I am a amateur welder who enjoys creating things, especially useful time saving devices that also save me money. I also enjoy programming and have taught myself C++ for this project, primarily from the use of blogs, support from friends with more programming experience than me and several good books. I am located in New Hampshire, USA. If you would like to contact me feel free, email me at email@example.com
Your project is very cool. You have a rare combination of geek skills and fabricating.
I have heated with waste vegetable oil for three years in Wisconsin. My boiler is a 100 year old oil burner that was converted from coal. I call it FRANKENFURNACE I intended to add either wood or pellet burner (for dual fuel use) this fall but life got in the way. The only suggestion I have is that you forget about the “home made boiler” and attach your burner to a used oil boiler. The efficiency would be better,safer and no leaks either.
Keep up the interesting work.
Matt In Milwaukeee
Matt, thanks for your comment and compliments, I am hoping I am not that rare, I think a lot of people are interested in Arduino these days and the capabilty that the Arduino gives you is awesome. I do see your point about a conversion instead of a complete build though in retrospect it probably would have saved a lot of time and effort. I think I will do a craigslist search for Boilers! Thanks.
Like what you are doing. On the waste oil burners, this is a path I have been wanting to pursue, however my intermittent microcontroller efforts make it a too time consuming effort.
The Arduino may change that. I have a huge pile of microcontrollers to play with, but no time to make boards and interface them. The Arduino may fix that.
On waste boilers, I would caution you as follows….when you get a boiler, make sure it has huge heat transfer surfaces, not the small tubes many residential boilers have. Reason being, they clog very quickly with the grey soof waste oil gives off. Ask me how I know…oh wait…would you like to buy a used residential boiler???
One of the things I have also played with, is a programmed pulse flow arrangement, where I pump periodically some waste oil into an already hot woodstove, into a stainless pan with a stainless screen. Makes a beautiful flame. Was using some programmable timer relays. Want to expand on that simple system to add some safety sensors and programmable logic to allow it to start and stop by itself. I suspect the Arduino is the way to go. Will have to clean out the smokestack more often but hey, that’s a given. Contact me if you wish to chat…. kichman at verizon dot net. Cheers.
You realize this is a pellet boiler correct? But yes it has a lot in common with your pursuit. Trying to heat for cheap with microcontrollers and some kind of inexpensive fuel source. Fun stuff.