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Tinkering with a Harman Pellet Pro II....

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by tricky, Jun 3, 2012.

  1. tricky

    tricky New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2011
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    Loc:
    Atlantic Canada
    Hi everyone! I had posted a few months ago in a terrible panic as my Harman Pellet Pro II was on the fritz and wouldn't feed enough pellets to rival the flame of a lighter. We sent it out to be fixed (2 weeks in the dead of winter...our ONLY heat source) and had to stay with family while a tech 'worked' on it. They cleaned it, and after a couple of hundred dollars we were reunited with our beloved stove, working exactly the same as when it left, except cleaner! We tried replacing the probe but to no avail. My husband ended up forcing the thing to work, he wired a seperate plug onto the feed motor, independent of the fans. Instead of feeding a little bit of pellets at regular intervals (regardless of setting or ambient or stove temp) Now it feeds a little trickle (depending on what the feed rate is set at) constantly, with no pauses, and boy does the thing heat! It is our only source of heat, and when it was minus 20 we were still very warm! We are planning on getting a new pellet stove ( or newer one )for next winter, but we occasionally use 'Harmy' when it is damp and chilly, so here is my question:
    Since my husband by-passed some obviously important stuff I was just wondering if anyone saw any horrible dangers with how it is working (a constant adjustable stream of pellets). All seems to be well, we used it for months and months with no problems, but maybe someone else has done some similiar 'tinkering' and had a bad outcome? Thanks for any imput, I really appriciate it!
    -Tara ()

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  2. smoke show

    smoke show Guest

    Sounds like you effectively bypassed all the saftey devices and voided the UL listing.

    If you can't get it fixed properly, replace it and don't sell it to anyone.

    Also that is the reason pellet stoves are not recommended to be the sole heat source.
    DexterDay likes this.
  3. raybonz

    raybonz Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Feb 5, 2008
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    6,205
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    Carver, MA.
    Hello Tara,
    Personally if my stove were my only heat source I'd go with wood as they do not need electricity to operate. They are also much simpler by design and you can also cook on them. Adding a blower will help spread the heat particularly if you have convection stove which pellet stoves are because they employ a blower to get the heat out of the stove. Just something to think about and I will also add that they are generally cheaper to buy and more reliable..

    Good Luck!

    Ray
  4. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    I agree with Smoke. Bypassing any device is not good. This is how Fires start. You may be overfiring the unit by supplying more fuel than whats rated.

    I would either look into getting it fixed by a Pro. Or getting another stove.

    As Suggested above, a Primary Heat source is Mandatory. Pellets being secondary.

    Lots of us heat with Wood or Pellets (or both) and use them as a Primary source. But we also have another source of heat, should an emergency arise or you go on vacation.

    Fire should be held in the highest regard. Especially when brought into your home. Not trying to come down on you, but member Don2222 posts lots of articles about house fires because of Pellet stoves. Lots because of improper installations or safety devices being bypassed.

    Seeing that the Pellet Pro II is an older unit. I would suggest scanning Craiglist or local classified ads for a good used stove if on a tight budget.
  5. Lousyweather

    Lousyweather Guest

    any one of the mods would scare me......I agree with Smoke Show 100% above......I do understand the Rube Goldberg fix, and can appreciate the fact that it works, for the time being, but feel the dangers far outweigh the benefits.

    Harman no longer has available the motherboard or daughterboard for the PelletPro II, and if thats the issue, you'd need to find a dealer who might have some, but that'll be tough, as Harman hasnt had those boards in some time, and when they did, they were expensive! My suggestion is to spring for a new unit (like you said) this summer, before winter. Heck, you can even buy a somewhat new unit used, or Craigs List, etc. Newer units will likely still have parts available, and I have seen some pretty killer deals on used units....sometimes they have NOTHING wrong with them, other than in need of a good cleaning....
    smoke show and DexterDay like this.
  6. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    I'm confused? You say that you hard wired your auger feed to line voltage but you can adjust the feed rate on the CB? How's that work?
  7. Stovecleaner

    Stovecleaner New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Rhode Island
    If the pellets aren't feeding at the proper rate, check the slide plate (inside that metal compartment where the sawdust collects) It should be completely smooth, so it flows freely. The step-up on the plate should be facing the ceiling - the bottom of the plate is all smooth. Sometimes, the pellets you're using will leave a gummy deposit on that slide plate.
    If the pellets you are using are unusually long, they sometimes create a logjam at the bottom of the hopper, keeping the pellets from dropping down. Quick fix - stick your fingers down to the bottom of the hopper, & wiggle them. This usually frees up the pellets.
    Check your flue pipe, too. If the stove's not venting freely (pipe clogged), it effects the way it runs.
  8. Lousyweather

    Lousyweather Guest

    My money is a shot circuitboard or shot daughterboard.

    Scott: on the old PP2, the feed adjuster was a knob, attatched to a threaded rod, so, the feed was actally a mechanical adjustment
  9. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    You know, after I put that up I realized that...I do not have any customers anymore that have this stove and have only worked on 1. It's a relic for sure.
  10. Lousyweather

    Lousyweather Guest

    we still have 3 or 4 (PP2 customers) out there....none bought from us.....but basically you'd be EXTREMELY lucky getting circuitboards anymore, as Harman doesnt even have any....maybe some dregs hanging out on a dealer shelf somewhere....when we get these calls, prior to even going out, we try to advize the folks that several parts for their unit are basically unavailable anymore, and it might not actually be "fixable".....
  11. tricky

    tricky New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2011
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    14
    Loc:
    Atlantic Canada
    Thanks for all the replies! The stove was originally a cheapish used one from kijiji, which is where I will probably look for a new one. My husband and I did have wood for a very long time. And we froze. Every single year. So did our pipes. It was awesome!!! We couldn't get dry wood, and had absolutly no where to store it! No sheds, no basement. etc. So we have decided no more wood for us! lest it be in pellet form that is. We did have the stove to a 'pro' but he had no idea what the heck was going on with it. I have tried to find the mother and duaghter boards for it, they exsist, for hundreds and hundreds of dollars, plus ridiculous shipping charges, though I have considered sending the board itself away to be fixed, but have been told that is expensive in itself. We have an electric heater, btu as I said, the stove will heat our very small house, extremely well. (our house is very small and the stove is 55,000 btus)
    Does anyone know what kinds of safety features the 'brain' would be controlling? Does it have an auto shut off for the auger if the stove gets too hot, or the fire gets too big? Or does it simply not allow more than a certain (safe)amount of pellets in the burn pot at once? The fire can be set large, but we don't set it to push burning pellets out of the pot, it's usually burning about halfway back into the pot with the front half (or just under half) ash. Does anyone know of anywhere a card can be mailed to to be fixed? Could a power surge cause the auger to turn faster and release too many pellets into the burn pot? Thanks very much for everyones suggestions and replies! I look forward to reading more of your advice! I'm also checking out the pellet stove stories posted by Don2222. I definetly would rather freeze then burn!!!!
  12. Lousyweather

    Lousyweather Guest

    I agree its better to freeze than burn, but, fortunately, youve got the time to pick up another unit in the meantime. The circuitboards control everything in this unit.....everything. I have to say I admire your ingenuity, making it work, but cant stress enough that youre playing with fire here (no pun intended!)....

    In answer to your questions, there are safeguards, yes, but if the circuitboards have been compromised, or something else has been because of the modifications, well, we really cant answer as to the safety or viability of the unit.....its been modified. I just dont want to log in here some moring and see a Don222 post about someone in Atlantic canada.
  13. Stovecleaner

    Stovecleaner New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Rhode Island
    I agree with Lousyweather - if you've compromised the circuit board, nothing will work like it's suppose to. There is an ESP (exhaust sensor probe) in the flue pipe. It's a sensor that tells the stove when to turn on & off motors. BUT, it's connected to the circuit board - the compromised circuit board.
    A power surge wouldn't change the auger speed - it would fry the circuit board.
    Lousyweather likes this.
  14. tricky

    tricky New Member

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    Loc:
    Atlantic Canada
    I contacted a company that repairs wonky circuit boards, so I have to send them a photo of it....Although since reading the posts, I was thoroughly panicked (certainly for the best) and found an ad for a 'factory refurbished' 2011 WestPoint pellet stove. I've looked at some reveiws -some not so good, (especially referring to older models-the same situation with other stoves I've attempted to research) It's around 1500 dollars. Is that a good deal? Does anyone have any experience with these stoves? I read it has 60,000 btus (my drafty little house sans basement likes the sounds of that) and holds 3 bags of pellets! Sounds great to me! I'm wondering if a new stove would be better than fixing the cards on the harman....We replaced the probe, expensively!!!!. I'm guessing parts for the 2011 Westpoint would be easier to get if needed? Thanks so much for your time and input! I really appriciate it. If only power were free I would just use electric!
  15. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    Hudson River....run away! Anything is too much money IMHO. That would be a pre-Sherwood model...not a good deal.
    Lousyweather likes this.
  16. tricky

    tricky New Member

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    Awe really? I noticed someone has a 2011 and already put a new control board in it.... Gawd, I thought I had solved the problem! eh...back to haunting kijiji I guess!
  17. Lousyweather

    Lousyweather Guest

    my 2 cents- dont fix the Harman, dont buy the WestPoint. Buy a new stove, be it Harman, etc. you'll pay more than a refurb, but it will carry a warrantee, and have all new parts.....no guessing which part is gonna go next.
  18. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Salem NH
    Hello

    Good Work Tara, you found the fix for the old relic! Now to make it safe and user friendly, you may want to add a few things.

    1. Wire up a toggle switch in series with the line cord to easily turn the power to the auger on and off.
    Better yet if there is any constant AC when the stove is turned on, then that of course would be more convenient!

    Home depot AC toggle switch you can mount on the side of the stove
    http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1v/R-100141285/h_d2/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10053&langId=-1&keyword=toggle switch&storeId=10051#.UQnnm3CCmcM

    Or Inline switch if you do not like drilling a hole. LOL
    http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc...=-1&keyword=switch&storeId=10051#.UQnn5HCCmcM


    2. Add a Hi Limit switch in series with the auger just like all the other stoves. You can mount it to the back of the fire box or under the hopper.
    If you get the surface mount Hi Limit, You can bolt it in with self tapping screws or attach a nice mounting bracket for the more common air stream mount!

    Surface mount Hi Limit
    http://catalog.selcoproducts.com/it...r=1001&categid=100&prodid=1320&origin=keyword

    Air Stream Mount - Most common - Hi Limit
    http://catalog.selcoproducts.com/it...sc-airstream-open-on-rise/se-l250m?&bc=0|1319

    Mounting Bracket for Snap Disc Air stream Mount
    http://www.pexsupply.com/White-Rodgers-F6-1798-Mounting-Adaptor-for-Snap-Disc

    3. Now, if you really want to get fancy, you can also add a vacuum switch in series with the Hi Limit and auger motor.
    The only trick is, that when you get the vacuum hose at the local auto parts store you also need to get a spigit to mount to a good spot on the exhaust plenum!

    Grainger has the Cleveland Controls pellet stove vacuum switches.
    Nice metal construction too!
    http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/CLEVELAND-CONTROLS-Air-Sensing-Switch-4XB70?Pid=search

    Example of a Vacuum tubing Connector that you can mount into your exhaust blower housing. Have to match the tubing size and connector with the vacuum switch port size that Grainger has above.
    They also have the rubber vacuum tubing.
    Brass Fitting, Push-On Hose Fittings, Type - Connector, 5/16" 1/4" MNPT by Dorman
    http://shop.advanceautoparts.com/bu...-4-mnpt-by-dorman-autograde-part-491-021.html

    Then Bingo you got a stove that heats and is real safe! ! !
  19. ivanhoe

    ivanhoe Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    great white northern ontario
    i found this person selling a harman pellet pro stove for $300 if it helps any. he's in ontario and you might get him to sell just the board.... hope it helps! (519-366-1367 ask for Tim) condition unknown??
  20. Jefflitzy

    Jefflitzy Member

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    Loc:
    The other province of Ontario.
    I have a good Pellet Pro II circuit board and enhancement board - Made in 2005. For sale
  21. silverfox103

    silverfox103 Feeling the Heat

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    Don2222

    I can't believe what I've read, I'm stunned.

    Why would you advise this poor women to do all these things. This makes no sense. Cutting a switch into a power cord? Wiring high and low limits? Why would you alter what came from the factory? Why would you give all these suggestions without ever seeing it. I can't understand that.


    Tara

    I understand you wanting to get the stove going. As well intentioned as Don2222 may be and as knowledgeable as he, and he only, thinks he is, he should not be dishing out information. As nice as I can say it, he is over his head. The things he is suggesting doing are dangerous for a consumer. It's a job for a technician.

    A picture is worth 1000 words, here is one of Don't masterpieces: [​IMG]

    Unfortunately every forum has a guy like Don, who is always there to answer questions regardless if the answer is right or wrong. I'm sure he is a nice guy, but he is Dangerous, I can't sit back and watch him give answers like this.

    Tom
    DexterDay and Delta-T like this.
  22. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Tom - Please do not spread lies. I did not build that wood hopper extension nor would I sell on. Also why are you suggesting that she leaves all the safety devices bypassed? ? That would be a disaster!
    ! ! !
  23. glenc0322

    glenc0322 Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    long Island NY
    First sorry about your problems but like everyone else I would not run the stove incase something happens The Bad far out weighs the good. If its available in your area pick up a kerosene heater or 2 to supplement the heat source untill you either fix that stove (but not worth it if getting parts is that hard ) or purchase a newer model when you can. I keep 2 kerosene heaters in my basement incase of emergencys but I also have an oil burner as my primary heat that i dont use because of my pellet stove. good luck and try to stay warm
  24. Don2222

    Don2222 Minister of Fire

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    Hello Tara

    I just recently worked on a Harman Pellet Pro II with overfeeding and underfeeding problems.
    This is what I found.

    Overfeeding pellets
    1. The area under the burnpot was full of ash. This caused the overfeeding since there was not enough burn air coming thru.

    Underfeeding pellets
    2a. The Gleason-Avery original auger motor was failing when the stove heated up. The auger motor was the original auger motor almost 20 years old.
    2b. The auger was very dirty and had a alot of carbon on it.

    To remedy this, pull the auger out,clean it with a wire brush and emory cloth the auger and chute, then spray dry moly on the chute and auger.
    Re-install the auger and install a new Gleason-Avery 4 RPM auger motor.

    Attached Files:

  25. Joe4406

    Joe4406 New Member

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    Hey Jeff DO you still Have the 2 Boards ? If so what do you want for them ? I'm in Massachusetts in the US.. Thanks.

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