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Harman Accentra shuts off on warm day and won't start up again

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Scott Reed, Mar 16, 2013.

  1. Scott Reed

    Scott Reed New Member

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    On a warm day the stove shuts down. When the house cools off, we have to turn the stove off and on to get it to start up. Once it starts, it works fine. This appears to be a controller problem but we replaced the controller last year (due to flakiness in the temperature-setting variable resistor). Is this a known problem? Is there a patch?

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  2. glenc0322

    glenc0322 Minister of Fire

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    Is your stove a FS or insert? when was the last time you cleaned the entire stove and the vent pipe,fines,esp? what settings are you using? T stat ?
  3. Scott Reed

    Scott Reed New Member

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    It's free standing.

    Tstat at 3+ (65F on room thermometer).
    Feed around 4.
    Auto ignition on.

    I cleaned it thoroughly a couple of weeks ago. I don't see how cleaning would affect this behavior since it runs very well until it shuts down in warm weather and then runs fine once we turn it off and on.

    In the shut down state, there are no blinking lights, just the steady power light.
  4. john193

    john193 Minister of Fire

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    Sound like the stove isn't receiving a call for heat. Have you tried setting the temp higher on such an occurrence just to see what happens?
    gbreda and Defiant like this.
  5. glenc0322

    glenc0322 Minister of Fire

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    I have an insert so it is different but I would first try cleaning the ESP. you might be having a problem with it without getting a blink code or the board is going bad. You also said you are using a t stat is it an external T stat or the room sensing probe? if it is the probe try changing the location of the probe. good luck hope someone with the same stove chimes in
  6. Scott Reed

    Scott Reed New Member

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    I just cleaned the whole stove including the ESP a couple of weeks ago. If it were the ESP it should give us blinking status lights.

    We're just using the room sensing probe. The probe is right next to the thermometer. Even when the room temp is 5 degrees lower than the stove's tstat setting the stove won't light. Just tweaking the tstat knob or turning it off and on will start it up. I also think it's a problem with the controller but if that's the case, it really really sucks since we just changed it and the ESP two seasons ago.

    From our perspective, this is not a trivial problem since it means we cannot rely on the stove to heat the house when it's left unattended. While the stove is generally great, I cannot recommend Harman because of their unreliable controller. It's such a critical component, I'm surprised they haven't made it bullet proof.

    I think it's time to sell this stove and try another brand.
  7. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    Look at the CPH on you thermostat (calls per hr) and set it to the highest setting or off.
  8. john193

    john193 Minister of Fire

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    you could always set the ignitor to manual, and the stove will go into maintenance burn. Have you tried moving the room temperature probe? Maybe by a window?
  9. Scott Reed

    Scott Reed New Member

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    If the probe is next to the thermometer and the thermometer says 59 when the stove is set at 65, it cannot be the probe location.

    Ignitor on manual is a possible work-around but I'd like it to work as designed and advertised. Why waste fuel and electricity in maintenance burn when it's designed to reignite itself?

    I do not know how to set the CPH. Please explain. Also, we've left it for a couple of hours and it doesn't relight.

    I appreciate all the help but it seems we're grasping at straws rather than accepting that Harman doesn't make a reliable controller. I'd like to be wrong about that but I think it's time to face facts.
  10. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    I can answer the question about CPH but it doesn't apply to your setup.

    But the statement about the probe being next to the t-stat says nothing about the actual temperature at either location. One or both can be wrong in what they are telling you or the stove.

    As for Harman's controller you can take it up with them.

    Your dealer likely has a DDM that they can plug in and read what the room probe thinks the temperature is.
  11. Scott Reed

    Scott Reed New Member

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    The probe works fine, the stove keeps the room at 65F just fine, except when the stove shuts down it won't turn on again. There are two thermometers next to the probe. They agree within 1/2 a degree. The room gets cold. The thermometers say it's cold. The stove stays off. Looking to the probe seems like grasping at straws - what could be wrong with the probe that would cause it to work correctly except when the stove has shut down?

    I have a DDM. What reading should I have for 65F?
  12. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    If you have a DDM it tells you the set point that that temperature dial is set to and the temperature the room probe is reading no guessing what either is.

    So you bought a Harman DDM? That is a digital diagnostic meter not a DMM digital multimeter correct?



    ETA: CPH is cycles per hour and is a changeable option on some t-stats that prevents a heating system from changing from on to off and back too many times in an hour (usually it is implemented as a minimum number of minutes in each state before it allows the state to be changed and thus isn't a true cycle per hour limit). My t-stat has it in this manner on which is a fixed time between state changes or off no limit (5 minutes minimum per state), my t-stat also has a swing setting +/- 2.25::F.
  13. Scott Reed

    Scott Reed New Member

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    Ah. my mistake. I figured there was a table with temp/resistance readings. I'm pretty sure it's just a thermistor.
  14. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Yes it is likely such a critter and that temperature set-point is nothing other than a resistance setting on that potentiometer which are prone to (as is the room probe connection) to problems with dust and other environmental items at the stove end of that connection.
  15. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Feeling the Heat

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    try putting a piece of ice on the probe to knock down the temperature even more. you got nothing to loose by trying..... what year is the stove? i probably have the same stove but mine is always in manual because it is still freezing here...and yes when it's warmer i waste some pellets but i'm not wasting my ignitor, i leave it for the wive to use.....;)
  16. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Electronic comparator systems are quite stable and are more than moderately precise.

    It is the mechanical pieces that usually cause issues, especially those that remain in one position or that are prone to being jostled a bit while cleaning takes place.

    Unfortunately most pellet stoves have one, the other, or even both.
  17. joetiii

    joetiii New Member

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    I have had this problem with myAccentra Insert for a few years now. I bypass the issue by setting the stove to Manual mode when I know there will be temperature swings that possibly will shut it down. I have had a problem with starting my Accentra stove though. If this is addressed some where else, please let me know, but my ignitor does not appear to be working and I have had to use gel to get the stove working. Most recently, there is another issue that happened. I had the stove running in Auto, mode at the lowest setting and the stove went out by itself but continued to feed pellets into the burn pot. The burn pot overflowed and filled my tray. I have to say I did a thorough cleaning a few eeks back. (ESP eas cleaned up back in December). Any thoughts if these are all related?
  18. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    do you find this symptom appears always when the unit is set to the same temp? If you leave it say, 5 degrees higher do you get the same thing occuring?
  19. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    usually if you have pellets overflowing, you have dirty igniter....or dirty igniter.:)
  20. Scott Reed

    Scott Reed New Member

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    @Joe:

    The igniter is probably burned out and needs to be replaced. I consider the igniter to be a consumable. So far I've replaced it once after six years.

    It sounds like the controller is also not working since it should stop feeding in auto mode if the stove doesn't ignite.

    I don't think these issues are related. Harman makes a good stove but the controller has an unfortunately short lifetime. Replacing the controller is unlikely to resolve the cold auto start problem unless they've redesigned the logic.
  21. Scott Reed

    Scott Reed New Member

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    @Delta-T: I can now answer your question about setting the temp higher. This is perfect weather for testing that. MY wife turned it up a hair (not 5 degrees, but a couple anyway) the other day because we're not dressing as warmly and she got cold at the old temp. I know that yesterday it came on by itself after very warm weather.

    I can imagine the temperature potentiometer could build up some corrosion or slowly burn out when it stays in one spot. Perhaps Harman needs to use a better component for the pot or use a lower voltage circuit that will extend the pot's lifetime. What do you think?
  22. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    it would be nice if they made an improvement on that component, though, I do not see that happening anytime soon (I have mentioned this several times to them over the years). Some electronics contact cleaner may do the trick for you if its just some corrosion on the pot. If that doesn't do it, it may serve you best to relocate the probe a bit so that you can set the knob at a slightly different temp, but still have it achieve the comfy temp you'd like...find a spot 2 degrees warmer or colder and set it there...its not ideal, I agree, but its a lot less expensive work around than a new board.
  23. joetiii

    joetiii New Member

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    OK so I asked my local dealer about the ignitor at the beginning of the season. I start my stove in October and it pretty much runs all season. It would not start using the ignitor back then so I just used gel. From what you are saying, the ignitor needs to be cleaned. How does one remove and clean the dirty ignitor???

    My dealer never said anything about the ignitors going bad or needing cleaning. He wanted to sell me a house visit for $175 diagnostic
  24. joetiii

    joetiii New Member

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    Yeah I agree the pellets overflowing is not related and kinda bizarre. When I restarted the stove yesterday (with gel), all the lights came on. The status light along with feed light and igniter light flashed off for one second, then came back on. This happened again a few moments later, but the stove continued to run. It happened sporadically until I turned the temp stat up to high and then the flash off stopped. I will try some contact cleaner and see if that helps.

    If not I believe the controller is on the way out. Where does one get replacements?
  25. Delta-T

    Delta-T Minister of Fire

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    to do the simple test to see if the igniter is working...turn unit on, wait 5 minutes, open up fron t door and put hand over (but not on) burnpot...if its warm, igniter working, if its cold go ahead and tap the burnpot, if its cold, you have bad igniter. to clean igniter, take off little door on face of burnpot by loosening the 2 butterfly screws on the face,remove little door, and cleaning out any debris you find. while the hatch is open, bang on the burnpot with scraper tool to dislode the klingons and remove them as well. resecure door and off you go. you might havea bad igniter. if so, its not horrible to replace. do a search in the forum, there are many many explinations on how to do it. good luck.

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