New DS 1500: first week report, and some questions (long)

New DS 1500: first week report, and some questions (long)

PostBy: MarkV On: Sun Jan 27, 2013 5:05 pm

Guys,

Fired up the DS 1500 a week ago Saturday. Gotta say I was nervous, as this thing is at least 2x the BTUs and 3x the firebox size as my old Franco-Belge. That was a baby stove compared to this.

Was very cautious building the fire. My usual newspaper + Matchlight startup got things rolling well. I probably overdid it with the Matchlight, next time will probably use about 1/2 to 2/3 of what I did this time. Also went very slowly with adding coal, thin layers of one shovelful every 20-30 minutes or so till the fire was built up close to the hopper, then filled the hopper. All this time, I had the ash door cracked open and MPD full open. From start time to hopper filled, and closing ash door and MPD, was about 3.5 hours. Much longer than my F-B; I could have that stove lit and in walk-away mode in around an hour.

No draft problems to report. I took the advice of posters on here, shut the MPD almost fully (11:00 position, 12:00 is fully closed). My outside chimney with 6" round terracotta liner is also insulated with loose insulation between the round liner and the sqaure blocks they used to build the chimney. Even on the coldest nights last week (single digits with zero wind chill), no problems with the burn. On the windiest days, the closed MPD and stove's thermo control kept it burning steadily. For the first four or five days, my son and I checked temps and blues every hour--including 24/7 the first three days. Later in the week, when wind died to zero and outside temps rose into the 20s, I didn't change anything, and the temps stayed pretty even, dropping just a little.

As for shaking and filling, I'm doing this twice a day...about 7 am and 7 pm. The fire is still plenty hot before shaking, and a few blues are visible. I open ash door to poke from below (read on) and by the time the poking is done, blues are lively with hot coals visible between unburned pieces on top of fire, looking down. I close ash door, open MPD, and shake till hot coals are dropping into ash pan. Usually some blues are already jumping. I leave ash door open a few more minutes, and then close door and MPD. Shutting the ash door usually causes the few blues to instantly spread all around the fire outside the hopper...very pretty! At first I was leaving the ash door open for 5-10 minutes but one time when I did that, the thermo draft shut the draft almost completely, and killed the blues, about 10 minutes after I closed the ash door. I almost paniced and reopened the ash door, but I checked the thermo flapper, and by then it was standing wide open again. I realized the stove would soon recover with that much air--glowing coals were already visible down through the fire. I waited another ten minutes, and by then, the blues were actively dancing again. I think what I learned here was (a) don't overheat after a 12-hour shakedown, because blues will come right back without it, and (b) this stove's thermo damper does a good job of regulating draft and temps.

Using this routine, I'm just barely emptying the hopper with each shaking. One coal bucket or slightly less fully refills the hopper. My bucket holds 30 lbs max--usually I'm dumping in a bit more than 25 lbs every 12 hours. 50 lbs per day is probably 15-20 lbs more than the old F-B. Burning more isn't a surprise, but I hope I can reduce that during more normal winter temps and warmer fall/spring days.

I'm keeping temps on these cold days about 450-525 on top of stove (mag thermometer, on top just back of filler door) and 200-250 on pipe (another mag thermometer). Pipe temp is before MPD--my goofy low thimble, with this stove, means I only have two 90* elbows from stove to thimble, with a short piece of straight pipe right at the thimble to hold the MPD. No place to put a baro or manometer--or a thermometer to get a temp past the MPD. I'm a little worried about that with the warm, damp weather expected this week (64* and rainy Wed.). I had been getting top temps of 550* at first, with thermo dial slightly above 3. I've since cut that back to 2.8-2.9.

One problem I've had is ash buildup at back of firebox. Checked some posts on here and found rberg's suggestion for making a poker out an old paint roller handle (thanks, rberg!) Made one on burn day 3 and have used it at each shaking since. Still not getting hot coals dropping at far rear of firebox when I shake. First couple days I wasn't even getting much ash falling in the back, but that's improved. Plan to make another, longer poker tool to get farther up into ashes (mine has about 2.25" after 90* bend at tip). But blues seem to dance all around the back of the hopper so there's obviously some fire back there. Also might visit a metal shop and have a long poker made for poking/slicing from the fire door. My old F-B poker/slicer won't reach to back.

The DS sure burns coal more efficiently than my old F-B. I'm only getting about half the volume of ash, even with a larger firebox and much larger fire--although some of that might be the Blashock white ash nut I'm burning vs. the red ash nut I used in the F-B.

All in all, so far so good!!! Now a couple questions.

About the temps, where should I be measuring the stove surface temp? I moved the the mag thermo from stove top just behind filler door to top corner of front near viewing door--therm reading dropped quickly from 560 to 370. My new mag thermos are fairly large though, and the sensor part might be touching a part of the front that's right at the corner and not fully exposed to firebox temps.

How much poking/slicing of the fire is normal on a stove like this, and under what conditions? What's your method for doing it?

Any suggestions about how to safely "throttle back" the stove, and how much, during warm/damp conditions? I want to be sure to let my wife know what to watch for when I'm at work.

Finally, any thoughts or suggestions based on the routine I described above would be appreciated. Thanks!!!
MarkV
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine DS-1500WH
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak bulk nut

Re: New DS 1500: first week report, and some questions (long)

PostBy: I'm On Fire On: Sun Jan 27, 2013 6:38 pm

Why are you poking/slicing from below the grates? Just shake and fill. Shake and fill. Once in a while poke down from the top of the fire bed in each of the four corners as ash builds up there.

I've also got the same issue as you on my DS1600, the rear grate is completely dead. Nothing burns there. No amount of poking gets it to burn. I keep saying I'm going to make something up that eliminates those stupid 1" ledges on the front and back of the firebox. Maybe next time I shut down for a cleaning I'll put fire brick there.
I'm On Fire
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machines DS-1600 Hot Air Circulator

Re: New DS 1500: first week report, and some questions (long)

PostBy: LDPosse On: Sun Jan 27, 2013 8:45 pm

MarkV wrote:Guys,

Fired up the DS 1500 a week ago Saturday.......All in all, so far so good!!! Now a couple questions.

About the temps, where should I be measuring the stove surface temp?


I called DS Machine, they said they measure the temp on top of the stove, near towards the back where the flue collar is.

MarkV wrote:How much poking/slicing of the fire is normal on a stove like this, and under what conditions? What's your method for doing it?


I have a lousy wood poker, a long skinny rod with a sharp tip (normally used for finding septic tanks) to poke through the fire, and a pair of tongs for pulling out clinkers. I usually try to run the poker around the perimeter of the fire once a week. The buildup of ash in the corners, and the very front and rear of the firebox just seems to be the nature of the beast.

MarkV wrote:Any suggestions about how to safely "throttle back" the stove, and how much, during warm/damp conditions? I want to be sure to let my wife know what to watch for when I'm at work.


There will be a little trial and error. When we have warm days, just set it back close to LO and as long as it doesn't go out, you should be good. Once established, the coal fire requires very little air to maintain at idle.
LDPosse
 
Stove/Furnace Make: DS Machine
Stove/Furnace Model: DS1500, Kozy King 100

Visit Hitzer Stoves

Re: New DS 1500: first week report, and some questions (long)

PostBy: MarkV On: Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:29 pm

I'm On Fire wrote:Why are you poking/slicing from below the grates? Just shake and fill. Shake and fill. Once in a while poke down from the top of the fire bed in each of the four corners as ash builds up there.

I've also got the same issue as you on my DS1600, the rear grate is completely dead. Nothing burns there. No amount of poking gets it to burn. I keep saying I'm going to make something up that eliminates those stupid 1" ledges on the front and back of the firebox. Maybe next time I shut down for a cleaning I'll put fire brick there.


Mostlly because of what I read on this board :D ...but I could have misunderstood. One poster mentioned a thick buildup or "plaque" of ash in the back of the firebox, and it could be helped by poking from below. I can tell when I poke back there, there's more resistance to the poker going up through, and I never see any small hot coals fall down through--which I do if I poke around the center of the fire.

I've routinely gotten noticeably less ash from between grates 3 & 4 than between 1 & 2 and 2 & 3. And most of the time, when I shake the fire and look for hot coals falling in the pan, there are none from in the back.

So, I'm pretty sure there's somethin' up back thar...

I'd be interested in knowing how you'd secure the additional firebricrk front and back.
MarkV
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine DS-1500WH
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak bulk nut

Re: New DS 1500: first week report, and some questions (long)

PostBy: LDPosse On: Sun Jan 27, 2013 9:56 pm

If you want to clean the edges of the firebox really well while under fire, I would do the following :

- let the stove burn down to the point where the hopper is empty and the coal bed is 1-2" below the top of the firebrick
- pull the hopper out (you want good welders gloves for this)
- with the loading door open, you can easily poke directly to the back of the firebox
- knock loose any dead ash, and shake the fire

You will probably have a fairly shallow coal bed when you're done doing this, so you'll need to build it back up. Once yoy get the coal to the top of the firebrick and the blue ladies are dancing, you can drop the hopper back in, and reload with coal.
LDPosse
 
Stove/Furnace Make: DS Machine
Stove/Furnace Model: DS1500, Kozy King 100

Re: New DS 1500: first week report, and some questions (long)

PostBy: I'm On Fire On: Mon Jan 28, 2013 7:28 am

That's a brilliant idea. I'm going to have to do that tonight.
I'm On Fire
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machines DS-1600 Hot Air Circulator

Re: New DS 1500: first week report, and some questions (long)

PostBy: EarthWindandFire On: Mon Jan 28, 2013 1:47 pm

As for the 1" ledge that goes around the inside of the stove, I've thought about using refractory cement and troweling it on until the ledge is beveled. This would eliminate the build-up of ash along that flat edge.
EarthWindandFire
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Leisure Line Lil' Heater.
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer model 75.
Other Heating: Oil and Natural Gas.

Re: New DS 1500: first week report, and some questions (long)

PostBy: I'm On Fire On: Mon Jan 28, 2013 2:33 pm

EarthWindandFire wrote:As for the 1" ledge that goes around the inside of the stove, I've thought about using refractory cement and troweling it on until the ledge is beveled. This would eliminate the build-up of ash along that flat edge.


I've thought about doing this as well. But I'm not sure how well it'd hold up. Which is why I'm thinking fire brick would be better. I just need to figure out how to get the brick to stay in place. I don't even think the brick has to go all the way up, it could be cut on an angle so that the ash has someplace to fall.
I'm On Fire
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machines DS-1600 Hot Air Circulator

Re: New DS 1500: first week report, and some questions (long)

PostBy: 63roundbadge On: Tue Jan 29, 2013 1:20 pm

RE: Pokers-I went to my local stove store and bought a Franco-Belge poker for $16. It's perfect. Flat steel, curved and pointed. Cuts right through the grates and the curve allows me to reach the corners and rear of the bed.

Even better would be a Efel slicing knife, longer and thinner. I wore 3 of them out in 22 years of slicing versus poking/shaking. Very dirty method, had to slice through 3 slots, jamming was frequent. Each time I withdrew the knife I brought ash along out with it, DEFINITELY better w/a shaking grate!
63roundbadge
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Kodiak

Re: New DS 1500: first week report, and some questions (long)

PostBy: lsayre On: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:32 pm

63roundbadge wrote:RE: Pokers-I went to my local stove store and bought a Franco-Belge poker for $16. It's perfect. Flat steel, curved and pointed. Cuts right through the grates and the curve allows me to reach the corners and rear of the bed.

Even better would be a Efel slicing knife, longer and thinner. I wore 3 of them out in 22 years of slicing versus poking/shaking. Very dirty method, had to slice through 3 slots, jamming was frequent. Each time I withdrew the knife I brought ash along out with it, DEFINITELY better w/a shaking grate!


Pardon my ignorance, but do you mean the grates don't shake on an Alaska Kodiak? How do they function then?
lsayre
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (It has been fixed!)

Re: New DS 1500: first week report, and some questions (long)

PostBy: 63roundbadge On: Tue Jan 29, 2013 7:47 pm

lsayre wrote:
63roundbadge wrote:, DEFINITELY better w/a shaking grate!


Pardon my ignorance, but do you mean the grates don't shake on an Alaska Kodiak? How do they function then?



You may have misunderstood my rambling-The Kodiak definitely has a shaker grate, It's round, and is the diameter of the firebed which leaves only the corners unshaken. The poker helps in the corners plus breaking up the fused chunks on the grate.
63roundbadge
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Alaska
Stove/Furnace Model: Kodiak

Re: New DS 1500: first week report, and some questions (long)

PostBy: Coalfire On: Tue Jan 29, 2013 8:14 pm

Here is the best advice. Shake down and add coal. Set air regulator for the desired temp.
No poking, no opening and closing doors, nothing. almost like the commercial shake and bake :lol:


Eric
Coalfire
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 96K btu Circulator
Coal Size/Type: Nut

Re: New DS 1500: first week report, and some questions (long)

PostBy: MarkV On: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:19 am

LDPosse wrote:If you want to clean the edges of the firebox really well while under fire, I would do the following :

- let the stove burn down to the point where the hopper is empty and the coal bed is 1-2" below the top of the firebrick
- pull the hopper out (you want good welders gloves for this)
- with the loading door open, you can easily poke directly to the back of the firebox
- knock loose any dead ash, and shake the fire

You will probably have a fairly shallow coal bed when you're done doing this, so you'll need to build it back up. Once you get the coal to the top of the firebrick and the blue ladies are dancing, you can drop the hopper back in, and reload with coal.


Thanks, LDP. That is a great idea. Need to pick up the welders gloves though. The old leather-palm work gloves I usually use around the stove, I imagine, wouldn't be up to that.
MarkV
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine DS-1500WH
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak bulk nut

Re: New DS 1500: first week report, and some questions (long)

PostBy: MarkV On: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:26 am

63roundbadge wrote:RE: Pokers-I went to my local stove store and bought a Franco-Belge poker for $16. It's perfect. Flat steel, curved and pointed. Cuts right through the grates and the curve allows me to reach the corners and rear of the bed.



We'll I have a few of those left over from my old F-B stoves. I hadn't tried that because I didn't think they'd be long enough to reach to the back and get down to the grates.

When you say "Cuts right through the grates" you're talking poking down from the top/front of the fire, correct?
MarkV
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine DS-1500WH
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak bulk nut

Re: New DS 1500: first week report, and some questions (long)

PostBy: MarkV On: Wed Jan 30, 2013 12:37 am

Coalfire wrote:Here is the best advice. Shake down and add coal. Set air regulator for the desired temp.
No poking, no opening and closing doors, nothing. almost like the commercial shake and bake :lol:


Eric


In my basement, nothing ever seems to be that simple. :(

Any firebox that has corners is going to have some ash buildup that need to be poked down, else the fire area will be constricted somewhat. My stove also seems to have an ash buildup over the last grate that I think the poking is helping.
MarkV
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine DS-1500WH
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak bulk nut

Visit Hitzer Stoves