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Worst Pellet Stove and Manufacturer - Whitfield/Lennox

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by chanlon1974, Jan 4, 2009.

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  1. chanlon1974

    chanlon1974 Member

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    Sorry for the frustration, but I need to vent. I have a Whitfield Profile 30 FS 3 years old and I have been trying to fix it for over 6 weeks now. The stove is all over the place. At first it started shutting down after 15 minutes. I was told by Lennox that it could be the photo eye, High temp switches, pressure switch, door switch, short in the wiring harness. They have no clue. The stove has been throughly cleaned and I bypassed and replaced the high temp switches, photo eye (I have the relocation kit), door rope. I even replaced the control board. Nothing helps. The stove starts up fine...then it stops feeding pellets until the flame goes out, then it will start feeding pellets again and restart, then stops. Lennox does not know how to fix it. They told me so. I can not get a local dealer to come out and service it since I did not buy it around here.

    Now I have a $2500 piece for S*it in my living room that doesn't work. Im sure some people have had decent luck with Whitfield, but I certainly would never recommend their products or their services. This stove sucks and so does the company who doesn't know how to fix their own product. Im beyond frustrated with this thing. I have no clue on what else to do.

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  2. krooser

    krooser Minister of Fire

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    How throughly has it been cleaned? Have you tried using a leafblower or a strong shop-vac on the vent pipe?
  3. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Does it get through the start up mode? In other words does it allow you to change the blower and feed rate prior to shutting down? How big does the fire get? I don't think that it's a cleaning issue, usually if its a pressure switch the auger doesn't work at all.
  4. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Sat here and thought about it for a few minutes and remembered a fairly rare problem I had a few times with these stoves. You might try replacing the auger motor. I remember 3 stoves that were having your problem and after replacing everything you said you've replaced I replaced the auger motor. It seemed like they were overheating and would slowly quit working. I know many, including the warranty department at lennox, will say this is nonsense but I fixed three stoves having that same problem.
  5. chanlon1974

    chanlon1974 Member

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    Yes...with a shop vac. I can see through the pipe. Its only 4ft. long. Its clean not obstruction
  6. chanlon1974

    chanlon1974 Member

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    yeah it gets through start up mode and shuts down after that. but the weird thing is sometimes it shuts down and goes into default mode and other times the flame will die out...then it starts feeding itself again and reignites. Then it will die out again. It will do this 3 or 4 times sometimes then shut off. The guys at lennox think i have a short somewhere in the wiring. But they are not sure.
  7. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Possibly a wiring short, I'd try the auger motor. Will your dealer let you take it back if that's not the problem? I used to do that, I'd record the mfg code off the auger I sold them and if it didn't work they could bring it back. I did the code thing so I didn't get stiffed by people switching them on me.
  8. chanlon1974

    chanlon1974 Member

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    Not sure. I never thought about the auger motor. I can't see why the auger motor would be the problem. The stove does not run long enough for it to over heat.
  9. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    does it have a door vacuum interrupt switch? look for a vacuum hose connected to a port in the firebox (not the burn pot) if its blocked feed can be interrupted , remember temperature and air density come in to play with vacuum , hotter air doent generate as much vacuum , so a partial blockage can result in the stove starting from cold with cooler denser air , and as the fire heats the air , the vac reduces to the point the blockage becomes signifigant enough to drop the switch , then as the stove cools it either reads a low limit and goes into shutdown thinnking its out of fuel, or it doesnt drop that far and starts feeding again

    im not familiar with the whitfields myself , but ive seen this in our stoves as well as others equipped with vac switches
  10. stoveguy13

    stoveguy13 Minister of Fire

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    Disconnect all the spades and pull on them and see if the stay on it is the most likely place for a short
  11. chanlon1974

    chanlon1974 Member

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    no it doesnt have that.
  12. GVA

    GVA Minister of Fire

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  13. chanlon1974

    chanlon1974 Member

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    I just put my multimeter on it. After start up (2-3 min) I started getting power to the auger. I got 113 volts...the stove gave it a charge 3 times. Then it stopped giving it juice. Bare with me here cuz I never opened up the back of the stove when it was working. Is that whole motor supposed to go back and forth or just the shaft. When the stove is getting the 120v there is a tiny shaft looking thing that spins, but nothing else is happening. Does that mean the motor is shot or does the fact that it isnt sending the 120v more than 3 times mean something else is wrong?
  14. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    It is ridiculous that you should have to even deal with this.

    The retailer who you purchased it from, where ever they are, should help you fix it right away - replace it, or take it back. Period.

    There are laws concerning this. A product has to do what it is sold to do, especially when new.

    Also, we can pick out EVERY brand and find similar stories here. Unless a customer has a good local dealer, it is hard to expect any kind of real service from actual hands.

    That should be a warning to many. I have always suggested that people buy pellet stoves from a local shop....and first check out the reputation and experience of the shop when it comes to service. If that is not possible, get some kind of 100% PROMISE as to what will happen EXACTLY if and when you have problem.....
    when new
    when under warranty
    later, after warranty

    If you do not get 100% satisfactory (to you) answers to these questions....in writing.....then I would suggest either not buying a stove, or not complaining about it later.

    This is not meant as a critique of the fine member who started this thread, but rather ongoing advice to buyers. These stoves cost a LOT of money...too much to waste.
  15. chanlon1974

    chanlon1974 Member

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    yeah I agree, but the fact is i did not buy it locally. When I bought my stove 3 years ago, everyone was back ordered 9 months. So I bought online and had it shipped. My mistake.

    ok back to my problem. I answered my own question about the auger motor. I just started it up and it ran fine for like 5 minutes. The stove is sending the 120v to the auger motor and it is turning the shaft and dropping pellets. Then out of nowhere I hear the fan change tone and kick into a higher gear like it does it shut down or cool down mode. I looked back at the auger motor. Its not getting any juice anymore. The stove is just shutting itself down for some reason and I can not for the life of me figure out why.
    Again...I have already replaced the control board, photo eye, one of the high temp switches. I have bypassed all the switches including the door switch. No results. I have replaced the door rope seal as well. The only other thing I can think of is the glass rope seal looks frayed. Could that possibly be the reason. A air leak coming from between the glass which is causing it to shut down?
  16. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Oh, I didn't get the three year old part...sorry...thought it was new by your post.....

    Rod, the mod of this forum, knows all. So does Mike who hangs here......the guy who wrote these pages.
    http://www.butkus.org/whitfield_pellet_stove.htm

    I doubt it is a small air leak.
  17. MButkus

    MButkus Member

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    I heard my name..
    I don't have that brand, but they should work the same. Burning Chunk is sayting the pellets are not feeding...
    You should be able to press the start and switch to high heat (no fire yet). The light should go on the side about every 5 seconds and 120V go to the auger motor.
    That should turn the auger and feed a lot of pellets in 3 min. If it stops feeding pellets, it's either power to the motor or the auger motor itself. It's burning out due to NO pellets.
    On my page I fixed the photo of the auger motor to show where and what to do. These certain motors after a long time wear a washer in the back of the motor. The motor shaft slides down and loses contact with the rest of the gear half the time. Hence, no pellets, no feed, no fire.
    http://www.butkus.org/whitfield_operate/img_0093.jpg
    My advice to check the photo of the auger motor, and see if you can push up on the motor. There should be NO play. If there is, get a thin fiber washer and (WITH THE PLUG UNPLUGGED) take off the two screws on back of that tiny motor and put a washer in there to move up the motor. It must be fiber or it'll short the motor. When assembled it should still allow the motor to turn freely. Sanding it in case it's too thick works too.
    The other thing would be a broken gear. The motor on the auger is a "bathroom fan" motor. But geared down, it's very hard to stop at the auger end. If a gear has a stripped tooth... then you could get the "works now, no work". I'm waiting for an auger unit to be shipped to me that has that problem so I can take photos of it.
    If the auger stops (no pellets feeding) after 15min AND it's getting power to the auger. Could be that worn washer or a stripped tooth.
    If the auger is spinning when the "feed" light goes on. You have power. If no pellets are falling... something inside the auger assemble.
    Is the auger jamming ? ? If you can restart and it starts feeding pellets again... auger assembly.
  18. NEStoveOwner

    NEStoveOwner Member

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    Nice write up.

    I have a Merkle Korff on my auger feed that has gone bad. It will be my fourth auger motor that has failed. I did some testing. Motor is outside of the stove. Run on a bench with no load applied. All temps in F and measured with a non contact Laser thermometer.

    Time Run-------Motor Frame-----Windings------Gearbox case
    0 min------------73------------------72-------------72
    40 min-----------170----------------160------------98
    90 min-----------180----------------180------------115

    I took the unit apart just a little while ago. The shaft has some movement side to side (not in and out as in your case). The back end of the "stator/shaft" is rubbing in the motor frame. It seems this shaft assembly is centered by way of a metal washer not on the end cap but down in the boss of the gearbox. This washer sits above the bearing in the gear box. Have you seen any evidence of this washer wearing and possibly allowing the shaft to "wobble".

    Trying to see if i can fix this motor and not buy another. I am going to try rewinding or possibly swap the motor out for something more reliable even it requires some fabrication/mounting to the casing. Just need to match V, direction and RPM. I think i can utilize holes in the gearbox to mount a replament motor. I do need to figure some way to drive the current shaft with the replacement motor or machine the teeth to the shaft of the replacement motor. Any thoughts on that washer? It seems to be the only thing that keeps the motor shaft centered (and not the bearings because they swivel/pivot).
  19. MButkus

    MButkus Member

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    That's interesting, the heat stats.. but the auger motor is only on for 3-5 seconds every 10 seconds. It's not running continously. At least it shouldn't. Not feeding that many pellets.
    The main shaft should not wobble, from what I've seen the gears are not cut that thick.
    If the bearings are wearing, they need better grease. My auger motor is now 13 years old. Never touched it but replaced that washer behind the motor armature.
    I would need to see photos of the gearbox, and the inside gears. The pressure is lateral, on the bearing parts, but they should be well greased.
    Fourth gearbox.. my goodness.. The ones I have seen look like they are built for 20 years, and mine is getting up there.
    Maybe they don't grease the bearings during assembly and they are oiled/brass.
    If you have an old one... would love to see it.
  20. chanlon1974

    chanlon1974 Member

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    What I dont understand is why the stove starts fine will run a couple of minutes...then stop feeding...then once the flame goes out, start dropping pellets and restart and repeat that process. I hear the fans kicking on when they shouldnt be like in cool down mode. This morning the stove ran for 4 hours straight fine. I had to turn it off and go out. When I returned home, it started this stuff all over again. The stove is all over the place. Lennox thinks it might have a short somewhere. Could it be a short or do you think the new control panel I purchased it shot?
  21. NEStoveOwner

    NEStoveOwner Member

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    You are correct the upper feed runs intermittent but that same motor is on the lower auger and it does run continuous.

    I will post some pics sometime later this week. The grease did migrate all to one corner of the gearbox. Maybe as the grease is shed from the gears, the gear train develops more friction .... motor works harder ... motor fails. Just another theory.

    Have you ever looked at the Dayton motors? I just started to do some research on them. My current assembly is a Merkle. The Daytons have a longer shaft and they mount a fan blade to the back end. Also, i can buy it at Granger for ~95 with a 3 year warranty.
  22. jjdesch

    jjdesch New Member

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    Out of curiosity you should check how the control board is calibrated. Flip open the door on the lower portion of the control panel. With the stove on, press the calibrate button once (the button all the way to the left). The fire intensity gauge should change to two single bars located somewhere off the vertical center. Each position above or below center represents a 5% adjustment up or down in feed rate, which you cycle through by pressing the heat button. if you push the calibration button again a similar thing will happen to the fan speed gauge - this will adjust combustion air flow in 5% + or - increments. push the button again to return to normal operation mode of the control panel. I had to slow down the pellet feed rate on mine and increase combustion airflow. maybe you got a refurb contorl board with weird non-factory settings. anyhow, a shot in the dark
  23. chanlon1974

    chanlon1974 Member

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    Yeah Lennox had me try that. The calibration was set in the middle for both. I tried adjusting them to no avail. Lennox is sending me out a new wiring harness. It should be here next Monday or Tues. Im hoping that does the trick. But at this point...im not expecting anything
  24. MButkus

    MButkus Member

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    Burning Chunk... can you see if there is power to the pellet motor when it stops feeding ?
    The feeding.. then stopping, then feeding is what that worn rear washer does. As it's not hitting the gear right, it'll slip, then start feeding.
  25. chanlon1974

    chanlon1974 Member

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    Are you talking about the auger motor? There is about 120v going to it every time it is supposed to feed. Every couple of seconds
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