Coal-Trol..Am I Missing Something?

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stoker_RI
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Post By: stoker_RI » Thu. Jan. 06, 2011 8:09 am

Hello everyone...I have read endless comments about the wonders of the Coal-trol thermostat, and I'm sure it is terrific...BUT..having said that, I think I might be missing something...I have an Alaska Channing III, and with it, I purchased a control that has 2 rheo-stats that contol the auger/fireing rate..one rheo-stat is for the 'high fire', one is the low, or idle fire setting. This I have wired to a digital wall thermostat that is 7 day programable, and has 4 settings per day...so I program it as I would had it been connected to a regular furnace or boiler....the set up works perfectly! When there is a call for heat, bigger fire...room warms up..no overheating...no call for heat..room falls back to set temp...my investment is something like $50 for the digital thermo...SO....I know the Coal-trol controls combustion air as well..but beyond that, can someone please explain why I would want to spend $400-$500 on a Coal-Trol vs. my current set up?
Thnaks!

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Post By: Flyer5 » Thu. Jan. 06, 2011 12:09 pm

As long as you are happy with your stove you are not missing anything . But apples to apples how much was the controller + the $50 thermostat . One of the benefits to the Coal-Trol is the convection fan speed is also controlled by a variable speed drive so when the stove is calling for less heat the fan speed adjusts accordingly all the way to off when at idle. Also the Coal-trol adjusts the fire and fan speed based on average heat loss using full PID control . So instead of the stove going to full burn then to a very small burn stoves with the coal trol can run anywhere from 1% to 100% along with the fan running accordingly .Plus Automation Correct gives you a satisfaction guarantee how can you beat that . Knowing what I know about them and having the experience with them . I personally wouldn't run a coal stove without one .,just my opinion. Not pushing to sell you one its just good to know the full picture when deciding . Like I said if you are happy with what you have keep it ,you are still using an American product and fuel . Dave

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Post By: WNY » Thu. Jan. 06, 2011 12:51 pm

If its working for you, then that's great.!!!

Some poeple that only have adjustable rehostats, and don't want to mess with adjustments for feed or blowers, or anything....the CoalTrol maintains quite well. Mine is in the basement, and I am not going to run up and down the basement to adjust for varying temperatures, etc....(as in my Hyfire).

As for Combustion blower, the Coaltrol does NOT control that, it is a fixed 100%. It controls the heat Blowers and feed rate based on the Temps.

My Keystoker only has the Digital Thermostat and works quite well.

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Post By: stoker_RI » Thu. Jan. 06, 2011 3:36 pm

Thanks for the help guys... I do like the idea of having the convection blower made variable to correspond with the call for heat...is there a delay in powering down the fan? i.e, it seems wasteful to have a hot stove and suddenly shut down the blower...seems like some type of 'purge' delay would be good..
Also. HYFIRE said:

"As for Combustion blower, the Coaltrol does NOT control that, it is a fixed 100%. It controls the heat Blowers and feed rate based on the Temps"

Just wanted to verify that...I know that my stove, in the 'idle mode' can not be set to 2 or less with out the fire going out...and when burning at that feed rate, the fire is mostly limited to the middle of the grate, with the edges of the coal on the carpet sliding by un-burned..

AND....I noticed on the Coal Trol web site that there is a 'plug in' on the module for a power venter....does this unit vary the speed of the power venter too?? That would be one VERY attractive option for me...
How would that work?
Thanks in advance for your replies!

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Post By: WNY » Thu. Jan. 06, 2011 4:16 pm

You are correct. The combustion Blower is a set speed. I beleive the Power Venter is also just a set speed.

The heat Blowers vary with Feed Rate. So, if the Feed Rate Increases or decreases, so do the fans, slowly. They don't just shut off or drop fast, the FR rates drops or increases slowly enough that the blowers can keep the stove and room temps at an optimum temperatures.

There is a MIN and MAX you can set in the program to "dial-in" your stove, so it will maintain a small fire at idle and not be pushing hot coals off at Demand for heat (MAX).

There is a lot of other features (and advanced features) that most will not use. If you look in the CoalTrol Section of the forums here under V3 Features, there is a lot of other settings depending on your heating requirements, stove, blowers, etc.... and a lot of discussion on the features.

Read thru the CoalTrol section on here....a lot of good information.

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Post By: MURDOC1 » Thu. Jan. 06, 2011 4:20 pm

Well here are some answers to a few of your questions as I know them to be-
stoker_RI wrote:is there a delay in powering down the fan? i.e, it seems wasteful to have a hot stove and suddenly shut down the blower...seems like some type of 'purge' delay would be good..
Yes, there is a delay in powering down the convection blower, just as there is a delay in powering it up... Convection fan speed is controlled based on firing rate percentage... The convection blower will ramp-up and ramp-down as the call for heat increases/decreases... The blower will begin to ramp down as the firing rate percentage drops and as a result the stove is still being washed of its usable heat, broadcasting it into your home... It will not just shut down like an on/off switch once the set temp is satisfied... It does a nice job of extracting usable heat from the stove without allowing it to cool too much...
stoker_RI wrote:As for Combustion blower, the Coaltrol does NOT control that, it is a fixed 100%. It controls the heat Blowers and feed rate based on the Temps"
The combustion blower outlet on the control module is really no different than plugging your combustion blower into a 'constant hot' wall outlet... Combustion blower is run at full speed at all times, no speed control at all...
stoker_RI wrote:I know that my stove, in the 'idle mode' can not be set to 2 or less with out the fire going out...
During initial setup you will set the 'MIN' and 'MAX' feed rates... MIN is the minimum amount of coal that can be supplied to the grate without losing the fire and MAX is the maximum amount that can be fed without pushing unburned coal off of the grate into the ash pan... Here's an example- on my Harman Mag Stoker my 'MIN' is-8 and my 'MAX' is-95, a minimum feed rate of 8 maintains the fire at its lowest possible without losing the fire and a maximum feed rate of 95 leaves about 1 inch of ash at the end of the grate... With the feed rates established the Coal-Trol takes those values and breaks them into percentage or 'Firing Rate', so that 'MIN' of 6 becomes 0% and the 'MAX' of 95 becomes 99%... It then will jog or pulse the stoker/feed motor (at full speed) throughout that 0%-99% range based on demand or lack thereof...
stoker_RI wrote:AND....I noticed on the Coal Trol web site that there is a 'plug in' on the module for a power venter....does this unit vary the speed of the power venter too?? That would be one VERY attractive option for me...
No, it will not speed control a power venter... I think it has become popular belief (and IMO the right way to do things) that the power venter should run at all times even in the event of a backdraft/fume switch break to continue to evacuate the firebox of gasses until the fire has burned out (and beyond) due to lack of continued feeder operation...

Hope this helps and do yourself a favor and give one a try... I retrofitted both of my stokers about a month ago and I've never had it so easy or such even temp....

Murdoc

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Post By: stoker_RI » Thu. Jan. 06, 2011 4:55 pm

Those are very interesting and informative replies..thank you...

To the answer:
During initial setup you will set the 'MIN' and 'MAX' feed rates... MIN is the minimum amount of coal that can be supplied to the grate without losing the fire and MAX is the maximum amount that can be fed without pushing unburned coal off of the grate into the ash pan... Here's an example- on my Harman Mag Stoker my 'MIN' is-8 and my 'MAX' is-95, a minimum feed rate of 8 maintains the fire at its lowest possible without losing the fire and a maximum feed rate of 95 leaves about 1 inch of ash at the end of the grate... With the feed rates established the Coal-Trol takes those values and breaks them into percentage or 'Firing Rate', so that 'MIN' of 6 becomes 0% and the 'MAX' of 95 becomes 99%... It then will jog or pulse the stoker/feed motor (at full speed) throughout that 0%-99% range based on demand or lack thereof...

That is very interesting...in your example, how was 'a min of 8' initially established? Is that something you need to know and program in? or is it somehow detected? ...seems like setting it manually runs the risk of "trial and error" with the error being fires going out...

Too bad about the power venter....I'll tell you what though..and you may not agree...but recently I put a rheostat and a watt meter on the venter...normally, at full power it draws 135 watts...I've dialed it down to run at about 64-66 watts...a bout half power...the result has been tremendous...soooo much more heat is comming into the room...I have not noticed a hint of a sulur odor..have a nice blue, active flame...And of course I have a CO detector right near the stove..and there is the fume switch as well...

Now if I could just get that damn convection blower to be more quiet!...I just had it un-plugged while I was cleaning up a bit, and the silence was sweet!

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Post By: WNY » Thu. Jan. 06, 2011 5:01 pm

Factory setting is min 6 and max 40 and works for most stoves to start with :)

CoalTrol Guys have that all figured all that out . If you go to the CoalTrol website, you can read the manuals online for the installation and Setup of it and it tells you everything you need to know. There are some slightly different settings in the Installation Manual for different stoves, due to the stoker mechanisms, etc...

As for your power venter, hopefully you have enough exhaust at full burn to exhaust the fumes. Have you set it with a Draft Gauge to make sure you have enough draft at full burn?

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Post By: MURDOC1 » Thu. Jan. 06, 2011 5:21 pm

stoker_RI wrote:That is very interesting...in your example, how was 'a min of 8' initially established? Is that something you need to know and program in? or is it somehow detected? ...seems like setting it manually runs the risk of "trial and error" with the error being fires going out...
In the supplied instruction manual, there are baseline settings for different stoker manufacturer/feeder types... To include 'mechanical Adjustment'.. So, you locate your feeder type in the table, make the suggested 'Mechanical' adjustments (example of mechanical adjustment- the 'Red Tab' on an Alaska tri-burner carpet type feeder "set red nut to 5/8" from acorn nut") then program the thermostat with the suggested 'MIN' and 'MAX' settings listed for your type setup... Again, these are baseline settings and will be close to your final resulting numbers after you get it up and running... The process is so easy, I probably make it sound like much more than it is because I am just long-winded by nature, I like details!!! I suppose that there is of course a chance of loosing the fire during the initial setup, but if you did loose it I would simply say, get her lit back up AND PAY ATTENTION THIS TIME!!! It would be your fault!!!

It is a matter of trial and error and as with everything 'coal' it takes a little bit of time for each adjustment to take effect or settle in, but once you accomplish the initial setup your on cruise control for the rest of the season and seasons thereafter...
stoker_RI wrote:Too bad about the power venter....I'll tell you what though..and you may not agree...but recently I put a rheostat and a watt meter on the venter...normally, at full power it draws 135 watts...I've dialed it down to run at about 64-66 watts...a bout half power...the result has been tremendous...soooo much more heat is comming into the room...I have not noticed a hint of a sulur odor..have a nice blue, active flame...And of course I have a CO detector right near the stove..and there is the fume switch as well...


Why would you say "too bad"??? You already have it set up the best way possible with the venter on a rheostat or trim pot... Heck, I run my venter at only about 1/4 throttle, I have .04 In. WC negative pressure both over-the-fire and vent pipe with a properly dialed baro... Thats what its all about, keep that heat in the stove!!! As long as you have adequate draft and your baro is dialed to do its job properly then run that venter as low as you want...

Here is my setup, the knob centered just below the gauges is the venter speed control pot...
coal stove 014.jpg
Murdoc

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Post By: stoker_RI » Thu. Jan. 06, 2011 6:46 pm

Thanks Murdoc...
My comment 'Too bad about the power venter....' was pertaining to the fact that the Coal Trol doesn't vary the speed of PV...

What do you have rigged up there in that photo?? I see u have the rheo-stat knob...is that whole thing a DIY set up?

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Post By: stoker_RI » Thu. Jan. 06, 2011 7:01 pm

Hi WNY...I have tried to send you a PM...but for some reason the msg appears in the 'out' folder and not the sent..so I don't really know if you ever got it...

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Post By: MURDOC1 » Thu. Jan. 06, 2011 7:11 pm

stoker_RI wrote:My comment 'Too bad about the power venter....' was pertaining to the fact that the Coal Trol doesn't vary the speed of PV...
Understood... IMO, you have a good setup goin' already with the rheostat on the power venter, just be sure that your draft is adequate and baro is dialed in to whatever speed you are running your venter... CO alarm alone is no good measure of adequate draft... Safety first!!!

Yes, that is a DIY setup, 2 Dwyer Magnehelic 2000-00N's, one on left for for over-the-fire draft and on the right for vent pipe or 'chimney' draft with venter trim pot in the middle... Combustion blower is piped for outside air with a blast gate just before the blower inlet so I can control the amount of air supplied to the grate and can trim the venter to match with the knob... Here's a few pics of the whole stove setup...
coal stove 034.jpg
coal stove 017.jpg
coal stove 020.jpg
coal stove 021.jpg
coal stove 028.jpg
Murdoc

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Post By: WNY » Thu. Jan. 06, 2011 7:42 pm

I got it 2x..Replied..it stays in outbox until I read it or something.

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Post By: OldAA130 » Thu. Jan. 06, 2011 8:24 pm

Wow Murdoc, that's a great looking set-up. Very clean looking. Very impressive!

Tom

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Post By: the grove » Tue. Nov. 13, 2018 3:41 pm

I have a Alaskan Chantigue 3. I have a idle and t stat setting on my unit. The company who installed this told me I would need to play around with this and figure it out. I still do not understand how one affects the other. Can someone please help me understand this?

THANKS!

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