How JustAnswer Works:

  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.

Ask Phil Your Own Question

Phil
Phil, Mechanical Engineer
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 5945
Experience:  Retired HVAC/ Electrical & Boiler contractor. Industrial
23932409
Type Your HVAC Question Here...
Phil is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

I bought a Harman Stove DVC-500 direct vent coal stoker in

Customer Question

I bought a Harman Stove DVC-500 direct vent coal stoker in Sept 2004 and never had a problem with it until this past week. I DO NOT GET ANY FLASHIN LIGHT so I do not have a blink status. I have had a repair man here twice today and he replaced the TCP and checked the stove after I thoroughly cleaned it and . I had to call him back because it still was not working right and I called technical suppport and had him call. We checked the pressure in the stove with guages and it was right. Still the stove is not burning right. He went outside and ripped the cap off and couldn't find anything wrong there either. We did discover the clean out cover for the fines was open as the wing nut was rusted off and figured this was the problem but much to my avail I came home 4 hrs later and its still not burning right. The hit coals are hidden under ash and I only get the blue flame on the right side of the burner so I am not geting enough heaat even when the room temp is set at 85 its only 70 near the furnace. I have spent $350 today and can"t afford to keep paying service calls when we are at a loss as to what is wrong with the burner but I do know I loved it and want it to work right again. Can you help me?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: HVAC
Expert:  Phil replied 2 years ago.

Phil :

All work to be done by licensed professional. WE KEEP GOING UNTIL YOU HAVE THE INFORMATION YOU NEED, I come and go. This is step ONE.

Phil :

Hello

Phil :

thats the owners manual in case you need it

Phil :

Tell me if your system has a remote wall mounted temperature sensor or not,

Phil :

and tell me if you have inspected the draft fan blades, and cleaned those or not

Phil :

I assume you have cleaned the grates under the coal bed

Customer:

y es I have cleaned the grates and checked draft fan blade the sensor probe is just a wire with a little probe on the end and i mounted on a plastic pipe but my furnace does not burn right in the stove mode temp either. The coals seem to burn on the right side but the left side of the grate with the coals does not get the blue flame and therefore the fire is not hot and I can touch the stove set at 85 I have the owners manual and the Harman service man is stumped I really need help

Customer:

This was no help to me

Phil :

Hello again, trouble shooting is a step by step process. so far we are still on step one, looking the situation over

Customer:

so where do we go from here We even called the Harman Techs and did everything they tod us and still the stove is not working I guess I need a geniu

Phil :

Whatever I do for you will not be of any help until we finally figure it out, that will take some testing etc

Customer:

he did tests on the stove and its hard to believe one day is

Customer:

ts working great and the next day it doest quit but gets stuck on low burn

Phil :

the thing is that the service people missed something or the stove would be working... so I might be asking you to check things that the service people said was oK

Customer:

ok

Phil :

since you have no LED indicator lights i suspect the control card is not responding to signals to control the burn rate

Phil :

we can do some tests on that

Customer:

ok

Phil :

first find the feed rate and high low adjustments

Customer:

ok

Phil :

then locate the feed motor, and observe it as you change settings on those adjustments from highest to lowest and watch for any difference in the feed rate

Customer:

its not feeeding now so when I move it from 1 - 5 it does nothing

Phil :

If the feed rate is not changing. next step is put a slightly damp wash cloth in the freezer for ten minutes, then wrap it around the room sensor tip and observe the feed drive as you set the feed rate higher and lower

Phil :

the idea is to see if these controls are affecting the feed motor or not. If not the the control card is going bad most likely

Phil :

If you have a multi meter we can use it to check the room sensor,

Customer:

can I use a frozen gel pack wrapped in a washcloth

Phil :

that will work

Customer:

ok

Phil :

if the sensor is going bad it will signal the control card to put the coal feed rate to minimum

Phil :

if the ice pack does not speed the coal feed drive motor up, we can check the sensor with an ohm meter.

Phil :

Do you have a multi meter you can use, those all have an ohm meter function on them

Phil :

the way we check the room sensor is to disconnect it and use an ohm meter to see if its shorted or open

Phil :

if its not shorted or open, we adjust the ohm meter to read mid range with the probes on each wire from the sensor

Customer:

no meter and the ice pak did not kick the feed on the stove on and my hands were freezing

Phil :

then we see if we can get a stable smooth range or meter reads as we warm up, then cool off the sensor

Phil :

thanks

Phil :

You will need an ohm meter to check the room sensor

Phil :

so far it looks like the room sensor is bad, or the control card is bad... odds are in the 70% range or higher that is the case

Phil :

since there are no LED's on the card lit, it is likely the control card thats bad

Customer:

I asked him about that when he came and he said it looked ok as I thought maybe my cat had gotten after it but he said it looked ok I guess I dont understand about the Led the light are on for all controls working the status should blink if there is a pressure problem

Phil :

see page 31 on the issue of how the LED's operate

Customer:

my manual only has 30 pages and the last page

Customer:

is Blink status details and no of these apply because they dont blink

Phil :

click on this link in the blue it has page 31 in it

Phil :

the sensors shown on page 26 control the feed rate also... testing those requires a lot of experience and special instruments.

Phil :

So far it doesn't seem like the service people you called checked any of those, or that the Techs as Harman were addressing any of those issues either

Customer:

Yes it says the light blinks one to several times but mine do not and the fire does not go out but continues to bun a slow pace

Phil :

the fact that the LEDs are not working points to a bad control card... but still that should be verified by a qualified Harman tech with instruments

Phil :

My guess is that the people who showed up didnt do any of that,

Customer:

the feed light comes on whemn fed and ash out the light go off til I turn up the feed again

Customer:

draft lights go off til feed rate is setalso the combustion and

Phil :

so you do actually have LED's functioning

Phil :

Next step would require the use of an ohm meter.

Customer:

He had the control card out to replace the tsp line adn had something there to check it

Phil :

that sounds promising

Customer:

yes they work and I hear the draft and combustion motors run

Phil :

The problem is with these electronics controls, consisting of the four sensors and the control card.

Phil :

its going to take a competent Harman stove man to check each of those components out,

Customer:

Im tryin here I know enough about the stove to fire in and clean it every season and shut down and start fire its not easy since my husbband died and the kids and I try to keep things running smoothly please be patient with me

Phil :

If you have paid the service people three hundred dollars already, they owe a fix or at least an accurate diagnosis. does the company have a more experienced man they can send out, you may need to talk to the owner about this

Phil :

i can stay with you as long as needed on this

Phil :

Tell the repair service owner that the feed motor is stuck on slow speed and that you have been working with me, and that we have tried various tests to get any change in the combustion fan or feed motor rate ..and it does not change.

Phil :

so that we know one of the four sensors is defective, or the control card is defective, and that should be something the man who came should have been able to detect and advise on

Customer:

i had a service man come last summer and it was the same man and today the first bill was $276 and when I called him back he was here for about 2 hrs and called the Harman stove tec and he was taking everything apart and charged me another $60

Phil :

and that you need the issue diagnosed for the money you have already paid

Customer:

Is it possible one side of the grate the coals are right and the other side they aren't burning right with a problem in the feed control. He took all the coal out down to the hopper and said the feed was workin but I dont know if he tried the diffrenet speeds he set it on 3 and i always had in on 1

Phil :

when the feed control is on low you will not get even distribution

Customer:

ok now did I do something to get it stuck or what happened

Phil :

the fact that its not heating as it did before, and its not burning right on one side indicates that the feed rate is on low speed, and that that is likely due to a one of the four sensors failing or the control card failing

Customer:

I dont know if their repair me

Phil :

you probably did nothing to cause the problem

Phil :

they need to check the four sensors and find out which one is causing the control card to put the feed rate on low

Customer:

Idont know if their repair man is smart enough to check this I had him frustrated all to heck today already

Phil :

if the sensors are all working properly then its a bad control card

Phil :

it is quite likely the repair man is not smart enough to do those checks

Customer:

so now what do I do

Phil :

tell me what city your in or nearest i can look for another dealer for you

Customer:

Saint Marys Pennsylvania

Phil :

this is whats listed

Phil :

is this who you have been dealing with? how close are they>

Phil :



22 Field Street, Kane, PA
(814)(NNN) NNN-NNNN‎ · petersonrefrigeration.com

Category: Wood Burning Stoves



"In the foreground, the Accentra pellet stove with an enamel finish. Harman's line of automatic light ricecoal stoves in stock. The Harman XXV pellet stove..." - petersonrefrigeration.com




Customer:

yes those are the guys

Phil :

thats a thirty mile drive for them, they may be your only hope in that area

Phil :

if they only charged $60 for the last trip, they are bending over backwards for you

Phil :

feed the guy a sandwich next time he comes out

Customer:

I know thats where we bought the stove the sstove. He called them and told them he didn't think it was fair to cj

Customer:

harge me another 120 so they said 60

Customer:

I will call them tomorrow and tell them the feed contol is stuck on low and the control card needs check is that all I need them to check They will have to come Fri morn as I work tomorrow

Phil :

The three sensors on page 26 of the link I sent control all these burn rate functions...it could be any one of the. or the room sensor, or the control card

Phil :

the factory guy they called sounded inexperienced to me... the repair people should arrive with all five parts they can try if necessary, and with the top guy at harman available... they need good factory coaching.

Customer:

How do we check these sensors and card so I dont sound stupid when I talk to them

Phil :

The temperature sensors are checked with an ohm meter, and the factory will have charts on what reads to look for

Phil :

An ohm meter is used to check the temperature sensors

Phil :

they need the factory manual on what tests to run on each of the five items. the Harman factory man should be able to fax that to them... and they should have that same man standing by on the phone to coach them

Phil :

the factory man should email your repair guys all the data they need to check each sensor and the control card

Phil :

they should bring all those parts with them as well, thats cheaper in the long run than making those long trips

Phil :

they should only talk to the top factory man, the last guy sounded inexperienced to me

Phil :

tell me how old the service people are, that will give an idea of what you are up against

Customer:

36 years old only one I ever saw

Phil :

He is old enough to be skilled but not wise enough maybe to know how to get ahold of the top factory guy

Customer:

Hes the only one I saw its a very small company

Phil :

his is likely just settling for some other semi experienced person at the factory,.. tell he needs to find out who their top technical man is and have him available when he is at your house

Customer:

when you call you get one of the 6 techs in the service room from Harman . I dont think he has worked on too many of the coal stoves says they sell them but never had problems only with the pellet stoves

Phil :

what I do in those cases is tell the guy at the factory that Im working with that I appreciate his help but that this is 'real tricky' and if he could connect me with the old boy there that knows all this stuff like the back of his hand, that I would appreciate it

Phil :

that approach will generally get you the top guy

Phil :

get that persons name, make a note of it. only talk to him after that

Customer:

thanks can I chat on Fri and let you know how we do on this service call with your help

Phil :

and.... before he comes out, he needs the factory specifications on how each of the five controls items can be tested

Phil :

you can get back to me anytime, just long into your JA account or book mark this question or follow the links from the email notification you get

Phil :

and I will be notified

Phil :

Im in and out all day every day

Phil :

i will pick it when I can

Customer:

ok Im keeping my fingeres and toes crossed for good luck

Phil :

best good luck you can get is to feed the guy a real nice sandwich

Phil :

dont ask him if he wants one, just set one on a plate next to him when he is working

Customer:

even a good dessert might do

Phil, Mechanical Engineer
Category: HVAC
Satisfied Customers: 5945
Experience: Retired HVAC/ Electrical & Boiler contractor. Industrial
Phil and 3 other HVAC Specialists are ready to help you

JustAnswer in the News:

 
 
 
Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.
 
 
 

What Customers are Saying:

 
 
 
  • You did one super job of explaining to me everything there is to know about this fridge. I'm looking forward to asking you questions in the future. Jimmy Bagley, IA
< Last | Next >
  • You did one super job of explaining to me everything there is to know about this fridge. I'm looking forward to asking you questions in the future. Jimmy Bagley, IA
  • Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help. Mary C. Freshfield, Liverpool, UK
  • This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!! Alex Los Angeles, CA
  • Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult. GP Hesperia, CA
  • I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion. Justin Kernersville, NC
  • Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around. Esther Woodstock, NY
  • Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know. Robin Elkton, Maryland
 
 
 

Meet The Experts:

 
 
 
  • gotoman for ac

    HVAC Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    4657
    51 years of experience install design and repair of all makes and models of AC
< Last | Next >
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/SE/ServiceTechRus/2012-6-7_2119_056.64x64.JPG gotoman for ac's Avatar

    gotoman for ac

    HVAC Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    4657
    51 years of experience install design and repair of all makes and models of AC
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/AL/alumalite/2012-5-10_234018_shutterstock506249951forJA500.64x64.jpg Phil's Avatar

    Phil

    Mechanical Engineer

    Satisfied Customers:

    3888
    Retired HVAC/ Electrical & Boiler contractor. Industrial
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/skibum0101/2008-12-16_015819_just_answer.jpg Rick Mather's Avatar

    Rick Mather

    HVAC Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    3132
    35 years experience, HVAC
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/RY/Rygis20/2011-5-7_3143_DSC5324.64x64.JPG Matthew's Avatar

    Matthew

    HVAC Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    1994
    14 years experience in the HVAC field of service, installation, Manual J & D calculations
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/KE/kentguidry/2011-9-26_214316_0059.64x64.jpg Kenton Guidry's Avatar

    Kenton Guidry

    HVAC Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    962
    12 years install/service experience.
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/solarman1947/2009-12-13_223915_phpkKBcXq_c2PM.jpg Rick Ridley's Avatar

    Rick Ridley

    UK Heating Engineer

    Satisfied Customers:

    871
    Retired But have had 30 years on the tools, Ex CORGI
  • http://ww2.justanswer.com/uploads/Ironheadfan/2009-12-18_222416_pump_005.jpg Tom's Avatar

    Tom

    HVAC Technician

    Satisfied Customers:

    770
    16+yrs HVAC/R service. Residential Commerical Industrial
 
 
 
Chat Now With A HVAC Technician
Phil
Phil
HVAC Technician
5945 Satisfied Customers
Retired HVAC/ Electrical & Boiler contractor. Industrial