1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Electric Log Splitter won't split

Post in 'The Gear' started by ronkimes, Nov 6, 2013.

  1. ronkimes

    ronkimes New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2013
    Messages:
    2
    Loc:
    Eastern PA
    Hey all,

    I have a Ryobi electric log splitter (49701) that I've used for about 5 years now. Split probably 6 cords total with no issues. This past weekend I was splitting some wood with a friend and the splitter stopped splitting (after we split about a cord). After attempting to get the splitter to work for the past few days, I went to my friend just to follow up that it still wasn't working. At this time he told me the last piece he split he had to 'jam' it in between the wedge and the ram because it was a little too big (I didn't see him do this). I was not aware of this until last night. I would imagine that if he 'jammed' a log in between the wedge and ram, it would have moved or pushed the ram towards the rear of the splitter, out of its resting position.

    Here is what happens: the unit powers on, the ram engages the log and pushes it towards the wedge, once the log touches the wedge it won't split it, and the ram returns to its starting position once I disengage the lever and the power button.

    I have it plugged directly in a 20 amp outlet. I've tried splitting a piece of soft maple and it wouldn't split. I checked the oil level and it's good (just changed it last year). Everything sounds and appears to operating normally, it just won't split wood. Motor runs, fans runs, the ram moves freely from its resting position to the wedge. No squealing or sounds that are out of the normal.

    Can anyone give me a tip of how to troubleshoot this? I'd love to get her working again.

    Here is a ling to a website showing the parts of the log splitter for reference:

    http://www.ereplacementparts.com/ryobi-ry49701-electric-log-splitter-parts-c-7931_7937_15706.html

    Any advice or help is much appreciated! Thanks!

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,256
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    I can't tell by the parts break down, but I am going to assume that this is a two stage hydraulic pump. It sounds like as soon as the machine requires any kind of pressure, the ram stops? This could be caused by a faulty second stage of the pump. You could also be getting bypass in the control valve or even the internal seals on the cylinder.

    ETA - do you notice any change in tone of the motor when the ram stops pushing?
    Unfortunately these little dudes can be hard to track down issues. Tough to put a pressure gauge on it.
  3. barnuba

    barnuba Member

    Joined:
    Feb 10, 2011
    Messages:
    47
    Loc:
    South Central PA
    I have the Harbor Freight electric splitter and had a similar issue. I found the set screws that hold the ram lever loosened up causing the lever to slip out of adjustment. I took the lever off, readjusted everything and it has been working great ever since.

    Also, you could try bleeding the system.
  4. greg13

    greg13 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2012
    Messages:
    442
    Loc:
    CNY
    I would look at the pump/motor coupler first. It may be stripped allowing the motor to turn the pump until it requires pressure then it slips. I don't know if there is a way to check the pressure or not, but the relief valve could be bad also.

    Try googling "Ryobi splitter problems" and see what you find, I would bet you are not the first one to have this problem.
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2013
  5. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2011
    Messages:
    567
    Loc:
    Shingletown, Northern California (elev. 4000 ft.)
    Make sure that the wedge end of the splitter is a little higher than the pump end. If not, the oil does not drain back to the pump properly and the pump may starve. A "jam" will not do any damage unless you continue to apply pressure instead of letting off.
  6. ronkimes

    ronkimes New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2013
    Messages:
    2
    Loc:
    Eastern PA
    I appreciate all of your replies! I'll try all of the mentioned troubleshooting options and report back...
  7. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2012
    Messages:
    2,066
    Loc:
    SW Washington
    If the last piece was too tough to split and he continued to apply power to it for too long, some seals may have been damaged.

    Also, was the wing nut loose before it was used last?
  8. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Messages:
    2,096
    Loc:
    Richmond, VA
    Yes, the instructions say not to apply pressure for more than 5 seconds if the wood doesn't split. Your friend may not have known this. Leaking seals can result.
  9. RLS

    RLS New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    MD
    The HF 7 ton I just got won't let me hold pressure on if the log doesn't split. The motor stops and I have to release and restart. Not sure if this is because I had a 100ft 14 guage cord the first time or if its a design to stop to prevent overload.

    If designed that way its a nice feature to keep from breaking it. It was not a hassle at all. Only stalled on 3 logs.
    Danno77 likes this.
  10. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,256
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Sounds to me like you are tripping the overload protection for the motor. Probably not a good practice for long term life. Try and let up before you get to that point.
  11. RLS

    RLS New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2013
    Messages:
    5
    Loc:
    MD
    Yeah it is some kind of overload protection. It happens right away on the harder/bigger logs. As soon as the ram hits and the log doesnt pop the overload kicks in. Hopefully its due to the long 100ft cord of 14g on a 15 amp house circuit. I have not had a chance to run it on a 20a circuit with 10g cord yet.
  12. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2012
    Messages:
    2,066
    Loc:
    SW Washington
    That happened to me once.

    Do get a better cord. 100 ft is too long for 14 gauge. The starting current and stall current is huge.
  13. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2010
    Messages:
    2,096
    Loc:
    Richmond, VA
    I use a 25-foot, 10-gauge cord on a 20 amp circuit, specifically to avoid overheating the motor. Seemed like a small investment to protect the splitter. I can use it to recharge my electric shaver, too.
  14. chumney

    chumney New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    Messages:
    8
    Loc:
    Kings Langley
  15. chumney

    chumney New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    Messages:
    8
    Loc:
    Kings Langley
    Hi All
    Brand new to the forum
    I have a Ryobi ELS 52 log splitter with a fault and wondered if any one could help. When I lift the lever and push the button, the machine humms and then cuts out, with nothing moving.
    Simon
  16. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,256
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    With that model, does pushing the button energize the motor or do you have to move the lever AND push the button?
  17. chumney

    chumney New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    Messages:
    8
    Loc:
    Kings Langley
    Hi Jags
    Thank you for your reply, You need two hands to operate my one, one pushing the button, and the other on the lever to make the ram move.
    Simon
  18. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,256
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Right, but will pushing the button alone start the motor?

    ETA: A motor just humming and not spinning has the possibility of a couple of things. First I would look a the start capacitors. If you can get to the end of the motor shaft, you can often test this by manually spinning the motor once it starts to hum. If it picks up and starts to spin, its a pretty good bet. (note: you will need to spin the motor as fast as you can using an action similar to snapping your fingers). Depending on design and build, there could also be start windings in the motor causing issues.
    I know specifically of one of these units that was repaired with a change out of the capacitors. (and they were not very expensive).
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2014
  19. chumney

    chumney New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    Messages:
    8
    Loc:
    Kings Langley
    Yes the motor humms when I push the start button
    Simon
  20. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,256
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    If possible, try my test about spinning the motor when it is humming. If it takes off, I would probably be looking at start caps.
  21. chumney

    chumney New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    Messages:
    8
    Loc:
    Kings Langley
    That's really helpful Jags thank you very much. I have just got myself a job at the weekend!!!
    Thanks for your help.
    Simon
  22. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,256
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Keep us informed on how it goes.
  23. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2012
    Messages:
    2,066
    Loc:
    SW Washington
    If the motor just hums but does not spin, I had that problem a while back. Some debris was caught in the fan blades in the front of the motor. Take off the shroud with three screws and make sure the fan blade turns freely and is clear of debris.
    Jags likes this.
  24. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,256
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Sometimes its the simple things....
  25. chumney

    chumney New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2014
    Messages:
    8
    Loc:
    Kings Langley
    hi all, well the saga continues I have changed the capacitor on my ELS52 and still have the same problem. Jags! As you suggested I removed the fan housing and tried to spin the fan by hand! It did start to spin. There does seem to be quite a lot of resistance in the motor when I turn the fan ( is that normal)? I did look to see if something was jamming the blades, but nothing there. No such luck eh. Anybody help PLEASE!!!!!
    Simon

Share This Page