Coal-trol vs. Standard Thermostat

Coal-trol vs. Standard Thermostat

PostBy: pconn171 On: Thu Nov 13, 2008 2:43 pm

I'm running a Reading hot air furnace with a standard thermostat. The way the system works is that the thermostat activates the stoker mechanism (Tri-burner) when it's calling for heat. When the plenum tempertature reaches a threshold, the convection blower turns on. Once the thermostat is satisfied, the stoker turns off and the blower continues to run until the plenum temperature drops down below the set point. During the time that the thermostat is satisfied, the stoker then runs on a timer to maintain an idle fire. There are no rheostats or anything, it's just full blast or off. I could see the Coal-Trol providing a benefit from the stand point that the furnace is always tranferring heat, just at different rates and that I don't need to constantly re-heat the plenum. I called Reading today to see if they would recommend a Coal-trol as an improvement, but they couldn't see why I should spend my money. I understand the function of the Coal-trol, but now I'm wondering if it will provide any major benefits. I haven't had the temperature overshoot problems yet, but that may change when it gets colder and the stokers are running hotter. Can someone convince me that the Coal-trol will provide some benefits? - whether it's coal consumption, stoker life, etc... They almost gave me a "why would you do that?" attitude, and now I'm convinced that what I have is fine.
pconn171
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Reading
Stove/Furnace Model: Susquehanna

Re: Coal-trol vs. Standard Thermostat

PostBy: WNY On: Thu Nov 13, 2008 4:01 pm

Yes, that is typical with most of the newer stoker units of other brands.

I love the CoalTrol! My Hyfire stove was only Rheostat controls, so only SLOW or FAST, plus mounting it in the basement, I wasn't going to run up and down to adjust temperatures when you got cold.

The CoalTrol maintains almost perfect temps, adjusts feed and blowers as needed. No big heat temp. swings on/off, it regulates the blowers on variable speeds to move the air around and you don't even know they are running.

It does save coal by adjusting the feed according to the heating needs, thats the problem with the thermostat ones, it will click on, heat up, click off and keep throwing off heat and normally overshoot a few degrees, then sit there cool down.

I would use your stove for the first season and see how well it maintains and then see if you really need it. Some people are very satisfied with the standard thermostats/idle timer settings and blowers.

I have one stove (Keystoker) with the standard Thermostat/Idle timer and it works well as is.

Just my 2 cents.

here's a good writeup from another member.
CoalTrol Review
WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon

Re: Coal-trol vs. Standard Thermostat

PostBy: pconn171 On: Thu Nov 13, 2008 9:34 pm

Well I came home today and my fire went out. There's probably 40 lbs of unburnt coal in my pan. It's been in upper 50's the past 2 days and the furnace never really kicked on. The heat from idle was enough to keep it warm all day. It seemed that the fire was getting smaller and smaller every time the idle tried to kick back on, but if I shortened the time, it would have totally overshot the temperature because the convection blower would be moving all of that heat into the living area. Is this something that may go away with the Coal-trol? I understand that it doesn't monitor the actual burners, but would the chance of a burnout be reduced? I'm checking that write up now.
pconn171
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Reading
Stove/Furnace Model: Susquehanna

Re: Coal-trol vs. Standard Thermostat

PostBy: WNY On: Fri Nov 14, 2008 9:11 am

Well, you either had the timer set too low or the feed adjustment too small or both. It should maintain a small amount of fire on idle, yes, it may get very warm in your house even on idle, but you have to keep the fire burning enough to keep the draft going up the chimney, especially if it's warm outside. I think my Keystoker is 2 Mins ON/ 10 Mins OFF or something like that.

What does your stove have for an Idle/Pilot Timer?

The CoalTrol has MIN and MAX feed setpoints in the software program. They can easily be changed from the Thermostat.
WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon

Re: Coal-trol vs. Standard Thermostat

PostBy: pconn171 On: Fri Nov 14, 2008 1:20 pm

My understanding is that the feed adjustment is set based on a high fire, considering that there is no rheostat. Based on this, I set my timer (box with a knob and no numbers to explain what you are setting) to turn on enough to keep the fire burning. Considering that it didn't burn out any other day and only after about 2 days of not ever running on a high fire condition, I'll probably leave it as is being that a normal winter day will most likely demand heat more often. It seems that the major benefits of the Coal-Trol are really based on a typical "stove" application where you set a rheostat and depending on the temperature shifts throughout the day, you may have a really hot house or a really cold house. Does that seems true? I'm also looking for some additional efficiency. The first step I'll make is to get rid of the Tri-Burner combustion blowers and replace them with a set of full-time blowers.
pconn171
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Reading
Stove/Furnace Model: Susquehanna

Re: Coal-trol vs. Standard Thermostat

PostBy: WNY On: Sat Nov 15, 2008 9:19 pm

As you know, the newer stoves (non CoalTrol) are basically Mechanical Setpoints for turning things on/off, there is no IN between modes. It heats up/cool down, etc...

With the CoalTrol, it can regulate the blowers, feed rate, anticipate the temp rise/fall and adjust accordingly to maintain a set temperature using the least amount of fuel. If you go read the V3 Features of the Coaltrol, you can see how much it can do.

Yes, with the older style stoves that had Rheostats, you had to manually turn them up or down to regulate the heat output.
WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon