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 Smudge Pot / Orchard Heater

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PostSubject: Smudge Pot / Orchard Heater   Sun Dec 29, 2013 4:21 pm

I was wondering if anyone else has every played around with this type of Rocket Heater ?  A smudge pot (also known as a choofa or orchard heater) is an oil-burning device used to prevent frost on fruit trees. You Tube has a few of these heater on there if you have never been around them before. They also have a secondary air tube on them for the Rocket burn effect in the riser tube.
  I have a few of these of my own and I like to drag them out and fire them off on a chilly evening when friends are over. Not only do these heaters take the chill off, these rocket heaters are a good conversation topic over a few beers. :lol!: 
  I DO NOT recommend anyone try to relight these heaters when they are still warm to the touch. Years ago I seen a young fella about 18 yrs old, relight a warm heater just shortly after he had moved the thing a few feet on the ground. Lucky for him, his eyebrows were the only thing he took off when it blew back on him.
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PostSubject: Re: Smudge Pot / Orchard Heater   Mon Dec 30, 2013 9:43 pm

http://woodstoves.forumotion.co.uk/t78-hello-from-illinois-usa


I think that the return stack would be applicable to rocket heater designs.
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PostSubject: Re: Smudge Pot / Orchard Heater   Tue Dec 31, 2013 3:12 am

Hello Jim, Thanks for your link and nice to meet you, I also have always been fascinated by these  heaters. The first time I seen one of these heaters I was on a welding job in the middle of winter. I had to redo the Hard Surface on a large steel shear head attachment on an excavator. They had the machine sitting in an unheated steel out building just to keep it out of the harsh weather. The foreman told me he would go and get a heater in there to help take the chill off and he returned with two of these heaters.
  From that point I knew I wanted one of these heaters for myself and I asked the guy where he got them because I have never seen them before. He told me that they were some type of military surplus heater. Since I had no idea and it looked like it could very well be something the military would use for a heater in a large field tents, I thought no more about it.
  So when I started to hunt one of these heater down for myself, it was then I learned they were a smudge pot orchard heaters. I also learned that some have chimney dampers and some don't, that's a very nice feature to have on these heaters to slow the burn and help hold the heat they throw off.
  I was also amazed at how clean these heaters would burn diesel with little to no smoke, At that time I didn't know that was the purpose for the return stack. The EPA was the demise behind the continued use of these orchard heaters. Regardless of how clean they burned, I guess the footprint made from hundreds of these heaters burning all at once was to large, must be a California thing. LOL
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PostSubject: Re: Smudge Pot / Orchard Heater   Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:21 am

Yes, they are pretty cool. I have a couple. One that I use around the house, and one is still new in the box.

It looks like there are a lot of rocket heater similarities with the orchard heaters. The primary fire burns in a large tub. The burning gases rise to the top of the domed lid, and exit into the burner assembly. The burner assembly is cone shaped with air vents cut into the sides for combustion. The cone shape when heated, draws the gases from the primary fire bowl into the burner assembly, and burns them. This is where the return stack comes into play. Inside the burner assembly the return stack takes a portion of the hot combustion gasses and forces the hot gasses back into the primary fire bowl. This process assists the fuel in the fire bowl to vaporize, and the whole process continues until the air is removed from the primary fire by closing the air inlet.

I think that the orchard heater may burn wood or wood pellets with some modifications. I haven't tried it yet because it's way too cold to be messing around outside. Maybe when the weather breaks, I'll try putting a half a bag of wood pellets in the heater bottom and some K1 to get them going, and see what happens !! Wood pellets are a lot cheaper to burn than kerosene or diesel.

I know what you mean about lighting a hot heater. I knew a guy that did that, and the flame shot out the air intake hole and almost hit him in the face. Gotta let it cool down before relighting it.

I haven't heard of anyone on this group incorporating a return stack on their rocket heaters. Maybe because a secondary air supply is sufficient to get a clean burn. Maybe the folks here aren't aware of the principle. I think that a return stack above the combustion process and fed back into the primary fire would increase the draft, and might turn it into a "supercharged rocket".

If you are looking for a used orchard heater, there is a guy on Ebay selling them.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Smudge-pot-kerosene-diesel-heater-orchard-heater-crop-return-pipe-heater-/151176490876?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2332d22f7c



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PostSubject: Re: Smudge Pot / Orchard Heater   Tue Dec 31, 2013 4:48 pm

Hello Jim, WOW, a new Orchard heater still in the box ! I am jealous, that's like money in the bank. lol  When I was in Alaska working, I had bought one of them off eBay and I think the shipping was more then the heater at the time.
  I have often thought about replicating the design of the orchard heater, but only larger. Then house the heater in its own explosion proof building, LOL  With forced hot air and return into my shop, No question about it, they give off the heat. I would always mix used oil with the diesel, about 50/50 to keep the cost down and it works great.
  I don't think I would try burning wood or pellets in the bottom of the heater unless I built a much thicker metal burn box for it. I think all the extra heat from the wood burning would in return warp the thin metal fuel pot . This is my thoughts on that, I could be wrong?
  The riser tub on the orchard heater from the pot up into the stack, I think would be an over design on a rocket stove that already has a vortex with secondary air intake. Kind of the same thing going on but different in design,Your still getting a clean burn with both heaters.Only one way to find out! lol
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PostSubject: Re: Smudge Pot / Orchard Heater   Tue Dec 31, 2013 5:03 pm

I was curious so I opened the eBay link and I think poorfish is the same guy I bought my heater from years ago. The one I bought from him didn't have the damper on the pot lid so he had a few extra at the time and he sent that up to AK also.
My 2nd Orchard heater I did a little welding repair trade for, It has the damper and a large wire metal hoop around the base of the fuel pot. It also has a factory looking round flat plate on the very top of the chimney, Maybe for warming your lunch or coffee on out in the field? Kind of neat looking I have never seen another like it.
I had to laugh when I seen Square Trade offered a 2 year warranty on the heater, I think liability insurance would be more fitting ! lol
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PostSubject: Re: Smudge Pot / Orchard Heater   Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:14 am

I actually built a scaled down version of an orchard heater.  I used a steel 2.5 gallon round gas can as the bowl, and various size ventilating pipe for the rest. Brazed the whole thing together.  It works !  Runs a little rich though on high. Probably needs more air vents on the sides.





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PostSubject: Re: Smudge Pot / Orchard Heater   Wed Jan 01, 2014 1:16 am

Jim, Thanks for taking the time to post your pics of your mini-me orchard heater, Looks GREAT! I think your spot on with more air intake to clean up your soot bunnies.
I have found for myself that the more air I throw at my dripped used oil heaters, the better. I try to get them to burn clean with just the air they draw on their own, its just not enough. Whats why I am thinking the RS design heater is going to be more of the answer I been looking for with the insulated riser tube.
I would be willing to guess some pics posted of your NIB orchard heater, would be just as nice ! LOL Thanks again and stop by the chat box sometime.
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PostSubject: Re: Smudge Pot / Orchard Heater   Wed Jan 01, 2014 2:54 am

Nice to meet you Darin.  I'll hang out on the chat box time permitting.

The NIB heater is buried in the crawl space.  If it's not too buried, I'll drag it out for some pictures.  I picked it up at a rental store going out of business for $100.00 !  I knew that it would be a good investment some day.
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PostSubject: Re: Smudge Pot / Orchard Heater   Wed Jan 01, 2014 3:18 am

Looks like I just missed you in the chat Box Jim, I was out in the shop restarting my Wood Eating Beast ! LOL  I have seen advertising for those orchard heaters NIB long ago on the net for $99.00. Then I would go to click on them to buy and they were no longer available, so back to eBay I went. Its Nice to meet you as well Jim and I will be looking forward to chatting with you, I will be around my PC all day.
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