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Pellet Stove Tip and a Question

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by ADSchultz, Sep 30, 2008.

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  1. ADSchultz

    ADSchultz New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    Messages:
    12
    Loc:
    Colorado
    Hello, this is my first post and I would like to first start out by making a contribution to the knowledge base.

    I have a late 90's Whitfield (Lennox) Profile 30. It is essential to keep the photocell and lenses clean. I got tired of taking the stove apart once a week to clean these surfaces. I went to the hardware store and bought a can of compressed air and some small diameter brass tubing in 24" and 36" lengths. The brass tubing fits into the nozzle on the compressed air can. I routed a couple of these brass tubes into the stove and pointed them at the surfaces that need cleaning. Now, instead of taking the stove apart, I just hold the can of compressed air up to the brass tube stubbed out of stove and blast away. What used to take 30 minutes now takes 10 seconds. A couple of cautions: Some cans of compressed air might have a flammable propellant. Don't clean the stove when it is on. Also, unplug the stove before installing the brass tube. Although I didn't get near anything electrical, poking around inside an appliance with a conductive rod is not wise.

    Now, for my problem. When the stove is first turned on, it starts for half a second, turns off, restarts for half a second, and shuts off. It will do this up to 30 minutes before it will come to life. My first thought was that the surge current for three motors and the ignitor was pulling down the supply voltage, which shut off the control board. Measured at the control board, incoming voltage does drop to 110 VAC, which I would think is OK. I disconnected the igniter to minimize the current drawn during startup, but this did not change the stoves behavior at all.

    The factory doesn't have a clue, other than to purchase a new control panel. Of course, if that does not solve the problem, it is not refundable. I know my way around the stove very well, and in the past three years have learned that if you have a pellet stove you do not need any other hobbies! I'm comfortable with electronics and won't hesitate to dive into the control panel if necessary, although a schematic would be nice.

    Does anybody have suggestions? Where to find a schematic? Quick fix? I'd even pay shipping for a dead control panel so that I can trace out the schematic before taking my stove apart.

    Thanks in advance,

    Allen

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  2. jjdesch

    jjdesch New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    65
    Loc:
    Eastern Long Island, NY
    Hiya,

    Unrelated question to your post. I had a Profile 30 (manufacture date 2005) installed this past August. It was not my first choice (a napoleon nps40 was), but the Profile was on sale, the wife liked the looks and nothing else was really in stock/available at the time. Have you been happy with yours? I have mine hooked up to the thermostat and a home theater UPS to protect the controller circuit board from voltage spikes and dips. I have only burned a bag or two, but so far so good - its a nice cooker. I have read mostly negative comments about these later generation whitfield's on this forum, and would appreciate the feedback of an actual owner. Also, how often do you air-blow the photocell lens? The stream of air from the can via the plastic nozzle extended is quite focused - do you really it feel it necessary to extend it with brass tubing?

    Anyways, good luck finding your schematics
  3. ADSchultz

    ADSchultz New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2008
    Messages:
    12
    Loc:
    Colorado
    I think that the Profile 30 is a well built piece of equipment. But the problem with a pellet stove is that the fuel is a variable, the flue efficiency diminishes over time, particles accumulate on the flame sensor, and blower squirrel cages fill up with dust. Given routine cleaning, attention and adjustment, they perform well, but don't expect the same type of maintenance free reliable service as from a propane or natural gas furnace. Whenever somebody is complaining about their pellet stove I have to wonder how they maintain it. I suspect that most problems can be traced back to poor maintenance. Sure, the design of the appliance can be lacking, but usually this only results in the need for increased maintenance. If your the kind of person who isn't afraid to take something apart and clean it you will do just fine!

    The reason I installed the brass tubing to direct the blast of air was because the area was very hard to reach otherwise. I give it a puff of air every couple of bags.

    I never found a schematic for the controller. The problem was a bad capacitor in the power supply. The stove is running great now. The garage is full of pellets. Life is good.
  4. jjdesch

    jjdesch New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    65
    Loc:
    Eastern Long Island, NY
    Thanks for the reply. Do you have the earlier model/design where the photocell is in a hard to reach location burried deep in the guts? Mine has the photocell relocated to the front slope of the hopper bin, and you just have shoot the air up the pellet drop shoot, or simply take off the photocell assembly cover when the hopper lid is open for a more thorough cleaning. I believe there is a relocation kit available to retrofit the earlier design. As far as the fans are concerned, can these be vacuumed/blown out with the stove in place (i.e., just remove the sides), or do you have to pull the whole unit out to get access from the rear? The manual is not very helpful on this last issue. Finally, do you have the specific part numbers for those vulcan ignitors and the digipart photcells? I followed the links and there were a lot of choices.


    BTW, I am burning Country Boy White Lightning oak hardwood pellets (three tons in the garage) - they are made by a company whose primary business is manufacturing oak hardwood flooring. They seem to get good reviews, but I am wondering if a softwood pellet would work as well. I have also read online that it is possible to use a corn/pellet mix in these profiles (from some vendors selling these profiles), but the manual says that corn is a no-no.
    http://southernkentuckyhardwoodflooring.com/country-boy-white-lightning-oak-fuel-pellets1.html

    Thanks again for all your help and insight!
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