AA 130 Outfires.. Coal feeding problems??

AA 130 Outfires.. Coal feeding problems??

PostBy: OldAA130 On: Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:25 pm

I'm pulling some of the discussion about Outfires out of a previous thread of a different topic... (AA130... Circ pump question)

OldAA130 said...
Now if I can figure out the coal feed problem that keeps coming back. I have a 5'X5'X5' bin which is outside the back of the shop. The coal seems to be bridging/rat-holing. I was up early this morning... the oil boiler kicked on (that restless sleep that I mentioned). I found the fire almost out completely. Funny, it seems that when you need the fire to start easily and quickly like I did this morning... it just wouldn't take. It was bitter cold out in the shop.


Freddy replied...
The coal feed issue.... maybe the coal is damp & is freezing, causing bridging? I assume that you're burning pea size? What brand is it? AA sells an "agitator" that is driven off the gear on the end of the shaker shaft. It has a rod that goes to the end of the auger in the bin & tickles the coal. They say it is seldom needed, but if the coal is particularly ugly it'll keep it from bridging. Of course it won't help if it's frozen.


OldAA130...
The fire was out again this morning... I shut the unit down and drained. I also called Berverly at AA and order the parts for the agitator.


MikeandGerry wrote...
Your coal bin is outside....I assume it is covered. It cannot be wet coal. The anthratube only likes dry coal. Without that agitator it simply will not feed wet coal. What happens is that the fines collect near the pickup area and turn to a paste that prevents the peas from entering the tube.

Even with the agitator, it won't feed frozen coal. Your bridging problem may not be solved by the agitator. When coal is placed in an unheated bin and not given time to dry it may be a continual problem. Fill your bin in the spring and allow it to air dry. It would be better to put the bin indoors or close in the bin and allow the air to "communicate" with the boiler. Or.....heat the bin with a loop!


Freddy...
What's the price of the agitator? Just curious. I got one by saying "I do", but she doesn't help much with the coal.


MikeandGerry...
Yes, the total cost of an agitator is quite high but there are a few benefits too.

Freddy, have you been sitting next to the anthratube with the coal head cover off, a beer in one hand, and the site tube cover in the other.....again ?!?

I know I have been....just curious if there were others doing it. :D


Freddy...
The people that have missed the two hour movie "Auger" just haven't lived. I can watch it over & over. Here's a snapshot of the opening scene. Attachments

(143.3 KiB) Viewed 1 time
View: New Page • Popup


Whistlenut wrote...
I used to have the bridging problem many years ago, especially with a winter delivery and we had to refill the 9 ton coal bins.Yes, it flows from the truck, but freezes quickly when inside. I did the agitator thing and while helping in the short term, I decided to just add a heat loop under the bin using return water. There hasn't been a feed issue in 29 years now, so perhaps that will give you some perspective. The need for more mechanical things like an agitator adds more complexity to service, especially since you need to get to the doghouse to install it. Bet your bin won't empty easily this time of year. If you have means of adding some form of heat to the bin area, try that first. Even with the many years of experience on the forum, sometimes no simple answers come forth. I like the KISS philosophy. The reason truck bodies, truck fuel tanks and lines are heated is a no brainer. My vote is to try to get some heat under the bin as a first response. I don't like outfires either. Insulate the area you are going to heat and you will not even see any additional demand.


Greg L wrote...
I have to laugh, as I was reading through this thread, and read about outfires I was thinking about suggesting what whistlenut posted above: heat the coal bin.
My coal bin has some heat by accident, my Pex-al-Pex pipe runs through the coal hopper, so it does tend to keep the coal warm.. just an accidental plus of the design. However. if the fines accumulate at the bottom of my hopper I can see that the fines could block the feeding of coal to the end of the auger..

OldAA130: take a look at the end of the auger, is the end of the flighting worn or bent in?? Mine was, I just used a cressent wrench and bent the last 1" out a bit so it could 'rake' the coal as the tube rotated.. If the end of the flighing is bent in or worn away, there is no aggitation of the coal, and ONLY gravity will feed the auger..

You could make an electrical aggitator cheaper than the AA agitator. Find an old, slow electic drill, 1/2" chuck, and make an aggitator with a lenght of 1/2" steel rod, with a bend in the end, or make a tee on the end, or any form of a hook to stirr up the coall. Theis aggitator rod would be like a heavy-duty paint stirrer. Set up the drill motor in a jig to hold it in place, and use a timer to run it for a minute an hour. It should keep the coal moving.. The AA agitator is a gear-driven version of what I describe, the gear is on the end of the notched gear that moves the ashing grate . The parts from AA are not cheap..

PM Matthaus, he may have a agitator from one of his AA rebuilds.

For the benefit of the other AA owners, could you start another thread on the topic of: AA boiler Outfires,, coal feed problems... I think you will get more responses as well.

Greg L


Freddy...
Are the AA agitators expensive? I have no idea, my gut says $100, but from the sound of things they must be much more. If one had just the gear to mate to the ash gear, the rest could be home made easily I'd think. The electric drill idea is good.
My bin is insulated and heated. I didn't have freezing coal in mind at all. I did it to keep frost from lifting the slab. It seems I accidentally did something right!


OK Guys... I hope I've captured the discussion about outfires. I've picked up a lot of information here and hope this discussion continues.
OldAA130
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Axeman Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 130

Re: AA 130 Outfires.. Coal feeding problems??

PostBy: OldAA130 On: Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:35 pm

Here's the plan... pulled from the previous couple responses.

The complete kit for the agitator is $179 but there were way too many parts. I pared it down to just the gear and auger. The total of the order was around $40 + shipping. I can fab the rest of the assembly. I like the idea of using an old drill... but I don't have one. (we recently moved here so I haven't met too many folks to ask about old "stuff" like this)

Also, I like the heat idea but before I plumb water to the coal bin I'm going to try an old piece of industrial grade heat trace... 20' of this should do the trick for the short term. The long term plan will be to run the return of the shop circuit through the bin.

I'm also looking at additional agitating mechanism run off the ashing handle. I'm making up a drawing which I will post for later. For now... my wife is kicking me off the computer...

Tom
OldAA130
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Axeman Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 130

Re: AA 130 Outfires.. Coal feeding problems??

PostBy: LsFarm On: Sat Jan 03, 2009 12:44 pm

Hi Tom is you coal bin covered?? As mentioned above your coal has to be dry.. even in warm weather, damp/wet fines will stop the AA hollow auger from feeding..

You can make a fairly simple heater by running a loop of Pex through the lower 1/4 of the hopper,, I assume you have a tapered bottom in your hopper?? just a loop, with valves to control rate of flow, plumbed like a bypass loop on the boiler.. just keep the tube warm/hot, and it should keep the coal flowing..

Thanks for starting the new Topic,, I'll try to post a few photos tonight on the subject.

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

Visit Lehigh Anthracite

Re: AA 130 Outfires.. Coal feeding problems??

PostBy: OldAA130 On: Sat Jan 03, 2009 1:45 pm

Understand that I've not even successfully run this boiler for more than a week sooooo... :oops: I have idle time to think about what different options I have for solving this coal feed problem while I wait for the parts from AA.

I installed the boiler close to the back wall of the shop so I could put the bin outside (keep the mess outside). The bin is small (holds i'm guessing 1 - 1 1/2 ton) and it is covered. I can tell the coal is a bit damp because when I pull the tarp back off the pile the surface of the pile is "stuck" together. When I dive in with the shovel it easily breaks apart. The coal is not sopping wet, but is a little damp.

Greg L: I emptied the bin on thursday and did take a look at the end of the feed tube. I did note that the end of the tube is not bent in but the end of the flight could be bent outward (it is not sticking out of the tube but is recessed up into the tube). this could be contributing to the problem. I an going to empty the bin today and install the heat trace so I will "adjust" the end of the feed tube today.

I drew up an idea I had for putting a small paddle in the bin to swing back and forth slightly a foot or so above the end of the tube. This paddle would be operated by linkage back to the ashing handle or maybe even off the same gear as the agitator.

My wife just told me that I'm the agitator... she wants the use of the computer again. I have to figure out how to post things on this forum so I can put pictures with words...
OldAA130
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Axeman Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 130

Re: AA 130 Outfires.. Coal feeding problems??

PostBy: Freddy On: Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:08 pm

$179 for the agitator isn't as bad as it might be. And $40 for the important parts seems cheap.
Next year you'll be able to buy coal in the summer & it'll be nice & dry come winter. While the agitator might help, I think you'll end up thumping often to break up the icy pieces.
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: AA 130 Outfires.. Coal feeding problems??

PostBy: LsFarm On: Sat Jan 03, 2009 11:21 pm

If you are going to empty the hopper, and if you have enough leftover Pex, or copper or pipe, make a loop inside. It won't take much heat to keep the coal from freezing.
If you are using a tarp over the hopper, is it water tight?? Is the tarp water proof as well? As you mentioned, the coal is only damp, and it only takes a little snow blown onto the snow to keep it damp and allowing it to freeze..

Is the hopper flat bottomed? or does it have a sloped floor that feeds the coal to the auger? If you have a sloped floor put a heat pipe under the floor to keep it warm..

Greg L
Hopper3.jpg
(292.49 KiB) Viewed 38 times
View: New PagePopup • Select:BBCode
[nepathumb]9843[/nepathumb]

Hopper3.jpg
(292.49 KiB) Viewed 38 times
View: New PagePopup • Select:BBCode
[nepathumb]9843[/nepathumb]
Attachments
Hopper1.jpg
(275.65 KiB) Viewed 33 times
View: New PagePopup • Select:BBCode
[nepathumb]9844[/nepathumb]
LsFarm
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Self-built 'Big Bertha' SS Boiler
Baseburners & Antiques: Keystone 11, Art Garland

Re: AA 130 Outfires.. Coal feeding problems??

PostBy: OldAA130 On: Mon Jan 05, 2009 10:42 pm

I emptied the hopper yesterday and what I found was the end of the feed tube completely plugged solid with fines. This material was damp and I believe NOT frozen. At some point I'm sure it was frozen but yesterday was a fairly nice day so it may have thawed while I was at church. I expect the parts for the auger tomorrow, I think these will help with the bridging over situation but not the fines. While I have the hopper empty, I will add the water loop. I should have enough leftover 3/4 pex to do that. Hey! I also have a extra TACO 009 pump to run the loop temporarily! ;) ;) ;) ;)

A friend (who introduced me to this boiler) told me of his trick to deal with fines... he made a T-jig that he puts into the feed tube, T end first, to "sweep" any blockages out of the feed tube. He said he "screws" the thing down to the bottom of the tube and just works the build-up out and loose. I might try this.

We will see how this works. I haven't had time to snap photos of the set-up yet. I will during the mods and after to show you what the system looks like as well as to begin to talk about what the fire looks like and how high it is inthe box. I've seen several variations of outfires so nothing has been consistent as to those problems.

The bin is pretty solid build out of 2X6 scaffold planks, lined inside with stainless from an old ductwork and sloped on the bottom on all sides toward the end of the feed tube. It is covered with a sheet of plywood and also a sound tarp. All are weighted down with bricks (it's been very windy here the past couple weeks!).

I'm gonna go wait by the door for the brown truck and the package from Beverly at AA... :whistle:
OldAA130
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Axeman Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 130

Re: AA 130 Outfires.. Coal feeding problems??

PostBy: OldAA130 On: Sat Jan 10, 2009 11:21 pm

LsFarm wrote:If you are going to empty the hopper, and if you have enough leftover Pex, or copper or pipe, make a loop inside. It won't take much heat to keep the coal from freezing.


Well... The parts never came from AA for the agitator. I called yesterday and there was an issue with their shipping dept so I don't expect the parts for the agitator until late next week.

I did put the heat loop in.
Coal Bin Work 01102009 (1).JPG
(130.08 KiB) Viewed 29 times
View: New PagePopup • Select:BBCode
View of inside coal bin
[nepathumb]10088[/nepathumb]

Coal Bin Work 01102009 (4).JPG
(139.67 KiB) Viewed 11 times
View: New PagePopup • Select:BBCode
[nepathumb]10089[/nepathumb]


I had enough 3/4 pex to put three wraps under the bin. I used the bubble wrap reflective insulation to push the heat upward. Tomorrow i'm going to pack fiberglass under the bin to keep the wind from pulling any heat out.

We'll see overnight if this helps. I went ahead and fired her...
.
Coal Bin Work 01102009 (5).JPG
(123.42 KiB) Viewed 14 times
View: New PagePopup • Select:BBCode
[nepathumb]10090[/nepathumb]


...anticipating that this was the majority of my problem... freezing coal.

I couldn't wait any longer. It's been in the 20's here for the last week and this coming week holds highs in the mid teens. I need to ween off the oil... soon!
OldAA130
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Axeman Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 130

Re: AA 130 Outfires.. Coal feeding problems??

PostBy: LsFarm On: Sun Jan 11, 2009 12:06 am

Can you screen the coal when you put it into the bin?? Screening out the fines would definitely help..

Since I burn a full hopper-full of coal each week, about every four to six weeks I let it get empty enough that I clean out the 'sump' just in front of the auger pickup end.. Your bin has a similar design to mine, so you too can clean out the low collection 'sump' in your hopper..

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

Re: AA 130 Outfires.. Coal feeding problems??

PostBy: OldAA130 On: Sun Jan 11, 2009 1:08 am

LsFarm wrote:Can you screen the coal when you put it into the bin?? Screening out the fines would definitely help..


I'm going to give it a week or two before passing judgement. I like the idea of running the bin down every week or two to clean things out. I figured that much going into this.

I have to empty the bin one more time to install the agitator (not the Mrs.) in the bin.

Gotta go check the fire!

Tom
OldAA130
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Axeman Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 130

Re: AA 130 Outfires.. Coal feeding problems??

PostBy: Freddy On: Sun Jan 11, 2009 3:22 am

OldAA130 wrote:I like the idea of running the bin down every week or two to clean things out.



Gads! Not here. I like the idea of only seeing coal one day each year. I've been running almost 3 months & it hasn't skipped a beat. There's no way I'll be cleaning anything until next summer. The only access I have without moving 6 ton of coal is from the boiler side of the doghouse.
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: AA 130 Outfires.. Coal feeding problems??

PostBy: OldAA130 On: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:20 am

Wellllll....

The freezing problem is gone. The heat loop did the trick.

Unfortunately, the fire didn't last even six hours. I checked it last at 1am and when I awoke this am about 7 the oil boiler was chugging away. Telltale sign that the coal fire was out.

What I found was the end of the feed tube plugged with fines. Boy oh boy... I'm starting to think that Huge pile of coal was a mistake. I sure wish I had found this site before diving in head first!

coal pile -> :boxing2: <- me

Everyting in the bin was thawed but slightly damp. I imagine the damp fines can't move themselves up the tube.

This thing is kicking my butt.

OK... I'm at a loss. Any suggestions? Ls, I don't think I will be able to screen the fines. I am going to look into something today but with them being damp... not sure how that will work out.

I started building a scraper that I can screw down the feed tube to clean things out. The problem is... last evening I started fresh with no coal at all in the bin or tube. 6 hours just won't cut it.
OldAA130
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Axeman Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 130

Re: AA 130 Outfires.. Coal feeding problems??

PostBy: Freddy On: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:28 am

What kind of coal is it?

Are you using the factory dog house? The auger extends past the end shield 2 1/4"? When you started the auger with it empty, did it pick up immediately start progressing coal up toward the head?
Freddy
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 130 (pea)
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Reading piece o' junk in the barn (rice)
Coal Size/Type: Pea size, Superior, deep mined

Re: AA 130 Outfires.. Coal feeding problems??

PostBy: OldAA130 On: Sun Jan 11, 2009 11:51 am

Using the factory dog house. the tube was set according to the book. I actually pushed it in about another inch which helped a little. and it immediately picks up coal and feeds.
OldAA130
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Axeman Anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 130

Re: AA 130 Outfires.. Coal feeding problems??

PostBy: LsFarm On: Sun Jan 11, 2009 8:23 pm

You can make a screen using 1/2" 'hardware cloth' it is a welded screen. Make a 2x4 box about 2'x3', cover one side with the screen, shovel the coal onto the screen, the fines will fall through, leaving coal that will flow to the auger..

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

Visit Lehigh Anthracite