If you have ever tried splitting wood by swinging an ax, you might agree that it’s an extremely labor-intensive task. Given the motion and force that needs to be exerted in order to split the wood, the task can quite feel like a punishment. If you’re sick of cutting your firewood via manual labor, consider investing in a good quality log splitter.
Some factors play a vital part in the splitting efficiency and productivity of a log splitter, and one of them is the time cycle.
What is Cycle Time?
It refers to the total time it takes to complete a cycle of extending the splitting wedge from full retraction to full extension and back. This is determined by the volume of fluid flow or gallons per minute (GPM). If a log splitter has a spec cycle time of 15 seconds, that’s how long it takes to split a log: the faster the cycle time, the more work done in less time.
A cycle time over 15 seconds is considered not reliable. So, what affects cycle time?
The size of a cylinder can be associated with a slower cycle time. A log splitter with a smaller cylinder typically sacrifices some splitting force. The type of hydraulic pump also plays a part in what affects the cycle time.
How to Increase Cycle Time
An average log splitter cuts wood way faster than an ax. But if you really want to get the task done and over with quickly, you might want to speed up the machine’s cycle time. Below are the tips on how to do it.
Upgrade your hydraulic fluid pump
To increase cycle time, you will need a bigger hydraulic fluid pump; however, this could also call for the need to increase the size of your hydraulic tank. This is to prevent the hydraulic fluid from overheating. To accommodate the increased hydraulic fluid flow, you will then need bigger hydraulic hoses and larger supply lines. Quite an expense, right?
Purchase a 2-stage hydraulic pump
Another option is to get a 2-stage hydraulic pump. There are two modes of operation in a 2-stage hydraulic pump. When the return stroke has no load, it pumps a larger volume at low pressure and moves the ram back quickly. Pressure increases, and the pump switches to high-pressure mode once the ram hits the wood. Basically, a 2-stage hydraulic pump speeds up the whole process by requiring less power in moving the splitting ram.
Implement a 3-way valve
A 3-way valve speeds up the forward stroke and reduces the splitting force in proportions. The extra valve consists of a standard port that connects to the other ports. The second valve port connects to the line that went directly to the rod end of the cylinder. As for the remaining port, it joins into the line feeding the base end of the cylinder with a tee fitting.
How to Adjust Pressure
Harder woods require more force to split successfully. Luckily, you don’t need to purchase separate log splitters for catering to every type of wood. Instead, adjust the pump pressure, and you’re ready to go.
The engine on a log splitter is easy to navigate, so there’s no need to hire professional services in adjusting the pressure:
- Start the Engine – The first step is to start your log splitter’s engine. Turning the engine on will help reflect the capacity of the engine. Once you turn on the engine, wait for the hydraulic to warm up. Only proceed to the next step when the engine has reached its idling speed.
- Expose the Pump – Set down the log splitter guards and expose the pump.
- Set to Neutral – Locate the pump level and set it to neutral.
- Adjust the Pressure – To test the pressure capacity of the pump, adjust the screw using a flat-blade screwdriver. The pressure increases as you turn the screw clockwise, while it decreases as you turn the pressure counter-clockwise.
- Set the Shield Back – After setting your desired pressure, do not forget to put the shield back up for protection.
Speeding up a log splitter’s cycle time costs a lot of money. If you are splitting logs by yourself, there’s no need to speed up the cycle time. The machine is already done splitting before you could even grab the next log. However, if you’re splitting logs with another person, spending some bucks on a splitter might still sound practical.