Scott Weinberg

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since Dec 24, 2016
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Recent posts by Scott Weinberg

Linda, I think your getting some very helpful replies, with many suggesting the second skin/plastering.  It also sounds like your doing this work yourself.  I would like to suggest, that the second skin if done with bricks, GAINS much from the joints not being in the same place as your inner wall of bricks.  Bricks are dimensional  i.e. 4.5 x 9 or 1/2 tall as they are long.  This makes 1/2 lapping a fairly easy task by either starting with a 1/2 brick, or turning a horizontal brick vertical. Corners can be ended opposite of the inner layer-  All the while your laying "this second layer" look to where the joints will come out compared to the inner layer.  

You will find, if using the excellent fire brick mortar available, that making a very thin but smooth joint is possible.  With the slightest touch of water, you can almost get plaster smooth to SEAL everything. You can do this inside and out.  i.e. on your first layer outside, joints of the second layer, and second layer outside. YOU should not have to take anything apart if you feel your first core was done correctly.

Perhaps I missed it, but I don't see where you say, that your fire roars to life at any point in the burn..  Does it?  If not, then perhaps this leads us into another area? design build flaw? I have found that sometimes the slightest error in the build can cause a lackluster burn.

Just thoughts.  
1 month ago
While Don G's notes on making a great moisture drawing area for your ground rods...can certainly do what it is intended for... I think that it may miss the point of super dry areas where the actual bears/ predators and so on, walk.  That is to say, if your standing on super dry ground, NO matter how good the ground system is...your circuit making ability from HOT wire to you to your feet and back to the fencer will be FAR less.  or even better, if you were on a rubber mat you could grab the hot wire, no matter how good of ground system you have.

This WAS the reason for the ground wire fairly close to the hot wire...  Not that the ground rods aren't very important as well. They are!   But it was first addressed that super dry ground has a problem.  AS does super dry snow...

best of success.
3 months ago
Brian Rodgers is correct  in his answer.  I commercial fenced for a number of years, and this WAS the only solution that worked ALL the time.  Generally using the entire fence as a ground does not work as well for many reasons.  Mostly because it does not complete the circuit like we would like to think.

As was explained in Brian Rodgers post, it all about completing the circuit and actually as simple as that.  As care is put into this ground wire between hot wires as the hot wires themselves.   For those of you where you get DRY snow, or have near desert conditions the same rule the animals are simply not making a complete connection back to your fencer. Which brings up fencers.

Fencers- Most today are rated by Joules.   In very simple terms, a very low rated one might sting you like a buggy whip...and you can guess what bears and gators might think about buggy whips.   Large Joule fencers hit like baseball bats, between the shoulder blades.  You want to make the MOST effect to the animal the first time.  You never want them to think "that was not so bad"  rather have them REMEMBER  "wow, I am not going there again"  simple as that.

And lastly for the nay-Sayers on the fence wire ADDED GROUND wire.   If you look at every single overhead power wire, they also run a ground wire...   Why, because a ground only at the building site (i.e. buildings, footings, buried items, fence) would not be enough.  How do we know this... birds can sit on the HOT wires all day long... or the ground wires  but NEVER both. As POOF would be the result.

You won't get poof, but you do want SLAM-BAM- OH MAN  results.

Lastly, and I heard it all the time,  " I just want to get their attn. but I don't want to hurt them"   To which I guess I could say, I have been jolted many times and NOT been hurt. But I can tell you when and how these jolts took place and some of them are over 20 years ago.  I REMEMBER and you want the Critters to REMEMBER

Best of success.
3 months ago

Jane Ashworth wrote:

For those ever thinking about heating water it's a good idea to have this option so you never over heat your water system and avoid pipes busting. We do have a thermometer to install to keep check of the water temperature and this system does has an emergency escape pressure pipe that reaches the height of our water storage tank, not sure of the correct terminology for this.

Scott in Iowa -   I would say this statement, falls short on the advice required for heating water with a "uncontrolled fire"   That being said, if you have a closed system or even one with a blow off (mandatory) and your fire is going great guns and power goes out. There is little a person could do even if your right there. And chances are you might not be.    With a two part system-  i.e.  an open system for heating the water, and second system for circulation through the first heated water generally solves the worries.    The open system, allows for total expansion, even if steam would develop.  No pressure could develop other than steam blasting through the pipes to a completely open tank (or half full of water)

This is just advice, have plumbed a few and seen a few scary ones.  

You can all look up the expansion rate of steam, but what many don't read, is just how fast and to what degree this can happen. (more than a blow off valve can handle on a closed system, if things are really cooking)

7 months ago
I'm guessing you have a great deal of folks trying for a spot,  that being said, I farm in north east Iowa and with the super late season start (as in not at all yet) the chances would be little that I could fly my bird (aircraft) for a visit and build time.  But I would like to offer that if you would like anything CAD drawn up and presented, I would certainly help in doing so, if you have some dimensions for every step of the way of any of your builds.   This, if done right, gives every part a 3-D size and shows exactly the process in which things were done.  Almost creating a step by step tutorial.   This also gives chances to do entire builds with hardly a brick cut, by experimenting with the shape placement.   I have built 2 different 8" J's and one 8" batch box, (these are working great)--- as well as watching 2 small 4" J's built of steel that simply didn't work,  do to misguided info.--- i.e  advice from someone that had never built a working RMH.

I enjoy helping folks make a working project correct or almost so, and get it done right the first time.

I do this for aircraft, RMH's, large shed doors and meat smoking units. Or large BBQ units.

Wishing you all the best!

10 months ago
I have read the replies with interest.. with some giving advice on how often thing need moving, right down to the fence type and size... I guess advice was sought.  And will toss in a bit.
The very first thing that caught my attention was the already done practice of raking out cacti   Now I doubt that land that was raising a lot of cacti, would NOT be the same productivity as say some land in Iowa.. But then again, I can go 1/2 mile from me, and go up or down in production amount, by 50 to 100%

So without some kind of estimated carrying capacity known, as well as many other things, it would be useless to suggest when something should be moved.

Other facts,  "sheep and worms"  If you have land that can carry sheep to the amount of 10 sheep to the acre vs 1 sheep to the acre the difference in worm problems is HUGE  (moist vs super dry conditions)

By the way, electric fence works great on moist soils, if built right, and might not work at all on super dry soil, if also built correctly.

So what I am saying here to answer your question,  "it simply depends on so many things, that you have not stated-- and that to get a correct suggestion or answer, would require a lot more details.

Scott- I used to build commercial fence,  400 sheep, 600 goats and a few others things..but did so on land that could carry far more than grazing land. And done so, far differently than then next guy...mostly dealing with what we had.
10 months ago
A few answers or perhaps better said- What I ended up doing.

by having barrels (55gal) used as storage, you can basically have a separation between heated and ready to heat water.    i.e.  if you have six barrels in a line, pulling off the bottom of each going to the top of the next (laid flat) The last barrel to receive water from the RMH is the hottest, and the one being drawn from is the coldest.    This does several things.

1) Allows a very low cost solar controller, do the start/stop of the water pump as the temp difference between inlet and outlet is enough different to be used to turn pump on and off.  12 degrees
2) is as low cost as I could find
3) gives 2630#'s of mass, so that each one degree of temp rise equals 1 btu stored.  give or take a bit.
4) gives easily expandable or move-able mass.
5) keeps the system open with the last receiving barrel having a open fill hole (no steam stop point or pressure build)

I have found with just one barrel, it doesn't take long, for the water going into stove vs coming out, can get much closer to  about 5 degrees apart, thus not really storing much or allowing the controller to do much.  (on/off a lot)  slower water movement equal higher temps, but less efficient --

Everything is a trade off, but this really pulls the heat off beyond the initial burn chamber, thus allowing the stove to do its thing, and the water jacket to do its thing as well.   No different than a COB mass, but perhaps allows less things (rocks and cob mix) to be carried in. Again a trade off, but a workable one.

cheers all and stay warm!

2 years ago

Peter van den Berg wrote:

Joel Rutledge wrote:I guess I'm still not understanding how you got a csa of 11.28"...   Because 12 x 2.25 = 27.  Maybe I have a different understanding of what CSA is: I thought that was the area of the hole...  Sorry to be daft...

I do get what you were saying with the drag and comparable size of duct.  When building, I assumed the similar area and smooth transition of the 12x2.25 boot would make a good manifold.  Should I have used a larger manifold, which would have moved my core offcenter in the drum?

The key word here is COMPARABLE. Your 12x2.25 is as good in transporting gases as a round duct of 3.79 dia. The csa of that last one is 11.28" sq. and that's what I am talking about.
The core offcenter would be OK.

I don't want to sound negative here Joel, but Peter van den Berg has pointed out the most obvious problem with the exhaust size restricting how ALL the rest of the stove works.  And towards the end of the post, a fairly good solution was presented...

When I built my first stove a few years ago, I had a few little problems, that I asked about, and got many varied answers, but only a few were based on pretty hard earned calculations (Like Peter's are)  In the end, I had Peter list 6 things that could be causing me problems and rank them from the biggest problem to the least.    That way I could change 1 thing, test, and if it did not work I would be stumped- but if it did improve, I knew I was going down the right track.   I did not question these changes, I just did them.

The first was the outlet problem,  Simply said, my outlet matched my inside flue size, but was to restrictive, for similar reasons as yours. Changed that to the suggested size and HUGE change in performance.. ONLY one change and double the results.
The second was distance between inside flue and the barrel,  changed that and more- positive results (but less gain than the first)
The third was shortening up the burn tunnel- again based on numbers by Peter, again I gained... but again, just a bit better.. (always good)  Your tunnel "looks long" and could have the same long flat rectangle problem as your outlet, yes the square inches might be there, but surface area much higher than needed vs square.

It was also tossed out that burn chamber and tunnel be insulated, with a fair bit of time spent on if or if not your bricks were the insulating kind, they simply are not insulating kiln brick if bought in Menards.  And yes, they  do not get hot right away (yours) but they will get super HOT, in time, thus insulation will play an important role.  Mineral Wool bat is another option.  But the way you made yours, might not be an option.  Just tossing it out.  

There were three more suggestions that I won't go into, but did on my second stove for even better results.
But the best non physical suggestion was to get the online book with the numbers,  If Peter is reading this, perhaps he can post the best way to buy this.

2 years ago
Just a quick update from the time of last suggestion- 12-24-16   By Travis J.    The suggestion is certainly on the right track.  And the local big box store had the items listed, but of course NO ONE that had any idea on how to set up.  So some reading/research is in order to go this route.     That never hurt anyone.

It also got me to do a "search" for PLC's with temp sensors-  and got a huge feedback.  This may prove the best yet, for the money, but doubtful for the least work as there seems to be companies that have done this for you.  So the classic "one hand vs the other"   Again I will post if I come up the solution that worked for me.

Back to the collection part- even before the controller is figured out.     I wrapped 60' of 1/2 copper fairly tightly around my horizontal flue piping- this filled with water and pumped at slowest volume possible- while I would say the flue temp before the wrapping was hotter than post wrapping, the temp gain in the water was discouraging.    But the cost was minimal to try...and much was learned.  Basically the volume of heated air (flue gas) was zipping by faster than what I could collect...  But what was learned was that I could inter-connect 2- 55 gal barrels, even 10 with great ease and low cost.

Forward progress.
2 years ago
This may have been covered, but can't find.

I have built my second rocket mass heater, and both work extremely well. I didn't change anything from suggested size formulas or details. Including metal where the fire is in the burn pot-tunnel and riser.  Plus insulated with mineral wool in required places.

My question is, has anyone found a controller for a water pump, that would allow (control flow) minimal gpm when fire is starting, ramping up to much higher flow rates, when fire is at full bore, and then even shutting down completely when fire runs out of fuel and goes out.   (few hours after burn start)  

Would be nice, I am thinking, of being able to maintain final flu temp of 80-90 degree, and scrub as much heat as I can before this final reading.

Don't worry, this WILL NOT be a closed system, so no steam concerns. And this is NOT intended anywhere in the actual stove, like so many have tried to do.  Rather just in the exhaust tunnel area, which in my case is 12' long. The pumping action of the stove/air/fire will have taken place and I won't be cooling any of that area to quick to cause problems.

Just trying to scrub as much heat as I can with water- instead of carrying in 4500-6000 lbs of rock/stone/sand/cob  to a hard to get to location.

thanks in advance.

ps... 35 years ago, I used to be able to buy a controller that did just this, for the solar panels I installed, it had capability of 5 sensors, with the first one being simply, if heated water was 5 degrees warmer than stored water, pump would start, and then the same if below the set 5 degrees it would shut off.   Plus all the variable speeds (up)  as temp spread increased.  I can't find such a controller in todays world. But I suspect something is out there.

2 years ago