To Re-light Or Not to Re-light AHS 130 for the Summer

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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vermontday
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Post Mon. Jun. 18, 2012 5:59 am

If you need any help setting up the LOGO, just pm me.
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Rob R.
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Location: Chazy, NY

Post Mon. Jun. 18, 2012 4:13 pm

NWBuilder wrote:I am burning Pea from Centralia, I experimented with some Baschack pea as well and had the same results. I also have tape over my barometric damper to get my draft up. I am thinking that a timer is my next step but still don't understand the amount of coal I am going through when my unit is burning. I burned slightly more in the winter when it was at its coldest out, maybe 70 lbs. some days more but I think my settings where off as I left them at what the previous owner had set them at for Spring time running. It was at 120 with 10 degree differential all winter. I figure this year I will go up to 130 with a 5 degree differential and see if that helps. Almost lost the fire tonight after only 3 days running but it finally caught. This is driving me a bit crazy!!
What temperature does the boiler maintain? 180F?

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lsayre
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Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
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Location: N/E Ohio, between Medina and Wadsworth

Post Mon. Jun. 18, 2012 7:40 pm

NWbuilder, what is your typical summer load for your boiler? Are you using it only for DHW for the family, as we are. Our children are all adults and do not live with the wife and I, so on most days the "family load" on our boiler comes from just the two of us.

The wife and I do make a conscious effort to fire the boiler at least once daily, via taking back to back showers, or doing a single load of laundry, or running the dishwasher, or whatever it takes (basically some combination of any of these options) to fire it at least once every 24 hours. That is all it seems to take to assure that it will keep running. Our thermostats are shut off for the summer.
-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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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. Jun. 18, 2012 7:54 pm

NWBuilder, do you perhaps have a primary/secondary loop, whereby the endlessly running primary loop is losing enough heat to the air to consume 35 to 50 lbs. of coal per day?

Our system has only a single circulator, and four zone valves. When there is no call from the thermostats, the zone circulator does not run. Therefore with the thermostats shut off as they are, the zone circulator is never called upon to run, and the boiler water in our system is stagnant, and not circulating at all.

Another thought, for your other problem (out-fires):

I had completely forgotten about this. The latest iterations of the S130 operating manual all have the aquastats reversed as to which is to be the operating limit aquastat and which is to be the high limit aquastat. The L4006A should be your operating limit aquastat, and the L4081B should be your high limit aquastat (with the other half of this dual aquastat operating your dump zone). The only out-fire I ever suffered happened early on when I had my aquastats set up per the manual and its wiring diagram. As soon as I conferred with AHS and learned that the aquastats are listed incorrectly in the manual, I switched them, and the boiler has never gone out since. My L4006A has been set at 180 degrees ever since then. The fan comes on at 170 degrees, and shuts off at 180 degrees. I don't want to mess with success and lower the L4006A's setpoint for the summer, as some would do. My L4081B is set to cut off the fan if it is still running when the boiler hits 210 degrees (I.E., it only kicks in to save the day as my emergency back-up if the L4006A fails to shut off the blower fan at 180 degrees).
-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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Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
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Location: N/E Ohio, between Medina and Wadsworth

Post Tue. Jun. 19, 2012 6:06 pm

I'm willing to speculate that once you have solved the persistent out-fires problem, and the boiler has been able to run for a good while without going out, the overall efficiency of the system will eventually go up a bunch, and your daily consumption will come down appreciably.
-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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NWBuilder
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Ahs 130
Coal Size/Type: Burning Pea anthracite
Location: Norfolk, CT

Post Sat. Jun. 30, 2012 10:08 am

Hi everyone, I will try to answer all of the latest inquiries as I am still having fits over this issue. For the summer I have been running the boiler at 160*. Someone suggested this as it has worked out well for them. My required load is just for DHW, part of the reason for the excessive use of coal is I keep the temp set at 70 and open the windows so that there is a call for heat in the over night. Seems to help somewhat. I have taped of my baro damper and the clean out. Yesterday I had a negative draft situation but the boiler continued to run. I checked it when I got home from work yesterday around 6:30 and I had a nice blue fire going and some red coals. It was out by midnight! I am going to order a LOGO timer and hope for the best. I have been working crazy hours to make up for a lousy Winter and Spring so I have just basically been struggling along relighting every couple of days. Not much fun. Oh and even when it is burning what I consider to be well, I still get a lot of un burnt or partially burnt coal. There we have it! Have a great 4th!! Ken

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vermontday
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Post Sun. Jul. 01, 2012 10:37 am

The LOGO certainly helps but even with it I still have outfires on extremely warm days.

I have come to the conclusion that you either have to keep your chimney warm with short frequent stoker times or install a draft inducer.

I am now running 4 teeth, 4 air, 130 LL, 200 HL, 10 dif, with an outfire time of 20 minutes for 1.5 minutes and a dump time of 30 minutes for 20 minutes.

I have added to the LOGO program a draft on delay timer and a draft on time screen. It also displays a draft call count. I have not decided yet to put in a draft inducer, as I am still playing around with stoker time settings, but for I have it in the program now in case I or someone else wants to go to one in the future.

The input to start this time could be simply a switch that you switch on for above 90 degree days, or an outside temperature switch, or use a Dwyer Photohelic A-3000-00 or Dwyer 1640-0 differential pressure switch to sense when the chimney has low draft, or use a temperature switch monitoring the auger temp to bring it on.

The reason for the delay is so you do not get false calls for things such as wind back drafting the chimney or a cool auger caused by the stoker running. Once the input is solidly on for the pre-determined adjustable time, it then would turn the draft inducer on for a pre-determined adjustable amount of time.

If you choose one of the automatic triggers, it would automatically leave the draft inducer off when you don't need it.

If you buy a LOGO, I would be happy to help. You can send it to me and I can load the program on it and send it back along with a wiring diagram.

Even if you choose not to burn coal during the summer, the LOGO will reduce coal usage and wear and tear in the heating season. It also tells you what is going on.
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Rob R.
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Post Sun. Jul. 01, 2012 11:40 am

I fire the stoker twice per hour for 2 minutes...holds a fire on a 95 degree day just fine.

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McGiever
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Post Sun. Jul. 01, 2012 8:00 pm

NWBuilder wrote:Hi everyone, I will try to answer all of the latest inquiries as I am still having fits over this issue. For the summer I have been running the boiler at 160*. Someone suggested this as it has worked out well for them. My required load is just for DHW, part of the reason for the excessive use of coal is I keep the temp set at 70 and open the windows so that there is a call for heat in the over night. Seems to help somewhat. I have taped of my baro damper and the clean out. Yesterday I had a negative draft situation but the boiler continued to run. I checked it when I got home from work yesterday around 6:30 and I had a nice blue fire going and some red coals. It was out by midnight! I am going to order a LOGO timer and hope for the best. I have been working crazy hours to make up for a lousy Winter and Spring so I have just basically been struggling along relighting every couple of days. Not much fun. Oh and even when it is burning what I consider to be well, I still get a lot of un burnt or partially burnt coal. There we have it! Have a great 4th!! Ken
Surely there was a call for boiler heat between 6:30pm and midnight :!: :?:

Few thoughts, are you keeping the hopper lid in place and sealed well?
The fan could very well pull air down through coal in hopper if it provides less resistance instead of pulling the air through the coal in fire pot from below.
Your ash quantity and spent coal might be a little too tight and or thick for the easier air path. :idea:

Try poking a steel rod or bar down through view port towards the bottom of fire-pot...let it stay in for a few minuets and then pull it back out to see how deep the hot coals are by viewing the red glow of the steel.

And, Oh, have you considered calibrating your ashing setting for gross error? It just might surprise you what it really is compared to it's read-out displays. :idea:
Don't get hung up with thinking that the factory could never have screwed anything up with your boiler.

And, *lsayer* brings up a important point about aquastats being miss identified from the factory in his previous post, Quoted here below. :)
This was discussed in another thread as well.
lsayre wrote:NWBuilder,
Another thought, for your other problem (out-fires):

I had completely forgotten about this. The latest iterations of the S130 operating manual all have the aquastats reversed as to which is to be the operating limit aquastat and which is to be the high limit aquastat. The L4006A should be your operating limit aquastat, and the L4081B should be your high limit aquastat (with the other half of this dual aquastat operating your dump zone). The only out-fire I ever suffered happened early on when I had my aquastats set up per the manual and its wiring diagram. As soon as I conferred with AHS and learned that the aquastats are listed incorrectly in the manual, I switched them, and the boiler has never gone out since. My L4006A has been set at 180 degrees ever since then. The fan comes on at 170 degrees, and shuts off at 180 degrees. I don't want to mess with success and lower the L4006A's setpoint for the summer, as some would do. My L4081B is set to cut off the fan if it is still running when the boiler hits 210 degrees (I.E., it only kicks in to save the day as my emergency back-up if the L4006A fails to shut off the blower fan at 180 degrees).
SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE

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lsayre
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Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
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Location: N/E Ohio, between Medina and Wadsworth

Post Sun. Jul. 01, 2012 8:41 pm

The AHS is a completely different beast from most of the more traditional stoking boilers (sans for the Axeman-Anderson). In many ways it is more akin to a hand fed stove or boiler with a gravity feed hopper. In the AHS the entire hopper load of fuel sits unhindered and directly atop the fire all of the time, and when the fan is not running the draft is called upon to gently fan the flame from below and keep it alive. It is when the fan is not running that it is effectively mimicking a hand fed.

As McGiver indicates, you need to have the hopper lid on well to assure that what little summer chimney draft there is will be pulling a small volume of fresh air up through the coal bed from the bottom at all times. If you have even minimal draft I do not believe you will need or benefit from a repeat-cycle timer, but if your draft is terrible it may be of benefit (albeit at the cost of consuming a bit more coal).

You didn't happen to seal off the bottom perimeter of the AHS (where it sits upon the floor), did you? That (along with the observation port cover) is where it gets its air intake.

And while I'm mentioning the observation port, when your blower fan shuts off, does your observation port cover properly spring open about 1/2" to 3/4" as it should to allow the coal to breathe via the chimneys draft? If not, and if the port cover incorrectly remains too tightly closed, that would starve the coal of air during the intervals between fan (blower motor) cycles.

And don't get overly concerned regarding the presence of partially burned coal in the ashes of the AHS. I'm down to as low as somewhere around 14.75 lbs. per day of coal usage at present, even though I always see a fair amount of partially to perhaps fully unburned coal in my ashes. With that level of frugality in daily consumption, what does it matter if some level of unburned coal is getting through?
-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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vermontday
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Post Tue. Jul. 03, 2012 9:15 pm

The outfire I had that I referred to above happened last Friday. It was a surprise to me as the LOGO was running the boiler so well.

Rob asked me in a pm if it could have been a windy day causing the fire to burn itself down in the pot too low.

I think he is right. It had nothing to do with getting enough draft, it was too much draft. It was an extremely windy day and I still have my barometric damper covered with foil. The temperature in our area was close to 100 F, later that day it dropped to 85 F in a matter of a couple hours with cooler air coming in, creating very strong winds. Watching my manometer on other windy days, it can easily spike over .06" inches with wind gusts.

Thanks Rob!
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NWBuilder
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Ahs 130
Coal Size/Type: Burning Pea anthracite
Location: Norfolk, CT

Post Wed. Jul. 18, 2012 9:38 am

Hi Guys,
I finally have a break in my schedule while my taper does his thing to the drywall in the addition I am building. I guess I will have to take care of some of the issues building up around here. The wife should be happy. The boiler is still an issue but with work it is still running. I did not seal off the bottom of the unit, and actually when I got it one of the doors catches on the ash clean out doors was broken so one of the doors stays slightly ajar. I will try sticking a piece of re bar in to see how deep the coals go as well as checking my Aquastat settings. I will let you know if they are crossed. The boiler was used for a couple of months when I got it and it came set up for an auger hopper feed. I don't have that but the lid is hinged with a sleeve welded into it for the auger. I have the sleeve sealed off with a cap and high heat tape. It does have a gasket all around the edge but it is loose in the area of the hinge to allow for movement. I keep it down tight but is it possible that the fraction of an inch gap could be part of my problem? It seems inconsequential to me. My viewing port door does open freely when the unit is not running the blower. I would say at least 1/2 to 3/4 inch. I keep the little viewing door on the flap open about 3/4 of the way which is supposed to help with puff backs. I will let you know my findings. Thanks for your continued interest and help. Ken

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Post Wed. Jul. 18, 2012 10:22 am

Is there any possibility that you could create a small load for the boiler? The DHW loading is VERY small as you know, and sometimes you need some additional demand to make the 130 happy to 'ALMOST snooze out' for the day. I'll PM you tonight and I may be over your way next week. With this kind of summer we will all wonder why there isn't something related to solar in our future.......wait...I can buy a lifetime supply of coal for the price to open the door to solar solution....and my place stays comfortably warm.....especially when it's 10 below zero. :shock: :woot: :no1:

95 every day is terrific in Miami, but I hope for cooler days to come. .....
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NWBuilder
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Stoker Coal Boiler: Ahs 130
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Location: Norfolk, CT

Post Wed. Jul. 18, 2012 11:28 am

whistlenut wrote:Is there any possibility that you could create a small load for the boiler? The DHW loading is VERY small as you know, and sometimes you need some additional demand to make the 130 happy to 'ALMOST snooze out' for the day. I'll PM you tonight and I may be over your way next week. With this kind of summer we will all wonder why there isn't something related to solar in our future.......wait...I can buy a lifetime supply of coal for the price to open the door to solar solution....and my place stays comfortably warm.....especially when it's 10 below zero. :shock: :woot: :no1:

95 every day is terrific in Miami, but I hope for cooler days to come. .....
I have my girls put a load on it throughout the day while they are home with hot water running or by turning up the thermostat. Every 3 to 4 hours. That helps keep her going. If I rely on just our natural usage during the day it will go out. I would LOVE to have you stop by if you are in my neck of the woods. I will take the day off if need be.

To answer previous posts, I stuck a piece of 1/2 rebar in the access port on the same angle down to the ashing plate and with the boiler at idle for several hours I have about 4 to 4.5 inches of bright red. That seems like a fair coal bed to me even on the angle. I also checked my dual aquastat, now my eyes aren't what they should be but I could not find the markings for the L4006A side but the L4081B was to the right. The unit is upside down? They were both set at 200. I dropped the one that I think is the 4006A down to 180 and left the other at 200. It hasn't run since 6:30 this AM but I will kick it off soon and see what happens. I'll keep you posted. Ken

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Rob R.
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Location: Chazy, NY

Post Wed. Jul. 18, 2012 12:01 pm

NWBuilder wrote:They were both set at 200. I dropped the one that I think is the 4006A down to 180 and left the other at 200. It hasn't run since 6:30 this AM but I will kick it off soon and see what happens.
Please read the following post for more information about the L4081B settings: AHS S130 Coal Gun : First Fire

The 4006A control is what maintains the boiler temperature, and it is separate from the control that you looked at that was upside down. It looks like this: http://www.pexuniverse.com/honeywell-l4006a1017-a ... controller

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