Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
Did you miss your activation email?

Username: Password:

Author Topic: M250  (Read 2625 times)

NaturallyAspirated

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 443
  • OWF Brand: Central Boiler
  • OWF Model: M250
  • Golfing, snowmobiling fool!
    • View Profile
    • http://www.nealmastel.com
M250
« on: November 18, 2016, 08:08:10 AM »

Got a pretty decent deal on a new M250.  Installed and ran a week on wood pellets, now I have a 50/50 mix of corn 14-14.3% moisture, and wood pellets.  Seems to be humming along quite nicely!   :thumbup:

I have a 200 bushel bulk bin and auger system on order, and will be installing that soon.  I have been working on an Arduino based controller/monitor for the bulk bin feeding into the M250 hopper.  I will also be monitoring the status of the furnace, things such as feed auger, blower motor, water temps, burn chamber temp, snap disk status, ect.

Picture of the controller under construction:


Neal
Logged
Miss Farad was pretty and sensual, and charged to a reckless potential; but a rascal named Ohm conducted her home - Her decline was, alas, exponential
Send me your bitcoins!  1GEsGKzP5xK9e45YDjmRzGYpnhwT3oNbvj

Corneroffice

  • Training Wheels
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 32
  • OWF Brand: CB
  • OWF Model: e2300
    • View Profile
Re: M250
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2016, 09:41:34 AM »

I have a 200 bushel bulk bin and auger system on order, and will be installing that soon.  I have been working on an Arduino based controller/monitor for the bulk bin feeding into the M250 hopper.  I will also be monitoring the status of the furnace, things such as feed auger, blower motor, water temps, burn chamber temp, snap disk status, ect.

Ardunio, I love it!
Keep us posted how it goes, always been interested in doing something like this.
Logged

NaturallyAspirated

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 443
  • OWF Brand: Central Boiler
  • OWF Model: M250
  • Golfing, snowmobiling fool!
    • View Profile
    • http://www.nealmastel.com
Re: M250
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2016, 12:55:30 PM »

Bulk bin is being delivered as this is posted!  I'm stuck (.... well not really stuck....) down in Nassau Bahamas for work this week.  I did do a brief write up and a block diagram of how I will interface the furnace and bulk bin, as well as the Amazon Echo:

Here is a block diagram of the outside furnace, bulk bin that feeds the furnace, Arduino controller, web server, Alexa, and Amazon Web Services interfacing. 

Firstly, the main goal I am after is to have limit switches mounted inside the Central Boiler M250 furnace that controls the filling of the 7 bushel hopper of the furnace from the 200 bushel bulk bin. There are a total of 4 switches inside the hopper (I wanted robust redundancy) that send a 5 volt signal to the pins on the Arduino.  Under the proper conditions those switch inputs will allow the Arduino to send out a 5 volt signal to a high current (power) relay, which will turn on the motor of the auger on the bulk bin, filling the hopper on the furnace.  The high limit switches then activate and the Arduino turns off the bulk bin auger motor relay pin.  This automates the filling of the furnace from the bulk bin.

Here is a code snippet that lives in the Arduino that does the logic control for all 4 limit switches, and turning off (low) or on (high) the auger relay pin:

Code: [Select]
// Hopper limit switch logic, engages and disengages bulk bin auger:

  if (high1val == HIGH || high2val == HIGH)

    {

      digitalWrite(augerrelayPin, LOW);

    }

 

  if (high1val == LOW && high2val == LOW && low1val == LOW && low2val == LOW)

    {

      digitalWrite(augerrelayPin, HIGH);

    }

https://www.arduino.cc/en/Reference/Boolean

Secondly, I am harvesting many physical points of the M250 furnace for monitoring purposes, mainly I care about the burn chamber temperature thermocouple, the water temperature thermocouple, and the water level switch. 

The burn chamber thermocouple is installed in the furnace so that the furnace's built in Firestar controller: https://www.youtube.com/embed/y8FcxUCI9w4?rel=0&modestbranding=1&autoplay=1  can tell if the fire has burned out, and will then go though it's process for relighting.  The controller is looking for a 300 degree or so signal from the thermocouple.  Obviously I wish to harvest this data from the thermocouple and put it into the arduino so that I can also monitor if the fire is out in the furnace.

The water temperature thermocouple is there to control the mode/level that the furnace runs at.  This outside furnace is a little unique in that it does not care what the call from the house thermostat is doing, the furnace simply cares to keep it's water temperature at the set level.  That is done in the Firestar controller, which I have presently set at 180 degrees.  The water temperature thermocouple also provides the controller with the over limit and warning temperatures for the water.  We DO NOT want the water in the furnace to boil, we want to keep it was hot as possible while not melting down.  As such the controller cycles the speed of the auger that feeds the wood/corn into the burn chamber, as well as the speed of the positive draft fan.  The faster the auger goes, the more fuel is available, the faster the fan blows the hotter the fire.  The controller cycles through the modes to keep the fuel and fan at the appropriate levels to keep the water at 180 degrees (how that all happens is in the above posted video, if you are really bored...).  This is probably the most critical item that I want to be able to access from the Amazon Echo interface.  I wish to be able to ask Alexa what the present water temperature is, and if possible (not sure on this yet) have Alexa verbally warn if the water is above a certain level. This is where the Amazon development system seems to be a bit ahead/better than the Google system, I can have Alexa deploy a new skill such that it will trigger an Amazon Lambda function, which will be coded to go get the water temperature variable from the web server that is connected to the Arduino, then pass that info back to the Alexa skill.  Next I will have to see if Alexa can be triggered to speak from an Amazon Lambda function.  I will have a function that will poll the web server every minute or so and trigger a verbal response from Alexa if the water temperature is in an alarm condition.

Lastly, I would like to code in all the arduino pin conditions and OAS software data that is published to the web server, into Alexa's skills, such that I can ask: "Alexa, what is the furnace's __________ status."  I am intending to add some sonic distance sensors, such that I can get a level status of the bulk bin, as well as the hopper.

Any thoughts, suggestions, ideas, or concerns?

 :thumbup:

Neal
Logged
Miss Farad was pretty and sensual, and charged to a reckless potential; but a rascal named Ohm conducted her home - Her decline was, alas, exponential
Send me your bitcoins!  1GEsGKzP5xK9e45YDjmRzGYpnhwT3oNbvj

mlappin

  • Fabricator Extraordinaire
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4097
  • OWF Brand: homebuilt, now HeatmasterSS
  • OWF Model: Martin Steel Works Gen 1 then, now a G200.
  • North Liberty, Indiana
    • View Profile
    • Altheatsolutions
Re: M250
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2016, 05:50:58 PM »

You may have issues with switches in the hopper. Iíve fought this issue for years with our drying setup. Iíve tried diaphragm switches, proximity sensors and lastly have finally settled on rotary bin levels.

I still have several EZ-switches in use in other areas and have remained reasonably trouble free so far, when used in the surge tank had issues with any condensation causing dust to stick to the sensor part and giving false readings, condensation may still be an issue. Not sure how much heat bleeds off the boiler into the hopper chamber, but cold corn coming in may cause some condensation.

Not sure they have miniaturized versions of these, but iíve yet to have any issues with them and have been running two for awhile, watch Ebay, I didnít pay near this much for both of mine.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BIN-MASTER-ROTARY-LEVEL-INDICATOR-GR-NEW-OUT-OF-BOX-/331576347492?hash=item4d337d8b64:g:ZrUAAOSwpDdVc~bY


Logged
Stihl 023
Stihl 362
Stihl 460
Sachs Dolmar 112 and 120
Homemade skid steer mounted splitter, 30" throat, 5" cylinder
Wood-Eze model 8100 firewood processor

HeatmasterSS dealer for Northern Indiana

NaturallyAspirated

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 443
  • OWF Brand: Central Boiler
  • OWF Model: M250
  • Golfing, snowmobiling fool!
    • View Profile
    • http://www.nealmastel.com
Re: M250
« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2016, 07:05:55 AM »

You may have issues with switches in the hopper. Iíve fought this issue for years with our drying setup. Iíve tried diaphragm switches, proximity sensors and lastly have finally settled on rotary bin levels.

I still have several EZ-switches in use in other areas and have remained reasonably trouble free so far, when used in the surge tank had issues with any condensation causing dust to stick to the sensor part and giving false readings, condensation may still be an issue. Not sure how much heat bleeds off the boiler into the hopper chamber, but cold corn coming in may cause some condensation.

Not sure they have miniaturized versions of these, but iíve yet to have any issues with them and have been running two for awhile, watch Ebay, I didnít pay near this much for both of mine.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/BIN-MASTER-ROTARY-LEVEL-INDICATOR-GR-NEW-OUT-OF-BOX-/331576347492?hash=item4d337d8b64:g:ZrUAAOSwpDdVc~bY
One of my other SCADA buddies brough up the limit switch issue, after a discussion we thought about using an opto switch, as long as the dust from filling wasn't overly bad.

One nice thing about the lever limit switches I have right now is that they are decently plastic encased, so that hopefully the dust and condensation is not a huge issue.  Also as time allows I will see how a sonic distance sensor works in the bin and hopper for level, if they work reliably I can work them into the filling protocol.

Neal
Logged
Miss Farad was pretty and sensual, and charged to a reckless potential; but a rascal named Ohm conducted her home - Her decline was, alas, exponential
Send me your bitcoins!  1GEsGKzP5xK9e45YDjmRzGYpnhwT3oNbvj

mlappin

  • Fabricator Extraordinaire
  • Global Moderator
  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 4097
  • OWF Brand: homebuilt, now HeatmasterSS
  • OWF Model: Martin Steel Works Gen 1 then, now a G200.
  • North Liberty, Indiana
    • View Profile
    • Altheatsolutions
Re: M250
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2016, 07:08:54 AM »

Iím not sure what the easy switches used, dust alone wasnít a problem, but if you added any condensation and dust, it would shut everything down as it would read ďfullĒ. This was in the top of the hopper, the one in the bottom would always have some corn flowing around it to keep it cleaned off.

http://www.easy-automation.com
Logged
Stihl 023
Stihl 362
Stihl 460
Sachs Dolmar 112 and 120
Homemade skid steer mounted splitter, 30" throat, 5" cylinder
Wood-Eze model 8100 firewood processor

HeatmasterSS dealer for Northern Indiana

NaturallyAspirated

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 443
  • OWF Brand: Central Boiler
  • OWF Model: M250
  • Golfing, snowmobiling fool!
    • View Profile
    • http://www.nealmastel.com
Re: M250
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2016, 11:12:02 AM »

Bulk bin standing up between the two larger storage bins.  Can't wait to get home and rig it up!   :thumbup:



Neal
Logged
Miss Farad was pretty and sensual, and charged to a reckless potential; but a rascal named Ohm conducted her home - Her decline was, alas, exponential
Send me your bitcoins!  1GEsGKzP5xK9e45YDjmRzGYpnhwT3oNbvj

todd.crow

  • Training Wheels
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3
  • OWF Brand: Central Boiler
  • OWF Model: 6048
    • View Profile
Re: M250
« Reply #7 on: December 07, 2016, 03:08:11 PM »

To fill the hopper on my M255, i also have an bulk bin with a auger into the Maxim. I bought the switch that Central sells for their auger kits from my central dealer and mounted it on the end of the auger in the hopper. Then I added a 24hr timer that I plugged the whole auger system into that I programmed to only allow the auger to run twice a day. So instead of running for a few seconds every hour, it runs for 5 minutes twice a day. I will add some pictures this weekend.
Logged

NaturallyAspirated

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 443
  • OWF Brand: Central Boiler
  • OWF Model: M250
  • Golfing, snowmobiling fool!
    • View Profile
    • http://www.nealmastel.com
Re: M250
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2016, 04:29:55 PM »

To fill the hopper on my M255, i also have an bulk bin with a auger into the Maxim. I bought the switch that Central sells for their auger kits from my central dealer and mounted it on the end of the auger in the hopper. Then I added a 24hr timer that I plugged the whole auger system into that I programmed to only allow the auger to run twice a day. So instead of running for a few seconds every hour, it runs for 5 minutes twice a day. I will add some pictures this weekend.
So how do you avoid overfill/underfill.  For example burning in spring and fall when you may only use a quarter or half bushel per day?

Neal
Logged
Miss Farad was pretty and sensual, and charged to a reckless potential; but a rascal named Ohm conducted her home - Her decline was, alas, exponential
Send me your bitcoins!  1GEsGKzP5xK9e45YDjmRzGYpnhwT3oNbvj

todd.crow

  • Training Wheels
  • *
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3
  • OWF Brand: Central Boiler
  • OWF Model: 6048
    • View Profile
Re: M250
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2016, 09:17:21 PM »

I have some pictures that may help explain it better.

Here you see the auger tube from the grain bin to the hopper on the Maxim



Here is the auger end inside the hopper of the maxim. In the box on the end of the auger is the switch that turns the auger off when the hopper is full. The switch we purchased from Central Boiler parts, it is the same switch that they use on their auger systems from their auxiliary hopper. We use the CB switch to control a solenoid/relay that actually controls the auger.



This is a better look at that switch.



The timer allows the auger to run twice a day, otherwise the paddle switch would start the auger and it would only take a few seconds to fill the hopper to turn off the switch. I didn't think that was good for the auger motor, so I added the timer in front of the switch. As far as underfill, so far it hasn't been an issue. If it was, i would just change the timer to have the auger run 3 times a day.

This is my webpage with a complete description of the system I have.
http://www.crowsnest.us/farm_projects/building_heating.htm
Logged