Yellow Flame to Tri-Burner Conversion. What Do You Think?

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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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 Sun. Jul. 20, 2014 11:01 am

My Yellow Flame 3 grate boiler seems a bit heavy on coal usage, about 80 to 110 pounds per day depending on the outside temp. I have been wondering how this boiler would work with a different stoker in it. My old Alaska basement stove sits unused now so, I figured, what the heck?

The Alaska has an old Tri-Burner carpet feeder. I rebuilt it last year, it is originaly a 70,000 BTU burner. It needed a grate, I called Alaska and they said they don't make the 70,000 BTU grate anymore but the 85,000 BTU grate is a direct replacement. So now it is an 85,000 BTU burner, the only difference is the amount of holes in the grate.

Here are some photos of the mockup. I made an adaptor plate out of plywood. I will have a local metal shop make the adaptor plate out of 3/16" or 1/4" steel.
YF-TirBurnerConversion 001.JPG
YF Tri-Burner conversion
YF-TirBurnerConversion 002.JPG
YF Tri-Burner conversion
YF-TirBurnerConversion 006.JPG
YF Tri-Burner conversion
The smaller stoker looks a little lost in that big fire box.
YF-TirBurnerConversion 007.JPG
YF Tri-Burner conversion
The 90 pound hopper looks a bit small on the boiler. If this works out I will buy an Alaska 140 single burner hopper, they hold 250 pounds and will fit right on there.
YF-TirBurnerConversion 010.JPG
YF Tri-Burner conversion
Also, to increase the BTU output I was thinking of drilling 2 more rows of holes in the grate. I have seen this done to an Alaska in an older thread, I hope it works!
My thinking is the the holes will raise the output to over 100,000 BTU gross. The Yellow Flame 3 grate I think is in the 150,000 to 160,000 BTU gross range.
TriburnerStokerMech 005.JPG
mech
This conversion should work well in the shoulder months and provide some coal savings. When winter realy hits I will likely have to put the Yellow Flame stoker in.

Any thoughts, suggestions?

Don
There are few problems in life that cannot be solved by lighting something on fire.

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lsayre
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Stoker Coal Boiler: AHS S130 Coal Gun
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Post Sun. Jul. 20, 2014 11:55 am

My thought is that with your skill and talent you will make it work. Enjoy the coal savings.
-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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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 Sun. Jul. 20, 2014 12:07 pm

Thanks for the encouragement Larry, This idea is not very differnet than the boiler "Smitty" is running. Other than his draft issues, he is reporting very good results.

-Don
There are few problems in life that cannot be solved by lighting something on fire.

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stovepipemike
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Post Sun. Jul. 20, 2014 2:39 pm

Don, Just something to consider is the fact that you will be putting 33 percent less BTU's thru the boiler if you can get the Alaska to fire at 100K. That YF looks to have a large amount of heat transfer surface inside and could possibly drag down the net temperature hitting the chimney [draft issue?]. How low will that YF stoker fire for you? The lowest firing rate that the factory has built into your existing stoker might possibly be a clue to good combustion / efficiency. It sounds like you are on a fun expedition into the coal thrift games. Please keep us all posted ,as you are onto something most have thought about but few have attempted. Keep it safe. Good Luck Mike

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Scottscoaled
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Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM 520, 700, Van Wert 800 GJ 61,53
Baseburners & Antiques: Magic Stewart 16, times 2!
Coal Size/Type: Lots of buck
Other Heating: Slant Fin electric boiler backup
Location: Malta N.Y.

Post Sun. Jul. 20, 2014 2:40 pm

Hey Don! I applaud your efforts. I'm sort of cracking up too :) You have way too much time on your hands. My first question would be,,, was your coal from the Yellow flame totally burned? Was your boiler insulated? Did you adjust the yellow flame to a lower setting? Why would you change out a unit in the name of efficiency that was capable of burning Barley sized coal? Did you clean the inside surfaces of your boiler periodically last season? Did you burn more coal last season than you should have like the rest of us? I'm sorry for the guff but based on the experience I had last season with the same boiler as yours, I don't understand why you would want to change a beautiful piece of Machinery. :?
I think a man does what he can, untill his destiny is revealed. Right now that is trying to sell my EFM plate boilers in 520 and 700 sizes.

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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 Sun. Jul. 20, 2014 2:55 pm

stovepipemike wrote:Don, Just something to consider is the fact that you will be putting 33 percent less BTU's thru the boiler if you can get the Alaska to fire at 100K. That YF looks to have a large amount of heat transfer surface inside and could possibly drag down the net temperature hitting the chimney [draft issue?]. How low will that YF stoker fire for you? The lowest firing rate that the factory has built into your existing stoker might possibly be a clue to good combustion / efficiency. It sounds like you are on a fun expedition into the coal thrift games. Please keep us all posted ,as you are onto something most have thought about but few have attempted. Keep it safe. Good Luck Mike
Mike,

The YF stoker doesn't seem to be well suited to low firing. When it idels for a long time I get the occcasional outfire and the ashpan is mostly black partialy burned coal. When I ran the Alaska to heat the garage the ash was much more completly burnt, even at a very low feed rate.
Heat transfer may turn out to be a problem, that boiler might just suck the life out of that little burner!

-Don
There are few problems in life that cannot be solved by lighting something on fire.

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McGiever
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Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek
Location: Junction of PA-OH-WV

Post Sun. Jul. 20, 2014 3:26 pm

No matter what the boiler manufacturer's stoker size/output is any should have the adjustability to not dump partially burnt coal into the ash pan and a good timer cycle should not let the fire go out.
It is all in the tweaks. ;)
SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE

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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 Sun. Jul. 20, 2014 3:30 pm

Scottscoaled wrote:Hey Don! I applaud your efforts. I'm sort of cracking up too :) You have way too much time on your hands. My first question would be,,, was your coal from the Yellow flame totally burned? Was your boiler insulated? Did you adjust the yellow flame to a lower setting? Why would you change out a unit in the name of efficiency that was capable of burning Barley sized coal? Did you clean the inside surfaces of your boiler periodically last season? Did you burn more coal last season than you should have like the rest of us? I'm sorry for the guff but based on the experience I had last season with the same boiler as yours, I don't understand why you would want to change a beautiful piece of Machinery. :?
Scott,

1) The coal was not totally burned. On warm days it seemed like the ash was mostly partialy burned and black. on cold days there was still a lot of black.

2) No, I do not have the boiler insulated, maybe I should.

3) I did every kind of adjustment I could think of. I even made a second combustion blower choke piece so I could realy lower the combustion air, still lots of black in the ashes and 80 to 110 pounds of coal a day.

4) I agree, The Yellow Flame stoker is a great machine, it will take more than a lifetime to ware one out. I would have liked to try the Barley option but, down here in the south there is no one that supplies it. I could go up and get it myself but, when you factor in the $80 for gas and the 5 hour round trip to get 1 3/4 ton in my truck, it is not worth it.

5) I only did one boiler cleaning. I didn't get it fired until Jan 20 and it wasn't heating the house until early Feb.

6) I burned a LOT more coal last winter than I ever have. I would normaly burn about 3.5 ton in the Harman SF3500 per year. last winter I burned 6 ton but, that could have a lot to do with the fact that I changed heating systems twice last winter, Harman SF3500 to Alaska 140 to Yellow Flame.

7) Scott, I don't know, maybe I'm crazy, I want to see what this little burner will do in there. I didn't like seeing all that partialy burnt black coal in my ash last winter.

If it doesn't work out I will just throw the YF back in there. I will be putting up an 8 inch id stainles chimney to replace the 6 inch chimney, maybe that is part of the problem?

I also have plumbing pipe size questions I will ask later. It is possible I am not getting all the heat to my heat exchanger.

-Don
There are few problems in life that cannot be solved by lighting something on fire.

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McGiever
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Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
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Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek
Location: Junction of PA-OH-WV

Post Sun. Jul. 20, 2014 3:37 pm

What is the boiler breech size?
SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE

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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 Sun. Jul. 20, 2014 3:45 pm

McGiever wrote:No matter what the boiler manufacturer's stoker size/output is any should have the adjustability to not dump partially burnt coal into the ash pan and a good timer cycle should not let the fire go out.
It is all in the tweaks. ;)
McGiever,

I don't know, I tried everything I could think of and everything suggested on the forum, still lots of black in the ash. I've never seen another Yellow Flame so I don't know. In a lot of ways they are like a Keystoker. One of the big differences is the grates. The grates are a similar size to a Keystoker but, there is a LOT more holes and the holes are larger.

The outfires are a very minor issue and will be cured by installing newer controls as suggested when I first got the boiler.

-Don
There are few problems in life that cannot be solved by lighting something on fire.

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McGiever
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Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek
Location: Junction of PA-OH-WV

Post Sun. Jul. 20, 2014 3:51 pm

Having a larger breech reduced to fit a smaller flue pipe could contribute heavily to the lack of adjustability you describe.
SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE

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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 Sun. Jul. 20, 2014 3:52 pm

McGiever wrote:What is the boiler breech size?
It has an 8" flue.

-Don
There are few problems in life that cannot be solved by lighting something on fire.

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StokerDon
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Posts: 3252
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 Sun. Jul. 20, 2014 3:58 pm

McGiever wrote:Having a larger breech reduced to fit a smaller flue pipe could contribute heavily to the lack of adjustability you describe.
Hummm,,,

Hopefuly the 8" chimney will improve the situation.
There are few problems in life that cannot be solved by lighting something on fire.

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McGiever
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Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek
Location: Junction of PA-OH-WV

Post Sun. Jul. 20, 2014 3:59 pm

I see.

Improved combustion of coal can mean less coal equal same heat.
So either a bigger stovepipe or a smaller stoker would give equal results. :)
SLOW AND STEADY WINS THE RACE

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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 Sun. Jul. 20, 2014 4:11 pm

McGiever, that is an very interesting way of putting it! I wasn't thinking of it that way but, you are right.

I will work through these little issues one by one.

I'm bummed about the Barley coal thing though...

-Don
There are few problems in life that cannot be solved by lighting something on fire.

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