I use a German NordWest burner, similar to a Beckett. Got myself a siphon nozzle SNA .75. Welded an oil and air preheater with three 250 Watt bandheaters, controlled by an adjustable oven thermostat. Run it on 200 degrees. Solenoids for both oil and air. For oil, I don’t use a constant level device (tried one however). I reduced pressure on the original oil burner pump, but couldn’t get it stabilized under 40 PSI. So after the pump comes another reducer to bring back the pressure to about 10 PSI. After the reducer the oil flow is controlled by an adjustable needle valve. Works excellent! A very fine (and easy) setting is possible. Only the viscosity of the oil can be of influence.

I don’t know about all of you, but for me building the burner was only 10% of invested time (until now). Rebuilding, testing, tuning, starting again takes the rest of the time ( and all of the nerves). And still I am not at the finish. But what a thrill, when you get wiser and your burner better!

First I had the oil-solenoid before the preheater to keep it cool, but that gave a huge amount of pre- and after-drip. Now it’s between preheater and nozzle and dripping is much less now. Wonder how long it can resist the high oil temperature? Maybe I can reduce dripping to zero with an ballpoint spring and ball like other members use it. Or another solenoid to release the pressure from the preheater when the burner is off.

Another problem was to find the right oil and air settings. Testing the burner outside is much different than testing it on a boiler! It took me some time to find out that I had too much air pressure on the siphon nozzle. Gives a beautiful roaring flame. But no heat, easy blow out and lots of smoke. Reducing air pressure from 10 to 5 PSI and (like Jesse) complete closing the vanes of the blower gave a white/yellow flame, more heat and less smoke. It must be said: Coen’s bible on fuel flames (files) helped me a lot.

But as I already wrote: I’m still not at the finish. I need to find some solutions. Partly by testing, partly by answers from everyone. I’ll try to upload some photos of my oil-gun this weekend.

Things to find out:

  1. I use the original retention head, which stays wet with oil. I don’t know if a Kagi stays dry and reduces smoke? Another thing to think about: the SNA nozzle swirles clockwise (seen from flame-side). My retention head (and Kagi’s) swirle counter clockwise. Must it be this way for the best mixture or the opposite? I know that “clockwise retention heads” exist.
  2. Is it possible to burn WMO with zero smoke?? When my boiler and burner are on temperature, there is a bit blue/grey smoke from the stack (when cold: lots of blue smoke). I want to burn with zero smoke. If possible without mixing WMO up with HHO. Should be possible I think: these official WMO collectors do burn it without smoke.
  3. Want to do some testing on different WMO viscosity’s, hydraulic fluid and frying oil.
  4. I guess my fuel filter will be clogged too soon, because it filters too fine for the siphon nozzle. Perhaps the strainer in the original pump in the one just before the burner should be enough. It works fine for a HHO nozzle, so why not for a siphon nozzle? Anyone has some experience with filtering WMO?
  5. Want to do some testing with a flame tube -like blue flame burners have- to get a better combustion. Anyone who tried this? My opinion is that a blue flame is to cold to have a good combustion (in case of heavy oil).
  6. Make some device to measure viscosity of oil. I think, when you collect oil from different places, it has to be similar in viscosity. To prevent frequent adjustment on burner settings.
  7. Insulate oil lines, pump and filter between first preheat (on top of the boiler; see photos) and second preheat (bandheaters).

Love to see some pictures of your setup so post as soon as you can. The idea of using the original oil pump as a feed to the siphon nozzle pickup is an interesting one I know that many of us looked at, but getting that 100 psi down into a workable feed source for the pickup tube at the nozzle seems more work that just using a float setup or a solenoid with gravity feed. Is dialing the oil pump down to 10 psi putting back pressure on the oil pump or are you using the two-line setup to deal with that? How long has the oil pump been running dialed back to 10 psi? It seems to me that now another pressure variable has been introduced into the equation that has to be figured in with the air and oil pressure.

I am a big fan of the reservoir/float or gravity/solenoid system for fuel delivery but I’m really interested in seeing some photos. The Kagi head works beautifully, and if you are mechanically inclined enough you could probably build on your own, but I would suggest trying the design out to see the difference. My Hago siphon nozzle doesn’t swirl the flame. I only get flame cone swirl when I cut on the burner fan with the Kagi installed. That ball point pen idea is a great one! I used to think the blue flame was the optimal range but I get a lot more heat out of the lazy yellow/orange flame cone. I do get some smoke but I think it’s chamber related: I have a forced hot air furnace with a 12” chamber. Not a lot of room for the flame to spread out after atomization. My neighbor burn wood and he’s blowing out more grey/blue smoke than me so I really worry about, besides, once the temps come up in the chamber most of it usually goes away.

A spring change on the pump can get the pressure down to 6-12psi, i’ve done it. Takes some fighting to get the pressure right but once set, it remained very steady. You also use the gauge port on the top of the pump, not the original outlet. Jesse, I didn’t realize you had some smoking issues too. In all my burner configurations (which is hundreds) I always had some smoke on startup. Best case scenario, it would go away after 30 seconds. Worse case, it smoked all the time and no amount of adjusting and tuning would get rid of it. I still don’t have a burner that i’m satisfied with. I’ve gotten close though.

About the original pump: I turned it 180 degrees to get the pressure feed outlet at the backside of the burner. Used a softer spring in the pump’s reducer, but could’t get the pressure stabilized, probably because of pressure drops and rises in the return line of the two-line loop between pump and filterbowl (which has a non-return valve and spring in it). You can see the return line shake when the burner runs.

No big deal: used an extra reducer, bought in a dumpstore, which can be fine adjusted between 0 and 30 PSI. Comes right after the pressure outlet of the pump. Left the original solenoid on the pump. Gets power at the same time as the air- and oil-solenoid. After the reducer comes a fuel filter (which I probably will remove or replace by a coarser strainer). After the filter is the needle-valve. This way I have a closed system. So no possible leakage and oil is always forced to the siphon nozzle. No blow-out problems and restarting of the burner. From my oil-tank (100 feet away from the boiler) comes a one-line feed, so if I use a constant level device, I have to work with a floater. But what happens when the pressure-fed floater takes a dive and your not at home… Spilled WMO gives quiet a mess and probably a divorce…

I prefer a closed system and if you can get the right needle valve it’s even less work than building a constant level system. The 10 PSI oil pressure is a random chosen one. You can take 15 PSI and close the needle valve a bit more to get the same oil-flow as before. It’s important that the oil pressure is higher than the air pressure to prevent air blowback in the oil line. After that you can make your settings very fast and easy by only turning some knobs.

About smoke: I have a white/yellow flame with orange fingers and still smoke. Is it possible that my combustion chamber is to large? It measures about 2 by 2 by 2 feet. What is better: a small chamber to mix unburned oil-residus in the flame or a large one to give the flame time and place to burn totally? Or does my relatively small flame (.75 nozzle) cool off in the big boiler (230,000 BTU). Smoke gets less when the boiler-water is hot. Less problems in a hot air furnace than in a water boiler due to higher chamber and flame temperatures?? Just thinking loud: Maybe put in some heat-absorbing stones in the chamber to rise chamber temperature?

I want a smokeless stack for two reasons: first to prevent soot and oily moist in the stack and boiler. Second to prevent that neighbors or people passing by get alarmed. You see, domestic burning of WMO or WVO is kind of committing a crime in the Netherlands. So called because of pollution. I think it’s more a tax-related thing… So if there is a member who burns WMO really clean; call in please. I’m sure more members are interested.