1991 Breckwell P24FS over feeding and almost burned the house down

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Jan 10, 2014
3
Finger lakes NY
After being jolted out of sleep by the smell of burning paint & hot machinery I ran downstairs to find the firebox in my pellet stove to be a solid inferno and hot enough that it was difficult to be near for any length of time. I shut the auger off and left the exhaust running to bring it back to safety.
Just 4 hours earlier I had topped off the hopper only to find it more than half gone. The stove was set on "C" which typically gets us 14 hours per bag. The flames were very active getting plenty of oxygen and the stove floor was covered in pellets several inches deep.
The next day I attempted to find some answers and tried to eliminate variables.
Here's what I did:
  • Verified that each hole in the burn pot was reamed out
  • No obstructions in the air intake to burn pot
  • Damper functioning proper and clear
  • Cleaned behind 4 service plates in firebox
  • Brushed the fins on both exhaust fan blades and squirrel cage blower
  • Verified clear exhaust passage to the outdoors
  • Watched the blinking auger feed indicator (inside the circuit board) and verified proper rate
  • Auger runs only when commanded by controller
After a full cleaning, it performed as normal and consumed the expected amount of pellets. Ran great for a week, shutting down periodically for cleaning but otherwise our main heat source.

Tonight, 3 hours after a cleaning and operating perfectly, it then started over feeding creating a huge flame and about a beer stein of pellets scattered about. Without thinking, I turned off the main switch momentarily and then back on to stop the auger. When the pellets burned themselves down, I hit the auger button to resume the feed and the stove has carried on perfectly again. I did not clean or adjust anything, just halted the feed for a few minutes and it went from inferno to proper. Had I been thinking, I would have taken a look at the auger motor to see if it was continuously running and furthermore if the control board was commanding it to do so but when the stove is snap crackle and stinking you kinda just want to get it under control as quick as possible.

The randomness seems just like a bad relay that arcs and sticks closed. Do these control boards ever fault and leave an auger running intermittently. I see that the controller is no longer available. What now?
 

Big E

Member
Feb 3, 2012
155
Without knowing your stove, seems though you would have a high temp thermodisk to shut stove down, no?
 

jtakeman

Minister of Fire
Dec 30, 2008
13,497
Northwestern CT.
www.facebook.com
You have the analog controller and there is a few reasons its no longer available. Cost to produce was the biggest. I have heard many complaints on over feed with this controller. An highly recommend a upgrade to the digital age. That is if the stove is in good condition.

A digital board and wiring harness is all that is required. I would look at this thread for other useful idea's! ;)

https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/an-iprovement-for-all-breckwell-owners.104468/#post-1354269
 
Jan 10, 2014
3
Finger lakes NY
You have the analog controller and there is a few reasons its no longer available. Cost to produce was the biggest. I have heard many complaints on over feed with this controller. An highly recommend a upgrade to the digital age. That is if the stove is in good condition.

A digital board and wiring harness is all that is required. I would look at this thread for other useful idea's! ;)

https://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/an-iprovement-for-all-breckwell-owners.104468/#post-1354269
Thanks jtakeman, I will track down a digital upgrade and harness. Can anyone recommend a good supplier with fair pricing?
 

Phoenix Hatchling

Minister of Fire
Dec 26, 2012
713
New Fairfield, CT
You stove has now been in service for 23 years. How about a new stove upgrade?
 

MSmith66

Feeling the Heat
Feb 5, 2008
438
Central NY
I see you live in the Finger Lakes, we may have had a discussion about your stove last week. I would recommend an upgrade to the stove. Send me a PM if you need help with that.
 
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