Harman P68 low flame

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cman

Member
Sep 7, 2015
17
Fairbanks, AK
So I just installed a used Harman P68. Before I installed the stove, I scrapped, brushed, vacuumed all the old ash, soot, saw dust etc.

I tried starting a fire with auto-ingite but after 20 minutes there was never any fire. The plate under the pellets was hot, but I guess not hot enough to ignite the pellets.

I then used a handheld propane torch to light the pellets but could never get a good fire going. Flame was low and lazy, pellets just smoldering with too much smoke coming out the vent. I tried both stove and room temp settings with no differences. Feed rate is set to 3.

Door and ash pan seals seem good. I can't pull a piece of paper through the door seal when its closed.

I also put the stove into test mode and all the fans work, along with the auger. What are my next steps? Seems like the fire isn't getting enough air through the system, but I'm not sure what to troubleshoot next.

Thanks!
 

bags

Minister of Fire
Oct 12, 2014
2,400
Kentucky
Did you take the plate off of the bottom of the burn pot and clean out all the fine junk inside the igniter area under the burn pot? How old is the stove? Buy it new or used?

Welcome and there will be people here to help you. Also have you cleaned your ESP Exhaust Sensing probe behind the exhaust fan. That can mess things up and result in poor burning conditions etc;

Use the search box and look at threads on that subject. Are you running and OAK Outside Air KIT? Need more details and to work thru some stuff to trouble shoot.
 

bags

Minister of Fire
Oct 12, 2014
2,400
Kentucky
Also did you clean out the small holes all along the bottom of the burn pot. they can get plugged up too. And get a surge protector if you don't already have one.

It could be a multitude of issues or just a single one. We need to know what is what to help you out. Another thing, Did you clean out the fines box and if so is the cover back on correctly and sealed?
 

cman

Member
Sep 7, 2015
17
Fairbanks, AK
Did you take the plate off of the bottom of the burn pot and clean out all the fine junk inside the igniter area under the burn pot? How old is the stove? Buy it new or used?

Welcome and there will be people here to help you. Also have you cleaned your ESP Exhaust Sensing probe behind the exhaust fan. That can mess things up and result in poor burning conditions etc;

Use the search box and look at threads on that subject. Are you running and OAK Outside Air KIT? Need more details and to work thru some stuff to trouble shoot.
Thank you.

Yes, I did remove the plate below the burn pot and vacuumed/scraped out that section. I also cleaned out the fines box (cover seemed to go back on without problems) along with all the small holes on the burn pot.

I bought the stove used earlier this year and the manufacture date is 2006. I don't have an outside air kit installed. I'm venting two feet horizontally to a 90 cleanout tee, up 3-4 feet (might go higher) and then there is a 45 angle and exhaust cap

I didn't clean the exhaust probe, so I'll search on how to clean that.
 

Lake Girl

Moderator
Nov 12, 2011
6,940
NW Ontario
Harman website has owner resources at the bottom of the page which will connect you to manuals if you don't have them...
http://www.hearthnhome.com/downloads/installManuals/P68.pdf

Not real familiar with the innards of the Harmans ... bags has two and tore a used one down last year so he has a better idea. Bioburner has serviced many and he usually stops in in the mornings. Cleaning ESP is a good start. Have you cleaned the combustion blower interior chamber and blades? Make sure you unplug when servicing interior sections.

Should be getting troubleshooting lights (# blinks) to aid in diagnosis too? What are you getting?
 

bogieb

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2014
2,795
South Central NH
Were pellets feeding the entire time you tried to light it, or did they stop? If they stopped, the system might have sensed something (others would have a better idea of what), but if the pellets fed for 20 minutes then it turned off, then it acted as it should when fire doesn't start. And that in turn, most likely means the ESP is ok for that part of the job anyway.

I'm not an expert like Bioburner, but my guess there is some issue with the igniter. Whether you can clean it up, or need to replace it is the question. Also, if you want to try to get it started without the igniter (to check for flame etc), then try using a gel (or some use hand sanitizer - I've never done so, so don't know). If you only got the outside of the pellet pile hot with the torch, the heat may never have worked its way down to the bottom of the pile - where it needs to be for a good flame.

Good luck!
 

Bioburner

Moderator
Aug 4, 2012
7,317
West central Mn
Your getting a good round of advise by others above. Getting a proper start with a torch usually involves getting the torch head into the bottom of the pile and getting a walnut size amount of pellets glowing nice and red about 20 seconds and while the stove exhaust fan is running as to not smoke you out and once the door is shut should take fire within seconds. May have to feather the air intake a bit by keeping the door open a crack at first. May take a few attempts to find the best manual lighting trick. Other method is to wet a 1/2 to 3/4 cup of pellets with alcohol and start the fire that way in a cold only stove and may need to feather the air for a bit too.
I think you still have a cleaning issue around the igniter area not allowing the hot air from the igniter to flow thru it and into the pellets. I realize that once you start heating you probably won't be shutting down except for the 1 ton cleaning but we have a member from Alaska that does not shut down till spring.
Good luck, heating season is getting here faster than most of us want it to.
 

Don2222

Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
8,615
Salem NH
If all the components work then I would suspect the combustion blower Triac on the control panel. The Triacs are the most common failure so if the stove was run without a good surge protecter then the circuit board could be damaged.
 

cman

Member
Sep 7, 2015
17
Fairbanks, AK
Harman website has owner resources at the bottom of the page which will connect you to manuals if you don't have them...
http://www.hearthnhome.com/downloads/installManuals/P68.pdf

Not real familiar with the innards of the Harmans ... bags has two and tore a used one down last year so he has a better idea. Bioburner has serviced many and he usually stops in in the mornings. Cleaning ESP is a good start. Have you cleaned the combustion blower interior chamber and blades? Make sure you unplug when servicing interior sections.

Should be getting troubleshooting lights (# blinks) to aid in diagnosis too? What are you getting?
I've cleaned the combustion blower interior chamber and blades, but I'll take another look when I clean the ESP. No blinking lights for troubleshooting purposes.
 

cman

Member
Sep 7, 2015
17
Fairbanks, AK
Were pellets feeding the entire time you tried to light it, or did they stop? If they stopped, the system might have sensed something (others would have a better idea of what), but if the pellets fed for 20 minutes then it turned off, then it acted as it should when fire doesn't start. And that in turn, most likely means the ESP is ok for that part of the job anyway.

I'm not an expert like Bioburner, but my guess there is some issue with the igniter. Whether you can clean it up, or need to replace it is the question. Also, if you want to try to get it started without the igniter (to check for flame etc), then try using a gel (or some use hand sanitizer - I've never done so, so don't know). If you only got the outside of the pellet pile hot with the torch, the heat may never have worked its way down to the bottom of the pile - where it needs to be for a good flame.

Good luck!
Pellets were feeding the entire time and only stopped when I turned off the system, otherwise they would have dumped into the ash tray.

I did use a torch for a good 30 seconds, maybe that wasn't long enough to start, I did read about soaking some pellets in rubbing alcohol, I might try that method after I clean everything again.
 

cman

Member
Sep 7, 2015
17
Fairbanks, AK
Your getting a good round of advise by others above. Getting a proper start with a torch usually involves getting the torch head into the bottom of the pile and getting a walnut size amount of pellets glowing nice and red about 20 seconds and while the stove exhaust fan is running as to not smoke you out and once the door is shut should take fire within seconds. May have to feather the air intake a bit by keeping the door open a crack at first. May take a few attempts to find the best manual lighting trick. Other method is to wet a 1/2 to 3/4 cup of pellets with alcohol and start the fire that way in a cold only stove and may need to feather the air for a bit too.
I think you still have a cleaning issue around the igniter area not allowing the hot air from the igniter to flow thru it and into the pellets. I realize that once you start heating you probably won't be shutting down except for the 1 ton cleaning but we have a member from Alaska that does not shut down till spring.
Good luck, heating season is getting here faster than most of us want it to.
Thanks, I thought I cleaned it pretty good, but it sounds like I missed something somewhere. Doesn't surprise me as it was really filthy, tons of ash and creosote buildup. I'll take another look at the igniter system and make sure that area is real clean.
 

Bioburner

Moderator
Aug 4, 2012
7,317
West central Mn
Putting fire on top of the pile with the torch probably wont do the job as I tried to explain. We need to get a thread with video of methods to start different stoves.
 

cman

Member
Sep 7, 2015
17
Fairbanks, AK
Putting fire on top of the pile with the torch probably wont do the job as I tried to explain. We need to get a thread with video of methods to start different stoves.
I did the top of the pile, I'll try the bottom and make sure some pellets are soaked in alcohol before starting.
 

HarmanManP43

Member
Dec 26, 2013
84
CT
I'm not sure what you are asking, how do I find the WC reading?
WC = water column. You can pick up a draft tester for under 40 dollars. Essential piece of kit if you are doing your own work.

Assuming exhaust and supply air ways are clean and clear the WC reading will show you the pressure difference in the stove to the room. This measurement allows you to verify that the exhaust fan is moving enough air.

Your manual will state the correct readings for your stove.
 

DneprDave

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2011
512
Western WA
With a pile of cold pellets in the burn pot squirt the pellets with WD-40, everyone has a can of that around, don't they?
Light the pellets, they should stay lit after that.

Dave
 
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Bioburner

Moderator
Aug 4, 2012
7,317
West central Mn
Manometer can be easily made with a piece of clear tubing and some colored water. Several videos on youtube or a google search will give a picture or two. If the stove completes the circuit for the draft to turn on the auger it probably can keep a fire going but if low it may not have enough draft to start on its own.
 

ttdberg

Feeling the Heat
Jul 12, 2008
256
Northeast CT
Basic stuff to think about: Don't rule out the pellets as the cause. If you have tried all other options and have no apparent draft issues, go grab a bag or two of a different brands of pellets. I also have a P68 and it can act like you are describing (difficultly lighting and poor flame) if I burn pellets with high moisture content. I don't think I've ever had pellets that wouldn't light at all - but give it a shot - you never know. Also if it's warm where you are, make sure you are turning up your temp settings high enough that the stove needs to work to meet the configured heat setting. Crank it up.
 

johninwi

Burning Hunk
Aug 22, 2014
239
madison wisconsin
Flame was low and lazy, pellets just smoldering with too much smoke coming out the vent.
Check the burn pot is fully seated, if it's not the air will leak around it and not pass thru the pellets. Would make for a smokey mess.

Prior to cleaning the stove, was it heavily sooted up ar full of cresote? Or was it a light fluffy ash? Soot would suggest it had the problem prior to your purchase and fluffy ash would suggest the problem is new.

I do the torch startup method too, about 30 seconds is sufficient but lighting the top of the pile will prolong startup. A lazy flame and smoke really hasn't ever been an issue.
 

cman

Member
Sep 7, 2015
17
Fairbanks, AK
Basic stuff to think about: Don't rule out the pellets as the cause. If you have tried all other options and have no apparent draft issues, go grab a bag or two of a different brands of pellets. I also have a P68 and it can act like you are describing (difficultly lighting and poor flame) if I burn pellets with high moisture content. I don't think I've ever had pellets that wouldn't light at all - but give it a shot - you never know. Also if it's warm where you are, make sure you are turning up your temp settings high enough that the stove needs to work to meet the configured heat setting. Crank it up.
I'm using Blazer pellets and have unopened bags I'll test with this next time. Pellets did light, but just smoldered, seemed like not enough air. Stove temp was turned up high.
 

cman

Member
Sep 7, 2015
17
Fairbanks, AK
Check the burn pot is fully seated, if it's not the air will leak around it and not pass thru the pellets. Would make for a smokey mess.

Prior to cleaning the stove, was it heavily sooted up ar full of cresote? Or was it a light fluffy ash? Soot would suggest it had the problem prior to your purchase and fluffy ash would suggest the problem is new.

I do the torch startup method too, about 30 seconds is sufficient but lighting the top of the pile will prolong startup. A lazy flame and smoke really hasn't ever been an issue.
Burn pot is fully seated. I pulled the ESP and cleaned last night. Today I'm hoping to get my hands on a manometer for testing.

There was some soot and creosote, but I don't think it was that much. There was a ton of ash and fines so I'm guessing it had a few tons of pellets through the system since the last cleaning.
 

Murph

Proud Grandparent
Dec 13, 2011
85
Cape Cod
Ok so the burn pot loads with pellets but no ignition you light it with torch and the fire is smokey small and the pellets don't burn completely is this correct. Does it get black inside the stove? Have you checked the air flow from where it comes in at the back of the stove there is a flapper make sure it is not stuck. Check gaskets venting from the stove all the way out.
 
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