Bigger Coal in a Stoker?

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StokerDon
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Stoker Coal Boiler: BairMatic BMC-500 with Van Wert VA400 Stoker, Gentleman Janitor GJ-671/EFM S-15 stoker, Van Wert VA-600
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Harman SF3500
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Noth'in but COAL! Well, Maybe a little tiny bit of wood
Location: PA, Southern York County!

Post Sat. Mar. 01, 2014 9:19 am

My Yellow Flame boiler can burn buck coal. Coal suppliers in this area don't stock buck coal. I would like to burn buck in the winter. With all this in mind, when I was picking up rice coal yesterday (third load this year!) I also got three trash cans full of Blaschak pea coal. I got the pea coal because to me it looks only slightly larger than the buck coal I've seen. It fits through the feeder on the Yellow Flame with no problem.

This has made me wonder, what actualy determins the size coal you can run in a stoker?

The moving grate stokers like the Losch and Yellow Flame may have an advantage in this area. There is no pushing block to get jammed.

Here are some photos of the Yellow Flame burning pea with some rice mixed in.
YFonPeaCoal 002.JPG
Yellow Flame on Pea Coal
YFonPeaCoal 006.JPG
Yellow Flame on Pea Coal
YFonPeaCoal 008.JPG
Yellow Flame on Pea Coal
YFonPeaCoal 011.JPG
Yellow Flame on Pea Coal
The other reason for doing this is my coal suppier is running very low on coal in general and rice coal in perticular. I could only get 1 ton of rice yesterday, I may go back today and get a 1/2 ton of pea to mix with it.

The Yellow Flame is burning through 100 to 120 pounds of rice coal on the cold days and 85 pound or so on the warmer days. It's a bit of a coal hog!

-Don


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freetown fred
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: HITZER 50-93
Coal Size/Type: BLASCHAK Nut
Location: Freetown,NY 13803

Post Sat. Mar. 01, 2014 2:21 pm

SD, in my world, what determines anything is--does it work well in my particular situation or NOT. I know that's way to simplistic for some people but it's been workin for me for a lot of years. PLUS, hell, I'm just an old hand fired kinda guy & my old HITZER will burn just about anything that don't fall through the grates :clap: toothy

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StokerDon
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Stoker Coal Boiler: BairMatic BMC-500 with Van Wert VA400 Stoker, Gentleman Janitor GJ-671/EFM S-15 stoker, Van Wert VA-600
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Harman SF3500
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Noth'in but COAL! Well, Maybe a little tiny bit of wood
Location: PA, Southern York County!

Post Sat. Mar. 01, 2014 2:34 pm

Fred,

That's the aproch I'm using here. It seems like it works, so were gona go with it. I don't have a lot of choice. One ton of rice coal is only going to last about three weeks. Cutting it with the pea coal should get me through March. If it doesn't, I have a ton or so of chestnut in the basement. I could fire up the old Harman with that.

I just got back with a 1/2 ton of pea coal. My supplier is out of everything! It may be 4 to 6 weeks until he gets restocked! Wow, I've never seen it like this before.

-Don

CapeCoaler
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Stoker Coal Boiler: want AA130
Hand Fed Coal Stove: DS Machine BS#4, Harman MKII, Hitzer 503,...
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Nut/Stove
Location: Cape Cod, MA

Post Sat. Mar. 01, 2014 2:58 pm

It has been cold...
So the 'normal' supply runs out...
Same thing here on The Cape...

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Rob R.
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Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
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Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy
Location: Chazy, NY

Post Sat. Mar. 01, 2014 3:35 pm

The size of the stoker and feeder usually dictates the size of coal that can be used. In the case of auger fed units, the auger size is often the limiting factor.

That coal looks like it is on the small side for pea, but regardless the stoker seems to be doing fine with it.

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coaledsweat
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 260M
Coal Size/Type: Pea
Location: Guilford, Connecticut

Post Sat. Mar. 01, 2014 4:45 pm

I have run nut through my Axeman. It works fine if the feed tube picks it up but it just isnt happy filling that little hole, it doesn't flow like pea will. It will eat nut fine if it is mixed with a fair amount of pea though. Trial and error will find out what each different appliance will tolerate. 'll

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2001Sierra
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Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90 Chimney vent
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Other Heating: Buderus Oil Boiler 3115-34
Stove/Furnace Model: Keystoker 90 Chimney Vent
Location: Wynantskill NY, 10 miles from Albany

Post Sat. Mar. 01, 2014 5:08 pm

Stokers run a balance between feed rate, and time in the burn position. The size of the coal needs to be such that the feed rate, and air allow for optimum burn. Unless there is a performance issue I see no reason to change coal size from what the manufacturer recommends.

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Rob R.
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Post Sat. Mar. 01, 2014 5:10 pm

It is nice to have the flexibility to burn buck or pea, rice is sometimes in tight supply.


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Flyer5
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Post Sat. Mar. 01, 2014 11:41 pm

The biggest thing to burning larger sizes safely is monitoring and making sure the draft and over fire pressures are correct. I have successfully burned 1.5 tons of pea in my boiler and stove. But I don't recommend anything larger than buck though for our feeders because of the added complexity and monitoring.

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StokerDon
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Stoker Coal Boiler: BairMatic BMC-500 with Van Wert VA400 Stoker, Gentleman Janitor GJ-671/EFM S-15 stoker, Van Wert VA-600
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Harman SF3500
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Noth'in but COAL! Well, Maybe a little tiny bit of wood
Location: PA, Southern York County!

Post Mon. Mar. 03, 2014 7:55 pm

Thank you all for you replies,

The pea coal experiment is going well so far. I cut the combustion air back quite a bit and I moved down from hole #5 to hole #4 on the feed rate. The ash is showing a lot of pea size coal that is still black but you can tell that it is burned up.

With this setup the old Yellow Flame seems to be using a little less coal than the strait rice mixture. Last night was very cold and very windy. Today filling the hopper only took 3 buckets. I have figured out that one of my buckets is about 35 pounds. So, that's 105 pounds on one of the coldest, windyest nights we've had this year.

I think I will run this Pea Rice mix next winter also. Unless I get a few tons of Buck.

-Don

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LoschStoker
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: (New) Warm Morning 400A
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Location: Greencastle, PA.

Post Tue. Mar. 04, 2014 6:56 pm

I'm not familiar with Yellow Flame, but I'd like to know how it works compared to the Losch stoker.
The Losch liked barley a little better then rice. I didn't try any coal that was larger then rice thinking that the fire might go up into the hopper.

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Rob R.
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Location: Chazy, NY

Post Tue. Mar. 04, 2014 7:06 pm

StokerDon wrote:I think I will run this Pea Rice mix next winter also. Unless I get a few tons of Buck.
I would just run buck.
LoschStoker wrote:I'm not familiar with Yellow Flame, but I'd like to know how it works compared to the Losch stoker.
The Losch liked barley a little better then rice. I didn't try any coal that was larger then rice thinking that the fire might go up into the hopper.
Doesn't a Losch using a vibrating grate?

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StokerDon
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Stoker Coal Boiler: BairMatic BMC-500 with Van Wert VA400 Stoker, Gentleman Janitor GJ-671/EFM S-15 stoker, Van Wert VA-600
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Harman SF3500
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Noth'in but COAL! Well, Maybe a little tiny bit of wood
Location: PA, Southern York County!

Post Tue. Mar. 04, 2014 8:33 pm

Rob,

No, the Losch uses what is called a bump grate. If you look at the back of a Losch, you will see some very large bolts with what looks like very large valve springs. The stoker uses a motor, blower and gear box very similar to the Keystoker and Yellow Flame. But, instead of moving a pusher, the gear box pushes the whole grate system into the boiler untill it hits the catch, releasing the spring tension causing the grate system to fly back to it's original position with a "BUMP".
Losch3.jpg
Losch stoker mech
My coal man and two of his sons run Losch boilers. They reffer to them as "burn anything boilers" . The one they have in the pole barn next to the coal yard gets fed whatever is lay'in around, nothing bigger than chestnut of coarse. The one in the coal man's house only likes barley coal.

-Don

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StokerDon
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Joined: Mon. Nov. 11, 2013 11:17 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: BairMatic BMC-500 with Van Wert VA400 Stoker, Gentleman Janitor GJ-671/EFM S-15 stoker, Van Wert VA-600
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Harman SF3500
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Noth'in but COAL! Well, Maybe a little tiny bit of wood
Location: PA, Southern York County!

Post Tue. Mar. 04, 2014 8:43 pm

LoschStoker wrote:I'm not familiar with Yellow Flame, but I'd like to know how it works compared to the Losch stoker.
The Losch liked barley a little better then rice. I didn't try any coal that was larger then rice thinking that the fire might go up into the hopper.
LoschStoker,

The Yellow Flame has a 1" thick cast iron plate that the grates sit in. This grate plate slides up and down the ramp driven by the gear box through levers and rods.
YFstokerMechResto4 008.JPG
Yellow Flame
Losch and Yellow Flame are the only stokers that I know of that the grate is what moves. No pushers, carpets or paddles.

-Don

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LoschStoker
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Hand Fed Coal Stove: (New) Warm Morning 400A
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Stove/Furnace Model: DS Stoves 1500WH Short Lid
Location: Greencastle, PA.

Post Tue. Mar. 04, 2014 9:31 pm

Thanks
Do you have a pic of the other end, I'm not clear how it works and how the air goes through the grate.
I thought about getting an old Losch for the burner, then replace the grate that has water in it, with a solid grate with holes for air.


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