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Making little pieces out of big pieces: Electric Ramsplitter is in!

Post in 'The Gear' started by Redox, Jun 8, 2008.

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  1. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Finally arrived right before Memorial Day weekend. This is the Ramsplitter 20 ton horiz/vert splitter with the 3 hp electric "engine" I wanted a beefy splitter run by electricity and after looking at the Ryobi, Northern Tool, etc. I decided on this one. It can be converted back to gas by just bolting up a new engine.

    I have been begging firewood off the local tree guys and never know what will show up. In the past, I have had some really gnarly stuff that gave "The Crusher" a workout. Crusher is a homemade splitter I used to borrow that was (over)built by a bored aircraft mechanic. He always wanted it right back, and I could understand, so I decided it was time for my own. Crusher came with hearing protection standard and had a 16 hp engine that we could stall out if the going got too tough. I'm fairly certain I would have been disappointed in a 6 ton model.

    Anyway, I put it together in the garage and connected it up to the breaker panel there. I wanted to fill it up with oil and just try it out. I didn't have anything bigger, so I wired it to a 15 amp double pole (240V) breaker. Pow, blew that one instantly. Thought: Hmm, might be wired for 120V, so I rewired it in the panel and turned it on. It started and ran well with no load on it. I just wanted to fill it with oil and move it back to the patio. Took a closer look and realized the motor is only rated for 208/230V. Hmm. Where's that motor quick reference chart? 3 hp, 1 phase 240V needs a 30 amp breaker and a 50 amp receptacle on #10 wire.

    Back on the patio, I ran a chunk of 10 ga Romex straight into my entrance panel and installed a 30 amp breaker. Keep in mind this motor is only rated for 13 FLA at 240V and has a 1.0 service factor. I checked the motor wiring, just a piece of 10 ga rubber cord going into the motor with a manual reset motor overload, no power switch or plug. Coupla (temporary) wire nuts and throw the switch. Started right up. Ammeter (not included) shows about 7 amps in neutral, inrush was 65 amps. Grabbed a piece of wood and started to go to town. Watching the meter showed about 13 amps with occasional spikes to 19-20 amps. The splitter worked great! No problem handling some box elder that was laying around. Kinda worried about that 20 amp number, but it didn't seem to have a problem. I ran it for about an hour and shut it down. Motor temperature seemed OK and it never overloaded to the point of stalling the motor. The relief valve popped before it got that bad.

    Finally, the acid test. Don't ask me why, but I unintentionally waited till it was about 95 degrees out and I just had to get that wood split (it's June after all). I ran it straight for over an hour and threw some of the nastiest wood I had at it. Gnarly (it's a subspecies of locust, I think) doesn't begin to describe some of the knots I ran into. Oak, locust, maple all cut about a year ago. The resulting pics are the result. There were a few pieces it couldn't do without backing up and repositioning and one piece of maple just embedded itself on the wedge and smiled at me. After I got that chunk apart, it was one of the worst knots that had been sawn into a very nice block. The grain went everywere, but I got it apart without having to resort to the chain saw.

    After that hour, I was a wreck, but the splitter was great. Nothing bent or broke, no leaks and the motor was only 160 degrees. It never stalled the motor or popped any overloads or breakers. Sorry the pictures show the splitter half buried in wood, but you get the idea of what it looks like. Overall, very pleased with it. It is much quieter than a gas engine (think commercial trash compactor loud) and doesn't seem to be lacking for power.

    Chris

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  2. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Redox the worm has turned for you, now you have your own splitter...good of you to do a report like this. Did you try operating from the vert position yet? I've never run a splitter that way and always wondered what the deal is.
  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Lookin good guy. Going nuts with a new machine is a requirement.

    "Did you try operating from the vert position yet? I’ve never run a splitter that way and always wondered what the deal is."

    I have had my splitter since 1988 and have no clue how it will do splitting horizontal. I have never had the urge to pick up the rounds and sit them up there to find out. If God intended for me to lift rounds up onto a splitter he wouldn't have allowed vertical splitters to be invented.
  4. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Redox, I had no idea there is such a powerful electric splitter. What's the price, and shipping charge, if one doesn't pick it up locally.?

    Edit: I looked up Ramsplitter on the web and got prices.
  5. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Haven't tried the vertical split yet, but I will. I do have a few large rounds that will be a backbreaker to pick up. Most of what I was splitting was about 12-14" diameter and could be easily picked up. Since a horizontal splitter is all I've ever known, I was kinda on the fence with the convertible model. I have had to create a ramp up to the old splitter on occasion when things weren't cut down too far.

    One thing I noticed about this splitter is that it seems to be a lot taller than most. I measured about 31" off the deck to the top of the beam. I noticed that my back didn't hurt like it normally would after busting up that much wood, but I haven't slept on it, yet. I'll let you know in the AM.

    Apparently there was a recent price increase to $1555 and includes shipping by truck to a business address (truck high dock) east of the Miss river. I tracked that sucker all the way from IL on Estes web site. Look, honey, it's in Harrisburg! Won't be long now...

    Chris
  6. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    How does the construction look? I have looked at the Ram splitter on the website (cuz I'm too lazy to drive down the street to the factory, its just a few blocks away from where I work). I have always questioned some of the design. Does it seem to be built bullet proof?

    I am not picking on it, but it seems that a T beam would not have the strength of an H or I. Just honest questions to a REAL owner of one.
  7. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    I looked at getting one this past winter - had a few bucks burning a hole in my pocket. I was uncomfortable with the lack of information on the web and firsthand customer testimonials were practically nonexistant. I kept my money. But your post has me thinking again.....5 days of straight 90+ weather makes a man crazy for some cold weather, college football and a pickup load of wood to split.

    Please wear that thing out and give a full report on the quality of construction, materials, all that. Thanks!
  8. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    I hesitated on ordering this also because I couldn't find much feedback on it. FWIW, Elk thought its smaller cousin was a good machine. The best resource for these splitters was Ebay:

    http://feedback.ebay.com/ws/eBayISA...userid=dougd222&ftab=AllFeedback&myworld=true

    He has a 97% feedback and most of the negative comments are about long delivery times and poor communications. I will echo those complaints, but ultimately, he delivered. You could e-mail some of his latest clients and get their reactions. Mine would be positive, but I ordered direct, I figured on saving him the fees. They apparently just moved their shop and production schedules must have slipped a little. I am also getting the impression that every one is custom built as he has a laundry list of options including choice of engines. Mine would have been slightly less with a Honda GC and slightly more with a GX engine. I would have probably skipped the high speed wheels and hitch, but I may want to loan it out (NOT!) one day.

    I'm not sure it's bullet PROOF, but bullet RESISTANT would be a good description. The main beam is actually a box section with a plate welded on for the wedge. It even has brass wear strips for the wedge to ride on. The foot as well as the cylinder mount is a piece of 1" steel. I don't think I'm going to be able to bend it. All the welds look pretty heavy to my untrained eye. After a couple of hours of use, it still has all its paint, and I didn't bend or break anything. The cylinder has a clevis mount like a tractor cylinder (easy to service) and the front of the cylinder is held down by a U bolt. I did notice some movement of the cylinder as it loaded up, but I'm not sure this is a problem. Some compliance might be a good thing to keep wear down on the cylinder bushing. They claim their better models are commercial duty and suitable for rental use. Having no rental experience, I can't comment, but I have broken a few MTDs in my day. Definitely no comparison there.

    Now that I have completed the sea trials, I will try to get a little more saddle time (mixing metaphors here) this weekend and maybe post some more detailed pics. Next up should be in the vertical position. I'll try to measure the deflection on the beam under load and report back. It's just too hot out right now to get excited about splitting wood. I should'a had this done back in March...

    Just a comment on the whole gas vs. electric thing: I figgerd about 50 cents or less on power an hour. I doubt anyone is going to find a gas engine that is this efficient. It is NOT lacking for power and this was my greatest concern! I only have about 30 feet of 10 ga wire between it and my 200A entrance panel, but I bought a 50 foot cord for a more permanent connection. If someone wants to send me a long roll of copper to try on it, I'll be happy to let you know how it does. I figure it should be good out to about 200 feet or so. IF (big if) any of the neighbors get to borrow this thing, Ill put an electric dryer plug on it or bug it off their central A/C unit. Right now, all the A/C is in use...

    My back doesn't hurt either! This is starting to sound like an advertisement.

    Chris
  9. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Glad to hear that one of the local boys (to me) is doing a good job in the log splitter bid-ness. And even more glad to hear that ya got yerself a capable machine. Long live hydraulics.
  10. Jerry_NJ

    Jerry_NJ Minister of Fire

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    Wow, all this work (Redox), isn't B'more near 100 degrees too? I don't even want to be outside here in North Central NJ. And, I too have a new (toy) tool, albeit a simple manual splitter - but very rugged looking and heavy "I" beam construction, advertised as being able to develop 10 tons of force. This isn't for the 4 cord per season bunch, but I hope it will help me split a few logs I collect around my property and neighborhood. Otherwise I purchase spit, not sure what that will cost this year... bet it is way up. 2006 was the last year I purchased split hardwood at $175, must be $300 now.
    '
  11. savageactor7

    savageactor7 Minister of Fire

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    Redox even our 25 year old gas splitter bogs down on knarrly Elm ...I have to ease it in or peel the round along the outside edge. At least now I'm getting better at sizing up those trouble pieces so I don't have to reverse bash 'em out with a sledgehammer...I just hate it when that happens. It's probably only just a 10 or 15 ton ram...I honestly don't know...but it was the only one our farm supply store was selling at the time so after 5 yrs of splitting by hand it looked good enough for me.

    It's low to the ground, around 8", so I sit down on a round to split and the bigger rounds I just ramp 'em up...all in all its a pretty easy gig to split, can't complain.
  12. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    Redox - coupla questions...

    1) no power switch? You had to use your breaker as the on/off?

    2) How easy can you roll it around? I would store it in a garage (concrete floor) but want to hand wheel it out to the compacted gravel driveway or flat dirt area next to the driveway. Would prefer to roll it by hand than have to attach it to the riding mower.
  13. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Hey wahoo! No, no power switch. Kinda surprised me too, but I did tell them I didn't want any unnecessary accessories. I guess an on/off switch isn't really necessary, is it? I ended up using an old disconnect switch temporarily and I bought a new rainproof disconnect for about $30 that I will mount on the side. I have to have something to play with on it, don't I?

    I noticed on concrete, it rolls easily enough for me to want to chock the wheels when I start splitting. After it gets a little buried, it's fine, but when you lean on it, it would move. I suspect that if you put a caster on the front foot, it would roll away. The wheels are about 16in outside and probably wouldn't be affected by compacted gravel as long as it were fairly level. The shipping weight was about 450 lbs, if that helps.

    Chris
  14. wahoowad

    wahoowad Minister of Fire

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    I keep thinking about this splitter. Dammit. Tell me more. Can you make a video of it in action?
  15. Redox

    Redox Minister of Fire

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    Jeez, just learned how to post a pic, not sure how to post a vid. :cheese:

    I was playing with it in the vertical mode today on some big pieces. Still very happy with it. I measured about a 1/4" deflection in the main beam (as far as I could measure) at full pressure buried in a knot. There are a FEW pieces that won't break up first try, but NOTHING that hasn't eventually given up. "Crusher" might have been better at it than the Ram, but not much.

    FWIW, I tried a 20 amp breaker on it and had no problems starting or running. Still working out the permanent connections. I'll probably just put a 50 amp welder receptacle in and be done with it.

    More pics to come...

    Chris
  16. JayD

    JayD Member

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    Hey Chris I'm Glad to see your Ram is working out for ya :) I have the 16 ton 2hp and have been real happy with mine. I just love the no noise factor. One thing I may do is put a pressure gage on it, to help fine tune it. Happy Fathers Day!!
  17. pdhowell

    pdhowell Member

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    i ordered and received within a week, a wired, 120, 20 amp, nominal 2 hp, 20" splitting length version of this splitter. It has a 3.5 inch ram, instead of the more typical 4" ram with gasoline engines. The difference, by calculations, is that this splitter manages about 24,000 pounds of splitting force (12tons) , versus the 28,000 (14 tons) pounds on a four inch ram, gas model at a typical 2250 psi pump pressure. That is calculated by pressure times ram diameter times pi (3.14).

    I have the splitting table and four way wedge, and find both worthwhile. I ground down the sharp corners of the table because it can jab you in just the wrong place. The splitter is heavy and sharp. You will regret having only it if it falls on your foot. It slips loosely over the vertical splitter which allows easy on off, and it floats upwards rather than trapping the lower splits beteen the blade and the beam. It splits all the oak, cherry and locust that I have cut so far. You can take it off for crotch wood. The working height is comfortable for me, no bending over. Most everything twenty inches is manageable to lift. I have the used the vertical only to check for hose issues (none).

    The motor has about 8-9 foot pounds of running torque, which is greater than a 190 cc gas engine. Electric motors have the same torque regardless of speed. The motor, World Wide Electric, is a Chinese made, heavy commercial model, is continuous run, with a service factor of 1.15, class F insulation (normal operating 170 degrees), and made by a company that makes heavy industrial motors such as rock crushers and large industrial pumps. It is a capacitor start and capacitor run motor. You can get info on the internet and to talk to tech reps on the phone. If anything goes wrong, ever, they say to simply mail them the name/spec plate and they will send you a new motor. Everything I found out about the motor is reassuring.

    The motor runs the pump at 1750 rpm, and the pump is rated at up to 3450 rpm and 3000 psi. The literature with the valve tells one that the relief pressure is 2250 psi, and the hoses are rated at 3500, so everything runs very conservatively.

    The exception here is the 120 voltage. I think most informed folks would agree this motor would be more comfortable on 230 and 10 amps.

    That being said, my splitter is wired with 120 voltage, and does not trip a 20 amp ground fault or panel breaker. My neighbor, with lower line voltage, when starting cold, with cold fluid, has to reset his breaker after it trips simultaneously charging the capacitors, and attempting to start the motor with the pump load. If you reset the breaker, it starts up and runs fine. Future stop/starts, while the motor is warm presents no difficulties. I use ATF fluid, instead of heavier hydraulic fluid and the oil temperature in the 3.5 gallon tank never gets more than warm. I wired in a ten gauge 50 foot extensions cord and have measured 114 volts, a four volt drop, when I force the motor into release pressure with a stick placed crosswise on the beam.

    Everything that I can see looks good to me. The welding is better than I used to manage , and is continuous, no skip welds. The beam is a box beam with a 3/8" inch plate which does not spring at all, even when I force the ram into relief pressures. The pump does "downshift", into the high pressure mode frequently when I use the four way ram (which is most of the time).

    I would note that the twenty inch capacity of this splitter (reduced to eighteen inches with the four way wedge), allows everything, ( beam, motor, ram, frame), to be smaller than the normal 24 inch splitter. This splitter weighs 300 pounds, compared to 450 to 600 for a 24 inch splitter. I can pick up the tongue, and walk backwards and pull it over grass or uneven debris near by wood pile. I put it in the bed of small pickup to transport it. Two people just shove it up ramps. Being electric it is quiet, and has no exhaust fumes to deal with. If you are gathering the wood up for more than a few moments, I simply turn it off. It stores in corner of my shop.

    Besides 220 volt rewiring, the only mod I can think of, is to wire a ground wire from the motor frame to the base of the metal foot that welded to the tongue. (12 Gauge, about two feet). The steel foot plate, with the paint scraped off the metal, would safely ground the motor if simply went wrong. I find myself working with sweaty feet, on sometime wet days, and everything is metal and welded or bolted to the frame. That would be 2400 watts going through you. You would then hope your ground fault breaker is working.

    I have been very happy with my splitter, and my contacts with Ramsplitter and the shipping arrangements are all very satisfactory. I received mine in about a week (Illinois to Maryland).

    Dave Howell, Maryland
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