How To Test An Auger Motor In A Pellet Stove (Step-by-Step Guide)
The term ‘Auger’ refers to a device that consists of a reduction gearbox and an electric motor. These work the motor by turning the auger shaft at a rate that’s predetermined inside of a pellet stove. It helps to deliver the fuel into the burn pot from the hopper. While auger motors are great, they still have times where they malfunction. So, how do you test an auger motor to see if you need a new one?
Before you test the motor, you will need to remove it from the pellet stove after you’ve unplugged it from the wall. Next, connect the motor to the test wire. Make sure your surge protector is in the ‘off’ position and plug the test wire into the surge protector. Turn the surge protector on, and your motor should turn.
In this guide, we will explain how you can test your auger motor. Upon finding that it needs to be replaced, we’ve also included instructions for removing the old motor and installing a new one. As a bonus, we added pricing information just in case you need to purchase a new one.
An Important Note Before Testing Your Auger Motor
An auger motor usually relies on a capacitor for storing power to use when it starts under load. If your motor does have a capacitor, you will need to make sure you have an adapter when you bench test using a testing wire.
Important Note: If you do not engage the capacitor, it can ultimately damage your motor. Make sure you do not test with pliers! Use your finger instead to test the weakness.
How To Test An Auger Motor
The motors that are in the USA run on 115 to 120 VAC. The testing sequence we are about to share with you will work for these two motor types only. If you use these steps on any other motor type, this can cause personal injury or possibly even a fire.
Tools You Will Need:
- Test wire that includes adapters
- Surge protector
- Channel-lock pliers
- Turn the stove off. You will need to unplug the stove from the wall. After the stove is unplugged, you must remove the motor from the stove. If you don’t know how to do this, look below for instructions for removal.
- Connect the motor. You might need to use the adapters to connect your test wire to the motor.
- Plug the test wire in. Before you put the test wire into the surge protector, make sure it’s in the ‘off’ position. Once the wire is plugged in, flip the switch to the ‘on’ position. The motor should begin to turn immediately.
Replacing Your Auger Motor
When your motor is running, and it’s turning slower than usual, or it’s extremely noisy and not a lot of pellets drop at once, it’s time to install a new one. Some of the newer models have updates like ball-bearing input shafts that can help your motor last longer.
How To Remove The Old Auger Motor
- Remove the back or side panel of your stove. Usually, the motor is in the back panel. However, you can look at your owner’s manual to see where the motor is. The pictures in the manual will usually tell you where it’s located.
- Clean up the rust. You will need to take a moment and clean any rust that is surrounding your motor. Removing the rust will help you to remove the auger motor more easily.
- Spray PC Blaster. If you find that your motor has a screw set or bolt with a color, you will need to blast it with some PC Blaster. This is to help lubricate the area to make it easier to remove.
- Remove the AC wires from the electromagnet. You can unclip the wires from the motor that’s on the back of the gearbox. If you have any problems removing them, you can use long needle-nose pliers.
- Access the bolt on the auger collar. If you have an AC test cord, you can use this to power the motor and rotate the shaft. This will help so you can access the bolt or set screw that is on the auger collar.
- Remove the motor. Using the proper tools, take the motor out of the pellet stove. If you see a collar on the shaft, you will need to use a socket set to remove the set bolts. Or, if it’s set screws, you will need an Allen Wrench.
- Use a mini crowbar. If the motor still is hard to budge, you can use a mini crowbar and a piece of wood. Set the wood against the motor and use the crowbar to tap it firmly until you knock it loose. Then, remove it from the stove.
Usually, you won’t need to tap the motor loose. If the shaft has broken because of jamming issues, then the motor might get stuck. Or, if the auger and the motor are stuck together, then it might need a little bit of a boost to knock it out of place.
Installing A New Auger Motor
- Connect the AC wires. Clip the AC wires in place on the electromagnet motor. This is located on the back of the gearbox.
- Rotate the shaft. When you clip the AC wires into place, use a cord to power the motor. While the motor is powered, rotate the shaft on the flat side. The goal is to get it into the same position shaft that was part of the old auger motor before you took it out.
- Screw the auger motor into place. Depending on the type of screws or bolts you have, you will either use a socket, Allen wrench, or long nose pliers.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace An Auger Motor?
The cost to replace an auger motor depends on whether you do it yourself or hire a professional. If you install an auger motor on your own, then you can expect to pay around $80 to $150 for the motor.
However, if you hire a professional, you will need to pay labor fees on top of the motor’s price. Labor fees typically run from $380 to $600. You may also need to pay an additional fee for disposing of the old motor and for any cleanup.
If you decide to hire a professional, it’s good to shop around for several different prices. However, if you can’t do this job by yourself, we recommend calling a friend instead of paying for a professional, as this is an easy DIY project.
What causes the auger motor to over-feed pellets?
If your auger motor is overfeeding pellets, then you will need to adjust the feed rate on your control panel. This will help to control the flow of the pellets. However, this is typically a sign of a faulty control board or a dirty stove.
Should the output shaft spin freely?
Your output shaft should not be able to turn when you try to turn it by hand. If it does spin freely, then the gearbox is failing. This means that you will have to replace your auger motor.
Can you install an auger motor by yourself?
Yes, you can install an auger motor by yourself. However, make sure you take the necessary precautions, such as unplugging the stove before getting the old motor out. You should not plug your stove back in until the new motor is installed and the panel is closed.
Wrapping It Up
Auger motors are extremely popular; however, even these top-of-the-line motors can experience some issues. The main issue, however, is age. At the first sign of a loud noise, or if it acts up, you should take the time to test it. If you plug the motor into the surge protector and it doesn’t turn, then this is a sign that you will need to replace the motor.
To save on money, you can replace the motor yourself. By choosing to do this as a DIY project, you’re saving between $200 and $500! Plus, the only way you’re going to get good at DIY projects is by practicing. This project is perfect for beginners and intermediate DIY enthusiasts alike.
Heather is a passionate writer who loves anything DIY. Growing up, she learned everything from home repairs to design, and wants to share her tips with you. When she's not writing, she's usually hiking or searching for her next DIY project.
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