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Why wont my Auger feed pellets?

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by hearthtools, Jan 6, 2008.

  1. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    The first thing you need to do is READ THE OWNERS MANUAL
    If you dont have one most manufactures have them available on their website.

    Two #1 reason auger motor will not operate is:
    PRESSURE SWITCH / Vacuum switch and the HOPPER LID OR DOOR TRIP SWITCH
    http://www.hearthtools.com/parts/pressure.gif

    Function: Monitors exhaust movement out of the stove to determine if restriction to air flow exists.

    This switch has no electrical connection to the Combustion Blower system (IN MOST STOVES).

    The switch is normally “Closed” allowing the passage of electricity from the control board to the auger motor. When a set amount of Negitive or positive pressure (depending on stove) is detected, due to a restriction or blockage to airflow, the diaphragm is moved to the “Open” position; power is cut to the auger motor stopping fuel to the grate. If this condition occurs, inspection of the stoves vent system is recommended. Some stoves the Ignitor circuit is also connected to the vacuum switch.

    First check to see of all Doors and Ash pan doors are latched tight and getting a good seal.

    Check that the flue is clean an clear of obstructions

    Check that all ash traps are clean and clear

    Check that your combustion blower is working


    Read this post about a exhaust chamber blocked http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/12660/

    Most times this system fails NOT because of the switch but because the hose is broken or the Port the hose connects to the stove (NOT TO THE SWITCH) is clogged at the combustion blower or where the port is located on your stove.
    http://www.hearthtools.com/parts/pressurehole.jpg
    Some locations the hose is connect to are:
    Combustion blower.
    Back of the firebox
    Ash pan
    Ignitor tube
    Intake air tube at the firebox

    Electrically check the switch by disconnecting the wires from the switch. Attach a voltmeter set for “continuity” detection.
    The switch should show continuity (CLOSED) with the hose disconnected from the Combustion Blower housing.

    When the hose is connected back to the stove (power “ON”) if a reading of “Open” is indicated, the vent needs inspection.

    With power “OFF” and the hose disconnected, you can gently blow into the hose and cause the switch to OPEN.

    When blowing into the hose stops, the switch should CLOSE.

    This test indicates proper switch operation.
    Some stove this could be just the opposite depending if the hose is connect to a negative pressure area or positive pressure area

    If this switch fails or the hose is bad, You can by-pass this switch by connecting the two wires that lead to the vacuum switch together and your stove will work normally.

    I have only seen 2 pressure switch go bad in 1000’s of stoves I have worked on. It is normaly just a dirty stove or the port/barb the hose is connected to is plugged up.

    Other reasons for no power to the auger could be:
    Tripped or bad limit switch (profile 30 has (2) Red labeled HI LIMIT switches in line with the auger circuit.)
    Bad control board or auger Timer block
    Bad feed rate controller (potentiometer)
    Blow fuse
    Door or hopper lid TRIP SWITCH (profile 30 on the door)

    If all of this is good and you auger still is not feeding test to see if it is getting the power to the motor.

    Put a voltage meter on BOTH wires that go to the auger motor.
    Don’t just use a grounding point and test one wire because some stoves have the HOT circuit going to the component all the time and use limit switches to cut off the Neutral side of the circuit.

    Remember the current is not constant only at the feed time set by the board. So the power will only be for one second or 20 seconds at a time with a delay between feeds.

    If you are 100 sure you have power going to the motor them you may have bad or week motor/gearbox.
    Try pulling the auger motor out and putting direct power to the motor.

    Power test TIP if your combustion blower and auger motor are the same voltage you can pull the wires off your combustion blower and connect it to the auger motor for constant direct power. When the switch of the stove is turned on.

    See if the motor and Shaft at the gear box is turning.
    The shaft will turn at 1 complete revolution in 1 minutes for most stove
    some are 2 RPM, 3 RPM, 4 RPM or even 6 on some older Martin units.
    SOME STOVES HAVE 12 volt motors

    If the motor seams strong and is turning and you have power going to the motor FOR SURE from the control board.
    Then you have
    A auger jam
    object jammed in the auger
    Bad bushing/Barring

    Normally with a STUCK auger system you can tell because you can see the auger motor trying to feed. If you put your finger on the end of the motor you can feel the MOTOR trying to turn every few seconds then stop.
    toasty dad likes this.

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  2. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    Please post photos of your pressure switch and or hose connection.
    or you auger fix.

    Please dont post questions on this thread
    if you have a question please start a new topic
  3. jtp10181

    jtp10181 Minister of Fire

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    Just wanted to say I once pulled a set of car keys out of an auger tube.

    Also a tip, on Quad units if the auger does jam up you can loosen or remove the two screws holding it and wiggle it around some. Sometimes you have to pull the auger out a little to free the jam. Most of the time cleaning all the pellets out of the hopper first makes this a lot easier.

    I now remove the vacuum hose and blow it out, and then clean out the fitting on the auger tube during a cleaning. This is due to a few return trips where this was the problem. Live and Learn.
  4. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    NOTE ON PRESSURE SWITCHES

    New units use a pressure switch that has Negative and Positive ports

    BE SURE YOU RECONNECT THE HOSE BACK TO THE SAME PORT YOU REMOVED IT FROM.
  5. petejung

    petejung New Member

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    I don't think I saw it in the first three posts, and the first post specifically spoke to the exhaust vacuum switch, so here goes: Some models have a vacuum switch that monitors the front door - so that if the front door is open, the switch opens and doesn't allow power to, in the case of Englander stoves at least, the top auger. So, like Rod said, make sure your front door (of the stove) is shut, and check out that vacuum switch, too.
  6. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    This is the same thing

    When you open the door or ash bin (or have an air leak such as a bad gasket)
    it TAKES away the NEGATIVE pressure from the firebox and the vacuum/pressure switch will no long has enough negative pressure to keep it closed.
  7. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Excellent posting again Rod. This is good stuff, it should also be posted as a wiki. If you need help doing that, I'd be glad to assist.

    One thing you might want to add is that on some stoves, like Quadrafires, there can be a high limit switch in series with the vacuum switch. It rarely trips or fails, but can happen, usually due to poor or no cleaning of the stove. If the switch is open, the auger will not run.
  8. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    Breckwell is the same way.
    http://www.hearthtools.com/parts/97breckwell.gif


    As far as Wiki
    Im not sure how many people look there for help.
    I have only been in there to look and I was lost.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I hear ya. Different methods work for different folks. Currently a lot of the wiki bucket is a mess with no categorization. And the current software is buggy. But I have been slogging through certain areas to get them better organized. It's a challenge with the buggy software.

    However, I can set up a Pellet Stove Primer category and migrate this info there. That way it will be visible as a top level category. Once it's organized, the wiki system is much more intuitive to navigate.
  10. russfamily@hotmail.com

    russfamily@hotmail.com New Member

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    Rod, thank you for your help, you really went above and beyond. Went thru all your sugestions. Thanks but no luck. Looks like the control board, ordering one today.-Russfamily

    [quote author="hearthtools" date="1199679719"]#1 reason auger motor will not operate is:
    PRESSURE SWITCH / Vacuum switch......
  11. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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  12. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    Some new tips have been added to the first post of this thread

    Please post photos of your pressure switch and or hose connection.
    or you auger fix.

    Please dont post questions or comments on this thread
    if you have a question please start a new topic
  13. russfamily@hotmail.com

    russfamily@hotmail.com New Member

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    Hi Rod P, I curently away working and not at home. I'll be back to post those pic in 2 days. Thank you again for all your help.-russfamily

  14. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    Im not looking for picks of your stove
    that is for people to post HELP photos of other stove problems that they HAVE fixed.
  15. hearthtools

    hearthtools Moderator Emeritus

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    Added to the post
    I forgot about the
    Hopper lid trip switches now used on some stove will stop the auger

    and on the Profile 30 stoves have a door trip switch.
  16. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    Lennox Whitfields and P30's also have a fire eye instead of a Proof of Fire Switch which can and will stop the auger, though I've found that the glass in front of the switch is usually the culprit.
  17. smwilliamson

    smwilliamson Minister of Fire

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    Most Honeywell switches (the round plastic ones) the black side is positive and the gray side is negative...unless the facvtory painted it all black while painting the stove.

    To confuse the issue more, some pressure switches look for positive pressure. If the hose fitting is AFTER the combustion motor, this switch is looking for positive pressure or the presence of pressure. Lennox Whitfield comes to mind. It is very important when removing leads from pressure switches, especially those with N/O and N/C terminals that the leads go back correctly.

    If the switch is looking for vacuum, the lead is N/O and the hose connects to the negative barb; if the switch is looking for positive pressure the hose connects to the positive barb, the lead is N/C.

    Fun stuff.

    Attached Files:

  18. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    actually all Englander stoves with vac switches are wired "normally open" as the switch in the normally open position is then "pulled" closed by the exhaust blower so that the switch will cut power in the event of the door being opened or an exhaust blower failure. if a switch is wired "normally closed" (at rest closed) it would open and cut power when the exhaust blower starts and only allow the auger to run when the door was open. its likely that there are setups in both configurations (different philosophies) but always refer to your tech manuals or contact your dealer or manufacturer (in our case) for proper configuration
  19. bigecrazy

    bigecrazy New Member

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    Auger wouldn't feed pellets, determined it was the board. Ordered board, C-E-401 for Breckwell Big E P1000, board we received is suppose to be the same, but updated. It is a A-E-401. However, still not working properly. The board doesn't look exactly the same. Need help.
  20. imacman

    imacman Guest

    You need to make a new thread for your problem....not many people will see it buried here.

    Also, put the make & Model as part of the thread title, like "Breckwell Big E won't feed pellets".....and then add the above details.

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