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Foreign object in hopper

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Souzafone, Nov 2, 2007.

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  1. Souzafone

    Souzafone Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2007
    Messages:
    305
    Loc:
    Freetown, Massachusetts
    Hey, gang. I've got a Harman Accentra pellet stove that I had some recent problems with. In a previous post I described what I had done, and received some advice that helped a lot. However I still wasn't satisfied with the performance, especially when I tried to turn the blower speed up. I was hoping it was a problem with the pellets that were last years leftovers. By chance today I let the stove burn up the entire hopper without refilling, and later noticed what appeared to be a good sized splinter in the bottom of the hopper. I pulled it out and it turned out to be a 9/16 dia. broken bolt. It's just the shouldered section, over 2 in. long. I looked at the parts list and didn't see anything nearly that big used anywhere on the stove, and after thinking it over, I'm pretty sure it couldn't come from the stove and end up in the hopper, could it? I'm hoping it's something that broke off a bagging machine. Has anyone found anything similar in a bag of pellets, or is it possible this bolt came from the stove?

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  2. Corey

    Corey Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2005
    Messages:
    2,127
    Loc:
    Midwest
    Seems like I recall a couple posts last year about finding foreign objects in pellets. I'm sure it could happen - in food production, it seems like the product usually gets scanned on the way out to make sure there aren't any metal parts in the food. But I doubt pellets get the same high quality treatment.

    I don't know if I'm dreaming or not, but it seems like one of the 'foreign objects' turned out to be a matchbox car, so not all foreign objects necessarily originate at the pellet factory.
  3. kinsmanstoves

    kinsmanstoves Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2007
    Messages:
    3,354
    Loc:
    Kinsman, Oh 44428 Brookfield, Oh 44403
    I have heard of welding rod tips, bolts, wood chips, and screws found in the hopper. Got to watch what you put into your stove. Keep an eye on your ash pan and fire pot as you empty them.
  4. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    Messages:
    2,019
    Loc:
    Oakhurst, California, USA, Earth
    It happens
    Parts get dropped in the stove
    I have pulled out Toys, Dolls, GI joes, Knives, Box cutters, Cotter pins, Large Poprivits Nails, Washers, bolts, Nuts, Popcicle sticks. Razor blades
    most from the users but sometimes they do come from the pellet mill.

    18 years ago when I started this store I also worked at a pellet mill as welder Fabricator for extra cash.
    Well i was working on the Auger System on the top of a finished pellet cylo that goes to the bagging station.
    I was changing a grinder wheel and LOST the large Backing washer that hold the grinder wheel to the hand grinder.
    Two months latter We get a call from a Stove customer that thier stove was not feeding.
    I went out to do the service call and removed the pellets from the hopper and found the 2 1/2 inch Backing washer from my grinder in the hopper.
    "THATS where that went!" I said to myself.

    10 years ago we had a OLDER woman call and say here pellet Master stove has been acting funny for a few weeks and now it stopped feeding.
    I started cleaning out the hopper and half way down we found a par of Siscors. (thats not stopping the feed not in the auger)
    Cleaned the hopper all the way down to the auger and found just the handle of a heavy duty par of Siscors that have the bottle Openers on it.
    The Pellet master Chipped up the Siscors Breaking the blades in pieces all the way down the the handles.
  5. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2006
    Messages:
    5,960
    Loc:
    madison hgts. va
    i could go on for hours, but i'll just toss in a few extereme examples ife run across over my carreer:

    hanging over my desk at work are a set of keys , which actually went through my PDVC unit , found them in the burn pot when cleaning the unit out (got lucky they didnt catch in the flighting and jam the auger) i called the pellet manufacturer and asked them politely if they owned a set of bolt cutters. the person on the phone with me asked "why?" i said "cause you guys arent going to be able to unlock anything at the plant". again "why?" i said because i have your keys.

    had a customer call in from PA. seems the top auger in their unit was not running , naturaly i ask did you empty the hopper and check , they had not. dug out the pellets and there sits a golf ball with a big red stripe (a range ball) after a few "how the heck's" and some ministering with it , we freed it and the customer was up and running (apparantly didnt hurt the motor a lick) not a week later i have another call another jam , this guy found his problem but couldnt figure out how to get (you guessed it) a golf ball out of his feed opening. we got it out and again no problem with the motor, off he goes running , i asked him where he got his pellets , he tells me and lo and behold , turns out the supplier was a home depot located next to a driving range. apparantly someone hit a couple of really bad shots and they must have punched through the bags and were not noticed (or the bags just got taped up with the thought being that they were just snagged on somthing)

    ive seen screws, roofing nails, a barbie doll (wound into the feeder between the augers, was a tough one) hazelnuts (owner wasnt to bright), had one lady who bought a stove , took it home had it installed , added a bag of pellets (literally) and got the bag wound into her feed system. another who had accidentally dropped a saucer in her hopper and the pellets set on top and the unit fed and then ran out , the saucer covered the feed opening. got a corn stove back one time with cobs of corn in it , guess the customer thought it shucked and decobbed the corn and then fed it.

    ending with a lady in long island who bought a stove , brought it home got it hooked up , put her bag of pallets in it , it ran flawlessly for a day then it wouldnt feed any more pellets , she called and we started going over the stove , yep bottom auger turning , yes exhaust blower is running , door is closed, stove nice and clean , vac switch inlet clear, go to open the hopper up to see whats happening in there , she gets the bag to dig out the pellets , opens up the hopper and the pellets were all gone. she says , where are all the pellets , i asked her when she filled it up she said yesterday morning, i ask her how long did the unit run she said she wasnt sure maybe about 18 hours , she had it on 3 range, turns out she had bought the stove , vent kit and exactly 1 bag of pellets , she honestly thought that was all the pellets she would need for "at least a week or two of running" she was shocked when i explained that she would need about a bag a day minimum to heat her house through the winter if she was going to run the stove all the time.
  6. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 26, 2007
    Messages:
    3,724
    Loc:
    Madison, WI
    Had to go fix a ladies pellet unit last year due to an auger jam. Pulled out a big boat anchor of car keys with a FOB attached, still worked too.
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