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Harman problems anyone?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by GVA, Sep 4, 2006.

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  1. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    Read alot of posts about the advance, most complaints seem to be about smoke in the hopper and temperature issues. I have not had any issues with these. My issues have been a bit more severe, most recently the metal brace behind the flame guide plates had cracked. Also in the last 2 years I am on my third gear motor, it is my understanding that the manufacturer has recognized a defect in the gearing of the motor, but no one seems to recognize the problems that I suspect are wrong with the stove. If any dealers and technicians have any ideas on why this keeps happening i'm axious for an answer. The gearmotor issue has also happened to my brother in laws accentra.

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  2. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    Could you be a bit more specific? Age of unit, type of venting setup, type of pellet burned?
  3. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    Specifics: Bought unit November 2004
    Direct vent out side of house its corner mounted so I have a 45 degree elbow then about 18" of pipe to the thimble then another 16" straight out to the outside, i'm using a 3" pellet vent pipe and my house being built in 1906 did not need the outside air hookup, as far as type of pellet burned numerous first I only burn premium pellets, I'll pay a little extra for the BTU's and the lower ash content. I've used Northern "bear necessities" which seem pretty good, Plantation brands, Energex which I loved but hard to find locally, and New England pellet which last year unfortunately they must have had a bad year in manufacturing they actually seemed to be too hard of a pellet and also left a very substantial carbon build up on the burn pot, very hard to chip away.
    Those being the specs I'm glad it was you to respond first i've read your thought out explanations of other peoples problems and issues and think you would be the one to help me through this problem, and help prevent this from happening again and again... and again.

    You see my biggest problem is I use this stove to heat my entire house and it seems to break in the middle of the night... I will wake in the middle of the night by my stove making a mettalic popping noise, this is the stove auger binding and the chain will actually skip a tooth on the sprockets this puts a lot of stress on the stamped steel mount that the gear motor is on. I've had some dealers tell me that this is normal and that there is nothing to worry about, but i'm still concerned about this happening at least twice every year. I've replaced the drive and driven sprockets and the chain due to the chain walking off track because the bronze bushing on the output shaft of the Gleason Avery motor when stressed will shift a little out of the case and allow the output shaft and sprocket to move out of line with the auger sprocket.
    I think I have found a flaw in the controling of the feed motor but there is nothing I can do about it. Well actually there is but i'll explain that some other time if you (or Harman) are interested. You see I have actually had to keep a spare gearmotor here at my house, for those times that it fails at 2 in the morning or on a weekend when I can't get any parts.

    I'm actually in eastern Mass and am looking forward to your insight. Thanks for your time, GVA
  4. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Wow , third gear motor and you keep 1 on hand (4 total? ). What does the gear motor for one said pellet stove cost ?
  5. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    yep...the Advance...the first chain-drive Harman. Firsth thing, definitely check the alignment of the sprockets which the chain drives. If they are misaligned, the chain can bind and jump, as well as put undue strain on the gearmotor. just look at it from the side...you'll likely see its not aligned. You can also easily see that you can change the sprocket depth and align them via the screw on the sprocket shaft.
    Im not thrilled with the installation...there seems to be no vertical rise (doesnt allow for any natural draft if the power goes out, AND high winds may force the exhaust back into the unit given the lack of elbows)....if you check the Owner's Manual, you'll see that while your install is listed, its also recommended to use outside air in this case....

    http://harmanstoves.com/doc/advancem.pdf

    but this isnt likely to be your issue, in my opinion.
    There have also been a problem or two with the bronze sleeve bearing walking out of the gear motor and throwing everything out of whack, but it seems unlikely youd have seen that many of these (3?)...I havent seen any myself, but have heard of them.

    The chain will "walk off" the sprocket if it gets misaligned, as mentioned above. If its coming out of alignment, somethings screwy with the gearmotor...sometimes the rubber mounts keep you from getting the screws tight as well.
    In any event, your stove is clearly still under warrantee. The dealer *should* be querying Harman. Its EXCEEDINGLY uncommon to go through that many gearmotors in two years.....one maybe, but not 2. What metal brace failed as well? Is it the metal brick fireback which sits above the flame guide, or is it the burn pot itself?

    Lemme know...
    Good luck!
  6. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    alot, roospike, alot!
    My point is, the age of his stove, still under warrantee, those motors should be free, as well as the labor for installing them.
  7. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    True that HarryBack . I wonder if he bought them as the dealer isnt going to give him an extra 1 to have "on hand" Almost sounds like he is buying them . 4 motors at $???.00 <the still unknown cost> is a lot of money for somebody. So are you saying H.B. that its normal to replace these pellet stove motors once every two years ?
  8. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    Harry
    Thanks for the response, First the metal plate is located behind the brick panel It is T shaped and actualy has the latch attached to it that holds the heat exchanger covers in place It's about an inch wide by 1/8" thick it cracked over the right cover. It looks in my opinion to be a defective piece of steel That with the heat it expanded and then cracked. It is still at harman being welded, still no word on the motor issues, Am actually hoping on getting a replacement stove, although this is doubtful.
    Second, the gearmotor I bought one and as they break I replace and exchange broken one for a replacement. I'm only out for the cost of one. However this does not address the problem, The dealer does not seem to show much interest in the stove because it was purchased from one dealer by my wife as a gift for her brother who didn't wan't it, it was then given to me. And I have since found that certain dealers don't want to help you if you didn't buy it from them. Here's my experience from last year I called to have a technician come out and look at the gearmotor making noise I had to wait 40 days to have them come out. The outcome was there was nothing wrong with it and that this was normal, when the auger tries to cut through a pellet the chain will get tight and then pop! I would like to contact harman directly but keep getting refered to a dealer. This is where you come in. I don't think this is normal.
    Just by watching what happens when the chain starts to pop, Everything will be in line (sprockets and chain) The chain will get tight and actually flex the motor mount till the chain skips a tooth. I have tried at this point to remove the chain and try to turn the auger by hand with alot of resistance, then I will empty out the hopper and run the pellets out take the chain off again and the auger spins easily by hand. Upon further investigation it sems that the pellets feed quicker that the auger can push them out. Thus the feed door will actually jam up against the pellets at the feed end of the auger in the feed throat and this causes the chain to get tight and pop, and thus break the gear motor and the rest of the associated parts of the feed system. Have you ever seen somthing similar could the door be oversized or the c shaped cam be welded in the wrong location? What should I do?
    Thanks, GVA
  9. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    Nope, Roo, what i am saying is that GVA's unit has issues that should be taken care of. Have I replaced gearmotors? yep! Am I good at replacing gearmotors? Yep. Have I replaced any twice? Nope. Not yet. Ive gotta check on the cost of that motor, Roo....im guessing $125 each, but its only a guess.....Im at home and am way to senile to recall all that!
  10. Retired_Ted

    Retired_Ted New Member

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    I am reading all of this with interest since I am scheduled (I think) to have a new Accentra installed later this week. Should I be concerned or is this a dealer problem (that's what it sounds like to me).
  11. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    Well, in actuality, its the slide plate that chops off the pellets, rather than the auger. You might try beveling the end of the slide plate to make is a bit sharper. Also, find pellets that average a shorter length. Something really odd going on in your drive assembly tho.....Ive never seen pellets provide that much resistance to cutting...yea, they do break and the slide plate slams home sometimes, but not alot, and never enough to cause the mount to bend! Something else is hanging that auger, IMHO.
    What do you have your feed rate set at (we set ours around 3)? The auger should actually push the pellets faster than they feed....should actually be an airspace between the auger and the slide plate, devoid of pellets. Another thing.....pull off the slide plate cover, big wing nut, clean that out while you are there....seen them so packed the arm couldnt move. Could something else be causing the auger to jam? Is the end of the helix bent and catching? You should be able to disconnect the chain and easily be able to turn the auger by hand.....youll get some resistance but not alot.

    As for the cracked steel- warrantee- 6 years...covered under the warantee, under stove body defects. The original dealer who sold the unit should be taking care of that. Sold it to your wife, irregardless of where it was intended, they sold the unit. Other dealers will likely avoid servicing it, since warrantee work is a money-losing proposition. We service units that arent ours from time-to-time. Possibly someone might service it if you pay them travel time, etc. Harman hasnt changed what they pay for warrantee work in 12 years....same rate. You dont get paid for travel time. You get reimbursed for the part only, not shipping to and from Harman (have to send the bad parts back, yea, you guessed it, at the dealers cost).

    40 days is way too long to wait for service....I feel bad for you there. And there IS something wrong when the chain continually slips off, or stutters....somethings binding somewhere, and I dont thing its the pellets jamming the feed assembly.
  12. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    What I'm dealing with may be Isolated, You being in a diferent location i'm sure you won't have issues....
    Just a suggestion though Check with your dealer on tech support and service calls, most won't schedule you out a month later, I just got lucky i guess. Make sure he is the closest one possible to your area. and check with friends or people in the area that may have dealt with them, for complaints.
    Again I love my stove Its been a great investment really heats the house too. But Just wish I had done more homework on the local reps, I probably would have made the drive out to harry to get my stove. Check out the stove reviews on this site and decide for yourself..... I have friends that have the accentra's They are a nice stove, they love them
  13. HarryBack

    HarryBack New Member

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    thanks, GVA, but I wouldnt be really keen on traveling to eastern MA to service your stove either, so while Im flattered youd consider it, Id also do my best to talk you out of buying from me due to distance.
    While the Advance and Accentra are good units, Im more a fan of the p61, p61a. Better bang for your buck, direct drive, no chains, put out quite a bit more heat than the Advance, Accentra, and MUCH easier to service due to the fact that the heat exchanges arent covered
  14. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    Thanks for all your help H.B. I'll post here again when I get my stove back and keep you updated as to the motor situation.
    As far as choseing the stoves I was out voted on that one My wife wanted "A PRETTY ONE" Hence we got the advance. Take care guys!!!!
  15. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    Pm me what town you are in and who was the dealer?
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