Vigilant II is just humming along!!!

Re: Vigilant II is just humming along!!!

PostBy: michaelanthony On: Fri Jan 17, 2014 9:09 am

Welcome Mm, you will love the success and warmth of coal and the reliability of your stove once you iron out some the issues you could be having. There are a couple things the stove needs in order to burn Anthracite coal. There are rectangular plates that need to be installed inside the stove lower left side and lower right side and are called clean out covers. Did you remove these to vacuum out the stove before you started burning anything this year because they could be clogged with stuff and that would minimize your draft, install when done cleaning . The infrared gun I have cost 13.00 dollars on Amazon and even came with a 9 volt battery! The manual for my 2310 shows a magnetic disk shape thermometer placed in the center of the top griddle and when it's cold out I can run the stove around 700* at this location. Do you have a camera and can you upload pictures of your stove? I lit my stove the week of Thanksgiving and she won't go out, so I'm confident you will be on easy street in no time.
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This pic is today at 7:30 am, it has been warm 40* the last 2 days so the stove has been coasting fairly low.
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michaelanthony
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant 2310, gold marc box, vogelzang pot belly coat rack
Coal Size/Type: Pea, and a little nut
Other Heating: Very cold FHA oil furnace

Re: Vigilant II is just humming along!!!

PostBy: Mizitman On: Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:10 pm

Yah its the 2310 it has the swing out door on the bottom of the stove. The label / metal plate on the back of the stove is still on it. I did have better luck last night. I loaded it up just before going to bed around 2am and it has been burning until now at 5:15pm without being touched. I am noticing a bunch of ash build up on the front grate right now so I'm getting ready to follow Vigll video on the recharge and will let you guys know how that goes.

I have 2 pics on my phone of the stove will add them as soon as i get them onto my computer.
Mizitman
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant 2310
Coal Size/Type: Nut

Re: Vigilant II is just humming along!!!

PostBy: Mizitman On: Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:14 pm

Thanks Michael on that I will look that up on amazon. The stove doesn't have that disc ontop of the griddle. I will upload some pics a little later tonight after the kids get to bed and I have a chance to take some more to upload.
Mizitman
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant 2310
Coal Size/Type: Nut

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Re: Vigilant II is just humming along!!!

PostBy: michaelanthony On: Fri Jan 17, 2014 6:23 pm

[quote="Mizitman"]Thanks Michael on that I will look that up on amazon. The stove doesn't have that disc ontop of the griddle. I will upload some pics a little later tonight after the kids get to bed and I have a chance to take some more to upload.[/quote]

Sorry for any confusion, the disk is an after market magnetic thermometer. Enjoy VigilPB. vid's, Dave rocks :band:
michaelanthony
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant 2310, gold marc box, vogelzang pot belly coat rack
Coal Size/Type: Pea, and a little nut
Other Heating: Very cold FHA oil furnace

Re: Vigilant II is just humming along!!!

PostBy: Mizitman On: Fri Jan 17, 2014 10:47 pm

michaelanthony wrote:Welcome Mm, you will love the success and warmth of coal and the reliability of your stove once you iron out some the issues you could be having. There are a couple things the stove needs in order to burn Anthracite coal. There are rectangular plates that need to be installed inside the stove lower left side and lower right side and are called clean out covers. Did you remove these to vacuum out the stove before you started burning anything this year because they could be clogged with stuff and that would minimize your draft, install when done cleaning . The infrared gun I have cost 13.00 dollars on Amazon and even came with a 9 volt battery! The manual for my 2310 shows a magnetic disk shape thermometer placed in the center of the top griddle and when it's cold out I can run the stove around 700* at this location. Do you have a camera and can you upload pictures of your stove? I lit my stove the week of Thanksgiving and she won't go out, so I'm confident you will be on easy street in no time.



Yes the rectangular covers are there. I have one on each side and one in the back right corner. I did not clean these out before i started burning. I did however clean them out one weekend when i let the fire go out so I could try and repair the gasket on my door. I did not shop-vac those out tho I only removed by hand what I could get. I also notice while doing this that my left angled firebrick was cracked in two. Is this okay to burn with or should i let the fire die out and replace this brick?

So while doing the recharge I did notice that both sides of the stove were not glowing red after doing the shake down and cleaning the front of the grille only the middle was glowing. I did after noticing this tried using the slicer and going down along the angled firebricks to scrape ash down. Still didn't have any red coals. I used the slicer and pushed some of the red out from the center to the sides before putting on more coal to see if that would get the sides going again. That did happen to work and got the fire back up and going. Any idea why the sides tho would be like that?
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This is what the stove looked like after 14.5 hours of burning before the recharge
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This is what my stove looked like about 3 hours after the recharge. I have the air inlet flap barely open.
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Mizitman
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant 2310
Coal Size/Type: Nut

Re: Vigilant II is just humming along!!!

PostBy: michaelanthony On: Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:31 am

The sides were ashed up and slicing from under the grates will clear the ash really well. Remember shaken not stirred! Try not to move the hot coal around that will usually kill a fire. Your second pic' looks good it just needs more coal, I load up to the top of the grill and the coal slopes up towards the back of the stove. This spring if not sooner you can remove the two interior side panels and give it good cleaning! Nice job with the pic's.

you can glue the angle brick together with some furnace cement, wet the ends first.
michaelanthony
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant 2310, gold marc box, vogelzang pot belly coat rack
Coal Size/Type: Pea, and a little nut
Other Heating: Very cold FHA oil furnace

Re: Vigilant II is just humming along!!!

PostBy: michaelanthony On: Sat Jan 18, 2014 12:37 am

It just dawned on me, even the full size bricks have a crack between them, just straighter :D
michaelanthony
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant 2310, gold marc box, vogelzang pot belly coat rack
Coal Size/Type: Pea, and a little nut
Other Heating: Very cold FHA oil furnace

Re: Vigilant II is just humming along!!!

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Sat Jan 18, 2014 4:52 pm

Hi Rich W and Mizitman (aka Troy), welcome to the forum.

It's been a few days since either of you have posted. It seems like you got some info that helped you figure out the issues you were having. I'll throw my two cents in on the heap :)

I use the flat stock tool that came with my 2310. In the older videos linked on my signature line, I use a round stock poker but have since found using the flat stock slicer to be more useful. Live and learn. I very rarely ever slice between the grates from underneath the grates. This requires moving the grate cover just below the fettel to expose the front side of the grates. I've only had to do this if there was an ornery klinker that I can't break up from stabbing it from the top of the fettle and below the front grill. I've done this maybe once a year.

I don't mess with the flap setting, hardly ever except to adjust for stove temperature (that needs monitoring) as needed for comfort. It will even itself out. If the fire isn't too thin, I won't add coal until I'm finished moving the ash down to the pan. If it's thin I will add 10-15 lbs on top before doing anything else and give it some time to fully catch. It takes less time waiting for it to catch than it would waiting and trying to resuscitate a thin fire that starts to die out because of the disturbance caused by shaking and slicing.

  • First I shake maybe 20-30 strokes then begin to clear the fettle. Usually I'll keep the flat stock vertical and, using the first few inches of the slicer's end, clear the top of the fettel by pushing the ash down and in to the grate ends. I do this with one front door open and the other closed. The fettel is cleared when I can see the grate ears that rest below the fettel.
  • Then with the slicer in the same position, I start on one side by pushing the slicer in along the gap between the first inboard grate and the angled fire brick. I push forward and down in small arching strokes until the tip bumps against the back of the firebox.
  • Next I pull back to the front and, using downward arching strokes, slide forward along the angled brick pushing ash toward the gap made clearing the first inboard grate. I'm simply trying to move the ash down, doesn't need to be fully cleared but gets the ash moving.
  • Once the angled brick is mostly cleared and the tip of the slicer is all the way in the corner, I use the fettel as a fulcrum and lever the front tip upward to fluff the fire in the very corner. Not too much vertical movement, maybe a bit more than an inch or so.
  • I'll do both sides like this, then clear the tops of the middle grill bars that are parallel to the fettel and close the twin front doors. The whole operation I've described takes about 3-4 minutes.
  • I got this tip from franco b: Use 0000 steel wool to clean the inside of the ceramic glass panes every two days. I've just started doing this and don't have a good record of the results. Maybe he'll add more history to this technique.
  • Next I check the ashpan and level out the piles with the slicer, opening the ashpan door just enough to fit the slicer in and feel my way with it along the top edge and rake the ash toward the ash pan's center.
  • Close the ash drop and shake until the fire bed starts to visibly lift and move with each shaker stroke. You'll be able to feel the ash change as you reach the end of the stroke by the feel thru the lever, similar to fishing with a good pole. If the ash bridges and doesn't drop, you'll have to use the slicer and lever up from the fettel below the grill and up into the bridge until it drops.
  • About three or four times I'll stop shaking, swing the ash pan out and look at the bottom of the ash drop to gauge the how evenly the glow from the fire above the grates is distributed along the bottom of the ash drop. Usually, it's quite even when there are a few red coals in the ash, not as many as in my old videos - that what it looks like if you overdo it. When the glow is even, I'm done and the fire is usually very lively and quite hot. I do this once a day.
  • At this point I fill it up to the top of nearly to the top of the bricks. The load will catch with the doors shut in about 5 minutes then I'll close the internal damper and it's good for a good 14-16 hour run.

Enjoy the glow :D
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Re: Vigilant II is just humming along!!!

PostBy: Rich W. On: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:34 pm

Hi VPB...

First of all, thank you for taking the time to share so much of your experience with those of us who are new to the game. Without this forum, I may have given up on coal. But by reading, watching videos, and breaking wood burner habits, I have successfully made the switch! Again, Thank you.

One of my frequent comments when discussing coal (and Vigilant) tasks is that "I'm still learning." It looks like you are too, even after years of burning. That's great; I enjoy the learning curve, and relish the challenge of running the stove as well as I can.

I'm particularly interested in your switch from round stock poking to flat stock (slicer) poking. I found that with a pointy end round poker I could go down and back through the grill, and lift the coal bed gently to allow the shaker to do its job better, just as you described. But for clearing the space between the grills, I actually made a right angle hand tool to push the ash and coal back from the grill a bit. I use that if the poker doesn't get enough to drop away from the grill and through the shaker. I'll try the slicer again, but my awkward attempts early on are what motivated me to go to the rod.

I'm also fascinated with your flapper management. The pattern that I have adopted is as follow:

1) When ready for tending I open the flap to enhance the fire with the idea that it will help the new coal catch faster if I start with a hotter bed.
2) I then close the flapper completely in order to minimize air flow through the stove and do my first round of shaking, with the idea that the fly ash is better in the stove body than up the flue. If open, I noticed quite a cloud in the stove when shaking the grates.
3) After letting the ash settle for a minute I open the flap and the damper and commence the poking. I, like you, go along the sides and "lever" toward the center to upset the ash. I then go through about every second or third shaker slot and gently lift the bed.
4) I close the air down again (damper and flap), shake again (second time), and again let the fly ash settle for a minute.
5) Open the damper, flap and doors, check the ash pan and level the ash and coals, then close the doors.
6) I load 5-10# through the top; wait for blue ladies, then load the back center until the coal is about to spill over the grill.
7) When rich with blue flames I slowly close the damper, flap still wide open.
8) As stove top temp recovers I gradually move the thermostat lever to the position that I have learned will produce griddle temps in the 4-500 range, then leave it for 12 hours.

I'm quite confident that it would burn for 18 hours, but a thick fire, as you call it, is so much easier to replenish.

As you can see, my procedure is only slightly different from others, and everything that I have learned I learned from you, your videos, and others on this excellent site. I'm not kidding...three and a half months ago I knew nothing, except that I wanted to burn coal! I bought the Multi-Fuel version because I thought I'd have a wood stove if I failed at coal burning! I am thrilled to have gotten to where I am, and I encourage other newbies to stick with it. The rewards are plentiful. BTW, I burn nut, and am off to get another ten 50# bags tomorrow. Next season...a pallet or two.
Rich W.
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Vigilant Multi-Fuel
Coal Size/Type: Nut
Other Heating: System 2000 Oil Burner

Re: Vigilant II is just humming along!!!

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:22 pm

It might not be a good practice to close the damper and the flap to hold the fly ash inside the stove. IIRC, the manual recommends opening the damper so the fly ash goes up the chimney. Keeping it inside the stove will prematurely fill the side/back exhaust heat exchange areas. Doing daily maintenance with everything closed, you'll likely have to increase your intra-season maintenance and clean those areas out more frequently. I find a good volume of ash at the bottom of those chambers doing the clean out semi seasonally, I'd guess several inches deep on each panel. I do not have any horizontal areas in my chimney connection past the smoke shelf at the stove's stove pipe flange. I do not see much fly ash collecting on the shelf either, maybe1/4" max.

Here's the end year deposits inside my 16' of insulated ss chimney:
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VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Re: Vigilant II is just humming along!!!

PostBy: Rich W. On: Sun Jan 19, 2014 9:17 pm

Thank you for this feedback. My manual does not cover the shake down topic, so I am inclined to follow yours! Your logic makes sense too. I guess I was thinking of the accumulation in the stove pipe, but I guess that's not an issue. I have a tee with a clean out right behind the stove, then a flex pipe through the fireplace damper and single wall stainless up the chimney through a second floor roof. I suppose the ash that doesn't make it out will either line the pipe or end up in the tee at the clean out. Again, thanks for the feedback, and next warm spell (not this week!) I'll shut her down and see what I have in the stove to vacuum out. That will be my first ever intra-season maintenance! As I say often...still learning!
Rich W.
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Vigilant Multi-Fuel
Coal Size/Type: Nut
Other Heating: System 2000 Oil Burner

Re: Vigilant II is just humming along!!!

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Mon Jan 20, 2014 1:41 pm

Rich W. wrote:...8<...I guess I was thinking of the accumulation in the stove pipe, but I guess that's not an issue. I have a tee with a clean out right behind the stove, then a flex pipe through the fireplace damper and single wall stainless up the chimney through a second floor roof. I suppose the ash that doesn't make it out will either line the pipe or end up in the tee at the clean out. Again, thanks for the feedback, and next warm spell (not this week!) I'll shut her down and see what I have in the stove to vacuum out. That will be my first ever intra-season maintenance! As I say often...still learning!


Rich W-
Indeed, horizontal pipes are always a concern because fly ash can drop out of the exhaust stream, accumulate there, build slowly reducing the internal diameter of the horizontal pipe and ultimately cause a dangerous loss of draft.
  • At a minimum everyone needs several carbon monoxide detectors.
  • If you have a run of horizontal pipe, a manometer installation should be considered to monitor the draft. The manometer reading will allow the operator to know the actual draft is within a safe operational range.

In your set up, you have a choice to follow my sequence of shaking down or yours. Every installation is different and has to be managed accordingly. I don't have a horizontal pipe in my chimney system. Since you do and you have a clean out T on the horizontal run, I'd think it'd be easier to periodically clean out the horizontal run thru the T then deal with removing the two side cleanouts on the fly. Your choice to make keeping safe operation as the priority. The back cleanout, IMO, can't be easily reached with a fire above the grates. I can't reach it but I seem to recall someone posted they could (maybe it was earlier in this thread?). Either way, there's a little maintenance to do!
Last edited by VigIIPeaBurner on Mon Jan 20, 2014 9:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Re: Vigilant II is just humming along!!!

PostBy: joeq On: Mon Jan 20, 2014 6:56 pm

I have a horizontal pipe approx 2-3' long, in which my MPD is in, and found an excessive amount of ash choking it down, and had only burned coal for a season and a 1/2. Also piled up in the cleanout. Didn't know it would accumulate that quick. Probably had burned less than 3 ton thru it.
joeq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 513
Stove/Furnace Make: Oil fired
Stove/Furnace Model: Thermopride

Re: Vigilant II is just humming along!!!

PostBy: Rich W. On: Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:27 pm

Please shed some light on the action of the primary air inlet shutter, controlled by the thermostat. I run our multi-fuel on coal only, fireplace installation, tee directly behind stove, ss liner to the top of the chimney, about 25" high, center of the house. No barometric damper as there is no room for it, and some suggest there is no need. Here's my question...when the stove reaches the desired temperature (I run it between 400 and 500) the shutter closes as it should, but it is so close to completely closed that minor changes in the draft cause it to tap, tap, tap. I read the comments earlier in this thread about minor explosions with wood smoke, but I don't believe that those comments are relevant in this case. I have a nice fire, some blue ladies (not a lot) even after the initial stage of reload, long burn times, 180* stack temp 1 foot behind stove...everything seems to be good...except that tap, tap, tap. Am I burning the stove too cool? If I were asking more from it would the shutter remain more open and not tap? All comments are encouraged, and thank you in advance!!! I'm still learning.
Rich W.
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Vigilant Multi-Fuel
Coal Size/Type: Nut
Other Heating: System 2000 Oil Burner

Re: Vigilant II is just humming along!!!

PostBy: joeq On: Wed Jan 22, 2014 9:43 pm

I'm not an expert Rich, on your stove, or even coal burning. But if you're getting long burns and an average stove temp of 475*, I can't see how it's burning too cool. I'm not sure about the tapping you're experiencing, but if the damper is loose, it could be bouncing. But I don't see how your stove would be performing as well as it does, if the thermostat was malfunctioning.
joeq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 513
Stove/Furnace Make: Oil fired
Stove/Furnace Model: Thermopride

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