Upgrading an old CCI Cheap Charlie HCF CC3 (part of Danson’s Pelpro - Glow Boy line) Taking the cheap out of Cheap Charlie!

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Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
Salem NH
Taking the cheap out of Cheap Charlie!
To Identify a Cheap Charlie from Glow Boy or Pelpro it seems that those stoves take the vacuum from the auger tube. Also the model tag has an X next to CC1, CC2, or CC3 and No steel auger collar on the base of the auger shaft?
This old CCI Franklin HCF CC3 may have been headed to the scrap heap but with May 2020 deadline almost here the production of new stoves has slowed down to only the new certified models keeping prices high. Also with the price of propane and oil climbing of putting in a few new parts to keep this working will not only save money on a re-install but may give many more years of life to this old boy?
The big problem here was not replacing the old squirrel cage O.A. Smith blower with a nice new impeller type or replacing the vacuum hose and vacuum switch and installing a new igniter.
Even banging off the 2 RPM motor with a mini crowbar and PB blaster took a little more time but to be expected.
It is the erratic pellet feeding was the problem.
Sure the high temp nylon bearing was dirty but attaching a new auger motor properly was impossible do to the fact that the motor shaft was only held into the base of the auger with a small set screw threaded into the auger itself! Now we all know this was done in the old Tasman 40 wood pellet stoves and once the auger motor was changed the set screw would strip out so it could not be tightened to the auger shaft. Retapping the auger shaft and installing a slightly larger set screw would only last a month at best! Of course since the Tasman used a 1 RPM auger motor, auger shaft and control panel. Therefore the solution here was to drill a hole in the other side of the auger shaft, purchase a 1.0 RPM auger motor with a hole in the shaft and just throw a hitch pin in it. Bingo! Is that how some manufacturers started using hitch pins? Maybe!
So back to the Cheap Charlie. These Danson’s stoves use a 2 RPM auger motor and buying a 1/8 carbide drill bit, not just a carbide tip drill bit to drill pierce a regular heat treated harden steel 2 RPM auger motor shaft can be done but not an easy solution. So what now?
A new Pelpro auger shaft is made to use a harden steel collar with a set screw that will hold the motor to the shaft and fit the old Cheap Charlie wood pellet stoves for only $139.95 and a standard steel auger collar with 5/8” inner diameter, a new nylon auger bushing and a standard 2 RPM auger motor! Bingo it worked!
Stove Manual
See pics below
Pic 1 & 2 - old original Cheap Charlie auger on left and new Danson’s Pelpro Auger on right.
Pic 3 - 7 cleaning up the old auger end disc using the blasting cabinet with white aluminum oxide makes all the parts for the upgrade like new.
The old dirty white nylon bearing was replaced with a new one!
Pic 8 - New auger, auger bearing, and sand blasted end plate ready to go, see new steel auger collar with larger set screw so not stripping out and no erratic pellet feeding! The very best way to fix it!
Pic 9 & 10 - new heavy duty 2 RPM Auger Motor
Pic 11 - new exhaust blower and heavy duty long lasting metal vacuum switch.
Pic 12 - Original Accutron control panel still working
Pic 13-15 Good Cheap Charlie working like new


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New Member
Dec 10, 2021
Hi there!

I know this is a 2 year old post but hoping for some advice. I seem to have the exact same cheap charlie fireplace. I am having an issue starting the stove. Sometimes it takes 3-4 tries to start it. Its almost like the combustion fan is not starting on high enough to active the vaccuum or pressure switch. Below is what usually happens when I try to start it. I would add that when step 3 finally happens it almost sounds like a fan (combustion?) starts at a faster rpm. I did replace the acutron control board with an acutron IV board and it did not change the issue but I did notice on the website it says "This board is more advanced than the older style Acutron boards. If you have an older style exhaust blower, you may need to upgrade that as well".

I am wondering if it would make sense to replace the fan. Once it is working it seems to be ok but maybe it is not agreeing with the new acutron IV board. I for the life of me cannot remember if this issue was happening with the old board.

Appreciate the help

  1. Press start
    1. Feed rate light (last setting) flashing
    2. Auger cycle flashes 2 times per second
    3. Igniter light on
    4. After 30 seconds
      1. feed rate light stops flashing
      2. Fan speed light cycles high med low
      3. Auger cycle light still flashes 2 times per second
      4. Igniter light off
  2. Repeat step 1 sometimes 2-3 times
  3. Press start again
    1. Feed rate light (last setting) flashing
    2. Auger cycles and light turns on during cycle then off
    3. Igniter light on
    4. Furnace starts normally


Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
Salem NH
Interesting problem. There is one thing I noticed on this stove, is that the vacuum hose is connected to a nipple on the auger chute just like the Quadrafire pellet stoves. The Quadrafires have a very sensitive vacuum switch because the vacuum is not very strong at this point. Most stoves like newer Pelpros are connected to the exhaust blower housing to get a strong vacuum. The advantage to this connection point is the air is clean and the vacuum switches last longer, the disadvantage is that you must use a more sensitive vacuum switch and when the bladder inside gets old a d brittle then your problem will occur. :-(
Since the Cheap Charlie vacuum switch is no longer made, I strongly suggest you try a Quadrafire vacuum switch to solve you problem. :)

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Mt Bob

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2013
park county montana
Also,it is not uncommon for some pellet stoves to slow down the combustion motor for ignition, as too much air can cause a hard/no start.


New Member
Dec 10, 2021
Appreciate the replies. I decided to dig in this morning and see if if anything was obvious.

Took the motor off and found the cage to be pretty caked with ash. I was not able to get the set screw on the cage off. I could get a good grip on it with 1/8 allen key but would not budge. I then broke out the dental pics and got it as best I could. A lot cleaner now. While in there I removed the hose from the vacuum switch and tried to suck on it and couldnt get any air at all. Blew it out with with the compressor and then was able to draw air easily though it.

Im thinking the hose must have been plugged in the auger chute because put it all back together and IT WORKED!

Couple notes;
1. Normally I use a torch to get the pellets to light faster but it tried without this time. I just put about a shot glass worth of pellets in the fire box before turning on. Took at least 10 mins for the pellets to ignite, not sure if that is normal or an ignitor issue but im ok with that for now.

2. Maybe cleaning the exhaust blower cage helped too much as now I have a a lot of sparks shooting around everywhere. I turned the combustion fan down as far as it would go (fan pot all the way to the right). Sorry, should have cleaned the glass before I started it up! This is on feed rate 2. I did adjust the damper and got it a little better but seems strange that it would need to be on the lowest setting. Maybe I just need to fiddle with it more.

1st pic is of the guts
2nd is of the motor tag
3rd is motor before cleaning
Here is a video of it running

IMG_4902.jpg IMG_4906.jpg IMG_4907.jpg
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New Member
Dec 10, 2021
Im back! This is really the only thread I found with great pics and info for exact stove that I have. I still have a hard start on mine but believe it is an issue with the motor. It definitely has a noticeable vibration to it that is audible in the pipe outside the shop. I wanted to disassemble the motor and clean but the set screw on the 'birdcage' will not budge so I cannot remote it to remove the motor.

The motor does not seem to have a good range when I adjust the exhaust fan pot on the aucutron. Its really fast on the lowest setting sometimes and other times is very slow (its turning but not enough for the vacuum switch to work). The is more pronounced on cold days when I turn it on. I only run it on the weekends. After its warmed up and I turn it off I can turn it on (hours later) and the exhaust fan is running much faster on initial start up.

At this point I think I am going to try a replacement motor.

I found "Replacement 80473 Exhaust Blower" on amazon and it looks to fit but the motor and fan types are different. Is this the new style? Definitely does not look as heavy duty but if its quieter and works, what the hell.



Minister of Fire
Feb 1, 2010
Salem NH
Pelpro now owned by HHT makes a much better updated OEM exhaust blower for $229.95 It has the hole for the temperature disc so you can use the one you have. You also have to use your exhaust flange, just cut the silicone with a razor knife and take the screws out.

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