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Burner adjustment for homemade maple syrup rig

vtfarmer
vtfarmer Member Posts: 58
This is both a question and an exhibition of something that will make certain regulars here cringe. This is the third oil fired maple syrup evaporator I've built using as many oil burners (I'll see if I can find photos of the first two). The burner is a Wayne Blue Angel firing into half of an oil drum lined with random bricks heating a stainless pan I've had for many years. The flue gasses exhaust out the gaps on the sides where the pan is narrower than the diameter of the drum.

The question is: what is the best way to set the burner up given that there's no flue, virtually no draft, and my ancient Dwyer CO2 and smoke test kit is in pretty poor shape? This burner came off of a Utica boiler someone was throwing out and it was equipped with a 1.5 GPH nozzle. That was way too much for this so I tried a 1 GPH nozzle then a 0.75 and that seems to be the sweet spot as far as the flame not hitting the back of the combustion chamber goes. Having no practical way to test the smoke or CO2 I did it "by eye" (there's the cringe!) with the pan off closing the shutter until the flame smoked, then opening it until the flame started to pull away from the retention head, then closing until it was somewhere in between. Is there any way to get it closer to optimal with this type of setup? Or should I be happy it's not sooting the pan up and just boil on.


Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,334
    What brand and model nozzle are you using? For example, Delavan 0.75x80B..............
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,004
    @vtfarmer

    Be happy, your not going to be able to test that. Adjust by eye with no smoke and your good. The right nozzle and the right set up will help
  • vtfarmer
    vtfarmer Member Posts: 58
    Steamhead said:

    What brand and model nozzle are you using? For example, Delavan 0.75x80B..............

    @Steamhead it's a SidHarvey 70 degree hollow that I have in there now.

    One thing that puzzled me was the back of the burner has a chart for nozzle assembly insertion depth for each firing range and the original nozzle would have required setting "2" (0.85-1.75), but the actual setting as I found it was 0 (all the way back). Since otherwise the burner works well I'm hesitant to change it, even with the new nozzle at 0.75 the chart still calls for a depth of 1 so the current setting isn't on the chart at all.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,947
    With a rig like that (you're not alone, by the way), as @EBEBRATT-Ed said -- if it's running OK, be happy, don't worry. You've hit the main things -- it lights OK, no or very little smoke... syrup tastes good.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 3,201
    edited February 2021
    Roses is red
    Violets is purple
    Sugar is sweet
    And so's Maple Syruple.

    Am I showing my age?

    I love Home Made stuff. Oil burner processing furnaces.

    There was an oil dealer in Woodbine New Jersey during the 1950s and 60s that had an oil-fired pizza oven. Fire the oven for 2-3 hours to get the bricks hot. let it sit for 1 hour to vent the oil fumes, then put the pizzas in to cook after that.

    I guess if you are in the oil business and you are Italian, this is how you feed the neighborhood. Never had a slice of the Pizza but I have seen the oven in his backyard. Henry died before I moved there.

    I always wanted to get a vintage black Ford Thunderbird and cut a hole in the back bumper to insert an oil burner...
    Yep, I wanted a homemade Batmobile.

    I believe your Syrup oven is great... Love it! If you are getting sufficient heat for your process and you have little or no visible smoke, then you have dialed it in as best as any professional can. If the bottom of your homemade boiler is turning black then just add a little air, if you are getting a brown varnish on the components and heavy oil odor, then you need to back off on the air adjustment. if you don't see any soot/carbon buildup, then it's all is good. Over time the burner blower may get a buildup of dust and lint and animal dander. This will change your air oil adjustment. Keep an eye on that and clean all the air-handling parts regularly.

    Enjoy the Syrup
    Mr.Ed
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey.
    Services first oil burner at age 16
    P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,004
    edited February 2021
    @vtfarmer

    And good combustion smells......good!

    Too much air and the fire gets lean, some time bluish or violet streaks and an acrid smell that burns your nose........you will know it when you see it or smell it. You get it with to much air or a partially plugged nozzle or a reduction in oil flow....dirty pump strainer plugged filter or a bad pump.

    To little air causes smoke

    The wrong nozzle or wrong burner head adjustment can cause either of the above.

    So no smoke and it smells good.......your good to go

    Old school, that's how burners were adjusted back in the day
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,334
    edited February 2021
    Here's the manual. In your application I'd use an 80° hollow nozzle, like a Delavan "A", Danfoss "AH" or Hago "H" series.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,004
    @vtfarmer

    Suppose you could stick a pc of metal over the fire box with a hole in it for the flue put a pc of smokepipe on it and run a combustion test. Draft may change which could change things
  • vtfarmer
    vtfarmer Member Posts: 58
    Thanks for the advice and information! This site and you guys are amazing.

    I think I have it mostly dialed in. Today when I first started it up I got a little smoke but it went away when the firebox heated up. There is almost no combustion odor once the bricks (actual clay bricks, not fire bricks - I used what was on hand) start glowing and the combustion chamber is hot.