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Quest plus hopper fire

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Neilt, Nov 29, 2013.

  1. Neilt

    Neilt New Member

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    Bbone, highland ny is ten minutes from Poughkeepsie(across the river). There is a small dial you can move for the pellet feed rate, and one for combustion air. The damper is in a rod. I take some pictures later and show exactly how it is set.

    Also for anyone else who has a plus, does your hopper get hot on the inside? I don't think if did before, but last night in my trial run it was hot. Not so hot you couldn't touch it, but warmer then I thought it was before.

    The gaskets might fix that...

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  2. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Those small dials are your stove's trim controls.
  3. wwert

    wwert Feeling the Heat

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    The adjustment Smokey is talking about is on the back of the control board. I agree with his assessment of the damper control also. When you remove the control box to access the voltage adjustment check the damper cable. There is a set screw on the board frame. Remove it and disconnect the cable from the rotating arm, see if it works right. Chances are it is all bent up and not really working. Straighten the cable and see if that helps. I removed the control arm and ran the cable end through the hole in the control board and it works fine now.
    Keep us informed of your findings.
  4. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    It depends upon the stove and the controllers as to what is where for safeties and what action is taken. The thing to remember is that Murphy makes a mockery of everything at some point and multiple failures occur as a normal occurrence folks on here keep pointing out the need for maintaining stoves.

    That way you may just spot a failure that you didn't notice and fix that before it teams up with another one to deliver the nasties to your place.
  5. Stovensen

    Stovensen Burning Hunk

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    At the two highest settings on mine the upper area inside the hopper gets so hot that you cannot touch it. Especially the upper part of the auger tube is very hot. That must be normal and cannot be avoided, since the upper part of the auger tube is very close to the fire. And I have never had any smoke coming from the pellets in this area.

    As for the adjustment of the damper on the Quest Plus, please have a look at this from the owners manual:
    Damper adj..jpg
    According to this it CAN be risky to have the damper fully closed. On my stove the damper is set to what they recommended in the manual and I my stove can run very well on the lowest setting... except when I get some pellets with too many fines. But that's another issue:rolleyes:

    @Madcodger, The Quest and the Quest Plus have these things in common: Firebox, burn pot, heat exchanger and hopper, and that's about it. The Plus has a much bigger ash drawer, the drop chute is wider ( rectangular ), the touch pad control board has five different speeds for both conv. and comb. blowers, the control board can control an igniter and the damper is of a much simpler and more direct type.
    BTW, since you have the impression that changing the dampersetting on your Quest has no effect... you know, the cable could have lost its connection. Have you opened the side panel and verified that the damper is actually moving when you turn the knob on the control panel?
  6. wwert

    wwert Feeling the Heat

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    One other thought, is the insulation in place in the stove?. There should be a yellow blanket on either side of the hopper and some white fleece like insulation at the top of the hopper. A lot of older used stoves are missing it. If you open the side panels you should see it.
  7. Stovensen

    Stovensen Burning Hunk

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    Good point there, wwert. If this insulation ever was in my stove, it must have been removed by the previous owner. Was it fastened with some kind of high temp glue or silicone? In that case there should be traces of the glue left on the mounting surfaces.
    But like I said in my post earlier, it's only the upper part of the auger tube that gets really hot on my stove, so hot that you cannot touch it on settings 4 and 5. Since the hopper is riveted to the auger tube a lot of heat will be transfered to the hopper near by. And this insulation can have no effect on the auger tube getting hot.
    The firebrick inside the firebox certainly is an important insulation that MUST be intact... BTW, @Neilt: If my memory serves me right... Didn't you have a crack or fracture in your firebrick? Not that this could be the only reason for your hopperfire, but I think that it is important to turn every stone on our way, so we can get to the bottom of this.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
  8. Neilt

    Neilt New Member

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    Here is what my control board looks like image.jpg
  9. Neilt

    Neilt New Member

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    image.jpg Damper fully closed the handle sticks out 4 1/4 inches from the stove, fully open its 5 inches. The ring is not right and slides.
  10. Neilt

    Neilt New Member

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    image.jpg

    These pictures all need rotated 90 clockwise. Sorry about that. That small silver dot is where the damper screws into. And it just slides back and forth. There are no cables.

    Stovensen, how far will your damper move in and out?
  11. Stovensen

    Stovensen Burning Hunk

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    Fully closed and fully open:

    1386111478069.jpg 1386111509983.jpg

    If your damper cannot close more than on your photo something must be blocking its movement. It may be necessary to remove
    the combustion blower to inspect and fix this.

    Edit: I also noticed that you have turned the trimpot for the combustion blower fully counterclockwise in order to compensate for the way too open damper. Hmm, you said something about a mouse... maybe that mouse has kept its food storage in there. Nuts and stuff;)
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
  12. Neilt

    Neilt New Member

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    Smokey, I found that control on the back for the fan. Big difference. It was getting way to much air, to the point that there was almost nothing in the ash pan because it would just blow it out.

    Stovensen, I am so glad you have the same stove. Thank you so much, I will be tearing this back apart. I had read the part of the manual that you posted, but the damper stops, you cant push harder and get it to go. I pushed as hard as I thought I could without breaking it... Also, would you mind looking behind your control board and see if you have a blue wire and a brown wire that do not connect to anything? They have ends on them, and were not cut... The firebricks had already been replaced, I got them about a week before. And the inside of my hopper got hot while burning the stove very hot. As I said I have only had 10 or so bags run through it, I must not of noticed it before.

    My stove also has no insulation, or any signs that there ever was any insulation.
  13. Stovensen

    Stovensen Burning Hunk

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    Now this will be very interesting to find out what's blocking the damper, once you have pulled the blower. The blue and brown wires are for the igniter, which I believe you don't have installed, so no need to worry. You can see the wires and their colors here:
    DSC00868'.jpg
  14. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    You should get a hold of the technical manual for that stove. It is likely available on-line from http://woodheatstoves.com

    ETA: Glad you are making progress. One must view all used stoves the same way even if they come with a house.

    Neilt, thanks for sticking around. The older stoves generally provide a lot of things to learn about.

    wwert and Bo thank you for bringing some Whitfield information to the thread.
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
  15. wwert

    wwert Feeling the Heat

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    I am working on a Quest, not a plus. That damper rod should move 2 to 3 inches. If it has a collar on it loosen the set screw and slide it back toward the handle. If still no travel you have to figure out why
  16. DirtyDave

    DirtyDave Feeling the Heat

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    wow Whitfields should be set at 1.5 inches ( if I remember correctly) from fully closed so you have a large amount of adjustment for air. reset and adjust the set collar on the rod to factory specs. www. butkus.org has the info for that.

    Snowy has a Quest if I remember correctly
  17. stellep

    stellep Member

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    Busy thread!

    On my original Quest(not +), the damper is cable-controlled by a knob. By design, you can never entirely close the damper, even in the fully closed position of the knob. Like a room door that can never close more than say 6 inches from the frame. That is, you can't close the damper enough to get in trouble.
    If the fuel feed is slow enough, I can set the damper high enough that the fire will go out and the stove will shut down.
    Even in the fully closed damper position, I can set the pellet feed low enough that the fire will go out.
    With the damper closed and the feed up full, the fire gets ugly, but probably not a fire starter.

    Some unfriendly pellets that we all like to avoid(think recycled pallets etc.), can leave a "birds nest" in the ultragrate. If left to burn long enough, I'd accept the the burn rate would decrease substantially.
    If the stove exhaust was plugged and the oxygen source was from the feed tube/auger, I could accept that the fire would burn up the tube and into the hopper.

    My unscientific guess of what could cause this.

    We'll figure it out!
  18. Neilt

    Neilt New Member

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    Well, I tore it apart and was able to reach it with a brush. There was "dirt"( for lack of the correct term) in the channel the damper runs in. There is a small stop at the top that the damper now stops at. It does not move as far in as stovensens, but I went from an inch of movement to 2 3/8 inches. It supposed to be 2 inches from closed according to the manual. I am sure that it is clean and that is all the further that it can close. I was able to stick my iphone in the exaust and look at it. There is a stop that wont allow it to completely close, but keeps it open 1/8 to 1/4 inch. It's a metal tab, not dirt and grime.

    I will look at getting the service manual tomorrow smokey, and I need to pick up a few new gaskets. It should be up and running again on Thursday as long as I can get the gaskets from the shop. I'm working til then, but ill let you guys know how it turns out.

    Also, I cannot thank you guys enough for all of the help with this stove. I have already learned a ton about and feel a lot better about working on it. Also, I am 99% sure the whole issue was operator error combined with some bad luck. First was to much air, combined with not enough fuel, putting the fire out, combined with the fuel dumping in and turnin on high while not burning.(the thermostat kicked it on high from low). This piled the fuel from the pot up into the chute. Hot coals lit the pellets from the bottom, and up into the chute. The lack of o2 kept it to a smolder and the heat was enough to make to pellets in the back smolder only.

    It was only hot enough to bubble the pain on some of the lid. The hopper was never what I would consider hot.

    Also one other thing to consider is the stove will run for up to. 30 minutes before the low limit sensor will turn it off.

    All of the wiring is correct, and I replaced the low limit switch less then a month ago with the correct switch( I had to call to get the correct part number).

    Does anyone else have anything they think I should try before lighting this back up on Thursday?

    I plan on getting the service manual tomorrow and looking through it for anything else before I light it too.

    Thanks a ton everyone
  19. stellep

    stellep Member

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    Also. It pains me to admit this but... Every time I mod an appliance, car, electronics etc. and there is a problem with the thing, I almost always have introduced the problem with the mod or when making the mod. Revisit the therm mod, gaskets etc.maybe there is something there.
    SmokeyTheBear likes this.
  20. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    We will be here.

    stellep, if it ain't broke fix it until it is ;).


    ETA: 1/8 to 1/4" is about a pencil width which is a very good starting point
  21. stellep

    stellep Member

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    That's it. You said that so much easier that I did.
  22. Madcodger

    Madcodger Guest

    Neilt, very glad you are getting this solved. And thank you for letting me piggyback on this thread and get some related info.

    Wwert and Stellep, thanks for the Quest info. As Stellep notes, even if the damper is as closed as it will go on the Quest, you can set the feed rate too low on this stove. My damper has an effect (I actually charted out the temps at various feed rate / damper combos) but it cannot be closed so low that the lowest feed rates work. The damper appears to be working well from what I can see and was verified by both a local dealer (paid them to do the install as they were installing a liner anyway) and by me just about three months ago, when we had the stove out.

    Smokey and others, thanks for your info as well.
  23. Neilt

    Neilt New Member

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    Smokey,
    Is the Technical manual different from the owners manual? They only have the owners manual listed on the site, and I just found a copy of that yesterday.
  24. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Call them and ask.

    Most stoves have multiple manuals, ones that the stove owner gets and another that the service folks normally get. This varies by stove maker and has changed over time.

    I just know that those folks have a large number of manuals and at least one of their former mangers was a member here (he still is but doesn't work for them anymore).

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