The Van Wert VA600 Project

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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 Fri. Jul. 22, 2016 9:56 pm

An extended coil mount is the way I am thinking of going. Maybe for now we will get the extended mount installed and use the bad coil plate to block it off. That way if a coil has to go in, it will be quick and easy.

-Don

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Scottscoaled
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Posts: 2599
Joined: Tue. Jan. 08, 2008 9:51 pm
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 Fri. Jul. 22, 2016 10:00 pm

I like using a blank off plate and a tube of the right stuff gasket maker from Napa. Cheap, easy, and did I say easy.

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StokerDon
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Posts: 3294
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. Mar. 19, 2017 9:05 am

I finally have a plan for this VA-600. I'm going to put it in my basement to replace the current BairMatic/Van Wert boiler. One of the reasons for doing this is the VA-600 has a nice set of covers that can be well insulated. This will help keep my AC system from being overworked during the Summer.

Another reason is the VA-600 will have no problem supplying heat to the house, DHW and the garage at the same time.

On Tuesday while I was snowed in, I put the stoker together and started running a series of feed rate tests with rice coal. Since I have read about quite a few people gearing down there VA-600 stokers, I wanted to know what feed rate we would be running at. in this series of tests we are using a 21 tooth pot auger sprocket instead of the VA-600 18 tooth sprocket.

Test rig. The bin auger has 1.5 flights sticking out the end of the pipe.
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DRIVE COMPONENT SIZES:
Pot auger sprocket = 21 Tooth
Gearbox sprocket = 10 Tooth
Gearbox ratio = 600 : 1
Gearbox pulley = 3"

In this test we changed the size of the motor pulley to change the feed rate.

MOTOR PULLEY SIZE = POUNDS PER HOUR:
3" = 10
3.5" = 12.125
4" = 14.5
Split pulley set at 3.25" (all the way in) = 11.5
Split pulley set at 3.05" (1 turn out) = 10.5

3" motor pulley, 10 pounds per hour.
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3.5" motor pulley, 12.125 pounds per hour.
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4" motor pulley, 14.5 pounds per hour.
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Split pulley set at 3.25" ( all the way in), 11.5 pounds per hour.
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Split pulley set at 3.05" (1 turn out), 10.5 pounds per hour.
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So now I have a good idea of what feed rate to expect running the 21 tooth pot auger sprocket. It can be run from 10 pounds per hour up to 14.5 pounds per hour. I don't think we will need to go below 10 pounds per hour but obviously we could by opening up the split pulley more.

I may run some feed rate tests with the 18 tooth pot auger but I'm pretty convinced the 21 tooth is the way to go when burning rice coal. The 18 tooth speeds up the augers which requires slowing down the pulleys to the gearbox to achieve the same feed rates. Slowing down the pulleys, slows down the combustion blower, possibly to the point that it can't supply enough air.

-Don

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Rob R.
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Joined: Fri. Dec. 28, 2007 4:26 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy
Location: Chazy, NY

Post Sun. Mar. 19, 2017 9:12 am

Sounds like a great project.

I would put some effort into getting buck size coal rather than modifying the stoker to burn rice.

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StokerDon
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Posts: 3294
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. Mar. 19, 2017 9:37 am

Rob R. wrote:Sounds like a great project.

I would put some effort into getting buck size coal rather than modifying the stoker to burn rice.
It's more like extra effort and expense. I'm pretty sure the VA-600 will burn rice just fine. Outside of the coal region, coal suppliers only offer the 4 basic coal sizes; Stove, Chestnut, Pea and Rice.

My rice coal gets delivered strait into my bin for about $40 a ton less than I can get Buckwheat for. I have no real reason to switch to Buckwheat either. I don't need anymore BTU/hour out of my boiler.

All that being said, I would still love to try some Buckwheat, just to see what it does!

-Don

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CoalHeat
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Joined: Sat. Feb. 10, 2007 9:48 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Baseburners & Antiques: Sears Signal Oak 15 & Andes Kitchen Range
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert
Location: Stillwater, New Jersey

Post Sun. Mar. 19, 2017 9:51 am

Very creative use of smoke pipes there.

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Rob R.
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Posts: 11522
Joined: Fri. Dec. 28, 2007 4:26 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy
Location: Chazy, NY

Post Sun. Mar. 19, 2017 10:19 am

It is strange that it is easier to get buck at the Canadian border than in PA.

Time to build that coal bunker and get a tri-axle load.

Dave 1234
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Posts: 190
Joined: Tue. Nov. 13, 2012 9:05 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1948 International boiler, EFM S-20 stoker
Coal Size/Type: Buck,
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 520

Post Sun. Mar. 19, 2017 1:31 pm

Rob R. wrote:
Time to build that coal bunker and get a tri-axle load.
+1 ! ! Don, If you have extra space in the yard its easy. I put down a 16x20 sheet of rubber roofing, laid 3 utility poles on the sides, brought the rubber up over the top of the poles . Now the trucker can back the tt load of coal in, slowly dump and creep forward. Vwala! instant coal bunker for next to nothing. I'm in Ct. so trucking is more for me, but my last tt load was 175.00 a ton total cost.

I just ran out of buck 3 weeks ago and now I'm back to the original pile of rice. I wish I had the buck . I'm going through rice at almost double the rate of my buck. Both lehigh coal so the increase feed can't be only BTU value.

Dave 8-)

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StokerDon
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Posts: 3294
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. Mar. 19, 2017 2:07 pm

Thanks for all the advice guys! I hope I never have to go through what you guys in the Northern states go through to get your coal. I do need to consider it though, my coal supplier will likely retire or drop dead at some point. If his son doesn't pick up the delivery part of the business, I will be out of luck.

Right now it's just way to easy, I make a phone call, I open the basement door, he puts the chute in and suddenly there's 6 ton of coal in my bin, AND it's cheaper than me going to pick it up myself!

I also live on a hill with a long, steep, narrow, curved driveway. A tractor trailer would have a difficult time getting up here. Even if it did, there is no room for it to turn around.

I have no flat yard space to put 10 or 20 ton of coal. Even if I did, I have no way of getting the coal out of the yard and into the basement. There is no way I'm shoveling 10 ton of coal.

For right now the plan is to prey for a long and healthy life for my coal guy!

-Don
Last edited by StokerDon on Sun. Mar. 19, 2017 2:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Dave 1234
Member
Posts: 190
Joined: Tue. Nov. 13, 2012 9:05 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1948 International boiler, EFM S-20 stoker
Coal Size/Type: Buck,
Stove/Furnace Make: EFM
Stove/Furnace Model: 520

Post Sun. Mar. 19, 2017 2:15 pm

Don if I had a way to get coal shot directly into the boiler bin it would be awful !
The way I do it now gives me reason to bit**ch and moan every time its muddy or snowing like last week . :lol:

Dave 8-)

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StokerDon
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Posts: 3294
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. Mar. 19, 2017 2:24 pm

Dave that's one of the great things about this forum. I can sit on my couch and read about all you guys with outside storage complain'in about frozen coal, snow on top of your coal, ect... :lol:

The Van Wert just sits there in the basement sipping coal out of it's bin!

-Don

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StokerDon
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Posts: 3294
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. May. 21, 2017 5:09 pm

I probably think to much about this kind of stuff but the other day I was thinking about the interchangeability of stoker parts between the VA-400, VA-600 and VA-800. So, I started wondering if the VA-800 pot extension and burn rings would fit in a VA-600 base.

VA-600 on the left and VA-800 on the right.
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The 600 has 9 burn rings, the 800 has 10. The 600 ash ring is 13.25", the 800 is 14.625". The 600 pot extension has 3 bolts for the ash ring, the 800 has 4. Both pot extensions are attached with 3 mounting bolts to the base.
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So naturally I though the VA-800 pot extension would bolt right on the VA-600 base.
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Not quite. For some reason the VA-600 bolt circle is slightly wider than the VA-800.
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It's only a little bit off so I took care of it with a round file.
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Then I mocked it up. It fits pretty good!!!
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VA-600.
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VA-800.
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This seems like an interesting way to Hot Rod your VA-600. I can't think of a good reason not to do this. The ash ring will be 5/8" closer to the boiler walls but that shouldn't be a problem unless we burn some bad coal that klinkers up.

I will likely start this with the VA-600 rings and pot extension. I just wanted to be sure all these parts would fit together. This way, I can install it later without any guess work.
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-Don
Attachments
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User avatar
StokerDon
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Posts: 3294
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 Fri. May. 26, 2017 7:31 pm

Today I got most of the stoker parts cleaned up.
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Air chamber is ready to go in.
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I cleaned and wire wheeled the blower housing. It looks pretty good the way it is, I have not yet decided if I will paint it.
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Gearbox with mount and blower. On this one I don't think I'm going to take it apart to paint it.
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The stoker mounting plate. I think I am going to paint this a darker color. The boiler will be two tone so this plate will get the darker of the two.
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Air adjustment and data plate. They look good as is.
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I still have to clean up the Motor, the transfer head and all the hardware.

-Don

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StokerDon
Site Moderator
Posts: 3294
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 Sat. May. 27, 2017 8:48 pm

I got the boiler back today!
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It's got a nice extended DHW coil flange now. No more braking studs for this boiler.
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Here's the inside, from the bottom. YUK!!! look at all the crap!
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I spent about an hour with my cheap pressure washer and hot water. I hosed out all the oily crap from the firebox. Then I washed out the inside through the DHW coil opening.
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Nice and clean.
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I removed the plug from the other return and flushed some more.
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I spent about an hour or so wire wheeling the outside to get it ready for paint. It's about 80% done now.
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Hopefully we will get some dry weather this weekend so I can paint it.

-Don

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Rob R.
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Posts: 11522
Joined: Fri. Dec. 28, 2007 4:26 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy
Location: Chazy, NY

Post Sun. May. 28, 2017 7:21 am

Looks great Don.

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