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I don't think my P38 is burning properly

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

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  1. ducker

    ducker Feeling the Heat

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    (OPS... I totally posted this in the wrong thread originally..)

    Here are some pics of the stove while burning:
    I'm thinking it's either the incorrect amount of air from the blower, or just really poor quality pellets. Although if it's the later, I'd think that they would perhaps burn slower and give off less heat, If they burned faster, I'd think the system would feed more pellets quicker.

    Thanks for any feedback!!!

    -Mike

    just after I started it up:
    [​IMG]


    the settings I have it set to:
    [​IMG]


    after over an hour at those settings:
    [​IMG]


    short crappy video I took of the stove operating with my camera - note if need be I can take a better quality one with a video camera.
    Ha.. I didn't even think about the blower unit on the camera's mike.
    [​IMG]

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  2. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    pellets are some what cheesy those sparks are the fines igniting and blowing around..
    You have sufficient airflow thus draft seems strong.
    But there are no pellets......................... turn the feed rate up. try 5 to start and see what happens we can go from there...
  3. ducker

    ducker Feeling the Heat

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    I have cheesy pellets? heh :) Well to be honest I used a bag that had one end broken slightly open. (the seal of the bag was broken)
    so they aren't the best bag I have.
  4. bdcbean

    bdcbean New Member

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    Hi Craig, there are quite a few Pellet Stoves out there with a damper on the exhaust side. Ours is the same. It never fully closes in any position ofcourse.
  5. ducker

    ducker Feeling the Heat

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    See this is what is throwing me off... Yes, I could crank it to TURBO! but I expected to see a flame about 4 inches or so above the burn pot similar to what rayttt witnessed with his.

    I want to make sure that there is a problem with the ratio before I call/contact the installers and have them come out to visit me/tweek the setting(s).
  6. rayttt

    rayttt Feeling the Heat

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    what pellets are you using?????
  7. ducker

    ducker Feeling the Heat

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    Instantheat
    I expected them to perhaps be a little lesser quality, but not to the point where they burn ultra fast. That's why I'm thinking it's not just the pellets but also the blower unit. If they burned fast - I'd imagine that the flame would go out eventually.. or gasp - burn back to the hopper????? gasp. just thinking like that freaks me out!!!


    The bag I'm currently testing was broken open - when I stacked them from the pallet outside in to my basement.
    So they aren't the best bag of pellets I received.

    I could empty out the hopper and see if I can get just a single bag of another pellet type at say Home Depot, but last time I Was there Home Depot didn't have any pellets that I could see there.

    edit. the amount of burning fly ash I see flying around in the video I figured was a cause of the less then stellar quality of the pellets.

    As long as it still keeps me warm in the winter I'll be ok.
  8. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    My P38 responds to fuel feed adjustment within one minute (auger run time increases) and in just a few minutes the results of turning up the fuel feed really becomes apparent .
    When set to Turbo mode the flames touch the heat exchanger. Takes maybe 5-10 minutes
    Maybe your draft needs to be adjusted?
  9. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    those are the fines or the sawdust burning..... The more times a bag is handled the more fines you get.... some cheaper "cheesy" ;-) pellets seem to have more fines.....
    Anyway I'm going on an assumption that your p38, (though has a different control board from the rest of the harman line) will work on the same principle..
    That is your feed rate of 1-5 then turbo relate to the amount of time per minute the stove feeds pellets when in full demand.
    1=auger turns for 10 seconds every minute
    2=auger turns for 20 seconds every minute
    and so on up to turbo........ 60 seconds on for every minute or max feed......
    Again you seem to have a feed problem with your stove...
    2 things here try timing your auger cycle see how long it runs when set to 3 for example, note you can't start timing till the stove is well under way to burning.
    if it only times for about 6 seconds every minute you are most likely in maintenance burn.. that is the stove thinks the room is at temp and will add pellets only to keep the fire from burning out which would look like the pic you have above.
    do you have a external thermostat hooked up to the stove?
    It could be a bad potentiometer or control board or room sensor or...................
    Just tryin' to narrow it down


    edit
    when your stove first starts up with that amount of pellets in the first pic does your flame get higher then kinda burn down to the flame in the last pic?
  10. ducker

    ducker Feeling the Heat

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    Great feedback thanks.
    I'll check the timing this weekend. It's a bit warm tonight so I'll skip it tonight.
    I don't have a thermostat hooked up.

    So it might think I'm in a maintenance burn even when I have it set to 3? I would think a Maintenance burn would be a setting of 1.

    I hope if it's a bad board or meter that, it's easily fixed and the installers don't give me static about it.

    The flame is higher when the firsts starts going. I'll try to maybe take a video next time and put it in to time lapse.
  11. firewarrior820

    firewarrior820 Feeling the Heat

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    should there be a gap on the lower right hand corner behind the burn pot ?
    that block piece looks sqewed
  12. ducker

    ducker Feeling the Heat

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    I shifted that brick a little bit. I think it was just not placed correctly in there.

    Ok. I'm tired so no pictures tonight - but I did take a bunch.

    With the stove set at 3 I had the following timings.
    Auger on for approx 16 seconds every minute

    I lowered it down to 1, timings were as follows:
    Auger on approx 6 seconds every minute.

    I really thought the flame was going to go out with it set to 1. I left it going for over an hour and the flame didn't die out.


    I'll toss up a few pictures tomorrow.

    I think I might call the install guys, as It seems as if perhaps there's too much air blowing in the burn pot which is causing the pellets to burn with such a short flame.

    - Mike
  13. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    i would lean towards a bad potentiometer or board in that case
  14. ducker

    ducker Feeling the Heat

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    I'm just thinking the guys at the install will think I'm crazy if I call up and I'm all "hey my stove you just installed isn't working properly."


    What exactly is a potentiometer? I did some searches and I get a lot of very Electrical Engineering types of answers.

    Then again - hopefully this store will understand what I'm talking about when I tell them about how it's burning.

    Thanks for the feedback. I'll call the place today.
  15. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    the feed rate and blower knobs are the potentiometers
    a defective one could give you false feed rates.
    crazy or not if the stove is not working right they need to look at it and fix it now before the season is full on.
    can any other P-38 owners here verify the auger cycles for Ducker, and post results...
  16. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    Regarding verification for auger cyles. 6-7 sec is about right for the #1 setting (very low burn rate) so 16 sec should produce a strong tall flame after a few cycles of dropping pellets for 16 seconds. You ought be able to verify quite easily that more pellets are actually being delivered into the burn pot and burned with the longer cycles.
  17. ducker

    ducker Feeling the Heat

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    So it really seems as if the auger moter is running longer (approx 16 seconds at a setting of 3) but I'm not really getting that much more pellets in my burn pot.
  18. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    That sounds to me like the electronics are working poroperly with regards to feed rate . However the increase in pellet delivery at a 16 second feed rate @ #3 vs 6 sec @ #1 should be quite obvious .
    It sounds like you have a feed problem within the hopper / auger section .
  19. ducker

    ducker Feeling the Heat

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    well yes, the amount of pellets and the size of the flame at my 3 setting vs. 1 is noticeably different. But it still seems to be burning oddly.

    I'll post pictures tomorrow of the flame at 1.
  20. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    Well now, you wrote above that the auger runs longer @#3 but you are not really getting that much more pellets in the burn pot and 2 paragraphs down you write that the amount of pellets at 3 setting is noticeably different. Which is it?

    if you can see that #3 delivers more pellets (and they all burn completely) then you might just need to call a good pellet stove repairman or someone who can do a draft test.
    Good luck
  21. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    are the pellets long, causing a bridge?
    If the timing is right (seemed low but like I said different board from the rest) maybe the slide plate is upside down or not moving freely/fully.
  22. lessoil

    lessoil Minister of Fire

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    This is a very informative thread!
    I am on my 4th test burn.
    My observations so far(Newbie)

    Starting cold with a feed rate of 4, within 10-15 minutes the flames are touching the heat exchanger.
    Starting cold with a feed rate of 3, the stove filled with smoke before full ignition. (Not enough pellets for good combustion?)
    I was experimenting. The installer suggested 4 to 4.5.

    As far as draft, if he made an adjustment I missed it and he did it without test equipment.
    Seems to me there was something mentioned in the owner's manual about this.

    **Low Draft Voltage Adjustment (May not apply to the P38/May need special test equipment)

    **LOW HEAT OUTPUT
    1. Feed rate too low
    2. Draft too low because of gasket leak.
    3. Poor quality or damp pellets
    4. Combination of 1. and 2.

    **Draft Meter bolt hole location (Make sure it is not plugged/May not apply to P38)
    On a P61A the draft hole is under the left rear corner of the firebox.

    I don't know if my rambling is helping!!
    Good Luck and I'll be checking back to see what you find out.
  23. MCPO

    MCPO Minister of Fire

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    You might want to check the voltage. It should be 118-125v.
    I`d also try adjusting the trim pot clockwise in small increments to increase draft . Just remember the starting point .
  24. CelciusMaximus

    CelciusMaximus Member

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    it's time to give a jingle to the folks who installed your stove. that's what you paid them for
  25. ducker

    ducker Feeling the Heat

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    just called them, they say it's because of the lack of a good draft due to the temp outside being so warm (even though I tested it at night when it dipped below 50F)
    He's checking with a tech and going to call me back. He wouldn't want to come out and find out it's only a draft issue as that wouldn't be covered under warranty. ( I also wouldn't want this... I could just wait until Mid October to call if need be)


    The amount of draft can limit the amount of pellets that fall into the hopper?

    Gio - I am getting more pellets, it's visibly different. At the 1 setting I can easily see the auger that is feeding the pellets. At a 3 setting, I can barely see it - as there are pellets and a larger flame in front of it.
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