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What kind of splitter do I need?

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

  1. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    My Pow'rKraft 7-ton has a circuit breaker built in for that. I think home circuit breakers protect your home wiring, not the devices that are plugged in. Someone may know better.

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  2. Redbarn

    Redbarn Burning Hunk

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    The factory spec sheet quotes the motor at 1740 rpm, 18 amps at 115 VAC.
    Hence the 20 amp breaker.
  3. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    See following quote.

    100% correct.

    I sure hope you verified that the wiring in your home and any extension cords you were using are capable of 20 amp loads before you swapped breakers! You never size the breaker to the load. Breaker is always sized to the wiring as that is what it's designed to protect.
  4. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Oh, my, I missed the part about swapping out the breaker! That's a big No-No. If the original breaker was 15 amp, then the wiring was probably 14 gauge. If it was 12 gauge, then a 20 amp breaker would be okay, as I understand the electrical code (I'm not a licensed electrician!). I've never understood why most household outlet circuits are only 15 amps. With all the stuff people plug into outlets, it's just not enough.

    Having said that, specs are confusing on these things because, for example, this machine is sold as having a 1.5 HP motor, which would only be about 9 amps at 120 volts. Yet, they also say it operates at 15 amps, which would be 2.4 HP. If it really operates at 18 amps, that would be about 2.9 HP. Then, there's startup current vs running current at a rated load to complicate things further. A 15 amp household breaker might hold up under an 18 amp draw for a second or so, but it's dicey. But if it actually draws 18 amps continuously, you really need a 20 amp circuit (including at least 12 gauge wiring). For a heavy load machine like these are, a user really should monitor the current draw and the voltage being delivered to the machine, especially if extension cords are used. Going outside of design requirements can be dangerous to the machine and to the user.
  5. Redbarn

    Redbarn Burning Hunk

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    The original question I answered was whether an electric Ramsplitter would run on a 200 ft chord.

    To do so, I ran a new 10g service from my Barn main panel to a new external outlet, using a 20 amp breaker.
    I used a 20 amp all weather exterior quality socket.
    I plug my Ramsplitter into that with a 100 ft x 10 g chord. No problems at all.
    I have even used 200 feet without issue. Use good quality chords, keeping 10 g all the way.

    Never used it in or near house.
    Certainly would not replace a 15 amp house breaker with 20 amp. Great way to fry house wiring.

    Do all the splitting behind the barn or out in woods using Ramsplitter + Genny.
    The Ramsplitter will run on a standard 15 amp outlet without trouble.
    But the surge current is close to 15 amps.
  6. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Perfect. Thanks for clarifying. That sounds like a great splitter and very versatile. Even my little Honda 2000 generator should handle it (barely).

    Do you have any way to measure the actual ram force it delivers before bypassing? I'm really curious about the 16 ton spec. It seems like too much for a small motor like that and still maintain good speeds. Just speculating, but maybe it delivers a smaller force, like 5-ton, until a certain point, then goes into a high force/low speed mode when necessary? I think that's what the Pow R Kraft 7-ton does, but I'm not certain. I wish I knew more about hydraulic systems.
  7. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Except your math is a little off there, buddy! You may be talking about stall currents on small universal motors, the merit of which is highly questionable (3 hp routers running on 15A / 115V circuits ;lol ) . A 5 hp induction motor has a full load current of 28 amps. Now compare that 5hp motor to the toy motor on your "6.5 hp" shop vac, and you'll note a world of difference. If you want to compare to a gasoline powered splitter, this is more representative of the performance you're going to see.

    Then again... 5 hp ain't bad.

    edit: Also, no 3hp motor is going to run on a 20A / 115V circuit. FLC on a 3hp motor is 17 - 18 amps (depending on frame type) at 230 volts. NEC requires oversizing all circuits 125%, so you need a 25A @ 230V circuit to run a true 3hp motor.
  8. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    You're right that I was ignoring efficiency (maybe 60 or 65% on a typical motor?). I was just comparing the ratings of other splitters using their own marketing specs, which can be very "creative". My mythical 9 HP motor, although sucking down over 9 HP of electrical power ( 230*30/746), probably would only produce maybe 5.5 HP mechanical. That motor would be pretty close to your 28 amp motor (I assume you meant at 230v) delivering 5 HP.

    I hate those marketing tactics too, although I've noticed that over the last few years, there is less of that going on. Some of the smaller splitters I looked at specify their 15 amp motors at 1.5 HP, which is probably pretty close to true. Compressors are still exaggerated a lot, like Harbor Freight's 2.5 HP compressor that pulls 14 amps running. That's not only ignoring efficiency, but apparently includes startup surge. Seems like people are wising up about all that though.
  9. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    yep... several companies overrating their induction motors have been sued, and have re-worded their marketing. Campbell Hausfeld compressors was one of the most famous cases. FLC for induction motors is well published and standardized: http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/elctrical-motor-full-load-current-d_1499.html

    Universal motors still sort of slip under the radar, as they can generate enormous torque (for a short time) for their size. These are the ones you see listed as 3 hp, while only drawing 1600VA, used in most portable power tools (routers, drills, etc.).
  10. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    I think you can generally get away with a rule of thumb that for every 10 amps, you get a net 1 hp (that's single phase at 115vac, of course, double that for 230). That makes it pretty easy to figure out what you're getting for most consumers on most items like this.
  11. Redbarn

    Redbarn Burning Hunk

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    I have a Yamaha 2000W Genny and it won't handle the surge current when the 2nd stage kicks in when tackling a tough split. I use an old, old 3500W Briggs+Stratton Genny instead and that runs fine.

    The big plus for me is that I can use the electric Ramsplitter inside a barn full of inflammables (hay, straw) on a rainy day. I'd be very wary of using a gas splitter inside there.

    As for the 16 tons, I rented a 16 ton gas splitter and found its limit on some tough splits.
    The 16 ton electric splitter performed about the same on splits from the same tree so I was happy.
  12. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Just wanted to say thanks for the advice in this thread. The other day the Brown Truck dropped off my new Homelite 5-ton without telling me. My heart about sank when I looked at the packaging, though. It was nearly shredded, with the straps hanging, foam crumpled, box torn up. No wonder the driver wanted to slink away! Anyway, I guess it's a testament to this machine, but somehow, the poor thing was still huddled in there, looking afraid to come out but apparently unscathed.

    I was anxious to see if it was still alive, so I quickly went through the book, opened the bleed valve as indicated, and held my breath, and thankfully, it worked. And worked well. I actually was able to split some pretty gnarly looking pieces and it seems like it will do just what I need it to do.

    I do have one question. This machine has a very long mouth, way longer than most of my cuts and it takes a long time for the ram to get to the split. Is there something I can use to fill in the empty space to make things go faster? I tried using some short rounds as a spacer, but too often, they just buckle off.
  13. jjs777_fzr

    jjs777_fzr Feeling the Heat

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    Just throw something behind the plate - where it rests on the I-Beam. Safer than splitting with a loose spacer in front of the plate where it can ricochet.
  14. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    How about a drop on piece of steel (shaped like a U) to prevent the ram from fully retracting?
  15. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    I guess you two were saying the same thing. Just keep it from retracting. I wasn't sure if that was okay to do or not, but I'll assume it is. A chunk of 2x2 solved that little problem! Thanks.

    BTW, I stopped by the tractor place today on other business and they had a beautiful looking Speeco 25 ton. Made this thing look a little wimpy! But It does my job fine, if a little slowly.
  16. jjs777_fzr

    jjs777_fzr Feeling the Heat

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    Figured I'd post this short video of the HF 7ton unit splitting black locust and didn't want to start a new thread. I didn't measure the round but my echo cs-400 18" was pretty much disappearing when cutting it.

  17. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    Other than a few cosmetic trim pieces, that looks just like my PowR'Kraft 7-ton splitter. It does a great job.
  18. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    Is that thing for horizontal only, or is it designed to be comfortably run vertical, too?
  19. jjs777_fzr

    jjs777_fzr Feeling the Heat

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    horizontal only
  20. DanCorcoran

    DanCorcoran Minister of Fire

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    Yeah, if you stood the splitter on end, the ram would have to lift the round up against the wedge.
  21. Joful

    Joful Minister of Fire

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    That's what I figured, looking at the video. A small splitter could be very useful for someone wanting to do most of their splitting by hand, but it would need to handle big gnarly stuff, since that's what I need the help with!

    Guess I'll stick with noodling for now.
  22. weatherguy

    weatherguy Minister of Fire

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    I cut a 2 inch piece off a round that I use to push the splits through, I cut quite a bit of oak with my homelite, still use it when I dont want to drag the bigger splitter out. I always have my fiskars axe when I use the homelite, comes in handy to knock the splits loose from the round.
    jjs777_fzr likes this.
  23. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Problem is the small electrics are very limited as to just how big and how gnarly they'll go. I think the best option for the maul swingers here is to have a splitter rental day once a year to rent a machine that will take care of everything it touches.
  24. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    That sounds like a great idea. Just put aside all the rough stuff until you can justify a rental for a day. Even if it takes until next year. So far my electric can do at least 90%.
  25. cfox13

    cfox13 Member

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    Hi all-

    Sorry, for the book report, but I want to comment on my Pow-R-Kraft 7 ton electric splitter. I joined the forum last winter when I was in the market for buying a splitter and got a lot of good advice. All of the feedback I got was valuable to me and I wanted to give back. I hope this will help someone else in their buying decision.

    I had an extra flue in my besement and I picked up a Fisher Papa Bear. I picked it up as an emergency/supplemental heat source. It was affordable and throws off tons of heat. But it works so well, I started heating my home with it. This saved me a lot on my heating bill. Living in Maine this was substantial.

    After paying for cut and split firewood, I realized I could save even more if I bought in log length. This is what caused me to start looking into splitters. But I found the gas powered units to be very expensive. And I was worried that the electric splitters would not have enough power; that it would be a waste of money. That is when I found a happy medium in the Pow-R-Kraft 7 ton unit.

    The unit has 2 stages or speeds: a "fast" 4 ton speed and a "slow" 7 ton speed. The 4 ton speed was next to useless when it came to splitting, (my neighbor and I split about 10 cord of Oak and Maple). This confirmed my concerns that the 3 to 4 ton models really don't have enough power. It was the 7 ton "slow" speed that worked on all except for about 3 rounds out of the entire 10 cord. But using a combination of the fast and slow speeds, you end up with a rather fast cycling time and the power to get through all except the narliest of rounds.

    Some other benefits of the Pow-R-Craft is that it is quiet. The engine noise is very quiet compared to the gas, something my ears and my neighbors appreciate. While some electric motors run all the time like the gas ones, this engine only runs when you call it to. This further cuts down on the noise factor. Also, being electric I can also run the unit indoors. This is nice b/c I can keep it in my basement during the winter and make kindling as I need to.

    For the application that I am using it for (home use not commercial), it is a home run. It has the power needed to get through most rounds. It is quiet and can be used indoors. But the best feature is its price point. It costs a little more than the 3 to 4 ton units. But getting the higher 7 ton power is worth it. And the cost saving compared to the gas units is excellent too. It also comes with a 2 year warantee. But I haven't had any issues with it, so cant comment on that.

    There are a couple of cons. The wheels are plastic and designed more to fit on the splitter rather than to support it. I have tied some plywood to my dolly truck to move the unit around. Also, the unit is beefy. It weighs a lot more than what it looks like. Be prepared for that. Lastly, make sure you open the air valve for the hydrolic fluid system. If you don't, you can ruin the unit and void the warranty. That maybe comon knowlwdge for wood splitters, but a greenhorn like myself didn't know that. It's always a good thing to read the fine print!

    I think Hearth.com is a fantastic place to get excellent info. The input I receive here has been very valuable. I hope my input here can help someone else.

    On next to a Log Arch! Hopefully that will help save my back through my wood processing. THX!

    Cfox
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