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What kind of splitter do I need?

Post in 'The Gear' started by Sprinter, Aug 6, 2012.

  1. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Just a single stove residential user here. I have about 7 cords trying to dry out, but weather has been awful for drying until just now. A lot of it needs to be split down more as I will have a smallish stove (like 2 cf or less) and I also need to speed up the drying. I think I should get a splitter because I just can't swing a maul like I used to (tennis elbow and golfer's elbow and I don't do either one, go figure). But I can handle the pieces.

    I know next to nothing about splitters so I need some advice on what to look for. I'd rather avoid another infernal combustion engine in my life, so I wonder if an electric one will be sufficient for me. I should say that in coming seasons, I will probably fell some smaller trees around here, so eventually I may need to split some full rounds but I don't know how large an electric splitter can handle.

    Speed is not important but reliability is. I have a good dedicated 120V circuit and could even wire up a 230 if necessary. I won't have to use it in the field.

    I see that most of them are 5 or 7 ton with times of 15 to 25 seconds or so, but what that means in terms of real life capabilities, I have no idea. How large of a round can they typically do?

    Will one of those electrics work for me?

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  2. swagler85

    swagler85 Minister of Fire

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    I have never run an electric splitter but there are a few threads from earlier if you search for them. Shows some decent rounds being split with electric splitters.
  3. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Some folks are very happy with small electric splitters. A lot depend upon what you will be splitting now and in the future. Just remember that the small splitters can do good with easy splitting wood but when you get into knots or harder splitting wood, it can be tough.

    When I was in the market for a splitter, I was going pretty much blind. Finally settled on a 20 ton but feared it would not be enough. Store said if it didn't do the job, bring it back for a full refund. I bought. It is 20 ton with a 5 hp B&S engine. That was over 20 years ago when we bought and have split well over 200 cord of wood with it and it has been trouble free. The engine is now showing some wear though as I have to add oil, but, oil is still cheaper than metal. Good luck.

    btw, cycle time is usually not something to get hung up with but if the machine has to do the full cycle, then 15-25 seconds would get old really fast. With the hydraulic splitters, you mostly do not have to use the full cycle and that is why the cycle time is not something to be too concerned with. Ours is plenty fast enough for me.
  4. bogydave

    bogydave Minister of Fire

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    If mostly straight grained wood, electric should work fine.
    you can noodle any gnarly pieces if needed.

    Type/s & size of wood you are splitting ?
    I'm guessing evergreens by location & avatar pic. The knotty stuff is stubborn.

    220V would be more efficient , if it's a ways from the breaker panel, & a heavy extension cord ;)

    I went 22 ton gas powered, the small electrics weren't quit strong enough for about 40% of my wood.
    Plus splitting the bigger heavier stuff, the vertical mode was a must for me. No lifting the big rounds.
    Looked at the bigger electrics, but then I'd have needed more electrical power a 100" or so from the house.
    Sure be quieter though .

    Any places you can rent one & give it a try before you buy one?
  5. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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  6. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    I LOVE my 5 ton Homelite electric. This is its third season, with my friend and I using it to split 5 cords per year each. Still runs great, quiet, no smell and it doesn't use any gas or have starting problems. Plug it in, step on the pedals ;) , it splits. When this one gives up, I'll buy another. At $300, maybe I'll buy two.

    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/...er-and-want-some-opinions.81239/#post-1048636


    That's a 28 in. black oak round.

    [​IMG]
  7. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Well, if that thing didn't cause it to give up, I guess nothing will! Did the hydraulics stall or bypass on it? Did you have to buy a new one afterwards? Did you tell them what you did on your warranty claim?

    Seriously, I was looking at this and the identical looking Ryobi, and also the Pow R Kraft 4 ton, and the Task Force sold by Lowes. They all get good reviews, and are all about $300. They aren't in most stores right now because they are considered seasonal so I can't eyeball one. I'm glad to see your good experience after three years. Most reviews are done before the paint is even scratched.

    Oh, BTW, what pedals? I thought the controls were hand switches that everyone complains about or did you mod it? EDIT: Never mind, I only just now read the other post. I like your mods, My motto, Keep it Simple.
  8. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Thanks, guys. Yeah, I'm sure that 4-7 ton will be fine for what I'll do which is re-splitting now, and later on I'll have some modest size trees to cut down, but nothing probably more than 12" or so. Mostly alder, some fir and some maple. I'm sure there will be some knotty issues but I'll deal with them separately. Speed seems fine in the videos I've seen.

    Do you know of any 230 volt electrics? I haven't found any but I like the idea because it seems like you could potentially get 10 or 12 tons that way. In fact, a 230 volt, 30 amp motor would be 6900 watts (a dryer outlet would drive it) which is over 9 HP. That should be good for a good 16 tons or so. Yeah.:cool:

    As for trying one out, that's one thing I like about Home Depot. I'm sure I can take it back if it won't do the job;)
  9. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

  10. swagler85

    swagler85 Minister of Fire

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    That 16 ton ram splitter looks interesting. Would work nice but in my situation I split about 200 feet away from a power source. Don't know how that would work, that's a lot of power to pull that far.
  11. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    Actually, a hunk of straight-grained red oak (black is one of the reds) is about the easiest splitting stuff there is. Don't let the size fool you.
    Fifelaker and certified106 like this.
  12. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    I wouldn't say "easiest", it was a groan to get it up on the splitter! ;) Green oak splits easily, dry not so much. But yes, this isn't the toughest split I've tried, it's the knotty stuff that will cause it to bypass. However, I only have one ugly in the yard that I haven't been able to split.

    Based on my experience, I wouldn't be worrying about finding a 230v splitter. If resplitting is what you need, any of the 120v. splitters will handle it, the first split is the toughest (with apologies to Yusuf Islam).
  13. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Here's a source for that http://www.logsplittersdirect.com/Ramsplitter-H16-4-Log-Splitter/p3296.html
    or, http://www.woodsplittersdirect.com/...6-Ton-Horizontal-Electric-Wood-Splitter-H16-4
    What's interesting is that it runs on 120v at 15 amps which is about the same as the 4 or 5 ton guys. The 7-ton Pow R Kraft with two-stage hydraulic needs 20 amps. I don't know how they get 16 tons of pressure at a claimed cycle time of 10-14 sec. I don't know that much about hydraulics, but I would think you'd have to sacrifice a whole lot more time to compensate for the small power of the motor. The video on the second link looks like it's at least as fast as the smaller ones and also I noticed that he seems to be using it with one handed control rather than a dead-man.

    So, how do they get 16 tons with those speeds?
  14. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Here's a handy chart showing voltage drops for different lengths of different gauge extension cords. 200 feet would be a stretch for an electric splitter depending on how tolerant the system is to voltage drops. http://home.mchsi.com/~gweidner/extension-cord-chart.pdf
  15. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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  16. neumsky

    neumsky Minister of Fire

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    I've got one of the ten ton hand hydraulic with two handles type which is dependable...it was only a hundred bucks...it is slow but it does the job.
  17. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    Sprinter I have a 5 ton homelite and use a 100 foot 10 gauge cord, split just about everything I needed it too, I did pick up a bigger gas splitter only because the price was right but a 5-7 ton should handle most of your needs.
  18. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    Yes, it's a 10-gauge, 25-foot extension. The manufacturer recommends against anything longer, to avoid voltage drop. I've never had a problem with overheating...neither the motor nor the cord even gets warm. If I have a piece that won't split immediately, I back off and reposition the piece, rather than just let the motor sit there and work. I've yet to find a piece that it wouldn't split, but I'm sure there's one out there somewhere. For me, it's just not worth the expense and hassle of a gasoline engine, considering the relatively few cords per year that I split.
  19. MrWhoopee

    MrWhoopee Minister of Fire

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    I'm using a 12 gauge 75 foot cord, never any problems. At least on the Homelite/Ryobi type units the motor is only running when splitting, not on the retract or while loading, unloading, scratching your a**, etc. Probably less than 50% duty cycle.
  20. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    The difference is that his 7-ton Pow R Kraft has a larger motor that requires 20 amps. It may be more sensitive to voltage drops, also.

    Thanks for all the replies. I'll probably end up with the Homelite from HomeDepot (free shipping) so I can return it easily if it doesn't work out. Seems to have adequate capability for me, has excellent reviews here and on the web (actually they all do which was a surprise to me for this kind of machine) and apparently works fine on about 75 ft of 12 gauge extension cord, which I need.

    BTW, another curious thing, I see that the Ryobi and the Homelite look to be identical units with identical drive components and specs, but the Homelite is a claimed 5-ton and the Ryobi is 4. I wonder why they are different. Looks like force tonnage may be a bit "flexible" in marketing these items, although it should to be pretty straightforward. The pressure generated by the hydraulic pump should be known, and the area of the ram would be known, and from then on it's just math. There's probably some characteristic somewhere that can fudge the numbers a bit. Maybe how hydraulic pressure is specified, like peak vs typical or something? Maybe someone here has some knowledge about how that is done.
  21. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    "Seems to have adequate capability for me, has excellent reviews here and on the web (actually they all do which was a surprise to me for this kind of machine)..."

    I read somewhere on this site that most folks buy much more splitter than they really need. I decided to risk buying a smaller unit and haven't regretted it.
  22. Redbarn

    Redbarn Member

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    I have a 16 ton electric Ramsplitter. I use it with a 100 ft x 10g chord and I have occaisionally strung together 200 ft (100+50+50 feet) of 10g chord. It has split everything I have needed to split.
    Really, beyond 100 ft, I use my 3500 Watt generator with a 50ft x 10g chord.
    No problems at all with the genny. Splits just about anything I cut.
  23. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Oh, you're just the guy I want to talk to! What kind of forward splitting speed does that Ramsplitter have compared with the smaller electrics? I'm curious as to how they generate 16 tons of force at decent speeds with a 1500 watt motor. For example, Pow R Kraft's 7 ton electric needs a 2300 watt motor just to get 7 tons at decent speed. Do you know how they do it?
  24. Redbarn

    Redbarn Member

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    Haven't measured the forward speed and have no small electric experience to compare with.
    The factory specs on the 16 ton are at http://www.ramsplitter.com/electrics.pdf and show a 13 secs cycle time, which seems about right. Not super quick but then neither am I !

    I bought the electric Ramsplitter as it is rugged and right on the practical limit for a 15 amp electric.
    I actually have to use a 20 amp breaker as the surge current popped a 15 amp.
    The specs list the motor at 2070 watts.

    It has a 2 stage pump and it generates its highest splitting force when the 2nd stage kicks in. It will split the lighter stuff without kicking in the 2nd stage.

    Before buying the Ramsplitter, I rented a 16 hp gas splitter to get an idea of whether 16 ton would cope with most of our cuts.
    The electric splitter matches the gas model without the trouble of another gas motor to maintain and I can use it indoors. It also starts easily whatever the weather!
  25. neumsky

    neumsky Minister of Fire

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    Isn't the purpose of the 15 amp circuit for the protection of the device as designed by the company?

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