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Quadrafire Castile insert - auger isn't feeding - did tenant burn out auger motor?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by OrpingtonManor, Feb 16, 2013.

  1. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Member

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    Hi all!
    I've been away from here for quite awhile, burning pellets and wood without incident.

    Last weekend, I went away, but didn't clean the firepot on Friday per my usual routine. Tenant was left in charge. Bad idea. He knows little. He can fill the pellet stove. He has been taught to push the reset button twice in 5 minutes if he forgets to fill it and it runs dry. However, some people believe that if some is good, more is better. Problem was, the firepot had clinkers and needed to be cleaned. So, it stopped running. Tenant kept pushing reset. I returned on Sunday night to find a note from tenant, pellet stove not running, firepot overflowing with unburned pellets.;hm

    I cleaned out the mountain of pellets, cleaned out the clinkers. (okay, my fault for neglecting maintenance before I left, but he had my phone number.) Pushed reset, and got no pellets. Strange sound from auger (or from somewhere deep in the stove.) Unplugged it and started over. Fan was running, igniter loop was nice and red. Still, no pellets. It was very late and I was too tired. Went to bed. Next day, boyfriend arrived to take apart entire stove. He emptied it, shop-vac-ed out the auger and feed tube. Completely empty now, but auger still won't turn. Tried to reset snap disc #2, but not sure if we found the right one. Also wondering if there is a vacuum issue, but only because I just bought a door gasket because the old one is fraying, but haven't installed it yet. (Yes, I have learned to never use Windex to clean the glass.) Still, things were working fine when I left on Friday.

    It has been a week. Weather has been pretty warm. Got sidetracked by my new Nissan Leaf. Need to get back to fixing the pellet stove. Does anyone have any experience with this?

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  2. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Have you removed the vacuum line from the vac switch and blown through it? Towards the stove?

    Sounds like the nipple is plugged on the auger chute?
  3. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Member

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    I'm not sure what the BF did. I'll be taking it apart again tomorrow to try whatever you good folks think I need. Does the vacuum line keep the auger from turning? (I was able to see the auger with a mirror and a light.) Guess I'll be blowing through the vac line tomorrow. Thanks!
  4. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Yes. Without vacuum, the auger will not turn.

    The nipple at the end of the vacuum line (on the stove / auger chute) gets plugged with fines.

    By removing the hose from the switch, and blowing towards the stove, you remove the plugged fines from the opposite end.

    Sometimes, the hose has to be removed from the nipple on the auger chute and a toothpick or a paperclip has to be used to remove stubborn clogs.
  5. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Member

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    I decided to begin with replacing the tadpole gasket first, and then get on the vacuum issue. I'm not sure how to remove it, though. Perhaps this is a different thread. In the meanwhile, I'll see if I can get to the vacuum tube without taking apart the surround.
  6. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Member

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    Did anyone laugh when I said I was going to try to reach the vacuum hose without taking apart the surround? I would have deserved it. I have much of the surround, door, panels, etc all over my living room. I still haven't been able to reach the vacuum hose. I can, however, see it. Progress is measured in millimeters.
  7. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Member

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    I reached the vacuum hose, disconnected it, blew out the tiny bit of sawdust, poked out the nipple on the hopper end, reconnected it, and.....nothing. Still doesn't work. I got the new tadpole gasket installed, so that looks good. But, at this point, things sound right, the call light goes on, the igniter loop glows red, but the auger just won't turn.

    Next step is probably to bypass snap disc #2, provided I can correctly identify it. Is it the one on the back of the feed tube where the vacuum line attaches? Or, is it on the right side? The manual says it has two orange wires, so that would be the right side. However, I thought someone said it was on the back. At any rate, I hope it's the snap disc and not the auger motor. Sadly, I suspect it's the auger motor.
  8. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    I didn't read where you jumpered the vacuum switch - have you?
  9. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Member

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    I haven't jumpered the vacuum switch. I asked the guy at the stove store today when I was there about a gasket issue. He said it wouldn't be the vacuum switch. Is he clueless?
  10. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    As far as I know, a lack of vacuum will prevent most stoves' augers from feeding. It's a safety thing. Jumping the switch should be quick and easy. Some switches have 115 volts on them, so do the deed with the stove unplugged, so we don't read about you in the obits.
  11. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Member

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    I'll probably have to wait until Thursday or later to do it. (Duty calls...140 students need a grade on their report cards by tomorrow morning.)

    I don't think I have alligator clips. I'm guessing that's the best way. The wires have those push-on connectors, so I can't just twist a length of wire between the leads. I do promise to unplug it. Thanks for the concern!
  12. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    You could take a short length of small gauge wire, strip the ends, and slip the ends into the wires' connectors, after you pull the wires off of the vacuum switch. (Jumper the two wires together.)

    Make very sure you note where the wires come off the switch; sometimes there are unused terminals on the switch, and it's easy to reconnect to the wrong terminals.
  13. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Member

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    I have either #14 or skinny telephone wire. Which would you use?
  14. heat seeker

    heat seeker Minister of Fire

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    Whichever fit the terminals best. There's minimal current going through the wire, probably a couple of amps tops, so the phone wire would probably work - except the insulation likely isn't rated for 115 volts. On second thought, go with the #14, assuming it's rated for at least line voltage.
  15. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Member

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    Update: We jumped the vacuum switch, but still no response from the auger motor. We took apart the entire motor/auger assembly. The motor seemed to be seized. With nothing to lose, we disassemble the auger from the motor and attached a vice grip to the motor shaft. We gently wiggled it one way and then the other. Eventually, it gave in and began to move (slowly!) We reassemble the auger and motor and bench tested it. It moved at the 2rpm speed that it was rated. We reassembled it, threw in a few pellets, and hit the reset button. The call light came on, pellets started to fall, the igniter heated up. We reattached the vacuum switch, and everything looked good. It has been working fine for the last two days. Phew!
  16. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Did you lube the motor is any way shape or form? Clean the electrical components?

    Glad its working for ya!! But if it seized once, it is very likely to happen again.
  17. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Member

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    I didn't see any way to lube the motor. It seems like it is a sealed unit. (Other posts had recommended against trying to fix it.)It does seem like it is likely to seize again once it has happened once. I wondered if it got hot from the tenant pushing the reset button repeatedly, though. I was hoping it would work if we followed directions and only pushed it once or twice.
  18. Phil Do's fire.

    Phil Do's fire. Minister of Fire

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    Throw it away! Throw it away! Throw it away and buy a new motor:p
  19. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Member

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    I think I'll wait until it fails completely. It would be a shame to waste all that effort. Plus it looks nice all put together. I haven't seen that in awhile.
  20. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    I have the same stove and I can get at the vacuum hose by just removing the right side cast 'look pretty' piece. Unplug that sucker first!!!! Maybe they relocated the switch??? Mine's a 2007 model.
  21. OrpingtonManor

    OrpingtonManor Member

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    Mine is a 2005. They changed things a bit in 2006, but I don't know if this was one of the changes.

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