The Whitfield Profile 20, 30 and Traditions models work a little differently than most pellet stoves. The pellet feed and combustion fan speed is regulated by a light sensitive sensor in the pellet chute called a “photo eye.” If the Photo gets dirty or goes bad then you can have problems such as pellets piling up, the flame goes out, black glass or the stove will shut down early. If you have any of these problems the first thing to do is clean your stove and chimney. If you still have the problem you should replace your Photo Eye.
On some models the photo eye can be accessed as pictured below.
On some other models you can access the photo eye from the back of the stove by removing the convection fan.
How do I know if my control board is bad?
- The board is bad and needs to be repaired or replaced if you plug in the stove and it won’t turn on no matter what you do.
- The board is bad and needs to be repaired or replaced if you plug in the stove and the lights on the board blink off and on.
- The board is bad and needs to be repaired or replaced if you have a lazy flame, low heat, black glass and you have already cleaned the stove and chimney and replaced the photo eye. (This is very rare but can happen).
How do I know if my control board is NOT bad?
- If the auger motor, convection fan or exhaust fan is not working you most likely have a problem with one of those motors and not the control board. You can test these motors individually by disconnecting them from the stove and connecting them to 120 volts power. They should run on high.
- If you have a lazy flame, black glass, pellets building up in the fire pot, fire not staying lit your stove and chimney may need to be cleaned. If your stove and chimney has been cleaned and you still have the problem you probably need to replace the “photo eye”.
How do I know if a motor is bad?
- You can test these motors individually by disconnecting them from the stove and connecting them to 120 volts power. They should run on high. If they do not run smoothly they may need to be replaced.
How do I know if my auger motor is bad?
When an auger motor fails it usually just quits. On a very rare occasion you might have one that just seems to get weak. If so, replace it.
DON’T WASTE YOUR TIME trying to repair an auger motor. I have never heard of anyone ever being able to repair one and I’ve had hundreds of people email and call asking how; None successful. Taking it apart and lubricating doesn’t work and if any of the gears are stripped, there is no known source for new ones. Buy a new motor.
The other issue that can cause your auger to stop turning is an auger jam. These are a lot of fun. It usually happens when the sharp object you use to open your pellet bag falls into the hopper accidentally. It eventually finds its way down to the auger and gets caught. If this happens you need to remove all the pellets from the hopper and you may need to remove the auger. As of yet I don’t know of anyone who has destroyed the auger and had to replace it so don’t worry about that.
One final cause of an auger not turning is the vacuum switch. The vacuum switch is located right next to the exhaust fan and has a small tube going between it and the exhaust fan. What’s it for? It shuts off your auger motor if your chimney gets full of ash. If you haven’t cleaned your chimney in a year, this may be the cause of your auger not turning. To clean the chimney simply remove the cap on the bottom of the chimney right at the back of your stove, turn on your shop-vac to collect the ash, and bang on the side of the chimney with a hammer or wrench until the ash pours out. Start your stove and see if it works.
If it still doesn’t work you may have a bad vacuum switch (like I have right now on my Austroflamm). To test it, unplug your stove, take the wires off the switch and connect them together, plug your stove back in and see if it works. The vacuum switch is a safety feature however, if you clean your stove and your chimney every year you’ll never run the risk of it being activated. Therefore, running your stove without it for a period is not dangerous as long as it’s clean. I’ve had my stove for four years without a vacuum switch with not problem.