If you’ve never used a pellet stove before, getting used to it can take some time. After all, most of us are more used to gas grills. If there’s a pellet stove auger not working, you may need to check the motor to make sure it is in good shape.
Sounds freaky? Trust us, it’s actually pretty straightforward!
This article will show you how to discover pellet stove auger motor problems by bench testing it. But before that, we will also go into how auger motors work, and the signs that they may be malfunctioning.
If you want to learn more about troubleshooting your pellet grill’s auger motor, keep reading to find out!
What are Auger Motors and How Do They Work?
The term auger motor describes a device that consists of an electric motor and a reduction gearbox. These components turn an auger shaft at a set speed to deliver fuel (aka the wood pellets) from the hopper to the firepot in a pellet grill or stove.
After analyzing the data delivered from various switches and sensors in the stove, the control board completes the electrical circuit to the auger motor.
There are different types of auger motors used in the pellet grill. However, the two most popular auger motors in North America are the shaded pole and the synchronous varieties.
Shaded Pole Auger:
This kind of motor uses a standard C-frame electric motor, turning at a high speed, to rotate a set of gears that turn the auger at a constant, slower rate with a much higher force.
The torque of this auger motor can be tested with a pair of channel lock pliers to try and prevent the turning of the motor shaft. If you can stop the motor shaft from turning without much effort, the motor is weak and needs replacing. These kinds of auger motors generally have a torque output of between 16 to 20 feet/pound.
Synchronous Auger Motor:
A synchronous motor rotates at a rate directly proportional to the frequency of the AC input. They are much more efficient and quieter than standard C-frame motors. These motors are usually mounted on a smaller gearbox and put out between 5 and 10 feet/pound.
Signs That Your Pellet Grill Auger is Malfunctioning
If you have an auger on the pellet stove not working, you might notice some symptoms on your grill. There may be a few hiccups when you are grilling or cooking on it. Here’s what you need to look out for:
- Low pressure on your auger, so that the pellets feed more slowly into the firepot.
- Wildly stove fluctuating temperatures.
- The auger stops feeding the firepot altogether.
- The auger stops turning and seems stuck.
- The auger motor gets really hot pretty quickly.
- The Pellet stove auger stops feeding halfway during the grilling process.
How to Test an Auger Motor in a Pellet Grill
This part of the article will show you how to test the auger motor in your pellet stove. Whether you have a Traeger or any other kind of grill, this bench test will work for any kind of pellet stove.
Whether you have a QuadraFire pellet stove auger not turning, or you’ve planned an American Harvest pellet stove troubleshooting session, this is a foolproof method!
What You Need:
- Your pellet stoves auger motor
- An adapter
- A test wire
- Power Source
- Channel-lock pliers
- Start by making sure your grill or stove is completely cool. Unplug the wire and disassemble the grill/stove.
- Remove the auger motor from the appliance.
- Connect your auger motor to the test wire, using the adapter if needed. (Find out how to make a test wire here!)
- Make sure the surge protector is switched off. Connect the test wire to the surge protector.
- Turn the surge protector on. The motor should begin to rotate immediately.
- Next, use a pair of channel lock pliers to try and stop the output shaft from turning. If your motor is working as it should, you won’t be able to stop it, because it has enough torque to keep it turning.
- After you switch off the surge protector, you shouldn’t be able to turn the output shaft by hand, or with a pair of pliers. If you find that you can rotate it by hand, the motor has gone bad and needs to be replaced.
This video will help you understand how to test your auger motor more clearly.
How Else Your Auger Motor Might be Creating Trouble
A faulty auger motor doesn’t mean you have to throw out your motor or control board. Sometimes a faulty auger motor can point to trouble in the other components of your grill. This can include:
A Faulty Vacuum Switch:
Vacuum switches are generally in line with the power to the auger motor. The vacuum switch senses back pressure within the stove.
As a result, if the chimney hasn’t been cleaned in a while, it fills up with debris and ash. This means that the airway will be blocked.
This will trigger the vacuum switch to turn on, shutting off the auger motor. In this case, cleaning out the chimney and ‘resetting’ the vacuum switch will get the auger motor of your pellet stove to start running again as usual.
A Broken Pressure Switch:
If the chimney is clear, but your motor still isn’t working, the vacuum switch may have broken due to lots of pressure, resulting from heavy usage.
In this case, you can pull the wires off the vacuum switch, and connect them together again. This can be done with a paperclip, safety pin, or any other metal that connects the wires so they can conduct electricity.
After that, put the switch back, reassemble your stove and see if the auger is working as it should.
Malfunctioning Plugs or Sockets:
Sometimes the wiring of your stove can be shot. In some cases, your power socket may be faulty, so that the auger motor isn’t receiving any current.
To find out if this is the problem, follow the steps mentioned above to bench test your auger motor by connecting the motor directly to your power source.
If your motor rotates when hooked up to the power, then your plug or grill cords are faulty. If it still doesn’t work, try another outlet or power source.
If it works when hooked up to a different outlet, then your motor is fine. However, if not, then you need to get a new motor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below you will find answers to questions people tend to have about testing the auger motor in pellet motors.
01. Why is My Traeger Auger Not Turning?
An auger motor can stop turning for a number of reasons. The auger can be blocked by debris or even external objects falling into the motor by mistake.
The motor can also fail due to age or even overheating. Sometimes the auger will not work because the vacuum switch is broken.
02. Why Does My Pellet Stove Auger Keep Jamming?
An auger can be jammed because the vacuum switch is triggered to open due to excessive pressure, blocked airways, or any other reason. Sometimes the auger can be blocked by knives or utensils falling in by accident.
03. Why Has My Auger Stopped Feeding Pellets into the Stove?
Besides a faulty motor, the auger may have stopped feeding wood pellets because the hopper door is open or jammed for any reason. It may also be that the hopper doesn’t have enough pellets. If these aren’t the reasons, check the auger motor, chimney, and vacuum switch to make sure they are working properly.
04. How Can I Manually Light a Pellet Stove?
While this isn’t recommended, you can light your pellet stove by yourself. After filling the hopper with pellets, open the fire pot and add an accelerant to the pellets in it. Light the pellets with a long-reach butane lighter.
Then wait for the fire to reach the other pellets and start burning before adding more fuel to your stove or grill. The fire is hot enough once the pellets turn red and start glowing.
05. Can I Reset My Pellet Stove?
If your pellet stove has a reset button, you can use that to restart the stove and see if the auger motor functions normally. If not, you can reset the stove by letting it burn out all the pellets in the hopper. Once all the pellets are burned through, the stove will go out and you can add more and restart it.
To Finish Off
It can be annoying and nerve-racking when your pellet stove or grill starts malfunctioning out of the blue. There’s nothing worse than planning a lovely cookout, only to have your auger motor act all weird at the last possible minute.
Instead of freaking out and asking your guests ‘How do you test an auger motor?’, follow this guide instead!
Knowing how to test an auger motor in a pellet stove or grills will help you keep a cool head and methodically figure out what is wrong with it. This in turn will make it easier for you to find a solution and get your stove working as usual in no time at all!