Vermont Castings Vigilant I down... :( for now... :)

Paul... with your help I got this thing figured out...

PostBy: eelhc On: Fri Nov 14, 2008 3:21 pm

The secret is slicing/poking. I got the fire lively using some lump charcoal on Tuesday night ~9PM. The last 64 hrs or so (since Tue night ~9PM) I've been slicing and poking ~2x/day with just light shaking. After ~12 hrs the coals burn back from the edges a bit but with the right amount of slicing and poking I can liven it up. I rock the poker up and down a bit as I slice across the grates to loosen up any ashes and give the coals a light shake. This is more art than science...

It's warm out now but I'm going to keep a light/dwell fire going to see if I can make it through the weekend... Then I'll know for sure I've got this thing licked.

It's been well worth the trouble. The house is ~70*F+ and the oil boiler hasn't kicked on except for hot water. I think even if the costs of heating with oil were on par with coal, I'd be willing to do a little extra work to burn the coal as it's a matter of principal and goes to strengthen the US foreign policy. If the Vigilant works out well this winter, I may upgrade to a small stoker for the 09-10 season.

Thanks again...
eelhc
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnum Stoker

Re: Vermont Castings Vigilant I down... :( for now... :)

PostBy: den5588 On: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:57 am

we have vigilant stove we bought in 1979 form vermont casting than we add the coal converison kit, haven't used in year as coal decided to go back to coal this year put everything back in but didn't have the manual , read several articles from your site where it they said that grate or door on the bottom right hand side has to be cermented in is that right and why if you can tell me also we get the fire going but have to keep the damper open for it to burn so all heat is going out , not really heating the room. it burn only at 150/200 but damper has to be open if close starts to go out. also if any one has a manual they can scan to show if and what has to be cermented also in the right way we are only burning pea coal . also do you have to reseal the doors and the top of stove with new gaskets if possible what size needed. thanks to any one who can help
den5588
 
Stove/Furnace Make: viligant with coal converison

Re: Vermont Castings Vigilant I down... :( for now... :)

PostBy: dlj On: Fri Dec 31, 2010 11:46 am

den5588 wrote:we have vigilant stove we bought in 1979 form vermont casting than we add the coal converison kit, haven't used in year as coal decided to go back to coal this year put everything back in but didn't have the manual , read several articles from your site where it they said that grate or door on the bottom right hand side has to be cermented in is that right and why if you can tell me also we get the fire going but have to keep the damper open for it to burn so all heat is going out , not really heating the room. it burn only at 150/200 but damper has to be open if close starts to go out. also if any one has a manual they can scan to show if and what has to be cermented also in the right way we are only burning pea coal . also do you have to reseal the doors and the top of stove with new gaskets if possible what size needed. thanks to any one who can help


All the parts need to be cemented in so the air flow runs correctly to burn coal.

It sounds to me like your stove has the air passages blocked up. I'm assuming you say keeping the damper open, you are talking about the valve in the back of the stove that switches the exhaust from going straight out into the chimney to the circulation path where the smoke goes out the side of the fire box. If the stove will only run with that set to direct chimney venting, then I think you must have blockage in the air passages. Also since you say it will only burn at 150/200.

You need to get all the passages cleaned out. There is the air input from the back that is hard to get to. I'd guess it's full of ash...

Photos of your set-up are really useful.

dj
dlj
 
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Castings Resolute
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwood Baseheater #6
Coal Size/Type: Stove coal
Other Heating: Oil Furnace, electric space heaters

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Re: Vermont Castings Vigilant I down... :( for now... :)

PostBy: VigIIPeaBurner On: Fri Dec 31, 2010 1:50 pm

den5588, there's another forum member that's running your vintage Vigilant w/coal. rewinder is his name. He recommends adding a piece of gasket material at the bottom of the door so the gap between the door and the fettle is sealed. Doing so prevents any combustion air from bypassing the fire bed. You might have seen the picture earlier in this post on this very thread. Search around this forum for his posts or he just might chime in soon :)

The problem you describe was one that I heard many times from owners both now and in the era when the combo unit was introduced. I've never owned nor operated one with the insert, but I recall sealing all pieces together to prevent the air from bypassing the fire bed was necessary to get a successful burn. That was especially so when the internal damper was closed as the chimney's draft was reduced to hold the heat in the stove longer for better heat transfer.

Here are a links to a thread you might find helpful:

I just purchased a gasket set for my Vigilant II and replaced the door gaskets. The kit came with gasket material for the doors, windows, top griddle, enough door gasket left over to possibly (?) do the ash drop on my model, and finally a tube of cement. Your model doesn't have the ash drop. The doors took a 5/16" gasket. IIRC, it was ~ $25.
VigIIPeaBurner
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker Koker
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Vermont Casting Vigilant II 2310
Other Heating: #2 Oil Furnace

Re: Vermont Castings Vigilant I down... :( for now... :)

PostBy: stonyloam On: Fri Dec 31, 2010 4:01 pm

DEN: What you have here shows all of the symptoms of a good old VC that needs to be sealed. The thing that you have to understand about the VC 1.0 is that it was designed as a wood stove and the coal insert was added. If you look at vigII's strove you can see that it has a separate ash door and the firebox is very well sealed so that all of the air entering the stove must pass through the coal bed on its way through. The VC 1.0 with the insert is not sealed that way. there are all kinds of places that air can leak around the coal bed. Remember the air takes the path of least resistance, and through the coal bed aint it!. It may well need to be cleaned but that is probably not you main problem. You need to look at all of the places air can leak. It is easiest if you remove the insert and seal it as you put it back in, but that is not absolutely necessary. Once your fire is out, clean everything out, and remove the ashpan and clean out under there. You will need a container of furnace cement and 3 feet or so of round stove gasket material,and a scotchbrite pad rubber gloves. Take a good look at the cover on the opening in the lower right (sorry edit), that has to be sealed around the edges. With gloves on (so the cement won't stick to your fingers), soak the pad in water and scrub the area around the cover, getting it clean (relatively) and wet (wet is important). Apply enough cement to thoroughly seal all around the cover, sloppy is OK. Next look at the top of the insert, you will see the seam where it fits against the fireback, and sides, also where the front and sides meet. Scrub and wet all of those seams and liberally apply cement. Last (and very important) is the front door seal. Look at the lower part of the front of the insert, where there is a sharp edge with a little notch . This is where the door comes up against the insert and must be completely sealed when the doors close. This is the way I did it: I diluted the cement with water to use it as a glue for the gasket material. I glued a strip of gasket material right under the door window where it comes up against the insert lip on each door. If you open one door at a time you can see where it needs to go. Close the doors and let it dry in place for a hour or so. Next cut a length of gasket material that goes the full length of the insert, apply some cement and place on the lip so that when the doors are closed you will have gasket to gasket contact. You should feel some resistance when you close the doors. Leave in place till it drys and you should be good to go. Should be able to get plenty of heat out of the old gal, accidentally got mine to 700° the other day. Good luck.

Oh yeah, you might have better luck with nut coal. Depends on how your hopper throat is set, mine measures 2 1/4 inches from the bottom of the throat to the hopper body, for nut, it would probably measure an inch of so more for pea coal (hopper throat lower).
Last edited by stonyloam on Sat Jan 01, 2011 11:27 am, edited 1 time in total.
stonyloam
 
Stove/Furnace Make: vermont casting
Stove/Furnace Model: vigilant

Wow! this thread's got a bit of life...

PostBy: eelhc On: Fri Dec 31, 2010 11:42 pm

I'm the original poster. I've since upgraded to a stoker but the Vigilant was a great stove for learning. The one unconventional advice I could give you is CHEAT!!!!

The Vigilant I lacks a separate ashpan door and the draft control can't be opened wide enough to get the coals going strong before the shakedown/load. To get the fire going strong after shaking, I simply added a couple of scoops of wood pellet fuel before loading the coals. Less likely to lose a fire with this technique and the coals come back quicker after the stove has cooled down.

1~12 bags will last the entire season.
eelhc
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman Magnum Stoker

Re: Wow! this thread's got a bit of life...

PostBy: cntbill On: Sat Jan 01, 2011 3:11 am

eelhc wrote:I'm the original poster. I've since upgraded to a stoker but the Vigilant was a great stove for learning. The one unconventional advice I could give you is CHEAT!!!!

The Vigilant I lacks a separate ashpan door and the draft control can't be opened wide enough to get the coals going strong before the shakedown/load. To get the fire going strong after shaking, I simply added a couple of scoops of wood pellet fuel before loading the coals. Less likely to lose a fire with this technique and the coals come back quicker after the stove has cooled down.

1~12 bags will last the entire season.


Yes this thread is one of the ones that help me with my first experience with coal and a Vigilant. :) Thanks eelhc

den5588 wrote:we have vigilant stove we bought in 1979 form vermont casting than we add the coal converison kit, haven't used in year as coal decided to go back to coal this year put everything back in but didn't have the manual , read several articles from your site where it they said that grate or door on the bottom right hand side has to be cermented in is that right and why if you can tell me also we get the fire going but have to keep the damper open for it to burn so all heat is going out , not really heating the room. it burn only at 150/200 but damper has to be open if close starts to go out. also if any one has a manual they can scan to show if and what has to be cermented also in the right way we are only burning pea coal . also do you have to reseal the doors and the top of stove with new gaskets if possible what size needed. thanks to any one who can help



Here's a link to one of my posts: Vermont Castings Vigilant Coal Kit Install Manual where I received much need help from rewinder, VigIIPeaBurner, stonyloam, just to mention a few on this forum, all with good info on getting your Vigilant up and running good, a search of these members post "is priceless".

At the moment I am running a Keystoker, but I love the radiant heat of hand fire VC and I am in the process of setting up a nice Blue Resolute. stonyloam got me hooked on that blue color...besides the better half likes blue... lol.
cntbill
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Keystoker A70/A90
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Aarrow Astra
Coal Size/Type: Rice to Stove

Re: Vermont Castings Vigilant I down... :( for now... :)

PostBy: stonyloam On: Sat Jan 01, 2011 10:28 pm

Vermont Castings blue Mmmmmmm...... LOL. Yeah us VC (v1.0) guys have to stick together, they work fine just take a little TLC. :D
stonyloam
 
Stove/Furnace Make: vermont casting
Stove/Furnace Model: vigilant

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