Well, finally completed things to run biodiesel in my Beckett/Peerless oil boiler...
Here are some pics. Don't give me a hard time about the mess, I was excited and took the pics before cleaning up
Overview of the dual setup
The closest hose is the new one for the biodiesel. Note it has its own filter and ball valve.
Closeup of the tee with dual hoses
The top hose is biodiesel, the bottome is fuel oil.
Closeup of the new filter setup
The hose already has standard NPT end that fit right into the filter.
Original tank and filter setup
A little dirty, but note that it is now in the *OFF* position
Trap setup for 'new' tank
The used tank that was given to me no doubt has sludge and who knows what in it. I tilted it back about 1" using my homemade legs and added this trap to hopefully keep the line cleaner. Should help with anything that may settle out of the biodiesel, too.
I am planning to put any batches that don't pass 27/3 the first time in here instead of running in a machine or reprocessing.
Note that I have the valve in the "up" position to help prevent leaks from the biodiesel and any seals.
Hope this helps give others some ideas.
PS- I have a few of these 3/8" viton lined stainless steel braided hoses left over. If anyone is interested, PM me. Flared on one end, NPT that fits the filter from Lowes on the other end.
Thanks for the pics.
the meat though....is in the burner modifications combined with your fuel blending.
Remind us again what you did in those two areas. (or throw some links at us that explains it already)
If you believe you can't YOUR RIGHT;
But equally so.... if you believe you can, YOUR RIGHT as well.
Earlier this summer I changed my nozzle to .85B, and used the retention head that goes with it. This is what came with the furnace.
I originally left it with the 1.00 nozzle and the pre-installed retention head. I never adjusted anything myself
When I changed it, I also adjusted the position of my electrodes. They were *behind* the tip of the nozzle and really out of adjustment. Explains the big thud everytime it lit. I had a friend adjust it when it was installed...
I've been diligently researching everything I could find on furnaces and fuels, then made the changes. I think it calls for 1/8" in front and 1/8" above the center of the nozzle. I don't remember the spacing between the electrodes, but when the other dimensions were corrected, the spacing was right, too.
I have the docs somewhere, if anyone needs the exact info.
I guess I was just...ahem...too lazy to dig into it before. The tubing was in the way, the electrical connection from the burner to the control box was too short to swing open the assembly, etc. I finally fixed all that this summer in prep for the biodiesel switchover.
I left the pressure where it was. The pump states that it is preset at 140 psi, but I don't have a way to test it. Supposed to be a port where I can install a gauge, but haven't done so.
Currently, the air is set at the Beckett recommended points for the .85 nozzle.
I have an indoor tank at about 62F, gravity fed piping that you can see in the pics.
I just switched directly to B100 by shutting off the fuel oil tank valve.
From what I've read, I really didn't expect it to ignite after the first time or two (fuel oil still in the pump and line). I even hung out a bit to see if it would go out.
It ran fine the first, second, and now third time (at least). The system is currently making my hot water via a priority hydronic zone so it runs even though we haven't started heating the house with it yet (only wood/coal to help with the chill).
I didn't hear any hard banging, puffing (indicating re-ignition), or seen any dark smoke out the power vent opening. I even smelled the exhaust quickly and it wasn't acidic or sooty.
I took out an "inspection" screw (center of the hole cover where the domestic hot water coil would go if it were installed) and watched the flame. It was bright and steady. It didn't look like tongues or that it was hitting the target wall.
I figure I'll give it a day or so and then swing open the burner door (part of the reason for the flexible hoses) and check for soot inside the chamber or on the retention head, etc.
Since it's a new nozzle and retention head, any problems or anomolies should be pretty obvious.
I drained the donated tank completely, turned it upside down and hosed it out (yep, with water). Used wood/coal ashes and sawdust to clean up anything that came out.
I probably should have left it dry out a day or so, but was anxious to get moving on this project. Running out of time.
So, the tank was empty, except for probable sludge and some moisture. I added about 40-45 gallon of biodiesel, some of it that didn't pass the 27/3 test (earlier batches), but washed and dried, so no methanol or soap. Most of the biodiesel was top notch, though.
There was probably a little fuel oil in the line to begin, but did a cold start of the boiler, meaning about a 15 minute burn.
I expect that just biodiesel is available to the burner now.
FYI- I just changed the fuel filter on the fuel oil side, so I'm sure the shutoff valve is working and shutting off completely.
Hope this gives a bit more info.
1. Smaller nozzle and matched retention head, but same as would be used for dino, reduced firing rate. Was included with the furnace.
2. Furnace was tuned to match all recommended specs for electrodes and both air intakes.
3. Left pump at pre-set 140 psi (which may have been too high initially?)
4. First filling of biodiesel likely contaminated with some water.
5. Very first runs are great, will continue to monitor.
Okay, it's now been a few weeks. I had the dreaded CAD cell problem a few days ago.
I was able to reset and watch (via an inspection port) the flame light. I could visually tell the color difference of the flame.
I did this a few times to confirm I didn't have a clog or other problem.
Then I shut off the valve to the biodiesel tank, opened the fuel oil tank, and used the reset twice. It then continued to function as normal.
Upon opening and inspection, I saw what was expected. After the new flame retention head was used a bit, it get black and must not reflect the flame as well.
The firebox is still clean, I didn't notice any dripped oil, smokey marks, or anything else unusual.
I'll switch back to biodiesel *without* any changes just to confirm I didn't have a clog or anything that was cleaned out by the fuel oil (I doubt, but just to be sure).
When I get the next CAD cell failure (actually, flame detection error, the CAD cell is fine), I'll switch back to fuel oil again, then plan to install the resistor to reduce the CAD cell sensitivity.
In short, I am very glad to have installed the dual setup I did. It makes switching a matter of a few minutes and no mess (I did it before going to Church )
Now on to the next tweak. I'm so glad others share their experiences and fixes, it makes it much easier for those of us who come afterwards!
I hope my experiences help the next folks.
Thanks for the updates. Watching and learning along with ya.
If you believe you can't YOUR RIGHT;
But equally so.... if you believe you can, YOUR RIGHT as well.
CAD cell - From reading past posts - Apparently the color of the light from biodiesel is a bit different than the color of light from burning fueloil, the human eye can't see the differance but the normal cad cells can, the color from the biodiesel is just off the edge of the light the normal cad calls are designed to detect so there output drops below what is the controller accepts as an adequate flame. I have read that if a detection cell that is designed to see ultraviolet light is used it works for both fuels. I dought any furnace place would have these on hand, probably have to buy one from an electronics supplier like Mouser or Digi Key (both on line) and adapt a mounting. I will have to research this more to deturmine just what type of cad cell is normally used, don't know if these change resistance with the amount of light or work like a solar cell and put out a voltage in proportion to the amount of light?
Tim and all,
Here is some info I collected along the way and stuffed into a file. I apologize for not giving credit to the authors, I didn't copy entire posts, just snippets. Some of this probably came from altfuels, so thanks to all.
IIRC, I think the UV CAD cell is used on commercial and in the UK(?). I haven't played with one.
Hope this helps somebody...
De-sensitizing CAD cell
Install a 5.6k ohm resistor in parallel with the cad cell connection (yellow wires). This
keeps the safety system intact, but desensitizes the photo eye to recognize the "oranger" BD flame.
We know that the presence of smoke in a combustion chamber or firing zone is not desirable and that it will show up on a smoke test done with a test-paper-type instrument. Now, let me ask you a question. Is there any other way or thing that you can use to detect smoke? Yes, a cadmium sulfide photocell. That’s right, the little cad cell can also be used as a service tool.
The cad cell is a light-sensitive resistor that will vary its output resistance to the amount of light supplied to it. Smoke will darken the readings to the cell and will cause either erratic operation or may lock out the burner, appearing as the infamous “false lock-out call.” Two things to keep in mind is that all smoke is not created equal, and cad-cells work on seeing direct light and not reflected light.
Reflected light is false light and can lead to dangerous conditions. You can find smoke on both sides of the zero smoke line and even in an excess air condition there could be smoke. Using the smoke tester, you begin by making smoke by closing the air-gate and then backing off on the air gate until you clear the smoke. Then when setting up a burner lower the CO2 from that “optimum level” one percent and you have an ideal operating condition.
So, it’s 3 in the morning and you want to check the burner for proper operation, or you just want to find a quick way to get to that ideal condition. Well, try this. Take a typical cad cell primary whose F-F terminals have been jumped out and the leads from the cad cell have been connected to an ohmmeter set for the 1000 ohm scale. I prefer an analog meter, but digital will do it, too. The burner is started by closing the service switch and by momentarily disconnecting the F-F jumper. The air gate is gradually closed. As it is closed, you will notice the circuit resistance increases. Upon visual examination of the flame you would find the presence of smoke.
Now the air gate is reopened until a satisfactory reading is found. Before locking in the gate, try opening the gate to where you originally started and as the burner was found. You will notice that there is no movement of the meter for some period and then the resistance will again increase. That’s technically “zero smoke” and just like the black smoke on the high side of the gate, it will cause a lock-out if not adjusted for. Adjust the air gate until the lowest resistance is met and you have a burner which is set “in the ballpark.” Not as accurate as combustion instruments, but better than your unreliable eyeball at 3 a.m.
The real way to verify that a cad-cell control is working within accepted limits is to put a 1500 ohm resistor across the F-F terminals and watch what happens. If the relay chatters, it’s bad. If it goes into lockout, it’s bad, but now you know for sure. By the way, those resistors are available at most electronic parts stores like Radio Shack and cost about 75 cents each.
In total darkness, the CAD cell resistance is around 1,000,000 ohms. Exposing it to light lowers the resistance. You want it below 1600 ohms while in the run mode (flame on). If you have a R7184 controller (your pics indicate that you do), you can "read" the CAD cell resistance dynamically by quickly pushing and releasing the red reset button while the burner is running and observe the number of flashes from the green LED.
1 flash, less than 400 ohms
2 flashes, more than 400 and less than 800 ohms
3 flashes, more than 800 and less than 1600 ohms
4 flashes, more than 1600 and less than 5000 ohms
If you get 1,2 or 3 flashes, you probably don't need a parallel resistor.
I tried a 5.6k parallel resistor on my R7184U controller and it won't start the burner. I then tried a 56k resistor and now get get 3 flashes and the burner starts fine and does not falsely shutdown. I am running 100% WVO. Bio may need a different resistor value due to different flame characteristics.
Excellent info, thanks!
I hope to take it back to biodiesel this weekend and I'll try your tests.
I'd suggest reading the Cad cell resistance on home heating oil also and compare it to the bio reading. I'd be interested in how many flashes on both so please report back with what you find.
On dino (mix of small amt of fuel oil and mostly offroad diesel) it flashes twice.
FYI. A quick push of the red button doesn't initiate the reading. Holding it about 1 sec then releasing starts the process.
Press, release, light goes out.
About a second later, it flashes once, goes out about 1/4 sec, then flashes again once, then goes out about 1 sec, then lights as normal.
Hope this helps.
I didn't switch it to biodiesel, ran into some other *urgent* projects.
I'll make the switch tomorrow am and let it run a day or few, then test on biodiesel.
Too overcome the difference in flame color for the cad cell to react too.I dismanteled the burner and took off the flame tube. I cleaned the inside with carb. cleaner to the bare metal.
I then applied high temp silver paint to the inside and let it dry.
This has worked quite well for me with no cad cell no flame starts.
I just bought a used Beckett Burner to make into a kiln burner. It has a controller, pump, etc.
I see where the 120 volt line goes but I am not sure how to make an on off switch without a thermostat (which I will not need). I only need on and off. Do I need to connect a 24 current to turn on or just short the connections on the controller. Also, will I have a cad cell issue or is this something that was in the furnace?
Thanks-you guys seem to know a bunch.
A thermostat is just a heat activated SWITCH. Just put a toggle switch between the 2 thermostat terminals on the controller.
Simple schematic for a pump and heater control with a high limit
Sensor for the biodiesel/glycerin layer
Joe I was wondering how long ago you did this and if it's still working for you? I am getting my new burner ready and I would like to use your Idea if it stands the test of time.
I was looking at your photo's and I can see I have the same burner as you.I'm still prepping mine for B100. What I was wondering is did you do anything to the seals on your "clean Cut " pump the Bio is known to eat the seals and I was wondering how that pump was handling it?
Also how is the 5.6 resistor working so far?
I didn't do anything to the seals. I figure if/when it starts to leak, I'll replace either the seals or the entire pump. They aren't too expensive.
I didn't add the resistor yet, I have to get to RadioShack to get one. I was in town earlier this week, but forgot to stop.
Will let you know.
I didn't do anything to the seals. I figure if/when it starts to leak, I'll replace either the seals or the entire pump. They aren't too expensive
Yeah I understand the pumps are kinda cheap, my concern is I intend on using this as my primary heat source and it would be bad to have a leak start up when no one is home or in the middle of the night. The pumps you and I have use a solenoid valve and what I don't know is how different the guts are compared to the old style. I am really tempted to just take it apart and see if I can get replacement seals that will be suitable with the Bio and keep a spare set handy!
As far as the flame out how often has this happened so far ?
I figured I would do the waiting game also, just didn't think there would be so little waiting. I only lasted 3 weeks on B100. She just started to leak 2 nights ago and then last night I shut it down. Ordered a direct replacement bio pump for about $70. My furnace is in my garage and I had provisions ready for a leak when it started, so I was less concerned than you are. For the price, get the biopump. Side note, I had to put on a new cad cell and adjust the pressure to 150 to keep from shutting down when I first started using B100.
The Greenhouse's Beckett AFG is set at 150PSI with a 1.0 nozzle and cycles reliably on B100.
** Biodiesel Glycerine Soap - The Guide
- on 5 continents helping people make & sell soap from the Biodiesel Glycerine.
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