How do you set up your VC Vigilant II? + Maintenance

How do you set up your VC Vigilant II? + Maintenance

PostBy: SAU On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:21 am

I couldn't find a thread that specifically covers the Vigilant II. If there is one that covers these topics please direct me to it and lock this one down.

Anyone that has spent some time here knows that there are a million variables concerning how your stove will react to differing situations. We probably won't find too many constants, but lets give it a try. Here's the question to copy/paste into your post. If you think of questions I missed I'll edit them into this leading post. Thanks in advance for your participation.

#1 What kind of coal are you using?
#2 How tall is your stack?
#3 How hot does your stove burn with the thermostat wide open?
#4 How hot does your stove burn with the thermostat wide open , and the damper closed?
#5 Do you ever run the stove with the air control (left side of the stove) open?
#6 Is your restriction plate removed?
#7How often do you shake?
#8 Do you have any dampers aside from the one built into the stove?
#9 On average where do you set the thermostat lever?
#10 How often do you empty your ash pan?
#11 Do you generally run your stove with the damper open or closed?
#12 What do you do during the season to maintain your stove?
#13 What do you do post season to maintain your stove?
#14 What are the cons to owning this stove?
#15 What are the pros to owning this stove?
#16 What temperature does your stove idle at, and do you idle with the damper open or closed?
Last edited by SAU on Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:04 am, edited 2 times in total.
SAU
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings/Nordic Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: VIGILANT II 2310/Erik Jr. HH

Re: How do you set up your VC Vigilant II? + Maintenance

PostBy: SAU On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:57 am

#1 What kind of coal are you using? PRB bit
#2 How tall is your stack? 18' or so.
#3 How hot does your stove burn with the thermostat wide open? about 400
#4 How hot does your stove burn with the thermostat wide open , and the damper closed? about 600-650
#5 Do you ever run the stove with the air control (left side of the stove) open? Still experimenting, hoping to get some answers out of you guys.
#6 Is your restriction plate removed? No
#7How often do you shake? After reading one of VigIIPeaBurners posts I have tried limiting my shakes to once a day. I think he is right, I've been shaking too much and throwing coal out with the ash. I seem to be using less coal with his advice and the stove seems to hum right along.
#8 Do you have any dampers aside from the one built into the stove? No
#9 On average where do you set the thermostat lever? When it's cold I seem to set it right in the center but it has not been real cold this season.
#10 How often do you empty your ash pan? Now that I'm shaking less it's about once a day
#11 Do you generally run your stove with the damper open or closed. Again I'm still experimenting, but I am coming to the conclusion that I have plenty of draft tho close the damper
#12 What do you do during the season to maintain your stove? Nothing yet, looking for suggestions from the pros.
#13 What do you do post season to maintain your stove? Nothing yet, looking for suggestions from the pros.
#14 What are the cons to owning this stove? The handles. I hate having to wear a pair of gloves to open the doors. I hate that VC made the stove with two handles instead of the three that are needed to operate the stove. lastly I've only been using the stove for a couple of weeks and I have already broken one of the ceramic handles, they are quite fragile. I may go to a machine shop and just have then machine some handles from brass.
#15 What are the pros to owning this stove? I'm too much of a noob to know any better.
#16 What temperature does your stove idle at, and do you idle with the damper open or closed? about 200. Looking for guidance again with the damper

This is my first season with the VC. This is my second season burning coal, but last season was cut short because my other coal burner is upstairs, and the basement was too cold to live in with that arrangement. So far I don't have any issues with clinkers, and don't really expect to have any with the PRB bit. After I've let the stove idle, I usually have to get the draft humming with some paper before I can add coal. For me this stove has been very forgiving. I've been burning it for two weeks with some idle conditions and have yet to use a second match. The one other thing that I have noticed is that I don't really need to spend the extra time "building a bed". Rather than building the bed three inches at a time I just dump a full hod in let it burn for a little while and then dump in another hod while trying to leave a "pilot light" burning someplace. Curious if this is a PRB bit phenomenon or if everyone does the bed building about the same way.

What does "banking" a fire mean? Is this a process of leaving the coal at a natural slope of repose within the stove? If not, how do you bank a fire?
SAU
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings/Nordic Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: VIGILANT II 2310/Erik Jr. HH

Re: How do you set up your VC Vigilant II? + Maintenance

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 8:43 am

#1 What kind of coal are you using? Redding anthracite pea although the look of the coal and burn changes when I get more later in the season from his newly refilled bins. It's definitely different coal but suits the season plus it's cheaper. I don't care what corporate name it is, just so the quality is there and it's close to home.
#2 How tall is your stack? 7' double wall SS plus 14' metal insulated. All 6" round for a total pipe length of 21'
#3 How hot does your stove burn with the thermostat wide open? I'd be afraid to let it go that far, seriously. I'd bet it would clear 900. See #6
#4 How hot does your stove burn with the thermostat wide open , and the damper closed? See #3 as I'd say the same.
#5 Do you ever run the stove with the air control (left side of the stove) open? No. The little "fry pan" - it's a vestige from the wood burning days and I burn anthracite. Might be worth trying on a really hot burn if there's a lot of volatiles in your fuel (bit?). It allows fresh air/O2 into the secondary burn chamber to allow adequately heated gasses to auto ignite for a more complete burn. For me, it just cuts off the draft thru the coal bed.
#6 Is your restriction plate removed? Yes
#7How often do you shake? Only as often as I must. I'll use the knife to loosen the edges of the fire before to keep the bed as large as possible. I also have a 1/4 SS rod on a file handle that I use to poke along th grates accessing the fire with the double doors open. That's how I chase any clinkers thru the grate and clear the grill of ash. -And only when the fire is lively,
#8 Do you have any dampers aside from the one built into the stove? No
#9 On average where do you set the thermostat lever? To either side of middle for 80% of the burning season.
#10 How often do you empty your ash pan? Once to twice a day. When it's very cold out, maybe three.
#11 Do you generally run your stove with the damper open or closed? Closed except for reduced firebox size burns in early fall/late spring. See about4018.html
#12 What do you do during the season to maintain your stove? Occasionally wipe glass clean of fly ash with vinegar. When a warm spell hits mid January, I'll let the fire go out and vac the fly ash out from behind the three plates.
#13 What do you do post season to maintain your stove? See #12. Brush all pipes out. Wrap my pole with old towels to form loose fitting swab and swab all pipes. Take the same swab and dampen with baking soda water and swab. Vac out the smoke shelf and behind as far as the close crevice tool can reach and same w/ash pan compartment.
#14 What are the cons to owning this stove? Could be a bit larger. Front grill can warp after time and many hot fires. Porcelain multi use handle chipped the first time I dropped it which was the first time I lite it! I'd like to have a stoker in the basement hooked to the duct work in addition to the Vigilant.
#15 What are the pros to owning this stove? Top loader. Cast iron. Hand fed and keeps the e-bill down. Can burn bit and wood although it's not sold for wood. Can open doors and use as a fireplace for effect or shaking off a little chill. Yes, you can buy the screen for the front. The Federal appearance fits nicely with our room furniture. Wife loves it and she dislikes the welded/bent steel flat look especially with bolted on brass. "Too industrial!" It's just her preference I guess (and I don't argue ;-))
#16 What temperature does your stove idle at, and do you idle with the damper open or closed? 600-700 or more with damper closed. I don't usually run with it open and if I do, the firebox volume is reduced and then temp is ~ 250
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

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Re: How do you set up your VC Vigilant II? + Maintenance

PostBy: SAU On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 1:43 pm

#15 What are the pros to owning this stove? Oh yes, I have an answer after all after Vig kicked me in the brain. Doesn't require electric. That was a big item for me because I live where it can be -40 and because I remember those people dying when the power went out in Oregon a few years ago.
SAU
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings/Nordic Stove
Stove/Furnace Model: VIGILANT II 2310/Erik Jr. HH

Re: How do you set up your VC Vigilant II? + Maintenance

PostBy: JoePA On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:36 pm

I would love to answer all your questions but I'm at work and on break.

1. Don't try and hurry the process. The fire will happen just have patientce and listen to what the fine folks here have to say.
2. I burn hand picked coal and that is one of my problems...too many different sizes of coal and I'm new so I'm having some difficulty keeping it running...I'm getting better. I would say run NUT coal for the ease of keeping the fire going. This is just a guess as to allow the air to pass by easier??
3 My chimney is only about 11' and I have PLENTY of draft...so don't be too concerend about height...but mine is straight up with no bends...not sure if that makes a difference.
4 Have fun learing how to use the stove and I love the feeling of burning coal over anything else. It is so warm and so much more enjoyable to look at over a wood stove...JMHO

Well back to work!
JoePA
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Casting
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant II

Re: How do you set up your VC Vigilant II? + Maintenance

PostBy: Devil505 On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 2:41 pm

Devil505
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: TLC-2000

Re: How do you set up your VC Vigilant II? + Maintenance

PostBy: ScubaSteve On: Tue Oct 21, 2008 6:18 pm

I definitely reccomend nut for Vigi users, you will lose pea through the grates. I just got my delivery of nut yesterday and burned it for the first time after finishing the pea that i tried. SOOOO much better ! ! ! Plus I dont get the best draft with pea. That could be because I have a rear chimney exit to a 90 degree bend to my masonry chimney. I started my fire at 8 pm last night, and at 6 am this morning it was still 580 degrees and burning nicely. I also have to agree it is way more enjoyable than wood. Its so funny, when we have a party or people over they cant get over how long coal burns for. It must also be a guy thing because all the husbands/boyfriends of our guests always ask all the questions and make the comments like, for example: Is it cheaper than wood? how does it burn so long? why are the flames blue? You actually leave that thing on when you go to bed or leave the house? !?!? ( I love that question) or this question: You mean this is the only heater on in the house right now??? WOW amazing! ! ! ! Truly a great conversation piece.
ScubaSteve
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings Vigilant II
Stove/Furnace Model: model 2310

Re: How do you set up your VC Vigilant II? + Maintenance

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Wed Oct 22, 2008 7:18 am

Scuba - you certain it was pea that was falling thru the grates of your Vigilant? Sure it wasn't Buckwheat, or rice? Pea is about the size of a quarter and it doesn't fall thru my grates unless shaken down too much. I stop when the powder in the pan has a few reds on it.

I've had people offer me free "pea" coal. I load up the truck with shovels and rakes (and other implements of destruction) and headed on out to the city dump ... Oh, wrong story :roll: . Anyway, when I get there, it's actually rice but they thought it as near vegetable pea sized. Empty handed and headed home.

Tried both nut and pea in 500 lb lots twice. Found pea best for me: started faster on reloads, hotter fire and still long enough burn time. Depends on your draft I guess. I figured that there is more surface area of the piea size coal exposed to air channels and heat of the existing fire so it lights off quicker. Gets to humming/idling at 600-700 pretty quick on a reload.

Got this .pdf on sizes from the Reading site.
Attachments
coalsizes.pdf
.pdf on sizes from the Reading site.
(622.88 KiB) Downloaded 13 times
Select:BBcode: [nepafile=7442]coalsizes.pdf[/nepafile]
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Re: How do you set up your VC Vigilant II? + Maintenance

PostBy: BobQ On: Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:57 am

#1 What kind of coal are you using? Pea
#2 How tall is your stack? About 20 feet
#3 How hot does your stove burn with the thermostat wide open? Don't do it! Too hot
#4 How hot does your stove burn with the thermostat wide open , and the damper closed? Again too hot!
#5 Do you ever run the stove with the air control (left side of the stove) open? No
#6 Is your restriction plate removed? Yes
#7How often do you shake? Once to twice a day, only until a few red hot coals drops, then I am done.
#8 Do you have any dampers aside from the one built into the stove? No
#9 On average where do you set the thermostat lever? On warm days, 60deg or so all the way to the right, stove idles around 275deg. On cold days about in the middle or a little to the left. I don't usually run over 700deg, unless it is below 0deg out side.
#10 How often do you empty your ash pan? Once a day.
#11 Do you generally run your stove with the damper open or closed? Closed.
#12 What do you do during the season to maintain your stove? Burn it and shake it. Clean the glass once a week.
#13 What do you do post season to maintain your stove? Vacume out the stove and behind the air grates, I close the damper and leave the thermostat open a little to allow a little circulation.
#14 What are the cons to owning this stove? I have to clean the glass often, that may be because I burn wood in it also?
#15 What are the pros to owning this stove? Burns coal and wood well, very forgiving, needs no electricity, my wife says it is the best looking stove available, it will burn at 275 allowing for a long heating season.
#16 What temperature does your stove idle at, and do you idle with the damper open or closed? 275 with damper closed.

Hope this helps, I am very much a fan of this stove! It was new a few years ago, I think the different generations of stove have many upgrades!

Bob
BobQ
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant

Re: How do you set up your VC Vigilant II? + Maintenance

PostBy: BobQ On: Fri Oct 24, 2008 8:58 am

I would like to change one of my answers, but there is no EDIT so here it goes.

Original:
#4 How hot does your stove burn with the thermostat wide open , and the damper closed? Again too hot!

New:
#4 How hot does your stove burn with the thermostat wide open , and the damper closed? About 650-700.

I have wondered about putting an ajustable air inlet on the front door of the ash pan to give a little extra air, the ash pan door is a "loose" fit, if I tighten it up the stove tops out at about 550-600.

Anyone know where it get an air ajustment that I can add on?

Thanks Bob
BobQ
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant

Re: How do you set up your VC Vigilant II? + Maintenance

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:36 am

Anyone know where it get an air ajustment that I can add on?


Afraid I don't. I know another owner did cut into the side of the ash pan compartment an use a brick to regulate the air. Very radical surgery :!: Your stove will loose it's thermostatic control and might over fire if there's a swing in temperate, wind or barometric pressure during the winter. Assess a few things first. Is your chimney 6" round? Have you measured your draft? Any leaks in gaskets on the double doors, exit chute to stove pipe or loading door or caulked joints? Is the side/secondary air hole covered by the little fry pan shaped cover? Is the caol the same as past? Could try nut like Scubasteve did. He found his stove ran better with nut - larger air channels between burning coal pieces.

Think hard before you go the additional air route. My old surface thermometer read colder than what my IR thermometer does. Big difference between the two when measuring the ground stove top. Surface read near your reported 550 when the IR read closer to 700 if I recall correctly. 700f is VCasting's recommended max. Check to see if your's is calibrated for pipe/vertical measurements or stove top/horizontal.

Sorry if this seems shotgunned....
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Re: How do you set up your VC Vigilant II? + Maintenance

PostBy: BobQ On: Fri Oct 24, 2008 10:01 am

Thats good advice! I am reluctant to do any radical sergery, I have checked all gaskets and seams, all OK, I am using different coal however, still pea but a different vain. The ash pan is not as tight as it could be and the stove burns at 700, mybe I will try nut next time.

Thanks
BobQ
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant

Re: How do you set up your VC Vigilant II? + Maintenance

PostBy: BobQ On: Fri Oct 24, 2008 1:26 pm

I was wondering, I thought I had seen some stoves with a thermostat controling air at the back, and then extra air holes and an ajustable blocking plate on the ash door? I thought my buddies Hitzer is that way?

Bob
BobQ
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant

Re: How do you set up your VC Vigilant II? + Maintenance

PostBy: BobQ On: Thu Nov 06, 2008 4:31 pm

Just thought I woud post a follow up, it seams it is the different coal I have been using, with the damper closed and the air wide open it runs at about 700 deg, with the old coal I was using ( I had some left over ) the stove will over fire with the same settings, of cource 700 deg is plenty hot anyway, but I wanted to note the difference.
BobQ
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vermont Castings
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant

Re: How do you set up your VC Vigilant II? + Maintenance

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Fri Nov 07, 2008 10:26 am

BobQ wrote:Just thought I woud post a follow up, it seams it is the different coal I have been using, ...>8


Glad that you figured it out. I've had a few loads that varied but I've never seen that much of a fall off in BTU output. It was a noticeable drop but I've never gotten to full open and dampered down with my chimney's draft and the coal from my dealer. I know that he has changed ... at least once quite a few years ago when his customers began complaining about rocks in Jedo jambing their grates on hand feds. Could have been one bad delivery, that's all it would take but as a dealer, he needs to be responsive to his costumers and I'm glad he is. It's ultimately why we pay the premium to buy from them.

Any way, there's a long discussion and a lot of good info about coal quality in this thread: Coal quality from various sources
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

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