So this is my second season heating with b100, last year was pretty long and painfull for most of it, but I want to make things smoother this year. This is in an uninsulated 5000sf garage in MA. This is an overhead unit with return fuel line. Bio is washed.
My only problem is re-starts....I have to re-set 1 or two times every time the furnace wants to come back on.
I had a tech come out and service the furnace and it ran flawless for a week. Only trouble I had was starting first thing in the morning, then ran great all day.
When it was serviced last week, they replaced the control box, put in a 1.25 nozzle instead of a 1.5, adjusted electrodes, and cleaned things up.
I have a friend who is knowledgeable with the becket burners, and will be in on monday to check it out. He doesnt have experience with biodiesel, but I can guide him in the differences.
Here are a few observations of mine....
-Filter seems to NOT be filled all the way during one of its hard starts (after removing and finding it only 3/4 full.
-I have difficulty seeing the spark though the inspection hole when trying to light, though I can hear it buzz.
-I added a a fuel pre-heater that goes on the fuel pipe but I suspect it was not hooked back up when serviced....I will look at this monday.
Thanks for any advice!
Are the hard starts when it's cold in the shop?
The furnace in my shop wont start in the cold unless I stick a piece of paper over the combustion air intake on the burner. Once its almost completely closed off it will fire and run fine until it heats up, then I remove the paper. I only heat the shop when I am out there so its only first start of the day thats a problem.
It is the cold b100 that causes the problem, if I heat the feed line and filter with a heat gun prior to starting it fires right up no problems...
I tried adding 10% diesel to the fuel tank but it still needs the paper if its any colder than -5 Celsius.
Simple schematic for a pump and heater control with a high limit
Sensor for the biodiesel/glycerin layer
There are many potential problems here.
1)Cold fuel. (I use a band heater on my metal fuel drum to maintain at least 40F)also check that you have no rubber seals in your plumbing, which are not compatible with bio.
2)Clogged filters. (check both your in-line, and ESPECIALLY the internal screen on the suntec fuel pump)this one is famous for the accumulation of crud,carbon, and soap.
3)Pump pressure. Start high, and work down from there. mine is set at @180 psi.
4)Air intake. Start low, almost off, and adjust up for good flame.
5)Plugged nozzle. i change with each new heating season.
6)Dirty heat tube,flame retention ring, and electrodes. i clean once a month, due to unburned fuel build up from post flame pressure drip. actually, I keep an extra oil gun ready to go for no down time. i also have quick disconnects.
7)Flue back draft pressure resulting in puffing, soot, and poor start up. i use a barometric damper.
I too had trouble, a slight blend of #2 mixed well, preheater and dropped nozzle size with 180 psi pump pressure and it has been working well, my first 2 yrs were a nightmare, constant nostarts.
99.5 Jetta tdi/B100
2000 Excursion 7.3L
2000 NB Tdi
96 MB E300
Running on Homebrew B100
I'd keep a sample of your bio in a clear jar right near the fuel tank and see how it looks, if its getting cloudy than your most likely having flow problems especially if the garage is uninsulated. Sounds like you shut the furnace off at night and the garage has a chance to cool down. How dry is your fuel after its washed? Any left over water from washing is going to make your bio gel. Do you do a frig test on your bio after its washed and dried to determine if any water is still in it?
Thanks for all the input! So......
All mornings are hard starts but lately is been ALL DAY, even when shop is 58 deg.
I usually do heat the fuel pipe and filter with a blow torch for a bit in the mornings which does help.
Ambient temps of shop in morning are above 40 deg., should be above gelling of bio which is 36-38.
Im not familiar with this screen in the pump, though Ive had the pump off before, Ill take another look.
Also, I dont know where the air intake is for combustion?
Ill try a new filter too. Can anyone recomend a special filter for b100?
Im tempted to try a check valve right before the filter or even a lift pump....
Hey Greaseburger, change your signature, that passat is gone, and its heart lives in a wagon now!
I know i am a little bit slow on my sig maintenance my tanks are in my basement which is a fieldstone foundation unheated( except for the heat from the furnace) although it never gets cold enough to gell or even cloud it does get noticably more viscous when the furnace hasn't fired for several hrs, the single thing that help the most was increasing the pump pressure to 180 psi from the 150 psi, I was able to drop down one size smaller nozzle than stock and have troublefree startups for over a month now.
99.5 Jetta tdi/B100
2000 Excursion 7.3L
2000 NB Tdi
96 MB E300
Running on Homebrew B100
remove allen head screws on the pump to reveal its' screen filter. if it's a used one, and if you've never checked this, i'll almost guarantee it's partially plugged.
air adjustment is simply turning the circular bellows next to the pump.
also check the distance between the nozzle tip, and the flame retention ring end. there are different settings depending on the nozzle spray pattern and flame retention ring style. for example, i use a 80 degree spray pattern/ .75 nozzle, and an F3 style retention ring, with no heat shield. the distance for this is 1 1/8".
you can find all the various combinations, and settings on line at beckett. also, be sure to match what your boiler can handle.
"Also, I dont know where the air intake is for combustion?"
That's probably your problem. The air intake is adjusted by a pointer by the oil pump, its numbered 2-10, 10 being more air or leaner. There is also a band around the housing that can be adjusted, but on my Beckett that one is totally closed off. You may have to loosen a couple of screws over and under the pump to adjust the shutter. On heating oil my air intake was on 8 but on B100 it has to be on 4. Tried leaning it out more this week and it kicked out so back to 4 it went. I'm using the original .75gpm hollow nozzle but with an 80 degree instead of a 70. Pump pressure is only 120psi. I also upgrade to a 20KV beckett electronic ignition coil, the other coil was 14KV I believe. I also use bio in a torpedo heater in my garage, when the temp gets around freezing I have to block the air intake on start-up or it won't light. Close your air intake a couple of numbers and see what happens. Good luck.
So turns out it was simply the fuel filter. I put a new one on for the hell of it, even though it wasnt pulling any more vacuum on the guage than normal and its been smooth sailing.
The air intake was already set to 4
I do still have to give the fuel tube a blast with the blow torch for a minute on cold starts in the morning, but I dont think there is much i can do about avoiding that, not a big hassle.
Thanks for all your help guys!
Been heating my garage (also in MA) for two seasons now with relatively no problems. Downsized the nozzle from 1.0 to .75 and upped the pressure to 150 psi. Running unwashed B100 so I usually have to change the nozzle half way through the winter. I keep the garage at 45 deg when I'm not in there so things don't freeze so don't have a temp/flow problem. Using it to heat my house as well.
"This biodiesel tis a cruel and heartless mistress we home brewers have chosen"
Just for reference..
I got a really old oil furnance someone threw out. I'd run on B100. When it got cold (low 30's and below), it would have problems starting (first or subsequent times).
It had a fuel return line, so I could see the fuel flowing. I could hear the ignitors buzzing. Fuel was spraying in the chamber, because I could light it manually.
Turns out, it was the electrodes. We ordered new ones, and the tips were much longer. Put them in and viola!
Well, let my tank run empty (had no choice really, trying to keep up with making bio). I then pumped in 50 gallons and really stirred up the sediment from the bottom of the tank.....OOPS!
So I trickled in another 50 gallons and didnt upset the tank this time but its still clogging filters for some reason. Im getting a lot of foam / bubbles I can see in the top of the filter when I remove it. I might have some water left in bio or soapy bio....argghh!
I might try some new electrodes, I noticed the tips are melted on mine so they have to be a little shorter than they used to be. Im also considering getting some dino oil to mix in.
Man....I cant wait for spring!
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