Are You Designing Your System to Be Fail-Safe?

Fail-Safe means just what it says.

When the user-operator “Fails” to be present will your system use up it’s loaded fuel supply and slow; heat producing, toxic gas producing, safely to a stop.
J.O. on another topic line put up his whole house wood heating system as intentional designed to be Fail-Safe under any conceivable operating conditions.
He was able to answer multiple question proving this.

A vehicle gasifier system it is assumed the Operator will always be present to make-safe operation. Ha! Ha! And vehicle system it is ONLY the experienced operator that can get them started and working in the first place.
Stationary gas producers such as I’ve done and other do this is not true.
In fact the whole goal is to have systems that require no operator for at least 2 hours. Up to 8 hours.
Then Fail-Safe becomes a #1. More important than performance.
Well. At least it should.

And now I fight on one of my topics too many woo-woo seduced by Rocket stoveing magic unable to even conceive, let alone, try and understand simple natural draft chimney basics.
And thank-you, thank-you JeffD, TomH, and DonM who do seem to understand.

For the majority here it is . . .
Fail-Safe? What’s that? Wasn’t that an early 1960’s movie?

Errr. I think I’ll break my doctor prohibition and just go back to whiskey drinking.
But not just a shot or two a week. Mike LaRosa heavy daily drinking.

You no make Fail-Safe a thought about, planned for, re-designed for . . . .
Then it is YOU who are the single point failure.


Now a basic Fail-Safe for any wood or charcoal gasfied vehicles would be that original liquid fuel running capability.
And this was published up in the post-WWII experiences books in the late 1940’s and early 1950’s.
Some did read. And did understand this.
To be able to move in/out of an enclosed, heated shop without firing up the CO producing gasifer. For general vehicle quick maintenances. For broken/burnt through, no longer workable gasifier systems repairs, and upgrades.
For Urban and mountains road tunnels traveling.
For water across, ferry boat travel.
We have ALL of these in Washington State.

Dutch John’s Ist woodgassed car his Volvo sedan had retained gasoline fuel injection. He could have stripped it down and made it JUST woodgases fueled. He did not.
His second vehicle, his large engine’d Chevy pickup he had set up woodgased converted, retaining it’s bought, converted to LPG capability. He even added in a liquid gasoline small motorcycle carburetor. Tri-Fuel capable. The small gasoline albeit only able to All-Weathers start it and idle move it around.

WayneK recently posted up he keeps his woodgased vehicles EFI gasoline capable for a couple of important reason to him.
So his wife, other family can then just jump in key-start up and go.
And maybe that go-quickly, is a quick emergency trip taking someone to the hospital.

So just a couple of three examples of thinking-ahead and building in Fail-Safe.

I promise to torcher you all with many more.
Hammering this point home.


Vesa Mikkonen quote from page 44 in his published 2010 book ( he updates) WOOD GAS FOR MOBILE APPLICATIONS:
“(the) Vacuum pressure release valve protects the gasifier system from collapse. It is possible to suck high vacuum if the air intake is blocked by human error or mal-use of the equipment.”

No one I’ve seen except VesaM builds these in.
Back when I first read this I thought, “Oh, just another engineer, over engineering.”
Nope. I seen this now in real life now. Actually heard it with panels popping/tin canning. Only apparent with the large generator engines. Small systems the problem sometimes . . . is always blamed on too light/thin of vessels constructing. But is it? Or a small engine suction pumping down the system, eh?

So VesaM. DOing this real, driving, with published systems upgrading, use-proofed improving since 1994 was not over-engineering.
He was Fail-Safe’ing the whole gasifier system based on hard learned experiences, from Opps! Sorrys!

It is O.K. to book quote any so long as short: with the writer/publishers acknowledgement of the source.


Back in the day, with the MEN gasifier, I had a rubber hose that would flatten out under heavy vacuum. At the time I didn’t think it had a function. Live and learn.

Off topic but: I have had problems starting some flues because of the heavy cold air likes to drop down the flue. Can be hard to overcome at start up.


Jeff, whenever my grandgather designed a chimney he always put a quick openable hach on a vertical part. Before a cold start, you put lit newspaper in to kickstart the flue, then light your kindling in the fireplace.


Probably not possible on all chimney’s but if you have a pipe type flue you can insert a Y section of pipe in a convenient location and use a blower to pump air into the flue. This will create a vortex that sucks hot air from your fire box to induce a draft. When you have the draft you have to pull the blower and cap the Y so not something you could automate easily but not different than sucking start up gas through a gasifier. If anyone cares about this I will describe the best way to do it. I started to, but it got kind of complicated and I gave up.

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