting up and wiring can be a daunting task if you dont have a good electrical background. Also consider the safety aspect, you have to be able to both hardwire AND program a system that will not only run your stove, but do it safely. Last thing you want to do is make a mistake in your program and end up with a run-away condition that could burn your house down or blow up your boiler. :shock: :( :o

If your really interested, the first thing you need to do is pick your controller. A google search on any of the names listed or something like "Pico controller" or "Moller Easy controller" will get you more info than you'll know what to do with. Choose one that has the features you'll need for your stove, number of inputs, outputs, analog channels, voltage you'll be using and so on. Buy one and start playing with it, wire up some lights and pushbuttons and write a program to make them blink, turn off and on when certain condition are met, etc... This will lay the groundwork for your future set-up.

When you decide what controller you'll be using, come back and start a new thread with your questions, I'm sure you'll find plenty of good people here to help you out.
BlackRockBurner
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K (old one)

Visit Lehigh Anthracite

Re: My homemade PC-based "Coal Trol" and stoker control theory

PostBy: reicharb On: Mon Nov 07, 2011 2:30 pm

I have found some Trane Tracer Summit components used on E-bay. I don't have any pictures yet, but you can check out my live controller web site. It's still under construction. I am able to set schedules and adjust temperatures remotely. I have also added a Catnet Web interface.


http://n3nuk.tzo.com:8081

user:guest
pass guest

Bill Reichard
reicharb
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harmon Magnum ST8-VF8

Re: My homemade PC-based "Coal Trol" and stoker control theory

PostBy: WissaMan On: Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:49 pm

Hi All,

It's been a while since I added to this thread so I just wanted to post an update on my system...

Here and there I've added tweaks and refinements to the control code and I really have it nailed pretty well. The only time it deviates more than .5 degree off the set temp is when it gets up in the upper 40's (or low 40's and is a clear and sunny day) or if the temp drops low enough that the stove just cannot produce enough heat to maintain (when it's low-teens or colder at night). Well, weird weather can trick it out too and we've had some of that lately where the outside temp drops really fast. But even then it doesn't get too far off the mark because if it gets more than 1 degree off, it kicks the coal feed into overdrive.

For the 2010-2011 season I added a DHW loop and a 2nd water tank to preheat my hot water. That has been great...the colder it gets, the lower my electric bill gets and the hotter our showers get :). I've already had the water temp in both tanks approach 170'F when we've had the reaaally cold nights.

As I'm learning more about microcontrollers and electronics, this season I decided to add an Arduino microcontroller into the mix. Currently I use it as an interface for the temperature sensors I have on the hot water tanks and also to provide output to two small LCD screens that give me primary readings "at a glance." As of now I don't have any control logic running on the Arduino, but for next season (if I have the time) I would like to put some basic control on it as a backup in case of PC failure -- which is bound to happen some day, but for now, that 10+ yr old HP P3 (or is it a P2??) just keeps running!

Recently I added a really convenient feature: I mounted two buttons on the wall near the stove. One is a "pause" button, the other is a "resume" button. When it's time to swap the ash pan, I hit "pause" and all the fans and coal feed stop so I can open the stove up with a minimum of dust. When I'm done, I hit "resume" and they all start up again. Additionally, I have a 3 minute timer on it in case I forget to press "resume" it resumes on it's own. (That feature implemented after I did, in fact, forget to press resume and the stove almost went out :P )

Finally, I made my status window a little prettier by making it more graphical (screenshot). My inspiration for the design was the old Atari 800 game SCRAM, and if anyone here actually played and remembers that game, you can see my screen is about equally primitive....
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WissaMan
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Magnum (MK1) w/ PC control
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum

Re: My homemade PC-based "Coal Trol" and stoker control theory

PostBy: beatle78 On: Wed Feb 15, 2012 4:41 pm

Very cool! first time I saw this thread! Can I buy them at WissaWidgetCoal.com? :D
beatle78
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker KA-4

Re: My homemade PC-based "Coal Trol" and stoker control theory

PostBy: WissaMan On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:29 am

haha, don't wait for that...this is a one of a kind. ;)

but your avatar image reminded me of two other recent additions I made to my coal stove setup that's worth mentioning: a Dwyer manometer and also an outside air vent for the combustion blower -- both things which are widely recommended by many on this forum, and I'm glad I finally did.
WissaMan
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Magnum (MK1) w/ PC control
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum

Re: My homemade PC-based "Coal Trol" and stoker control theory

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 7:47 am

Well your talking my language now I still remember coding the cc tapes for the 1403's when I was in the AirForce. Installed a BASIC compiler on the 360 system. Mostly wrote in Fortran IV, later in SAS, lator wrote the IODFs for the mainframes. HCD was a nice improvement over the old card-image setup. That was a LONGGGG way from today's Z/OS systems (which I love!)


Ahhh, you young things - now if you had punched cards on a Cobol program..... or done statistical calculations on a Monroe mechanical calculator

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EozhU6rybHY

Damned things were always jamming....

- I miss my slide rule.... but then Texas brought out that new fangled Datamath calculator and made me obsolete.... those damned nixie tubes.
coalnewbie
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL AnthraKing 110K, Pocono110K,KStokr 90K, DVC
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93, Jotul 507
Baseburners & Antiques: Red Cross Invader 2
Coal Size/Type: Rice, Chestnut
Other Heating: Heating Oil CH, Toyotomi OM 22

Re: My homemade PC-based "Coal Trol" and stoker control theory

PostBy: steamup On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 11:28 am

When I went to school for my AAS degree, the had us buy a texas instruments LED display calculator that did little more than four functions for $100.00. A lot of money in those days. Kind of like buying a laptop today. They said we were the first class that they did not teach the slide rule to.

On to my Bachelors, they had us punching fortran programs on cards. The new fangled terminals were for the computer people, not the engineers! Ahh, the TRS-80 was a neat machine. Scientific calculators with LCD displays were now available!
steamup
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman-Anderson AA-130, Keystoker K-6
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: HS Tarm 502 Wood/Coal/Oil
Coal Size/Type: pea, buck, rice

Re: My homemade PC-based "Coal Trol" and stoker control theory

PostBy: Yanche On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:13 pm

We are dating ourselves. When I was in college we did use slide rules, special ones for EE's, log log duplex vector. Allowed you to calculate complex phase angles and power factors. The only computers the EE's got to program were analog computers. Operational amplifiers and precision resistors, capacitors and inductors that you used to build a circuit equivalent to the equation you wanted to solve. A knob twidder's delight. Lots of patch cords and sometimes smoke.
Yanche
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea

Re: My homemade PC-based "Coal Trol" and stoker control theory

PostBy: coalnewbie On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:20 pm

Ahh, the TRS-80 was a neat machine.


Still have one in my basement, the nickname trash 80 was well earned.
coalnewbie
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: LL AnthraKing 110K, Pocono110K,KStokr 90K, DVC
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93, Jotul 507
Baseburners & Antiques: Red Cross Invader 2
Coal Size/Type: Rice, Chestnut
Other Heating: Heating Oil CH, Toyotomi OM 22

Re: My homemade PC-based "Coal Trol" and stoker control theory

PostBy: steamup On: Thu Feb 16, 2012 12:49 pm

At the risk of sounding similar to a Virginia Sims slogan - We've come a long way, Baby...

OH- Oh - I just dated myself again.
steamup
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman-Anderson AA-130, Keystoker K-6
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: HS Tarm 502 Wood/Coal/Oil
Coal Size/Type: pea, buck, rice

Visit Lehigh Anthracite