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Auto cycle valve for log splitter

Post in 'The Gear' started by mikefrommaine, Apr 4, 2013.

  1. Anyone have an auto cycle valve on a splitter? I often have to cycle the splitter all the way to cleanly split my knotty rounds when I have the four way on. Seems like an auto valve would free up your hands to get the next round ready and or throw the splits on the pile. Safety police aside -- any reason not to have one?

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  2. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    I never saw a need for one. When the split is done, just hit the lever then handle the wood as the wedge is going up. Becomes pretty automatic very quickly.
  3. When I'm splitting something like oak or apple that pops apart as soon as the wedge is 2" deep I don't see the need for one either. But a lot of the tree service wood I get is pine, poplar and birch. Which is knot filled and stringy so I often have to cycle the ram all the way through the round. So I'm standing their thinking an auto valve would free up some time.

    I'll get a pic of what I'm talking about soon.
  4. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Does not your wedge go back up by just hitting the lever once?
  5. Yes it retracts by itself.

    The auto valve would cycle all the way out and retract by itself.
    Here is a description:

    PRINCE AUTO-CYCLE CONTROL VALVE
    Brand new PRINCE. Special Auto-Cycle valve allows operator to completely cycle (out and back) a double acting cylinder by only one handle movement.
    Ideal for log splitter applicationsBoth levers are pulled out to detent position, cylinder extends and at end of forward stroke one lever automatically returns to neutral and cylinder reverses. When fully retracted second lever returns to neutral. (3 work ports are used, two are tied to together and then run to rod end of cylinder, third connects to base end of cylinder).
  6. greg13

    greg13 Feeling the Heat

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    I can see a MAJOR injury coming. Retract is fine, but all it will take is one wrong move loading and it's good bye hand.
  7. Butcher

    Butcher Feeling the Heat

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    Whats the hurry?
  8. I don't see being all that dangerous. Certainly less risk than using a chainsaw. Little common sense goes a long ways.

    When my splitter with the 4-way goes into low speed to get through a tough piece it can take quite a while to get through it, the valve would make things more efficient. Until recently auto cycle valves were standard or at least available on the higher end timber wolf splitters.
  9. Havendalefarm

    Havendalefarm Member

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    When I was a teenager in the eighties I was partners with my dad and my uncle and did about 300 cord a summer for a few years to stay out of trouble.(didn't work) We had a La France splitter with an auto cycle valve.Had like a six second cycle time. Very dangerous. When I built the one I have now I did not use an auto cycle valve because I remembered how dangerous that splitter was. Had a leather glove with the tip of one finger sliced off and my hands NEVER got near the wedge on that La France again. It was an impressive machine though.
  10. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Problem with an auto-cycle valve on a H/V splitter is that you really don't want to turn your back to it. Since the wedge moves thru the log, when the halves separate, you want to be there to catch them lest they fall off the table/beam and damage the engine. At the very least, constantly bending over to pick up the splits again would get old quick. If using it in vertical mode, then you don't really need two hands on the log. In either mode there are situations where you would not want the wedge to retract on it's own with a round still stuck to it. That could tear the control valve right off the unit unless you have a log dislodger on it. Even then there are still safety concerns.

    If you have a wedge-on-beam horizontal only splitter then have at it, auto cycle won't be so scary on that type of splitter.
  11. I never use the splitter in vertical mode. Just not comfortable or efficient for me. Here are some pics of my setup. I get a lot of logs dropped off at the street so I cut them and process them there. And then move the splits to my woodpile. I park the splitter next to or behind my trailer so they mostly fall right onto the trailer.

    The northstar has a built in log stripper so I don't have to worry about the return cycle doing damage. Ive been thinking about adding a flip down grate to the engine side so I can park a little further away and let the splits slide down to the trailer.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
  12. Nixon

    Nixon Minister of Fire

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    Mike, i have given some thoughts to adding an autocycle valve to mine as well . One thing about them is that you don't have to select auto cycle everytime . I think that using the auto cycle function would be convenient at times .
    If you decide to do it , keep us posted on your findings .
    I have noticed that companies like timberwolf aren't putting them on their machines anymore . I wonder if it's reliability ,or safety related.
    711mhw likes this.
  13. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I can't really think of a sound reason not to, on a horizontal machine. That said...I still don't like it. I know that there is a percentage of rounds that need full stroke, but that also means there is a percentage that don't. If it doesn't need full stroke you are slapping two control valves back to get it to retract.

    I don't like it - but can't explain why.::P
  14. greg13

    greg13 Feeling the Heat

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    The difference being that your hands are ON the chainsaw. Take the saw, lock it full throttle and feed the wood to the saw. Still less dangerous? Common sense does come into play, but if you happen to grab a log by the end thinking you have time to set it in place before the wedge gets there all the common sense in the world won't help. The splitter won't feel a thing, 20 tons is a lot of weight.
  15. curtis

    curtis Member

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    Have one on my splitter and wouldn't have it any other way. And if you don't want it to cycle all the way through the forward stroke you just tap the one detent lever back and it retracts.
  16. Well it's not like the cylinder is cycling at 65 mph as is the chain on a saw is spinning.
  17. Whitepine2

    Whitepine2 Burning Hunk

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    Why not get a dubble detente valve I think I paid about $80 ma-be more now I believe Northern Tool.This allows you to pull all the way in ether direction and piston will go till end and pop back to center or use as regular valve manually
    It's dangerous for someone that is not on top of things,like a youngster is operating but all power equipment is so you gotta use your head. This saved much time as I have a 30" piston when returning so as to get the next piece to split and at anytime it can be overridden so it don't need to go all the way back.Works well for me and don't think an auto return would do much more for me.
    Whitepine2
  18. 711mhw

    711mhw Feeling the Heat

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    Go for it, I keep thinking about adding one but I built mine so that it operates like a "hospital sink" there is a "U" shaped saddle on the valve handle that is at knee height right in the standing position at the splitter, no detents but both hands are free for handling the log & splits. If my valve ever craps out, there will be a double detent valve in it's place. I'd like to be able to turn around and get the next log ready while the splitter is making the 26" stroke (the whole way) through my stringy Beech and yellow birch also.
  19. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I'd rather have a "dead man" lever where if something happens I can let go and it stops moving instantly. The both way detent would be great on a wood processor that your hands aren't normally in the area of the splitter. I used a big electric splitter some years ago that just had a button you'd push and it would do a cycle. It did have a big easy to hit STOP button as well though.

    Yeah I often think... well don't be stupid and you'll be fine and I agree.

    BUT there is always that one day where maybe you didn't get enough sleep, wife didn't have breakfast ready, dog pissed on the rug, truck wouldn't start, someone pulls into the driveway while your splitting and you look up for a second, or hell your just been running the splitter for hours and are in lala land.
  20. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I'd rather have a foot operated valve. Keeps both hands free, can short cycle, and requires some thought about moving the ram forward/back.

    Auto cycle scares me...a momentary lapse in concentration and you could have missing body parts. The risk/reward just isn't there for me. You could say the same thing about a chainsaw, but the alternatives to using a chainsaw (buck saw, axe, etc) are much less appealing than actuating a cylinder by hand.
  21. scooby074

    scooby074 Feeling the Heat

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    I have one of the Prince AC valves on my splitter.

    When it works it is great. It does free up your hands. And it is no more dangerous than a conventional valve. its not like because I have the AC valve Im sticking my second hand in between the log and wedge all of a sudden now is it?;) As mentioned it can be run as a traditional manual valve too.

    I bought mine because some day I am going to make my splitter into a processor.

    The only issue is that some times the valve will kick off prematurely when switching from forward to reverse, particularly when the oil is cold. I probably should have used lighter hydraulic oil when I built mine.And they are pretty hard to adjust the kick off pressure fwd/reverse.very frustrating. Im going to call Prince one of these days. The AC valve is the one on the right in the first picture

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
    Nixon likes this.
  22. cic

    cic New Member

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    I have one of these on my 34ton splitter . And I put it on after seeing one on another unit. WOW very nice!! Just made an easy job of splitting fire wood ( with a log splitter) even better. Highly recommend , I have the same "Prince" brand that scooby074 used on his splitter. Hooked it all up in 2 hrs.

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