Van Wert VA600 rebuild

Re: Van Wert VA600 rebuild

PostBy: Rob R. On: Tue Oct 27, 2015 1:13 pm

Maybe I missed it somewhere in the thread, but what exactly are you heating with the VA600? You have a bunch of heating equipment listed in your profile, I am just curious what kind of load you are putting on the boiler. The VA600 is a pretty potent heating plant for an average home.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

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Re: Van Wert VA600 rebuild

PostBy: alpineboard On: Tue Oct 27, 2015 1:51 pm

Understood Pac, that makes good sense, any unheated air will be cool, hot coal heats the air, tune the air according to the ash ring size, got it.
Good question RR, I keep my eye out when good deals come along, and have climbed a long ladder of hand feds, I kept upgrading as I saw them, used them and then upgraded again. I still have the hxl and the 88 for heating the place up when I work with epoxies. Slow dry cure is 48 hrs at 80 f , any lower than 80 f and it needs a week to cure. and a week is not going to happen. So for the past several years Doug G has been telling me that I need to get a stoker boiler, it will change your life. So it was on my watch list. Then this past July, I went on a whim for a crazy CL add, and got that VW. The other stuff is still good, but this VW is going to be my main priority, all the time priority usage. It is feeding 10.5 pounds/hour. I believe it was ordered with the lesser pds/hr range, Scottscoaled gave me that info. So I got what I believe is the perfect match for my heat load. The main house is 1500 square feet,14000 cu ft, with reasonable insulation, base board and some underfloor rad tube areas that are solar assisted.. The shop is 1800 sq ft, 25000 cu ft, with tubes in the concrete, 2nd floor is 1000 sq ft, 7600 cu ft, with some basebd rad. Just a couple windows in the entire shop that I put press fit 2" rigid foam in for the winter. 6" walls and max on cieling glass. The whole building is pretty tight. I did heat it for several years with only a jotul507, and was plenty warm, but it is a shop and I was only keeping it at 40 f to 50 f.
alpineboard
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert 600
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Tarm 202
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman HXL, Crane 88, Crane 404
Other Heating: Solar

Re: Van Wert VA600 rebuild

PostBy: alpineboard On: Mon Nov 02, 2015 11:32 am

I was burning buckwheat size coal in the previous pictures. I put some Rice size coal in , gave it some time to run thru the auger and these pictures are the rice burning. Using the same air setting #3 as the buckwheat, The flame is more blue, this could be the coal. The flame is not as big in volume size, but still is touching the ceiling. There is more fly ash building up. The ash ring size is still within the 1 to 2" from the outermost ring diameter. I would put it at 1 1/2" from the outer ring. The buckwheat ash ring was close to 2 inches from outer ring. So I am thinking to lower the air flow just a bit, maybe by a 1/2 notch or just try #2 for a bit, the ash ring size is good, but the fly ash might be an issue. After the air lower adjustment, I will watch both the ash ring size and fly ash build up. Sound good? In the future , I also have some pea size, if the auger will do it, but that may burn too hot, so I should mix some rice with the pea. ...?
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alpineboard
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert 600
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Tarm 202
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman HXL, Crane 88, Crane 404
Other Heating: Solar

Re: Van Wert VA600 rebuild

PostBy: StokerDon On: Mon Nov 02, 2015 8:00 pm

A.P., I tried running some small-ish sized pea coal through my VA400. It didn't go to well, I could hear it crunching in the feed tube. I don't think the auger is big enough for Pea.

The rice coal bed is more difficult for the air to get through. I would think you would need to increase the air going from buck to rice, not decrease it?

-Don
StokerDon
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: BairMatic BMC-500 with Van Wert VA400 Stoker, Gentleman Janitor GJ-671/EFM S-15 stoker, Van Wert VA-600
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Harman SF3500
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Noth'in but COAL! Well, Maybe a little tiny bit of wood

Re: Van Wert VA600 rebuild

PostBy: alpineboard On: Mon Nov 02, 2015 8:53 pm

Thanks Don, I'll be careful using the pea, maybe a small pea/rice mix, and listen.
On the rice, my opinion, is You can turn the air up, but just a couple hours of burning over night, yes I put a clock on the burner, and I got a large accumulation of fly ash. So again , my opinion, is you can not get something to do something that it was not designed to do. Rice coal wants to burn at a rice coal rate which I think is slower. I did put the air gate to setting #2 and the result was still a very good flame and very good ash ring circle, and no more fly ash. #2 is less heat up the chimney, while it is not the big flame of the buckwheat and air #3. It still heats up the boiler and heats my home. Maybe it does not have the btu output of buckwheat and #3 air, but I think it will still do the job. I will save the buckwheat for the big freeze. Priority one is the ash ring size.
alpineboard
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert 600
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Tarm 202
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman HXL, Crane 88, Crane 404
Other Heating: Solar

Re: Van Wert VA600 rebuild

PostBy: alpineboard On: Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:31 pm

I put a new ratio on the drive pulley. The old, was 3 1/2" on the motor, and 3" on the transmission to equal 1.17 to 1 ratio. This was feeding 10.5 pounds and using rice, the ash ring was getting a bit thin, close to outer diameter.
So I put a 3" on the motor and the 3" remains on the transmission, giving a 1 to 1 ratio. My math tells me that now I am feeding 9.0 pounds/hour. This change is producing a better in spec ash ring. And I do not need those extra btu this time of year. The buck was burning fine on the first ratio. But burning the rice brought me to try this new 1 to 1 ratio. Seems ok fine, and barely any fly ash. Here is a nice pulley/belt calculator for future use, click the link:

http://www.blocklayer.com/Pulley-BeltEng.aspx
alpineboard
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert 600
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Tarm 202
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman HXL, Crane 88, Crane 404
Other Heating: Solar

Re: Van Wert VA600 rebuild

PostBy: StokerDon On: Tue Nov 03, 2015 7:49 pm

Hey! That's the pulley calculator I use!

One important thing to remember with the Van Wert. When you change the feed rate by changing the pulleies, you also significantly change the speed of the blower and therefore the combustion air.

-Don
StokerDon
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: BairMatic BMC-500 with Van Wert VA400 Stoker, Gentleman Janitor GJ-671/EFM S-15 stoker, Van Wert VA-600
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Harman SF3500
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Noth'in but COAL! Well, Maybe a little tiny bit of wood

Re: Van Wert VA600 rebuild

PostBy: alpineboard On: Wed Nov 04, 2015 10:12 am

Yes, thanks Don, because the primary shaft on the transmission has both the pulley and the fan on it, being a thru shaft. The good part of this is if you lower the feed rate , you also lower the air flow, and vice versa. I will watch the air flow via the ash ring size.
alpineboard
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert 600
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Tarm 202
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman HXL, Crane 88, Crane 404
Other Heating: Solar

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Re: Van Wert VA600 rebuild

PostBy: alpineboard On: Sat Nov 07, 2015 9:35 am

After the latest change of pulley ratio, I am now at 3" to 3", one to one ratio, I am burning rice using #2 air setting, and noticing a bit more unburned pieces with an acceptable level of fly ash, So I went to #3 air setting and now there is barely any unburned pcs and not any fly ash either. And most importantly , the ash ring is very good, within the 1" to 2" specs. I will run this way until I may need to change pulley ratios when it gets cold.
alpineboard
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert 600
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Tarm 202
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman HXL, Crane 88, Crane 404
Other Heating: Solar

Re: Van Wert VA600 rebuild

PostBy: StokerDon On: Sat Nov 07, 2015 10:04 am

A.P.

I would think if you are getting these results during a long heat call, at least 45 minutes. You are right were you need to be for Winter. If you switch to buck coal, you will need to do some adjusting.

The Van Wert's that I have all have an adjustable split pulley on the motor. This allows adjustment of the feed rate by making the motor pulley larger or smaller.
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And, your gearbox is likely a 600 to 1 Bond unit. I have one that still has the label on it.
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The split pulleys make adjustments easier but, it's a little harder to know exactly what your setting is.

-Don
StokerDon
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: BairMatic BMC-500 with Van Wert VA400 Stoker, Gentleman Janitor GJ-671/EFM S-15 stoker, Van Wert VA-600
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Harman SF3500
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Noth'in but COAL! Well, Maybe a little tiny bit of wood

Re: Van Wert VA600 rebuild

PostBy: alpineboard On: Fri Nov 20, 2015 9:20 am

I am going to add "Steamaster Tablets", to the heating water of the VA600. The manual says the va600 gets 4 tablets and the va600 holds approx. 30 gallons of water, and one must assume "plus 10 to 15 gal of water for an ordinary pipe system.
that is a ratio of (30 gal + 10 gal) / 4 tablets equals 10 gals per tablet
My entire system holds 100 gallons, this includes the boilers and all the copper and pex in the system.
So 100 gal / (10 gal /tablet) equals 10 tablets
Or , according to the directions on the bottle, "until the water turns violet."
I could give it a dosage of 4 tablets at a time, run it for 24 hrs, and check the color of the water, and do the dip strip test.
I did the dip strip water check and the water was acidic, it did not change the color of the dip strip. (this done prior to adding anything)
Any advice/experience here would be appreciated. thank you
alpineboard
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert 600
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Tarm 202
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman HXL, Crane 88, Crane 404
Other Heating: Solar

Re: Van Wert VA600 rebuild

PostBy: Rob R. On: Fri Nov 20, 2015 9:40 am

Start with 4 tablets and check the water a few days later.

As for the feed rate, the engineers at Van Wert were pretty crafty, and I bet they had their reasons for setting the stoker up a certain way. The self cleaning ability of the heat exchanger may depend on a certain velocity of the flue gasses.
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Van Wert VA600 rebuild

PostBy: PatT15 On: Sun Jan 31, 2016 5:35 pm

Just curious, cause I use one of these in a retrofit application, but in my VW manual it says to never make feed adjustments with the pulleys, only the sprockets! Why are you guys doing this adjustment with the pulleys?
PatT15
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van wert 400 stoker inside National 200 boiler
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: National recently converted to Hard coal stoker
Coal Size/Type: Buck
Other Heating: Oil and electric

Re: Van Wert VA600 rebuild

PostBy: StokerDon On: Sun Jan 31, 2016 7:06 pm

PatT15 wrote:Just curious, cause I use one of these in a retrofit application, but in my VW manual it says to never make feed adjustments with the pulleys, only the sprockets! Why are you guys doing this adjustment with the pulleys?

It's a lot easier!

I have not been able to find a reason NOT to adjust the feed rate with the pulleys. Except that adjusting the feed this way will also change the air flow from the combustion blower. As long as you can still get enough air into the pot, and you readjust the air when you make a feed change, it's OK.

-Don
StokerDon
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: BairMatic BMC-500 with Van Wert VA400 Stoker, Gentleman Janitor GJ-671/EFM S-15 stoker, Van Wert VA-600
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Harman SF3500
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Noth'in but COAL! Well, Maybe a little tiny bit of wood

Re: Van Wert VA600 rebuild

PostBy: alpineboard On: Mon May 16, 2016 9:51 am

I will look thru the manual again, but does anyone have any extra thoughts on proper shut down for the summer procedure for the Van wert? I remember something about possible loosening of the domestic coil nuts, etc...? Such a nice boiler, and want to treat it correctly. Thanks R
alpineboard
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert 600
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Tarm 202
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman HXL, Crane 88, Crane 404
Other Heating: Solar

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