Automatic ignition on stokers

How does a automatic ignition coal stoker sound?

Yes
112
85%
No
20
15%
 
Total votes : 132

Re: Automatic ignition on stokers

PostBy: coalstoves On: Sun Feb 10, 2008 2:48 pm

The cost of the stove at final purchase will be the deciding factor add $225 more dollars to the price of a Leisure Line and your getting in the ball park for a Harman .

The mandatory inclusion of the electronic thermostat has already forced the price of the stove to that of units made of heavier materials and better known name brands .

Keystoker and Reading Stoves both offer the electronic digital control but dealers I have spoke with say it isn’t that popular, cost may be a factor or avoidance of adding even more unknowns to the decision to buy a coal appliance .

I think all stoves should be available with a simple and basic control designed to work with that stove specifically and offer third party add-ons like digital controls and lighters as options and let the customer decide if the cost warrants the perceived convenience .

Here in the forum some have said I tend to bash LL but truth is I think it is a good product and was at one time the best deal on the market if you where looking for a low cost stove . When the product line was first introduced a dealer called me and told me about a new economy stove on the market, invited me down to take a look and offer an opinion, I went there with the mind set that I was going to look at a stove that was offered as an alternative to the higher cost units sitting all around it . There was no disappointment, sure it was built of lighter materials and a simpler type feed but it was an economy stove and it functioned just as well as the higher cost units when it came to the most important thing which is making HEAT . Now several years later it's priced up there with the rest of them because of third party electronics but the stove is still basically the same and from what I see most customer service issues originate with the control not the stove itself, so it's still a good solid stove .

I personally would like to see Jerry put his Knowledge, Drive and Commitment behind designing a simple thermostatic control based on more conventional technology making it standard equip. and offering the higher priced electronics and things like lighters as options at additional costs for those more inclined to use them .
coalstoves
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman and Liberty
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum and Victory 700

Re: Automatic ignition on stokers

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sun Feb 10, 2008 3:38 pm

xackley wrote:If my wife could Press On or Press Off, at the thermostat, and the coal burner would come to life or shut down, it might be worth it.


I really don't think that would very economical, they use very little coal when idling. Kinda like starting and stopping your car everytime you get out of it if you're making newspaper deliveries... true story. Wasting fuel to get it going, and you're unnecessarily putting wear and tear on other parts. That's besides the fact people might get into the habit of trying to use it like a space heater and not cleaning it, you'll be decreasing the life of the unit considerably. If on the other hand you needed to only fire it up for the weekend this would be nice feature for those that don't want to mess around with starting it.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Automatic ignition on stokers

PostBy: xackley On: Sun Feb 10, 2008 5:54 pm

Richard S. wrote:
xackley wrote:If my wife could Press On or Press Off, at the thermostat, and the coal burner would come to life or shut down, it might be worth it.


I really don't think that would very economical, they use very little coal when idling. Kinda like starting and stopping your car everytime you get out of it if you're making newspaper deliveries... true story. Wasting fuel to get it going, and you're unnecessarily putting wear and tear on other parts. That's besides the fact people might get into the habit of trying to use it like a space heater and not cleaning it, you'll be decreasing the life of the unit considerably. If on the other hand you needed to only fire it up for the weekend this would be nice feature for those that don't want to mess around with starting it.


What extra wear and tear :shock: The stoker motor turns on, and the combustion fan turns on. And this is not an auto loader/auto ash removal system. How would being able to start and shut it down from the thermostat :lol: allow the owner to imagine they could ignore maintenance. They have to fill and empty it, just like before. How does throwing a match in help with remembering seasonal maintenance?
xackley
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Pocono

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Re: Automatic ignition on stokers

PostBy: Richard S. On: Sun Feb 10, 2008 7:34 pm

My reference to the wear and tear applies more to the car. As far as the manintenace goes I meant if they tried to use it as space type heater, e.g only running it every few days. Try turning your stoker off for a week and then look inside what it looks like. ;)
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Automatic ignition on stokers

PostBy: hell fire On: Sun Feb 10, 2008 10:35 pm

starting stove as said above no problem 5min would rather spend $200.00 on dress up features if were avaible.
hell fire
 
Stove/Furnace Make: leisure line
Stove/Furnace Model: pioneer tv

Re: Automatic ignition on stokers

PostBy: mainer1956 On: Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:14 pm

I have two Leisure Line stoves both running the Coal-Trols and I love them. My house is large and old, 1895, and is laid out differently than most and is hard to heat. I installed one in the kitchen and another in the parlor. One is set at 68 and the other 70 degrees which seems to make the heat move from one room to another easier. At any rate, the Coal-Trols both work like a dream. They keep the house at a constant even temp and never need any looking after. This is like a vacation since I used to burn wood and together with the cooooollldddd mornings and the cold return after work, it seemed like all I was doing was tend stoves. To say nothing of the cutting, splitting, stacking, hauling and so on with the wood. So far this year I have burned about 4 ton of coal. Coal here is about 300 a ton so my heating costs are going to be around 1400 a year. Understand that I live in northern Maine, where it gets cold and stays that way for a long time. I mean, 10 below is not an event. I still have a wood stove that I like to run now and then to heat my 20 by 30 billiard room but this in only since I still have about 10 cord of wood to use, not because the stoves can't keep up. They do very well. My only complaint, if you can call it one, is that when they lower and idle, it takes a bit long to have them come back up to speed. No big deal. These are coal stoves, not propane or oil. Any solid fuel is going to have a bit of a lag between idling and full speed ahead. I looked at pellet stoves and the maintenance involved was too much as well as the storage of the pellets (under cover) and the lower BTU per ton. Overall, you pay more burning the pellets than you do coal which also means you haul less coal than you would with pellets. Also, coal is an American product. Mined here in the USA. So, tell the middle east to pucker up and help support your home country. Oil is great if you have the money and don't mind sending it to your enemies. I mean, we already have to burn the gasoline. Why compound it with #2 oil too boot?
So, as far as the Coal-Trols go, I am a happy two time customer.
Last edited by mainer1956 on Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
mainer1956
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Econo 1 times 2

Re: Automatic ignition on stokers

PostBy: mainer1956 On: Wed Mar 12, 2008 9:15 pm

Oh, and back on topic, yup, count me in on the auto ignitors. Not that they are hard to light as it is. But, to push a button is the American way. :D
mainer1956
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Leisure Line
Stove/Furnace Model: Econo 1 times 2

Re: Automatic ignition on stokers

PostBy: watkinsdr On: Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:51 pm

Hey Jerry:

I like your way of thinking. I agree that coal stoves need some "modern technology" comparable to pellet stoves which are on the market. When I started my "alternative means of heating my home" journey a year ago, I started looking at Harmon pellet stoves. I quickly concluded a pellet stove wasn't the right solution for me with the fuel being too expensive---WRT to coal; and, stove BTU capacity too low---WRT coal again. So, I ended up going coal; but, the pellet stove automatic ignition function seemed like a great feature to conserve fuel---basically providing heat on demand.

Hey, 'ya don't just leave your car running in your driveway 24/7, right? You only fire that mother up when you need to go some place. It wouldn't make sense to leave your vehicle idling until the next time you needed it. Same priciple should apply to your stove/furnace/boiler.

Go for it brother!
watkinsdr
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S260 Boiler

Re: Automatic ignition on stokers

PostBy: Richard S. On: Thu Mar 13, 2008 8:33 am

watkinsdr wrote:Hey, 'ya don't just leave your car running in your driveway 24/7, right? You only fire that mother up when you need to go some place. It wouldn't make sense to leave your vehicle idling until the next time you needed it. Same priciple should apply to your stove/furnace/boiler.


I'd guess that would depend on how you were using the car, if you're using it for 12 hour stretches having it running in the driveway for 12 hours idling isn't very economical . On the other hand if it was 5-10 minute increments it may very well be better to leave it running, at the most you might break even but you're also going to have a lot downtime for repairs. I may have mentioned this above but I had newspaper carrier that did that and I can guarantee that he lost money doing it. He was most likely burning more fuel with the constant startups and most definitely paid more for the starter he had to replace than any fuel savings he had.

Stokers use relatively little fuel when idling along, 10 pounds at the most per day to keep them going or 65 cents if you're paying $130 a ton. You also have to consider the electricity used to light it (the heating element used in the demo video that was available was enormous). The fact that its going to waste some fuel during the lighting process, that it may have just gone out a short time before it was relit etc. I don't see how lighting a stoker on demand could be a sound economical decision unless the time between lightings was quite long. e.g you just want to use it for the weekend or to take the chill out of the air for a couple of days when the weather gets unpredictable in the fall or spring.

This would be nice feature if for example you had a cabin in the woods, its also nice feature for those that want automatic startup especially if there wives (or husband) doesn't want to learn how to start it. Definitely a good selling selling point for those in that position. Overall though your average person using coal should probably be only be using this once a year and possibly a few time during the spring and fall..
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Automatic ignition on stokers

PostBy: pvolcko On: Thu Mar 13, 2008 4:58 pm

You're right, doing frequent ignitions will not make much sense. Initially the user will have to press the button to make the ignition or burnout occur. We have automatic ignition in the works, and it will have logic in place to prevent frequent burnout and ignition cycles.

Worked up some quick power usage calcs:
LL Pioneer: .55 amp stoker, .58 amp combustion, 1.86 amp convection

Ignition cycle usage:
120 x (9/60) hr x 1.5 amp = igniter power = .027kWh
120 x (14/60) hr x .55 amp = stoker power = .015kWh
120 x (8/60) hr x .58 amp = combustion power = .009kWh
Total: .051 kWh of electricity and 21,000 BTU or 1.615 lbs of coal per cycle

Idle fire usage:
120 x .55 amp x .06 hr = .004 kWh
120 x .58 amp x 1 hr = .070 kWh
Total: .074 kWh and roughly 6000BTU or .415 lbs of coal per hour

So on a coal usage basis a minimum of around 4.5 hours of down time is needed to reach a breakeven. By electricity usage it is more like only 1.5 hours of down time before breakeven. I think... Someone jump in with the right math if I screwed up. :)

So one can't be starting and stopping like a gas or oil heating appliance, but if you hit a warm spell and are overheating in the days but still need the heat in the evening and nights (or maybe hit a cold patch in late spring through early fall), maybe someone cooks for a couple hours a couple days a week and you don't need the heat running, and of course the more intermittent usage cases like you described (camp/weekend place, shop/basement heater, extra room heater to handle really cold days, etc.) we believe the igniter can be quite useful.

There are a whole bunch of people out there that have discounted coal heating appliances in part because they don't offer automated, electronic ignition options like the modern pellet devices do. This includes potential customers as well as a fair number of showroom dealers who put the coal stove, if they even have one, in the back corner to be ignored and silently ridiculed. At least until the smart, well researched customer comes along, that is.

Most people don't even realize there is a residential coal heating industry anymore. Ultimately we're aiming to expand the market for coal heating appliances by stoking (sorry, couldn't resist) renewed interest in what most outside (and many inside) PA consider to be a stagnant, dead-end industry. Coal-trol Digital and the new ignition option are our opening shots in this revolutionary effort. ;)

BTW: Richard, you said the element was "enormous". How big do you think it was? What do you think is a reasonable size?
pvolcko
 

Re: Automatic ignition on stokers

PostBy: TCOAL On: Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:53 am

Have a harman dvc -500. I lite the stove in November and the stove has not been turned off yet?
What is the need for automated ignitions?
Isn't it a waste of money?
TCOAL
 
Stove/Furnace Make: dvc-500

Re: Automatic ignition on stokers

PostBy: LsFarm On: Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:06 pm

That depends on your life style, home heating needs, and the competancy of the additional people who opperate the stove.

The whole idea of the automatic ignition is to appeal to a wider consumer base of potential buyers.. read the whole thread, especially those by the people developing and selling the automatic ignition system.

For some, maybe even most, the automatic system is unneeded, or wanted.. but it will make a big difference to convince the 'wife' to burn coal since it will be a push-button operation... no need to use those 'nasty matches or BBQ lighters'.

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: Automatic ignition on stokers

PostBy: coalstoves On: Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:52 pm

I wonder if it will be offered as optional equipment so those that have no use for it won't have to absorb the cost of a Selling Point.

I would estimate it will jack the price up about 2 or 3 hundred bucks that will put the LL in a pretty pricey market if they decide to offer it. Coal heat comes with a bit of a learning curve and I'm not sure you can automate that out of it completely .

Todays breed of Walmart fed china shoppers COST is the biggest selling point followed closely by the desire for a product that requires no brains or effort to use and the marketing folks are taking full advantage of it.

One day soon America will look more at what they Need rather than what they Want
coalstoves
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman and Liberty
Stove/Furnace Model: Magnum and Victory 700

Re: Automatic ignition on stokers

PostBy: Richard S. On: Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:45 pm

pvolcko wrote:BTW: Richard, you said the element was "enormous". How big do you think it was? What do you think is a reasonable size?


Only by what I saw on the demo video, resonable size would be whatever is required to make it work . :D The point is it appeared to be quite large than say a electric stove and would require a lot of electricity to heat up. One of the the reasons among others I would suggest it wouldn't be prudent to be running a coal stove on demand.
Richard S.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: Van Wert VA1200
Coal Size/Type: Buckwheat/Anthracite

Re: Automatic ignition on stokers

PostBy: pvolcko On: Fri Mar 14, 2008 4:34 pm

Another use of the igniter system, which isn't slated for release, but is on the to-do list: On a dual stoker furnace (such as the HyFire) often it is not necessary to run the second stoker all the time. People will fire it up once the weather gets really cold and will either let it run for the rest of the season or some few will start and stop it as demand calls throughout the season. We will make a Coal-trol specifically designed for this type of stove, where the second stoker will fire itself up when the single stoker just isn't cutting it and burn it out when it is no longer needed.

As for bundling vs option: We'll be selling the ignition kits as add-ons to the Coal-trol Digital in retail. Stove manufacturers will bundle it into the stove or offer it as an option as they see fit. I suspect there will be a mix depending on the model stove and how often the request for the option is made. Some stoves and marketing plans will lend themselves to non-optional bundling. Some may start out as optional and move to a bundle if the demand is high enough to warrant streamlining manufacturing and product SKUs (or it could go the other way, with bundlers moving to optional). Others will maintain optional status only. Time will tell how it all shakes out. We, of course, hope that the Coal-trol and the igniter and every other product we make in the years ahead will be as common place as the automatic transmission and anti-lock brakes are on cars. ;)

Coalstoves, your point about not being able to automate the learning curve away completely is entirely correct. We're happy to do what we can to approach that goal, though. :D

However, on the price estimate I submit that you are once again speculating without factual basis. I have some notion of what the retail/list price of the igniter kit is going to be (not finalized yet), and you're off base for even that. An OEM installed igniter kit is likely to be priced into the final product either at or below the retail cost of the kit. Please just wait until announcements are made or real prices are known before beating your negativity drum on this. :)

Richard, hopefully my electricity usage analysis helped clarify things. It uses a very small amount of electricity. 1/4 the wattage of my 2 slice toaster and just about the same kWh usage as it takes to toast a couple slices of bread. The element is roughly 2" x 1.25" and under .075" thick.
pvolcko
 

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