St Croix Pepin Inconsistent Fuel feed

Rlucas93

New Member
Dec 25, 2019
18
Boston
I’m new to the forum and I’m unsure if this will receive any response but I’ll give it a shot! I bought a St. Croix Pepin stove a few months back. The gentleman I purchased it from bought it new and had it professionally installed but for some reason said he really never was able to get it to run and stay running. Despite having it for many years he never sought out professional repair or service and decided to just sell it. At the residence the stove started up and ran its cycle so home with me it came along with a pallet of pellets and a hearth.

I’ve now got it in my basement and the stove operates but in a manner I think isn't typical. The manual states to start the stove on feed level 3 With room fan on Low. The stove will go through a 10 min start-up cycle that will ignite the pellets dropped into the burn pot. After the stove is burning briskly set the feed to level 6 for 30 min to bring it to temp and then set stove to desired temp. So the start up goes fine, but the pellets dropped initially on feed level 3 will burn through and then leave no ember to allow next cycle of pellets that drop to catch and remain burning. Now if I perform this same start up procedure but starting it on heat level 6 I’m able to get the stove to run for inconsistent, but longer periods of time.

My issue ultimately is, the stove will drop pellet in periods of roughly 3 min intervals with the auger motor Turning and feeding pellets in sync with the “feed” light flashing on and off with the analog control board. Between these intervals the light will come on and turn off timed correctly with the manufacturers specific timing intervals consistent with the feed rate requested (1-6). Now is my stove suppose to always feed in sync with the feed light turning on? It seems like any video I watch the stoves run and burn steady while pellets drop consistently to desired heat desire. Or is it’s process of feeding suppose to happen In timed intervals where it then is in sync with the light?

With the current operation I will get a large flame that seems like it’s more than what normally should be occurring, then it burns down over about 1-1.5 min. Shortly after it then reduced to a small bed of embers and eventually this burn out and during this time no pellets have dropped until a “snap” from a limit switch sounds and then pellets drop but by then it’s too late, the burn pot fills and the stove is no longer burning.

If you’ve read through this long post, I thank you! Any insight would be INCREDIBLE!
 

MalcolmH

Member
Jan 22, 2017
60
Ontario
The manual isn't the most informative manual I've read, but it sounds like your draft is open to much if its burning out on start up and after warm up, but 3 min auger rotation intervals seems really shy from what I'm use to seeing but that could be a rate thing for your specific stove, my stoves drop pellets every 10 seconds or more but they are different stoves then yours. Now pellets stoves are like cars, you can tune them to run regardless of pellet type, vent configuration and stove, you can also modify them to run at peak efficiency, and some came from the factory less than ideal for heating efficiently. Sounds like you have a good vent set up with lots of flow, is the auger the correct part number for your stove, maybe it is not the correct speed?, what size and configuration is your vent, maybe check all the limit switches to make sure they are correct for your stove, and proof of fire switch in the exhaust to make sure it is clean and the correct temp for your application. Your really on your own, so you'll have to try a few things and see if you can find the service manual or talk to the dealer.
 
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Rlucas93

New Member
Dec 25, 2019
18
Boston
The manual isn't the most informative manual I've read, but it sounds like your draft is open to much if its burning out on start up and after warm up, but 3 min auger rotation intervals seems really shy from what I'm use to seeing but that could be a rate thing for your specific stove, my stoves drop pellets every 10 seconds or more but they are different stoves then yours. Now pellets stoves are like cars, you can tune them to run regardless of pellet type, vent configuration and stove, you can also modify them to run at peak efficiency, and some came from the factory less than ideal for heating efficiently. Sounds like you have a good vent set up with lots of flow, is the auger the correct part number for your stove, maybe it is not the correct speed?, what size and configuration is your vent, maybe check all the limit switches to make sure they are correct for your stove, and proof of fire switch in the exhaust to make sure it is clean and the correct temp for your application. Your really on your own, so you'll have to try a few things and see if you can find the service manual or talk to the dealer.

MalcomH:

Thanks for the reply! And no the manual isn’t a very good source of help beyond a certain scope. My vent set up is from the stove an adapter to a 4” clean out T, 3 foot rise, 90 degree elbow through my basement concrete wall of about 16in and then 18in away from the house it terminates at a downward angle (all 4in). I thought at first the dampener was open too much causing the stove to burn out. So I did the pencil trick and closed it down on it, operate it watching for changes over a half hour and still despite closing it just in small increments..still burn out. My feeling is that the patter in which it’s dropping the pellets isn’t enough to maintain a steady burn. I plan today to go through and inventory the part numbers and make sure they are corresponding with what my unit requires. I’ve noticed also the auger motor gets very hot to the touch after just a few minutes of being on. This is strange to me sense the versagrate motor never does. To me it seems like the control board will try and send a feed signal and it doesnt get to the auger motor or possibly the POF switches trip once at temp and stop the auger from operating...its a safety feature that’s suppose to operate that way but it seems like it’s more preventing proper operation. Looks like I’ll be playing the trial and error game!
 

Ssyko

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2017
3,035
Lorraine NY
Auger is on its way out. They should barely get warm. I would trace all the wires and make sure they are where they are supposed to be. On your control pnl the auger light is illuminated when power is sent to the auger motor.
 
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Rlucas93

New Member
Dec 25, 2019
18
Boston
Auger is on its way out. They should barely get warm. I would trace all the wires and make sure they are where they are supposed to be. On your control pnl the auger light is illuminated when power is sent to the auger motor.
Ok, I figured as much with the auger motor and I’m ordering a new one today. I’m actively looking at the wiring schematic and I found the wires where not in the order top to bottom on the terminals as it say. I’ve moved the wires to there corresponding terminals as schematic says and came across one bit of controversy. On the last column of terminal (1-6) I’ve found all are good besides the terminal 2 connection. The 2 connector is suppose to have a black cable to the convection fan but instead has a white wire to the convection fan. The black convection fan wire is attached to the limit switch on the back of the stove instead. This doesn’t resolve my auger issue but I’m questioning if these should be switched?
 

jzm2cc

Minister of Fire
Sep 25, 2014
536
Northern Michigan
Safe bet that your top auger bushing is dry causing auger motor to struggle. Pull auger assy out and lube both bushings with oil. Polish auger shaft at top is scored from dry bushing.

Being a St Croix, I'd use the leaf blower to suck ash out of back chamber wall and exhaust channel. You may have to go deeper into cleaning eventually with bottle brush up back wall via clean-out traps, flexible cable in both clean out holes left and right of burn pot.

Not sure which control board you have, but older ones have circuit board jumpers to configure manual setting, or thermostat. Also try putting jumper wire across back red and black thermostat terminals.

Lube versa grate front bushing and lube and motor shaft bushings also.

My Lancaster stove is similar to your Pepin chassis, but Multi-Fuel and manual light. However our Prescott operates the same, just larger frame. Great long lasting stoves in my opinion.

A good running stove only needs damper open enough for pencil to fit which you've already done.
 

Rlucas93

New Member
Dec 25, 2019
18
Boston
Safe bet that your top auger bushing is dry causing auger motor to struggle. Pull auger assy out and lube both bushings with oil. Polish auger shaft at top is scored from dry bushing.

Being a St Croix, I'd use the leaf blower to suck ash out of back chamber wall and exhaust channel. You may have to go deeper into cleaning eventually with bottle brush up back wall via clean-out traps, flexible cable in both clean out holes left and right of burn pot.

Not sure which control board you have, but older ones have circuit board jumpers to configure manual setting, or thermostat. Also try putting jumper wire across back red and black thermostat terminals.

Lube versa grate front bushing and lube and motor shaft bushings also.

My Lancaster stove is similar to your Pepin chassis, but Multi-Fuel and manual light. However our Prescott operates the same, just larger frame. Great long lasting stoves in my opinion.

A good running stove only needs damper open enough for pencil to fit which you've already done.
Thanks for the reply! I’ll spend a little time pulling the auger out and doing what you mentioned! I’ve only had burn about 3-4 full bags of pellets so I’m not sure if that would warrant the leaf blower cleaning but I’m still not opposed to it! The control board is an old analog board that I do question replacing to see if that’s the cure all. I’ll be going through it more tediously to find other possible fixes. I don’t want it to get to the point where I’d be better off to invest in a new stove rather than rack up substantial repair cost. But for now I’ll remain optimistic!
 

Rlucas93

New Member
Dec 25, 2019
18
Boston
UPDATE: Bought a new Auger motor from earth sense.com. I just finished putting the auger in and operationally it works fine although it does make a slight electric motor noise when running. That aside, my stove is operating slightly different than the original issue I was having. Prior to buying and installing a new walker motor the auger with supply pellets in sync with the feed light for two minutes. Then it would have a break of about four minutes before I started dropping pellets. Now with the new auger it does the exact opposite it’ll feed in sync with the feed light for four minutes and then it’ll stop for two minutes I’m not exactly sure if this is the actual proper operation of the stove or this is just a cycle in which the stove gets hot enough to trip switch and stop the augurs feed. Any ideas or suggestions?
 

jzm2cc

Minister of Fire
Sep 25, 2014
536
Northern Michigan
The St Croix pellet stoves with digital control boards drop pellets initially to get fire going, then once fire starts and exhaust snap disk closes it will resume feeding pellets. Usually the total time period from one cycle to the next is 11.5 seconds and the on portion ranges from 1.5 seconds on low to about 5.5 seconds on high setting. The auger light can be used to time this sequence.

If pellets stop feeding then usually stoves will set a 2 or 3 fault code also.
 
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Rlucas93

New Member
Dec 25, 2019
18
Boston
The St Croix pellet stoves with digital control boards drop pellets initially to get fire going, then once fire starts and exhaust snap disk closes it will resume feeding pellets. Usually the total time period from one cycle to the next is 11.5 seconds and the on portion ranges from 1.5 seconds on low to about 5.5 seconds on high setting. The auger light can be used to time this sequence.

If pellets stop feeding then usually stoves will set a 2 or 3 fault code also.
I have timed the sequence when the light comes on through all settings while speaking with st Croix tech support and they are in accordance with the operational guidelines. But that time of operation lasts 4 min dropping in sync with the feed light, then off for 2 min straight. It’s not feeding for 2 min although the feed light comes on and off in the same timed manner as if it was feeding. My stove won’t feed in sync with the feed light consistently and that’s where I find there may be an issue.
 

Smokinbubba

Member
Nov 30, 2019
217
Central Ohio
And tech support says this is normal?
 

Rlucas93

New Member
Dec 25, 2019
18
Boston
Currently going on an 2 hours of burning. Dropped pellets in sync with the feed light for 4 min then doesn’t drop at all for 2 min. I could send a video of the operation if you’d like. Thank you for being as helpful as you have, it’s a huge help!
 

Ssyko

Minister of Fire
Nov 6, 2017
3,035
Lorraine NY
So your auger runs for 4 minutes and is off for 2 min? That doesn’t sound right. Jzm2cc posted the timings and they are more in tune to what the auger should run. You may have to watch the auger motor itself and time how many seconds it is on and how many sec it is off. Lets stay at the lowest setting to start.