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Thread: Boiler going into "lockout" mode

  1. #31
    DIY Member watson524's Avatar
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    Thanks for the added info. Our filter is right near the floor, actually sits on the floor in front of the one tank. I don't have a spare cartridge or anything so don't have any way to bleed the lines and know nothing about priming the pump so I think I've taken this as far as I can and have called the oil company. They're on a call now but will call me back and let me know when they can get up here. I just told them it'll have to be in the afternoon if it's today because of my conference call schedules for work and I want to stand there and explain everything I've already done and see what they do.

    thanks for all the help and I'll post back once I get word on what's what.

  2. #32
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    cool. I look forward to hearing what is (was)wrong!
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  3. #33
    DIY Member watson524's Avatar
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    Well here's the info.... and I'm not quite sure what to make of it. I do like the service guy and he's been out before for annual cleanings and understands my level of DIY is above a general homeowner but certainly not a pro so he explains things as he's going. I had it in lockout mode (didn't reset it) before he came. Told him everything I had done so far including the fact that I had removed the blue wire in the aquastat about 6 weeks ago to cold start (more on that in another post I am going to revive) but I plugged it back in to see what would happen and nothing changed.

    Anyway, he looked at the eye, clean. Check resistance and all checked out ok. Replaced the nozzle. It was pretty dirty on the top again and I told him I had just cleaned it. He checked electrode settings and spacing was ok but he said the porcelain was really dirty. I told him I was going to clean those up but I didn't know if that was safe so we just wire brushed the ends and left it at that. Then he checked fuel pressure. It was reading 105. The front of the unit says 100 but he set it to 140. (This is where I got nervous). He said that there's addendums coming out now saying 160 - 200 is the setting to go with but he didn't want to go that high at all. When he first got there he said it's really odd that when it's "cold" it won't start without reset but a call fairly soon after it has been running fires it right up. When he pulled the nozzle, I asked him if it was possible that there's some tiny spec gunk that when it's heated up thins out but gets stickier as it cools and throws things off. He said yes it is possible, but he wasn't convinced and since it's a cheap part, let's just replace it. Ok for $5 I agree. He tested the primary control, said it isn't that since I just replaced it and it was still doing the same thing. Then he said, did you test the transformer? I said no, didn't know how. So he showed me the screw driver trick (with a WELL insulated handle). Spark across just fine. Screwdriver a 1/4" or so from each spring, even spark at both sides so he deemed the transformer to be ok. He tested for voltage to the aquastat and said that was fine. Set the low to 130 (which is what our boilermate is set to - a touch lower) and the high to 160 since he said we're not heating, don't need to have the high and low at 160 and 180. (He also said just pulling the blue wire isn't enough to cancel low - though my observation is that it is - so I'll post separately on that). He said the only other thing he can think of is that the aquastat is going fluky. He said let's leave it at the 130 - 150 and see how it does (it's only cooled to about 150 now and nothing has called for it). He said if it works ok, then turn it back up to the 160/180 and see how that does. If it works, he suspects the fuel pressure and/or nozzle and electrode cleaning was the issue. He said if it doesn't work, then he suspects the aquastat is on the way out. He said it's not a cheap part (I know it was $277 installed when I got a price to go to the one that doesn't have the low setting from my HVAC guys) but he said, clearly you have enough skills where I'd just get one, make a diagram and swap it out of the same kind. He said that that's what they'd do next and why pay for the service call. So that's where I'm at. So far nothing has called and I'm letting it cool off. In order not to have to wait until tonite, I may just turn up the temp control on the boilermate and see what's what.

    So that's where I stand.... I'm sort of hoping it wasn't the nozzle and electrode thing or I'll feel silly but if it was the fuel pressure, I don't have the knowledge or tools to deal with that so I'd have had to call them anyway.

  4. #34
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    My opinion, and you know what opinions are worth: every body has one just like..................yadda yadda yadda: If the aquastat is bad, it would not give the signal (power) to the primary control to even get the motor spinning, but you said it did spin, but the flame "woosh" never happened? I do not know how your boiler and burner is wired, but I do know how mine is, and its pretty much what I have been going by. I have the Honeywell 7184 primary controller on mine.
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  5. #35
    DIY Member watson524's Avatar
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    Yep I know. I know of lot of folks with the wrong end of the opinions I do appreciate your's though.

    I ASSUME the noise I'm hearing right down there at the motor is the spinning. I can't open it up and look of course but it's something right there where the pump and fins are so... I have the Honeywell L8124A for the aquastat and the 8184G 4009 primary controller.

    My husband talked to his friend at work who's father is a master plumber and he used to work with him a lot and he said it sounds like it's electrical to him but without being here obviously....

    The aquastat has the low wire back in with settings of 130/150. An hour or so I went down and the boiler temp was about 10 - 15 above 130 so it hadnt' kicked on. I went down now and it is NOT in reset mode but the temp is reading about 123 SO.... it either kicked on and ran (I'm in my office two floors up) and worked and didn't reset itself OR it just hasn't kicked on yet. Either way, when my husband gets home and takes a shower, I'll go watch the thing again.

  6. #36
    DIY Member watson524's Avatar
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    well no luck. it came on while we were standing there discussing the day's events and no go. came on on low limit call, didn't fire. hit reset (had to hit is twice) fired right up. ran short cycle to get above low limit. after a minute, we turned up temp control on boilermate, it fired right up. i guess we'll give the aquastat a try...

    our aquastat is a honeywell L8124A 1155 but I'm only seeing 1007 or 1015 on honeywell's website. does anyone know what the replacement for the 1155 is? (i'm also seeing the 1007 and 1015 at $416 MSRP... yikes!) on honeywell's website, the 1007 has a 3" insertion well vs the 1015 with a 3" insertion well and ground screw and the insulation depth on the 1007 is 1.5" vs 3" on the 1015. no idea what that is or what i would need to measure on the existing.
    Last edited by watson524; 06-22-2011 at 03:03 PM.

  7. #37
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    I found your aquastat at honeywells site which show it as a triple acting aquastat. I also did a google search for "honewell aquastat" and found yours (I think) at several sites that have it for sale at less than $200. Ask Terry here if he can get it for you, although I DO NOT think it is your problem if you do indeed heat the motor spinning just before it locks out. If the aquastat is bad, I firmly believe that the primary controller would get no power to TRY to fire up the burner and therefore not even care that the cad cell saw no flame. Honeywell's web site has the data sheet for your aquastat you can download: http://customer.honeywell.com/honeyw...spx/L8124A1015 Good luck
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  8. #38
    DIY Member watson524's Avatar
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    yep, that's basically ours except that has 1015 vs the 1155 on ours. it's a triple, yes. i found it somewhere else for way less than that price on the honeywell website so i feel a bit better. at this point the oil guy is saying that's what he'd replace next so i think i'm kind of stuck. i agree with your logic (from what i'm understanding of how things work) but if they're just going to replace that anyway.....

    the motor spinning... maybe i'm not getting it. it's like a light buzzing noise right down by the pump/motor area. that's the best way i can describe it.

    my other thought is that even though the CAD cell is reading ok as far as resistance, that's probably a heck of a lot cheaper and maybe that's something i should replace first. but i don't know if that's just shooting in the dark.
    Last edited by watson524; 06-22-2011 at 03:24 PM.

  9. #39
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Again, the motor spinning thing: if you shut off the power to the burner and flip up the transformer like you saw the tech do, you will see the blower wheel right below the transformer opening area. If you mark it with a black felt tip marker and close it all back up and turn the power on, you will be able to see if the wheel is in the same position or not after the next lock out cycle. the more this discussion goes on, the more I doubt the motor is actually turning for one reason or another at the time it fails. Maybe what you hear is not the burner motor, because when it turns the blower wheel it makes a fan noise you really don't have to listen hard for. Do you have a hot water storage tank that is fed from a circulator pump? If you have one of those indirect hot water heater tanks like I do, when the thermostat in the tank calls for heat, it actually causes the circulator to come on, but not if the triple acting thermostat sees that the water temp in the boiler itself is below the low setting. I don't know what's going on. Not to knock the tech that was there, but I don't think he sounds like a top notch guy.
    Where I live, there are so many bad trades people, it makes the good techs (and there are a bunch of them) get a bad rep too. I guess that's the main reason I became such a DIYer. I would be happy to spend my money on a good tradesman that instilled confidence in me. In all the years I've been in my house, I had only 2 come in that I was so pleased with that would definitley have them back. I never had a plumber come in, so I can't judge any. the regulars here certainly seem to know their stuff.
    Motor turns freely? the oil pump in the burner is driven by the motor through that plastic tubing looking thing; if the pump is too hard to turn, the plastic coupling breaks or stips out. I would have thought that the guy coming to your house would have fixed it right away, especially if he saw it happen once.
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  10. #40
    DIY Member watson524's Avatar
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    AH HA!! Now why the heck couldn't I think of that? I just marked 3 fins on the the blower wheel. Boiler temp was at 125 (I have it as cold start now). We do have a boilermate indirect storage tank. So I made the marks, closed the transformer back up and turned power back on. Then we turned up the temp on the boilermate to force a call. Argo panel lit up on that zone, circulator started running, power venter came on, boiler did NOT fire and went into lockout... and guess what, when I opened the transformer, my 3 marks have not moved!! I'm sort of happy about this (I think). Though I'm not sure what it means. Does this rule out the aquastat? I THINK it does since I don't believe the aquastat has squat to do with turning the pump and motor but I may be wrong. Your question about the motor turning freely, I can move it with my fingers, yes. It doesn't go whizzing around loosely but i can push it both ways. I'm not quite clear on where this plastic coupling is though. Down in the transformer by the fan blades? I can take pictures if that might help. I confirmed by looking at the marks that when I hit reset and it fires, the motor has in fact moved.

    Now what's weird is that if running from reset, it runs, but if it's on its own, it doesn't. Does that mean anything now? This is sort of an interesting puzzle for me and I'm learning a lot. I definitely appreciate you sticking with it to point me down the right path.

    And one question on your comment "If you have one of those indirect hot water heater tanks like I do, when the thermostat in the tank calls for heat, it actually causes the circulator to come on, but not if the triple acting thermostat sees that the water temp in the boiler itself is below the low setting."

    Do you mean that if the aquastat has the water temp below the low setting, it'll warm up to at least low temp before it lets the circulator pump come on for the indirect zone? I can't say as I've ever noticed that, I think our circulator runs regardless of boiler temp. And for the past 6 weeks I've been running it as cold start so the boiler is always coming on but the circulator runs immediately on the call too
    Last edited by watson524; 06-22-2011 at 05:50 PM.

  11. #41
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Just typed a long long reply and hit the wrong key and it disappeared. Check the voltage going to the motor as the lock out happens. If you get 115 volts at the motor, then the motor is bad or jammed. the pump coupling is just to the left of the blower wheel and the fuel pump shaft slips into it. maybe a little hard to see.
    Be very careful when you hook up to the motor wires with an AC volt meter so you don't get shocked or short anything out. its really pretty easy if you are careful and think it out before you do it.
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  12. #42
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    keep me posted. good night Watson
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  13. #43
    DIY Member watson524's Avatar
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    Dumb question but.... the two wires coming out of the primary control box that go over to the motor i can't really isolate to put the multimeter on. They're wire nutted in with other wires (clearly) BUT if I take the wire nuts off and keep things twisted together. The black is just in with black coming from power and the white/gray wire is just in with the other whites so I think that'd be ok but figured I better check.

  14. #44
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    better off using a 115 volt light bulb in a pigtail socket and conecting one of its wires into the wire nuts for the motor wires so everything keeps safe and insulated. I can't see what you've got there
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  15. #45
    DIY Member watson524's Avatar
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    Heh, just saw this after I came back from the basement but I think I'm getting somewhere.... The black from the motor goes to one black wire that eventually (after going through a junction box) goes to the Y terminal on my Side shot power venter. That Y terminal. The second screw on the Y terminal goes to a "fan prover" switch. So I was able to get the tester up into the wire nut and confirmed that when the unit isn't firing, I have nothing on the black fan motor wire. When the unit is firing, I get 115VAC there (really 116.8 or so). So then we traced back to the junction box where the whole world comes together. When not firing there's no power at the junction spot for the wire that comes from the Y terminal of the side shot to the fan motor. When firing, I get 115VAC there. So then we went to the PV. When firing, I get 115VAC on the Y terminal there. I couldn't test when not firing because it was warmed up and doesn't trip at the moment. So..... I don't know if it's an issue with the fan proving switch in the side shot OR..... from the junction box, most of the white wires go to a relay of some sort that's mounted above the TACO panel but under the junction box. It's a Honeywell R4222B 1082 so I'm investigating that now but I'm not seeing it in any wiring diagrams.

    So I'm thinking this tells me it's not the motor, primary control, or aquastat but something in the electrical either in the power venter or at this relay thinger?

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