GCI60 Troubleshooting Help!

jay0016

New Member
Jan 11, 2021
16
Pennsylvania
Hello Everyone,

I am hoping that someone on here may be able to point me in the right direction. I recently purchased a used GCI60 off of a friend that purchased a house with it in it. Had a chimney guy install a liner and hook up the stove. For about a month the stove ran decent. I have a 1400 sq ft ranch and it would keep the house about 68 on the far side on colder nights on heat level 3 and I was probably burning about 1.5 bags to 2 bags a day. However I was running with the dampener wide open fan trim usually about a 4. it was apparent I wasn't getting quite enough air flow.

I have been reading forums on here and thought I might try to improve the efficiency by adding an OAK, well being my chimney is now the center of an addition it took a while to get a 3" hole through the old metal chimney firebox, a couple inches of foundation/chimney, and a couple 2x10's. Ecstatic when I finally had myself a hole to the basement (was going to run the pipe to an outside wall eventually) I fired the stove up to see the difference with more air flow than was ever available before. Ran great for about 30 minutes and then all of sudden the flame got very lazy and sooty almost like someone just turned a switch, within the following 20 minutes the glass was black with soot and the flame was almost out. I shut it down.

When I cleaned the stove (had been previously cleaning the stove every 3 days or when I had about an inch of ash build up inside the firebox) I did not notice anything out of the ordinary and I have been through the cleaning process multiple times trying to make sure there is no blockage anywhere. I am pretty confident there is not. Upon trying to restart I was greeted with the flashing #2 light (loss of vacuum). I have checked to ensure all the fuses are still good, and checked most electrical components I could, blew through the red and black air hoses to make sure they are all clear. I also replaced both the door and ash pan gasket.

I jumped the low vacuum switch and the fire starts, but it is a very lazy smoky flame and it is apparent the switch is working properly, because of the flame characteristics seen when it starts. I purchased a new combustion blower, because I figured that was about the only thing left to be wrong. Just put the new one in today and I am seeing the same behavior. I have a call in to a technician, but no one can get here in under a month and that amount of down time will be very expensive.

The only thing I think I may have overlooked is the air pump? I am not sure what the difference in functionality is between the combustion blower and the air pump? And for that matter I guess I have no real way to know that the combustion blower is turning on/getting power because it is inside the fireplace when on (you can only hear the convection fan running)? When testing this do techs usually run wire leads out the side to a multi meter? I would love to hear what you guys think could be the issue, as I have come across some great information in other threads.
 

Ssyko

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2017
3,852
Lorraine NY
Only way to check voltages, motors, sensors is to pull the stove out far enough to reach things.
This is your manual Air pump and combustion blower are one in the same. 90% of vacuum issues are caused by clogged up air paths through the stove. Read the maintenance section in your manual it will tell you what to clean.
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Never heard a draft fan called an air pump before. .. :eek: An air pump to me is the 10 horse screw compressor I have in the shop... Sounds to me like the combustion fan plenum is loaded with fly ash, the fan blades have failed or the venting is full of ash and needs cleaned. The inside of any unit can be clean but past the interior, they can be filthy and blocked up.

Lazy flame is almost always indicative of excessive fly ash buildup somewhere in the exhaust system or a failed or failing combustion fan motor. Lazy flame and excessive soot buildup are always good indicators of a unbalanced a/f ratio and usually cause by a partially blocked exhaust path.
 

jay0016

New Member
Jan 11, 2021
16
Pennsylvania
Thanks for the reply guys. Couple points to clear up.

1. The air pump or so called air pump by the wiring schematic is a silver rectangular box mounted just behind the drive chain, it has a black hose that connects the output of the pump to a barb connector at the same area the ignitor enters the fire box.

2. I have a brand new combustion fan so it is not caked up with fly ash and spins freely as well as the exhaust channel from fan connection past exhaust temp sensor and into the fire box is also clear.

Everytime I pull the stove out I go through cleaning procedure thinking surely there has to be a blockage somewhere I am missing, I even went as far as hooking a leaf blower up to the 3" air intake and let her rip and a good amount of air goes through the stove and right out the exhaust fan. I do have the optional rail kit so pulling the stove out is not a problem.

Last night again trying to start the stove I noticed after the stove turns off the convection fan and tries to light I do not hear the exhaust/combustion blower or i hear it turn on very short duration possibly and then vaccum switch throws the stove in error. Is it possible the combustion fan is not getting power from the computer board? I have sourced the Tech manual as well and traced all wiring it all looks properly connected. As mentioned earlier the vaccum switch I believe is working properly because of the bad flame when I jump it.

The only thing I can think of is that an animal has lodged in my chimney liner, but this seems unlikely due to it being less than 2 months old and I was running the stove for over 50% of that time. The combustion blower is not getting power as already mentioned. Or this mythical air pump which there is almost no information on what it actually does is failed and the stove uses that air pump to move air upon ignition until it gets hot enough to kick on the combustion fan? I'm just tossing darts at a brick wall at this point.

Once again thanks for the input I will keep messing around with it.
 
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Ssyko

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2017
3,852
Lorraine NY
Ok studying the manual it looks like said air pump feeds a positive pressure for the igniter. First one i ever heard of, if you can slide it out enough to get a meter on the 2 combustion motor wires to see if the stove is sending power or not. You can also take an old lamp cord and hook it to the motor leads and plug into outlet to see if the motor functions properly.
 

jay0016

New Member
Jan 11, 2021
16
Pennsylvania
Does anyone know if our hopper lids are supposed to have a gasket? If so the same fiberglass 5/8" used on the door and ash pan? I flipped my hopper lid and it looks like there is a slot for a gasket and possibly a very small amount of old gasket residue. Picture attached.
 

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jay0016

New Member
Jan 11, 2021
16
Pennsylvania
Also I think I have ruled out the air pump as a little research shows it is only used for ignition and if I bypass the vac switch the stove will ignite.

I definitely heard the exhaust blower turn on briefly during a failed startup sounded labored, Will re clean stove and have a call out to chiminey man to check for blockage in chiminey liner.
 
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SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
Could be a rope gasket but I suspect a strip pf closed cell weatherproofing as it's not subject to heat. An adhesive bulb gasket would work too. Stuff is at Lowes in the weaherproofing aisle with the AC winter covers.
 

Ssyko

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2017
3,852
Lorraine NY

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire

jay0016

New Member
Jan 11, 2021
16
Pennsylvania
Thanks guys I am going to pick up some from lowes, however that is not the issue, but I dont think it will hurt to add

Unfortunately I found the issue, tested the voltage coming to the combustion fan because I had enough of guessing and pulled the stove out to start it and watched the fan barely spin intermittently . I got a reading of about 4 volts every 20 seconds or so.

So from the troubleshooting guide this points to the motherboard. Does anyone know the specific component of the motherboard that controls this (I'm assuming a power relay) the board is like $430 wouldnt mind taking a stab at replacing specific board components, if I can isolate it. Why is everything so expensive with these stoves? From what I have read 5 years is about the average life of most components on a well maintained stove am I better off cutting my losses and buying a new stove?
 

SidecarFlip

Minister of Fire
A Triac on the board controls the motor. Which one, I have no idea but I'm sure someone will come along that does.

I have over 20 years on my unit on the original board. In fact, other than renewing the rope gasket on the door, I've replaced nothing, but then I always run a high quality surge suppressor on the line cord and mine gets torn down every spring, completely and every mechanical parts gets checked, cleaned and lubricated.
 

Ssyko

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2017
3,852
Lorraine NY
Ok follow the trace from the fuse to a little black square with 3 legs that is your triac they can fail open or closed. But for a few bucks its worth a try. Mouser and digikey will have them for a couple dollars but the shipping is 7.99
 

jay0016

New Member
Jan 11, 2021
16
Pennsylvania
Theres a sticker on the panel I already took off haha. The combustion fan fuse is 3rd from the left. So if I traced correctly should be the single one in the middle. I will look into sourcing a replacement.

I fear the circuit may be more complicated than just one triac, I dont know if you can make out the darker traces that connect to two of the pins of that triac, they appear to go to the area of the other two triacs. But we are definitely going to start there and for that price I can buy a couple hundred and still save 50%.

Thanks so much for everyone's time and input. I will report back on my soldering skills, I mean if I melt the board, I mean if it fixes the problem .
 

Ssyko

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2017
3,852
Lorraine NY
one leg will be the source= power or neutral. one leg will be the Drain= circuit to the component/blower and the other leg will be the gate= the internal switch to connect the source and drain. the gate is triggered by one of the white chips/ optoisolators
 

jay0016

New Member
Jan 11, 2021
16
Pennsylvania
one leg will be the source= power or neutral. one leg will be the Drain= circuit to the component/blower and the other leg will be the gate= the internal switch to connect the source and drain. the gate is triggered by one of the white chips/ optoisolators
You must be an EE or technician, I remember all of what you are saying from power electronics, but that was all calculate the drain current problems no practical applications, it was also 4 or 5 years ago. I also did not follow a power electronics career path. Thank you for the refresher!