I spoke in my other post about the changes I made in the recent brew, and here is a recap...
On all of my prior batches, I have been hard pressed to actually hit a mash temp of 154 (give or take a couple degrees). This time I used some tips and heated my strike water to about 190 degrees. The water went into the cooler (mash tun) and I let it sit and heat the cooler up a bit. After dumping the grains, I took some temp readings and noticed it was still a little high. Incidentally, there seemed to be a little light on the water (I had poured 4 gallons of strike water) - the mash seemed a little too doughy. So, I put another ~1 gallon of tap water in the mash and it brought the temp down to 154.
In time past, I would use the brew program (which wasn't set up right for my system) or just winged it. Well, I read some great advice (probably from "Denny") that said to basically do 1 mash and 1 sparge of close to equal volumes. So, I put between 4 and 5 gallons of water in initially, and followed that up with another 4.5 gallons for the sparge. I actually was a bit short on the boil volume still, so I put another gallon of water into the mash and let it sit for about 8 minutes. I took temperatures at the time, and the mash was at ~144 degrees - which was fine for me because there are brews that i have made that mashed at that temp.
Anyway, with that I was able to get 7 gallons into the boiler and 5.5 gallons into the fermenter.