How Idiot-Proof Is a Stoker?

stratford
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Post Fri. Mar. 07, 2008 1:07 am

Right now I have a Stratford SC-100 hand-fed stove, which I bought in the fall. I've yet to keep it going for more than two weeks. I'm not sure if the primary problem is me or the stove, but it's definitely difficult to maintain when you live alone and work long, odd hours. Additionally, the stove had all sorts of problems (gaskets not air tight, grates warped from heat) that I slowly fixed one by one, as I discovered them. I still don't think I have it burning properly.

If I got a stoker, would I have to worry about any of this? I want something that can run for 24 hours without interference and requires neither skill nor finesse on my part.


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LsFarm
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Post Fri. Mar. 07, 2008 2:36 am

[quote] :I want something that can run for 24 hours without interference and requires neither skill nor finesse on my part. [unquote]

That is the definition of a stoker... The learning curve is very short for most of the stokers.. Once you get the fire started, you adjust the fire with a knob or with a digital controler [if Coal Trol equiped] . You keep the coal hopper supplied with coal, and empty the ashpan each day or two.. The stove will provide a steady amount of heat.

Try to find a store that sells coal stoves and has a stoker running..

Or see if there is a forum member near you who will show you the opperation of their stoker stove...

Greg L

sauerzbr
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Post Fri. Mar. 07, 2008 7:15 am

Stokers are AWESOME! Just start it once in the fall and it just keeps running. I've got the LL Pocono and basically every other day I add coal and remove the ashes. Takes me 10 minutes. There is nothing else to do. Well, maybe clean the window. These units take care of the rest. I am extremely happy with the stoker type stoves.

Per LSFarm above.... the coaltrol box is what takes care of everything. I just set the temp on the digital thermostat and the coaltrol controls EVERYTHING to maintain your temp setting on the thermostat. It pushes the coal, feeds the coal, adjusts blowers, everything. As I said, light it, fill it, empty it and it does the rest. You do nothing to manage the fire itself.

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coaledsweat
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Post Fri. Mar. 07, 2008 7:37 am

For the most part, I would say that they are idiot proof for a run of the mill idiot. However, the caliber of the idiot will be a factor in this case. The big bore idiots are not safe with most anything, so I doubt they would have much success with a stoker.
Last edited by coaledsweat on Fri. Mar. 07, 2008 7:38 pm, edited 1 time in total.

stratford
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Post Fri. Mar. 07, 2008 7:41 am

Is the chimney as much an issue with the stokers as it is the hand-fed? I have an outside chimney with a terra-cotta flue. I think I have a pretty good draft (the damper is usually open part way), but I haven't actually measured anything.

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WNY
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Post Fri. Mar. 07, 2008 7:45 am

Both of my stokers have been running 24/7 since last Oct. Except for a power outage, and had to restart one of them.
They are pretty much set it and forget it. Except filling and emptying.....

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Ed.A
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Post Fri. Mar. 07, 2008 7:46 am

stratford wrote:Is the chimney as much an issue with the stokers as it is the hand-fed? I have an outside chimney with a terra-cotta flue. I think I have a pretty good draft (the damper is usually open part way), but I haven't actually measured anything.
I'd imagine if you have no issues with your handfired Manly-man stove then you prolly won't have any issues with a Girlie-man stove. I love my stoker, I'm sure you'll like the ease of operation as well.

stratford
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Post Fri. Mar. 07, 2008 9:22 am

You all have been very helpful. Thanks! I think I have just one more question:

My chimney entry is only five feet off the floor. The tallest stoker I've seen yet is four feet. Do I need to worry about height? Is it ok to squeeze a damper into just a one foot rise, or alternatively, to put it on the horizontal part of the pipe?


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WNY
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Post Fri. Mar. 07, 2008 9:27 am

A lot of the stoves are Bottom/back Vent, some you can order with TOP or Back or Bottom vent.

If back or bottom vent, you should have any problem putting in a baro damper in the pipe. I think they recommend around 18" away from the stove. OR as you state, put it in the TEE at the top.

Both of my stoves the exhaust is on the bottom back of the stove and my chimney opening is only 5 feet up the side.

stockingfull
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Post Fri. Mar. 07, 2008 10:30 am

Here's one on which both liberals and conservatives agree: stokers are great! :cheers:

In the two seasons I've been here, mine's never gone out except when I've turned it off. In fact, I was gonna say they're so easy the President could run one, but I decided not to. :angel:

Bottom line: you'll have a hard time finding a girlie-man who's looking to head back to the cave.

stratford
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Post Fri. Mar. 07, 2008 11:04 am

Is $450 reasonable for a ~15 year old Harman Magnum Stoker? All those moving parts must wear out...

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LsFarm
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Post Fri. Mar. 07, 2008 11:13 am

Yes that is a very reasonable price.. Most stoker parts don't wear out, if they do, the motors and gearboxes are the most likely to wear, but new replacement parts are available. The Harman Mag stoker is a very good unit.

Look at the grates. The only issue I've heard of was a Mag Stoker that was being run way too hot, and the curved grates had warped... They are replacable too. Run all the motors, just to make sure they work.

The Harman Mag stoker is a $3000 stove, so if you can buy an operational one for $450, I'd say it's a good deal.

Greg L

.

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cheapheat
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Post Fri. Mar. 07, 2008 5:25 pm

Stoke'em if you got'em I wouldnt trade my Channing for anything(except a wife that cooked) Jim

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Ed.A
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Post Fri. Mar. 07, 2008 7:31 pm

cheapheat wrote:Stoke'em if you got'em I wouldnt trade my Channing for anything(except a wife that cooked) Jim
The MRS. doesn't actually read this forum does she? :)

stockingfull
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Post Fri. Mar. 07, 2008 7:51 pm

cheapheat wrote:Stoke'em if you got'em I wouldnt trade my Channing for anything(except a wife that cooked) Jim
You should copyright the slogan and offer it for sale to the stoker mfrs. ;)


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