Our pellet stove auger demonstration video continues to be a highly watched video, as well as a helpful resource for troubleshooting and maintenance. We’ve transcribed the video below.
The Magnum and Country Flame product line of flex fuel pellet stoves will burn a variety of fuels through the auger system we have in each appliance. What we’ll do in this segment is go through each type of auger system. We’re going to talk a little bit about the fuel, how it affects the auger, and how the condition of the auger system itself can affect the operation of the unit. To begin with, let’s talk about what causes the auger system not to feed fuel. The first thing we’ll go over is the quality of the fuel. If the quality of the fuel is not up to premium quality, what you’ll find out is that the fuel will get caught in auger flighting and as a results the fuel will expand and pack into the auger system and the fuel will spin around and around in the auger flighting and will not come out of the end of the drop tube and down into the fire box chamber. What if your fire goes out inconsistently? The fire may burn for an hour or two. It may even burn for a day or two. And then you come home and the fire is out and there is no fuel in the fire pot. What’s happened there is that something has gotten lodged in the auger system and caused the fuel to stop feeding for a predetermined amount of time and then the safety system shut the unit down and the unit when into a shut down mode and then possibly whatever was lodged in the auger system now broke loose and during the purging cycle the fuel is exiting the unit. You look into the fire pot and there is no fire in there. There is very little fuel, but there is a little bit of fuel in the bottom of the firepot. This is an indication that something jammed up the auger , the unit went into a shut down cycle, and then it freed itself, and then the fuel started coming back out again; but the safety system kept the unit shut down.
Now we’re going to look at a couple of the auger systems for the pellet stoves, how they operate, and what can happen. The first thing we’ll look at is the auger system for the Magnum Baby Countryside and the Winchester. They both use the same type of auger system. This is a cut-away portion if you were looking into the back of the unit. You have this aluminum housing. There is a hopper that goes on top of this so you’re not able to see this whole housing. Then the fuel is fed down into the base of the auger system. Then, the auger motor goes ahead and turns at intermediate speeds to get the fuels going through the system. Now, if something gets lodged inside of this auger, what will happen is the auger motor will run up against this stop over here, and then it stops. If the fuel does not dislodge itself, or if the fuel can’t be cut off by the action of the flighting, the auger will sit there up against the stop. After a while, the motor heats up and the thermo protectors that are built into this motor will shut the motor off so that it doesn’t harm the system and jam everything up so tight that you can’t get it apart. Also built into the control center is what’s called amp limiters. Those amp limiters, when this motor gets really hot, will shut the control board into a shut down mode. That way it protects the motor and it protects the auger system.
So let’s say you have something jammed in here. How are you going to get it loose? The first thing you want to remember is that you don’t grab a hold and put a pliers or a vice grip onto the flighting and try to move it backwards. Two things could happen. One, you’ll damage the flighting on the auger system itself and then it won’t work after that. Or two, you could break the gears in the gear case. One point that you’ll want to remember is that the gear motor is not designed to be forced backwards. So what you’ll want to do is gently work the motor back and forth, because there is a small amount of area in there that you can move this motor back and forth. That typically will dislodge anything that is caught inside the auger system. If that doesn’t work, then what you do is take your allen wrench, and carefully holding onto the auger motor so it does fall out of the back of the unit, (because as this is sitting here, it is facing downward like this) you go ahead and loosen this and take the motor gently off. Set that down. Then, just leave your wrench right in the collar and move the auger back and forth. You may even have to turn it all the way around. And turn the auger backward like this so that it pushes the fuel back down the auger system and dislodges whatever is caught.
If you have gotten something in the auger that has jammed it so tight that you are not able to get it out doing this, then you aren’t going to have any choice except to take the bolts loose, that are located on either side of the auger system. Remove this plate off the back and then you will be able to slide he entire auger flighting out the back of the unit and dislodge any fuel.
Now, remember before taking the plate off, get all the fuel out of the hopper system so that the only fuel that is going to be in the auger will be what is left inside the tube. When you have the system apart and you’ve dislodged what is caught in there, make sure to check the flighting that there are no knicks and make sure the flighting didn’t get bent. If it got bend, then you are going to want to go ahead and take a file or emery cloth and smooth it off good and then resemble the auger system.
This is a very typical auger system that fits the Magnum Baby Countryside or the Winchester. Check out our YouTube Channel for more videos.