AHS S130 Coalgun- Puffbacks & Explosions

Stoker Coal Boilers automatically feed the coal and have controls and pumps just like any conventions boiler. They are intended to be used as a primary heat and often have domestic hot water coils as an added bonus. They can be set up independently or in dual sytem with your existing oil/gas boiler. They can accommodate both hot water base board or steam plumbing.
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Yanche
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Posts: 3032
Joined: Fri. Dec. 23, 2005 12:45 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea
Location: Sykesville, Maryland

Post Mon. Apr. 11, 2011 4:05 pm

I agree such a thread would be helpful. But more important why not ask the seller, AHS. They know the possible solutions. Let them be the creator of such a thread. It's their product and they should use all venues to support it. Including this forum.

Notice how AHS sales is noticeably absent from the forum after I put them on the spot about how tall a S130 with the new hopper was. That was a question you answered by measuring your new boiler. Why isn't the overall unit height on AHS's spec sheet?
Yanche
Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Stoker Boiler burning Anthracite Pea Coal

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whistlenut
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Posts: 3549
Joined: Sat. Mar. 17, 2007 6:29 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: AA130's,260's, AHS130&260's,EFM900,GJ & V-Wert
Hand Fed Coal Boiler: Franks,Itasca 415,Jensen, NYer 130,Van Wert
Hot Air Coal Stoker Furnace: Alaska, EFM, Keystoker, Yellow Flame
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska, Keystoker-2,Leisure Line
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Alaska, Gibraltar, Keystone,Vc Vigilant 2
Hand Fed Coal Furnace: Ford, Jensen, NYer, Van Wert,
Baseburners & Antiques: Glenwoods
Coal Size/Type: Barley, Buck, Rice ,Nut, Stove
Other Heating: Oil HWBB
Location: Central NH, Concord area

Post Mon. Apr. 11, 2011 4:59 pm

I have had the puff back issue with AA's when I first started burning in them. There was no group 40 years ago to ask about the issue, no operators I knew of, but I figured it out VERY quickly. It is kinda like when you first learn how to make a car backfire. You know it is safe, but whomever hears it is scared to death. This is not something that happens often, and usually it will never reoccur. Hand feds, however can send a ball of blue flame out the loading door if you are too hasty opening it, or forget to open ash door vents. It is all very safe, no fires are caused, but it is fun to know a secret that can startle friends and family with.

If you have never heard an oil burner backfire from an fuel saturated combustion chamber, this is about the same deal. Gets your attention, and we learn not to set up that scenario again.....most of us learn, anyway.

Once again, it says to read the manual ALL THE WAY THROUGH before firing one up. The puff back is addressed, and if you have moved from a hand fed, you already knew about it from opening the feed door without adding some air to the combustion chamber first. It's not like propane or NG and the entire house becomes a missile traveling around the neighborhood. :idea: :shock: :roll: 8-)
"Political correctness is a doctrine, fostered by a delusional, illogical minority, and rabidly promoted by an unscrupulous mainstream media, which holds forth the proposition that it is entirely possible to pick up a 'piece of human solid waste' by the clean end." More true today....

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lsayre
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Posts: 12185
Joined: Wed. Nov. 23, 2005 9:17 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (13.5 KW)
Location: N/E Ohio, between Medina and Wadsworth

Post Mon. Apr. 11, 2011 6:35 pm

Yanche wrote:I agree such a thread would be helpful. But more important why not ask the seller, AHS. They know the possible solutions. Let them be the creator of such a thread. It's their product and they should use all venues to support it. Including this forum.

Notice how AHS sales is noticeably absent from the forum after I put them on the spot about how tall a S130 with the new hopper was. That was a question you answered by measuring your new boiler. Why isn't the overall unit height on AHS's spec sheet?
Good point, this thread is in the AHS forum already, so they must be monitoring it. Some direct feedback from the manufacturer would be great.

In the "Troubleshooting" section of the manual, problem #9 is titled: "Coal Gas Ignitions (evidenced by an audible bang) during the off cycle", and the only answer to the problem is "Poor Draft", followed by this advice: "Assure .04" of water with a manometer. Increase flue height if necessary, or use an auxiliary power vent."

In the manual proper there is mention of allowing firing upon first start-up to continue for 2 to 3 hours before turning on the grate switch. It also mentions that during the off-cycle the sight hole cover must gap open 3/8" or more (though the reason given for this is to prevent over heating the unit during the off-cycle, with no mention of puff-backs). That's it.

Off topic, but in the five page "Installation Check List" flier I did see where there is an "oil auto switch over option" available. Great place for this to be mentioned. You have to already own the boiler in order to get the manual and this additional check list. Once you own the boiler it is too late to get this option. And there is no mention if this option is for an oil burner unit that is integral to the Coal Gun, or if it merely auto switches on your existing and separate oil boiler.
Last edited by lsayre on Mon. Apr. 11, 2011 6:58 pm, edited 2 times in total.
-Larry

Democracy rests upon the principle that collective wisdom arises from a pool of individual ignorance. A Republic rests squarely upon objective law, and fundamentally upon those laws which restrict the scope and actions of government.

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lsayre
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Posts: 12185
Joined: Wed. Nov. 23, 2005 9:17 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (13.5 KW)
Location: N/E Ohio, between Medina and Wadsworth

Post Mon. Apr. 11, 2011 6:46 pm

There is no mention of the proper positioning of the sight hole cover that is a small rotating plate within the off-cycle air supply flapper plate that itself is mysteriously referred to as the sight hole cover. I would naturally have thought that the sight hole assembly was the small rotating plate and the small hole that it uncovers, and the larger flapper port would be called something else. The manual is very poorly done. In several places (including the table of contents) it refers to the Coal Gun as the Coal Gum, and it has even trademarked the name Coal Gum no less.
-Larry

Democracy rests upon the principle that collective wisdom arises from a pool of individual ignorance. A Republic rests squarely upon objective law, and fundamentally upon those laws which restrict the scope and actions of government.

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lsayre
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Posts: 12185
Joined: Wed. Nov. 23, 2005 9:17 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (13.5 KW)
Location: N/E Ohio, between Medina and Wadsworth

Post Mon. Apr. 11, 2011 9:13 pm

The AHS manual also makes no mention of any requirement for the barometric damper to be configured as per the Axeman-Anderson recommended method. In fact the entire baro damper section of the manual is generic information from Fields. Nothing specific to the AHS. Perhaps what is needed is an AA manual for AHS users?
-Larry

Democracy rests upon the principle that collective wisdom arises from a pool of individual ignorance. A Republic rests squarely upon objective law, and fundamentally upon those laws which restrict the scope and actions of government.

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Yanche
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Posts: 3032
Joined: Fri. Dec. 23, 2005 12:45 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Coal Size/Type: Anthracite Pea
Location: Sykesville, Maryland

Post Tue. Apr. 12, 2011 9:08 am

lsayre wrote:The AHS manual also makes no mention of any requirement for the barometric damper to be configured as per the Axeman-Anderson recommended method. In fact the entire baro damper section of the manual is generic information from Fields. Nothing specific to the AHS. Perhaps what is needed is an AA manual for AHS users?
You are correct there is no mention of it in the AHS manual. I can tell you though when I had my boiler back at AHS for modifications a few years ago, Jeff Gingerich and I were talking about the puff back condition. I told him about my A-A like baro installation. He was not familiar with it. I said it's in the A-A manual in the Appendix. He pulled a A-A manual off his bookcase and took a look. His comment was something along the lines of, "That's a good method and dang it a customer is telling us a better way to install our boilers".
Yanche
Alternate Heating Systems S-130
Stoker Boiler burning Anthracite Pea Coal

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watkinsdr
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Joined: Sat. Mar. 24, 2007 8:14 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S260 Boiler
Location: Kensington, New Hampshire

Post Tue. Apr. 12, 2011 12:45 pm

I've made two changes to my installation: 1) Relocated my baro to the flue end -and- 2) Opened the door on the "sight tube flapper door." My explosions have now ceased...
Attachments
S130 Installation April 2011 Volume 4 005.JPG
Placed a cap over the tee where the baro was...
S130 Installation April 2011 Volume 4 008.JPG
Opened the flapper door for air flow...
AHS S260 "BEAST" Burning Lehigh Pea Anthracite
Kensington, NH

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lsayre
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Posts: 12185
Joined: Wed. Nov. 23, 2005 9:17 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (13.5 KW)
Location: N/E Ohio, between Medina and Wadsworth

Post Tue. Apr. 12, 2011 12:51 pm

Is this "door (or is it a window) within a door" supposed to be open or closed? How are you experienced AHS and AA owners running yours?
Last edited by lsayre on Tue. Apr. 12, 2011 3:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.
-Larry

Democracy rests upon the principle that collective wisdom arises from a pool of individual ignorance. A Republic rests squarely upon objective law, and fundamentally upon those laws which restrict the scope and actions of government.

Visit Alternate Heating Sytems

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watkinsdr
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Posts: 242
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Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S260 Boiler
Location: Kensington, New Hampshire

Post Tue. Apr. 12, 2011 1:11 pm

Based on my experience: I recommend opening the small rotating door on the "sight tube cover door." The allows air flow into the firebox while the boiler is firing; else, this air flow is cut off---hence the explosions. Apparently, the small rotating door is a relatively new modification on AHS boilers. I can't speak for our AA brothers and sisters.
AHS S260 "BEAST" Burning Lehigh Pea Anthracite
Kensington, NH

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AA130FIREMAN
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Stove/Furnace Make: axeman anderson
Stove/Furnace Model: 130 anthratube

Post Tue. Apr. 12, 2011 3:53 pm

lsayre wrote: How are you experienced AHS and AA owners running yours?
I have yet :) nock on wood :o , too see a ka-boom. I remember reading of some axemans putting a paper clip on the door to allow extra over fire air, and more so with smaller than pea coal. I always start out with ashes in the burn pot on a new burn, and for an outfire, I will manually shake all the unburned out. My door is completely close when running and doesn't have an extra hole drilled in it.

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Pa papa
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Posts: 85
Joined: Thu. Oct. 29, 2009 7:38 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS-130
Coal Size/Type: Pea; anthracite
Other Heating: oil fired boiler; LP insert
Location: Summerville,PA

Post Tue. Apr. 12, 2011 6:44 pm

Thank goodness for this forum at least someone is listening and offering help.
After starting up my 130 in November, yesterday was my first "puff- back", not a loud one but none the less, she did it. I've been running with the little air bypass closed on the sight tube flapper up until that happened. Opened it all the way and hasn't done it since. I suspect that will reduce air entering up through the coal bed and will increase it's response time to a call for heat but with the light heating load on it this time of year, I don't think it's going to be a problem considering how it snickered at several -20℉ mornings in January.
My draft is minimal at .02 at idle and of course .04 after the ID fan gets brings the coal bed back to life.
That my 2¢ from page 1 of the learning curve.
I still like the d__ thing though

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Freddy
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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
Location: Orrington, Maine

Post Wed. Apr. 13, 2011 3:59 am

lsayre wrote:Is this "door (or is it a window) within a door" supposed to be open or closed?
I was told by Axeman Anderson (almost a quote): "Try it with the hole closed. If you never have a boom fine, but if you have just one boom, open the 5/8" hole & leave it open". They went on to say it has a lot to do with draft and the type of coal.

Axeman's did not have the hole until the late 70's or 80's. All the newer ones have it. I see AHS has added a hole. Three years ago they did not have one. I'm not sure if they suggested the paper clip trick or someone else. You could do that or punch a 5/8" hole in the door.
Orrington, Maine
Fred

"If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all".

Tull
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Posts: 50
Joined: Thu. Oct. 30, 2008 12:31 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS-S130
Coal Size/Type: Pea/Anthracite
Other Heating: Oil for standby
Location: South Central PA

Post Wed. Apr. 13, 2011 12:37 pm

For me, the paper clip seems to work better (at reducing booms) than uncovering the hole in the inspection door. Also, it is important to run with the tombstone cover in place. I didn't do this at first, and the booms would sometimes end up bending the inspection door as it flew outward. With my paper clip and tombstaone cover in place, booms are now pretty rare (can't remember when I last heard one of any consequence), and I have fairly low draft at idle (.01-.02).
Wayne L

cabinover
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Hybrid Axeman Anderson 130
Baseburners & Antiques: Sparkle #12
Coal Size/Type: Pea, Buckwheat, Nut
Other Heating: LP Hot air. WA TX for coal use.
Location: Fair Haven, VT

Post Wed. Apr. 13, 2011 2:07 pm

Have only heard mine boom once since firing it two years ago. My door lays away from the porthole a good 1/4" on the bottom when not running. I guess that's enough to keep the gasses moving. She slams shut as soon as the fan comes on though.
Always learning, still stupid though :D

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lsayre
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Joined: Wed. Nov. 23, 2005 9:17 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
Coal Size/Type: Blaschak Anthracite Pea
Other Heating: Resistance Boiler (13.5 KW)
Location: N/E Ohio, between Medina and Wadsworth

Post Wed. Apr. 13, 2011 3:51 pm

I wonder if leaving the 5/8" hole open all of the time impacts the overall efficiency of these boilers?
-Larry

Democracy rests upon the principle that collective wisdom arises from a pool of individual ignorance. A Republic rests squarely upon objective law, and fundamentally upon those laws which restrict the scope and actions of government.

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