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Big E Sporadic Auger Stoppage?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by bonesy, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. bonesy

    bonesy Feeling the Heat

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    Every once in a while my Big E would stop burning and I think the #2 or 3 light would be flashing. I usually thought it was an auger jam or tunneling so I would stir the pellets and restart it. The burn pot would always be empty at this time as if it was lit and just burnt out. Yesterday it actually happened while I was there, and it seems the auger just stops turning at all. Anyone experience this or know what could be the issue? Once it stops turning, it just keeps burning as usual until it burns out and there are no more pellets in the burn pot. Then I assume it would shut off and throw an error due to no fire and/or no fuel.

    When I restart it, all I have to do is hit the power button and the startup cycle fires right back up and it lights with no issues and continues as normal.

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  2. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like the damper might be close a little to much and your vacuum switch is dropping out.
  3. bonesy

    bonesy Feeling the Heat

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    Would that only stop the auger? Everything else keeps going as if it's feeding.
  4. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    It would stop the auger and flash the error code your seeing. Next time it stops with the code flashing. See which number it is and post it.

    Edit: Could also be door seal or ash pan seal leakage. Check the door with the dollar bill test. Close the door on a dollar bill(several spots). If it slides out easy its possible its leaking.
  5. bonesy

    bonesy Feeling the Heat

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    Usually the only thing flashing is the heat level #2, #3 or #4 which when I looked it up at the time it means no fuel if I remember correctly. I will keep track next time it does it. It does not do it often.
  6. bonesy

    bonesy Feeling the Heat

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    Ok here's an update. It was out yesterday morning when I was leaving for work at 5am. But I forgot to get the error, I just checked the burn pot which was empty and hit the on/off button and left for work. It fired up no issues. After getting home from work at midnight it was out again. This time I checked, it was a blinking #3 red light and a blinking on/off green switch light. The burn pot was full of unburned pellets. I think that was a misfire and it never ignited so I think that may be a seperate issue. Usually 9 out of 10 times when it's out, the burn pot is empty and I only need hit the on/off button to turn it back on and refire it with no issues.
  7. bonesy

    bonesy Feeling the Heat

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    I just checked it and the fire was out, burn pot clean, and #3 light blinking, just as if the auger stopped feeding again and the fire burned out. The on/off light was NOT blinking this time. Door seal is ok and there is no ash pan or ash pan gasket. A quick push of the on/off button restarts the stove and fires up fine after that.
  8. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    I would try jumping the vacuum switch, But do it on a day you can hang near it and keep an eye on it.

    Just wondering if it was it windy out?
  9. Billymac

    Billymac New Member

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    I have a P23 insert with similar problems, stove is 4 years old, controller always has acted funny since day 1, used to go into Hi/low mode everytime the power went out even though it was in On/off thermostat mode, new problem is the auger like "jmbones" just stops getting the control signal, the stove could be running for 1/2 hour or 3 hours, its not any POF or high temp disk issues, I bypassed all that and it still does it, this just started this season. I even took the board out and resoldered the triacs and heavy duty connections and molex pins, everything looked fine, put it back in and it still does it, driving me nuts. The stove will be running fine then all of a sudden no pellet feed anymore, the control board output seems lost, then it will eventually go into error 3 because it loses its POF signal since it gets cold. I tore apart the stove and everything checks ok. Cant rely on the stove now on cold nights, if I unplug it and plug it back in it works great again until next time, have been using a thermostat on the wall since day 1. I have a C-E-402 controller 2008 model serial 498X. Was a member back in 2008, account got deleted from non use I guess
  10. bonesy

    bonesy Feeling the Heat

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    Not windy here today, very calm. I'll try jumping it one day when I will be around it for a while but the thing is, this doesn't happen all the time. It's a coincidence it happened twice in as many days. Normally it will go a week or more without doing it. Billyman, sounds like yours is doing the same exact thing with losing the feed. Maybe there is a control board issue. When was yours built? Mine was 8/2006. When my power goes out I have to reset the heat level. I contributed that to losing the memory. I am using a Breckwell wireless thermostat that works great.
  11. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    When power is cut to these controllers, They revert to the default settings programmed in them from the factory. There is no battery backup to power the micro processor to hold its memory. Happens on all of the ACE controllers AFAIK. Unless the units are connected to a UPS backup system.
  12. JustUs

    JustUs Member

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    Hey -I've sorta got the same problem only on an Enviro FI ( have a big E in the basement and never an issue).
    I get she same problem when I run @ #3 or above only I don,t get the red flashing light, stays constant, green flashes but auger doesn't feed.see my earlier post today.
    Think since I have humped everything there is to jump I'm gonna spring for a new motherboard$$$$$$$.
    Thought I knew all there was to know about pellet stoves - oh boy!
  13. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    If you haven't jumped the vacuum switch? Try that before you spring for a new board.

    Jsut bouncing idea's on this one! Another thing that has tripped some up is pellet bridging in the hopper. A temporary bridge will deprive the unit of fuel and make the controller think its out of fuel. Pellets might(not always) fall to the auger but its to late and the stove will go out.

    Keep us posted!
  14. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Try what Jay mentioned (jumping the vacuum switch). A partial blockage of the exhaust system, combustion blower, the tube leading to the vacuum switch, or a combo of all three can make the switch "iffy"....sometimes it will close, sometimes not. Just on the borderline of not enough vacuum.
  15. JustUs

    JustUs Member

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    Oh I have jumped the vacumn switch, in fact jumped right now.
    So the stove been running all day on #2 and just set it to #3. 20 min later auger stops feeding while I am watching.
    Press #2 and auger starts right up feeding. Same with #4 and 5. Press to #3 again and in 20 min the whole thing repeats.
    This is with everything jumped.
  16. flynfrfun

    flynfrfun Minister of Fire

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    Is it possible the high limit switch is being tripped from overheating or faulty switch?
  17. JustUs

    JustUs Member

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    Not tripping, but I have that jumped out also.
  18. Big E

    Big E Member

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    proof of fire thermodisk?
  19. bonesy

    bonesy Feeling the Heat

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    Mine seems to be doing it more often now. I have an email in to Breckwell or US Stoves or whatever they are now, maybe it is a known issue. I think it is narrowed down to the auger either jamming and drawing too much amps or just a bad auger? I doesn't throw an error code right away, the auger just stops feeding during mid burn. The fuel feed light also stops. Then eventually the fire burns out and THEN it throws the #3 blinking light. The auger does make some weird noises every once a while as well.
  20. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    With your air leak issue the vacuum switch is doing it's job. As the stove warms up the metal will expand and this creates a larger air leak, trips the vacuum switch and stops the auger turning.

    Eric
  21. bonesy

    bonesy Feeling the Heat

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    Eric, that was the other forum user. I don't have an air leak or a gap in my door area. I can run mine on any heat setting for hours on end with no issues. Then randomly the auger stops feeding and the fire goes out for no reason.
  22. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Try a good leaf blower on the vent system.
  23. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    Whoopsy, I am trying to help too many Breckwell users at one time. double check your POF snapdisk located on the combustion blower with a #3 error. with a #2 error I would start looking for that air leak. Clean your venting, also. Remember, "when i doubt, blow the pipes out". Works with pellet stoves also.

    Eric
  24. bonesy

    bonesy Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks, my vent is only 3 feet, it has been cleaned and I have the biggest handheld leaf blower Husqvarna makes. It's been doing this randomly since new. Always thought it was bridging or pellet tunneling but ruled that out the other day when I was there watching it and it was burning fine with no issues and all of a sudden the auger stops feeding. Stove continues to burn until its out, throws code, push on/off button and it will fire right back up.
  25. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Have you checked all of your wiring for loose connections, those might be subject to changes in vibration due to blower speed changes, it is not unheard of for connectors on control boards to be bad.

    Also there is more than just the vent involved that the leaf blower can reach into from the vent.

    Auger motors have also been known to stall out under even light load when they are on their way out or the grease is no longer grease, couplings have been known to be loose resulting in the auger not turning when the motor does. Auger spirals have also been known to separate from their shafts and bind at certain points when spinning inside their flights.

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