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Drolet ECO-45 problems

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Black73, Dec 5, 2012.

  1. Black73

    Black73 New Member

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    Hello. I am new to this forum but not brand new to pellet sotves. I previously had a Harmon pellet stove in a previous home and found it to be great. I just found a Drolet ECO-45 that a person was having trouble with and was selling for a low price. I bought it and hope to get it operational. I have searched this site and found some good info but nothing that seems exactly like the problem he was having. I have not yet dug into it but thought I would post the problem first and see if someone could steer me in the right direction.

    This is what he told me was happening - "There is a panel on the side which turns it on off and settings. There are fuses behind this panel which started blowing. I replaced two and each time when I turned the stove on. It would run for five or ten mins and then blow the fuse. After the second one blew I got a coded msg. on the panel "C" (no power). That is how and where I left it."

    Any help would be greatly appreciated. My first step was going to be a thorough read of the owners manual and a good cleaning of the stove and all parts.

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  2. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Did the stove ignite any pellets?

    It sounds from the timings that the convection blower might be the cause of the fuses blowing.

    So I'd check all of the wires that are involved in getting power from the controller to the convection blower if they check out fine, I'd disconnect the blower and test it using a "suicide" cord by wiring an old lamp cord with a plug on it to the convection blower and plugging it into a wall outlet( This is extremely dangerous if you are not comfortable working with electricity or with wiring and don't know what this entails do not do it. )
  3. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    disconnect the combustion blower and see what happens. The other way is to go nuts with a metter and see what your resistance is on each component. Refer to my fuse post a few minutes ago.....
    Eric
  4. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Hey Eric my bet from the timing is that the combustion blower is fine (it ran for 10 minute), the igniter is fine (it should have been on for most of that time) and that things went south when the stove says hey the exhaust sensor thinks I have fire so turn on that distribution fan (about that time in the process) and it all goes south.
    kinsmanstoves likes this.
  5. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

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    Yes but if say the combustion blower is working it's way out and this is just under the fuse rating it would be fine but say a good distribution blower kicks on but the draw is over the fuse rating causing it to blow. I hope that is clear as mud...

    Eric
  6. Black73

    Black73 New Member

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    I haven't actually tried to fire the stove yet but just based my post on the explanation of the previous owner. I took your advice Smokey and followed the wiring to the convection blowers - found one of them had a wire fried in the blower itself. I will replace the blower and see what happens. Thanks for the direction - saved me a lot of guessing.
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  7. Black73

    Black73 New Member

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    Waiting now for a new convection blower to show up in the mail. In the meantime, since the stove has two of these blowers, is it possible to run stove with just one of the convection blowers running. It would be nice to try it so I can see if there are any other problems that I need to address? If I understand things correctly, basically the convection blowers blow the air thru the heat exchanger and ultimately blow the hot air out of the stove - my guess is that you could run the stove on one but that it would overheat easier? Maybe it would be ok to run on lower heat settings?
  8. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    I can't tell you how safe that would be, I'd be leery about the stoves ability to properly remove heat from the heat exchangers and thus cause metal issues and/or temperature issues in the vent system that can lead to very bad things happening.

    I also don't know what the effects would be on the controller (I've never looked over the wiring diagrams on a Drolet unit).

    I'd be willing to start it up just to see if the one fan you think is good comes on, just don't run it for heat.
  9. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    There is most likely a short on the POF thermocouple located on the exhaust motor housing
  10. Black73

    Black73 New Member

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    I got the new blower installed and everything appears to run fine with no error messages yet. One thing that I did find odd was that the covection blowers run all the time - when it is in any mode including off. I would think they should shut down when there is no heat? Wondering if there is a sensor bad or if this is normal? Any advice would be appreciated.
  11. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    smwilliamson just pointed you to the thermocouple on the exhaust motor housing as likely to have a short or be shorted to ground.
  12. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    I'm awesome aren't I?
  13. Black73

    Black73 New Member

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    Yes sir - you even answered my question before I thought to ask it. lol.
  14. Black73

    Black73 New Member

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    I checked the wires running to the termistor on the exhaust housing and don't see any problems - i also tried a new thermistor unit and it also didn't solve the problem of the convection blowers blowing all the time (even in off mode). I thought it might be the the thermal sensor on the convection blower housing - ordered one and tried it but still the same.
    When I plug the unit in, I get the following flashes on the the display E r 1 2 7 (one flash of each unit) then the convection blowers start to blow. The stove operates fine (although the convection blowers never seem to vary) when I shut the stove to off it will shut down normally but the convection blowers will continue to blow.

    Any other ideas?
  15. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like a shorted triac to me.
  16. Black73

    Black73 New Member

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    Thanks. Can you help me out a bit - I have no idea what a triac is and don't see anythin on the parts list that sounds even close?
  17. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    You won't, it is an electronic part on the control board. It is used as part of a blower speed control circuit (combustion, convection) or as a switch (igniter, auger). They fail primarily in ether open or closed mode, and rarely in between.

    It is also possible that one of the other parts on the control board took a hit as well. Once you rule out any possible wiring harness issues you are left with the normal method of replacing the controller or replacing the triac to the affected part of the stove.

    There are people who repair control boards for example:

    David who has a video up on you tube and I believe he is a member here as well.

  18. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    Examples of triacs:

    http://www.radioshack.com/search/index.jsp?kwCatId=&kw=triac&origkw=triac&sr=1

    As you can see, they are not expensive. It's a matter of identifying the bad one, unsoldering it from the board, and soldering in the new one. Easy enough if you're familiar with circuit board work, not for a novice. You might know someone who can, or pay some shop a few bucks to do the soldering.

    The two black and silver items in the lower left of Smokey's video are triacs.
  19. Black73

    Black73 New Member

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    Thanks to you and Smokey for the replies - I'm learning a bit more about this everyday. That being said, I don't think I will tackle soldering on the control board (gotta know your limits). I have sent a message to the guy that Smokey pointed me to - in order to check on price and process. I may also be able to find someone local to do it for me.

    One additional question - can you determine which one is blown visually or is it an internal matter that need to be checked with a testing instrument?
  20. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    You need to know what is where on the control board and then if you have the equipment you test the unit that controls (in this case the convection fan) part that isn't working correctly, there is usually an optoisolator in the same circuit that can also get fried at the same time or may be the cause of the problem. I have seen people just replace both no matter what to get a board working again. I have also seen people take the shot gun approach and replace all of the triacs. There is also the possibility that such replacements will not correct the problem because it is another part that has gone bad.
  21. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    You would use an ohmmeter to test each triac, which would likely show you which one was bad. You could follow the traces from the connector, using your wiring diagram to figure out which trace belongs to the blower's triac. It's just easier and quicker to check all 2 or 3 of them with the meter.

    If the components were visually bad, the board would probably be toast. If the defect was serious enough to do physical damage to components, the board would likely be a train wreck. Sometimes in the shop, we'd have to try to repair obsolete boards, but it was very time consuming, and a crap shoot as to how long the repaired board would last. If it worked at all.

    I agree with Smokey that sometimes the other circuitry on the board could be bad: a triac shorting out could take out its driver, too. Optoisolators are cheap, too, so using the shotgun approach would be quite do-able.

    In my decades of industrial electronics experience, it's usually, but not always, the components that do the heavy lifting that go bad. In this case, the triacs. If it were my stove, that's where I'd start.

    Most people are not willing or able to do circuit board work, and that's why repair services exist. I don't do carpentry, so I hire it done. Each to his own.
  22. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    Where is Fyrebug, he works for SBI? He never jumps in when an Eco is having problems but is sure on top of any discussion that has to do with anything new they are selling. WTF. Typical.

    I'm sorry my thoughts didn't solve the problem. Truth be told, these machines kinda suck IMHO. The units are too freakin complicated and tech support is at International calling rates times an hour or so on hold for a work around that often doesn't work. Makes you want to own one doesn't it?

    Are you sure you got the correct POF thermocouple? There are two versions of the same thing, each with different parameters but they look identical.
  23. pete324rocket

    pete324rocket Feeling the Heat

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    If the stove is blowing fuses, it would be helpful to know the amount of current that is causing it and if it is a momentary spike, a dead short or maybe the timing can be linked to an event within the stove.All problems are usually mechanically related, even though they may be electrical in nature. Electronics do not simply "go bad" without reason. I have owned my eco-45 for a long time and it has been great. Emails to SBI are usually answered within 24 hours. The nature of your problem however is quite technical and so speaking in general terms could be exhaustive. The board has a test mode which they may or may not entertain using this for diagnosis. All in all, a great deal on a stove may include paying for some service work. Oh yes, if the convection blower has never come on, this should be an obvious target, since soon after the fire is lit, the blower should be triggered by the heat sensor....and that wiring should be examined.
  24. Black73

    Black73 New Member

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    Thanks Pete - All of the original problems discussed in the post have been addressed with the help of those above. It was a dead short in one of the convection blowers. The only outstanding issue is the convection blowers blowing all the time and not varying their output. Stove works - lights/burns/heats fine and overall I am happy with it. The direction above (to the triac on the control board) seems to make sense given that the original problem was one of the blowers shorting out and frying. I will try and chase down that lead now.

    Like you said - a got a good deal - $575 for the stove/pipe and 24 bags of pelletes. So far I only have a $100 in extras into it so I have some room for a bit of service work - although I am trying to do as much as I can on my own. At the end of it, I will have a much better understanding of how it all works. My first thought when trying to figure it all out was the internet and this is where I found this form and all the info I received so far - I never even thought to contact the manufacturer and so far I have not. Being in Canada - glad to hear that the returns your calls.
    pete324rocket likes this.
  25. FyreBug

    FyreBug Minister of Fire

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    Wow... Having a bad hair day?!? I thought you were on our locator for local tech repair & installs. Let me know if you want off...

    This came out of left field my friend. Do a search of some of my posts and you may want to rethink your position. I am not necessarily on Hearth.com every day and today is Saturday helping some other guy with his FP-45. Also, many times I PM directly the user or they PM me for solutions so the problem is handled that way.

    The problem as I see it, were handled proficiently by all concerned. We do not offer board repair just board replacement. In this case the gentleman wants to do it in the most cost effective manner. I am not familiar with the schematic diagram and my opinion would be at this point just as valuable as any of the folks here.

    FYI, I take my turn doing tech support and we answer 94% of calls within 1 minute. So if you had to hold for one hour may I suggest you PM me and let me know about it? Also, when you are on tech support and dont want to pay long distance, just let us know and we'll call you right back.

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