Whitfield Photo Eye Bypass Surgery! Anyone try this? See pics! It works!

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Don2222

Minister of Fire
Hearth Supporter
Feb 1, 2010
9,149
Salem NH
Hello

This Whitfield Profile 20 Photo eye was tired and the lens was burned. Since it provides proof of fire, the stove would not stay on once it lit!. This pellet stove would start and smoke but just keep shutting down!
A new photo eye is $64.95 and needs to be cleaned all the time and then if the lens gets smoke stained and burned again we are backed to square one!

There is a cover on the exhaust blower housing for the 140 Deg F ceramic snap so let's use it and do the "Photo Eye Bypass Surgery" !!

Has anyone else done this bypass surgery on a Profile 20 or Profile 30?

Pic 0 - Shows two yellow wires that go from the control panel to the photo eye in the hopper. That is where we cut!
Pic 1 - Remove 2 bolts and remove cover
Pic 2 - New 140 Deg F ceramic snap disc
Pic 3 - Snap disc installed
Pic 4 - New 2 conductor stranded 18 Guage wire connected under snap disc screws with wire ties to hold it in a safe place away from the exhaust manifold
Pic 5 - Close up of new snap disc with wire connected
Pic 6 - Shows yellow wire coming out of control panel on right side of stove going up to photo eye in hopper
Pic 7 - Shows new wire from the snap disc connected to the wire going into the control panel. Also shows connectors on the old yellow wire going to the photo eye. In this way the old photo eye can be easily reconnected if you ever want the same problem back again! LOL
Pic 8 - Stove with fire now keeps running!
Pic 9 - Nice flame!
 

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Excellent! Where did you get the ceramic snapdisc? I need one!
 
Excellent! Where did you get the ceramic snapdisc? I need one!
looks like an easy enough fix but was running fine before and for so many years, could It be one of the snap disc already there or the photo eye that's defective, as anyone ever had their stove at low and it ran at high etc, I thought the photo eye just stopped everything If there was no flame, I'm a newbie you know at this and would really like to understand everything about this stove, I've read the book 5 times over lol but it's not quite the right book :confused: that happens when you buy used.
 
The eye like I said before seems to be the reason for many maladies. Stovenson can probably shed light on the workings of a photo eye. I was under the impression that sometimes the eye dose not fully close and that starts the issues with partial voltages.
 
The function of the eye is too let the power thru to the auger motor when it sees the flame after the stove fires up. If there is no ignition or the eye's lens is dirty or if the eye breaks then the stove does out!
 
I am seeing a lot of RUST
Were is all the rust coming from ??? was the stove left sitting in the weather ???
 
Probably was a basement dweller or garage zombie:(
 
I am seeing a lot of RUST
Were is all the rust coming from ??? was the stove left sitting in the weather ???

Yes alot of rust but I do not know the history of this stove. It is in a dry spot now so it should be good for quite a few more years.
 
Hello

I have also used a 120 Deg F Ceramic Snap Disc which works very well and the heat will come out a little longer when the stove shuts down.
Also if there is no cover and hole in the exhaust housing, then spaces can be used for mounting.
 
The photo eye is the same type used in oil furnaces, they can be had for a few bucks, $6 on Amazon or on line Part C554A, Honeywell 130367
I am assuming the electric eye is a low voltage line ? ?
So the stove has this hole already ? A snap switch just closes (shorts) the wire once above 140 degrees. This would be a nice fix as many have this problem with this type of stove. Why they went to the electric eye in a stove that make soot, don't know.
 
The function of the eye is too let the power thru to the auger motor when it sees the flame after the stove fires up. If there is no ignition or the eye's lens is dirty or if the eye breaks then the stove does out!

This model works different. The other Whitfields run 120V (?) through this snap switch to the controller to keep the stove in RUN mode after the 25 min timer to get the stove above 140 degrees. The Profile (for some reason) started to use an electric eye for "proof of fire" to stay in RUN mode. Can't believe it's that simple to remove that troublesome eye.

There are a few different variations, mostly temp and price. Seeing them for $16. Just as long as they seal that hole, that is exhaust gas. I don't see a gasket for any of them.
 
It really is that simple. I got mine at Grainger and believe it did come with the gasket.

Eric
 
So if the fkame goes out and your not around the hopper gets emptied into the burn chanber? What if it then re ignited? Lottsa heat? Lol
 
So if the fkame goes out and your not around the hopper gets emptied into the burn chanber? What if it then re ignited? Lottsa heat? Lol
That should not happen
 
These don't have auto ignite, you have to press START to have the igniter go on. After the fire burns out, the snap switch opens, the controller turns off.
 
I have a Profile 30 hooked to a thermostat. The only problem that I have found with doing the bypass is that, on very cold nights, sometimes the stove will call for heat before the snap disk has closed from the previous cycle. The stove then goes into fault mode and shuts down.
 
Sorry to resurrect this from the dead.


It appears that you dont have the firebricks installed in your stove?Is this an ok thing to do? mine need replacing.. hence my question.
Whitfields use firebricks to act as baffles so they really are needed and they also reflect the heat back into the burnpot for more complete combustion so they are really needed here.
 
Where did you get that? Whitfield told us a long time ago when they were still in business that they were decorative only, and our distributor for IHP has told us the same... I’m not arguing, I just need to know where your getting this...
 
Where did you get that? Whitfield told us a long time ago when they were still in business that they were decorative only, and our distributor for IHP has told us the same... I’m not arguing, I just need to know where your getting this...
Some models they are decorative but if it covers a chamber that has ash in it behind the firebrick then it is needed for that stove model,
 
new profile 20's have two clean out holes behind fire brick. they would need to be covered , thatwould be 1 function of the firebrick.not sure if there is another cover for these cleanouts as mine does not have them.
 
Has anyone else done this bypass surgery on a Profile 20 or Profile 30?

I was experiencing the shut down issues on my pre-owned 20 so I completed the bypass (thanks for the great instructions!). The stove is in my hunting camp and probably only gets used for 20-30 days a year. After the surgery it worked great for about 30-hours then started the same problem again. My initial thought was that I burned up the newly installed snap disc somehow or I made a poor wire splice so I opened the unit and checked everything out. I did not find any obvious issues so I tried cleaning the burn box as much as I felt comfortable doing. Some of the screws were so rusted I was concerned that I would snap them off but I was able to removed the fire brick baffle and vacuum out the 2 chambers. I put it back together and fired it up...same problem. Feeling dejected I ordered another snap disc from Graiger and used my LP heater that night. The next morning I tried lighting the stove again and its been running perfectly for the last 48-hours straight. So now I believe my snap disc is fine, but maybe one of my vacuum tubes(?) that I’ve been reading about on this forum could have a small blockage that somehow became unblocked?
I fully believe that if something ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but I am concerned about the reliability and would like to find the root cause instead of relying on luck. I love to use my camp during the winter and want my stove to be my primary source of heat. The LP wall heater is great in a pinch but it doesn’t have a blower nor the beauty of the pellet stove.
Can anyone offer some suggestions on what I should try “fixing”? The hose seems easy enough to replace but haven’t messed with them yet.

Love the forum, guys. I’ve been a reader for a couple years but finally registered.
Thanks
 
I was experiencing the shut down issues on my pre-owned 20 so I completed the bypass (thanks for the great instructions!). The stove is in my hunting camp and probably only gets used for 20-30 days a year. After the surgery it worked great for about 30-hours then started the same problem again. My initial thought was that I burned up the newly installed snap disc somehow or I made a poor wire splice so I opened the unit and checked everything out. I did not find any obvious issues so I tried cleaning the burn box as much as I felt comfortable doing. Some of the screws were so rusted I was concerned that I would snap them off but I was able to removed the fire brick baffle and vacuum out the 2 chambers. I put it back together and fired it up...same problem. Feeling dejected I ordered another snap disc from Graiger and used my LP heater that night. The next morning I tried lighting the stove again and its been running perfectly for the last 48-hours straight. So now I believe my snap disc is fine, but maybe one of my vacuum tubes(?) that I’ve been reading about on this forum could have a small blockage that somehow became unblocked?
I fully believe that if something ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but I am concerned about the reliability and would like to find the root cause instead of relying on luck. I love to use my camp during the winter and want my stove to be my primary source of heat. The LP wall heater is great in a pinch but it doesn’t have a blower nor the beauty of the pellet stove.
Can anyone offer some suggestions on what I should try “fixing”? The hose seems easy enough to replace but haven’t messed with them yet.

Love the forum, guys. I’ve been a reader for a couple years but finally registered.
Thanks
I suggest if your vacuum switch is old then replace it. The bladder inside the switch that holds the air to measure the pressure gets old and brittle like a swimming pool liner! Then when the stove warms up a slight tear can open up and that will cut the power to the auger motor and the stove will shut down. This can happen on and off until the vacuum switch gets really bad and the auger motor will just stop turning.
Something I see often.
The best way to test it, is to buy the brake bleeder tool with pressure guage from harbor freight and pump some air into the switch. If it holds the air then most likely it is good. If the air leaks out then replace it. Just my experience:)
not a bad price
 
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I suggest if your vacuum switch is old then replace it. The bladder inside the switch that holds the air to measure the pressure gets old and brittle like a swimming pool liner! Then when the stove warms up a slight tear can open up and that will cut the power to the auger motor and the stove will shut down. This can happen on and off until the vacuum switch gets really bad and the auger motor will just stop turning.
Something I see often.
The best way to test it, is to buy the brake bleeder tool with pressure guage from harbor freight and pump some air into the switch. If it holds the air then most likely it is good. If the air leaks out then replace it. Just my experience:)
not a bad price
Thanks for the advice Don. It is very much appreciated!
It will be a few weeks until I make it back to camp but I’ll post an update once I do.
 
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