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St. Croix Hastings VersaGrate Motor Noise - Revisited with videos!

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by ylomnstr, Sep 30, 2009.

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  1. ylomnstr

    ylomnstr Feeling the Heat

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    So, this is my 2nd season with my Hastings. I've had issues with the VersaGrate motor being loud from the beginning basically. I had the dealer give me a new motor which I put in, and the new one started doing the same thing after a day or so. It just seems like the motor is poorly designed. Almost sounds as if the bearings are not smooth. Anyway, I've taken a video of the motor so you guys can hear the difference. My biggest concern is if I should just run it without the motor. I know it would require more cleaning, but this is really crazy, especially since the stove is in the same room where I spend the majority of my time, otherwise it wouldn't bother me as much. I contacted St. Croix at the end of last year and they sent me a 3rd unit, which I haven't put in yet, but I suspect it will do the same thing.

    Last year I started a post about possibly running the stove without the VersaGrate motor. Some people tried it and noticed a huge difference like me. Others didn't. Any suggestions at this point? Since I have 3, I'm tempted to take the 1st one apart and see if I can figure out why it's so loud. Anyway, here are the links to the videos (probably have to turn up the volume a bit as they were taken with my cell cam):

    With VersaGrate motor running: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCEWpM4seoY

    With VersaGrate motor disconnected (disregard the clunk noise you hear occassionaly. first run of the stove this season and it was warming up): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPC3Saa9iuY

    Thanks. Rob

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  2. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    Please post a photo of the motor, There are other brands out there maybe you can cross to.

    Post up the motor info.

    Manufactor and model number. RPM's would help to.

    Jay
  3. THE ROOSTER

    THE ROOSTER Feeling the Heat

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    I really couldn't hear much in the videos!!!
  4. ylomnstr

    ylomnstr Feeling the Heat

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    You definately have to turn the volume up to hear it on the video, but you guys MUST hear the grinding/rattling sound in the first video. There is no sound in the 2nd video other than the "thump" sound which is just the stove settling as it heats up since it's the first burn this year.

    Here's some info on the motors. The first motor has no sticker on it like the 2nd and 3rd one do giving model info, but it does have the same MK VF stamp on it, so I assume the same company made the first one.

    The 2nd currently installed motor is made by Merkle-Korff Ind. Model # is 4515UI-040. P/N 80P20296. 115V 60 HZ. Rated .39 Amps
    The 3rd motor which I haven't installed yet is the same make. Model # is 4509UI-040. P/N 80P20296. 115V 60 HZ. Rated .39 Amps.

    Only difference I see is the model # is different.

    Attached Files:

  5. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    I haven't had much luck with the Merkle motors. Just not built to last. I prefer the gleason Avery motors. Built like tanks.

    http://www.gleasonavery.com/acmotors/series_v.htm

    You would need to figure ot the RPM, I think its a 40 rpm motor but not sure.

    Maybe Gleason can cross it over for you.

    jay
  6. imacman

    imacman Guest

    ylomnstr, I heard the noise in the video you mentioned, and compared to the one w/o the motor connected, I agree that it doesn't sound great.

    Question: have you tried running the motors by themselves out of the stove? Maybe make-up a 120V "test" cord like I did from an old lamp cord plug. Plug in the original, and then plug in the new 3rd motor and see if you hear any difference.
  7. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    Rob

    As you know, I disconnected the versa grate on my st croix mid season last winter
    and never looked back. If I run the stove on #3 or #4 for long periods I do have to scrape the burn pot
    out more often, but most of the time those settings cook me out of the house.
    It's not that big of a deal and I'm perfectly fine with leaving it unplugged. Only time
    I might want to plug it back in would be if nobody would be home for a full day
    but that never happens.
  8. ylomnstr

    ylomnstr Feeling the Heat

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    Do you notice that it doesn't burn as clean since you've unplugged it? Like the flame isn't as strong and/or the glass gets dirtier quicker? Not sure how that would happen since the versagrate only really scrapes the pot, so it's probably in my head, but I just want to be sure. Perhaps I'll hook it up to a switch so I can just shut it off when I'm home and turn it on when I'm not home, as you suggested.
  9. relxn88

    relxn88 Member

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    I have a St. Croix and I slop up the versa-grate system with lots of Never-seize. You can get it at any auto store. Slop all the cams, shafts and anything that moves and your good for a year.
  10. ylomnstr

    ylomnstr Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah it's not the actual cams or shafts that make the noise. It's the motor that turns all that stuff. The motor itself is loud. I'm wondering if the motor can be taken apart and lubed.
  11. mnkywrnch

    mnkywrnch Minister of Fire

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    Since u have 3 I would give it a shot,just use high temp synthetic grease let us know if u do it and how it works out.
  12. Dr_Drum

    Dr_Drum Feeling the Heat

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    My friend owns a Prescott and complained of the exact same problem. He had it serviced and it was the linkage making noise. I'm not positve, but I think he said they put a gromet or bushing on the linkage? Maybe not the same problem? As macman said, bench test it.
    Mike -
  13. ylomnstr

    ylomnstr Feeling the Heat

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    Well unfortunately my dealer I believe knows less than most of us. Plus he'll probably charge me to come check it out.
  14. mnkywrnch

    mnkywrnch Minister of Fire

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    Just seperate the linkage from the motor and run the stove, that should isolate the noise.
  15. ylomnstr

    ylomnstr Feeling the Heat

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    Yes even if I run the motor without the linkage connected it still makes the noise. Definately a problem with these motors. Not designed to be quiet obviously.
  16. Xena

    Xena Minister of Fire

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    Negative on both questions.

    Switch? Why make things complicated? Just pull the connector black/purple wire and it won't run.
    Plug the connector back on and it will run.
  17. ylomnstr

    ylomnstr Feeling the Heat

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    True. It's just that pretty much since I've had the stove, the side panel has been off as this has been an ongoing battle. I'd like to just finally put the panel back on and only have to take it off once a year to clean inside. I suppose I could just extend the wire to the back of the unit so I can just unplug it as wanted.
  18. jtakeman

    jtakeman Minister of Fire

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    I like the switch Idea. All the covers can be on and you could activate the motor for a bit as needed. As long as your careful with the wires and use the proper size. Why not! Make sure to keep them from contacting the stove in anyway. Wire tye them to the exsisting harness. And you only need to do one of the wires. So really not that much work involved.

    Go for it! Just be careful it is best to be safe. Always unplug the stove when playing with the electrical items.

    just my 2
    Jay
  19. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    Geez... my St Croix isn't noisy at all.... maybe I'm deaf!

    huh?
  20. scoop7707

    scoop7707 New Member

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    Hey everybody,
    New to the board.
    I just bought a Prescott EXP and the Versagrate motor makes the same noise. This is my second motor and both have made enough noise to hear from 50ft away. In fact, I listened to the YouTube video posted above, with headphones on, and could barely hear the noise on the video over the noise from my motor. The stove at the dealer is extremely quiet. Only noise is the air from the blower. I just emailed Eventemp support offering to let them listen to the noise over the phone. I can sit at my desk and they will be able to hear it without putting the phone near the stove. My problem is further complicated by the fact that my dealer has hearing loss and cannot hear the motor at all. He came over and replaced the motor with one that made a lot less noise for the first 3 days now it is as loud as the other one. I had my back to him and he unplugged the motor and I said that was a lot better and he was shocked that I could tell with my back to him.
    Anyway, they need to find a different manufacturer or design for this motor. The noise if driving my wife and me crazy and the stove is less than a month old. If anyone finds a motor that will work, let me know. I will be happy to buy one and install it myself if Eventemp can't send me a quiet one.

    One other thing with the stove, there are puddles of oil on the bottom shelf of the stove right near the Versagrate motor. My dealer saw them too when they installed the new motor. I just looked again tonight and there is more oil. Only thing around that could be leaking oil is the original lubrication of the motor.

    I will let you know what Eventemp proposes.
  21. magsf11

    magsf11 Feeling the Heat

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    ?????? the only time i hear my motor is when the side panel is open. last yr i did have a noise but after I lubed the cams up with high tept bearing grease the noise went away. after watching the vido again your sounds like mine but when everthing is button up i cannt hear anything on mine.like the one post said try to bench test it and see if the same noise is there.
  22. scoop7707

    scoop7707 New Member

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    Just rechecked the oil on the floor of the stove and it definitely is coming from the gearbox of the Versagrate motor. I know this post was for the hastings, but the same model motor is in the Prescott. It looks like the motor is mounted differently on the hastings and you may not be able to see the oil leaking if this is the cause. The sound is similar to a timer that that has gone bad.
  23. woodsman23

    woodsman23 Minister of Fire

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    why not try and make a sound cover for the motor and be done with it. maybe use some expanding foam and make a cover for around the motor??. Just putting it out there. I have a st croix afton bay and i hear little to nothing from the versagrate. Why not just dissconnect it and just manually pull out the shaker rod a couple times a day, its the same deal.
  24. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    My versa-garte is silent... I DO have a rattle when my fan is on high speed. It's either the baffle above the firepot or the hopper extension. Tomorrow I'm going to pull off the hopper extension and run a bead of silicone on the top of the stove where the extension sits... then screw it back down and try it again.

    One of the main reasons I bought my (used=cheap) St. Croix was because of the versa-grate... no pot scraping/very little ash build-up even after one week without opening the door... I'm lazy.

    I'm going to call ESES *(my dealer) tomorrow and ask them what they think about your problem. They know these stoves inside and out and should have a fix for you... stay tuned.
  25. ylomnstr

    ylomnstr Feeling the Heat

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    Well I've been through 2 motors and they both did the same thing. The replacement is fine for a day or so, then starts to go bad again. What I did for now is hook up an inline switch that I mounted to the back of the stove so I can shut it off just by flipping the switch if I'm in the room and the noise is bothering me. I leave the motor on most of the time, but if I'm watching a movie or something, I'll shut it off with the switch. It's such a HUGE difference when I shut the motor off. My wife was even like WOW. I don't know if it's just a faulty design for a motor or what. St. Croix sent me a replacement for the replacement, but I have yet to install it because I'm under the assumption that the same thing will happen with this one which would be motor #3.
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