CAB50 Pellet jam

Stovedummy

New Member
Aug 31, 2019
6
Oregon
Hi everyone. I have an issue with pellets jamming in the feed chute of a CAB50. Have had the stove for 5 years with very little issue. This problem just started last year and I want to blame it on the length of the pellets I've been using. I'm seeing pellets as long as 1.5" in this batch. These long pellets catch on the screws at the top of the chute and block the chute up.

Today, after clearing out the tube and chute completely, the chute blocked up right away when I started the stove. Typically, it will start with a little coaxing, run for a while and stop at random. On inspection, I'll find the chute blocked.

How long should pellets be? I don't remember seeing pellets this long. I'm thinking also of replacing the screws that are catching the pellets with shorter screws. I had the chute apart before for a thorough cleaning. Maybe I mixed up screws and ended up with longer ones in that spot? But the problem was already there before. Any ideas or thoughts are welcome. Thanks
 

Stovedummy

New Member
Aug 31, 2019
6
Oregon
Thanks for your response. I was thinking these pellets are longer than the others I've used. Bear Mountain was apparently bought out by Lignetics. I hear that the quality of their products has suffered. I've used Bear Mountain in past years and had no problem. The last batch, purchased last spring, was different. I'll have to check the next batch, whichever brand, before I buy. Thanks again for your help.
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,486
Eastern Ontario
Break up any long pellets they are a problem
waiting to happen. What is the brand name of the pellets?
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,697
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Break up any long pellets they are a problem
waiting to happen. What is the brand name of the pellets?
So do you like lay all the pellets out in the dining room table and break them in half one by one? Aren’t there like a million pellets in a bag? What happens when you get several tons of pellets and 5% are too long? This seems like a terrible problem to have.
 

Stovedummy

New Member
Aug 31, 2019
6
Oregon
Break up any long pellets they are a problem
waiting to happen. What is the brand name of the pellets?
Bear Mountain is the brand. I don't know of any practical means of breaking the long pellets as they are spread throughout each 40lb bag. I did see a video of one person using a paint mixing attachment in a power drill. For me, when I work 50hrs a week and generally refill the hopper as I arrive home, spending the extra time to mix each bang of pellets, that I paid $5 each for, doesnt seem like a great option.
I buy these pellets from the same feed store where i bought the stove. Seems like they should not sell any pellets that dont work well in a stove they sell. I wonder if theyre even aware of the problem. Theyre good pepple and i bet they would do something to resolve this with the supplier.
 
Last edited:

Stovedummy

New Member
Aug 31, 2019
6
Oregon
I am going to go back into the stove, maybe next weekend, and take another look at that chute. I really kind of feel like dummy for not catching this the first time I pulled the auger out and found the chute full of pellets. That's why pulled the chute apart in the first place. To see what be causing pellets to stick. Finding nothing, I but it back together and left it be. I was blaming the auger drive motor for the intermittent loss of pellet feed but the motor was never the problem. I can replace the screws on each side of the chute with slightly shorter and lessen the tendency for catching pellets. I still don't know however if the long pellets are right for this machine, based on the size of the passages in the feed system.
 

johneh

Minister of Fire
Dec 19, 2009
2,486
Eastern Ontario
So do you like lay all the pellets out in the dining room table and break them in half one by one? Aren’t there like a million pellets in a bag? What happens when you get several tons of pellets and 5% are too long? This seems like a terrible problem to have.
Is this what you would do?? Me I Have no idea as I have never
had that problem.
 

Overfireinthehole

Minister of Fire
May 5, 2017
629
Miller MO
Is this what you would do?? Me I Have no idea as I have never
had that problem.
I am going to go back into the stove, maybe next weekend, and take another look at that chute. I really kind of feel like dummy for not catching this the first time I pulled the auger out and found the chute full of pellets. That's why pulled the chute apart in the first place. To see what be causing pellets to stick. Finding nothing, I but it back together and left it be. I was blaming the auger drive motor for the intermittent loss of pellet feed but the motor was never the problem. I can replace the screws on each side of the chute with slightly shorter and lessen the tendency for catching pellets. I still don't know however if the long pellets are right for this machine, based on the size of the passages in the feed system.
If you keep burning long pellets, your going to be replacing your auger motor too
 

Overfireinthehole

Minister of Fire
May 5, 2017
629
Miller MO
So do you like lay all the pellets out in the dining room table and break them in half one by one? Aren’t there like a million pellets in a bag? What happens when you get several tons of pellets and 5% are too long? This seems like a terrible problem to have.
Dropping them a few times like a bag of ice can help. Pouring them in the hopper little by little and breaking any you see helps. I’ve had customers who have even sat and snapped them into a bucket from a bag like snapping peas. No matter your stove, you really want your pellets to be no longer than 1”
 
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Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
16,697
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
Dropping them a few times like a bag of ice can help. Pouring them in the hopper little by little and breaking any you see helps. I’ve had customers who have even sat and snapped them into a bucket from a bag like snapping peas. No matter your stove, you really want your pellets to be no longer than 1”
Whoa. That seems like a lot of work. In a pinch, sure, but after paying good money for fuel I would not expect to have to do that.
 

Stovedummy

New Member
Aug 31, 2019
6
Oregon
I know that these long pellets are a recent problem. Never had this issue before last winter. Feel kinda dumb for not picking up on it sooner. One clue was the popping from the auger, obviously chopping its way through the long pellets. Not what it was designed to do. I thought it was dust buildup jamming the auger. But when it came right back after a thorough cleaning, I knew it wasn't dust.

I haven't contacted anyone at the feed store yet. I will call down there today or tomorrow and find out when the manager is there. I will show him a sample of these pellets and explain the problem they're causing. Here in Oregon's Willamette Valley, there are three main brands available. Bear Mountain, Golden Fire, and Coastal Farm, which is Coastal Farm and Ranch's own store brand. Golden Fire is a little more money than BM. Coastal is the cheaper of the three and has always been a good product. This last winter, the store ran out of CF pellets after we had burned through the two ton we started out with. That's when we switched to BM. I've used BM pellets many times in the past. They were always just like the others, about like goat feed, 5/8- 3/4" long pellets. This last batch of BM is the first time I've seen pellets this long.

I did some research before I found you folks here on the forums. I read that Bear Mountain was bought out by some company named Lignetics(think I got the name right). I understand that quality has gone downhill since then. The long pellets I would guess are a problem with the adjustment of their machinery, or they're skipping a step. Seems like a simple enough problem to solve.

Now I understand why I often find an open bag of pellets on top of a pallet of bags when I visit the store. Others are checking pellet length before they buy. I'll make damn sure I never get stuck with these long pellets again. Even if it means hauling a ton back to the feed store.
 

Stovedummy

New Member
Aug 31, 2019
6
Oregon
Hi everyone. I wanted to get to you with an update and what looks to be a solution. We just started using the stove the day before yesterday. I bought three bags of Golden Fire pellets. They are said to be 100% douglas fir. The pellets are more like what I'm used to. About 5/8 - 3/4" long. A few as long as an inch, but rarely any longer. So far there's been no problem. I heard one or two pops from from auger but nothing like it was doing with the long pellets. Two full days of automatic operation from the thermostat and all is good.

I'm going to buy the first of three ton of pellets this weekend. I'll price the Coastal brand that I've used before but if they're not significantly less money, I'll just go with the Golden Fire at $235 per ton. I asked the store manager what she's heard about the Bear Mountain pellets. She thinks it must have been a bad batch. She hasn't heard of any issues. I wonder though how many others fought with their stoves wondering what the problem was.