You are welcome to visit anytime, Whistlenut.
The syrup season wasn't as good as last year. We (my brother-law's operation, I am just his lacky), had double the taps and a vacuum system that together should have tripled last years 120 gal output, but we ended the season at 190 gal. As far as the $65/gal price, the real cost to make syrup is probably much higher than that, when you count diesal, gas, wood, tubing, taps, containers, pain medication, windshield wiper fluid because you parked too close to the sugar house, etc, etc.
As to the wet coal, after the bulk truck chutes it into the bulk bags, I just leave the bag tops open to dry it out. To give it a few days to dry, I used some coal we have had sitting in 50 lb bags from when we used to use feed out of a barrel.
Installing the LOGO violated my two favorite engineering principles. One is the KISS principal you mentioned and the other is the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" principal. My EFM and daughter were doing fine without the added monitering and controls. I just can't separate my imagination of ideas with going and doing it.
It would be nice if EFM made their boilers with a similar device in it, as the cost would almost be the same as the Will-Burt timer.
For anyone else out there that can't control their urge to tinker, http://www.plccenter.com/en-US/Buy/SIEM ... 21FB000BA5
has used ones for $80.00. Mine is a Siemens LOGO 230RC 6ED1052-1FB00-0BA4 and is 8 yrs old. The newer versions end with a 0BA5 or a 0BA6 (the latest version). Siemans keeps upgrading them.
The latest software is LOGO Soft comfort V7. For PC to LOGO programming cable, they have the 6ED1057-1AA00-0BAO for serial ports and 6ED1057-1AA01-0BAO for usb ports. They are about $50.00.
You do not need the optional memory card as the LOGO has non-volitale memory, unless you want someone else to program it and then just stick the pre-programmed card into the LOGO.