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Harman hopper smoke

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by freebird77, Feb 21, 2008.

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  1. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    I let my P61 get low on pellets yesterday, not completly out,but when I opened the lid there was some smoke, and of course smell inside. Is this normal, or should I be concerned? Thank you. Doug

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  2. toastyinri

    toastyinri New Member

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    Call your dealer and tell him. I've had the same problem with my Harman Advance. You'll only see the smoke when your hopper is about 1/3 down in pellets. You won't see smoke when it's filled, but you'll smell it. If possible, it's best to get your dealer there while the unit is smoking so he can actually see it. Pull your slide plate and see if there is any buildup of sticky gunk or charred material on it. Also run your auger after unit is shut down and see if any charred pellets come out from the back of the auger tube.

    If you have your dealer there while it's smoking and he's scratching his head....have him call his Harman rep while he's at your house.
  3. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks
    What did they tell you? Also, slide plate? Help please, Im very new to this, and thank you.
  4. toastyinri

    toastyinri New Member

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    I never got a definative answer other than it might be caused by "backburn". My dealer thought it could have been caused by a faulty seal or weld in the back of the unit and was sucking in air into the auger area. My first Harman Advance was replaced after two seasons of burning. It came to a complete standstill with the auger and tube encrusted with charred burned material and along the edges of the pellet chute that feeds into the tube.

    If you pull the slide plate and find that it has charred material on the bottom edge, it may mean things are getting too hot in the chute and auger and your pellets may be smoldering in there. If it just started smoking now, you still have a long way to go until you get enough buildup to cause the auger to grind.

    There could be other reasons why it happens, but the above is what seemed to have happened to mine.

    I'm not familiar with your Harman model, so I'm assuming the basic internal design is almost the same as mine. The slide plate is the mechanism that opens and closes to release and push your pellets into the chute. It's the plate you see when you look down into your empty hopper. It's attached to a rocker arm on the side of the unit...again, I don't know if your model's is located in the same place as mine. Check your instruction booklet.

    Best thing to do is to get your dealer out there and have him check it and document it with him and Harman. If your stove needs to be replaced sometime down the road before the warranty runs out you'll have a better record of when and what went wrong.

    I'm sure someone with your model Harman in this forum will jump in and be able to give you more ideas or a solution.

    If you look through the posts you'll find a topic called Harman Advance Changes. I posted a picture of my slideplate there and what it looked like when I pulled it.
  5. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks Toasty. I really didnt se eany slide plate there or how to get it off. The P61 manual is not very helpfull especially nothing like this in there. Any other Harman owners have other ideas, or how do I check this slide plate? Thanks
  6. toastyinri

    toastyinri New Member

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    Here is a link to Harmanstoves.com with additional cleaning information for the p61:

    http://harmanstoves.com/maintenance/P38&P61CleaningGuide;.htm

    scroll down to the section where it says "Other things to check and clean at the end of the heating season"
    below the header is a picture of the fine box and feed mechanism...the slide plate is directly on top of the box, it has a slot that fits into the rocker arm.
    to get it out the rocker arm must be in the open position. you may have to turn your stove on for a few seconds until it completes one revolution. at that point just lift the plate up and pull it out.
  7. toastyinri

    toastyinri New Member

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    I should have added that the auger must be turning. Put your stove on test mode and watch the arm pull the slide plate back and forth. I usually have to pull the plug on my stove to have it stop in the middle position. It is difficult to remove if it is in the closed or full open positon...at midway, with the stove OFF, just pull up on the plate and slide it towards you. The rocker arm will swing freely once you take the plate off. it goes back on the same way, with the seam side up....slide it into its opening and positon the rocker arm so the slot in the plate fits into the top of it. turn on test mode and make sure it is sliding back and forth.

    If there is crude on the plate, check to see if it's sticky or encrusted. just scrape the crud off.

    I was "new" to pellet stoves a couple of years ago too. the best thing I did to learn how this thing operated was to take off the doors on the sides and the back and "watch" how the thing operated. Its a machine with moving parts.

    After seeing the cleaning instructions for the p-61 I realized your model is set up the same as my Advance.

    If it's still a mystery you can email me at debbie4244@aol.com . I'm very interested in what your dealer has to say about the smoke in the hopper .
  8. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    Hey, thanks very much. I think I have the cleaning instructions in my favorites, but dont remember seeing that, Ill definetly look at it over the weekend. Appreciate the help. Might here from me later. Stay warm, Doug
  9. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    What do I have to do to get at this slide plate? Do I need to remove the back covers? I had them off once this year just to see if I needed to clean anything, but dont remember seeing that fines box shown in the pic. My stove is in the corner and its not real easy to get back in there either.
  10. toastyinri

    toastyinri New Member

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    Fine box is located on the right side behind the cover on my Advance. I assume yours will also be in the same place,,on the side of the unit, not the back.
    Its rectangular box with a cover and a wingnut attached that attaches it.

    Attached Files:

  11. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    Empty the hopper before pulling the slide plate....
  12. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    Thanks to you both. Where did you get the cool diagram of the stove?
  13. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    Just looking at the stove and my P61 has cover plates on the back, top and bottom. Must be back behind there somewhere, because i dont see a side cover anyplace on it
  14. toastyinri

    toastyinri New Member

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    can be found on harmanstoves.com under support. Here's the link.

    http://harmanstoves.com/support.asp
  15. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    Going to call them when I get home tonight. Any other Harman owners experience this?
  16. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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  17. toastyinri

    toastyinri New Member

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    smokin.....................

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  18. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    GVA ITs only noticable when its very low on pellets which I try and not let happen too often. I wipe of the gasket daily, cant see that its bad, and the stove is only one season old. I called dealer last night but no answer. Ill keep you all updated on this. Oh, and no it wasnt an unusually windy day.
  19. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    Hey Toasti, Read your other post on Advance changes. When you had the smoke was the hopper almost empty, or could you see/ smell it all the time? Doug
  20. toastyinri

    toastyinri New Member

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    Yes it was always 1/3 or more empty, but I can't say that it smoked ALL the time when the level of pellets got that low because I had to "catch" it at the point it smoked. If I opened the hopper door just a crack the smoke would get sucked down slowly through the chute at the bottom of the hopper and disapate. The picture I posted of the smoke billowing out was to show what a full hopper of smoke looked like (with pellets low in hopper) That much smoke coming out would set off my fire/carbon monixide alarm that is mounted near the stove. I only kept the hopper door up long enough to take the picture....as part of my documentation package for my dealers and Harman.

    The unit was probably still smoking even with the hopper full, but could not be seen because the pellets probably acted like a filter. The full hopper pellets would have a smoky smell though.

    Did you purchase your P-61 new? If you still have all of your paperwork,,,,look in the plastic bag and find the "inspection" slip. It's got a check list made by the inspecter and the date that the unit was inspected. I'd be interested in knowing what month & year your model was made.

    Some of the things I noticed and took note of when I got smoke:

    1. stove was in maintanance mode after hitting required temp with low but active flame with no smoke in the burn pot area with fans running at lower speed.
    2. pellets in hopper low
    3. outside air temps higher than 30-40 deg.
    4. charred gunky stuff on slide plate
    5. usually not windy outside
    6. would usually have smoke in the morning or late afternoone...sometimes both in the same day.

    My cleaning schedual exceeds what Harman recommends.

    If your dealer wants to inspect your stove, have him pull the auger out and inspect for build up of charred stuff molded on your auger, in the auger tube and the bottom opening of your pellet chute.
    My first stove was loaded with charred encrusted stuff at the back of the auger tube and auger itself and my dealer had a hard time pulling the auger out because of the build up resistance.

    It took the first stove two seasons of burning (nov-march 2005 & 2006) to get to that point,,,so your's might not be in that state yet,,,when it gets that bad, your auger chain will start to jump it's sprockets, and you'll hear the "thud" noice it makes, you'll hear an auger grinding noise...eventually the chain will jump the sprockets and fall off. ( at least thats what happened to me)
  21. KJF470

    KJF470 Member

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    I have a Harman P68 and mine just started this hopper smoking three weeks ago. Dealer was no help at all when I called about the smoke in the hopper. Everything the dealer asked was about cleaning and maintenance items that I feel I meet or exceed listed in the manual. Same as what others here experience, hopper level about 1/3 full. However; mine started a couple days after switching pellet brands. I got what I thought was a good deal on some Future Fuels pellets from Walmart. Near gagged when I sliced the top off the first bag to add to the hopper. Really a lot of dust in these pellets, I wonder if the dust fines are some how smoldering in the auger and smoking in the hopper. My auger moans and groans and squeals like a son-of-a-gun, never heard or experienced this before these pellets. I scrape the burn pot once a day now to try and knock down the char build up. What kind of pellets are you others burning that are getting the smoking hopper? Till this happened I have had tremendous luck with this Harman stove, I burn 24/7 for 2 weeks then shut down for a thorough cleaning and start back up again for another 2 week run. I've did this routine for the 3rd season with this stove and I wonder if it isn't from too much dust and fines in the pellets!
  22. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    Im burning Armstrong softwood premium pellets. Scrape pot every day and do the cleaning as recommended after every ton burned. Still havent got ah old of the dealer yet. I cant believe yours wouldnt be more responsive to what could be a potential fire hazard. I hope I have better luck when I do get in touch. I dont notice any bad smells from my pellets smell kind of sweet actually,and Ill keep you all posted on this.
  23. toastyinri

    toastyinri New Member

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    I burn Fireside Ultras and Pennington. Since my replaced stove was installed, I don't let a bag of pellets go into it without sifting. The firesides have been very consistant so far, as have the Penningtons. I can say with confidance that my own smoking problem is not due to an excess of fines with this stove. It was something I wanted to rule out on the 2nd stove after the experiance with stove number 1.

    If your auger is moaning and groaning, have your dealer get out there and pull the auger and check the whole area for crusty buildup.

    It could be the dust and fines, but I've got to tell you, because I sift all the bags, I've found "things" that shouldn't be in them...not often...but every now and then....I found a nail, a piece of stone or concrete and small chunks of unpellitized wood...about the size of a triple fat toothpick.

    I'm also thinking that pulling the auger and scraping the auger tube should be part of an end of burning season maintainance.
  24. freebird77

    freebird77 Feeling the Heat

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    I havent sifted the bags and there doesnt seem to be a lot of dust in them, and I havent seen any unusual stuff in there so I dont think its that. I called the dealer tonight and he said hed call Harman and let me know. But he did mention to check the slide plate. I dont really mind, but I paid a lot and if it comes to that they should come out and check it for me, dont you think?
  25. toastyinri

    toastyinri New Member

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    I most certainly DO think your dealer should come out and check it for you since there are no instructions in "the user manual" Harman supplies about removing the slide plate for inspection,,,at least not in my manual for the Advance. I had to figure that out on my own. Depending on how many other calls your dealer has received for service, don't be surprised if he tells you he'll be there in a week or more. Hopefully you'll hear from him today, but if you don't , keep on calling him and push the issue...as you said...."I paid a lot". Try sifting a bag of pellets.....you may be surprised at the amount of dust and fines,,,then times that by 50 bags or 150 bags,,,whatever you're using for a season. Most of that stuff should fall into the fines box, but if your slide plate is restricting them from falling into it,,,theres only one other place they can go...and thats down the chute with the pellets.

    I can't say this enough....make sure he pulls the auger out and inspects the auger, auger tube and bottom of chute for burned charred material. It's a pain in the butt to do because he'll have to detach the venting and turn the stove around to get at it. If he has a hard time pulling the auger out,,,you can bet that some burning is going on back there and leaving deposits like the kind you find in your burn pot....the kind you have to chip off.
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