My stoker fan and fuel feed are mechanically tied together via reduction gearing.
It strikes me that it would be a lot more complicated to separate them, although when it gets warm (like last night when the low
was about 50°) and the thermostat isn't calling for heat, it does get tricky to keep a "cool" fire going. I throttle down the fuel feed and use a timer that cycles the blower/stoker to run about 45 sec 4 times in the 1/2-hr timer cycle, i.e., once each 7.5 min. But I had to manually advance the timer several times to keep it going last night. At present, my timer is running the blower 10% of the time in the aggregate; I'd like to try increasing that by lengthening the blower time to 1 min and maybe increasing the frequency to 5x/cycle, or once each 6 minutes. That would increase my minimum stoke time to 16.66% from 10%.
The fundamental problem is that, when there's little call for heat, naturally the ambient temp is higher so there's minimal natural draft. Because we're expecting another bout of cold this weekend, I wanted to keep the fire going so I don't have to f*** around lighting it again.
Operationally, I think this borderline heating range is the biggest challenge to those of us coal-burners who seek maximum automation -- the girlie men.
And logic tells me that there are two ways to deal with it: (1) finding the finer points of keepin' them fires burnin', or (2) automating the reignition process with some sort of dual fuel rig.
I've saved "a ton"
of $ heating with anthracite this season. I just want to get it even more user-friendly.