Log burner automation

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RBailey
Posts: 242
Joined: Thu 1st Aug, 2019 7:25 am
Location: Rutland

Log burner automation

Post by RBailey » Sun 27th Feb, 2022 12:35 pm

Hi All,

Firstly I can't claim any credit for this one, the BIL is an HVAC /control engineer and its his hard work.

Recently installed automatic air control (and log addition warning and online temperature monitoring) for our log burner that I thought I would share.
Image
(This is the view under the log burner.)

The system takes flue temperature (via an external mounted thermocouple) and a room air temperature sensor to control a electrical actuator to drive the air damper.

The system is driven by a trend controller
Image

Some clever software
Image

Which drives the air damper via an electrical linear actuator
Image

This is the temperature graph as the damper comes in and out. (Viewable from an app on the phone via the controller's IP address.)
The first hump is the initial kindling and log, then the next group of humps is the first filling, then the second filling and left to burn out.
Image
(Disregard the actual temperature numbers, this is because the flue thermometer is external. Its mounted via an aluminum heat sink so a much lower rated thermocouple is needed, it just adds some lag to the system).

The system considers the flue temperature to control the damper. It also factors in the room air temperature and if the room is "cold" it burns harder until the room is up to temperature. There is also overheat control if the fire runs away it closes the damper and a emergency over-ride. Once the damper is open over 80% and the temperature drops below a set point and not increasing it triggers a red light meaning it needs another log.

Very effective, increases the length a log will last and no need to get off the sofa to adjust the fire :lol:

Cheers,
Richard B.

worms
Posts: 1936
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Location: ultima Thule

Re: Log burner automation

Post by worms » Sun 27th Feb, 2022 5:34 pm

RBailey wrote:
Sun 27th Feb, 2022 12:35 pm

Very effective, increases the length a log will last and no need to get off the sofa to adjust the fire :lol:
A neat and elegant system!

...But isn't the constant adjusting and fettling part of the fun of having a log burner?! :)

Feltwell
Posts: 5910
Joined: Sun 18th May, 2008 7:28 pm
Location: Shropshire, England

Re: Log burner automation

Post by Feltwell » Sun 27th Feb, 2022 6:48 pm

Very clever Richard - though I am a little disappointed at there being no robot arm to add more logs :lol:

Can I just check something though - have you got an incredibly strong affinity for cheese, and do you have a dog called Gromit? With all the inventions I'm just wondering if "Richard B" is your nom de plume...... :wink:

RBailey
Posts: 242
Joined: Thu 1st Aug, 2019 7:25 am
Location: Rutland

Re: Log burner automation

Post by RBailey » Mon 28th Feb, 2022 8:50 am

worms wrote:
Sun 27th Feb, 2022 5:34 pm
...But isn't the constant adjusting and fettling part of the fun of having a log burner?! :)
:lol: Sitting and enjoying a large glass of red is the joy of a log burner.

Feltwell wrote:
Sun 27th Feb, 2022 6:48 pm
Can I just check something though - have you got an incredibly strong affinity for cheese, and do you have a dog called Gromit? With all the inventions I'm just wondering if "Richard B" is your nom de plume...... :wink:
Couldn't possibly comment :wink:

Cheers,
Richard B.

CliffordPope
Posts: 731
Joined: Tue 16th Nov, 2010 2:57 pm

Re: Log burner automation

Post by CliffordPope » Mon 28th Feb, 2022 7:06 pm

Feltwell wrote:
Sun 27th Feb, 2022 6:48 pm
I am a little disappointed at there being no robot arm to add more logs
Perhaps if the logs were chipped and fed into the burner via a motorised auger that could be easily achieved? :)

a twig
Posts: 829
Joined: Sun 6th Oct, 2013 10:18 pm

Re: Log burner automation

Post by a twig » Tue 1st Mar, 2022 10:11 pm

I love the over-engineering in this - turning waste sawdust into logs for the wood burner, get one of those up and running then you could easily incorporate a hopper system as found on a biomass boiler to auto load

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ri62uzLoss

Cubist
Posts: 389
Joined: Thu 24th May, 2018 3:53 pm
Location: Shropshire/Herefordshire Border

Re: Log burner automation

Post by Cubist » Thu 3rd Mar, 2022 11:02 am

In a number of replies on similar/associated topics I have presented myself as a Luddite unprepared to consider, or promote, the implementation of ‘modern’ technology into my home. The origins of that determination need no discussion here other than to report that, on assuming a more bucolic lifestyle, I was keen to abandon the badges – ‘brands’ would be a more appropriate term – of my prior bondage.

In the ensuing years, I have steadfastly avoided/resisted any but the most minor encroachment of the ‘modern’ technologies, bar for a few essential trinkets such as a laser measure and a digital Vernier gauge. Notwithstanding these efforts my endeavours have from time to time been undermined by the proclivity of the First Lady to invest heavily in any product that bears an Apple logo – MicroSoft is a definite nogo-logo here.

It started innocently enough with Iphones, Ipads, Fitbits and such personal use stuff but quickly moved on to embrace more advanced tools that have culminated in the fully automated wood-fired heating system Fircroft has enjoyed for some time. This, it appears, is somewhat more comprehensive than that implemented by Richard insofar that it includes all the precursor and successor activities his appears to overlook. These therefore include: -

• Felling, cutting and splitting of the timber.
• Safe and effective disposal of all brash.
• Transport, storage and seasoning of the logs.
• Final delivery to the wood-burners and efficient burn management.
• Also, the removal of the resulting ash and dust.

Due to its scale the system overall is not something that one could ever regard as ‘fully industrialised’. Indeed, no effort has been spared to ensure that no such accusation could ever be levelled. However, it does include and exhibit many features and characteristics that the tech-nerds and geeks among us would instantly recognise and be familiar with; including: -

• Full HD Colour Graphic user interfaces.
• Touch sensors and controls.
• High Resolution Optics and Motion/Gesture recognition/response systems.
• Voice/sound activiation, recognition and response management.

Despite its relative sophistication our system has, thus far, suffered few failures and none of any meaningful magnitude. Such faults as have occurred have all been due to some minor fault in the human interfaces or the resulting confusion in the signalling system between the various components. Most have been easily traced and rectified with only limited discomfort. However, there are some, still, where I can only ascribe the root cause to a ‘Bit Flip’ resulting from a stray cosmic ray – some readers may recall the Nissan Prius scandal of a few years ago – and producing outcomes almost as catastrophic.

Fortunately, thus far, the only injuries sustained from such incidents have been minor and have healed rapidly but nevertheless some threat to life was involved. As a consequence, I have been introducing further layers of double and triple redundancy into those parts of our system that are intended to provide early warning and initiation of urgent action. The Fircroft Heat Management Algorithms now include: -

• Co-ordinated monitoring of all sensor types to ensure that every signal is captured, and verified by cross-confirmation to ensure accurate recognition before appropriate action warnings are issued.
• Inclusion of ‘Personal Safety First’ rules that ensure suitable defensive actions are initiated automatically and require little in the way of conscious human oversight.
• Predictive processing to provide earlier warnings of potential changes to the key demands from our home environment.

As a result, our latest generation of the Fircroft Heat Management System is now able to anticipate when I am required to GOMA to –

• Fetch more logs from the wood store to replenish the baskets.
• Kindle new fires when and as needed.
• Monitor and control the rate of burn to the required degree.
• Collect and dispose of residual ash waste.
• Maintain the equipment in prime and clean condition.

Any and all of which can now be triggered by a simple verbal request or even with just a pointing finger and an attractively soft grunt from the First Lady – and therefore avoiding painful escalations to finger prodding and/or shin kicking.

Cubist (aka I Robot)

LadyArowana
Posts: 3329
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Re: Log burner automation

Post by LadyArowana » Fri 4th Mar, 2022 7:33 am

Cubist wrote:
Thu 3rd Mar, 2022 11:02 am

Any and all of which can now be triggered by a simple verbal request or even with just a pointing finger and an attractively soft grunt from the First Lady – and therefore avoiding painful escalations to finger prodding and/or shin kicking.

Cubist (aka I Robot)
That sounds remarkably similar to our system. We apparently have something called a Heatmiser App on his Lordship’s phone, I voice activate that.

Cubist
Posts: 389
Joined: Thu 24th May, 2018 3:53 pm
Location: Shropshire/Herefordshire Border

Re: Log burner automation

Post by Cubist » Fri 4th Mar, 2022 10:34 am

LadyArowana wrote:
Fri 4th Mar, 2022 7:33 am
Cubist wrote:
Thu 3rd Mar, 2022 11:02 am

Any and all of which can now be triggered by a simple verbal request or even with just a pointing finger and an attractively soft grunt from the First Lady – and therefore avoiding painful escalations to finger prodding and/or shin kicking.

Cubist (aka I Robot)
That sounds remarkably similar to our system. We apparently have something called a Heatmiser App on his Lordship’s phone, I voice activate that.
Just goes to show I suppose that - "there genuinely is nothing new under the sun".

Or... am I confusing myself with unseen before articles that mysteriously appear from a wardrobe or shipping container - "What? This old thing, you must remember....."

88v8
Posts: 2939
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Location: Glorious Gloucs

Re: Log burner automation

Post by 88v8 » Sun 6th Mar, 2022 10:33 am

RBailey wrote:
Sun 27th Feb, 2022 12:35 pm
Recently installed automatic air control (and log addition warning and online temperature monitoring) for our log burner that I thought I would share.
Speaking as someone who detests complexification and electronics.... that's jolly clever :)

But the red light... surely a mellifluous bell...

Ivor

PS it would fit to a Clearview, methinks... I wonder if you could interest them in licencing it....

RBailey
Posts: 242
Joined: Thu 1st Aug, 2019 7:25 am
Location: Rutland

Re: Log burner automation

Post by RBailey » Mon 7th Mar, 2022 8:09 am

88v8 wrote:
Sun 6th Mar, 2022 10:33 am
PS it would fit to a Clearview, methinks... I wonder if you could interest them in licencing it....
I have thought this as I would think there was a market.
Unfortunately the controller and actuator are a couple of hundred pounds each so it is probably cost prohibitive.
(The ones I have are used / second hand parts removed from other jobs.)

Cheers,
Richard B.

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