HELP with Harmon SF 260

Re: HELP with Harmon SF 260

PostBy: PC 12-47E On: Fri Jan 01, 2010 10:18 pm

Cap wrote:
PC 12-47E wrote:


Having used Harmans now for 8 yrs, I agree with this method BUT only when you know there is a large amount of ashes in the firebox. Forward 100% & pause, back 100% & pause, maybe one time no more than 2x.


Thank you for the good info Cap. I see you are back burning th SF-250.... Lots of heat!!! ;)

PC 12

Also the SF- 250, and the SF 260 share the same grates and ash pan. Now, why are the grates 18" wide and the ash pan and ash door only 12" wide? :?: :?: This gives 3" of ash on each side of the ash pan that does not go in the pan........The good people at Harman like to see us play with as much "A dust" as possible.
PC 12-47E
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Estate Heatrola, Jotul 507

Re: HELP with Harmon SF 260

PostBy: Cheetah On: Fri Jan 01, 2010 11:55 pm

Hi,

I've been following along and figured I would put in my 2 cents. It has already been said but it is worth repeating, you need to really shake the ashes out. The longer you expect to go between tendings the more you need to poke/shake. If there is a thick layer of ash at the bottom of the bed it restricts air flow limiting how much heat you can get out of it. If there are burnt out coals among the good, they don't contribute to the output and limit how much heat you can get out of it. They may be glowing but that is only due to the heat of the burning coals around them. The moment you seperate them the glow goes away. Not only do the burnt coals limit the output, they take up space that is needed for unburnt coal. With less unburnt coal burning you have to work it harder to get the heat you need and it burns up quicker.

If the fire isn't going strong open the ash door for a couple minutes to let it pick up. Then close the ash door while you poke up top.

Poking breaks up the burnt coals so the ashes can filter down to the bottom. The burnt coals are much softer than the unburnt. Poke around and the whole bed will settle as the burnt coals crumble. Then close the door and shake the crumbled ash out. Keep shaking till you see plenty of glowing embers come down. If you are going to shake it down every six hours it would be fine to stop at the first sign of embers, but if you want a longer burn time keep shaking. If there are still dark spots when looking up you may want to do some poking from underneath.

Checking from underneath also assures the fire will get plenty of air so that it will be hot when you load fresh coal in. If the fire isn't going good you need to add just a bit of coal at a time or you can put the fire out. With it going good you can just load it up. Just open one door at a time and the draft will draw any fumes back into the stove. If you open both doors at the same time air will go in at the bottom and might come out the top.

When you load in new coal you want as deep a bed as possible, but bad things can happen if you load it all at once. You need to keep a little flame going to burn off the gasses coming out of the fresh coal or it can build up and go off with a bang. Load one side up and give it a minute to catch. As soon as there are flames coming from the fresh coal you can load the other side.

With a deep bed of fresh coal you shouldn't have any problem keeping it going for 12 hours. Since there will be more coal actually burning it will run with less air. Each bit of coal doesn't have to work so hard so it lasts longer.

Hope this helps. I find it helps to know why we do things the way we do.

Bruce
Cheetah
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Surdiac
Stove/Furnace Model: Gotha 713

Re: HELP with Harmon SF 260

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:38 am

Full throws on rocker grates can dump the fire...
If you have a shallow ash bed...
Short choppy strokes are good when you are just cuttin' yer teeth...
The advantage of the long throw is it clears the clinkers real nice...
And you are not screwing with the fire too long...
Once forward, once back and that is it...
try it a third time and you may lose the fire...
Just finish it off with some short choppy strokes till ya see the glow...
I am doing the same on the Basement #4 and it works well...
The rocker grates do not open as much as the Harman did...
But I still get the clinkers out and the dead spots are next to nil...
This stove will hold about 175# of coal and the temps are real steady with the bi-metallic damper...
The damper chain needs adjustment by a ball or two as the max high temp has only been 450*...
When it is in the 30's and 40's I only shake every 24 hours...
There is a fair amount of ash but it clears fast with the long stroke method...
I do poke the fire as it is a new stove to me and I can't help but test the limits...
But with 175# of coal burning it is hard to kill the fire easily...
Burning the stove hard when the last snow storm hit then the cold snap with the gentle 50+ mph breeze...
Caused the coal to bridge up a bit and the coal does not drop out of the hopper...
So I was poking the fire...
And I got to play blacksmith with the old poker...
It needed a different end formed to reach the back of the new stove...
Just let it sit in the hot coal bed for a bit and it was red hot...
CapeCoaler
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove

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Re: HELP with Harmon SF 260

PostBy: LsFarm On: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:21 am

OK, I'll change my statement/recommendation slightly:

Untill you know your Harman handfeed intimately, it is HIGHLY recommended to not use full travel of the shaker handle unless you desire to dump the fire.

Once you know your fire/coal/shaker intimately, then an alternate technique to the short choppy shake can be a full travel slow motion 'shake'. Just be prepared for hard chunks of ash/clinker to jam the grates or for the fire to slide into the ashpan.

Since the originator of this thread is trying to learn the operation of his new SF 260, I feel safe in still recommending only short, choppy shaking motions of the shaker handle. I'd not want to recommend a full travel shake and have the fire dumped into the ashpan.

Greg L
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: HELP with Harmon SF 260

PostBy: KTM250 On: Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:37 am

Wow didn't mean to start a fight :lol: I think the lession here is there is more then one way to skin a cat. From what I had read and also in the owners manual it says to use short strokes. But that does not mean you can't do the full throw methed. This is like anything more then one way to do it. Me being a newbie to handfired for right now I will stick with the poke and short strokes. Last night and this moring this technique has worked well. I get embers falling almost across the whole bed :P which i was unable to do before. I know my luck, I would try the full throw and end up dumping the whole fire. After I get some time under my belt and its not quite so cold and I have time to recover the fire I will give it a try.
I would just like to thank everyone for the help here. Without this forum I'm sure that I would have pulled the plug. Again Thanks.

Bob
KTM250
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: SF-260 Boiler

Re: HELP with Harmon SF 260

PostBy: gerard On: Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:10 am

Glad it's working out for you. Coal does take a little tweaking until you get a method down for your stove. Once you know what you're doing you can't undertsand why you had problems before cause it seems so obvious. Understanding HOW coal burns and acts also helps with trouble shooting and making sure drafts are good, air's getting to the bed etc. I also feel sorry for all the coal people who started using coal before the internet and this forum. They wasted a lot more time by trial and error and I'm sure some went back to burning oil :(
gerard
 
Stove/Furnace Make: yukon dual fuel
Stove/Furnace Model: husky

Re: HELP with Harmon SF 260

PostBy: CapeCoaler On: Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:24 pm

Greg is correct...
Beginners need to use the short choppy stroke method...
Much safer and little chance of putting the fire out if the coal bed is hot...
Once you get good at burning coal...
And know you stove very well...
Saving a few fires, 12+ hour burn times and less than 3 matches a year...
Then you can graduate...
To...
Advanced Coal Burning Methodology 210...
Playing with fire...
CapeCoaler
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove

Re: HELP with Harmon SF 260

PostBy: coalkirk On: Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:47 pm

Depending on the coal is use, the long, full strokes can result in a stuck shaker handle/grates. Bob, you never did say what brand of nut coal you are burning. The biggest surprise to me in coal burning is that "Coal is not coal." That is that there are HUGE differences in the quality of coal and its burn and ash characteristics. Se fess up Bob! what is it??? :lol:
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

Re: HELP with Harmon SF 260

PostBy: LsFarm On: Sat Jan 02, 2010 12:55 pm

KTM, we aren't fighting, just an enthusiastic exchange..

Everyone's suggestions are valid, but I look at the overall picture.. I was concerned that the result of the suggested 'full travel shake' would be a dumped fire. Seeing that I had done that very thing myself. I didn't want you to try it and end up more frustrated.. My 'don't do it' message was a bit strongly worded.. but I was concerned. So we had an 'enthusiastic exchange'. No harm done, And now there is additional info available that Capecoaler sumarized in the above post.

One other variable that will make a very big difference is the coal you are burning. Some coal burns down to a nice powder, about like talcum powder, but some coal burns down to a crunchy mass of burnt out 'husks'. These can melt together to make clinkers, and these clinkers can be very hard, like a mass of molten glass. These can jam between the fingers of the grates, and sometimes you cannot get them to 'unjamb'. the result is the fire has to be allowed to burn out, and you start over again with a freshly cleaned out firebox.. or some folks have forced the shaker handle and bent/broke the mechanism. Just be aware of how your coal burns.. if to a powder, you are in luck, if to crunchy masses, then you need to use your grates to grind up the ash, so it will be small enough to fall through the grates..

If, once you are done shaking, seeing hot coals/embers falling through the grates, if you then take a look at the underside of the grates,, you should see an evenly 'red glow' above the grates.. If you have some dark spots, it is probably ash that has not ground up and fallen through the grates.. Here most of us use a poker, usually a 1/4" or 3/8" round steel rod with a 3 or 4" 90* ell on the end, and a handle or loop on the other end.. use the 3-4" ell to poke up from the bottom, through the grate, between the fingers to dislodge the ash in the dark spots.. Also, this proceedure is often needed around the front/back and in the corners of the firebox.. as you get more time and experience with your firebox, you will be an expert with it's characteristics..

Greg L
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: HELP with Harmon SF 260

PostBy: KTM250 On: Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:56 pm

Coalkirk not sure what you mean by brand? I buy it in bulk from a somewhat local breaker. It is located in Pittston Pa

Bob
KTM250
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: SF-260 Boiler

Re: HELP with Harmon SF 260

PostBy: jpd989 On: Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:24 pm

Are you buying from Hudson? I have good luck with their coal. The Casey Kassa coal I bought my first year burning and it was not so hot, lots of ash.
jpd989
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110
Hand Fed Coal Stove: D.S. Machine Basement Stove #3
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat and Chestnut
Stove/Furnace Model: LL110k Boiler

Re: HELP with Harmon SF 260

PostBy: KTM250 On: Sat Jan 02, 2010 8:38 pm

JPD I am buying from Casey Kassa. I have been burning there Rice for a number of years and really had no problems. Now I am burning nut. Were is Hudson located? Also how much a ton. I paid 145 picked up.
Bob
KTM250
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: SF-260 Boiler

Re: HELP with Harmon SF 260

PostBy: jpd989 On: Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:00 pm

I believe they are in Laflin I paid 150 a ton last time I picked up about 1 month ago. Give them a call for directions 570-655-4151. I think its a better burning coal, especially the nut and pea.
jpd989
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Leisure Line WL110
Hand Fed Coal Stove: D.S. Machine Basement Stove #3
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat and Chestnut
Stove/Furnace Model: LL110k Boiler

Re: HELP with Harmon SF 260

PostBy: Jaeger On: Sat Jan 02, 2010 11:35 pm

KTM,

Back home and it's 19 degrees!

I WOULD NOT, move that shaker lever all the way to the stops with a bed of coals. Use the short 1"-2" choppy strokes. It may be a good way for these experienced guys to drop a clinker, but with the design of the shaker system and the problems your having it is way too easy to get a chunk of coal to wedge those grates open and you're screwed! Try it the next time your fire is out and see if you can get it back to the one side it will be very unlikely a chunk of coal didn't get in the spaces and wedge those grates open.

I'm on oil tonight but that bad boy is getting fired up first thing in the morning.

Talk soon................Jaeger
Jaeger
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Trident Boiler model SF360

Re: HELP with Harmon SF 260

PostBy: coalkirk On: Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:34 am

KTM250 wrote:Coalkirk not sure what you mean by brand? I buy it in bulk from a somewhat local breaker. It is located in Pittston Pa
Bob


Some coal is crap to put it mildly. That could certainly be a factor in the problems you have been having. I don't think that's the whole story. You've made great progress in the shake down routine and changed your temperature settings which have all helped. Like most problems, it's more than just one cause. I hope you don't have tons of that coal on hand. Try some better quality coal as your next step toward improving the coal burning experience.
coalkirk
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Harman VF3000
Coal Size/Type: antrhcite/rice coal

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