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Auger motor failure?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by bclmread, Jan 24, 2008.

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  1. bclmread

    bclmread New Member

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    I have been trying to troubleshoot why my Enviro Empress was having poor throughput of pellets. I might be onto something.

    There is a light that pulse on the control panel each tie the auger spins. Recently, I have notice 2 different sounds coming from the stove...the normal sound of the auger spinning and then a faint hum. I contacted Enviro tech support and confirmed tha the auger is supposed to spin/move with each light pulse on the indicator. This is not happening. Approx. 30-40% of the time when the light pulses, the auger does not move.

    I opened up my stove tonight to look at the motor. There is a little cylinder on the motor that spins at a high rate of speed when the light pulses, or at least, this is what is supposed to happen. Frequently, the light will pulse, put the little cylinder will not spin, and it emits a humming sound.

    I'm not sure what this part of the motor is...it is a magnet that spins when electrical current is applied? I had a cheap pool filter like that.

    Is my auger motor shot?

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  2. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    apply a very light amount of lubrication (even wd-40 ) to the roitor ,and especially the little race on the back of the motor , its either a dry race causing friction not letting it kick over every time , or its gotten "gummed up" in the space between the rotor and the magnet. it may help to apply continuous power to the motor to get it moving and flush it with a bit of wd-40 while its running , then wipe off the excess as that will attract dust and gum it up again. hope this helps ya

    mike ESW
  3. bclmread

    bclmread New Member

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    well, I applied some 3 in 1 oil into what I could see that spun, and now, it only spins 10% of the time.

    With the power off, its spins freely, so I don't think it was gummed up.

    I will be calling my service people in the morning.
  4. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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  5. bclmread

    bclmread New Member

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    Should that black band be extremely hot to the touch?

    Mine was...
  6. bclmread

    bclmread New Member

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    I started the stove this morning and the auger motor worked 100% until about 30 minutes after starting, then it stops working altogether...
    I would assume it has something to do with heating up the motor...
  7. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    and are you sure you are still getting power to the auger?

    because sometimes after a stove heats up the vacuum will drop and the pressure switch could be tripping.
  8. bclmread

    bclmread New Member

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    Cold start...auger spins when auger light goes on
    after heat up, the auger light would still pulse when it should, just that it (the motor) would only spin about 60% of the time, and you could hear the magnet in the motor trying to do its thing
    Then last night, I put the 3 in 1 oil in the spinning part of the motor and now it doesn't spin at all after heat up, but still make the humming sound when the auger pulse is sent

    Could a pressure trip randomly affect each pulse of the auger?
  9. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    The only way to tell is with a meter

    Or pull the auger motor and connect it to direct 120 volts and run it for 10 minutes

    Auger motors go out. they last from 3-9 years depending on the stove and how well people maintain the stove and type of pellets they burn.

    they are the most ordered part on our website.
    Ignitors are the second most popular parts but not all stoves have ignitors.
  10. bclmread

    bclmread New Member

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    Thank you for your help.

    Enviro support has indicated the possibility of a stripped gear in the motor.

    My service people are coming in a week...guess I'll have to rely on oil for heat until then (YUCK!)

    Personally, I am very disappointed in this product. Almost every moving part has been replaced, plus the front door & glass. I have only burned 3.5 tons of high grade pellets in it ever. I clean it regularly. Looking at other posts, it seems that every brand can have have a lemon once in a while.
  11. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    I would look at the gears first. Is it jammed or has it been jammed? I find with mine the motor soldiers on forever but the gears get broken. I have done in a few in the last 4 years and its always been the gear box. Grab the part that little fan on the back with the power or auger turned off and give it some spinning. Do it a lot of times and feel for any particular spots that drag. You may have to remove the motor to do this right but feel for rough spots. If you pull it, probably using a 5/16 socket or end wrench you can get it out. Here is the url to some pics I took of mine when I pulled it this time which make it clearer in the relatioship to surrounding goodies sense. Note if you cant get a socket on 2 of those bolt heads my idea to bolt it on, saves a lot of time next time aroudm AND THERE WILL BE ONE. There really isn't much to it. http://forum.iburncorn.com/viewtopic.php?t=6476 . You can remove the motor from the gear box using those 2bolts that hold it on. Then open up the case of the tranny and just look at the gears inside. I have some pics but I will have to send them to you via e-mail if you need them drop me a pm . You can get new motors from Graingers about half or less than you can from the dealer. Problem is which one as there are many. Try mcmaster carr online too. Those gears do break and get bunged up when something jambs them up and my last one came from a piece of steel in pellets. It sure wasn't mine either. If you spin that fan it should turn freely and if it hitches open the case and check the gears. They have been known to dry out I am told so may be you can regrease them and reassemble it again. If there is damage you will see it very easily, nearly always busted teeth on a gear. It is a good idea to keep a second one handy for later use anyways. If yours is buggered up KEEP THE OLD ONE as the gears can be useful if you bust another later on. You may be able to salvage a good one out of 2 and the electric part seems to last forever anyways. There should be someone either here or on the iburncorn.com website who can tell you the Grainger PN for the motor you need. One other thing to check before you do anything, can you remove the auger easily? Mine just pulls out. Make sure there is nothing binding in the tube making it drag. Do that before anything else and see what may be in there. Of course you have to bail out all the pellets t do it and get the entire feed clean of em. Worth the effort though. Check it out and if you want those pix of the transmission part of the motor let me know and I will either email them or put them in photobucket.
  12. bclmread

    bclmread New Member

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    The technician was here yesterday. He could tell in the first 2 mins. that the stove didn't have enough air, due to black soot in the burn chamber. He checked with the vacuum meter and sure enough, air flow was way down. He thought there was a blockage somewhere. He asked if I had cleaned out the side ports. I had no idea what he was talking about. He showed me the removable pieces of metal on each side (ash pan level). He opened them and sure enough, each side was blocked/filled with fly ash. I told him I didn't even know those existed..he said its in the manual, but its not (I will scan the manual and email to anyone who can show me where it descibes these ports). After cleaning these out, we cleaned out the horizontal pipe connected to the back of the stove, but that wasn't very dirty. He fired it up and had satisfactory air flow again. He thought the auger not turning was due to one of the safety switches kicking in. He was just putting his tools away (about 20 mins. after start up) and the auger acted up again. After examining it, he thought the motor was very hot to the touch and may be single "single phasing" . He replaced the motor and I've been burning ever since...and am happy again.

    My feedback to anyone out there...pellet stove are very complicated machines and you should have a professional checkout/cleaning once a year. It will save a lot of aggravation (not to mention $275) during heating season.
  13. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    By what you described I never thought of the #1 fix of pellet and ALWAYS THE #1 FIX IN CORN STOVES. CLEAN, CLEAN CLEAN. And when something is wrong get right in there and clean Way Back In There. The Countryside is legendary for having soot pile up behind the back of the fire chamber behind the phony fire brick. It builds up so deep back there that it completely fills one side of the rear of the chamber. Yours must have a similar cranny where it tends to build up over time. At least now you know. I hope you saved that other motor as its the gearbox that busts and switching out the motor part takes about a miniute and those 2 T-20's once the motor is pulled from the stove. If you do ever need that gear box ( and you probably will) make sure its greased before using. You just remove the few bolts that hold it together and carefully separate the cover . Take the grease that has piled over to the sides away from the gears naturally and just slide it back around the gears themselves. Nothing to it.
  14. MButkus

    MButkus Member

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    Motors last 3 - 9 years ! ! My $.09 repair on my motor several years ago is still working. The Whitfield stove was installed in 1991, used from Nov. to March 24/7
    I put a UPS on it after the first year. Protect that control panel. 17 years of NO repair costs. Cleaning every 2 - 3 weeks. Takes 1/2 hour.
    http://www.butkus.org/whitfield_pellet_stove.htm
    Those motors are very simple. The should be very greased inside the closed case (never open one) and the biggest wear part is the motor and motor gear.
    Oil it with synthetic motor oil as it gets a bit warm. If you can do both fans, a drop of synthetic once a year.
    They are 120V motors. If you need to test one, get a ceiling fan control and if you know what you are doing, you should be able to hook up that auger motor and slow it to 1/2 speed.
    Hooking it directly to 120 will give you a lot of fuel.
    Let it run for an hour (without a fire) and see what happens. Be prepared for pellets !
    Just my experience since 1991
  15. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    Man, Mbutkus you must be some lucky dude. In all that time the odds of you not encountering a piece of something to jamb that auger tight is something like a miracle. You have to have set some sort of record. All I can say is don't plan on another 17 years because the odds just aren't too good at all. I can see why the motor doesn't wear out, there's nothing to wear really but oh that gear box. 10 or 12 little gears and all that torque on mine , ouch.
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