Alaska 140 Auger Feed Binds

A Coal stoker furnace or stove controls most operations including automatically feeding the coal. They are quite similar to any conventional oil and gas units and easily operated for extended periods of time. They commonly use rice coal but may use larger sizes like buckwheat. They can be used as primary heat, supplementary heat or have a dual set up with your existing oil/gas furnace.
jonseat
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Post Mon. Apr. 02, 2007 11:45 pm

Hi there!! We own and operate a greenhouse and market in central Michigan. Early December 06 we had a dealer install a new Alaska 140 auger feed furnace. The unit worked great for 60 days, and then the drive auger would bind, rip the gears out of the gear box. Believe it or not, this happened every week in February, 4 times and 4 drive motors and gear boxes. Finally, I told the dealer to get the unit out. The nature of our business demands dependable heat. The dealer in the first place over stated the output of this unit, claimed 200k BTU + Alaska only lists up to 170k. the dealer inspected our installation location prior to purchase, and noted the steel exhaust that we employ. Stated that this would not be a problem as long as we installed a "draft inducer". Now that the unit is setting here broken, he refuses to take our calls, hasn't come to pick the unit up, and claims that it is our chimney. Well at this point we have a $4000.00 boat anchor setting in our greenhouse, a dealer (who is not listed as a dealer on Alaskas web site) who will not take our calls or answer letters. I would not recommend this unit to anyone who needs to stay warm. Has anyone else experienced this issue with this unit?? We would appreciate the input. :shock: :o :( :x


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coaledsweat
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Post Tue. Apr. 03, 2007 8:36 am

I can't imagine why a chimney would cause an auger to jam, that is just ridiculous. My first thoughts are the quality and size of your coal supply, and is it anthracite? Does it contain rocks and other foreign materials? Perhaps an alignment issue? Something is wrong and I doubt very much if it is really the unit.
I would get a hold of Alaska and explain what is going on. With the unit and your dealer, then maybe you can get some closure. I have yet to see anyone in this industry (manufacturers) that would't go out of their way to see that a customer is happy with their product. Stokers very rarley break, for one to break four times in a row is absolutley absurd.
Let us know what is going on, there are several Alaska owners here and I'm sure you'll get some pointers soon. Stay tuned. :)

jonseat
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Post Tue. Apr. 03, 2007 10:22 am

Good morning and thanks for the input. Since this unit was installed we have used reading and kimmel bagged rice coal supplied by the dealer. Clean and very nice. Fuel has not been the issue.
The dealer has only had one thing on his mind, and that is the exhaust stack. I have had many years of experience with power train drive systems, and yes, this is the issue.
I contacted alaska via email, and they responded that the dealer would take care of the issue. Well.........
I am going to write the company a letter and explain to them exactly what has happened, and explain to them that the last "breakdown" caused the temps in our greenhouse to dip below freezing,, and that we had some "issues" with the plants!! This will get their attention.
I just want the thing out of here, like the dealer said that we would do.
We are presently shopping for an older hand fed or stoker fed boiler in the 500k btu range.
Thanks for the input, very appreciated. :)

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LsFarm
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Location: Michigan

Post Tue. Apr. 03, 2007 11:25 am

Hello jonseat, I agree with Ian [coaledsweat] that the auger should not bind with clean coal.

Where in Central Michigan are you? I'm in Holly, just south of Flint. I'll be glad to come take a look at the instalation and see if I can see any glaring problems

I'm not a dealer or professional installer, but a 'jack of all trades'. If you are not too far away I may be able to come over in a few weeks.

Check your PM's for an additional message.

Hope I can help. Greg L.
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

jonseat
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Post Tue. Apr. 03, 2007 9:59 pm

Ls, thanks for the input!! We are located just outside alma on m-46. Phone here is 989.463.6923 office 989.506.7262 cell. I am contacting the company via mail and we will see where that goes. At this point we are thinking, that it is going to go to court. Which is to bad, but if you have a very stubborn dealer what do you do??? Thanks, jon

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LsFarm
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Post Tue. Apr. 03, 2007 11:20 pm

Hi Jon, well Alma is too far away from my route this weekend. So I'll try for later.

Ok, to your auger drive, Is there any chance there was a lot of moisture in the coal, auger tube or coal hopper/bin ?? If so maybe it froze and bound up the auger and caused the gearboxes to go bad??

I'm amazed that you had 4 gearboxes go bad, Aren't the gearboxes protected from damage by a shearpin in the auger drive coupling?? In my auger drive stoker, I have a shear pin to protect the gears if the auger jams.

How far away is the coal hopper from the burner? Is it too far and the auger and gearbox are too weak for the distance and load??

I'm just tossing out ideas here.

Can you post a few photos of the furnace and setup?? Maybe we can figure it out from photos.

Show a photo of the alleged culprit: the steel chimney.

Greg L.

.
Last edited by LsFarm on Wed. Apr. 04, 2007 7:43 am, edited 1 time in total.
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?

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coal berner
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Stoker Coal Boiler: 1986 Electric Furnace Man 520 DF
Stove/Furnace Make: Electric Furnace Man
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520
Location: Pottsville PA. Schuylkill County PA. The Hart Of Anthracite Coal Country.

Post Wed. Apr. 04, 2007 1:25 am

Hello jon I AM sorry to here about you problem I delt with ALASKA in the past and there where very helpful they been around since 1977 have you tried to call them if not I would defitnetly give them a call and explain what is going on with there dealer and product I would think that it still should be under warranty he is there phone # 570-387-0260 and fax # 570-389-8033 they also have a sales address http://[email protected] if you cant get them on the phone I see you have the 140 auge feed model that can burn wood pellets or rice coal is there somthing you have to switch to change from one to the other the reason why I am asking is they make another 140 model for rice coal only I was just thinking there might be somthing you would have to change to go from one to the other fuel I do not know if this correct or not well I hope this helps in some way and I hope they correct the problem good luck and take care. P.S. greg this model has a 250# hopper on the side of the it.
J.C.

Heating house & water with a 1986 electric furnace man DF520 using buckwheat Anthracite coal

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LsFarm
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Location: Michigan

Post Wed. Apr. 04, 2007 7:58 am

Thanks JC [coal berner]. I didn't look up the model on the manufacturers site yet. Your suggestion that it could need some form of conversion from pellets/coal to coal only is a possibility.

Jon, if you have a drawing of the hopper/auger/burner in your owners manual, can you scan and post it here? I'm really currious how it is set up.

The auger must be just to replace the pusher/paddle/shovel that moves the coal from the hopper to the grates. Now I'm really confused, how can a very short auger being gravity fed coal bind up??

Jon, post photos, and scan drawings from your manual if you can.

Greg L

Coal
Burning Pea/Buckwheat through an antique stoker [semi retired SSboiler],
Running an Axeman-Anderson 260M boiler burning Pea, About 150-250#per day
Farming, Fixing, Fabricating and Flying: 'spare time' what's that?


jonseat
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Post Wed. Apr. 04, 2007 10:27 am

Good Morning Guys!! Contacted Alaska via fax and email last night. No reply at this point.

The machine has a 250 pound hopper, side mounted. Feed auger is aprox 16 " long. All coal that was "fed" to the machine ws brought inside and stacked prior to use. Temps were maintained in the area of 68-72. the only adjustment on the unit to go from coal to pellets is the "forced draft" fan, Hi for coal, low for pellets. will attempt to post photos of the installation. Stay tuned :)

jonseat
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Post Wed. Apr. 04, 2007 10:58 am

can't get the pix on. leave email addresses and I will forward them to you. Thanks, Jon

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coal berner
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Stoker Coal Boiler: 1986 Electric Furnace Man 520 DF
Stove/Furnace Make: Electric Furnace Man
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520
Location: Pottsville PA. Schuylkill County PA. The Hart Of Anthracite Coal Country.

Post Wed. Apr. 04, 2007 12:55 pm

HI JON I see you emailed & fax them I think at this point if I where you A phone call is defitnely in order and if you do get ahold of them do not forget to ask way this dealer is not on there list. I cant believe your having all of this trouble with this company and there product is the auger inside a tube or is it open in the hopper I was thinking mybe somthing got in the tube between the auger and tube wall and knocked out the alignment on the auger are you hearing any grinding or rubbing when its turning with out coal in it just a though and can you look therw it and see if it is rubbing anywhere well once again good luck and keep us posted whats going on take care
J.C.

Heating house & water with a 1986 electric furnace man DF520 using buckwheat Anthracite coal

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coal berner
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Posts: 3591
Joined: Tue. Jan. 09, 2007 12:44 am
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1986 Electric Furnace Man 520 DF
Stove/Furnace Make: Electric Furnace Man
Stove/Furnace Model: DF520
Location: Pottsville PA. Schuylkill County PA. The Hart Of Anthracite Coal Country.

Post Wed. Apr. 04, 2007 1:33 pm

LsFarm wrote:Thanks JC [coal berner]. I didn't look up the model on the manufacturers site yet. Your suggestion that it could need some form of conversion from pellets/coal to coal only is a possibility.

Jon, if you have a drawing of the hopper/auger/burner in your owners manual, can you scan and post it here? I'm really currious how it is set up.

The auger must be just to replace the pusher/paddle/shovel that moves the coal from the hopper to the grates. Now I'm really confused, how can a very short auger being gravity fed coal bind up??

Jon, post photos, and scan drawings from your manual if you can.

Greg L
hello greg when you get a chance there is one on the classifieds section to look at talk to you later take care
J.C.

Heating house & water with a 1986 electric furnace man DF520 using buckwheat Anthracite coal

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Post Thu. Apr. 05, 2007 8:16 pm

A single walled pipe system is not approved to vent a coal stove. A coal stove will not draft on a single walled pipe system. There is double walled stove pipe out there to do the job for you. A double walled pipe system imitates how a chimney drafts. A single walled pipe will get very cold from the outside temperature and it will not allow the stove to draft. The pipe will get so cold and the low temp of the exhaust going out the pipe will fight one another. When this happens, any exhaust that this chimney system does not except will back up in the stove/hopper/auger causing sulfuric acid and condensation that will cause a rapid corrosion and bindage of any moving parts. This sounds evident because you have went through so many motors. An artificial vent system or a Class A chimney system would be the answer.
I had a used alaska stove and hooked it up with a single wall pipe system and had this happen to me. I corrected the problem with a Class A chimney system.

timberman
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Post Fri. Apr. 06, 2007 8:26 am

Did you put the power vent on (draft inducer)? How high is your pipe? If your pipe is high enough, it doesn't matter if its single, double, or whatever, it should draft. It may not be approved, safe, or legal, but it should draft. Although I have doubts about the corrosion theory (happening that quickly), I could see this happening over a year or more, but not over 60 days then every week after. If this were the case, wet coal would do the same and we've all burned alot of wet coal this year. Sounds like something is warped or misaligned or coal jamming between the auger and the wall of the auger tube. Does that hopper have a lid on it? If it does, have you ever noticed any condensation under it. If so this is a sign of improper draft. Wet coal can produce the same condensation, so this is not always the case. I too have written different stoker companies and gotten no reply. I'm still waiting on a reply from Keystoker that I sent back in October 06. I don't think they are going to anwser me. :) The companies that frequent this site are pretty good and get right on questions that they receive, but even they miss one now and again. Just my opinion. Hope you get this worked out.

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coaledsweat
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Post Fri. Apr. 06, 2007 8:58 am

A gearbox a week, something is wrong and it's NOT the chimney. Does it have a Barometric damper? Could the unit have been overfired? That could cause warpage to the unit and perhaps misalignment of the drive's components.


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