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Scary moment !!!

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Smcc, Feb 24, 2013.

  1. Smcc

    Smcc New Member

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    I have a Quadra Fire Mount Vernon OE stove which is about 5 years old. Today I returned home to find the fire box full of flames. Upon closer inspection I found that the auger motor was continually running and overflowing the pot, the pellets were backed up into the shoot. I didn't want to unplug the stove and stop the exhaust fan so I quickly removed the side panel and pulled the wire feeding the auger motor. After the pellets were burnt up and the stove cooled down I started to look into the problem. Basically there was a constant 120v being supplied to the auger motor. There was no call for heat the red light was off (the room was 10 degrees above the thermostat setting). I unplugged the stove for a minute and then started it back up to verify the problem but I couldn't reproduce it. I guess resetting the controller fixed it at least for now. But I'm afraid to run the stove unless I'm in the room with it. Talk about a bad failure mode. I'm just glad I came home when I did. Is this a common fail mode for the controller?

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  2. Thaddius Wenderoth

    Thaddius Wenderoth Feeling the Heat

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    Time for a new controller. Keep that one as a spare ICSH.
  3. Lake Girl

    Lake Girl Moderator Staff Member

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  4. Smcc

    Smcc New Member

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    Different stove type OE vs AE but I will check for damaged connections when I replace the controller. It's running fine now and has been for 12 hours but I don't want to risk it. I just want to make sure the I'm on the right track with replacing the $250 controller.
    Thanks
  5. tjnamtiw

    tjnamtiw Minister of Fire

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    This is at least the third post this season about Quads' augers running continuously! Both AE's and our simpler ones are involved. Very strange! I hope someone finds a common thread to this. Maybe another safety snap disk is in order placed strategically since the two built in don't seem to be doing the job of shutting it down.
  6. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Just curious....any possibility there was a power "blink" or surge? Is the stove connected to a good surge protector?
  7. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    I haven't looked at the wiring diagram for the Mt Vernon, but I believe that it also has a burn back protection snap disc that is manual reset at 250::F first the burn back has to get to that point on the drop chute. Likely the burn back is not far enough along.

    The OP should have the manaul and can check it out. I haven't been able to locate a copy of the old style Mt Vernon manual.

    If you could post the wiring diagram portion of the manual we can discuss it.

    Any control system can stick on leaving the safeties as the last line of defense which is what they are.

    Also any safety can fail as well which is why there are usually multiple safeties. Even the stove shell and such is a safety, they usually can contain a really bad situation provided the stove's operator doesn't do the wrong thing.
  8. Smcc

    Smcc New Member

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    Yes the stove is plugged into a surge protector. There are two snap disc`s used for overtemp purpuses snap disc 2 (175) is inline with the feed motor and snap disc 3 (250) is inline with the input power. Neither one of these tripped and I`m not sure the stove temp was hot enough at there locations but it was pretty hot to the touch. Much hotter than I have ever felt. I ordered a new controller for starters. The stove is still running fine but only on when I am home.
  9. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Hot to the touch starts well below both of those two temperatures and a lot of stoves are hot to the touch when running. The first unit is an auto reset and will allow the feed to continue after it has cooled down below its trigger point far enough (the only way to know if this one did anything is to record its state during the event) and the other is a manual reset unit (no doubt if this one triggers). You can test both out of circuit with a lighter, some time, and an ohm meter.


    Now burn pot backup is normally caused by a non clean combustion air path, but we will take your word for the auger turning continuously.
  10. Smcc

    Smcc New Member

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    I'm VERY familiar with the system schematic and what is in place for safeguards. I'd like to get down to the root cause of the issue. From talking with a quad tech earlier today and sreaching the web this particular failure mode (constant voltage to the auger motor) doesn't seem common. I hope it's a controller issue and not an intermittent issue within the wiring harness.

    I clean the burn pot daily, the stove weekly, and the vent twice during the burning season.

    This was NO burn pot back up.

    Thanks for your feedback.
  11. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    If it is the controller you have the timing system for the auger, any relay/triac/or opto-isolator in the auger control circuit. Triacs and optos usually fail in one mode (usually full on or full off) and stay failed, timing systems can frequently be reset and then run correctly before failing again. Software systems involved in timing systems can get jammed monitoring things and not respond within prescribed deadlines.

    Wiring system insulation and connections can also cause motors to receive power when they shouldn't.
  12. SwineFlue

    SwineFlue Minister of Fire

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    Here's one of the recent threads that tjnamtiw mentioned. The OP had burned out a component of the Castile's control box when he accidentally shorted the 120V auger line while testing the vac switch. By post 10 he had replaced components to solve the continual auger problem, and then moved on to other issues. Post 5 has another member with the same problem.

    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/castile-auger-motor-wont-shut-off-clear-control-box.103929/

    Try comparing your board with their photo's.
  13. Smcc

    Smcc New Member

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    Is there any way to get a board level schematic of the controller? I'd like to feel confident enough to run the stove full time again after replacing the controller. I'd hate to have misdiagnosed the problem and have it reoccur. At least I could do an FA on the old one with a schematic.
  14. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Not likely, that information is generally very closely held by the maker of the controller. You'll need to ask Quad and they may not have it, a lot of stove makers use third party control systems built to their specifications.
  15. Smcc

    Smcc New Member

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  16. Smcc

    Smcc New Member

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    Installed the new controller today. So its wait and see now.
  17. SmokeyTheBear

    SmokeyTheBear Minister of Fire

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    Did you talk to quad about getting access to some schematics? I always hold out hope that they might get sprung. I believe the folks that do board level repair use a circuit comparator that allows them to meter the failing unit against a known good board. Not a toy most have sitting on their bench.
  18. Smcc

    Smcc New Member

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    No luck with the schematics. That other post had some good information. The stove has been running for a few days. I'll keep my finger crossed.

    Thanks for the help.

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