St. Croix Auger Motor & Safety Switch Troubleshooting with Mr. Pellethead

St. Croix Auger Motor & Safety Switch Troubleshooting with Mr. Pellethead

John purchased a new auger motor for his 2005 St. Croix Afton Bay. John called and said the motor did not work. Mr. Pellethead recommended he run the motor direct to troubleshoot whether it was the motor or a safety issue. John replied back that the motor ran fine when operating to direct power. He asked how he would go about locating what was causing the problem and not allowing the motor to operate. (Check this blog post to learn how to direct test/bench test an auger motor.)

Mr. Pellethead Replies:

I’m going to assume it’s either the pressure/vacuum switch or the high limit snap switch in your stove that’s not allowing the auger motor to work.

1. Make sure your exhaust vent pipe is clean all the way through. Combustion/Exhaust motor housing is clean as well. We offer vent cleaning kits and a high powered vent vacuum cleaning option.
2. Make sure the door seal and ash pan seal are tight all the way around. (Use a piece of paper, stick halfway in and shut door. Should have strong resistance when you pull out). Do around the main door and ash door.
3. High limit snap switch may have a red ‘reset’ button in the center of it. Push that in. If for whatever reason the stove got to hot it may have tripped the high limit. Located in the rear of the stove either by the back wall or auger shaft tube. Not all models had a resettable snap switch. Your owners manual will indicate which one and where for your year model.

How did your fire look when the stove was running last? Was it a torchy, vibrant, clean looking fire or was it a lazy, dirty, sooty fire? Could also be the combustion fan no longer providing enough air. This would trip the pressure switch and not allow the auger motor to run.

Both the Vacuum Switch and High limit snap switch can be bypassed TO TEST ONLY. You can make up a short jumper wire using male connector ends. Pull the wires off the safety switch and connect together with the jumper wire. if the motor works you know it’s either the switch itself that is bad or something else with the stove that needs to be addressed before it starts operating again (safety issue/s like plugged exhaust, leaky gasket, weak exhaust fan, etc..)

NEVER LEAVE SAFETY SWITCHES BYPASSED; FOR TROUBLESHOOTING ONLY.

Contact Mr. Pellethead for expert advice on how to service, maintain and take care of your pellet stove.

  • Brian Harrah says:

    Hello, I have an older model St. Croix with the analog control board. The stove will load pellets normally sometimes, and other times the auger will run constantly and overfill the pot. The stove has been cleaned thoroughly. I have removed the control board and tested the two triacs with a multimeter. They seem to be ok. What other components on the circuit board control the auger? Or should I be testing a different part perhaps?

    • Earth Sense Energy System says:

      Hey Brian,

      Thanks for contacting us, happy to help.

      If you are physically viewing the auger motor running constantly/non-stop on occasion then it has to be something with the control/circuit board. Sometimes it can appear the auger is running constantly/overfeeding if there is an issue with ash blockage, gasket air leaks, blocked intake air, or a weak combustion blower.

      If you have physically watched that auger turning non-stop, again would be a board issue. Unfortunately we do not have control board schematics or the ability to fix control boards. St Croix now offers a retrofit kit as they no longer make the analog boards. We do stock all the retrofit kits and guarantee the best prices. Would just need to know your model and serial number to direct you to the correct control board kit for your stove.

      Happy to help.

      Thanks,
      ESESstoves

  • Ken says:

    I have an Auburn model that has tripped the fuse panel circuit breaker twice in two days now. It has been working just fine until now. We burn pellets and just switched to a brand that are larger so I am not sure if the auger jamming would trip the breaker? Actually put it on a different circuit breaker after the first time to eliminate the outlet or something but still tripped. Suggestions?

    • Earth Sense Energy System says:

      Hey Ken,

      Thanks for contacting us, happy to help. An auger jam would not trip the breaker. I would first suggest just getting a good light and inspecting all wiring in the unit. Make sure there are no exposed wires or any wire that is grounding out creating a short. If everything looks good there and your still experiencing the issue, we would then want to look closer at the motors – Potentially one of the motors is surging causing the trip. Check all the basics and simple things first.

      Any other questions please let us know.

      Thanks,
      ESESstoves

  • Bob says:

    I have a Auburn stove,and think I keep up on maintanence. But at the end of this year the stove got so hot on the number 1 setting that the pellets in the hopper started to ignite. Can’t trust the stove now. Any thoughts? Thanks

    • Earth Sense Energy System says:

      Bob,

      Thanks for contacting us. Definitely an issue at bay here. Let’s focus on looking at the following to start-

      1. Complete & Thorough Maintenance. Stove Firebox, Heat Exchangers, Back Firewall, Ash Traps, Exhaust Manifold, Exhaust Housing, Exhaust Venting. The Auburn model is notorious for accumulating ash in the back firewall which can be very difficult to access. Ash accumulation will starve the stove of combustion air causing inefficiency and overheating. Banging on the back firewall with a mallet can be helpful in getting the ash to drop down into the ash traps. Putting the SUCKING part of a leafblower on the outside venting can also be very helpful in removing difficult to access ash from the stove and venting. Some folks will also pull the stove outside and use compressed air to fully clean out all of the blocked ash.
      2. Check the voltage on your combustion/exhaust fan as well as your distribution/room air blower. Make sure both of these motors are operating to proper voltage – On start-up the combustion blower should be near line voltage. Once the distribution fan kicks in that should also be near line voltage when the stove is on high. A basic multi-meter can help you verify voltage on your blowers. If either one was weak or not functioning correctly it would cause the stove to overheat and create issues.
      3. Take a close look at your burnpot, gasket seals and air intake to the stove.

      In correct operation you should have a nice, crisp, torchy and efficient fire/flame. Over 95% of cases like this are related to maintenance issues – ash accumulation and build-up in the stove and/or venting.

      Happy to assist anyway we can. Should you need any replacement parts just let us know, we offer virtually every part for the Auburn and Guarantee the best prices.

      Thanks,
      ESESstoves

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