Diary of a Surdiac

Re: Diary of a Surdiac

PostBy: joeq On: Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:10 am

Lightning wrote: Is the combustion air automatic? Does it open as the stove temperature falls? If not, I believe this is a bulk of the problem and a baro should be a huge improvement.


The Surdiac stove has a round intake port (approx. 3") on the lower back of the stove, which is covered and regulated by a mechanical "flap", (much like the one used on the bottom of your toilet tank). This flap is connected to a gearbox, that is controlled by 2 outside sources. 1 is the knob that you set to a desired temp, (referenced 1-9, but "never" needs a setting above 3), and 2, a heat probe that is affixed across the heat exchanger, externally, which feels the temp of the stove, and tries to regulate it to the setting you've adjusted it to. As the stove temp drops, the valve opens to allow more air. When I awake in the mornings to an "almost" dead fire, (After a week or so of burning), this intake flap is always wide open.
This is what's confusing me. Is the fire dying because the lower portion of the grates are now clogged, and it's starving for fresh air thru the coal bed, or is it ash accumulating around the "mostly" closed MPD, and restricting the exhaust flow?
Here's a couple pix of the intake system.
Image
Image
In the lower pic, you can see the adjustment knob (lower left of pic), and the cable attaching it to the gearbox. The wire going to the back of the heat-exchanger (above the stove pipe connection) is the temp sensor. Notice the open MPD, (only used in this position for starting...stove is off in this pic), and the lack of space for a Baro. I think if I get creative, I can "mickey" one in there, but won't be able to utilize a conventional "tee".
joeq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 513
Stove/Furnace Make: Oil fired
Stove/Furnace Model: Thermopride

Re: Diary of a Surdiac

PostBy: Lightning On: Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:45 am

OK, lets not consider the baro as a remedy yet...

joeq wrote: is it ash accumulating around the "mostly" closed MPD, and restricting the exhaust flow?
Here's a couple pix of the intake system.
I am quite confident this would not happen over night, It would take several months of burning for this problem to occur.. What is the draft pressure in the morning? Is it still -.04 or does it fall lower to a -.01 or -.02?

joeq wrote:When I awake in the mornings to an "almost" dead fire, (After a week or so of burning), this intake flap is always wide open.
This leads me to believe that combustion air is definitely finding a path of least resistance around the coal bed IF the draft pressure is still close to -.04 in the morning... Examine the fire box around the coal bed and look for anywhere that air has a place to take an alternate route instead of up thru the grates.

The depth of the coal bed would also have influence. How deep are you making the coal bed at loading? Are you covering the grate completely with at least a 6 inch depth?
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut Size / White Ash

Re: Diary of a Surdiac

PostBy: titleist1 On: Mon Dec 23, 2013 10:46 am

I just did a quick search of Surdiac threads and skimmed the posts and it seems that ash clogging the grates comes up frequently as an issue with these stoves. It appears the grates need some additional poking & slicing along with the shaking to adequately clear the ash.

The coal you are using could have more of an ash % which compounds the problem and also causes the mpd to have ash issues. Was the ash build up around the mpd also after about a week's time?

The issue isn't limited to Surdiac, my Mark III hand fed I used for many years would need the edges of the firebox scraped with a poker to clear ash there after about a week of burning.
titleist1
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite

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Re: Diary of a Surdiac

PostBy: Lightning On: Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:04 am

I did some PI work.. See where the red dots are? There is evidence of combustion air getting thru the coal bed framing at those locations. You can see how no fly ash is settling on the wall inside the fire box there. This is the alternate route your combustion air is taking later in the burn after some ash settles on the grates!
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Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut Size / White Ash

Re: Diary of a Surdiac

PostBy: Lightning On: Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:06 am

Get some fiberglass insulation and tuck it in locations around that coal bed frame and give it a few days to observe results..
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut Size / White Ash

Re: Diary of a Surdiac

PostBy: Lightning On: Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:35 am

I found a pic from underneath. I think air is going up thru here (marked with red dots) later in the burn. It makes sense this happens after about a week. By then there are other places in the grate that aren't being cleared effectively.
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Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut Size / White Ash

Re: Diary of a Surdiac

PostBy: joeq On: Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:40 am

Lee,in the pic of my stove above, where the red dots are, are areas that I used to assume was the only reason the fire keeps burning overnite. After a week or so of running, these areas clog with ash and why my fire starts to wane (?). The ash build-up there restricts air the same way insulation would, wouldn't it?
T1, as for the brand of pea coal, I started with Blaschac, and have since swapped to Coal Contractors, and at 1st seemed to be an improvement. Now I'm not so sure. I agree the grates need to be sliced frequently to keep them open, but it's tough at bedtime, with no-one to tend to it for 6-8 hrs. You mentioned your Mach III has similar issues. will it go overnite, and still be producing heat in the morning?
joeq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 513
Stove/Furnace Make: Oil fired
Stove/Furnace Model: Thermopride

Re: Diary of a Surdiac

PostBy: Lightning On: Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:47 am

I know it goes against reasoning but secondary air (the air that would be coming in above the coal) does not help the coal burn later in the burn cycle. I had this trouble with my furnace. It had air passages that diverted primary air just as I see happening with yours. I can't be sure without seeing it in person. :(
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut Size / White Ash

Re: Diary of a Surdiac

PostBy: michaelanthony On: Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:49 am

Hi joeq, thanks for the diary of your Surdiac I enjoy the peaks and valleys and all the suggestions and intrigue. We get to know people vicariously through there stoves and form friendships and bonds that keep us coming back for more. I visualize Lee with a fire proof, UL certified sofa with stoves resting uncomfortably on and a waiting room filled with billowing black smoke and stoves chain smoking and drinking heavily with empty bottles of cheap whiskey rolling on he floor :lol: As an outside observer there are a couple things I would try if I owned this stove. I noticed different settings for the hopper and would assume that is for different sizes of coal or seasons or both. Try lowering the hopper and try a mix of 'nut and pea, and my other thought is; can this stove run without the hopper ( no hopper with a wood fire, correct? ), and be loaded with 'nut coal for a hotter stove? If you are tending every 5 - 6 hrs why bother with the hopper and shake and load 3 times a day to get your heat. Good luck and stay warm and don't for get the ACA can't deny you because of a pre-existing condition! :P
Last edited by michaelanthony on Mon Dec 23, 2013 1:03 pm, edited 1 time in total.
michaelanthony
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vigilant 2310, gold marc box, vogelzang pot belly
Coal Size/Type: Pea, and a little nut
Other Heating: Very cold FHA oil furnace

Re: Diary of a Surdiac

PostBy: Lightning On: Mon Dec 23, 2013 11:54 am

michaelanthony wrote:I visualize Lee with a fire proof, UL certified sofa with stoves resting uncomfortably on and a waiting room filled with billowing black smoke and stoves chain smoking and drinking heavily with empty bottles of cheap whiskey rolling on he floor
That's awesome! :lol:
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut Size / White Ash

Re: Diary of a Surdiac

PostBy: titleist1 On: Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:00 pm

joeq wrote:I agree the grates need to be sliced frequently to keep them open, but it's tough at bedtime, with no-one to tend to it for 6-8 hrs. You mentioned your Mach III has similar issues. will it go overnite, and still be producing heat in the morning?


It would still be burning & producing some heat, but there would be dead spots in the coal bed. This would occur after about a week of burning & normal shaking. After scraping and shaking real good the coal bed would be much 'livelier' and throw off a lot more heat. Up to that weekly scraping, it would easily hold the fire and throw plenty of heat between 12 hour loading and shake downs.

The firebox on the Mark III is larger & deeper than yours so there is probably more room for 'error' and being able to keep the fire going enough to produce heat with the ash build up.
titleist1
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Harman Mag Stoker (old style) one in basement, one in workshop
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III on standby for long power outages
Coal Size/Type: Rice/Anthracite; Nut/Anthracite

Re: Diary of a Surdiac

PostBy: franco b On: Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:26 pm

Your fire box is about 100 square inches. It probably holds about 20 or 25 pounds of coal with another 20 pounds or so in the hopper. You should be able to burn about 40 pounds per day with 8 hour tending times. This is maximum. How much are you burning per day? Do you keep the hopper full?

With your thermostat set at one you should be getting minimal burn and be able to go 12 hours before tending. I think your thermostat needs adjusting to slow down the burn. With a cold stove the flap should be just barely open at one on the setting.

To lessen fly ash in the heat exchanger open the door while slicing which will allow the ash to fall better into the ash pan by not pulling so hard through the coal bed.

Does your slicing poker get into the corners? If not you will have to poke from above or get a poker that is offset on the end like a Franco Belge poker.

You have high draft which may be pulling too much secondary air through the openings just behind the glass. A thin coal bed requires very little air over the bed.
franco b
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: V ermont Castings 2310, Franco Belge 262
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Modern Oak 114
Coal Size/Type: nut and pea

Re: Diary of a Surdiac

PostBy: joeq On: Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:33 pm

Welcome Mike/Tony, and thanx for the input. Your suggestion for pulling the hopper and filling the stove w/nut coal is an interesting theory. 'cept the manufacturer recommends pea. The last thing on my "to do" list is install a baro that is suppose to be mandatory. Once the stove is running again, I'm curious to see if the clogged MPD was influential. If not, then in goes the baro. If "still" no sucess with longer burn times, "then" I'll try removing the hopper.
In the Air Force, we had a term for a "newbie". They were called "JEEPS", abbreviated for "Just Enuff Education to Pass." That's what I am with this stove, and coal burning in general. Still fighting a wrong to make right. With alls help, maybe I/we will overcome this. Thanx for your patience.
joeq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 513
Stove/Furnace Make: Oil fired
Stove/Furnace Model: Thermopride

Re: Diary of a Surdiac

PostBy: Lightning On: Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:44 pm

franco b wrote:Your fire box is about 100 square inches. It probably holds about 20 or 25 pounds of coal with another 20 pounds or so in the hopper. You should be able to burn about 40 pounds per day with 8 hour tending times. This is maximum. How much are you burning per day? Do you keep the hopper full?

With your thermostat set at one you should be getting minimal burn and be able to go 12 hours before tending. I think your thermostat needs adjusting to slow down the burn. With a cold stove the flap should be just barely open at one on the setting.

To lessen fly ash in the heat exchanger open the door while slicing which will allow the ash to fall better into the ash pan by not pulling so hard through the coal bed.

Does your slicing poker get into the corners? If not you will have to poke from above or get a poker that is offset on the end like a Franco Belge poker.

You have high draft which may be pulling too much secondary air through the openings just behind the glass. A thin coal bed requires very little air over the bed.


This guy knows his stuff ^^^^^^^ :D
Lightning
 
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Clayton 1537G
Coal Size/Type: Nut Size / White Ash

Re: Diary of a Surdiac

PostBy: joeq On: Mon Dec 23, 2013 12:59 pm

Sorry Franco, I seemed to have overlooked your reply. When my stove is burning well, at about 4oo*, the stove will barely use 40lbs a day. i have no complaint with that. And you're right, it is a small coal bed. And yes, I try my best to keep the hopper as full as possible, given the time frame.But when my thermo is set to the setting #1, and the stove is off, the sensor will open the flap as much as you see in the pic above. (I believe this is normal, with a dead fire). But when the stove is hot, you're right, there's barely a 1/16th of an inch open. I do like your recommendation of opening the glass door when scraping. Makes sense to keep the draft down. (Which is normally around -.04-.05). I believe an earlier poster also recommended that.
joeq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Surdiac Gotha 513
Stove/Furnace Make: Oil fired
Stove/Furnace Model: Thermopride

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