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Author Topic: Wood-mizer gremlins  (Read 11283 times)

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Offline pnyberg

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Wood-mizer gremlins
« on: December 19, 2009, 01:37:58 pm »
My mill hasn't been getting much exercise lately, so I went out this morning to run the engine for a bit, and to change the blade in anticipation of doing some milling demonstrations for friends and relatives who will be visiting over the holidays.  It's been below freezing here in Connecticut for several days, and was in the mid-twenties this morning.

In the course of trying to do this simple chore, I discovered not one, not two, but three problems with my almost new machine.

First is the power feed motor.  I couldn't get the head to move on the rail, and I traced the problem down to the motor.  It wouldn't turn when power was supplied, and I was unable to turn the shaft by hand.  I brought it into my heated shop to warm up.  I had little confidence that this would solve the problem, but it did.  After a short while, I was able to turn the shaft.  So I reinstalled it, and the power feed is working again.  There was no water on my work bench where the motor sat, so if there was water in there, I think there still is.

Second, my Accuset stopped working.  When I first turned on the mill this morning, it was working.  I used the reference mode to move the head up to 12", so that I could move it to the back.  But at some point during the analysis of the power feed problem, I noticed the display now read "ERROR - transducer problem". 

Third, the head will only go up.  Push the lever up, the head goes up.  Push the lever down, the head also goes up.

Since I've started writing this post, I've discovered that the second and third problems are intermittent, and related.  When one goes away, the other does too. I haven't figured out if there's anything I can do to either cause or prevent them.

If anyone has any thoughts about what might be behind any of these issues, I would appreciate it.  It's going to be embarrassing if I have to tell my friends and relatives that my new sawmill isn't working.

--Peter

No longer milling

Offline Magicman

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #1 on: December 19, 2009, 01:58:55 pm »
and to change the blade  --Peter 

What caught my eye was the blade thing.  Does "changing" mean that you leave the blade on the mill when it is not in use?  If it does, several bad things happen.  The blade rusts, sawdust becomes inbeded in the B57 belts even with the tension off,  safety.

The other issues could very easily be moisture related.  The feed motor could have been frozen and the moisture simply evaporated as it thawed.  Do you have covers on your control unit?  I'd use a hair dryer, etc. to completely dry everything out.
Knothole Sawmill, LLC     '98 Wood-Mizer LT40SuperHydraulic/Lombardini/Kohler

Never allow your "need" to make money to exceed your "desire" to provide quality service.....The Magicman

Offline pnyberg

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #2 on: December 19, 2009, 02:42:06 pm »
What caught my eye was the blade thing.  Does "changing" mean that you leave the blade on the mill when it is not in use?  If it does, several bad things happen.  The blade rusts, sawdust becomes inbeded in the B57 belts even with the tension off,  safety.

The other issues could very easily be moisture related.  The feed motor could have been frozen and the moisture simply evaporated as it thawed.  Do you have covers on your control unit?  I'd use a hair dryer, etc. to completely dry everything out.

I do leave the blade in the mill with the tension relieved.  I thought this was SOP with bandsaw mills. 

The control station and the engine covers are in place whenever the mill in not being used.

I'd like to think that whatever moisture that may have been in the motor evaporated, but it seems like a pretty tightly sealed unit, so my fear is that it just melted, and will now re-freeze.

Thanks,
    Peter
No longer milling

Offline Magicman

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #3 on: December 19, 2009, 04:34:24 pm »
I do leave the blade in the mill with the tension relieved.  I thought this was SOP with bandsaw mills.  Thanks, Peter

I'm sure that everyone has their own train of thought on this subject, but I personally do not leave a band on the mill.  Not even overnight.  They are too easily removed and re-installed.  The sawdust under the blade imbeds into the B57's, and the blade rust/tarnishes when exposed to this tanic acid, etc. overnight.  Every time I remove the band, both belts get cleaned with a wire brush to remove the sawdust buildup.  Also heavy dew or if it happens to rain, the blade will start rusting.

I'm not suggesting to anyone what they should do......I'm just saying what I do.
Knothole Sawmill, LLC     '98 Wood-Mizer LT40SuperHydraulic/Lombardini/Kohler

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Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2009, 05:19:18 pm »
The head not moving in freezing weather well could be frozen sawdust and such built up in places like the cam rollers and other close parts around the sawhead and frame.  You may try taking the dust covers off the head cam rollers and checking for a buildup of damp (frozen) sawdust.  ATF oil on the rails and up and down the mast post will help too.   That could explain the problem with the AccuSet.  If it encounters too much resistance, it will go to Error.

Also,  I think if you’re in the “go to” mode, it probably don’t make a difference if you push the up/down lever up or down.  It’s still going to try to go to that setting.  At least it does in the Pattern mode when you under the last setting – you hit the down switch and it’ll go up to the last program dimension.

If you’re still having problems on Monday,  call Wood-Mizer and talk to Rick (a.k.a Sparks).

P.S.  We're of the “knock the tension” down group on the blade.   But our mill is under roof – if that makes any difference.  And most of the year we use it almost every day.   
Wood-Mizer LT40HDE25 Super 25hp 3ph with Command Control and Accuset.
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Offline bull

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2009, 05:32:05 pm »
The mill was sending you a message!!!   Don't bother me it to freekin cold and I am not working... My mill will do the same thing when it hasn't been used and the temp is under 20 degrees...... wait for warmer weather or garage the mill...... She's only human!!!! :-\

Offline DR_Buck

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2009, 07:06:45 pm »
My blades are always left on the mill and have been since it was new 5 years ago.  I run the blade with full stream lubmizer until it's clean at the end of sawing.  Then I drop the tension to something less that 500psi on the gauge.      Any rust comes off on the 1st pass down the next log.
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Offline Chuck White

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #7 on: December 19, 2009, 09:06:09 pm »
I never leave a band on my mill when I'm not sawing, even for a few hours!
I have found as MM stated they will rust wherever they are touching the belts!

I have had customers ask "why do you take the blade off at night"?  It's almost like I don't trust the customer, in their eyes!
My answer is always "if I leave it on, it will rust"!

~Chuck~
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Cooks Cat Claw Sharpener, 4-foot Logrite cant hook and others.
Basic mechanical skills are all that's required to maintain the Wood-Mizer.
I LOVE MY SAWMILL

Offline Brucer

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2009, 01:35:06 am »
When I saw in really cold weather, I'll often find the carriage is "frozen" to the bed first thing in the morning. A little cautious pressure between the carriage and the mill with a 6' steel bar will break it free. After that it rolls just fine.
Bruce    LT40HDG28 bandsaw with two 6' extensions, ED22 twin blade edger.
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Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #9 on: December 20, 2009, 07:21:26 am »
This may be blasphemous but I prefer a mill with dumb old hydraulics not low voltage motors, transducers, microswitches,and computers.When everything is working well their hard to beat but theirs too much that can/will go wrong with a machine that sits out in the weather.Flack jacket on Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline ljmathias

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #10 on: December 20, 2009, 07:26:40 am »
Frank, I pretty much agree with you on this discussion; maybe we should try to list modifications and options in order of increasing cost and complexity versus benefits?  I have no doubt that hydraulics add complexity, definitely add cost, but are totally worth it: had an LT30 manual and when I switched to an LT40 hydraulic, realized I'd never go back, no matter how much upkeep or repair was required- back and arms wouldn't let me (they get most of the votes in my work decisions nowadays).  Going to setworks and other fancy stuff?  Not so sure.  Might be a "law of diminishing returns" playing out here.  Sure, you can add a coffee maker to your sawmill, but does it really pay for itself in productivity, safety and enjoyment/satisfaction?

You don't need a flack jacket so much as a really big shovel for scooping up the...  just kidding!  :D :D

Lj
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Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2009, 08:59:36 am »
Well,  I’m kind of partial to the electric drive with V belts in the power chain.  When something gets bound and things won’t move,  they tend to stall out or belt slip and nothing really gets hurt.  To really bust something take MORE POWER.  Also, in cold or hot weather, electric motors are constant.

We’ve got about 4500 hours on our LT40 Super and have only recently replaced the V belt on the head forward/reverse pulley.  We replaced a gearbox on the up/down drive system trying to solve another problem so I don’t really think the old one was bad.  I’ve checked the brushes on the motors and they still had a lot of life left in them.

Wood-Mizer introduced a hydraulic drive mill a couple of years ago.  I don’t think they’ve sold many of them.

Nothing works well in cold weather except making ice-cream.  I don’t know how you guys in the frozen north manage working in prolonged cold weather.  Also, a machine setting is just looking for gremlins. 
Wood-Mizer LT40HDE25 Super 25hp 3ph with Command Control and Accuset.
Sawing since '94

Offline red oaks lumber

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #12 on: December 20, 2009, 01:34:31 pm »
i like the idea of adding a coffee maker to the mill! cold weather brings out a host of problems. whats the saying an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of pain. up here we only have maybe 4 months before were back above freezing for good, thats not so bad, come on spring!!!!!!!!lol
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Offline ladylake

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #13 on: December 20, 2009, 02:14:04 pm »
 10 above works here, the diesel starts and the hydraulics are a little sluggish for 10 or 15 minutes.   Steve
Timberking B20 9000 hours +  Case75xt grapple + forks+8" snow bucket + dirt bucket   770 Oliver   Lots(too many) of chainsaws, Like the Echo saws and the Stihl and Husky     W5  Case loader   1  trailers  Wright sharpener     Dino setter

Offline Bibbyman

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #14 on: December 20, 2009, 03:03:33 pm »
10 above works here, the diesel starts and the hydraulics are a little sluggish for 10 or 15 minutes.   Steve

My hydraulics don't start working until it's above 40... ;)
Wood-Mizer LT40HDE25 Super 25hp 3ph with Command Control and Accuset.
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Offline Chuck White

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #15 on: December 20, 2009, 03:08:49 pm »
I always thought that the real "gremlins" were the ones that raised the log stops when you weren't looking,
or raised one of the toe boards when you were half done with a cant!  ;D
~Chuck~
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1995 Wood-Mizer LT40HDG2425 Kohler - Shingle & LapSider
Cooks Cat Claw Sharpener, 4-foot Logrite cant hook and others.
Basic mechanical skills are all that's required to maintain the Wood-Mizer.
I LOVE MY SAWMILL

Offline pineywoods

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #16 on: December 20, 2009, 03:18:01 pm »
I always thought that the real "gremlins" were the ones that raised the log stops when you weren't looking,
or raised one of the tow boards when you were half done with a cant!  ;D

Dang them gremlins must migrate south for the winter. They've definitely visited my mill :o
1995 Wood Mizer LT 40, Liquid cooled kawasaki,homebuilt hydraulics. Homebuilt solar dry kiln.  Woodmaster 718 planner, Kubota M4700 with homemade forks and winch, stihl  028, 029, Ms390
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Offline ladylake

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #17 on: December 20, 2009, 03:40:01 pm »
10 above works here, the diesel starts and the hydraulics are a little sluggish for 10 or 15 minutes.   Steve

My hydraulics don't start working until it's above 40... ;)

  Are you sure that it's the hydraulics that don't start working. Up here 20 above is a nice balmy day.  Steve
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Online LeeB

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #18 on: December 20, 2009, 03:42:22 pm »
I always thought that the real "gremlins" were the ones that raised the log stops when you weren't looking,
or raised one of the tow boards when you were half done with a cant!  ;D

Dang them gremlins must migrate south for the winter. They've definitely visited my mill :o

Winter ain't got nothing to do with it. They live around my mill all year round.  >:(
'98 LT40HDD/Lombardini, Case 580L, Cat D4C, Ford 851 tractor, JD 3032 tractor, Husky 346, 372 and 562XP's. Stihl MS180 and MS361, 1998 and 2006 3/4 Ton and 2005 1 ton Dodge 5.9 Cummins 4x4's, 1989 Dodge D100 w/ 318, and a 1966 Chevy C60 w/ dump bed.

Offline bandmiller2

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #19 on: December 20, 2009, 04:21:52 pm »
Them mill gremlins rat on you when you try to sneek anouther piece of machinery home.Frank C.
A man armed with common sense is packing a big piece

Offline sdunston

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #20 on: December 20, 2009, 05:20:35 pm »
I think the gremlins moved south because I sawed all dat today in the cold and the wind problem free except for the fact I am still freezing :-[, The wind was out of the east today,(most of the time from the west) so saw dust in the eyes was a factor and it sure filled the pockets with frozen dust, high temp today was 18deg
Stay warm, Sam
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Offline ljmathias

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2009, 08:07:23 pm »
You guys keep reminding me why I moved South in the first place and why I'm so happy I did... can't take the cold anymore, at least the wet cold we have here.  We had a dry spell the other day and it was really nice- cold, sunny but didn't chill you to the bone.

And it's not the gremlins that rat on you, it's the disappearing funds from the checking acount blues that catch you (at least me... the wife balances every day to the penny, literally).  So, I have my own account, and when something gets sold, the money goes there- keeps the machines running, buys the supplies for the shop, and gifts the wife and kids as needed; and of course, that new tractor or truck engine as opportunity arises.

Christmas eve on Thursday, people: Merry and Happy and stay warm.

Lj
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Offline woodmills1

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #22 on: December 21, 2009, 07:30:12 pm »
gremlins come and gremlins go, you have to fix them
James Mills    Lovely wife   collect old tools  vaccuming fool  36 bd ft per hour
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Offline bull

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2009, 10:13:02 pm »
spayed or nuetered

Offline zopi

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2009, 10:21:10 pm »
spayed or nuetered

Clubbed.  One of those card suits anyhoo..
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Offline Magic Smoke

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #25 on: December 22, 2009, 09:24:56 am »
pnyberg,
The error is generated because the Bridge (silver box mounted on door of distribution box) is not receiving the signal from the Transducer (sensor with long chrome rod behind scale).
This may be caused by:
- loose/faulty connection
check the transducer cable where it plugs onto the bottom of the sensor and at the bottom of the distribution box

Offline Magic Smoke

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #26 on: December 22, 2009, 09:34:40 am »
Oops!
Didn't mean to post that yet...

More possibilities:
Also check the cable on the inside of the dist box that runs from the receptacle on the bottom of the box to the bridge.
- Faulty Transducer, the only thing you can do for this is to replace the transducer, however, if the problem is intermittent, I would go here last.
- Faulty power supply on the Bridge, the bridge has a power supply on it for the Transducer, and at the colder temps it may be having a problem driving the Transducer. Try this:
Try unplugging the Transducer with the key off, turn on key, then plug Transducer back in. If it comes up and works fine every time you do this then the bridge needs replaced.

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #27 on: December 22, 2009, 06:05:14 pm »
and I was gonna say I neuter my spays but that isnt funny and now this thread is technical  so....................gremlins wasnt that a movie??? :D
James Mills    Lovely wife   collect old tools  vaccuming fool  36 bd ft per hour
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Offline pnyberg

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #28 on: December 22, 2009, 09:28:53 pm »
Magic Smoke,

Thanks for the input.  I can't say that I understand any of your suggestions at the moment, but in the morning, I'll take your messages and my manuals out to my mill and try to make sense of it all. 

--Peter
No longer milling

Offline sawbuckacres

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #29 on: December 22, 2009, 10:47:47 pm »
I haven't experienced any Gremlins, but I certainly learned something here, which is that a lot of folks remove their blade on a daily basis.  I'm a newby, but in the past couple of years I only remove my blade when it dulls, or at the end of the summer season.  Removing and cleaning it certainly makes sense, but all the banging of the teeth that goes on during the removal (Wood-Mizer LT-15) creeps me out enough on a dull blade, let alone doing it to a sharp one.

I generally release tension, and clean the blade, belts, and wheels on a daily basis.  I am in the northern Rockys so rust is not generally an issue.

Am I missing something here?  :-\

Offline zopi

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #30 on: December 22, 2009, 11:32:17 pm »
The little bit of banging you get removing or replacing the blades doesn't make much difference..it does take practice...what really sucks is sawing the top off a dog...particularly with a new blade..
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Offline pnyberg

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #31 on: December 23, 2009, 01:05:41 pm »
Try unplugging the Transducer with the key off, turn on key, then plug Transducer back in. If it comes up and works fine every time you do this then the bridge needs replaced.

This morning, while it was below 20°, I went through this cycle 5 or 6 times:

key off
unplug cable from bottom of transducer
key on - ERROR display - red light on bridge
plug cable back into bottom of transducer  - normal display - green light on bridge
key off
key on  - ERROR display - red light on bridge

Unfortunately, I got distracted by another problem (one of my own making), and I didn't do any additional functional testing at that time.  Now it's warmed up to about 25°, and the Accuset's working OK without having to fiddle with the cable.

I'll do a more complete test next time it's cold enough to make the gremlins come out.

Thanks,
    Peter
No longer milling

Offline woodmills1

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #32 on: December 23, 2009, 05:31:22 pm »
BTW I never remove and half the time leave the tension on
James Mills    Lovely wife   collect old tools  vaccuming fool  36 bd ft per hour
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Offline Magic Smoke

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #33 on: December 24, 2009, 09:21:10 am »
pnyberg,
It sounds like the power supply on the bridge might be having trouble powering up the Transducer during colder temperatures (the Transducer pulls a little more current in colder temps).

Once it is up and running, will it continue to run fine until you cycle the key again?
If so, then you need to replace the Bridge (silver box hanging on the door of the distribution box).
If the error occurs after start up, i.e. during sawing, then the problem is more than likely a transducer or cabling problem.

Hope this helps!

Offline pnyberg

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #34 on: December 24, 2009, 04:05:36 pm »
The error has only occurred at startup. 

The temperature needs to be down to 20° or so for the error to occur, and we've moved into a warmer weather pattern, so I can no longer reproduce it.  I'm sure we'll get anther cold spell before too long, and when we do, I'll do a more thorough test, and then call Wood-Mizer support.

You certainly have helped, MS.  Not only have you diagnosed the problem, but you gave me a work-around that lets me keep sawing when the error occurs.  Thank you very much.

You've never said, but I'm guessing from your expertise, and your location, that you work for Wood-Mizer. 

--Peter
No longer milling

Online LeeB

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #35 on: December 24, 2009, 05:40:30 pm »
I'll have to say you have helped more than pnyberg. My setworks is doing the same thing when cold. I will try the fixes you have recomended although I realy think mine is caused by moister in the keypads that has frozen and not allowing good contact.
'98 LT40HDD/Lombardini, Case 580L, Cat D4C, Ford 851 tractor, JD 3032 tractor, Husky 346, 372 and 562XP's. Stihl MS180 and MS361, 1998 and 2006 3/4 Ton and 2005 1 ton Dodge 5.9 Cummins 4x4's, 1989 Dodge D100 w/ 318, and a 1966 Chevy C60 w/ dump bed.

Offline Magic Smoke

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #36 on: December 31, 2009, 11:54:01 pm »
FYI
The info provided is only applicable to Accuset 2, not the original Accuset or older systems.

Offline pnyberg

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #37 on: January 29, 2010, 05:17:22 pm »
I wanted to confirm the behavior of the Accuset one more time before calling Wood-Mizer about the problem, and the weather has been too warm to reproduce the problem for the last few weeks.  When I got out of bed this morning, it was 10° F, which was plenty cold enough. 

After confirming that the problem still exists, and the the transducer cable trick still worked, I called Wood-Mizer tech support.  I got about three sentences into my story with the tech rep. who answered my call before he said "you need to talk to Rick" (a.k.a Sparks).  He sent me to the operator, who transferred me to Rick's extension, where I got his voice-mail.  I left a message, and got a call back within a few minutes.

After the preliminaries, which allowed him to access my account in the system, he asked me to describe my problem.  As soon as I got through the description of the trick with the transducer cable, he said "sounds like you've got a bad bridge".  He told me that they'd send me a new one right away, along with a UPS label for me to use to send back the old one.  He also mentioned something about putting the old one in the freezer to figure out what was wrong with it.

After they're done playing with it, maybe Wood-Mizer would sell the bridge to one of you southern sawyers at a reduced price.  It seems to work OK down to about 18°   :)

BTW, the problem with the frozen power feed motor I mentioned in the first post in this thread has not reappeared.  My only guess is that this was caused by a very small amount of water in exactly the wrong place.

I'll let you know how swapping out the bridge goes...

--Peter
No longer milling

Offline pnyberg

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #38 on: February 07, 2010, 10:36:13 am »
This should be the last chapter in this story. 

The package from Wood-Mizer arrived in the middle of the week.  It contained the new bridge in some protective packaging, a card where I was asked to describe the problem, and an ARS return label.  There were no instructions, which I took as an indication that the swap-out procedure was obvious, which turned out to be the case.



Four bolts attach the bridge to a mounting panel on the cabinet door.  There are two computer type connections at the top.  These are sufficiently different that it would be impossible to reattach them incorrectly.  There are six wires attached to the bottom.  Unfortunately, two of them are black, but one was labeled with a number, so they could easily be distinguished. I took a minute to make some notes on the wire locations, and set to work.

Working bare-handed at 25° F is not something I particularly enjoy, but the process went smoothly and took no more than 15 minutes.

After the swap was complete, I fired up the mill.  I got no error message, and everything seemed to work as it should.  But, 25° isn't cold enough to reproduce the problem I'd been having, so all I knew for sure at this point was that I hadn't made anything worse.

But this morning, it was about 14° F, which would have been cold enough to get the error message display with the original bridge, but when I turned the key to 'AUX' I got the normal display. 

The old bridge will be headed back to Indianapolis in the next day or two.  All's well that ends well.

--Peter
No longer milling

Offline Magicman

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Re: Wood-mizer gremlins
« Reply #39 on: February 07, 2010, 03:17:20 pm »
Good product + good support = happy customer...... :D
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