Chip boiler Project

Hi!  I decided to write a blog about the fun things I like to do and how it I like to apply those things to my life.  I believe a balance is important, I feel it when I don’t have enough of something, exercise, money, sleep you name it.   My goal is to do something about all of those things and more with a welder, an Arduino application and a sense of humor.  My latest project is a homemade chip boiler that can burn either wood chips or pellets.  The plan is simple, develop a boiler to heat the entire house on the cheap.   The brains of the system is to be a Arduino microcomputer to control the boiler and the rest of the house in parallel with the existing oil fired boiler.

So the project is really split into two parts, the welding and design of the boiler and the control of the existing system and new boiler.  The chip boiler is a continuous burn unit probably producing 20-30k BTU.  Initial tests indicated 20-30k, I did these tests in the open air by weighing a pan of water and timing the time to boil.  This was a very crude method so the prototype boiler may yield different results.  The existing oil fired boiler is rated at 130,000 BTU.  So to get the two systems to work together will require a different paradigm, one requiring the circulator  pumps to work more intermittently and often .

But enough about the control theory for today,   The prototype boiler is 90% welded up and has been tested  for leaks.   The boiler was started from an over the road truck’s fuel tank.  The internal seams were never intended to be water tight and I am having trouble with welding up the all the internal weeps.    The tank under my house’s water pressure of  about 45 psi weeps,  I am intending to call and get some information on tank sealing paints today.  After a brief internet search I have seen several sealants that are intended to work with gas tanks for car restoration.  I plan to call and see if they will work with a water application  If this seems possible and good I plan to move onto the Arduino control application since I will no doubt be waiting a day or two for the materials to arrive and then apply the materials to the tank and wait the appropriate drying time.  Please feel free to weigh in on any suggestions on sealing the tank.

5 Comments on “Chip boiler Project”

  1. helpact250 says:

    Re: Sealant – I will ask Karl what they use on tanks to seal the floor. Some of tanks are 50 ft tall, so the I estimate floor should see about 20 PSI.

  2. helpact250 says:


  3. helpact250 says:

    Karl said they do not coat asphalt tanks due to the temperature (180F).

  4. helpact250 says:

    HOW ABOUT BRAZING? – Pull a vacuum on it so the braise will suck in?

    • frugaltinker says:

      I found an interesting article a guy wrote on working on his airplane tank. He pulled a vacuum and used a chemical similiar to locktite threadsealer. Because it was an airplane had to be approved for use but I think a loctite sealer might work.

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