Frequently Asked Questions regarding Firestop Kits
Does Firestop cool the exhaust system?
No. While the system provides a flow of air over the exhaust components, it does not attempt to cool the hot components below the dust ignition temperature. The system works by preventing dust from coming into contact with the hot components. The filtered air has no dust to ignite so no sparks are created from the exhaust components.
How hot does the Firestop enclosure get?
Tests indicate that the outer surface of the firestop enclosure on a Case 8120 model operates at about 200 degrees F. This is at least 300 degrees below the ignition temperature of sunflower dust. Actual temperatures on different models will vary, but all stay below the ignition threshold.
How is the flow of clean air achieved?
A centrifugal blower pulls air through a Donaldson air filter that removes the volatile dust and provides a stream of clean air to the exhaust system enclosure.
How is the blower powered?
A hydraulic motor is sized to operate the blower using the flow from an existing circuit on the machine.
How much power does this system draw?
The blower requires about 1 horsepower to supply the clean air flow.
Is this system tested in crops other than sunflowers?
Firestop kits were developed to protect combine harvesters in sunflowers. The system has now also been used to protect machines in soybeans, safflower, and in 2020 in canola. If you find that you have frequent smolders in any crop with volatile dust this system can offer a solution.
Is static electricity related to this system and to combine fires?
It is possible for a static spark to ignite a dust cloud and make a brief flame under some circumstances. Research at SDSU found it to be very difficult to start a fire on a dust covered surface with a static spark. User experience finds the frequent smolders to be eliminated with Firestop. Since the system does nothing to change the static electricity status of the machine it suggests that frequent smolders are not caused by static discharge.
Should I drag a chain to discharge static to the ground?
You can if you like. It is not expensive, but since static is not your likely ignition source it probably won't make any difference. If it gives you peace of mind do it.
Should I take the kit off in corn or wheat or other crops that don't carry high fire risk?
No. Most if not all users leave the system on in all crops. It won't hurt anything to let it operate in corn or wheat.
How frequently should I clean the air filter?
Check the Firestop filter any time you check the engine air filter. Clean it as necessary. If you find that the Firestop filter accumulates coarse dust too fast you can use a longer riser pipe and extend the intake higher to take in less dust. You can also open ports on the exhaust enclosure more to allow more air to flow through. More air spins the Topspin intake element faster, ejecting more coarse dust.
Does this system protect the combine in hot or windy conditions?
Yes. Users generally report that they can harvest under all conditions without the chronic smolders experienced in volatile crops.
Does this system protect against all sources of fire?
No. This system is designed to stop the ignition of dust at the hot exhaust components. It will not prevent ignition from a hot bearing, an electrical short, an alternator throwing sparks, or other heat or spark source. These risks exist in all crops but are much less frequent than the exhaust related fires.
How difficult is the installation process?
Many producers do the installation process themselves. The tin enclosure assembly is the most time consuming aspect. Doing your first system will likely take a day. Watch the Youtube videos on each part of the installation to see how it is done. Having a tablet or smart phone in the combine with you will allow you to follow step by step.
If I upgrade my combine, can I move the Firestop kit to the newer machine?
If your combine is a CASE brand, the answer is mostly "yes". The exhaust enclosure may need to be replaced to match your newer model. The air supply system is common to most CASE models. Contact us at Harvestfires@outlook.com to be certain. In the case of Deere machines, the kit is common between models 9770 and 9670. The 9760 and 9650 models also share a kit. If in doubt contact us.
Will you install kits?
I am no longer able to install all of the kits requested. (I'm a retired university professor and don't want to spend my retirement between the engine and grain tank of a combine.) That is why I've posted the Youtube installation videos for each model. If you are unable to do the installation yourself, you can ask your dealer about help. I can also recommend at least one contract installer in North Dakota, who has installed a number or tin kits.