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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. jamesdjs

    jamesdjs Member

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    I have a St Croix and my Versa grate was noisey but it was due to the cam and linkage. I used never seiz on the cam and linkage and all the noise went away.
    My motor is silent.

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  2. colbyc

    colbyc New Member

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    I have been through two motors - same noise keeps coming back. First my dealer told me the distributor knew about the problem which is why they replaced it the first time. After I called him back out, he told me there was nothing wrong with my first motor, pellet stoves are just noisy and they are not going to replace it again. I have kinda of just learned to live with it. I figured I can just disconnect it if it gets to be too much of a nuisance.
  3. imacman

    imacman Guest

    Me either....doesn't sound loud to me.
  4. ylomnstr

    ylomnstr Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah it didn't come out well. I'll try taking the video with my actual camcorder and upload it then. But trust me, its a HUGE difference.
  5. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    I spoke to a service tech today at Earth Sense Energy Systems who is my St. Croix dealer. She told me that the newer versa-grate motors are loud... generally louder than the older ones (my stove is about 7 years old and is silent). There is no remedy to quieting down the new motors. She said that if the noise is too much you may be able to replace that motor with one from another manufacturer. Of course the specs would have to be the same. Whether Even-Temp would help you out with the replacement cost is unknown... but I would certainly press them to help you out.

    Sorry I don't have better news... ESES is probably St. Croix's biggest dealer (and other manufacturers, too.) I've never been steered wrong by the service dept.... I guess the next move is up to you.
  6. mnkywrnch

    mnkywrnch Minister of Fire

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    I believe your right krooser mine makes alittle noise every half revolution but isn't that bad,doesn't bother me one bit,but I'm normally listening to the forced hot air furnace running which is much louder.
  7. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    Here's a picture of the versa-grate motor driveshaft... have you lubricated the eccentric at the end of the shaft? It's located inside the steel bracket at the end of the shaft.

    [​IMG]
  8. mnkywrnch

    mnkywrnch Minister of Fire

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    I've taken the versa grate on my stove completely apart lubed the cams rods everything,the noise is definitely the motor,but it really isn't a big deal to me as the stove is in the dining room.I used the cooper high temp anti seize.
  9. ylomnstr

    ylomnstr Feeling the Heat

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    Ditto with me. The noise from the motor sounds like metal bearings rolling around each other or something. Can't really explain it, but it's a huge difference.
  10. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    Fair enough...
  11. scoop7707

    scoop7707 New Member

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    Thanks everyone for the suggestions and research. The noise on the video is barely descernable compared to mine. The noise is definitely in the gearbox connected to the motor. When disconnected from everything else, the motor with gearbox is loud. Like I said, I can hear it over 50 ft away plain as day. It is in the room with my TV and it is very hard to hear the TV.
    I looked at the puddle of oil and found it is coming from the gearbox.

    I spoke to my dealer and also got a response from tech support at Eventemp. Eventemp said they would work with my dealer to solve the problem. They also said that motor is a "Buy Out" part they have no control over. I don't know what that means. Does that mean the VersaGrate system is made by another company and they cannot specify that another motor needs to be used? I asked for the RPM of the motor so I could see if there was another brand I could replace it with. They said it is a 1 RPM. The closest thing I could find looks right, but is a two RPM.

    My dealer asked Eventemp if they could take apart the gearbox to see if they could find out what was going on and still send it back under warranty. EvenTemp agreed. My dealer said the inside of the gearbox was filled with a vaseline type of grease with no gasket between the halves of the gearbox. He thinks the high temp is melting the grease and it is running out the bottom of the gearbox. He scraped all the grease out of the gearbox and packet it with high temp lithium grease. I am scheduled to go down there tomorrow to listen to it run outside the stove.

    We ran the original outside the stove disconnected from everything. When my dealer had it out of the stove and running, he disconnected the power to the motor while my back was turned and I exclaimed "Wow, that is better" It was a huge relief. The noise is loud. It shocked him that I knew when he disconnected the power. Turns out my dealer has some loss of hearing and the tones he cannot hear is the range the motor makes its noise in. He cannot hear it at all, but knows it is real because I could tell him when he disconnected it. I cannot say how much of a relief it was to have it disconnected.

    I will let you know if the other grease helps the noise. If it doesn't I may try the replacement they would send or maybe, I will buy the 2RPM motor and just run the VersaGrate twice as fast. It would cost about $80 plus shipping, but would be worth it. I don't know if I can take this noise much longer. After a few thousand dollars and a month with the stove, I am ready to chuck it out of the house.
  12. ylomnstr

    ylomnstr Feeling the Heat

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    What about running the stove with the motor disconnected? I know some others on this forum have done that and say they haven't noticed a difference, other than the great peace and quiet. Like I said, I hooked up a switch so I can turn it on and off as needed. If yours is that much louder than mine, then yours may really be a bigger problem.
  13. scoop7707

    scoop7707 New Member

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    Here is the quote from tech support
    "This is a buy out part that we have no control over and if the gear box is not packed tight enough with grease then it will become noisy."

    I am wondering if I can repack a new one with good grease whether it would stay quiet. In other words, if the motor is run and is not packed with enough grease, does it do damage to the gearbox making it noisy forever no matter how much grease would get packed in later. We will see. I am sure I have nothing to lose. It is not like I can return the stove. Of course, if I could get the motor out of the one in my dealer's show room floor, it would be as quiet as a mouse.
  14. ylomnstr

    ylomnstr Feeling the Heat

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    Keep us posted!
  15. scoop7707

    scoop7707 New Member

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    I definitely have not ruled out a switch as an option. I would like the stove to work like it was intended especially for a few thousand dollars.
  16. ylomnstr

    ylomnstr Feeling the Heat

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    Yeah I here you. Pisses me off too. Especially since I found out about the St. Croix having this motor AFTER I bought the unit. Sure, my fault for not really doing my homework, but I had an odd feeling I was going to deal with this exact issue after I bought the unit.
  17. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    I think by "buy out" he means this is a vendor part that they do not manufacter themselves... they have no control over the part but they DO have a say who they buy from. If enough folks complain about the noise I'm sure they will look for another vendor... but the dealers have to make their feelings known, too.

    The St. Croix is a good unit... I really like the fact that you don't have to do much daily maintenence on 'em.. that noisy versa-grate is a good design. Now to get yours quiet....
  18. scoop7707

    scoop7707 New Member

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    Sorry it has been a while since I made it back here. The day I was supposed to pick up the modified motor, my sales person was sick and he had the motor in his truck, then with deer hunting it delayed it even more. When I went to pick up the motor from my dealer, he had the door to the Prescott he runs on the sales floor open. Turns out the one he had that was running quiet started making enough noise he could hear it with his hearing damage. He made the modifications on the one he had and asked me how it sounded. It was very quiet.
    He connected mine to a power supply and I could not hear it run. I just installed it and we will see if it stays quiet. It is very quiet right now. I have to strain to hear it it at all. If I didn't know what to listen for, I would not be able to hear it at all.

    The modification he made was to open the gearbox, scrape out all the lubrication that was left in there, filled it with white lithium grease and then used a little high temp silicone on the outside of the gearbox so the grease would not leak out even if it got runny.

    Only time will tell. I will also try to lubricate the shaft of the VersaGrate. The cam has been lubed with white lithium. It should be good to around 400 degrees. I will let you know how it goes.

    I hope this is a good long term solution and gives us all some hope there is a solution.
  19. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    Good news... if this works out this post will make things a lot easier for those of us with St. Croix stoves...
  20. mnkywrnch

    mnkywrnch Minister of Fire

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    I will also try to lubricate the shaft of the VersaGrate. The cam has been lubed with white lithium. It should be good to around 400 degrees. I will let you know how it goes.
    I would use the copper high temp anti seize it will hold up better than the lithium grease.
  21. jxnsdad

    jxnsdad Member

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    Can you post the make and model of motor they gave you to replace the motor that was then packed with lithium? Thank you
  22. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    You missed it.... see the first page....
  23. scoop7707

    scoop7707 New Member

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    I will try the copper anti-sieze. thanks Mnkywrnch

    The make and model of both motors was the same as the earlier post with the motor pictures.

    The motor was still quiet this morning after running all night. We will see how it does in the next week.
  24. Dr_Drum

    Dr_Drum Feeling the Heat

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    Just FYI, you can find grease that is made for extreme high heat applications up to and beyond 900F. Personally, I would consider a dry lubricant instead though. Maybe try cleaning out the gear box etc. completely with carb cleaner, dry completely, and fill with powdered graphite. Just thinking out loud. I think graphite is good to over 3000F.
    Mike -
  25. rickgrimes2

    rickgrimes2 Member

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    I want to thank scoop 7707 for the tip. I have a st croix afton bay,bought it in Sept of 09 and it also had a noisy versa grate motor. I had my dealer look at it and he said it was the reduction gears meshing,most of them make the noise.Then on this forum, I saw other folks with same problem.I took scoop 7707 advice and took the motor cover off,cleaned it out and I put some john deere high temp cornhead grease in the housing,put it all back together,and I was shocked that I can not even hear the darn motor even run! After living with this for the past couple of months,silence is golden. Thanks scoop 7707 and thanks to all the other members for all the advice and education in the art of pellet stove operation..
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