1980 Vigilant stove best burn

1980 Vigilant stove best burn

PostBy: Coalvirgin On: Fri Oct 24, 2008 7:53 pm

I'm using a 1980 Vigilant multi fuel stove, also new at burning coal , and would like to know how to get the hottest burn from anthracite coal. I have no problem getting the coal to burn but it tends to die down after it burns for a bit. I'm shaking it down., damper is open all the time and the coal is glowing but is just isnt putting out the amount of heat that it should. Any help would be be appreciated

The Coal virgin
Coalvirgin
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Vigilant nulti fuel
Stove/Furnace Model: 1980

Re: 1980 Vigilant stove best burn

PostBy: EasyRay On: Sat Oct 25, 2008 4:05 pm

Sounds like you have a vent on the load door or another source of air over the fire. Only the bottom air vent under the coals should be open and adjustable. All air must come from beneath the grates. Load the stove to the top of the fire brick with coal.
EasyRay
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman TLC 2000
Coal Size/Type: Pea,Nut or Stove

Re: 1980 Vigilant stove best burn

PostBy: rberq On: Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:46 pm

EasyRay wrote:Load the stove to the top of the fire brick with coal.


Ditto that advice. If you have been a wood burner, you're used to having a small fire to get a little heat, and a big fire to get a lot of heat. With coal you need a deep bed of coal filling the WHOLE firebox. Once you get it all burning well, then control the heat output by adjusting the air.

Since you are new to this, spend lot's of time reading the forum for information. I thought I knew everything after I burned coal for a month, but now I'm still learning.
rberq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300
Coal Size/Type: Nut -- Kimmel/Blaschak/Reading
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators, propane

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Re: 1980 Vigilant stove best burn

PostBy: jpete On: Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:49 pm

Why is the damper open? I would think that is letting all your heat go up the chimney.
jpete
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mk II
Coal Size/Type: Stove, Nut, Pea
Other Heating: Dino juice

Re: 1980 Vigilant stove best burn

PostBy: LsFarm On: Sat Oct 25, 2008 7:59 pm

The damper needs to stay open to provide the most draft to provide the most air through the fire, this produces the most heat.. if the fire was roaring away, then closing the damper down would be prudent, but his fire is dying, not burning hot enough.

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

Hmmm... another newbie with a Vigilant

PostBy: eelhc On: Sat Oct 25, 2008 9:41 pm

We bought our present home 4 years ago. There is a Vigilant in the family room/kitchen that we've not fired up yet. The kids were 4 and 1 when we moved into this house so safety was a concern.

Now the kids are 7 and 5 and oil has steadily climbed since we've move in, I am keenly interested in this thread as I intend to fire my Vigilant up for the first time as well.

I too have some questions for the more experienced members....

The manual says to close the damper once the fire is going and a good draft is established. For real? Close the damper? I'm assuming that in the closed position (the damper lever only comes to rest fully open or closed), the damper is actually not 100% closed.

The manual also indicates that for the stove to draft properly the top must of the stove must be at ~500*F. That seems a bit high. The Vigilant is connected to a masonry chimney that runs up inside the house so it stays warm except for the portion that's in the attic and above so I expect the draft to be pretty good.

I bought 20 40# bags of nut coal just for a trial run through the Month of November. I'm hoping that the dust from the coal + ashes, the labor... isn't too bad. Really would like to use less oil this year. I've added central air so once the stove gets going good I can just turn the air handler on to circulate the air through the house... Who knows... maybe I can get by most days without the boiler kicking on for heat at all.
eelhc
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnum Stoker

Re: 1980 Vigilant stove best burn

PostBy: rberq On: Sat Oct 25, 2008 10:18 pm

The damper they say you should close, is probably a "bypass" damper built into the stove. It is open for starting the fire so you get a strong draft directly into the chimney. Then with a good fire, you close it and the hot gases are channeled around the sides or back or top of the stove (depending on design) before going up the chimney, so they give off a lot more heat to the room instead of sending all the heat up the chimney. So you are right, the damper itself may be 100 percent closed, but other pathways to the chimney are still open.

I think the vigilant requires a special conversion kit for coal burning. I'm assuming your stove has that? Yes, 500 degrees on top sounds a bit high, my stove will run well at about half that when it is idling. Were you reading instructions specifically for coal burning? Draft really has to do more with the chimney than with the stove.
rberq
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine 1300
Coal Size/Type: Nut -- Kimmel/Blaschak/Reading
Other Heating: Oil hot water radiators, propane

Re: 1980 Vigilant stove best burn

PostBy: rewinder On: Sat Oct 25, 2008 10:57 pm

ellhc---

Is your vigilant the older style with three rocker grates going from left to right, , or does it have a bunch of uprite "teeth like" grates that run front to back?
I have the older style Vigilant I bought in the early eighties, and a resolute from the same era. I just put them back in service this year after 20 years of burning oil. they both have removabale, feed hoppers to hold the coal above the fire. I think the newer ones don't.

The damper handle on the left should be pulled down after the fire is going good to get more heat out of the stove. As for top surfce temps, 500deg is a lot unless you are really pushing it.

I just let mine burn out tonite as the outside temps are 60 tonite and tomorrow will be warmer. Been running them for 10 days or so, low during the day and kicked up a little at nite. I have magnetic thermometer on the pipe about 10" above the top, and can keep it between 100 and 150 at these low burn rates. stove top temps will be between 190 and 250 on the griddle. It's hard to remember what the temps were from 20 years ago when I ran it full blast in the dead of winter, ( Ya I'm old!!)) but I think 600 was max for griddle temps.

I'd suggest a barometric damper between the stove and chimney, it keeps the fire steady during warmer and colder temps, when the draft changes.

I have a manual in PFD form I found on the net for the older style VC stoves. I can find the link and post it if you'd like.

Iv'e always used pea coal in mine, used to burn 4 tons between the two of them.

Getting the two stoves back in shape and firing them up after so many years --- it's like deja-vue all over again!

Paul
rewinder
 
Stove/Furnace Make: VT Castings--early models
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant, and Resolute

Re: 1980 Vigilant stove best burn

PostBy: eelhc On: Sat Oct 25, 2008 11:01 pm

Bob...

Yes my Vigilant has the conversion kit for coal burning. The previous owner used the stove to heat the house with coal (there's a small storage bin i the garage he built) so I know it can be done.

Paul...

It's reassuring to learn that the temperatures can be kept much lower than 500*F on the top. How long can you keep a burn going on a load? How often do you have to shake and empty the ashes? I can shake, dump the ashes once in the morning before I go to work and once in the evening (2x/day or 12 hr intervals). Is this enough even in the dead of Winter?

I'll use the Vigilant this season and if it works well I might replace it in the future with a self-stoked rice coal unit with a larger ash tray/bin that requires no shaking.

I was considering replacing the Vigilant with a pellet stove but decided to give it a try this winter. Been reading up a lot on coal. Now I'm over any apprehension and just short of being converted (talk to me after this winter).
eelhc
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnum Stoker

Re: 1980 Vigilant stove best burn

PostBy: rewinder On: Sat Oct 25, 2008 11:59 pm

"It's reassuring to learn that the temperatures can be kept much lower than 500*F on the top. How long can you keep a burn going on a load? How often do you have to shake and empty the ashes? I can shake, dump the ashes once in the morning before I go to work and once in the evening (2x/day or 12 hr intervals). Is this enough even in the dead of Winter?"

reading what you posted above, that's about how I've been running mine lately. But I don't burn nearly a full hopper during that time frame now that it's not real cold out (I don't think you do either ). IN dead of winter, you'll be running the thermostatic draft control lever up much higher for more heat, and burn more coal between fills. When it's wicked cold out, if you're crankin' it, you'll be filling it every 8 hours or so to keep the heat up. With 2 stoves I run them at something less than full bore, but they still used a full hopper at shake down.

Funny you should mention pellet stoves, I orderen one in July for a promised late Oct delivery, then found out it had been delayed till Jan. Had 2 tons of pellets already undercover! So I cancelled, sold pellets to a neighbos and ressurected the VC stoves! The Vigilant puts out way more heat than the pellet stove I was going to get, decided to go whole hog ad run the pair of them.

Paul
rewinder
 
Stove/Furnace Make: VT Castings--early models
Stove/Furnace Model: Vigilant, and Resolute

Re: 1980 Vigilant stove best burn

PostBy: oliver power On: Sun Oct 26, 2008 9:29 am

I've burned a vigilant stove for I think 3 years , heating a small 832 foot home. The damper handle near the top of the stove is for a bypass damper. You will not be able to open the griddle unless the bypass damper is open. As someone else mentioned , get a good fire going , then close the bypass damper. This sends the gasses down and around the the stove , between firebox , and outside castings of stove , then up chimney. Do not put a damper in the pipe. One thing you should do is clean out the flyash from between the firebox and outside casting. If flyash is built up between castings , it will not only slow the draft down , but will also rot the 4 threaded rods in two , which hold the stove together. They are only 1/4" or 5/16" in diameter. Kind of forget now. Anyways , here is how to clean out the passeges. Inside the firebox , or maybe down in the ash pan area(it's been a while), you will see a tin plate on each side of the stove. The tin plate slides one way or the other , then come off. You will be able to vaccume out the flyash. More Stove Tips for burning coal; The teardrop shaped , secondary vent cover on the side of the stove should be closed. Hopper in stove makes a big difference. Make sure griddle gasket is not leaking air. I burned chestnut coal in mine. Never tried pea coal. The Vigilant was my first coal stove. Being an EX-Wood burner , I thought the Vigilant was a good stove. That was until I bought my first HITZER (50-93). I now know the vigilant was just a toy. In my opinion , the vigilant was never ment to heat a home. It's perfect & cozy for taking the chill out of a good sized familyroom , etc..
oliver power
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: KEYSTOKER Kaa-2
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93 & 30-95, Vigilant (pre-Vigilant-II)
Baseburners & Antiques: MANY (Mostly when burning wood)
Stove/Furnace Make: HITZER / KEYSTOKER
Stove/Furnace Model: 50-93 & 30-95 , Kaa-2

Got it going...

PostBy: eelhc On: Sun Oct 26, 2008 10:55 am

Used this guy's method from youtube... Instead of the alcohol I used a firestarter block (waxed sawdust) underneath lump charcoal. Worked like a champ.

As luck would have it it's close 60*F outside here in the Hudson Valley. I have the thermometer ~10" above the stove on the pipe. Got it going roaring hot and when the thermometer reached 400*F I closed damper + almost fully closed off the air intake (open a crack). Right now the thermometer is reading 200*F and seems to be holding.

So far so good.





eelhc
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnum Stoker

5HRs and the coals are still going strong. Next task??

PostBy: eelhc On: Sun Oct 26, 2008 1:54 pm

There's a nice bed of glowing embers on the bottom across the entire grate but I do not see any blue flame. Is this normal? The reason why I ask is that I'm reading this is how a backdraft/explosions occur (worry when there are no visible flames).

I'll be ready to shake, empty the ashes and refill the hopper ~7PM tonight. Any preferred steps for this so that I don't lose my explosion virginity?
eelhc
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnum Stoker

Re: 1980 Vigilant stove best burn

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Mon Oct 27, 2008 1:57 am

There's a lot of good stuff in this thread by Devil505 Shaking Down/Reloading A Mature Fire It should help answer your current question about the fire.

I have the newest model that does not have a hopper insert. For the hoper inserts, I don't have anything to offer from first hand experience. From other operators that I knew who had the '80 vintage units, it was most important to keep the hopper parts sealed when installed. If the draft leaked from somewhere in the hopper installation, it will not be pulling air thru the fire where it's needed. When they leaked they always had trouble keeping a hot coal fire, even with a chimney with great draft.

Maybe others know, can the hoper component joints be sealed with furnace cement?

Regarding stove top temperatures, my model's operator's manual states operating temperatures of 600- 700. My Vigilant II has the fire directly beneath the ground cast iron top loading door and coal burns roughly~ 2,000 F. I regularly burn in the 600-700f stove top temperature zone during the main part of winter and have been for seven seasons. Many stoves are convection or forced air units and therefore have air moving the temperature out from between a space between the fire box and the exterior of the stove. Stove top temperatures would be lower in this style stove. Vigilants, all models I believe, are designed as radiant stoves. No blowers, just radiating heat from the surface. The exterior sides and back of the stove are not part of the firebox. They're the outside of the exhaust chambers when the internal damper is closed. On my model, the top and the front doors are part of the fire box and are exposed to the direct radiant heat of the burning coal. I measure stack skin temperature of
It will throw heat. It is rated at 50,000 BTU, not as large of an output as other coal stoves. I run mine well under 50,000 btu/hr unless it's near the single digits. Then I operate it at max and put about 85-90 Lbs of pea thru it daily. I keeps my 10 yr old 3,100 sq. ft. home comfortable. The extremities of the house when it's really cold will be in the lower 60s. The oil hot air furnace will only run when the temps are single digit with the thermostat set at 68.
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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