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Brand new Quadra-fire Santa Fe will not start

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by redneckmama42, Oct 9, 2008.

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  1. redneckmama42

    redneckmama42 New Member

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    Installed last night (self install with the aid of a licensed contractor friend), filled the hopper and followed all the instructions in the manual on starting and then troubleshooting. Spent a couple hours going back and forth. The blower will run for 10-15 seconds and then shut down. We put a multimeter on all the snap plates and they're all getting power. Went to the dealer that sold it to us today and asked him about it; he said they haven't had any problems with them and to just keep pushing the reset button until it finally does start. That smacks of "get a bigger hammer" to me. The fire pot does get warm, though. It's a horizontal vent corner install, if that's of any troubleshooting help. Also, the call light comes on nice and red; no yellow lights to speak of, which was one of the items listed as a problem in the manual.

    After reading a bunch of posts on here, I read something about the door to the auger possibly not being open, so at present DH is dipping the 40 pound bag of pellets he poured in there last night back out to have a peek at that. Any insight anyone can provide will be appreciated. This will be our only heat source this winter as our boiler went out on the fuel oil heat and will cost
    $5K plus to replace and then we go through generally 1K gallons of fuel oil a year and I just can't do that.

    I would be very grateful if anyone can help us troubleshoot this; if there's anything I'm missing here on info, I'll do my best to provide it.

    Red

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  2. moralleper

    moralleper New Member

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    Is there a signification amount of pellets in the burn pot? the dealer is referring to pushing reset to get the pellets though the auger so they drop into the hopper. I would pull the ezclean rod to empty the burn pot, and then try to start the stove. the stove should feed pellets for 30 seconds or so into the burnpot then it will stop and turn on the igniter. try to peek at the igniter to see if it is glowing red. if it is not then it might be bad.
  3. redneckmama42

    redneckmama42 New Member

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    Thanks for the quick reply!

    It's kind of a two-fold problem, I believe - the auger's not depositing pellets in the burn pot. We also, per instruction from dealer, put some pellets in the burn pot to try to get them to start, but they don't seem to be igniting - just geting warm.
  4. Mr Whitfield

    Mr Whitfield Feeling the Heat

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    Is the auger primed, It will take some time to fill the auger tube. Run the auger until you get alot of pellets flowing in to the pot, then empty the the pellets back into the hopper. Start the whole starting process again this time lighting the pellet on fire.
  5. redneckmama42

    redneckmama42 New Member

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    Forgive me if I sound like an idiot, but other than hitting the "reset" button multiple times, is there any other way to prime the auger?
  6. kt1i

    kt1i Member

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    Loc:
    Central MA
    I also have a Santa Fe. Have you checked that the burn pot door is closing completely? You might have to remove the ash pan and check underneath with a flashlight. If it's not completely closed there will be no vacuum and it won't start.
  7. bostonbaked

    bostonbaked Member

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    I met a couple about two weeks ago who like me bought a Santa Fe. They told me that they had a lot of trouble getting it going the first time and after going round and round. Found that the control board got jogged in shipping and was not completely seated. They pushed it in and problem solved. They were just giving me a heads up because I had not started my stove yet. Hey worth a try!
  8. redneckmama42

    redneckmama42 New Member

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    kt1i and bostonbaked, thanks for the ideas, but alas, neither one solved the problem. We're not total newbies to the whole thing; we've run fireplaces, wood and coal stoves off and on our whole lives and DH is an auto tech and I have a hardware and software background. We're really leaning towards there's a real problem here. I'm just crossing my fingers that the dealer's not going to be like DTV and their ilk and want to charge me for a service call to fix something I didn't break.
  9. bostonbaked

    bostonbaked Member

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    I'm sure someone will help you figure it out. Good luck and your welcome .
  10. welshcob

    welshcob New Member

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    Lacking a DH, I took a deep breath and paid the dealer to have my Santa Fe installed this past Wednesday. Obviously I'm far from an expert, all I can do is describe how it SHOULD work when it DOES work.

    When first plugged in the exhaust fan started up. Installer set the thermostat to call for heat and and the control switch on high, then dropped a good handfull of pellets in the burn pot. Made sure the door was closed tightly (gasket runs around three sides, open at the bottom) and after a minute or two some smoke started to rise , then we got a flame. It took a few minutes for the heat to build to the point where the circulator fan came on. He explained that the handful of pellets was a shortcut way to start the fire while the auger was loading (instead of using the re-set button). Worked a champ, auger started to feed, and I was able to do the recommended two hour burn to clear the new paint smell without any problems.

    Now if I can just get the machine to quiet down a little. The installers claim that the whistling sound will go away as the pot gets some crud on it, and if the exhaust fan doesn't settle in I can call and have it replaced and MAYBE the new one will be quieter...I knew there would be some noise, but having the exhaust fan churning away all the time just might get on my nerves - we'll see.
  11. bostonbaked

    bostonbaked Member

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    I have a question. You say that the installer said if the "exhaust fan doesn't settle in I can call and have it replaced and MAYBE the new one will be quieter" If the stove is brand new (Mine says it was built in Feb. of 08) does he mean to say that in that short a period of time there is already a motor upgrade. Or do you think he meant you may just have a noisy motor. If you know I'd be interested in knowing. Good luck with your new stove btw. Thanks in advance.
  12. welshcob

    welshcob New Member

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    Bostonbaked, the installers were really careful to be non-committal about whether or not my fan is especially loud or if a new fan would resolve the problem. However, they were the ones who volunteered the suggestion that it MIGHT. I'll have to check my stove for the "born on" date - is that on the label under the left side panel?

    I guess my first task is to visit some of the local quad dealers and see what their stoves sound like. All I know for sure right now if that the vent exhaust fan on mine is a good bit louder than the convection fan(s). Meanwhile its warm and cozy and kinda fun watching the sparks shoot about inside the stove.
  13. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Red, IMO, since the stove is new, and under warranty, I would get the dealer that sold it to you to come figure it out. If you've done everything "by the book"(owners manual), and it still doesn't start, I'd say it's time for them to get it running.
  14. bostonbaked

    bostonbaked Member

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    Thanks Terrier Lady, The date is where you said . The only Santa Fe I heard running was the display model where I bought my stove. It was pretty quiet as I remember. He had it running at around medium he said. It was a large room though. I'll find out soon enough .
  15. welshcob

    welshcob New Member

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    It looks like my stove was manufactured in August....August 2008. So a newer stove is not necessarily a quieter stove. We'll see, its too warm to run it right now and I've got a bunch of things to do before the building inspector arrives next week (new deck, electrical work and of course the new stove). But when I played with it the night of the install it was definitely better on the lower speeds. My only complaint really is the continual noise from the exhaust even when the stove isn't fired. If it's plugged in, it's making noise. Even that beats the "$$ka-ching$$" of the oil burner firing!
  16. richg

    richg Minister of Fire

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    Hmnn...I used to own a Quad 1200 years ago, and am going to take a few stabs at this. Pardon me if I ask what are stupid questions :)) OK, let's start with the feeder mechanism. Quad hoppers have an adjustable rod in there which controls feed rate. When you start the stove, I trust that pellets spew out of the feed tube into the pot? If not, the hopper rod needs to adjusted to a wider setting, or you have what is called a pellet bridge. Quads are very sensitive to this, so be alert during the entire life of your stove. A pellet bridge is when a large pellet straddles the hopper intake and prevents pellets from feeding. While on the subject, you also have to periodically empty a quad hopper and vacuum out the fines, otherwise you will get a fine jam....that is where the auger is simply turning in sawdust and no pellets get fed.

    Next up: you say that the burn pot feels warm. and the red call light comes on. For completeness sake, let's check the thermostat connections and settings. Quads run off of adjustable thermostats, including set back models. (I did like that feature, by the way). If the thermostat is not calling for heat, you no get fire.

    Move to door gaskets. Do the dollar bill test all the way around to check if the gaskets are seated properly. A gasket leak can cause shutdown/nonstarting issues.

    Venting system: You mention a horizontal vent, which I interpret as going straight out through a thimble to the exterior. Could there be any type of obstruction? FYI, many stove manufacturers call for at least some measure of vertical run, which provides natural draft in the event of a power failure. Dane Harman told me that some backpressure is not a bad thing, too much will cause malfunctions.

    Ignitor: if pellets are dumping into the burn pot and don't ignite, the stove senses a lack of heat and shuts down. Be careful with Quads, as if the burn pot is full and you restart, it will refill the burn pot to overflowing and when the stove does start you get a RAGING blaze for a while. The burn pot in my 1200 would get ripping hot, so a bad ignitor is certainly a culprit. The quad ignitor is very easy to replace. Check to see that the thermocouple is covering the ignitor, by the way.

    Home Construction: this is a very remote possibility. What is the construction of the house? Leaky, or tight as a drum? A tight house may need an outside air kit. FYI, I disliked quad's outside air setup as it merely was a piece of pipe that hooked up to an open port under the stove. My P61 has a connector port that goes right to the firebox.

    Combustion blower: Hmnnn....you say that a blower runs for 10-15 seconds and then shuts down. This does not sound right. If the stove is calling for heat, the combustion blower should activate and pull air through the stove and out the exhaust. Quad distribution blowers kick on after a few minutes of fire, but that is a totally separate issue. Check the combustion blower to see that it is turning freely. My gut feeling is that you would have gotten some kind of warning light.

    This enough to chew on for now. Please keep us posted.
  17. redneckmama42

    redneckmama42 New Member

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    Wow! What a lot of info. Thanks so much for taking the time to think/type about this.

    I guess the whole upshot is that the auger's not dumping pellets at all into the pot and the hopper rod's adjusted out to the highest setting. We tried "jumpstarting" it by putting a handful of pellets in the pot, but to no avail. They just get warm but don't ignite.

    As to the house construction, if it were any leakier it wouldn't be a house, it'd be a sieve. We're not sure when it was built, but it was both plumbed and electrified post construction. You can see where they took pieces out of 2 bedrooms just to put in a bathroom w/a tub upstairs.

    Perhaps it's not the combustion blower we hear, but a fan of some sort kicks on when we try to start it.

    A friend of DH's called last night and told us that his daughter and SIL had gone to the same dealer and purchased the same model we did a couple days ago (at a $1500.00 premium from what we paid for ours in August). Theirs wouldn't start either and it turned out that the board was bad. We're going back to the dealer today and raise a stink.
  18. redneckmama42

    redneckmama42 New Member

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    UPDATE:

    Went to the dealer today and scheduled a service visit. They can't come until 10/24, which *crosses fingers* should be okay as we generally fight not to turn on any heat at all until 11/01 here. We were just being proactive trying to start the stove the other day to make sure it worked; sure glad we did. Since it's under warranty, if it's a problem with the stove we're golden, but if it's operator error/installer error since we self installed, it'll be $80.00 an hour. Fair enough to me. Although, in the meantime, I'm still going to check the things people here are suggesting.

    What's funny is DH heard that $80.00 an hour as $8.00, and when we got in the truck to come home (along with another of our pre-paid at $219.00/ton pellets), he said, "Well, hell, for $8.00 an hour if it's wrong, get them to do a reinstall or whatever it takes." After I picked my jaw up off the seat and explained it to him, he changed his mind. D'oh!!!
  19. redneckmama42

    redneckmama42 New Member

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    FINAL UPDATE:

    So, the repair dude just left and we're finally burning and on our way to not freezing! He had a heckofatime with it - replaced control box; that didn't do it. Fiddled with this, that and the other; was afraid it was the wiring harness, which, of course they don't keep on hand. He finally had to get on the phone to HQ. It turned out the "factory setting" on the control box was wrong. He changed it from "0" to "6" plugged the box back in and VOILA! So, no matter what we did, we sure wouldn't have gotten it going. Yay for warranty work, too!

    Thanks, though, for all your ideas!

    Red
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