Looking for an outdoor coal stoker

Re: Looking for an outdoor coal stoker

PostBy: LsFarm On: Tue Feb 07, 2012 9:17 pm

Hi John

I really want to see some photos of THAT "HUGE PROJECT" !!

Here's a link to my 'huge project': My current huge project

Since you know your right hand from the left, and know which end of a screwdriver to turn :) have you considered buying a used boiler and
rebuilding it to new specs?

Here is a link to my AA260 boiler 'disection' and rebuild: Axeman-Anderson Anthratube 260m disection

Most used boilers can be bought in much better shape than this one. but just about anything can be rebuilt if you have the time and skills.

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: Looking for an outdoor coal stoker

PostBy: Townsend On: Wed Feb 08, 2012 10:36 am

John, from what I have researched the AHS units look great. But, I would want one with an auger feed instead of the gravity bin that comes standard.

I concur with Greg in that a boiler refurb would be ideal for you. You would save a good amount of money that could be used for your out buildings and/or coal bin etc. Check out both EFM and Axeman Anderson. You can find one is decent condition and put a few bucks into it and make it like new again. They are strong and dependable units that have been around a long time for good reason.

Here are some more links for rebuilds that you may glean some info from:

EFM

My 520 Project

refurbishing a efm 350

Axeman Anderson

New (to me) Axeman 260 (My personal favorite :roll: )

A-A 130M, more old iron coming on line soon!

I'm sure there are more links and other brands but this should get you started.
Townsend
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Coal Size/Type: Pea / Buck

Re: Looking for an outdoor coal stoker

PostBy: john17751 On: Wed Feb 08, 2012 12:46 pm

Wow Greg, both your projects are huge. I'm not sure if I could do the boiler rebuild though. Might be out of my scope of knowledge?

Townsend, like wise I'm not sure if I could do a stoker rebuild. I have found a few on you tube that are already done at half the price.

Here are few pictures of the bridge I built. I did everything except set the steel towers.
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john17751
 
Stove/Furnace Make: none

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Re: Looking for an outdoor coal stoker

PostBy: McGiever On: Wed Feb 08, 2012 1:07 pm

Very impressive!

Looking forward to the picture of a coal boiler rolling across it. :D
McGiever
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: HARMAN MAGNUM
Hand Fed Coal Stove: RADIANT HOME AIR BLAST
Baseburners & Antiques: OUR GLENWOOD 111 BASEBURNER "1908"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE, NUT-STOVE / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek

Re: Looking for an outdoor coal stoker

PostBy: LsFarm On: Wed Feb 08, 2012 2:13 pm

John, unless you are alergic to steel, I'm sure you could do a rebuild, I guess it depends on if you can weld or grind a little rust and do some painting.

Have you read up on the different types of stokers? the AA/AHS is pretty unique, it's a 'hand fed' boiler with a stoker replacing the 'hand feeding' The EFM and Van wert, Gentleman Janitor, are 'underfeed' stokers where the fresh coal is pushed up from the bottom, the mechnisms look a bit more complicated, but really aren't once you figure out what everything is doing,, just like the AA's there are a lot of moving parts that at first seem confusing..
Then there is the 'flat bed' or inclined bed stokers, like the Keystoker, the Leisure LIne, Harman baby boilers.
I like the super efficient LL110 baby boiler, its a price leader and uses a highly efficient AA boiler vessel, and it comes with an oid gun for backup.

If you add your location, city and state, and ask you may get some invitations to see a few of these boilers in place makng heat, and this will help you with your decisions.. If you are in Michigan or Ohio I'd be glad to show you my AA instalation.

One thing you do need to think about, is that when you build your outbuilding, that all the boilers but the Axeman and AHS need a pretty good chimney to provide a steady draft to keep the fire alive when the boiler is idling,, the AA and AHS don't need much more than 15' or so, the others I'd say at least 24' maybe some other forum members can comment on this.. I have only about 14' above the thimble [where the flue pipe enters the chimney]..
The chimney is best if made from masonry,, chimney blocks are cheap and easy, and last forever, I'd not recomment Stainless Steel for both cost and longevity.

Hope you will have the summer to put this project together,, take your time, and pick our brains for ideas and design a great system,, with the looks of that awsome bridge, you have the skills to make an awsome out building.

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: Looking for an outdoor coal stoker

PostBy: Townsend On: Wed Feb 08, 2012 2:18 pm

John, what a great looking bridge, well done!!!

And to second what Greg is saying, any man that can build a bridge like that can rebuild a stoker no problem. Trust me.
Townsend
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Coal Size/Type: Pea / Buck

Re: Looking for an outdoor coal stoker

PostBy: john17751 On: Sat Feb 11, 2012 2:17 am

Hi eveyone,

I can't say enough about this forum. A bunch of good people for sure with great advice. Thanks!

I've been looking at videos of EFM and AA stokers on line and I like what I see because they seem simple, which to me means less problems. I have a question though. If there isn't much demand for heat, say for a few hours, does the auger slow down or does it continue to push coal into the fire pot?

I've looked at the projects people have been doing on this forum and all I can say is wow! Great jobs everyone!
john17751
 
Stove/Furnace Make: none

Re: Looking for an outdoor coal stoker

PostBy: LsFarm On: Sat Feb 11, 2012 4:27 am

Hi John, the stoker boilers have a 'keep-fire' timer that signals the stoker mechanism and combustion fans to run on a set schedule. I have my timer set to run the stoker for 2minutes every hour. But I use this timer only during the warm months when the boiler will sit idling all day long, only run for a heating demand maybe once or twice an evening. The fire needs some 'freshening up' during the long day of idling. Not fan run or augers run while the boiler idles. only an aquastat is monitoring the water temperature, if it drops below a setting, then the stoker will run to bring the temp back up. With an AA or AHS, there is probably 20-30# of coal in the firepot, idling, burning slowly, the firepot is surrounded by the water jacket of the boiler, so it it kept warm from the large fire. this large fire will stay burning for hours if there is no call for heat from the aquastat to maintain water temperature.

Each type of stoker has different requirements. the underfed stokers like the EFM have a smaller idling fire than an AA or AHS boiler, about a large softball sized fire, deep in the firepot after several hours of idling, the timer will run to keep the fire alive, on EFM's the idle timer is typically a minute or two every 30 minutes, or just slightly more frequently than with an AA, it's just a characteristic of the design, the smaller fire needs a little fuel and freshen up more often that the big fire in the AA and AHS. The EFM requires a better chimney to pull air through the fire when idling to maintain the fire.

The flat bed stokers have a much smaller idling fire, a strip of coal maybe an inch deep and an inch or two long, going acrosss the width of the flat bed grate. Depending on the BTU output of the flat bed stoker, the grate may be 7" wide or 12" wide, all depending on output. The fire is more fragile to maintain, because of the size and amount of coal burnng is much less.. so the timers run usually every 15 minutes for 1 minute to keep this idliing fire alive.. And the steady draft of a good chimney is important.

The idling fire in any stoker mechanism is like the pilot light on a gas appliance.. since a coal fire is not simple to start like a gas flame or oil flame, the necessary idling fire is the 'inefficiency ' achillies heel of coal appliances.. you have to burn fuel all the time to be able to have a big fire to respond to a thermostat's call for heat. The smaller the idling fire, the less coal burned when the boiler idles.. but the longer it takes to go from an idling fire, that has run only on the timer to a full output fire. In the EFM and flat bed stokers, it can take 10 minutes to stoke up from idle to full output.. with the AA and AHS, this only takes about 2 minutes.. but there is a much larger amount of 'idling' coal waiting to burn at full intensity.

If during the winter, your home needs heat every hour or so, the boiler's fire will keep alive just from the hourly call for heat. otherwise if it is more than say 2-3 hours for a heat load, then the idling fire must be 'freshened up' periodicly to keep the fire fed and healthy...

I think that covers it.. once you read some more, and think about what these stokers are trying to do, each in their own methodology and design.. you will see the ingenuity of the designers of these stoker mechanisms.

Ok, back to bed, and to sleep I hope. Insomnia is a :mad:

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: Looking for an outdoor coal stoker

PostBy: john17751 On: Sat Feb 11, 2012 10:57 am

Thanks Greg.

How does the fire keep from burning up the tube in the AA stoker? Maybe the pictures are misleading but it looks like coal in the tube? I also just realized that AA is built in South Williamsport which is only 35 min from where I live. I still think I would want to buy a refurbished stoker.
john17751
 
Stove/Furnace Make: none

Re: Looking for an outdoor coal stoker

PostBy: Rob R. On: Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:02 am

John, the coal pretty much "falls" out of the auger on the AA and into the combustion tube. There is a recipricating grate below the fire, and it runs as needed (when the auger is also running) to keep the fire at the proper level within the combustion tube. The operation of the AA is a balance of air flow, coal feed, and ashing below the fire...it is an impressive example of engineering.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Looking for an outdoor coal stoker

PostBy: LsFarm On: Sat Feb 11, 2012 8:22 pm

The fire in coal follows the airflow.. In a flat bed stoker, if the holes in the grate are clogged with fines, then the chimney draft will pull air from the coal hopper instead of through the grate,, and the fire will follow to the source of the air,, and can catch the coal hopper on fire.

In an EFM if the bushings for the auger are worn, or a hole worn in the auger tube, then air can be pulled into the fire from the auger, and the fire will follow the air, backwards down and into the auger.

In an AA , if the inspection plate on the top of the auger's 'transfer head' is missing, or fits poorly, then air can be drawn down the feed tube. In an AHS, if the level of coal is low in the gravity feed hopper, and the lid is not on, then air can be pulled through the supply tube, and again the fire will travel back up the airflow.

In the AA, if the fire does burn up into the transfer head, no damage is done, other than maybe burn the paint and burn up the cardboard 'fines seal' that is supposed to keep fines out of the brass auger-head bearing.

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: Looking for an outdoor coal stoker

PostBy: Pacowy On: Sun Feb 12, 2012 3:10 am

LsFarm wrote: One thing you do need to think about, is that when you build your outbuilding, that all the boilers but the Axeman and AHS need a pretty good chimney to provide a steady draft to keep the fire alive when the boiler is idling,, the AA and AHS don't need much more than 15' or so, the others I'd say at least 24' maybe some other forum members can comment on this.


The EFM DF520 manual calls for a minimum of a 15' chimney. See http://www.efmheating.com/manuals/DF520 ... lation.pdf , p3. Some of the older specs for 520's called for 30', but apparently are no longer operative.

Mike
Pacowy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: H.B. Smith 350 Mills boiler/EFM 85R stoker
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/anthracite

Re: Looking for an outdoor coal stoker

PostBy: LsFarm On: Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:40 pm

Chimney's have so many variables.. mine is out in a clear area, not much chance of any buildings or trees to block wind or create wierd wind patterns. But in the woods, a taller chimney may be needed, ?? Can't say without more info.

Mike: an EFM needs a reliable draft of ?? .03" ? to keep the fire going on a long warm day with no call for heat?

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: Looking for an outdoor coal stoker

PostBy: Pacowy On: Sun Feb 12, 2012 12:45 pm

The manual calls for .05" at boiler flue exit.

Mike
Pacowy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: H.B. Smith 350 Mills boiler/EFM 85R stoker
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/anthracite

Re: Looking for an outdoor coal stoker

PostBy: Rob R. On: Sun Feb 12, 2012 1:09 pm

Mike, I think that is during operation, not an idle.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

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