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MaxFire / UBB

Online
Questions
with
Technical
Answers

Extracted
From
Iburncorn.com
Bixby Forum

i
Contents

#1-2-3-7 light combination 16


#2-3 lights without a restart 17
#2-5 lights - Check the ash drawer switch 8
#3 light and convection Fan 19
#3 or #3-5 or #3-4 blinking light 7
#8 blinking light only on startup 15
#8 blinking light without a shutdown 15
#8 Light & feed wheel sensor 6
2.06 software and the MaxFire 110 19
Altitude setting 18
An intermediate test version of the 2.70 software is now available at 21
An intermediate test version of the 2.71 software is now available at 22
Ash Dump and the 2.06 software 5
Ash dump cycle without dropping the clinker 14
Ash dump frequency on MaxFire 115 20
Ash dump mechanism adjustment 22
Ash dump timing adjustment 10
Axial fan is noisy on MaxFire 110 19
BixCheck “help” 10
BixCheck and 2.71 26
BixCheck and software must… 22
BixCheck does very little automatically 14
BixCheck log file 21
BixCheck software - how to unzip 22
BixCheck telemetry scan rate 17
Burning Soybeans 9
Cable from the computer 18
Calibration settings are a percentage of the internal table 17
Calibration tables different in ver. 2.02 vs ver. 2.06 24
Can not read monitor in 5.5 23
Cleaning the burn pot 14
Cleaning the glass while stove is running 21
Clinker shape 11
Clinker size and Shape 3
Clinker size - 2.02 vs. 2.06 18
Clinker size issues 15
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Contents – cont.

Clinkers elliptically shaped 18


Combustion smoke getting into the room 25
Communication cable for the 115 & 110 20
Condensation on inside hopper door 16
Convection fan speed default values 12
Convection fan thermal cutout switch 25
Corn and growing conditions 25
Cost of running stove 3
Disabling the ash dump process_________________________________________ 19

Efficiency: there are a number of different ways to look at efficiency 24


Error 62 / BixCheck 19
Exhaust fan - noisy 23
Exhaust fan failure light software ver. 2.06 26
Exhaust fan gasket experiment 16
Exhaust fan was not running 17
Exhaust Fan Speed – 110 vs. 115 4
Feed Rates 5
Feed wheel and fuel table difference – 110 & 115 15
Fines inside stove or blowing into room 11
Fuel not burning 25
Fuel tables in the 2.06 software do the following 16
Heat loss 11
Heat Output – 110 vs. 115 4
How long are you able to burn before feed wheel problems happen? 12
Install Bixby venting properly 13
Lean burn adjustment is based on the thermocouple history 6
Lean burn mode and blocked flue shutdown 24
Lighten the load when moving the stove 17
Locating Smoke leaks 4
Manual ash dump cycles twice and dumps fire 23
Measuring voltage on the convection fan 9
Miscellaneous issues 24
Model 100 or model 110? 19
Models by serial number 19
Model 110 to the Model 115 control board change and software 11
No ash dump with an bad igniter 19
Occasional flashing 2-3 lights 20

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Contents – cont.

Old (2.02) vs. new (2.06) software 12


On the higher levels is the heat output the same as the lower levels? 19
Open door? 20
Longer formatting process 20
Paddles not parking properly 10
Pot overfills at start up and issues with #2, #3 lights 13
Pull back at startup 22
Pullback temperature mode 5
Regarding safety claims of a fuel-burning appliance 13
Resister R36 and the #3 light is used to indicate an extreme overtemp 8
Rolled oats 9
Set the ash dump target to perhaps 11
Software bootloader 6
Soot buildup - There are 3 main types 7
Testing the exhaust fan motor 8
The 5 Step Troubleshooting Approach consists of the following 27
The 7 Step Troubleshooting Approach consists of the following 28
Thermocouple circuit measures temperature difference 25
Thermocouple placement 16
Thermostat heat level and shutdown 21
Thermostat operation – heat levels 22
Thin clinker 16
Think of it as built-in two-zone heating 16
Trim pot knob - optimum settings 26
UBB air leak sensitivity 25
Upper burn plate gap 9
Using more fuel with new software 25
Vacuum tube 18
Wandering (hunting) Fan 1
What controls the exhaust fan speed? 4
Why does it dump the clinkers all on one side of the drawer? 18
With pellets, should there be a clinker dump at some point while burning? 17
With the 2.06 startup, is this a normal sequence? 9

iii
Wandering (hunting) Fan:

Question - May 21, 2008:

I’ve attached a log file and the Excel file from a little experiment I did. I have a 115 board set up with an exhaust fan
and sensor attached. I plugged the board in so I could have the exhaust fan run for a while, just long enough to do
a small log file.

In the Excel file I created three charts.


3500 140
Chart 1

3000 120

2500 100

2000 80

1500 60

1000 40

500 20

0 0
1 9 17 25 33 41 49 57 65 73 81 89 97 105 113 121 129 137 145 153 161 169 177 185 193 201 209 217 225 233 241

Exh RPM Exh speed cnt Exh ph cnt

Chart number 1 shows the “Exh speed cnt and Exh ph cnt” follow the exhaust fan RPM quite closely.

3300
Chart 2
3200

3100

3000

2900

2800

2700

2600

2500

2400

2300

2200

2100

2000

1900

1800

1700

1600

1500
1 9 17 25 33 41 49 57 65 73 81 89 97 105 113 121 129 137 145 153 161 169 177 185 193 201 209 217 225 233 241

Exh RPM Exh tgt RPM

Chart number 2 shows the Exh tgt RPM to be a constant RPM while the actual RPM varies or what I call “hunting”.
1
110 8.5
Chart 3

105
8

100

7.5
95

90
7

85

6.5
80

75
6

70

5.5
65

60 5
1 9 17 25 33 41 49 57 65 73 81 89 97 105 113 121 129 137 145 153 161 169 177 185 193 201 209 217 225 233 241

Exh ph cnt Exh speed cnt Exh ph us

Chart number 3 shows that the “Exh ph cnt and the Exh speed cnt” do not follow the Exh ph μs.

I believe the “Exh ph μs” means “Exhaust phase in micro seconds?” In my mind, the “Exh ph cnt and the Exh
speed cnt” should follow the Exh ph μs as should the RPM. If it is supposed to, I would expect all three lines to be
pretty much the same. Is there some way in the software to eliminate this hunting? Some stoves seem to hunt while
others do not. I think that possibly people who complain about a noisy exhaust fan may just be hearing the RPM
changing on the fan. I hope I have interpreted the information correctly. If not, could you take the time to explain the
control of the exhaust fan to me.

A. Anyway, I was able to get in just long enough to see your graph. I think I know what is going on, and there
really isn't a good way to deal with it. The exhaust fan circuit turns on the triac part way into the half-cycle. It then is
automatically reset and turned off at the end of the half-cycle. For the sake of this illustration, consider the time of a
half-cycle to be thought of as 100%, with the beginning at 0% and the end at 100%. The peak is at 50%. I don't
remember the exact details, but the motor won't do anything except get hot if the triac is turned at the 70% time.
The motor will be on full power if the triac is turned on at 0%. However, the motor will be at full speed from
anywhere from 0% to 30% - the same speed, but in our application the torque reserve goes down until there is no
full speed torque reserve left at the 30% point. At that point, the motor will finally start to slow down.

This is what makes the sound difference between a system that is just regulating the speed at 3200 RPM and a
system with full power at 3200 RPM. You are hearing the extra stress applied due to the stronger magnetic field
even though the speed is the same. However, to address your issue, think about the 30% to 70% region. This is
where all the control happens. If you look at the details of the system, the fan speed sensor picks up the 10 fins on
the cooling impeller. Therefore, with a fan at 3200 RPM, I get 32000 ticks per minute. I need to read this often
enough to get a good reading, but not too often to make the reading coarse. I also have certain limitations on the
processor. This works into a number that I get back which is the RPM / 24: if the RPM is 3200, I get a number of
133. I don't remember exactly why the factor of 24 is there. I just remember that I can change it by a factor of 2
easily, but arbitrary numbers are hard to do. This means that, before even considering the control side of the
process, the measurement side is limited to units of 24 RPM.

Now, to the control side:


If you ignore the "μs" readings and look at only the phase value, you will see that for a fairly wide RPM range, this
value doesn't change very much. In other words, the amplification between this control value and the amount of
power available to the motor is very high. It's like having the steering on your car go from all the way left to all the
way right with only 1/2 rotation - it would make for very scary driving.
My limitations on the control factor come from a number of things. First, the natural response of the motor is very

2
sensitive - a little extra power will make it react. Second, the resolution of the counter I have to generate the control
(or phase) value needs to be split into the 1/120 second cycle. There are limitations on the processor that get into
this part. Third, because of the 24 RPM issue above, the motor can wander by 24 RPM before I change anything.
With all of these together, the motor can easily wander from -24 RPM of the target to +24 RPM of the target even
through the control system is doing all it can to keep it stable. A system with varying line voltage, sticky bearings,
changing wind speeds, and other things can shake the system just enough to keep it wandering around.
Back

Clinker Size and Shape:


Q. Lately I have had problems with overflows and shut downs. I find that the stove hasn't dropped a "cookie" and
that the "cookie" now looks more like a muffin ... way tall. I plugged in the laptop to see where the dump level was
setting. Used to be with the old software there was a target level and a setting of how many counts were added
each time the feed wheel moved but I don't see that with the new software. I find a ASH TARGET of 16000 and a
ASH LEVEL that increases in the Telemetry screen, but how do I adjust the time to dump? I find in the "A" (corn)
window ASH DUMP FEED, ASH DUMP TIME, ASH DUMP HEAT LEVEL, and ASH DUMP TARGET all in
percentages. Can I change the dump time here? If I set the ASH DUMP TARGET to 50% will it dump twice as
often? Can someone explain the meaning and adjustment guidelines for these settings?

A. In addition to the basic accounting of the ash content to drive the ash dump timing cycle, which for corn the
default values usually seem to work well, there are a few other factors that might be involved. The first thing to look
at is the general shape of the clinker that you get - for this part, of course it's best to have one that actually drops
out. Anyway, the clinker should be "perfectly" round - you should not have any hint of an oval or elliptical shape. If
there is, then the ash dump cycle is happening at too high a temperature. The basis for this is that the clinker
material, when running at high temperatures, has a sticky plastic consistency. When the ash cycle happens, it
flash-freezes the paddles to the clinker and jams up the works. The solution to this is to reduce the level at which
the dump occurs. This is the "Ash dump heat level" parameter in the fuel table.

The second thing to look at is if the clinker is too small. What, you say? Well, what can happen if the clinker is,
suppose, 55% of the proper size, it might not actually fall out because it is held in a little and the ramp on the upper
paddle didn't kick it out. You then wind up with a "double" clinker that may exceed the ability of the stove to drop it.
The third thing, which is mechanical in nature, is what is known as the "ash dump timing adjustment" or something
like that. Notice on the burn drive motor cam ball joint push rod linkage that there is a turnbuckle to set the length of
the push rod. If the paddles do not sweep far enough over, the edge of the clinker on the right side of the stove will
ever-so-slightly be held up by the rim of the opening of the lower paddle. The proper adjustment for the push rod is
to run the motor IN THE FORWARD DIRECTION ONLY (due to backlash reasons) until the cam and the push rod
are in line. This is the maximum opening point of the paddles. Now, adjust the turnbuckle until the clearance
between the paddle opening and the lower rim of the burn pot is at least 1/8 inch. Watch out for the paddles
bottoming out on the back of the firebox. The "overlap" of the paddle between the burn pots isn't a problem and
won't get in the way of anything.
Back

Cost of running stove:


Q. Here's my calculation:
1) Volts*Amps = Watts ----> 115 volts * 2 amps = 230 Watts (forget about the 10 amps at start up since it will only
start up 1 or 2 times each week we can fudge that at the end).
2) Watts/1000 = Kw -----> 230/1000 = .23 Kw.
3) Kw*24 = Kwh per day -----> .23 * 24 = 5.52 (presume that the rig will run 24 hours a day).
4) Kwh per day * # days in billing cycle ------> 5.52 * 30 = 165.6 Kwh used by the rig in the billing cycle.
5) Cost/Kwh * Kwh/billing cycle -------->165.6 * $0.1065 = $17.63.
― So, if my calculations are correct, and fudging for unknown power draw from the rig and presume all else stays
the same, if I just run the Bixby 24/7 for a month, I can expect my electric bill to rise only about $20?
.
A. I measured my stove at 1.2 A without the feed motor running and 1.8 A with it running. Even at level 8 it runs
only about 1/2 the time, for an average at level 8 of around 1.5 A. This should bring the stove usage down to
$17.63 * (1.5 / 2.0) = $13.22. However, suppose the furnace is off when the stove is running. How much power will
not be used during that time? Will your circulation fan keep running? It may be that, if the circulation fan is shut
down, you will notice less power overall being used. Alternatively, if the furnace fan has a speed for recirculate and
a higher speed when heating, look at the power difference between the speeds weighted by the duty cycle of the
furnace. It might account for a couple dollars here and there.
Back
3
What controls the exhaust fan speed?
The exhaust fan is controlled by phase delay modulation; in other words, a light dimmer circuit. However, it's a little
tricky because the fan does nothing until about 30% power, and then ramps up non-linearly until about 60% power
at full speed. Beyond that all you get is extra torque at a fixed maximum speed of around 3200 RPM.
The speed is detected with a sensor that picks up the fins on the cooling impeller. There are 10 fins.
If you look at the tachometer signal with an oscilloscope, you get a low voltage sine wave at 10x the RPM
frequency. There is some variation in amplitude across the 10 waves due to inconsistency in the bend of the fins,
the centering of the hub, etc. 30% variation is not unreasonable.
If there is a serious problem with the cooling fin, it might detect perhaps only 7 of them, which would make the fan
run around 30% faster - you seem to have the opposite problem.
The exhaust fan connector is the two pin connector that is the same as the igniter connector. It is possible to test to
see if the fan goes to full speed by plugging it into the igniter control board connector at startup - I don't recommend
this for anyone other than an electronics professional.
Back

Locating Smoke leaks:


We have occasionally used dyed smoke bombs to trace smoke leaks. They leave a red or blue wisp of waxy
precipitated smoke where it escapes. I don't recommend using a firecracker in the firebox, although the stove could
probably handle it, unless the door glass is cracked, but that is another story. (No firecrackers were involved. Some
of you may have run into this situation). The igniters are mounted through a machined block that has a high temp
red silicone 0-ring in it. If that got burned or was pushed out, then the igniter will be a little loose and smoke could
come out if the winds are right.
Back

Exhaust Fan Speed – 110 vs. 115:


Q. Does the 115 (exhaust fan) still have levels 1 thru 8 with the new download? I thought from what I read that it
omitted the 7 and 8 speed setting?

A. The original calibrations on a Model 110 caused the fan to achieve maximum RPM for wood pellets at around
level 6. This effectively locked out levels 7 and 8 from working properly. Corn was never a problem. The Model 115
has a larger exhaust fan, so it was able to perform without a problem.
Back

Heat Output – 110 vs. 115:


Q. Some people noticed that a Model 115 put out less heat than a Model 110.

A. This curious problem was difficult to quantify. Eventually it was tracked down to the difference in feed tube seal
mechanisms. What, you say? How could that have an effect? Well, the Model 110 had nothing more than a free
rubber flap that, effectively, does not do much of anything. It also has 8 oval holes for the feed wheel.
A different part of the change for the Model 115 was a new feed wheel to work better with wood pellets. It has 4
larger holes with beveled edges. There is also a spring loaded feed wheel seal. When a fuel load goes by in a
Model 110, there is very little fuel that gets swept off the wheel. On a Model 115, a fair amount could be swept off,
but it leads to a more consistent fuel feed. While the volume of one Model 115 slot is the same as two Model 110
slots, the interaction with the (silicone feed) wheel seal results in about 20% less fuel being loaded for a Model 115.
This was the cause of them running cooler than a Model 110, and actually leaner than was expected.

The fuel tables in the 2.06 software do the following:


1) Account for the actual loading difference between the Model 110 and Model 115 feed wheel mechanisms.
2) Adjust the heat level range to use the old 2.02 Model 115 level 1, ranging to the old 1.28 Model 110 level 8. This
means the new Model 110 level 1 is 20% lower, while the new Model 115 level 8 is 20% higher; you should
not be able to tell the two machines apart.
3) Optimize the corn and wood tables to burn more efficiently along the entire range.
4) All heat levels for both fuels are completely usable for both models.
The 2.06 software should work better in all cases.
Back

4
Pullback temperature mode:
Q. I hear a lot of talk about the stove automatically pulling back until the exhaust is below the maximum allowed.
What kind of temperatures are we talking about for the stove to do this and is it different for each level?

A. The pullback temperature is around 500 F to prevent the maximum allowable exhaust gas temperature of 570
F. This is the same for all levels. If it is not able to pull back quickly enough the stove will shut down. I believe that
the LED’s will blink in this mode as if the thermostat has told the stove to cool down. There is no pull back facility
during the startup phase.
Back

Q. At what thermocouple reading does the stove start the high temp pullback process?

A. The high temp pullback mode activates around 250 and then deactivates around 240. I don't remember the
actual numbers. The process makes use of and is identical to the ramp down process used when the thermostat is
operational, except for around a 5 minute timer. If the timer exceeds that 5 minutes, then the stove will shut down.
Back

Ash Dump and the 2.06 software:


Q. What level does the 2.06 software perform an ash dump?

A. The 2.06 software can run the ash dump at any heat level, including a special case of the current operating
level. This issue might not have come up if we only burned wood pellets, because the consistency of the ash really
doesn't change depending on temperature. With corn, the range of stove operation covers the range through which
the clinkers go from being solid on the outside to being soft. When the clinkers are soft, the material is somewhat
sticky, like tar. If the ash dump were done when the clinkers were soft, when the plates moved in the leading edge
would stick to the clinker, which might compress it or roll it, then the rest of the plate, which is relatively cold, would
flash freeze the clinker to the plate. This would jam up the stove. The ash dump process of ramping down is meant
to cool the clinker enough to solidify it to keep it from sticking to the plates. Now, from a lower heat level, because
the ash dump process can be somewhat traumatic for the fuel bed, a fair amount of extra fuel is added. It's easier
to get this burning at a higher heat level. The adjustable heat level settings came about because of experimentation
with switch grass pellets.
Back

Feed Rates:
Q. I am wondering what the actual specs are for the feed rates?

A. Each slot on a Model 115 feed wheel is basically 1 cubic inch.


The fill ratio is around that of corn in a bag, perhaps a little less with wood pellets.
On level 1 with the trim pots at 0 the feed cycle time is 1 minute.
5
One bushel of corn is 56 lbs., which is 1.25 cubic ft.
Therefore, one bushel is: 1.25 * 12 * 12 * 12 = 2160 cubic inches.
This means one bushel of corn will run the stove for 2160 minutes, or 36 hours. This fits really well with the 3 day
run time on level one with a full hopper, which is nearly 2 bushels.
To answer your question, there would be 60 feeds per hour, which means it feeds at 56 * (60 / 2160) = 1.56
lbs./hour, give or take about 10%.
I seem to recall the feed cycle time is around 20 seconds; therefore level 8 has 3 times the fuel flow as level 1. This
also fit with level 8 lasting about 24 hours.
You would see about 1.56 * 3 = 4.68 lbs./hour.
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Software bootloader:
Q. When programming the stove, do I need to worry it the process is interrupted?

A. The software is divided into the bootloader and the main program. The bootloader cannot be overwritten
without using an external programmer. If there is a failure while the stove is being reprogrammed, the stove will not
operate, but the bootloader will still be functional. Try again until things are working. Some computers have timing
issues. There is a parameter, "interleave delay", that is automatically incremented for each soft failure that occurs
while programming. Eventually it catches and the process completes. In some systems it works better to preset this
value to 10 or something to give problem computers a running start. If nothing works the board can be sent in for
programming.
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#8 Light & feed wheel sensor:


Q. My stove lit just fine the first couple of times this season, but now will not light at all. It starts up like normal,
emptying the pot (no delay = old software), then starts dropping corn in. It starts the igniters like normal but never
stops dumping corn in the pot. Eventually, the pot will overflow with no flame. Then the #8 light comes on.

A. The #8 light appears after a wheel magnet is not found for 7 or 8 feeds. The feed wheel control algorithm has
a default move time of approximately twice that of the time it takes to find the magnet - the wheel is stopped early if
the magnet is found. If the stove worked before, then the magnets are in properly. If you get intermittent problems,
then the circuit board is probably fine. This leaves the sensor. It is normally installed with the surface just below the
surface of the plate. If it is back a bit and the wheel rises up for some reason, then it can miss the magnets.
If a wire broke, it will not work at all. There are 3 wires. They should be red, blue, and black. Red is +5, blue is the
signal (I don't remember which it is when the magnet is there) and black is ground.
Depending on your willingness to work on it, the wires in the sensor can be removed and the pins inspected. The
black housing has a space where you can press in a little tab with a pin and pull the wire out. Check the crimp on
the wire, bend back the tab, and push it back in. The crimp should not be on top of insulation and it should be tight.
The running for a couple hours failure is interesting - perhaps there is something that is heat related. This would
most likely be the sensor. It may also explain a little about the #2, #3 shutdown - if it missed a couple times, then
caught again, there would be an extra fuel load that flare up then down, which could trick the stove into that shut
down. In any case, the sensor is easy to replace. Call your dealer or Bixby and get one as a warranty replacement.
If your dealer can do it, get the new software. It addresses the #2, #3 issue, and also shows the #8 light before the
shutdown, starting with about the third missed magnet, which gives you a chance to attempt a recovery.
Back

Lean burn adjustment is based on the thermocouple history:


Q. Do you know if the TC [thermocouple] has any impact of the exhaust fan speed in any way? I read that ver.
2.06 can make some adjustments for a lean/rich condition; do you know if it reads the TC to help determine this?
I'm concerned that my TC is set improperly in the exhaust chamber, as I have to use the procrastinator to slow the
fan down, when I go to 2.06 I know that I can now have the convection speed adjusted and do away with the
procrastinator, but now I am wondering what else the TC works with and even though it will address the convection
fan speed, what else might an improperly seated TC affect?

A. While the lean burn adjustment is based on the thermocouple history, it is the feed rate that is modified, not
the [exhaust] fan speed. The fan speed is pretty much the one constant in the control process. However, it is
possible to trigger the lean burn adjustment by making major changes to the convection fan speed while the stove
is running. For instance, if the fan was running slowly and it was changed to run at 100%, the extra heat blown out
the stove would make enough of a drop on the exhaust temperature to make entries in the table low enough to

6
trigger the adjustment mode. I seem to recall triggering a blocked flue shutdown using this method, but it takes
rather extreme adjustments.
Back

Soot buildup - There are 3 main types:


Q. After my smoke issue, my glass is coated with creosote and will not come clean. Are there any suggestions on
how to clean the creosote off the glass? I have had dirty glass before and it has come clean with a little elbow
grease. This stuff is baked on and will not come out.

A. We also had a thick liquid spray that worked well. I think it was by Rutland also.
There were 3 main kinds of buildup we had:

1) Gray or white deposits:


This is the same material as the clinker. It is mostly mineral oxides. It washes off with water. Windex makes it easy.
This kind of deposit never really bothered me - I usually took it as a sign that the stove was burning well. It will likely
show a squiggly pattern due to variations in the air wash.
2) Black soot:
I usually got this with wood pellets. It also washes off easily with water. If it got baked on I might use Windex or the
Rutland spray. This one was usually a sign that the stove was running either too rich or way too lean, blowing the
fuel out before it could burn. Adjust to run properly.
3) Brown creosote???
This was the hardest to clean. Water has no effect. It takes a long time for the Rutland cleaner to get through.
That's where we used razor blades. Make sure it all stays wet, and use a clean, sharp one. Work it off a bit at a
time. I usually got this when a stove wouldn't run well with corn. Either the corn was wet, or the heat exchanger was
blocked or something.
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#3 or #3-5 or #3-4 blinking light.


Q. Last night it shut down and gave me a 3&5 error. Seems to be error light lottery at my house. Anyone know
what a 3&5 combo is? Only thing I have changed with the stove is going to level 8. Everything up to 7 is fine.

A. #3 light all by itself means the stove was operating too hot;
A #3 light all by itself means the stove was operating too hot and opened the snap switch on the exhaust manifold.
This cuts power to the feed motor. This is detected when the feed motor is attempted to be run, which makes the
error show up. However, there is another way to detect the stove running too hot - via the thermocouple in the
exhaust. The test and safety specification the stove complies with limits how high the exhaust gas [temperature]
can be. If the stove approaches this temperature, it will try to do the high temperature pull back mode.

#3-5 light means; not able to do a high temperature pull back in the allotted time:
If the stove is not able to pull back in time, which is about 5 minutes, it will display the #3 and #5 lights. This was
done so I could answer exactly this kind of question - instead of chasing around a #3 light which is really hard to do.

#3-4 is the same issue [as a #3 light] except during startup mode:
There are a few things you can do:
1) Is the stove in a warm room? Ambient temperatures in the +80 F range can be trouble some. Use a fan to get
the heat out of the room.
2) Wait for cooler temperatures before going as high as level 8.
3) Check the fuel fill of the burn pot - if it is high, the pullback mode will not be able to do anything if there is a large
charge of fuel.
4) Watch the stove - there is only a short window to catch it. When it is in pullback mode the LED’s should flash like
they do if the thermostat is telling it to be cool.
5) Attach a thermostat to keep the ambient temperature in the room a little cooler. Once it gets cool outside, it
should stop happening
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7
#2-5 lights - Check the ash drawer switch:
Q. Well, my troubles continue, and today a new one: Just went downstairs and the stove was shutdown with a
2&5 error blinking. This one isn't listed in the manual or on the hopper lid. Anyone know what this combination
means?

A. Check the ash drawer switch. Where does it close relative to the drawer position and the latch closure? It
might be on the edge. Usually this would lead to a #5 only, but if the drawer is actually open, because the air flow
changes a bit, it could lead to a cold shutdown before the ash drawer timeout.
Likewise, the exhaust fan speed is increased a bit if the drawer is open, but if the drawer is actually not open, then
the fire could be blown out.
Another possibility is if it shut down with a regular #2, after which someone left the drawer out for around 20
minutes - it would then capture that error as well.
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Testing the exhaust fan motor:


Q. What really surprised me was that the exhaust fan was not running. Normally when I open the door, the
exhaust fan always runs. I tried it several times, completely closing the door, and then opening it back up, without
success.
So I thought for a moment, and unplugged the stove. I plugged it back in, opened the door and the exhaust fan
started up. So my only understanding is that the computer was shutting down the exhaust fan for some strange
reason.

A. I've pulled most connections while it is running without any problem. You should be able to do it. Just be
careful in there; those connectors are not the easiest things to get off. Check the crimp of the pins on the wires. The
resistance of the motor is around 9 ohms. A clamp-on ammeter would help a lot. The motor draws about 1A at full
power, so a high-capacity ammeter might need a few turns of wire. The fan might run when the door is open. The
system ramps the control signal, so it might not kick in right away.
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Resister R36 and the #3 light is used to indicate an extreme overtemp:


Q. I have been burning for about a month with just a couple small issues, like starting up then going out, or taking
two or three times to start...Not a big problem. But yesterday I completely took it apart and cleaned it. Last night it
started and burned for about two hours, then shut down with a number 3 light...I tried it about four times and it
doesn't even fire up now. It loads, clears and stops with number three light....Weird huh? I have a 115 with older
firmware.

A. The #3 light is used to indicate an extreme overtemp. How this is done can lead to a misleading indication.
The idea behind an overtemp is that too much fuel is being loaded into the stove. Perhaps the feed motor is stuck
on. The method to deal with this is to have a thermal snap switch in series with the feed motor. If the temperature is
reached, the switch opens up and power to the motor is turned off. However, this is only half the process.
Somehow the computer needs to know that the circuit opened up. To do this, there is a detection circuit on the
control board. It effectively measures if the feed motor is using current when voltage is applied: if no current is used
when it is expected to be on, then the circuit is open, and the #3 overtemp shutdown process happens. Note that
there are now any number of things that could cause this: an actual overtemp, a malfunctioning snap switch, the
internal feed motor thermal cutout, a motor that uses less power than expected, a system voltage reduction, a wire
disconnected... or a fault in the detection circuit.

If you look carefully on the control board, behind the metal tab that holds the trim pots is the main processor. It is
the large chip on the board. To the right of it, just below the metal crystal can, are four components. The third one
down from the can is R-36; its designation is upside-down relative to your view. That R-36 resistor sets the
sensitivity of the detection circuit. Its original value was 100 K ohms; a color coding of Brown-Black-Yellow-Gold.
After tracking down issues like this, it was changed to 10 K ohms, a color coding of Brown-Black-Orange-Gold.
When the change was made, boards with the 100 K resistor has a 12 K ohm (Brown-Red-Orange-Gold) resistor
soldered on top which made the total resistance close to 10 K ohms. If you do not have the second resistor
soldered on, look at the color bands. It can be difficult to tell the difference between the colors. If you have an
ohmmeter you can measure the value if the stove is unplugged. If you determine that you have the 100 K resistor, a
board exchange will take care of the problem. You will also automatically get the new software.
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8
Burning Soybeans:
Q. I remember reading that soybeans have a higher BTU rating than corn. Can I burn Soybeans in my Bixby.

A. We had a couple bags of soybeans in once. One way to justify them is if you got them cheap - for instance, if
they were contaminated with something. They really burned well, for a while. The fire just blazed. The trouble is that
the oil is really hard to burn completely, and it covers everything up with soot.
The other problem is that the ash was rather fluffy, which makes it fill up unless you adjust the ash dump timing.
If you can get them cheap, you are entirely able to burn them in up to around a 25% mixture with corn or wood
pellets
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Upper burn plate gap:


The two pieces for the upper burn plate are held together by the deflector. They are easily big enough to bend the
deflector bracket, which can lead to the following problems:
1) A gap on the front side of the burn pot with the plates held apart by the deflector. This isn't very common.
2) A gap on the back side of the burn pot because the plates are not held together very tightly. This gap can open
up due to the cycling motion of the burn drive dump mechanism.
3) A gap at the back of the firebox due to the out of plane alignment of the two pieces. This can be caused by a
bent deflector, torquing the assembly when putting it in, or something on the shelf to hold it up. All of these are not
very obvious, but the air flow bypassed by these problems can become a significant percentage of what would have
flowed through the burn pot. The net effect is to operate as if the fan were running much slower than expected,
resulting in fuel build up.
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Rolled oats:
Q. Anyone had any experience burning oats in the Bixby? If so, were they mixed with corn, or what? I've got a
source for some, but seems to me they would burn way to fast.

A. I got around 40 lbs. of rolled oats once that had gotten something in it. They burned well, but it needed some
trim pot adjustments. I feel like I had to turn the exhaust down a lot and to turn up the feed a lot. This is because of
the very high surface area to weight ratio. They make very nice clinkers, although I don't remember how thick they
were compared to corn. Try them out. If they don't tune in well you can mix them in with something else without any
problem
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With the 2.06 startup, is this a normal sequence:


Q. With the 2.06 startup, is this [a] normal sequence where the target level remains at 1?
Starting
Ignited, Current heat Level 2
Ramping, Current heat Level 4
Ramping, Current heat Level 3
Ramping, Current heat Level 2
Like I said, the target level remains 1. I have the stock fuel “A” format for corn with no changes, low altitude.
Is startup really level 4?

A. That is another one of those quirky things that happens during the evolution of the product. Originally, the
startup states were 30 and 31. The heat level in BixCheck looks at the second digit; but during startup, the meaning
of the second digit is merely the particular part of the startup. The newer software added two more startup states,
32 and 33, but in a way where they happen in the order of 30 -> 32 -> 33 -> 31 for something like prefill, igniting,
ignited, and started. The interpreter in BixCheck doesn't care about the base state, so it just prints out whatever
comes it's way.
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Measuring voltage on the convection fan:


Q. Our convection fan stops randomly and will sometimes or not, restarts on its own. The dealer replaced the
convection fan and we still have the same problem. With the new fan I can hear slight fluctuations in the speed
while it is running. When it stopped today we unplugged the convection fan and checked the voltage at the board. It
was reading between 104 and 119 [volts]. The frequency of the fan stopping increases with higher heat settings.
We are stumped! Do we look at the thermocouple next or motherboard? Readings with the new software update,
(on the dealers’ computer), have all been normal even when the convection fan shut down during monitoring
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A. You will not measure line voltage on the convection fan unless it is set to run at full speed. Voltmeters will not
show you exactly what is going on with it. In terms of convection fan control, it is speed controlled by modulating the
amount of power that goes to it. This power is controlled by the temperature read from the thermocouple.
Therefore, as the stove runs hotter, the fan will run faster. The convection fan has a built-in thermal [104ºF] cutout
switch. This temperature can be reached in normal operation of the stove if it is running warm, the filter is clogged,
and the thermocouple is reading a little low for some reason. The on/off behavior of the fan can trigger the 2-3
blinking light mode because of the change in exhaust temperatures that is detected when the fan is cycling. There
are a few ways to help address this issue, some may be easier to do than others:
1) In BixCheck, there are parameters in the fuel table that control the fan speed. You can make the fan run faster
here as long as the failures are not happening when the fan is already at top speed.
2) Like an earlier comment suggested, check the filter. A clogged filter will limit air flow and heat things up.
3) If you have everything running nice and hot, you may be able to cool the fan a bit by slipping a piece of sheet
metal between the fan housing and the back of the firebox. This is something I wanted to test but never got around
to yet. Some of the heat on the fan comes from radiation off the back of the firebox
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Ash dump timing adjustment:


In addition to the basic accounting of the ash content to drive the ash dump timing cycle, which for corn the default
values usually seem to work well, there are a few other factors that might be involved. The first thing to look at is
the general shape of the clinker that you get. For this part, of course it's best to have one that actually drops out.
The clinker should be "perfectly" round - you should not have any hint of an oval or elliptical shape. If there is, then
the ash dump cycle is happening at too high a temperature. The basis for this is that the clinker material, when
running at high temperatures, has a sticky plastic consistency. When the ash dump cycle happens, it flash-freezes
the clinker to the paddles and jams up the works. The solution to this is to reduce the [heat] level at which the dump
occurs. This is the "Ash dump heat level" parameter in the fuel table in BixCheck. The second thing to look at is if
the clinker is too small. What, you say? Well, what can happen if the clinker is, suppose, 55% of the proper size, it
might not actually fall out because it is held in a little and the ramp on the upper paddle didn't kick it out. You then
wind up with a "double" clinker that may exceed the ability of the stove to drop it. The third thing, which is
mechanical in nature, is what is known as the "ash dump timing adjustment". Notice on the burn drive motor ball
joint push rod linkage that there is a turnbuckle to set the length of the push rod. If the paddles do not sweep far
enough over, the edge of the clinker on the right side of the stove will ever-so-slightly be held up by the rim of the
opening of the lower paddle. The proper adjustment for the push rod is to run the motor IN THE FORWARD
DIRECTION ONLY (due to backlash reasons) until the cam and the push rod is in line. This is the maximum
opening point of the paddles. Now, adjust the turnbuckle until the clearance between the paddle opening and the
lower rim of the burn pot is at least 1/8 inch. Watch out for the paddles bottoming out on the back of the firebox.
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Paddles not parking properly:


Q. I have a question concerning the burn drive motor. My paddles park properly for burning, but after every
shutdown I find them all the way over to the right, blocking the pots. What gives? This has caused an issue with
smoke in the room after an unscheduled shutdown. I have read everything available on this subject and am still
baffled since the motor seems capable of parking.

A. Do they park improperly with a regular shut down? Which position are they in during the regular burn time?
The cam should be squarely on the limit switch. If it is off by something like 30 degrees, then the brake isn't
engaging. If it is off by 180 degrees, then it is moved there by the controller. If the stove shuts down in "blocked
flue" mode, it attempts to shut down in a way to shut down the fire as quickly as possible while still attempting to
vent smoke out. Note that this shutdown condition is typically associated with burning lean, and is there to satisfy
regulatory requirements. Part of the shutdown process is to leave the paddles in the "dump" position, in which case
there is a little less airflow to the upper burn area. This behavior is normal and is always a part of the "blocked flue"
shutdown process. You will have a flashing 2-3 in this case. When the stove is restarted, the paddles will be
returned to their regular position
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BixCheck “help”:
There is fairly simple help built into BixCheck. If you hit the "Help" button and then hit another button, for instance in
the fuel table, then you will get a message that explains a little about what that field is used for.
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10
Set the ash dump target to perhaps……:
Q. Running a 115 with a 3ft straight pipe with a Bixby end cap. I believe that my ash dump is happening way too
soon. The BixCheck number on the ash dump target is 16000, is this the right number? Running on level 3 with a
feed rate at plus 16.8% and the exhaust fan at minus 1.1%; the time to ash dump starts out at only about 9.5 hours.
The book gives 16 hours on level 3 and subtracting the 17% more feed this would leave about 13.3 hours between
ash dumps. Am I correct in the way I am looking at this. Is there something I should change? The problem I get is
very little fire left to start after the dump and the burn pot fills up some because of the lack of good fire. It also
makes it almost impossible to run a level 1. I understand that it means I am probably lean yet, but is not some of
the problem the quick ash dump times and the ash level not getting a chance to build up?

A. Turning up the feed rate probably won't change the clinker size - it will only get the a clinker more quickly. Your
corn could very well have a lower ash content for some reason. The clinkers are a little thin. You could set the ash
dump target to perhaps 20,000. There might also be something with the amount of fuel getting in. Sometimes a
loose feed wheel or something can let fuel slip out; the ash accounting expects a full load. If the expected amount
of fuel is not going in, then the clinker will be thin no matter what the trim pot is set to. A lower ash content in the
fuel table or a higher ash dump target will adjust for that.
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Clinker shape:
Q. The clinkers have a very pronounced depression in the center but perfectly round. Does that mean she needs
a bit more fuel? Flame is very strong and doesn't vary in height except slightly at fuel drop.

A. The concave shape is perfectly normal. The outer rim is usually around 3/4 to 1 inch and should experience
very little shear. The center will typically be around 1/2 of the outer rim
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Fines inside stove or blowing into room.


Q. There was something posted about fines leaking through the feeder wheel shaft getting into the body of the
stove I am having that issue I read there is some type of filter material that can be placed somewhere to help with
that issue could someone please tell me where to place it and what type of material?

A. The solution that may have been implemented on the very last few stoves was to slip a square piece of that air
filter material around the shaft of the feed wheel motor. I think it was around 3" square with a 2" slice in the middle.
It pretty much slips into that area and conforms to whatever the motor is doing. The material is the same as
whatever stuff is in the air filters on the rear of the stove, either the filter pack or the cut-to-shape stuff I used to deal
with. The easiest way to get a small amount is probably to buy the cheapest filter you can and then cut the squares
out of it. The only important thing about the material is that it needs to easily fit in the place and to compress and
stretch easily.
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Model 110 to the Model 115 control board change and software:
Regarding control boards: In general, the control boards between the two are the same. However, in the transition
from the Model 110 to the Model 115, a resistor was adjusted. The change is completely backwards compatible,
and about 90% of the systems would work in a 115 anyway. All boards that go through Bixby are modified so the
boards will work in any machine.
Regarding software: The 2.06 software will work with both stoves. You just need to select the right model to
generate the proper fuel calibration. Regarding the fuel select switch: Installing a fuel select switch is actually quite
easy and will give access to the alternate table in a Model 110. Long term testing on wood pellets revealed places
where the product could be improved, which led to the change in the feed wheel and the damper mechanism on the
feed wheel.
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Heat loss:
Q. How much heat do you loose out the stack with the lower heat setting?

A. Now that's a tricky question. We never had a good way to measure it. This addresses part of the reason the
fan was higher before: to get more heat out of the stove. However, this process revealed some interesting things,
which were not immediately obvious or understood, and are still not, at least to me. It is certainly true that more
energy can be extracted from the stove as the convection air flow is turned up. The fan in the stove is around 200
CFM at top speed. However, imagine the case where you have a 2000 CFM fan on the stove. Also suppose the
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stove is at level 4. As you start from 0 CFM, the outlet temperature is highest, which goes down as the fan speeds
up. Now suppose your room starts out at 60 degrees. If the fan were very low, only radiation and a little natural
convection from the stove would get into the room, although the outlet temperature could be in the 400 to 500
degree range. It would be like a fireplace with closed doors and no blower. Now suppose the fan is at 2000 CFM. In
the 60 degree room the outlet might be 70 degrees. While a lot of heat is coming from the stove, because the
temperature is so low, you will not feel heat from the stove. However, on average the room is heating up more
quickly. Even discounting the breeze in the room from the fan, it will not feel very cozy. Because of this relatively
cool feeling you might find yourself raising the stove heat level from 4 to 6 or something. However, if you are in the
room, you are operating from somewhat the reverse process of the stove: you are taking the higher temperature
room air to transfer heat energy to you. This process has a range of air temperature that feels good; the goal is to
run the stove at the lowest level with the fan at the optimum speed that works to make you happy. This all comes
down to that, while the stove may be thermally less efficient with the fan at a lower speed, because you feel the
heat output more comfortably, you may actually use less fuel by being happy with a lower heat level.
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Convection fan speed default values:


The default value sets up the "curve" from 25% to 100% from a thermocouple range of 50 to 170. When operating
at level 1 on corn, which typically has a TC of 100, it amounts to a fan speed of around 33%. Check the calibration
table first to make sure it is correct. If it wasn't, then see how the stove runs with it fixed. Otherwise, do something
like set the 100% value to around 140 and see how it is. Have the stove running and settled in at a lower level, from
1 to 3, before starting the adjustments. If you lower the speed, the fan will slow down as soon as the numbers are
sent down. However, it will slowly rise a little due to the stove heating up. It might take a couple iterations of around
10 minutes each.
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Old (2.02) vs. new (2.06) software:


The 2.06 software came out in very late April (2007), but it took a while for it to get around, especially if dealers had
stoves in stock with the older software. The feed wheel move information is correct. The other telling sign is that,
when turned on, the stove makes 3 ash dump cycles. With the old software (2.02), there was no delay between
them. The 2.06 software has a 1 second delay between each cycle. The new software will run the fans longer after
it shuts down to reduce the amount the smoke that can come out. Wood pellets might be more noticeable because
they tend to smolder for a long time; corn goes out relatively quickly. The changes to the wood pellet calibration
also led to some changes in the corn calibration, making for more heat at higher levels. I think level 8 is around 5
lbs. per hour at 0% adjustment; level 1 is a little under 2. The trim pots range +/- 30%, so each tick is 6%.
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How long are you able to burn before feed wheel problems happen?
Q. We're on our 4th bag of LG pellets, numerous codes & kinks to work out along the way including a #8 that
made me learn real fast, as I had to take apart the feed wheel (husband out of town...) My dealer is 5 hours away
and is suspicious that our pellets are so dusty that jams may be problematic. As a new burner, I'm on board with
anything he tells me. If this is true, and I am sitting on a ton in the garage, and may not be strong enough to walk
away from the price throughout the season ($215) has anyone come up with a good strategy for filtering the dust
out? I'm anxious to identify and cure all future problems as I'm convincing myself that this stove may become a full
time stay-at-home job, and I'd like to test that theory out on a baseline so I can give my notice at work.

A. You may run into the following issues:


1) Pellets getting stuck in a feed slot, reducing fuel flow to the stove.
2) Pellets getting stuck between the slot and the tube, jamming the feed wheel.
3) Pellets rolling under and getting stuck under the wheel, lifting it up.
4) Pellet dust getting under the wheel, generally getting in the way.
Typically one problem sets off other problems. For instance, once the dust starts to get under the wheel, it makes it
easier for a pellet to get under. If this happens, it's easier for a pellet to jam between the slot and the down tube. If
you can go for a day or two you might be able to clean or stir it around to keep things going. I have seen corn
screeners that use different size screens to separate between stalk, corn, and dust, but corn is rather round and
slippery. Wood pellets would get matrixes up in something like that. The other trouble with cleaners and wood
pellets is that if you have a lot of dust now, it may be because the binding is not very tight, so after cleaning them
you may wind up with just as much dust again.

The easiest way to track down issues is to watch the feed action with the access panel off. Just remove the two
screws (115 & UBB). With the feed wheel seal removed, you might get about 30% more fuel going in. This is fine
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for a while. Turn back the trim pot or brush off a little as it goes by. If you observe it for a while there might be a clue
that shows up. However, keep in mind that by removing the access panel, the behavior will change a bit; there are
situations where the seal can lead to some jam issues. There is a thread around here that goes into pounding down
the metal tab on the seal as a possible preventive measure. The hard jam you got was likely a pellet stuck the long
direction between the wheel and the tube; those clear very easily when the mechanism is opened up. One trick
when you get a jam like that is to place something in the firebox to catch anything that falls out when you remove
the covers. Sometimes you can find indentations on the pellet showing how it got jammed.
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Install Bixby venting properly:


Q. I wonder how many more stoves are out there were set-up the same way as by my "dealer", i.e. w/o
termination cap and old software. He did mention several more of his customers were in my boat. I will check the
90s and can anyone suggest a suitable sealant to be used with vent pipe sections? When the dealer installed the
stove, he used aluminum duct tape to wrap the exterior of the vent piping, I didn't notice any sealant being used on
each section. i checked the ash dump cycle and there is not a 1 sec delay, so i do not have the newer software. It
would appear that the software update and a termination cap will "enhance" my MaxFire experience.

A. If Bixby pipe is used, with the exhaust through the inner pipe and the intake in the outer pipe, then the contact
temperatures will be less than an attic in summer. If a non-insulated metal pipe is used, then it should reach about
300 degrees at the most with the stove really moving. The lack of an end cap is the biggest problem, because that
will guarantee improper operation of the stove. The leaks in the venting bypass exhaust into the intake, which will
make the stove run poorly, and it will proceed to leak smoke everywhere. We managed to fill up one of the test
rooms a few times during the various blocked flue tests. It can happen quickly, because a poorly running stove will
get worse and worse.
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Regarding safety claims of a fuel-burning appliance:


Regarding safety claims of a fuel-burning appliance, this is a territory that is full of potential issues of all kinds -
that's what the test standards and installation instructions are for. That disclaimer being said, here are some
general rules and processes specific to the stove that address this:

1) While it's good to have smoke and CO detectors in the house, it's doubly good if there are combustion devices in
the house. There are many good guidelines out there for how to install them.
2) Gas appliances are simple, safe, and just work. Except when they aren't and don't. While all devices are meant
to fail safely, if they don't you can wind up with unburned gas (explosive) or CO in an enclosed area. Depending on
the situation, this may go undetected for some time.
3) Cord wood fireplaces are cheap and work well. They require a lot of intervention, but you control exactly how
much fuel goes in. However, to run a long time, it requires a large fuel load, which means that is something goes
wrong it can stay wrong for a really long time. At least the smoke is usually quite noticeable.
4) Corn and pellet stoves are complicated and cantankerous, but the do work much of the time. If something fails,
you get very noticeable smoke from them that is easily noticed. An overfill of fuel leads to an overfill - there is no
process where all the corn explodes at once. There is also not much more than a few tablespoons of fuel available
to burn at a time, unless it overfilled, which will usually shut it down.
All these devices work by sustaining a flame - with that come certain inherent risks. Proper maintenance is requisite
in all cases to increase the chance of proper operation. Fortunately, as it were, the finicky nature of the stove will
draw out issues at the early stage of trouble.
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Pot overfills at start up and issues with #2, #3 lights:


Q. Most of last heating season, the MaxFire erred out with #2 &#3 lights. I understand that the fire was too lean
and following detailed instructions from Bixby Tech and local dealer, (increase the feed rate, reduce the air and
watch the flame for a lazy fire...)the stove adjustments were ineffective. Bixby replaced the circuit board, and the
local dealer installed it and said the stove was as good as new. I called my local dealer and asked about the
software upgrade, 2.06 and apparently the software upgrade was on the new circuit board. The pot overfilled and
flame went out.

A. With a board that was replaced in March, 2007, it would not have the new software. It [software] was first out
in May, 2007. The issues with #2, #3 and pot overfills at start up are the major parts of the software that were
changed. The new 2.06 software will address these issues. Last year's corn may or may not be an issue; it
depends a lot on the conditions it was stored in. For instance, if the corn dried out from 14% to 11%, then you might
13
need to run the rich direction. There are a couple ways to update the software. Your dealer can do it if they are
equipped with the cable and software; not all of them are. You can also send the board in and it will be
reprogrammed for only the shipping cost. In this case, if you send your board in first, there is no core charge, but if
a new one is sent out first then there is a core charge that is returned when the old board comes back.
The easiest way to verity is by the presence of a 1 second delay during the ash dump cycles. If there is no delay,
then it is the old software.
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BixCheck does very little automatically:


Q. When BixCheck is first started, the internal checksum and calculated checksum do not agree and are
displayed in red. Is this a concern? When the checksum toggles are clicked, it changes into agreement with each
other.

A. BixCheck does very little automatically. Hit the "Readback" button to read the data from the stove. Do this after
the paddles have run after the initial power up. The checksum and data format numbers are based on the stove
calibration.
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Cleaning the burn pot:


Q. Stove burns great for about 12hrs and then pot starts fill with corn higher and higher (I change the feed rate
from +2 to +1) level settles to about 1/4" above the lower burn pot (I'm running on heat level 2). Stove runs for
another 12 hours and chokes out burn pot full, no dump. I turn the stove off and on, the pot cycles and clinker (hard
and white, since it’s been in there for 24hrs.) with no jam. I since have had this same problem repeat for the last
three days. The stove doesn't try to dump the clinkers, it just burns until it chokes out, and then I can restart the
stove after I clean the spilled corn.

A. I find that it's nice to have a little ash left on the burn pot; don't scrape it down to the metal. The ash will help
the clinker material to release from the burn pot. I usually just use the wire brush, and a screwdriver or something to
clean out the holes. As for filling up, in the cleaning process it is possible for material to collect in the manifold for
the heat exchanger. Access to that is "easy" with a 1 inch shop vac hose. If enough material has collected, the air
flow can be reduced enough to lead to filling up.
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Ash dump cycle without dropping the clinker:


Q. I have a new install, and running a month. I had the normal learning problems. At the moment I am
experiencing a "no auto dump" of the burn pot. Burning pellets. The past several days, I have waited 15 hours to
get a dump without action. I shut down, clean, and restart. In the beginning, I got a dump, at about twelve hours,
but it hung up on the right igniter. If I pried the igniter up, and popped it loose, it would function until the next cycle. I
pulled back the igniters, and removed the bottom paddle, and beveled the sharp edge, to prevent any hang-ups.
Since that time, I have not had a auto [ash] dump. I have taken it apart, and cleaned, and put together again. The
fuses checked O.K. and one holder was loose. I tightened the "single" light brown wire, and tightened the loose
circuit board.

A. It is possible for the ash dump cycle to run without dropping the clinker. There are a couple possible ways for
this to happen:
1) The clinker is too small and sticks to the side. The push out tab does not reach the clinker.
2) The paddle drive adjustment is out of tune, which makes the paddles not clear the burn pot all the way. This
holds the clinker in at the leading edge.
3) You are on the wood pellet setting (unlikely).
After you start up the stove and it has run for a while, empty out the ash drawer completely. If the ash dump cycle
runs but it does not drop the clinker, there should still be some ash and dust that gets into the drawer. Alternatively,
you can run a piece of tape between the drive cam lever on the drive motor and the bracket. If the motor runs, the
tape will get torn. Another way, if you had the software, is to data log the stove operation to a file and then graph
the file to see if it went through that process. Are you able to see the transition between the two clinkers? If the ash
dump process never happened, there would be no transition. If the ash dump cycle happened, there should be a
demarcation between the clinkers.
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Clinker size issues:
Q. If the cycle is happening and I continue to have these issues (clinker size), would you recommend increasing
the number of feeds per ash dump?

A. Increase the size of the clinker only if a clinker that comes out normally is "thin". This would be somewhere
less than around 1/2 inch at the outer rim. The software is set up to make it around 3/4 inch; the lower burn pot is 1
inch. This gives some space either way. Variations in ash content, wheel fill, and melt down of the ash lead to the
actual size differences. If the clinkers are consistently small, then changing the size is very easy. If you never use
wood pellets, you can set the second fuel table to be the same as corn except with a different ash dump cycle in
case your corn changes.
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#8 blinking light without a shutdown:


Q. Under the new v2.06 firmware I am occasionally noticing that the #8 LED blinks for a few minutes then goes
out. The manual says #8 = feed wheel malfunction. Last time this occurred, we shut down and found no feedwheel
jamb. The drop hole was clear and we were able to manually move the wheel in both directions. Any idea what the
blinking #8 means in this circumstance?

A. Congratulations on being the first, that I know of, to bring up the #8 blinking light issue without a shutdown. In
the previous software, the system would shut down with a #8 light after 7 or 8 moves without finding the magnet.
You were therefore alerted after the failure of the system. In 2.06, the light starts to blink after the magnet was
missed for something like 2 or 3 times. This gives you a 5 or 6 move time opportunity to clear a jam manually
before the system shuts down; it's very little warning, but it can give you notice if the system is regularly shutting
down with a #8 light. The really bedeviling situations are when it shuts down with a #8 and there is nothing there - it
can happen when merely the act of removing the cover lets the material fall away. Regarding the rubber cover, are
you using pellets? They can be rather abrasive, particularly with that steel backing. That material is a fiber-
reinforced high temp silicone rubber; it is meant to give a general overall seal against air flow. Even though there
may be a few arcs scored in it, it probably is doing the job it was meant to overall.
One thing we noticed after a while was that the upturned tab on the backing plate would provide a backstop which
prevents its ability to float, which would wedge and then grind the pellet into the rubber sheet. I thought about
bending or cutting it off but I haven't thought about it for a while; that could be a significant factor in the problem.
Take a look at it and you'll see what I mean.
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#8 blinking light only on startup:


Q. I get a #8 only on startup and only for a short time. Usually just a little bit into when the compressor is pumping
air into the pot.. It will go off for awhile then will stop blinking..

A. When the igniters are turned on and the current is checked, there are a lot of other things happening and the
part of that involves various timers and status variables being reset. This leads to a false indication at that time - it's
nothing to worry about.
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Feed wheel and fuel table difference – 110 & 115:


The original calibrations on a Model 110 caused the fan to achieve maximum RPM for wood pellets at around level
6. This effectively locked out levels 7 and 8 from working properly. Corn was never a problem. The Model 115 has
a larger exhaust fan, so it was able to do it without a problem. Now, separate from these issues were problems
where some people noticed that a Model 115 put out less heat than a Model 110. This curious problem was difficult
to quantify. Eventually it was tracked down to the difference in feed tube seal mechanisms. What, you say? How
could that have an effect? Well, the Model 110 had nothing more than a free rubber flap that, effectively, does not
do much of anything. It also has 8 oval holes for the feed wheel. A different part of the change for the Model 115
was a new feed wheel to work better with wood pellets. It has 4 larger holes with beveled edges. There is also a
spring loaded feed wheel seal. When a fuel load goes by in a Model 110, there is very little fuel that gets swept off
the wheel. On a Model 115, a fair amount could be swept off, but it leads to a more consistent fuel feed. While the
volume of one Model 115 slot is the same as two Model 110 slots, the interaction with the wheel seal results in
about 20% less fuel being loaded for a Model 115. This was the cause of them running cooler than a Model 110,
and actually leaner than was expected.
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15
Fuel tables in the 2.06 software do the following:
1) Account for the actual loading difference between the Model 110 and Model 115 feed wheel mechanisms.
2) Adjust the heat level range to use the old 2.02 Model 115 level 1, ranging to the old 1.28 Model 110 level 8. This
means the new Model 110 level 1 is 20% lower, while the new Model 115 level 8 is 20% higher; you should not be
able to tell the two machines apart.
3) Optimize the corn and wood tables to burn more efficiently along the entire range.
4) All heat levels for both fuels are completely usable for both models.
The 2.06 software should work better in all cases.
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Exhaust fan gasket experiment:


There is an experiment I am just trying out now. I only installed it, so I don't know if it works yet, but it probably
won't hurt anything. The last time I installed a fan, I coated both sides of the gasket with high-temp copper filled
anti-seize compound. Nothing smoked off at all when I ran the stove. The idea is to have something of a
serviceable gasket if I need to remove it.
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#1-2-3-7 light combination:


Q. Ugh!!! Now, in addition, I keep getting the 1-2- 3- 7 code. ???? Any suggestions?

A. I need to look back at the other thread to see what the history was. When you get the 1237 light combination,
does the stove turn the air compressor on? The 1237 code is listed as an "internal fault", which is that the igniter
current was detected at a time when they are supposed to be off. The stove then assumes that something went
wrong with the igniter circuit and turns the air pump on. However, if the stove is running for some time and then it
happens, there might be something else. In the meantime, while I look into a couple things, can you look into:
1) Is there a pattern to the shutdown problems? How often they occur, etc.
2) What kind of electrical circuit is the stove plugged into?
3) What operation is the stove doing when it happens?
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Condensation on inside hopper door:


Because the hopper will get warm, there can be outgassing (slow release of a gas) from the fuel in the hopper. If
there are materials in the fuel that can cause a problem, it is possible for that to be noticed. When testing, we had
some 20%+ corn once which was early harvest from the field. It was tough to get going, but it did eventually work.
The heat from the hopper drove water off that condensed on the hopper door.
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Thermocouple placement:
I missed the pellets - they are around 8500 BTU per pound, while corn is around 7500. If you are on the new 2.06
software, it will burn that up quite well. Having thought about this today it occurs to me that there might be an
adjustment to the thermocouple location that could effect this situation. The process is a little tricky, but if the
thermocouple is set too far into the exhaust manifold, it may read hotter than it needs to be. The thermocouple is
guided by a pressed in standoff that is around 3/4 inch long. As long as the weld bead of the thermocouple does
not touch the metal, it can be pulled back to get better temperature readings. You may want to quiz your dealer
about making this adjustment.
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Thin clinker:
Increase the size of the clinker only if a clinker that comes out normally is "thin". This would be somewhere less
than around 1/2 inch at the outer rim. The software is set up to make it around 3/4 inch; the lower burn pot is 1 inch.
This gives some space either way. Variations in ash content, wheel fill, and melt down of the ash lead to the actual
size differences. If the clinkers are consistently small, then changing the size is very easy. If you never use wood
pellets, you can set the second fuel table to be the same as corn except with a different ash dump cycle in case
your corn changes
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Think of it as built-in two-zone heating:


The heat exchanger is made of 12 tubes that the convection air flows through. The exhaust is circulated on the
outside of the tubes, going down, until it reaches the manifold. The manifold exits to the right of the stove. Because
the resistance caused by the flow of the preceding tubes, the velocity of the gas is slower as one moves to the left.
16
If the exhaust gas starts at the same temperature, the slower gas on the left means that it is cooled more, and that
there is less overall energy available to run through the heat exchanger on that side. Think of it as built-in two-zone
heating.
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Calibration settings are a percentage of the internal table:


The exhaust and feed calibration settings are a percentage of the internal table. Therefore, the 70% represents 0.7
x the internal table value. To go 18% more than where you are at, you would calculate 70 x 1.18 = 83.
If you have a ramped table, like for wood pellets, you would do this calculation for each level. The feed rates are
calculated the same way. However, the ash dump settings are the value that is used directly. It is simply added to
the counter for each feed. The standard value is 16000, with an ash value of 14 for corn in 2.06.
Therefore, you would get an ash dump after 16000 / 14 = 1142 feeds.
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#2-#3 lights without a restart:


The stove will not attempt a restart if it shut down in the 2, 3 process - this is because it detected a problem. It will
attempt one restart per ash dump if it shuts down with a #2 only.
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With pellets, should there be a clinker dump at some point while burning?
The ash dump cycle is longer than for corn. On corn, level one is around 18 hours, level 2 is maybe 16. Wood
pellets are probably in the 24 to 28 hour range for those levels.
There are a few things to look at:
1) Does the stove attempt a restart?
2) Is there much ash buildup on the upper plate? If there is, then turn the fan down to help keep it in the burn pot.
The timing relies on the ash to be there.
3) Check to make sure the switch is in the "Wood" position.
4) What is the makeup of the ash that is dumped? Is it only ash, or are there partially burned pellets in it? How
much?
5) After the ash dump, as it is filling, was the fire completely dropped or is there a little bit left?
6) With BixCheck: reduce the “ash content”, or;
7) With BixCheck: increase the “ash target”, or;
8) With BixCheck: increase the “ash dump feed”.
Which of (6, 7 or 8) depends on what you are seeing, although they pretty much lead to about the same result?
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BixCheck Telemetry scan rate:


During the motor run part of the ash dump process the thermocouple is not read. So there may have been a
several second delay beyond the 5 second Telemetry scan rate. When dropping the clinker there can be a rush of
air through the system, so it's possible to have a jump, although I'm not sure how much.
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Exhaust fan was not running:


Q. But what really surprised me was that the exhaust fan was not running. Normally when I open the door, the
exhaust fan always runs. I tried it several times, completely closing the door, and then opening it back up, without
success.
A. I've pulled most connections while it is running without any problem. You should be able to do it. Just be
careful in there; those connectors are not the easiest things to get off. Check the crimp of the pins on the wires. The
resistance of the motor (exhaust fan) is around 9 ohms. A clamp-on ammeter would help a lot. The motor draws
about 1A at full power, so a high-capacity ammeter might need a few turns of wire. The fan might run when the
door is open. The system ramps the control signal, so it might not kick in right away. The ambient temperature
sensor is the 5 pin TO-220 package device on the top of the igniter board. It communicates to the main board
through the ribbon cable. If there are communication errors the cable may be loose. Check the connections. This
problem shouldn't be the cause of the #3 light, although there could be an overall system issue somewhere. More
research may be needed.
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Lighten the load when moving the stove:


Actually, removing the panels, ash drawer, hopper lid, plates, pots, and paddles will get you closer to 100 pounds -
that all adds up. It's amazing what a difference 10 pounds will make when you are at the limit. If you get
17
adventurous, you can take out the feed wheel cover (4 screws) and the entire feed wheel assembly (4 screws and
a few wiring connections) for perhaps another 25 pounds. Also take it off the pallet. You could also pull off the
plated louvers. At this point the remainder of the stove is around 250 pounds, so if you lift up only one side you can
get away with 125-150 pounds - not too bad for sliding or walking it around.
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Clinker size - 2.02 vs. 2.06:


The 2.02 software had an ash target of 60,000 with a typical count of 32 for corn. The ash count is added for each
feed wheel move. This means that after 60,000 / 32 = 1875 moves it will kick off the ash dump cycle. The 2.06
software has a default target of 16,000 and a count of 14. This means that after 16,000 / 14 = 1143 moves there will
be an ash dump cycle. Does this mean the 2.06 clinkers are 1143 / 1875 = 61% the size of a 2.02 clinker? Actually,
there is a subtle difference between the two versions - notice that it was based on moves, not feeds. The 2.02
software moves the wheel 8 times per revolution, actually, twice per 90 degrees which is the magnet spacing. The
2.06 software moves the wheel directly from magnet to magnet, which meant that the actual math in 2.02 would be
60,000 / (32 * 2) = 938 moves. Therefore, the 2.06 clinker is actually 1143 / 938 = 22% larger. In 2.06, the target is
adjustable over a wide range in addition to the ash content. This allows for very high ash content fuels like grass
pellets, along with very low ash content fuels. The wood pellet tables changed a lot. It really was a moving target
due to the differences of how wood pellets burn in the stove; much more than expected. It may very well need a
custom setting.
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Cable from the computer:


Can I hot-plug the (cable from the computer) into the board?
All the stoves can be plugged in or unplugged at any time. There is no issue with that.
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Vacuum tube:
I brought my old oscilloscope to Bixby once, but I had to replace a capacitor, so the cover was off.
One of the mechanical engineers pointed to something and asked, "What's that?" I replied that it was a vacuum
tube. He asked, "What's a vacuum tube?"
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Why does it dump the clinkers all on one side of the drawer?
With drawers without a deflector, the clinkers will stack up 1-2-3-4-5-6 and then the stove will jam. The deflector
seems to get an extra 2 or 3 if you're lucky - sometimes 1 or 2 less if you're not.
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Clinkers elliptically shaped:


Are your clinkers elliptically shaped? If they are, then they are still too hot when the ash dump process happens,
and they are deforming so that some material is getting hoisted up where it should not be. When the clinker is
compressed, it gets taller. The relatively cold paddles then flash-freeze the clinker material to everything. This can
lead to jamming problems. The clinkers need to be cooled more if that is the case. Failure after the second or third
ash dump is also symptomatic of this problem. Set the ash dump level to 3 and see what happens. It will then ramp
down to level 3. If they are still elliptical and binding up the system, try 2 and then 1. When hot, the clinker material
is something like the consistency of tar - stiff enough to not flow through the lower paddle holes, but still soft
enough to be formed. There was a time a long time ago when the ash dump was programmed to happen on level
8. That was quickly found to be a problem. Level 4 had seemed fairly safe over the years, but apparently it isn't
quite low enough in some situations.
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Altitude setting:
When BixCheck was first being developed the altitude settings were put in because it was thought that they might
be needed. The adjustments are somewhat arbitrarily based on the altitude, but they were never really tested.
The base tables were all developed in Minnesota. It seems that other things affect it at high altitudes, so the simple
fan adjustment there really doesn't help. I recommend that everyone just use the low altitude setting and use the
trim pots to bring it in. It also makes comparing to other stoves easier.
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18
Error 62 / BixCheck:
That is a false error that happens with the way BixCheck deals with Telemetry fields that cover 2 bytes. There is a
loss of synchronization somewhere in the process that recovers later on. It's one of those lower priority things that
will eventually be looked at.
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On the higher levels is the heat output the same as the lower levels?
This sounds like the thermostat is open. If you are not using the thermostat, there are two things to look at:
1) On the bracket for the control board assembly there is a terminal block. Installed on the terminal block is a metal
jumper. Check the connections there.
2) Coming off the terminal block is a white wire that connects to J6 of the control board. Check the connection and
make sure it's plugged in.
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Axial fan is noisy on MaxFire 110:


That cooling fan is a problem. The original Model 110 software ran each tap on the motor coil separately. The
cooling fan is hard wired to the high speed tap. The Model 115 software modulates power to the motor, which can
make some of the cooling fans behave like a speaker. A fan with a metal blade may help. Alternatively, you could
just wire the fan to the line power (although this suggestion didn't come from me).
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2.06 software and the MaxFire 110:


The Model 110 is fully capable of using the 2.06 software, and will be able to use the next revision that is coming
out. The only feature that is not readily accessible is the fuel selection switch.
BixCheck contains a way to set the tables for the Model 110.
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Model 100 or model 110?


It’s a Model 110 if it has only one ash dump motor. You can verify that if there is only one ash dump motor. If there
are two smaller ash dump motors, one upside down, then it is a Model 100.
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Models by serial number:


Model 100 Less than 2000
Model 110 3000 to 3850
Model 115 5000 to 9750
UBB 2000 to 2999
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No ash dump with an bad igniter:


The 2.06 software has been updated so that it will do the ash dump even if the igniter is out.
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Disabling the ash dump process:


The ash dump function can be turned off in BixCheck by setting the ash amount for each heat level to 0. However,
what you probably need is to set the value to around half of what it is now.
1) How much time is there between these ash dumps, and at which heat level?
2) Do you have soot buildup?
3) Do you have a lot of ash building up of the upper burn plate?
4) Make it a little richer by setting fan to -10% and feed to +10%.
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#3 light and convection Fan:


There may also be some threads around here about the convection fan shutting down to trigger this problem. A
noticeable radiant heat from the stove, unusual quietness, and unusual "hot" smell are all symptoms of the
convection fan shutting down. If it shuts down, then the hopper overtemp switch can open up.
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Ash dump frequency on MaxFire 115:
The upcoming software (2.70+) will have a checkbox in the fuel table to change the trimpot mapping to Fan / Feed
ratio on the fan trimpot with an ash dump time adjustment on the feed trimpot. Much of what is going into the new
115 software (2.70+) implements features that were already available on the UBB.
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Communication cable for the 115 & 110:


Q. I plan on updating my stoves software. I have the cable and software just want to if there are any special tricks
or what I should watch out for while updating it.

A. You will extend the RS-232 link between the USB to RS-232 adapter (if needed) and the Bixby stove
communication cable. You will need a straight-through 9-pin (known variously as DB-9 or DE-9) RS-232 extension
cable. You can tie several of them together. That length should not be any problem at all. The cables should be
around $5 for 6' at any electronics store. You cannot use a null-modem cable. Also watch out for UPS power supply
cables; they look the same but are wired up differently and will not work.
As for the USB to RS-232 adapter, I recommend: http://www.easysync-ltd.com/ scroll down to: ES-U-1001-A
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Open door?
Q. The wife said she came home to find "4" blinking (open door). Honestly, I assumed she must have miscounted
the lights. When I started the stove back up, about an hour later, I am eating breakfast when I realize the stove is
awful quite for being on 8. I went to have a look, and what do you know, fire is out, and "4" is flashing. What the
heck? I had been in there not 10 minutes earlier and everything was fine. Obviously, the door is not open, and
closes as snug as ever. Without adjusting a thing, I hit the on button, it fires up and runs normally.

A. You can access and adjust the switch with just the side panel off. The screws that hold it in are kind of tiny.
You may need some fine screwdrivers and pliers to do it. Another method that sometimes works is to bend the tab
on the switch a bit to make it click earlier.
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Longer formatting process:


Q. The 2.70 install was a piece of cake, but I find that it communicates much slower that 2.06! When clicking
format to write data to the stove, it takes 4 times as long!! Anyone else find this?

A. The stove formatting process does take longer. It now does the following:
1) It completely erases the memory before programming anything into it
2) It verifies all writes by reading back the value and rewriting if the value is incorrect.
Therefore, with two write processes (erase and data) and an extra read process (verification) you will wind up with
that. You now have full control of the 2-3 mode. Set the LB [lean burn] threshold to 100% or the adjustments to 0
and the mode is effectively turned off. Or, apply whatever parameters seem to work.
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Occasional flashing 2-3 lights:


Q. I've noticed that the #2 and #3 light flash once in a while. I know there is no problem with the flue being
blocked as I just had the termination cap off and made sure the pipes are clean. Also just replaced the exhaust fan
last week. I'm running on L4 at the time. I never noticed this before updating to software version 2.06. Is this
something to worry about?

A. An occasional flashing indicates the lean burn recovery mode; a shutdown with 2-3 indicates the blocked flue
shutdown, which is usually either caused by running out of fuel or something like that.
If it is only occasional there is not anything to worry about. Perhaps fuel didn't feed quite properly, or the winds
changed, or just because.
There was no functionality for this in software previous to 2.06.
The 2.06 software had fixed parameters of 25% threshold, 0% exhaust, and +30% feed.
The 2.70 software has adjustable parameters with default values of 35% threshold, -10% fan, and +20% feed.
The changes reflect the usage and testing that was done on it. Less sensitive to prevent going into that mode so
often, and less fuel going in to reduce the oscillations that can happen.
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20
BixCheck log file:
The trouble is how to display data in a way that Excel [or another spreadsheet] can do easily. For instance, with the
LED display, I would prefer to print that out in HEX or binary. However, Excel can't graph that kind of thing.
Therefore, the LED data is the decimal representation of the binary coding (in reverse order) of the LED’s. With the
stove running on level 4, switching between 15 and 9 is showing: 11110000 and 10010000 respectively: in other
words, a flashing 2-3 for lean burn recovery mode. [1=LED ON, 0=LED OFF ]
Binary: 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Decimal: 1 2 4 8 16 32 64 128
Examples:
Binary 11110000 = 15 Decimal Binary 10010000 = 9 Decimal Binary 11111111 = 255 Decimal
The Error listings are caused by a couple different factors having to do with data synchronization on the BixCheck
side and are not an indication of improper stove operation. When you import the datalog into Excel, or the
spreadsheet program of your choice, you need to import it as a CSV or comma delimited file. Select a column of
Telemetry data to graph. Note that, with multiple graphs, it may scale the height based on the range that is
numerically highest, so you may need to divide or multiply an entire column to have them display properly. I find
that I don't usually care so much about the actual values; instead the general shape is what I look for. It may take
some time to interpret what is happening in the graphs. Some convenient parameters to graph are: "TC points",
"Exh speed cnt", "State ctrl", and "Feed cycle s" or any of your choice.
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Thermostat heat level and shutdown:


The idea is that this behavior is selectable. In the "Thermostat heat level" setting, you can select from 0 to 8. A
value of 1 to 8 sets the thermostat target heat level as levels 1 to 8. Therefore, if this is set to 8, the stove will not
change its behavior when the thermostat is satisfied. The stove will not go up in heat level. So if it is manually set to
a level lower than the thermostat level, it will just stay there. Only when this is set to 0 will the stove go through the
shutdown process. Because of the cool down delay, the shutdown-restart cycle time is stretched out enough that it
limits how often it can happen. Note that there is another way to run the stove that is very interesting with this
shutdown capability through the thermostat. Instead of running the stove on a thermostat, you can now run it on a
timer to run it for a certain time. A programmable thermostat will do very well for that, or perhaps some kind of
home automation interface. Away from the cabin for a week? Want the stove to automatically start up at 6:00 on
Friday? You can do that now.
The stove is supposed to ramp back to the level it was at before the thermostat told it to cool down. Therefore, if the
stove is at level 3 and the thermostat mode is set to 0, the stove heat level sequence will be: 3-2-1-shutdown-
cooldown-restart-1-2-3. The thermostat level sets the level to burn down to. If you set that to 5 and the stove is at 8,
the stove will burn as 8-7-6-5. If it is set to 5 and the stove is at level 2, it will stay at level 2.
If you set the mode to 0, the stove will burn down to level 1 and then shut down. The stove will not restart until after
the cooling cycle, which in BixCheck is the time it spends in mode 0x10. The cooling cycle could take around 1/2
hour. It was also slightly modified to run longer in some cases.
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Cleaning the glass while stove is running:


Use a dry soft cotton cloth when it's running. Don't use anything wet while it's hot.
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An intermediate test version of the 2.70 software is now available at:


http://www.bixbyenergy.com/downloads/ [ 2/6/2008 ]. BixCheck_080206.zip
Feel free to try it out. The 2.06 software is also available in case you need to go back.
Support for test software is mostly limited to this site [iburncorn.com].
Changes include:
1) Option to select between regular and Ratio / Ash mapping for the trimpots.
2) New Update Wizard! To automatically guide you through the update process.
3) Fuel parameters to control stove behavior during "lean burn recovery" mode.
4) Added "Thermostat heat level" to set the target level / turnoff mode in thermostat mode.
5) Added option to "Disable auto restart".
6) Many internal updates.
7) Fixes excessive 2-3 lean burn corrections.
8) Adds a new file when making a log file. For instance, if your log file were BixLog_7350_02.txt, then it also
generates BixDat_7350_02.txt. This lists all the calibration data.
9) Now searches for COM ports from 1 to 99.
10) BixCheck baud rate is now 19,200.
21
There is a problem in the new test software for the Model 110 that will be fixed with the next update.
11) In 2.06, the timer for the feed wheel rate was not initialized until it ran out - which led to a variable delay at
startup before the feed wheel started. This usually worked out to around a 1 minute delay, leading to 5 or 6 fewer
feeds than would be possible had it been initialized.
12) In 2.70 it is initialized to the same value each time, which naturally adds more fuel at startup.
This method seemed like the safest way because startups that had the long initial delay can take a long time to get
going because the fuel simply was not up to the level of the igniters.
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An intermediate test version of the 2.71 software is now available at:


http://www.bixbyenergy.com/downloads/ [ 3/15/2008 ],
now has an updated version of the Model 110 / Model 115 software. It is BixCheck_080315.zip.
This is not the final version yet. However, it does address the main problems that were found with 2.70.
The primary changes are:
1) Made lean burn (LB) adjustments work properly
2) Reduced overabundant LB adjustments
3) Extended ramp down time as necessary
4) Replaced "Biomass 2%" table with wheat table
5) Added a few parameters to the data log
6) Added a telemetry parameter: LB drop limit
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BixCheck and software must…:


BixCheck and the stove software need to match in order for correct values to show up in the right place and to be
used. Make sure the "Data format" and "Checksum" boxes match in order to verify that they are working together.
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BixCheck software - how to unzip:


Go to: http://www.7-zip.org/ to get the program that can "unzip" the BixCheck software.
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Pull back at startup:


There is no pull back facility during the startup phase.
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Thermostat operation – heat levels:


Q. Help me understand the thermostat. So with the new software, you can set the low to 3, and on your stove,
you have it set on 8, so it stays on 8 when it calls for heat, when it doesn’t it idles down to 3? I am going to be
getting a thermostat soon and am not familiar with how the stove works with them. So does it ever run at 7 6 5 or 4
when you have it set at 8 or does it only hit them as part of ramping up or down?

A. Yes, in that setup the stove will ramp from 8 down to 3, and then ramp back to 8. Because of the ramping
process, which takes between 3 and 10 minutes per level, the stove may actually be released to ramp back up
before it ever makes it to the low level. The variable ramping time accounts for how quickly the temperature is
changing. The stove is not allowed to change too quickly - for instance, in this situation where it goes from 8 to 3, if
it went directly to level 3 from 8 there would be too much heat for the lower fuel input, and not enough fan for proper
combustion, so you would wind up with a lot of unburned fuel going up the stack, along with soot and other bad
things.
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Ash dump mechanism adjustment:


Q. The past two winters it has taken to jamming during the dump cycle after 4-7 days of use. I don't know what
else we can try to stop the jamming. We've tweaked up and down on both dials, the corn is as about as clean as
you can get it as well as the right moisture content.

A. It sounds like the ash mechanism push rod adjustment. A Model 110 from that time was probably a little early
to have that adjustment done at the factory. In your case, it was probably on the edge, and over time things settled
in to where it jams up.
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Manual ash dump cycles twice and dumps fire:
Q. I have read that pushing the on button twice .forces a dump which it does but it seams to cycle twice instead of
the once normal cycle and I lose the fire.

A. You have encountered an issue that may lead to a change in the software. The original purpose of the forced
ash dump was to deal with startup problems. Those problems were since mostly solved, yet the process remains.
The trouble is that the forced ash dump does not reset the ash counter. Therefore, if this is done, for instance, 90%
of the way into the ash dump count, you will then get another ash dump after the remaining 10% was done, making
the entire fuel bed get dropped. These issues will be addressed one way or the other as the next release
approaches. In the mean time, whether in 2.06 or 2.70 this can be tended to somewhat. The Ratio / Ash mode in
2.70 may be of use for you.
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Exhaust fan - noisy:


Q. The exhaust fan reminds me of a single prop airplane on taxi, even if I dial down the exhaust knob on the side
of the stove

A. The fan sensor picks up a secondary fan blade just behind the main housing. It is mounted to the fan housing
by a yellow chromate bracket with two screws. If the sensor is hitting the blade, there will be a definite metallic
sound. The sound will probably hit for two or three fins per revolution and then miss the rest, although it's possible
for most of them to hit. While it is difficult to see, there is generally not a reason to pull out any of the motors. As
you seem to have found it, the easiest way to adjust it is to bend the bracket back a bit. This method works if you
are able reach in there - that is the difficult part.

First, with the stove cool, open the door and get the fan motor running. From the exhaust side, push down on the
sensor a little - not enough to bend the metal, just enough to flex it in. The noise should become louder if that is the
problem. If you determine that as the problem, access to it is possible from the control board side. You can get a
shot at it through the space between the back of the convection fan housing and the back of the firebox. However,
the space may be to too small for you to actually do anything directly; even though, you can feel the bracket and
see how it fits in there compared to the rest of the assembly. A long, flat-blade screwdriver can get in there and be
used to bend it up. This should be done with the stove unplugged. If you need to pull out equipment, I would
recommend that you don't pull out the exhaust assembly. Instead, depending on how you can get things out, pull
out the convection fan assembly. This may require that you also pull out the circuit board assembly and the air
pump assembly. However, while the convection fan is the hardest of those three, the exhaust fan assembly is more
troublesome than all three put together.
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Can not read monitor in 5.5:


Q. I'm encountering 2 problems so far. The first one is the stove runs with proper burn height in lower cup for 8
hours -it seems to hold steady-but when I get up in the morning the pot is overfilled and piled on deck. The e/f is set
back to -4 due to ash pile on deck the f/f is -2 to keep the level from building up too high. I notice the ash dump
timer says 25-27 hours till dump on level one - is this excessive? I thought maybe if it dumped sooner it would not
overfill. Also I can read monitor and make changes with 5.0-but cannot read with 5.5. When I try to update to 2.07 it
seems to hang at the plug in stove screen and no activity in any of the boxes.

A. You have to watch the calibration when changing software. Strange things can happen - actually, what can
happen is that the calibration settings won't be used at all, so the stove will use the default internal table with no
adjustments. The easiest way when going to 2.70 is to use the "Update Wizard!" to do it. Then everything is done
automatically. If you watch the update wizard process closely you can see how to do the same things manually
later on.
I have found a rather wide range of behavior across pellets, more than is easy to deal with from one calibration.
Issues with wood pellets are the main reason the option for "Ratio" mode was added to the fuel table. You may
want to tinker with that to bring in the ash dump. One of the things about ash is that even though by weight a
number of different brands may all be the same ash content, but the consistencies of the ash can vary quite a bit.
Some mixtures form tiny clinker bits, some form high volume clinker bits, some form light ash that blows out the pot,
and some forms heavy ash that stay in [the burn pot]. Seemingly independent from the nature of the ash is how the
burn is: some are a little leaner, some are a little richer. You may need a more frequent ash dump if it produces
high volume ash. However, tuning the burn in is the priority - let the ash collect on the upper burn plate if
necessary.
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Calibration tables different in ver. 2.02 vs ver. 2.06:
The calibrations for the fuel tables are different. I had to look it up. It's been a while. However, the internal fuel table
is the same for 2.02 and 2.06. Therefore, you can simulate 2.02 operation (except for the occasional lean burn
adjustment) by setting all the 2.06 Fuel adjustments to the 2.02 values, which is 100 all the way down.
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Miscellaneous issues:
1) Burn consistency issues - possibly triggering the lean burn or blocked flue improperly
2) Ash dump issues - by definition taking place after the stove ran for a while. Have you tried to reduce the ash dump
heat level of the clinkers? Right now, it is on level 4. If you set that to level 3 or 2, it will firm up the clinker more
before dropping it.
3) Thermostat issues - can tip a barely working stove over the edge
If possible, let's try to tune things in without the thermostat, and then once things run well, we can use it again.
4) Differences between 2.02, 2.06, and 2.70.
The fuel tables between 2.02 and 2.06 are the same, but 2.06 has the lean burn compensation that drops an extra
30% in the burn pot. This compensation can be turned off in 2.70, however the fuel table is set to be more rich.
Therefore, even if turned off, the stove will be more rich in 2.70 than it was in 2.02.
These may play into the ash dump issues by resulting in a hotter clinker.
I think we can split up these problems and fix them one at a time.
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Efficiency: there are a number of different ways to look at efficiency:


Combustion efficiency:
This is the 99.7% number that is bandied about. This is simply the ratio of the fuel burned over the usable fuel that
goes into the stove. Suppose you burn 50 lbs. per day. At this efficiency, you would then get about 0.15 lbs of corn
or charred corn left over someplace. This number was determined at the testing agency. Those tests are written by
industry groups and trade associations, and are done in such a way to make them look good. Therefore, all startup,
ash dump, and other such sequences are ignored. Only after the stove has stabilized at its highest heat setting is
this measurement made. A stove that was 99% would waste a lot of fuel.

Thermal efficiency:
This is the ratio of the heat delivered to the room over the heat content of the fuel. The rest goes out the exhaust.
This is a tricky test to do. Even after it is done, a change in conditions can affect it. For instance, a hot running
stove in a cold room will be more efficient than after the room heats up. This test was done on a Model 100 and
resulted in around 60%. While not done on a Model 115, it should be higher due to changes in the convection fan
control process.
Application Efficiency:
What I call "application efficiency" for lack of a better term. The main question is whether your method of heating
does what you want. If my stove is on the top floor and I want to heat the lower level, no matter how well the stove
is running my application efficiency is low because the heat has a hard time going down. If I have a low efficiency
burner heating water for in-floor heat, my application efficiency may be high if the warm floor feels nice even
through the room air is 60 degrees. One situation that came up with the Model 115 was that the speed was set
rather high, for higher thermal efficiency, which resulted in the convection air feeling "cold". The solution was to
reduce the fan speed, which reduced the thermal efficiency of the stove a little, while increasing the convection
outlet air temperature to make the stove feel hotter. This is what the "Procrastinator" was all about. Things like
moisture content also get thrown in and things like BTU / lb., BTU / $, etc.
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Lean burn mode and blocked flue shutdown:


The 2-3 adjustments can be shut down if you set the "LB threshold %" to 100% and set the adjustments to 0%.
Then if the mode kicks in, there will be no adjustment applied. The actual 2-3 shutdown happens when there are
temperature samples in the history table in the Flue Monitor that are more than the "LB threshold %" times the
"Drop limit" amount lower than the maximum. Therefore, the stove becomes less sensitive to changes in
temperature for initiating the lean burn adjustments as the "LB threshold %" gets higher. 100% makes it the least
sensitive. Select "Help" and then "LB threshold %" for more information on this. The actual blocked flue shutdown
process cannot be bypassed for agency approval reasons. The lean burn recovery mode is there to attempt to
compensate for a situation where the temperature is fluctuating a lot.

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Values in the original 2.70 are: Values in the 2.70 test release are: Values in the 2.71 test release are:

LB threshold %: 25 LB threshold %: 25 LB threshold %: 35


LB fan adjustment: 0 LB fan adjustment: -10 LB fan adjustment: 0
LB feed adjustment: 30 LB feed adjustment: 20 LB feed adjustment: 20

Values in the 2.71 test release is a less sensitive case, with no fan adjustment, and a 20% feed adjustment. This is
based on observations and feedback from users of it. A reduction in fan speed can send the temperature a little too
much; actually, it may be that a small increase in fan speed might be done.
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Corn and growing conditions:


Regarding the corn growing conditions this year, the way the corn grew can definitely affect things. For instance,
with corn, the outer shell needs to be burned through before the inside can burn. However, it is the inside that burns
more easily. Therefore, if the outer shell is extra thick and takes a long time to burn through, it is possible to have
some amount of increased fuel level in the burn pot. If this level is held low, then there just isn't enough fuel
available to keep things running.
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Fuel not burning:


Burning lean may be not because there is no fuel in the pot, but because the fuel that is there is not available to be
combusted. The fuel needs to be hot in order to burn.
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Using more fuel with new software:


On corn usage, excluding the lean burn adjustments, the new software uses more fuel at all levels except for level
1, which is the same. Therefore, if someone is going by a heat level alone, and not the actual temperature, it will
seem like the stove is using more - but it is burning it just as well.
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UBB air leak sensitivity:


The UBB does not have an air wash. This makes it more sensitive to any leaks around the upper burn plate.
Carefully check to make sure it is not held up by something, bound up on the back, or warped.
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Thermocouple circuit measures temperature difference:


The difference in temperature on the thermocouple can be a couple things. First, if the outside temperature is
higher, the overall stove temperature can also be higher even if the room is the same. Transversely, if the room is
higher then the TC value will be lower - this is because the TC circuit measures the difference between the control
board and the exhaust temperature, not the absolute temperature itself. Internally, the BF (blocked flue) and LB
(lean burn) adjustments are mostly based on the relative temperature changes, so there shouldn't be any effect that
gets in, except for the convection fan running at a slightly different speed.
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Combustion smoke getting into the room:


The airflow through the stove has a couple different circuits. The main circuit is driven by the exhaust fan located
towards the end of the flow through the stove. It sets the firebox at a slight negative pressure, thus generally doing
a very good job of keeping combustion smoke from getting into the room. The air is drawn from outside. The igniter
circuit draws it's air from the room, not the outside. This pressurizes the firebox. However, the leak is probably not
happening at the firebox. At the exhaust fan impeller, the location of maximum low pressure is on the draw side at
the inner part of the fan blade. The pressure difference is reduced to near balance at the shaft. When the igniter air
pump runs, the pressure it adds to the system can overload the slight pressure drop at the shaft of the motor,
sending exhaust out instead of in. The convection fan air flow then sends it into the room. This process is most
noticeable with a well-sealed house that may have an exhaust load of some kind, such as a kitchen fan, a gas
appliance, or a prevailing wind in the right conditions.
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Convection fan thermal cutout switch:


The convection fan has a built in thermal cutout switch deep inside the motor. The thermal cutout switch is normally
closed and opens at 140ºF reclosing at 120ºF. The convection fan has two heat sources: the electric motor, and the
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back of the fire box. The cutout switch is designed to turn off power to the fan when something happens to it. In this
case, a well running stove shut it down. The things to look for in this situation are:
1) Air filter starting to get clogged
2) The room at a higher temperature - meaning the inside of the stove is also high.
3) The fan speed settings set lower than they could be.
If the fan was not already at 100% you can increase the speed a little to help cool it down. This may prevent this
problem. I had tried to think of ways to make various kinds of heat shields to keep the firebox heat away from it.
Maybe you can come up with something. In the meantime, leaving the side panels off may help. A box fan on low
can blow a lot of heat out too.
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Trim pot knob - optimum settings:


Note that the range over the exhaust and feed rates is +/- 30%. So a setting of 3 is around 18%. The thing to keep
in mind is that the fuel calibration tables are made around something of the average operation over a wide range of
fuel, temperatures, venting configurations, and other conditions. It is possible for one stove to be at +3 / 0 and
another stove to be at -3 / 0 to deal with the variances they encounter.
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BixCheck and 2.71:


The range of adjustments in BixCheck is initially daunting but it becomes clear after a while. There are also useful
Telemetry and data logging functions to track down subtle issues that can't be seen through a few blinky lights.
Updating the software is quite easy through BixCheck, and if for some you don't like how it works, you can always
go back. However, as the stove software progresses, the BixCheck software also underwent a range of
improvements.
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Exhaust fan failure light software ver. 2.06:


The exhaust fan failure light for that version [ver. 2.06] may not show up unless the RPM is 0 - even a little bit will
keep it from failing. In 2.70 the light will show if the RPM is less than 240.
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26
The 5 Step Troubleshooting Approach consists of the following:

You need to gather information regarding the equipment and the problem. Be sure you understand how the
equipment is designed to operate. It is much easier to analyze faulty operation when you know how it should
operate.

Step 1 – Observe:
Most faults provide obvious clues as to their cause. Through careful observation and a little bit of reasoning, most
faults can be identified as to the actual component with very little testing. Don't forget to use your other senses
when inspecting equipment. Pay particular attention to areas that were identified either by past history or by the
person that reported the problem. A note of caution here! Do not let these mislead you, past problems are just that
– past problems, they are not necessarily the problem you are looking for now.

Step 2 – Define Problem Area:


It is at this stage that you apply logic and reasoning to your observations to determine the problem area of the
malfunctioning equipment. Often times when equipment malfunctions, certain parts of the equipment will work
properly while others not. The key is to use your observations (from step 1) to rule out parts of the equipment or
circuitry that are operating properly and not contributing to the cause of the malfunction. You should continue to do
this until you are left with only the part(s) that if faulty, could cause the symptoms that the equipment is
experiencing.

Step 3 – Identify Possible Causes:


Once the problem area(s) have been defined, it is necessary to identify all the possible causes of the malfunction.
This typically involves every component in the problem area(s). It is necessary to list (actually write down) every
fault which could cause the problem no matter how remote the possibility of it occurring. Use your initial
observations to help you do this.

Step 4 – Determine Most Probable Cause:


Once the list of possible causes has been made, it is then necessary to prioritize each item as to the probability of it
being the cause of the malfunction. The following are some rules of thumb when prioritizing possible causes.
Although it could be possible for two components to fail at the same time, it is not very likely. Start by looking for
one faulty component as the culprit. The following list shows the order in which you should check components
based on the probability of them being defective:
- First look for components which burn out or have a tendency to wear out,
- The next most likely cause of failure are coils, motors, transformers and other devices with windings. These
usually generate heat and, with time, can malfunction.
- Connections should be your third choice, especially screw type. Over time these can loosen and cause a high
resistance.
- Finally, you should look for is defective wiring.

Step 5 - Test and Repair:


Make sure you follow safety precautions while troubleshooting. Once you have determined the most probable
cause, you must either prove it to be the problem or rule it out. This can sometimes be done by careful inspection.
Test instruments can be used to help narrow the problem area and identify the problem component.

A very important rule when taking meter readings is to predict what the meter will read before taking the reading.

Once you have determined the cause of the faulty operation of the circuit you can proceed to replace the defective
component. Be sure the circuit is locked out and you follow all safety procedures before disconnecting the
component or any wires. After replacing the component, you must test operate all features of the circuit to be sure
you have replaced the proper component and that there are no other faults in the circuit. It can be very
embarrassing to tell the customer that you have repaired the problem only to have him find another problem with
the equipment just after you leave.
Follow up
Although this is not an official step of the troubleshooting process it nevertheless should be done once the
equipment has been repaired and put back in service. You should try to determine the reason for the malfunction.
Adopting a logical and systematic approach such as the 5 Step Troubleshooting Approach can help you to
troubleshoot like an expert!
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The 7 Step Troubleshooting Approach consists of the following:

1. Gather information:
Gathering information is a logical first step in any troubleshooting endeavor. Ask about or perform the following:
How exactly is the equipment supposed to operate?

2. Understand the malfunction:


Understanding the malfunction means that you understand how or what the process is and what portion of the
process is operating incorrectly. Answer these questions:
• How is the process supposed to work?
• What is not functioning as it should?
• What would cause these results or malfunction?

3. Identify which parameters need to be evaluated:


Identifying which parameters need to be evaluated requires a clear understanding of the discrepancy and which
signals affect the suspected component. Which input signals control the component? What is the expected output
from the suspect circuit? Is there a timing delay, sequence, or set point that can be verified?
Identify the parameters that need to be recorded which could either confirm or refute your suspicions regarding the
problem. Identify the following:
• What parameters can you measure?
• What are the expected values for any measurements that are to be taken?
• What test equipment is needed?
• Is there access for the required readings?
• Is there an alternative method to gather the required readings?
• Could other components have been affected by this fault?

4. Identify the source of the problem:


Identifying the source of the problem requires the technician to isolate components and evaluate circuit parameters,
to isolate the circuit by group when dealing with a complicated circuit (half-step approach), and to identify the
malfunctioning component using the recorded data.

5. Correct/repair the component :


Correct or repair the component identified as damaged based on the recorded data. Perform the required repairs to
the circuit. Completing step 5 can range from simple adjustments to a complete component replacement

6. Verify the repair:


Verify the repair after completion. Ensure the equipment is operating as designed. Perform another round of testing
to verify the equipment is in fact running correctly and that no other discrepancies exist.

7. Perform root cause analysis:


Performing root cause analysis, even though mentioned last, began in the first step of the troubleshooting process.
You should use the knowledge gained throughout the troubleshooting process in determining what could have
possibly caused the component to fail. By following a well thought-out systematic process when challenged with an
electrical troubleshooting problem, you will greatly enhance your effectiveness. Invest a little time up front doing
your research and determining your troubleshooting plan of action.
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