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Englander Stoves - Design Opinion

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by NEStoveOwner, Dec 31, 2008.

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  1. NEStoveOwner

    NEStoveOwner Member

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    The following is based on real world experience. If you are having issues with feed or flame please check your auger motors. Read on.


    I purchased a model 25PI Insert Pellet Stove from Lowes in Feb 2003.

    I have burned just under a total of 3 tons of pellets in 5 heating seasons. As you can tell that is not a lot. It is not a heat source for me.


    In Oct 2003 I had to replace an auger bearing block.

    In Oct 2003 I had to replace an auger motor.

    In Jan 2004 I had to replace the blower motor.

    In Sep 2005 I had to replace the other auger motor (still original not replacement above as the stove has two).

    In Oct 2005 I had to replace the auger motor that was replaced in Oct 2003.

    In Dec 2008 - I HAVE TO REPLACE ANOTHER AUGER MOTOR.


    Thats a total of 4 Auger Motors, 1 Bearing Block and 1 Blower Motor.



    In every auger failure i check leads to motor with DMM and confirm control board is supplying proper voltage. In every failure i swap the two motors (to make sure the problems follows the motor ) in case the control board cant supply enough current even though voltage is okay.

    I called Englander 3 times over the last few weeks and nothing they can do but ask me to spend $130 for another auger motor. They also didnt seem interested in seeing what the root cause of the failures were (ie poor design vs the way its being used). Based on my limited stove use, I would suggest design but it wasnt a conversation they were interested in. No interest in having me send the defective unit back for investigation. Englander says "we all use the same motors". I see similar looking motors in other brands but based on my research Englander is the only one using that basic motor design at 1 RPM AND CCW.

    My Design opinion based on thorough investigation, they are failing because of the windings are shorting out when the motor heats up. I have seen some posts about adjusting settings on the board if the flame goes out. I know from personal experience that my auger motor will fail after 3-5 hours of use. Windings will get hot, they will fail, auger stops turning and flame will go out. When stove cools down enough the failure will stop and motor will resume working. In some cases if the stove has not cooled down enough to turn off the auger will sometimes resume working and all of sudden the burn pot will be full of unburned pellets. Before you change you burn settings make sure this isnt happening.

    Some advice - if Englander reps read this please act on it. The design where the winding wire meets the contact/plug is crimped. One time i was able to repair a failed motor by soldering the lug to the winding. That failure mode was intermittent contact between lug and winding wire.

    Im faced with spending another $130 for a stove thats for casual use. I offer this all up both out of frustration and also to let others learn from my experience and hopefully not make the same mistake i did.

    To quote their website and founder ...... "Ron England believes - as his father did - in making available a quality product ..."

    Its looks like quality does not apply after the first year. Englander doesnt make the auger motor but my opinion is they are responsible for specifiying the design and life reqiurements to their supplier . The Englander name is on the stove and not the motor supplier. I guess as long as Englander doesnt need to cover the cost of the replacements parts they arent motivated to understand why this is happening.

    If Englander reps read this and would like to contact me please do so via email. I keep meticulous records on the pellets i have used and i also have all my email correspondence with Englander dating back to 2003. I would be happy to work with someone to investigate why this happens.

    Happy New Year

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  2. Garry P

    Garry P New Member

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    Wow, all I can say is my Englander 25PDVC is 6 years old, works like a charm and runs pretty much 24/7.
  3. NEStoveOwner

    NEStoveOwner Member

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    I would say approximately 50% of my unit is within the confines of the fireplace. Your unit doesnt appear to be as deep in your fireplace as mine. I wonder if your components can run cooler???? I cant tell for sure from your pic but it seems the unit is partially in the fireplace or is that a floor unit installed in front of a fireplace?

    Glad to see you have been trouble free.
  4. peirhead

    peirhead Feeling the Heat

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    That stinks...nothing worse than unreliability...most stove owners on this forum seem to burn pretty steady like 24/7, but your usage seems pretty low...as you say you are a casual user..I wonder if some of the design issues are accentuated by the intermittent use...not an excuse, but perhaps during the off times you get some moisture or crud seizing in the motor bearings....maybe it also related to pellets....did you get the 3 tons when you bought the stove and are still burning them?...Pellets do store OK but after several years I'd want to have them used up and use fresh ones.
  5. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    One of the draw backs of not using a new item with a year warranty you don`t get to sort the thing out within the warranty period.
    The fact that you haven`t used it much means nothing with regards to the warranty time limits, kinda like a car with a 36 month warranty.
    That said , 4 new auger motors for 3 tons of pellets has to be a serious issue and not the norm.
  6. Garry P

    Garry P New Member

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    Sorry for the confusion, mine is a free standing unit. I had a gas insert, boarded up and tiled over the opening, extended the hearth and set the stove in front.
  7. NEStoveOwner

    NEStoveOwner Member

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    Agreed on the time period vs use.

    It is a serious issue and an expensive one with no solution in sight :(
  8. packerfan

    packerfan Feeling the Heat

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    I know that on my Englander, the tube that the bottom auger sits in gets a bit of carbon build up in it after burning it for a while. You can easily see and feel the carbon build up at the end of the auger tube with your fingers. Cleaning this area is very easy. All I do is chip it off with an old screw driver. Other people use a file to clean it up. Keeping this area clean from a serious carbon build up is a must, as if you don't do it, it can easily create a problem for the auger motor. I really don't know if this has anything to do with the problem you are having, but it is worth mentioning for people that have not heard this before.
  9. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    In regards to the auger motors.
    Actually Most manufacturers use a 1 RPM motor, I think Harman is the only one that uses something out of the norm, a 4 RPM motor.
    the rotation can be changed by removing the 2 screws that hold the stator on and flipping it over, then reassemble...

    Have you checked the polarity of the outlet running to the stove?
    Is the bearing block mounted correctly?

    3-5 hours of use and the motor burning up is not normal, I doubt it's the motor since it keeps happening and there are undoubtedly thousands of these stoves (inserts) being used.
    Paging Mike and Corie
    Mike and Corie to the pellet room.................
  10. NEStoveOwner

    NEStoveOwner Member

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    Packer - thanks for the input. I do once a season chip away at the lower outlet. Every year i have this stove apart for one reason or another.

    GVA - i admit i have no scientific way to diag the control board. So far all i have done is measure output voltage but dont know if the current is there. When i switched the top and bottom motors the problem follows the motor. But ...... you could be on to something. I dont know that the wall outlet can source more than 110 but is it possible i am getting a spike?????? Maybe i should put my DMM on there and set it to peak hold? I hadnt thought of the board ruining the motor as everytime i replace the motor the problem goes away. Great input.

    I honestly do want to find out why this is happening (at least one person on this forum doesnt think so). Based on todays pricing the total cost of parts replaced so far is $690.

    I did happen to save my last failed motor. This morning i decided that tomorrow i will bring it to a local motor shop. I am either going to have them rewind it and look at the windings. Or, i may buy the wire and rewind it using my lathe. Its an experiment at this point and possibly saves me $130 for a new one when right now the symptoms all point to failed windings. Last year i called the actual motor manufacturer. I wanted to buy the winding sub assembly from them. The reply was these are proprietary designs and we cant sell parts. I understand they cant sell me parts but the word proprietary seems a bit of an exaageration when lots of companies use same or very similar design.

    Thanks again guys
  11. pelletizer

    pelletizer Minister of Fire

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    What I don't understand on the 25-PDVC is why the burn pot is angled back toward the auger tube?

    One would think that it should be angled away so the flames would not burn right up against the auger tube and auger.

    I think that would take care of the need of chipping and filing in and around the auger tube as the flames would be more in the middle of the burn pot.
  12. Lance1

    Lance1 Member

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    The motor windings are burning up? If so, this is a motor overload issue. This can happen by two things, low voltage and excessive mechanical loads. First off, put an in-line fuse on the motor so you don't have to buy anymore motors while troubleshooting. Check the supply voltage to the motor, if ok, start looking at the mechanics like the gear reducer. As far as proprietary, one only needs to match the motor specs.
  13. doghouse

    doghouse Member

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    Or how about dropping the entire burn plate an inch and a half below the bottom auger? This would eliminate fire half way up the bottom tube! Or ...I could go on.
  14. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    I don't know how your control board switches power to you're motors but if your polarity of you're home outlet is wrong (hot / neutral reversed) then you could be sending voltage to the motor all the time.
    check you're outlet first...............
  15. Lance1

    Lance1 Member

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    No, kidding, when I first saw this type of horizontal design, I thought it was nuts. Why would any designer want the auger to sit in the flames heating it up as well as the bearing in the back.
  16. pelletizer

    pelletizer Minister of Fire

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    I don't think the burn plate could be lowered due to the fact that the fresh air intake tube is below, but what if the burn pot could be changed to angle the burn plate out toward the door, Don't get me wrong I like my stove and don't want to come across wrong.
    I have thought that if one could aquire a burn pot and modify the burn plate angle and see how the stove would burn?
  17. NEStoveOwner

    NEStoveOwner Member

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    Checked the outlet and its wired properly.

    I brought a failed motor to a local electric motor repair shop. At $70 per hour labor i am not sure i want to go that route. I will rewind it myself.

    I bench tested this motor. As stated above ..... It works when the stove is cold but the motor stops working after about 3 hours of use. It will work again once cool.

    My bench testing showed ..... the motor is making excessive heat. Enough to burn my fingers. Within 20 min the heat starts at the motor frame and spreads to the windings. After 2 hours i could not touch any part of the motor or gearbox. The gearbox was spinning. The heat of that motor in the confines of the stove is elevating the heat to a point where the motor will stop working. Let it cool down and it will work again.

    I read on another post that a user claims these motors are not designed for continous use.
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