Controller for Waste Oil Burner

Arduino driven controller unit as a replacement for the original mechanical & relay based unit of a waste-oil-burner

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Many years ago my father in law started to heat his house with a imported waste-oil-burner. A while ago the original controller unit which was based on mechanical parts and relays broke down. I tried to find the problem but probably made it worse than before and I decided to replace it with a Arduino based solution.
Since I had a chance to observe it while it was still working I could figure out the basic functions.
I decided to build a replacement based on a Arduino UNO and some additional electronic components like a LCD display, relays, a photo-cell, etc.

I studied the Arduino UNO board and learned from examples before I started the project which was actually my very first Arduino & electronics adventure. Since I was working as a professional game-programmer in the past it was quite easy for me to get into Arduino programming and understand how to use other basic electronic components.
  • 1 × Arduino UNO
  • 1 × Arduino LCD & Keypad shield
  • 1 × DS18B20 Temperature Sensor To measure the oil-temperature in the pre-heat chamber
  • 1 × 4ch Realy board
  • 1 × 12V Power supply

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Brian Decker wrote 03/15/2019 at 16:14 point

This more of a general comment for anyone who decides to use an Arduino as a controller for a potentially hazardous application - An Arduino has no CE or UL approval, nor does anything you create, and if damage results (in this case let's say the house (G-d forbid) burns down) insurance WILL NOT cover the loss.  Even worse, if someone is injured or killed the liability will be entirely on the person who built the device.  

I'm posting this not as a specific critic of this application - but anytime we "makers" move our devices out into the world we need to evaluate the potential risk involved.  

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Chris Soukup wrote 03/16/2019 at 12:32 point

Good point and I actually thought a lot about the possible risks. I'm aware of potential instability of the whole controlling syste (hw & sw wise). By replacing the old unit I still tried to keep all risky functions out of the microcontroller's hands. For example the pre-heating chamber's temperature is controlled by a simple thermostate regulator and has another shut-off switch once the temperatue should go over the top.

I'm constantly re-analyzing the hardware and software and trying to make it more bullet-proof.

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Brian Decker wrote 03/16/2019 at 13:50 point

With the number of older homes and out buildings that use this type of equipment you might have a pretty good market for a product there!

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Dan Maloney wrote 03/15/2019 at 16:03 point

That's interesting - I've seen waste-oil heaters for garages, but never one installed in the house. Did the Arduino controller get it up and running again?

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Chris Soukup wrote 03/16/2019 at 12:42 point

The controller is already working since about a year. I just had no time to post it somewhere.

Meanwhile I could improve and optimize some parts in the software and make it generally more "intelligent".

Actually the burner itself is mounted in a big boiler so it's not blowing the flame out into the air but rather heats a primary circular-flow which is common for fossil-based heating systems. I will post a video soon so you can.

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