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Whitfield Pellet Stove Startup Problem

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by eckolake, Oct 6, 2007.

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  1. eckolake

    eckolake New Member

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    We have a three year old Whitfield Optima 3 freestanding pellet stove that works great once we manage to get it started. But, after its summer vacation this year, it just doesn't want to get going. Press the power button with the thermostat off and power, heat and blower lights are on steady. Set the thermostat on high and the heat and blower lights blink followed by the power light blinking. Pressing the power button won't do anything. Setting the thermostat off returns all the lights to solid. No sign of a fan or auger going. Usually turning it off then and waiting and then turning it on and waiting will, in an hour or two, get the stove going. Replacing the thermostat with the jumper block results in an unpredictable sequence of blinks. Sometimes heat and blower, then power. Other times heat or blower, then power.

    We've cleaned everything, removed all pellets and reloaded them. As far as we can tell, no loose wires or any obvious signs of a problem and, once started, the stove works fine on all allowed combinations of heat and blower. The thermostat controls the temp as it should and it will go through numerous startup/shutdown cycles without a hitch. But we have to shut it down for regular cleaning and would like an reliable restart like we've had in past years.

    Sure would appreciate any suggestions,

    Thanks

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  2. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    I'm having trouble finding an owner manual. Wanted to see if they mentioned anything about the different lights and what the blinking or steady means.

    I would check and make sure any snap discs with reset buttons are not tripped. Also try bypassing the vacuum switch if it has one.
  3. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like your control board has gone south.
  4. jqgs214

    jqgs214 Minister of Fire

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    Why do all parts go south? Whats wrong with north east and west?? :p
  5. eckolake

    eckolake New Member

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    I bypassed the switches but without any improvement. Here's a manual link: http://www.lennoxhearthproducts.com/resources/manual/775097M%20E-%20Adv%20Optima%202&3;(II%20&%20CO).pdf
    Thanks for your help.
    Stoves parts go south because, at least in this hemisphere, it's warmer. Less work for them. I can't blame them.
    The control board does sound suspect. Any way to check it with a multimeter?
  6. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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  7. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Hmmm... unfortunatly they don't mention the lights in the manual at all. Might be best to have a service tech come out, and tell them to bring a control board.
  8. eckolake

    eckolake New Member

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    Thanks for the hearthtools link. Doesn't seem to be a switch problem. Control board looking more and more suspicious.

    There's not a lot of dealers around here. Three are listed within 25 miles. But the first, where we bought the stove, has gone out of business. The next admits to not being very familiar with Whitfields. Says be sure to have your manual handy. The third doesn't do pellets. Extending the search, the next closest just doesn't seem to want to visit this area and, beyond that, we're talking 75 miles.

    If I pull the controller board and bring it in to a dealer, can they run diagnostics on it?

    Thanks for all the comments. We'd like to get this going again and fortunately have a fireplace and electricity as backups for now. Seems more like November here now than October with temps going from around thirty in the morning to maybe fifty high on a good day.
  9. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    If you take the board to them and they have a profile 30 on display they could swap it for you. Another thing you might try is to ask the dealer if you can purchase a board, take it home and try it, if it doesn't work then take it back. I used to do that all the time for people (copied the ser# off of both boards so I didn't get screwed). Some dealers will do this most probably won't. I worked on Whitfield pellet stoves for 8 years and when the boards did the "funky light show" they were defective. It's a bummer because those boards are not cheap, probably more expensive now that the stoves are obsolete.
  10. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    The lack of service in some areas is very disappointing. They sure will sell you anything, but then if you need it fixed they scratch their heads. Being owned by HHT we are the last resort in the area if consumers can't find other dealer support for the three brands. We are basically told we MUST go fix their fireplace, and we do at our regular rates. Even if I knew nothing about the stove I would love the challenge of attempting to fix it.

    Where are you located (you can add it to your profile)? Maybe there is someone on here who knows who can help.
  11. david Lee

    david Lee New Member

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    If you have not downloaded the manual, you can do so at the lennox hearth products website.

    Try one of these three options:

    1. www.lennoxhearthproducts.com , select "owner resources", then select tech manuals then discontinued products. You will find the control board options on page 22 of the Optima 3 manual.

    2. back to "owners resources", select tech support - fill out your tech support request and send it to them.

    3. If you want to contact their tech support dept. direct call 800- 655-2008 press "0" for switch board and ask for tech support dept. They may be able to walk you through the trouble shooting process. If not, they have regional field tech service personel ask if you can get the phone number of the field tech that covers your state.
  12. eckolake

    eckolake New Member

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    The swap and try option sounds great. Although it sure looks like the controller, I'd hate to buy one and find that wasn't the problem.

    We're in northwest Montana, not far from Flathead Lake.

    We have the manual that came with the stove and an updated version from lennoxhearthproducts. I'll try the tech support number when they open tomorrow morning.

    Thanks again for all the help. This forum is a great resource. Wish I'd found it back when we were shopping for a pellet stove.
  13. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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    I don't see the discontinued products in the tech manuals tab?
  14. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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  15. eckolake

    eckolake New Member

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    Here's a link to the discontinued products:

    http://www.lennoxhearthproducts.com/owners/manuals.asp?pcid=3&archive=1

    The Advantage® Optima™ 3 FS is near the bottom.

    Here's a direct link, but the .pdf may not end up as part of the link because of the length:

    http://www.lennoxhearthproducts.com/resources/manual/775097M%20E-%20Adv%20Optima%202&3;(II%20&%20CO).pdf

    Also, looking more closely at the auger motor, seems like a rubber bushing between motor and bracket is twisted and torn and the motor wasn't aligned with the bracket. I twisted it back but still get the flashing lights.
  16. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    Try posting your problem on the Pellet section of the iburncorn.com forum in the pellet section. Take a look at the bottom section too. They have stove specific sforums down there and there may be one for Whitfield. You never know, some of those guys are really into the electronic stoves and they are really easy to deal with. One thing I know about those handy dandy circuit boards. Did you by chance leave it plugged in all summer. I tossed the board on my mig welder by leaving it plugged in during a lightning storm a few years back. Lesson learned there, I now unplug anything with a circuit board whenever I can think of it if there is a storm anywhere nearby.
  17. eckolake

    eckolake New Member

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    When we bought the stove we talked about surge protection and meant to ask the electrician who ran the power line for it to put in a surge protector. We messed up and forgot that detail and may well now pay the price.
  18. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    That stove does NOT have a Low limit switch for Prof of fire it used that Assnine Photo Eye system.
  19. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Whats wrong with the photoeye? heh
    I love #6 in the troubleshooting

    6. Stove acts as if a fire is present when there is not a fire in the grate.

    Excessive sun light may be shining directly into firebox from window.

    Block excessive sunlight. Call authorized Lennox Hearth Products dealer if problem persists.
  20. Mr. Big 270

    Mr. Big 270 New Member

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    I called Steve from tech support and he was very calm and helpful.Must be that California weather... My Whitfield Optima 3 insert just started booting up but never goes into the 'run' cycle. Pellets drop and the fire looks good BUT the start up blowers run all the time until the fire goes out.Than, it reboots and the same thing happens. I changed the low limit switch but no improvement. Pray for me...
  21. lpgreg

    lpgreg Member

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    So your saying that after the 1st drop of pellets you have ignition, the pellets then burn out with no other pellets dropping? and then it repeats this cycle again and again?
  22. Mr. Big 270

    Mr. Big 270 New Member

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    Yes...the initial blowers come on...the ones that start up when the pellet stove is first turned on. Than, they remain on..even though the stove has been burning for some time. What SHOULD be happening is that when the inside temperature reaches a set degree, the blower speed..low, medium or high...should kick on. Right now..the stove is constantly in the start up mode and smoke is smelled in the room due to always starting up. The pellets burn up so fast that the stove senses that it needs to start up again.I was told by the techs in California that the photoelectric eye is shot. I ordered a new one...for 156.00.....
  23. lpgreg

    lpgreg Member

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    I was going to suggest that you check your photoeye. Goodluck
  24. Snowy Rivers

    Snowy Rivers Minister of Fire

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    The digital controls on these beasts can and do give up.

    Here it is in a Nut shell

    I write for a couple diesel pickup forums and am well known for having a poor opinion of electronics.

    The boards on this model of stove are notorious for issues.

    A new board is likely the only option.

    I personally have rebuilt a couple stoves myself and have redesigned the electronics and used off the shelf Solid state on off timer relays and a variable rheostat for the draft fan and the room air blowers.

    This takes the problems out but also places the fine "tweeking" in the hands of the operator.

    My stoves all get fed a diet of Nut shells so I have to adjust things to work with that fuel.

    The only issue with doing a redesign is to keep all the safety devices in the system to protect the stove, you and your house

    The biggy is to always keep all the overtemp and other safety devices in the circuits.

    The problem is the constant practice by companies of over engineering.

    Just because we have computers does not mean that everything needs one.

    OH BTW the photo eye was a real piece of work. Waht a joke that was. The eye was relocated on some stoves to the upper reaches of the feed tube to keep it clean.

    Still a bad idea.

    The Quadrafire uses a thermal probe over the pot to send a small electrical current when heat is present.

    Very good system with little issues.

    Best

    Snowy R
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