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Biodiesel for Heating Description

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  #1  
Old 01-09-2006, 12:33 AM
rayray rayray is offline
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I recently bought one of those torpedo shop heaters from home depot.
I wanted to use B100 in it.
When I turn it on, it fires right up, gets all hot and cozy, then shuts down after about two minutes.

I'm assuming that it doesn't like the B100. The B100 must not be burning completely or something and the photo sensor picks up the exhaust and shuts it down, as it is suppose to to prevent CO poisoning.

The directions for the heater tell you how to adjust the flow for various fuels using a vacuum a special vacuum gauge. I'm wondering if I can adjust without the gauge?

Has anyone done this? Which way should I turn the adjustment screw? Anyone using B100 in there shop heaters?
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  #2  
Old 01-09-2006, 12:42 AM
WayneThomas WayneThomas is offline
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I'm currently having the same issue with my Reddy Heater. I don't know if mine is adjustable or not but I'd sure like to find out.

As far as making the adjustment, I would just turn it a little, see if it improves and keep going that way until you see no more improvement. If that direction yields no improvement, go the other way.

Where on your heater is this adjustment? My guess is that it would be in a similar spot on my heater.

Wayne
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  #3  
Old 01-09-2006, 01:05 AM
rayray rayray is offline
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I have the 60K BTU 'torpedo' model from Home Depot. It is the All-Pro brand from Desatech, although I read on this forum that they are all made by the same company and sold under different names at different stores.

The adjustment is on the back. There are two screw like things on the back. The left one is a port for a special gauge that reads the fuel pressure (NOT vacuum, as I mistated earlier) and the right one is the adjustment.

Several people on this forum have stated that they are using B100. I just wasn't sure which way I should try to tune it. So.... I dug into my stack of papaersa and found the instructions manual. It say to turn the screw to the right to increase pressure.

Am I suppose to increase or decrease the fuel pressure to get my BioD to burn properly? I assume increase, but am not sure.
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Old 01-09-2006, 01:49 AM
Tim c cook Tim c cook is offline
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I am assuming this is a standard "syphon" style heater. If so, you are actualy measuring and adjusting AIR pressure. The hockeypuck sized device that your adjustment screw is part of is a vane type air pump, it is mounted directly on the back of the electric motor, the other end of the motor has a fan that blows air over the fire box. Air is supplied to the fuel nozzle under some small pressure, 2-10 pounds, This air blows across the top of a tube that runs down into the fuel tank, this causes a vacuum and the fuel is drawn up the tube and is mixed with the air, no actual fuel pump or fuel pressure involved. the design and size of the syphon nozzle (in G/H of fuel) deturmines the amount of fuel and the fuel/air ratio, this deturmines the general amount of heat made. This fuel/air mix foggs through a tiny nozzle into the burn chamber where it is ignited and burned.

By increasing the air pressure you increase the amount of air and fuel being burnt so you get more heat, unfortunatly the fuel/air ratio does not change much so this adjustment does not have much of an effect other than balancing the flame for best combustion (least amount of smoke, most reliable ignition) in the specific size and design of the burn chamber.

Another recent post (here, go to last post and click on the "GC heater thread" link, then go about 1/2 way down that discussion)) about burning biodiesel in a torpedo heater someplace on these forums indicated that he was setting the entire heater on top of an electric hotplate to heat the tank of biodiesel, worked fine once the fuel was warm. Pretty brute force but simple.
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  #5  
Old 01-09-2006, 04:20 AM
WayneThomas WayneThomas is offline
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I was running 100% BD in mine til it got really cold. Even then it would run but when it sat overnight it wouldn't lite in the morning and would cough up a butt load of smoke.

Now I run 80% BD 20% PD and it works pretty well flawlessly.

There was some one on another thread that couldn't get his to run any BD. If I'm not mistaken it was a Home Depot deal as well.

The hot plate trick is actually a good idea. I'll have to try that.

Wayne
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  #6  
Old 01-09-2006, 07:49 AM
rayray rayray is offline
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So I take it that the fuel delivery system works on a venturi effect, similar to an oldschool perfume bottle.

Tonight I messed with the air adjustment screw and got it to burn for more like 10 minutes before it went out.

I think I might try applying some sort of heat to the tank. But, most likely, I'll just get some kerosene and experiment with different mix ratios untill I feel it is burning properly.
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Old 01-09-2006, 09:53 PM
Houndog Houndog is offline
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I thought I had posted about this a few weeks ago and I'm sorry if I didn't. That photo cell is looking for a certain "color of excitement" in it's burn, which it is not getting from B100. When it is lacking this input in the photo sensor, shutdown will occur. My best buddy and myself did all the adjustments and such to no avail. Buy tossing about 4 onces of kerosene in to the 5 gallon tank of BD, we have our reddy heaters running extremely happy on this mix of about B95. I think this will solve ya'lls problems.

Houndog
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  #8  
Old 01-10-2006, 04:04 AM
WayneThomas WayneThomas is offline
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4 ounces to 5 gallons? Thats more like B-99.5 LOL

That's awsome. My reddy heater puts out a lot of smoke at anything above 85%.

But I use diesel fuel or fuel oil. I've messed with kerosine and it didn't seem to help any more than diesel. So I spend a little less on diesel and drop the percentage a little. It could be because my reddy heater is about 25 years old. I'll bet that photo eye thing is sooted right up. I guess it's about time to take her appart and give a good cleaning.

Wayne
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  #9  
Old 01-10-2006, 07:41 AM
rayray rayray is offline
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4 oz. to 5 gallons. WOW!! I was thinking of trying 50%, then 25%, then 10%. Thinking that would be about as far as it would allow me to go. But, .5% would be great.
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  #10  
Old 01-10-2006, 02:40 PM
Houndog Houndog is offline
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Wayne -If your heater is an older unit, it may not have the glow bar ignition. Maybe that's why it smokes a bit more, ya think? I've never tried diesel in my heater even though it's multi-fuel, thinking once I had a problem with BD, I'd jump right to the kerosene. It's a good thing that it doesn't take much kerosene since I almost had a stroke when paying over $7 a gallon at my local home center.
When I was having the staying lit problems, along with messing with the settings, I removed the in line fuel filter. My settings did return to as close to factory settings as possible, but I did leave the in tank filter off. The way we all filter our fuel, I wasn't to worried about it.

Houndog
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  #11  
Old 01-16-2006, 01:36 AM
Gee_Dubya Gee_Dubya is offline
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Here is something else you can try: Block off 1/2 to 3/4 of the air intake. Once I did that my reddy heater quit shutting off prematurely. It also greatly reduced the amount of smoke on startup. I used packing tape to block the air flow.
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  #12  
Old 02-09-2006, 10:39 PM
Reggie Reggie is offline
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I just picked up a 55,000 BTU Reddy Heater at Lowe's for ½ off ($99.00). They also had several 125,000 Btu models for about $187.00.

I put a piece of paper over half the intake fan and it has been burning for about 45 min without ant disruption. It also stared the first try with virtually no smoke. Cross you figures. Maybe it will even work without restricting its airflow.

I just turned down the thermostat, waited 3-4 minutes and turned it back on. This time it smoked a tiny bit but nothing excessively.
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  #13  
Old 02-10-2006, 06:02 PM
Caddytd Caddytd is offline
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Somewhat off topic, but a friend of mine who's a mechanic just bought a small torpedo heater at one of the chain stores and it's marketed as "multi-fuel".

The sticker says it'll run on D1, D2, fuel oil, kero and even jet fuel. I gave him five gallons of bio and he said it performed very well. He said it produced somewhat less heat than PD, but I didn't get the chance to feel that for myself.

When he was testing, I believe he said he got it to run on B100 most of the time, but that it ran consistently on B95 or so.

I'll try to get the make and model...apparently it wasn't very expensive.

All these torpedo's mentioned above are all the "conventional" kinds, right? Not multi-fuel?
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  #14  
Old 02-10-2006, 07:48 PM
Jim D Jim D is offline
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My torpedo is a multi fuel. Just not multi enough for biodiesel all the time. The problem is that biodiesel's flash point is 260+ deg F. Kerosene is 140 deg F. As long as the chamber is nice and hot it will burn biodiesel. If you preheat the biodiesel it burns better. There is a guy in west Tennessee that puts heat lamp up to the cone on the front of his heater when he shuts it down at night. In the morning the chamber is still nice and hot. He runs on B100. I want to put a little T in the fuel line above the tank to allow it to start on kerosene and then switch to B100.
-Jim
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  #15  
Old 02-11-2006, 03:25 AM
Jim D Jim D is offline
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Um...My heater was having a problem. It would start and fire up fine (sounded good, lots of heat) but would then shutdown. I figured that the Photo cell was dirty. I took it apart to find that the problem was exactly that. Easy fix. I just cleaned it off. While I was there I also found lots of damage the I had caused a couple of weeks earlier.
I had been running it on B-really-close-to-100. I shut it down for the night, and then tried to start it the next morning. Well it wouldn't start. After a few tries there was a nice pool of biodiesel dripping out the front. Me, being the Einstein that I am, put a piece of paper in it and lit it up. Since the flames were not going back into the can like I wanted them to I put a fan in front of the heater. It worked great! The insides of the heater got nice and hot. It lit up just fine after that.
Well, it turns out that I melted the protective grate at the back of the heater. I melted a ground wire for the igniter. I melted the supply wire to the igniter. And I melted a wire going to the photo cell.
I cleaned it all up, taped up the wires, and put shrink wrap on what I could.
The moral of the story is that these heaters are designed for cool air to come in the back and hot air to go out the front. Not the other way around. I was lucky.
-Jim
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  #16  
Old 02-15-2006, 12:37 AM
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can we add this to the 'best of the forums' thread that Rick started? i don't remember the name of that thread and it's been a while since it's been active.

mark
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  #17  
Old 02-15-2006, 01:32 AM
dodgeram dodgeram is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Houndog:
It's a good thing that it doesn't take much kerosene since I almost had a stroke when paying over $7 a gallon at my local home center.

Houndog
One of the truck stops right by me has a kerosene pump and they are getting just over $3 a gallon right now .
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  #18  
Old 02-15-2006, 02:30 AM
Jim D Jim D is offline
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$2.99 for undyed K-1 at the pump.

If you are buying in Walmart or any home center you will pay through the nose, but you get a nifty container out of the deal.

-Jim
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Old 02-15-2006, 05:11 AM
Jim D Jim D is offline
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Quick question for everyone as they post in the future...

What kind of ignition system does your heater have?

It seems to me that they may behave quite differently with biodiesel. It could help with troubleshooting.

Mine is a champion spark plug. The manual says that 'It never needs to be adjusted.' I'm having a hard time buying that. I sanded both surfaces and brought them a little closer together. It lit MUCH faster than before. Less than a second to light off on mostly kerosene (80%?) with a cold heater. Unfortunately I still can't get it to light off B100 when it is cold.

-Jim

Quote:
can we add this to the 'best of the forums' thread that Rick started? i don't remember the name of that thread and it's been a while since it's been active.

mark

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  #20  
Old 02-15-2006, 05:15 AM
Jim D Jim D is offline
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Quote:
The hot plate trick is actually a good idea. I'll have to try that.
Wayne
Well, I can tell you that a hot pad (the size of a place mat) set on high is just not enough.
-Jim
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  #21  
Old 02-17-2006, 07:33 PM
Reggie Reggie is offline
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I have also had good luck with injecting propane into the chamber until the heater is hot. I injected it on the right side because the propane flame slightly charred the flame igniter when injecting from the opposite side. Be very careful not to let the fan hit your propane torch. The fan was really turning when I took the picture.



I am at a disadvantage here in TX because it just doesn’t get cold that often. I also have been making bio from Hydrogenated oil. When it does get cold enough to really test my ideas the fuel gels up in the orifice and delivery line. Even this cheap torch has allowed me to start the heater after it failed to start on it’s own. A high flame or high velocity torch should work even better.

I was in a local auto parts store and saw a 90-watt oil dipstick warmer for about $14. One idea would be to fill the tank and place the dip tube into the biodiesel. This dipstick would have to be removed after starting the heater since it must always be immersed in liquid.

Here is a pic of a piece of cardboard covering most the air intake. As has been stated in earlier posts this also seems to help keep the flame going.




One last idea. (and perhaps the best idea)


The two blue wires are from the photocell. According to a Tech at DESA (manufacturers of the Reddy Heater) the board is looking for an impedance of 20,000 ohms or less to stay lit. Mine tested at 15,500 Ohms. It was explained to me that if you put a flashlight directly into the photocell you could then test the impedance. If it is less than 20,000 ohms the cell is good. If you test it in complete darkness it should read above 50,000 ohms.



A double throw double pole switch should work. A 15000-ohm resister could be placed on the one set of the terminals. Once the heater is warm enough to keep the flame nice and bright the switch could be changed back to the photocell. If this idea works I would like to find a momentary switch. Once you let go of the switch it would go right back to the photocell.


For those of you up north and who are using a lower gelling point biodiesel. Is my assumption correct in that igniting the fuel is not the problem, keeping it lit is?
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  #22  
Old 02-17-2006, 07:59 PM
WayneThomas WayneThomas is offline
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Reggie, yes and no. Though my salamander will often light sometimes it won't. What normally happens is that it will fire but barely. After about a minute it'll click off because the flame hasn't gotten hot or bright enough.

This isn't always the case though. When it's cold enough, the heater won't light at all. The fuel appears to be liquid but just won't light.

Wayne
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  #23  
Old 02-17-2006, 08:00 PM
Jim D Jim D is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Reggie:
I was in a local auto parts store and saw a 90-watt oil dipstick warmer for about $14. One idea would be to fill the tank and place the dip tube into the biodiesel. This dipstick would have to be removed after starting the heater since it must always be immersed in liquid.
I LOVE that idea!!!!!

It could stay in there after the heater is up and running, you would just have to unplug it to make sure that it does not come on. But it is probably just as easy to pull it out and wipe it off when you use the heater. Making a modification to the tank or to the fuel cap so that it can stay in all of the time might be a pain.

Quote:
For those of you up north and who are using a lower gelling point biodiesel. Is my assumption correct in that igniting the fuel is not the problem, keeping it lit is?
My problem is getting it to light off in the first place. It just sits there and makes a cloud of atomized biodiesel. I have the spark plug type ignition system. Which type does your heater have?

-Jim
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  #24  
Old 02-18-2006, 12:04 AM
Reggie Reggie is offline
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I have a multi fuel Reddy Heater like those found at Loews. It has an igniter.

Propane sounds like a must in really cold weather. I have a really good one at work that I will bring home in the next couple if days. Even the cheap one will sometimes stay lit while it is being injected into the chamber. The one from work should do even better.One obvious solution is to keep the heater indoors and always warm.

The resister idea is not going to be as easy as I thought. I purchased a package of 10K Ohm resisters and tried crossing the terminals with both a 10,000 and 20,000 ohms resistance. I am not an electrical engineer nor have I had any training beyond what I have learned on my own. I know just enough to get into trouble.

Is there anyone out there with a solid understanding of how to use a multi function voltmeter (I’m not talking about a 10 dollar voltmeter)? Please email me and maybe we can figure it out together.

I suspect there is no single solution to get these heaters to work on B100. It may require several ideas to be successful in very cold climates.
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Old 02-18-2006, 02:46 AM
Greasel Fuel Greasel Fuel is offline
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I think I would run it with kerosene and measure the voltage drop across the sensor then replace the sensor with a potentiometer (variable resistor) and turn the pot until you get the same voltage drop using biodiesel. Feel free to PM me I have about 25 years as a electronics tech.
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