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Trianco Heatmaker II

MaineF250
MaineF250 Member Posts: 7
Hey all, I know these units are a sore subject for most but bear with me here. I'm renting a small house from my folks and there's a Heatmaker II (circa 1992) in the cellar thats being bitchy. I have been here three years and usually keep an ignitor handy because this unit eats one every few months.



The other morning she went out on error and I went to F.W Webb for another ignitor assuming that was the problem. I put it in, reset the boiler and it went out on safety again.



I took the ignitor out of the boiler housing, held it in my hand, and reset the boiler to check for a fault. The brand new laars ignitor didn't glow so I brought it back and exchanged it, assuming it was junk. Got the new one back and tried the same test, no luck. At this point i'm assuming I have no power going to the ignitor circuit, and thats where I need help figuring out why.

 

I have searched the web and have the trianco manual pdf, but none of the troubleshooting flow charts mention anything about diagnosing an ignitor circuit fault.



The system is old, on its last leg and i'm just trying to get it running long enough for me and the wife to find a house and my folks to sell the property.





Any help would be appreciated, thank you.

Comments

  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,393
    sounds like.....

    its the ignighter control board.. do not handle the ignighter w/ bare hands. that will shorten its life... that may be 1/2 the problem. Follow the wires back to the board. do you have power there? Is there something loose?

    http://www.heatmaker.com/H-HP-Series-Boiler-s/21.htm
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,393
    sounds like.....

    its the ignighter control board.. do not handle the ignighter w/ bare hands. that will shorten its life... that may be 1/2 the problem. Follow the wires back to the board. do you have power there? Is there something loose?

    http://www.heatmaker.com/H-HP-Series-Boiler-s/21.htm

    or here...  http://nh.craigslist.org/for/2277315817.html
  • MaineF250
    MaineF250 Member Posts: 7
    Gotcha

    Kcopp,



    I do know not to touch the ignitor element with bare hands, I hold it by the ceramic housing when I need to handle it.



    I followed the wires back to the board and saw no chafing or loose pins, is the ignitor powered by 24v ?
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,738
    Re: Heatmaker problem

    You really need an electric meter to trouble shoot beyond this point. Take a clamp on amp meter and put on one of the leads to the igniter with it igniter installed and ready to fire. Turn boiler on and wait for prepurge and warm up, if igniter is getting power you will see an amp draw around 2-3 amps. If not and igniter new, we need to go further into the pre ignition circuitry.  The problem may not be a part at all. The heat exchangers on those block up with gas byproducts of combustion over a period of time and may need to be cleaned. Not for an untrained person to do. Also is water pressure at least 12 psi in boiler, I seem to remember thats the # that if lower it shuts off. Just a few tidbits to start with.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Trianco Heatmaker ll

    Good on you for planning on keeping that POS running until you can find a house to buy it and your parents can sell the property. You obviously have some skills. Why don't you use them to replace that POS with something safe and modern.

    When you move out and your parents want to sell it, if I was asked to do an inspection, the first thing I would do for a prospective buyer would be to suggest that the Heatmaker be replaced before sale or a large amount of money be held back for replacement. That could hold back, reduce the value of the sale or kill it outright. Real forward thinking. Does it still have the illegal Ultra-Vent like the one I just replaced? Is it piped to an air handler through the system pump so that whenever the boiler runs, the hot water is using the air handler as a heat sink?

    Replacing that POS could be the best part of the property. Some potential buyers will absolutely walk over something like this. If you want to sell, and you NEED to sell, you may be in for a long wait.

    Me personally, I wouldn't touch it with a 10' pole. Unless you gave me a minimum of a $10,000 credit for replacement. I would do the replacement and give you back maybe $1000.00 for my toots and whistle replacement system. If you don't like it, find another buyer. That's before I beat you down on the price for the property in the first place.

    In 1999, I was looking to move and buy another house in another area. We found a really neat house, on a large wooded lot with a swimming pool, generator, two car garage with workshop and a full cellar. Full AC and hydronic heat. The price was really right. Way below the other houses in the area. It abutted a large conservation area. The house was owned by a person who owned a large plumbing & heating wholesale company. He built this soup to nuts house with every imaginable convenience. He had a quality contractor who owed him a lot of money, do the house. I walked into the kitchen and noticed a big ceiling repair that barely showed but I always look up. It was all radiant floors.  I went into the cellar and there to my surprised eye was the largest amount or orange spaghetti running every which way with multiple leaks on the spring clamps holding the orange heatway Entran ll tubing with the date code of the stuff that had all the problems. If they gave me the house, I wouldn't have taken it. I think the house finally was sold after the in-floor was abandoned and scorched air/AC was installed.

    Be careful what you plan for. It may not happen.
  • MaineF250
    MaineF250 Member Posts: 7
    okie dokie

    Icesailor, while I appreciate the unwarranted ****-chewing, thats not what I came here for. The house needs alot of work and is only a temporary solution for my pregnant wife and I. Chances are, a developer is gonna buy the place for the land and bulldoze it, hence why replacing the boiler isn't an option. I'll put a $500 control board in before that happens. My boiler tech is up north at his camp but i'd still like to have heat today if possible.



    I have seen other threads on here and know that there are alot of smart HVAC techs here that may be able to help me solve a problem. I'm pretty crafty with alot of things but i'm not a boiler man so thats why i'm here. I tested the pins on the ignitor plug and i'm getting 98v AC there when the LED is active.
  • MaineF250
    MaineF250 Member Posts: 7
    ...

    I have a good, solid 4.8 amps across the ignitor pins and the ignitor itself is showing 0.038 ohms of resistance.



    unit is still locking out with valve/flame fault
  • Plumdog_2
    Plumdog_2 Member Posts: 873
    heatmaker

    If you get 120V~ going to the ignitor, and it does not glow, then it is bad. But make sure the wires or connectors are not at fault. .038 ohms is too low.....it should be more like 60-100. Sometimes they have nearly invisible cracks, and sometimes they are bad right out of the box. Don't accept ones that are wrapped in plastic with a bubble protector. We found a whole batch of broken ones right on the wholesaler's shelf...after he tried to refuse replacement because it is "an electrical component".
  • Slimpickins
    Slimpickins Member Posts: 339
    edited April 2011
    What Tim Smith said

    I don't know if you noticed but Tim gave you the advice you need. The problem is in the 24v pre ignition wiring and if I remember right it starts with the pressure switch. If the pressure switch doesn't close, you need to tee in a Magnhelix or a manometer and read what the inducer is pulling and is it  enough to close the switch. The switch may be stuck closed, the control needs to see the pressure switch open before the sequence even begins. I think Laars may offer on the phone tech support on Heatmakers, not sure tho...
  • Plumdog_2
    Plumdog_2 Member Posts: 873
    heatmaker

    One old heatmaker that I am charged with maintaining (against my wishes) is owned by a guy that collects Corvairs and Jaguars. I think masochistic is the term. He refuses to let it go, even after a new storage tank, a new coil, a new coil gasket, a new board, many pumps and ignitors, a cleaning or two, visits for trouble that goes away before you get there, limits, pressure switches, and on and on. It's been worked on so much that the jacket even got replaced at some time, and now the serial numbers are gone or don't match. I told him it no longer has collector value. But he doesn't listen. He coulda had a nice Viessman for what he has paid in repairs!
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    Geez Chris.... Why dontcha tell us how you REALLY feel...

    And whatever you do, don't hold back. And always remember the name of the web site here. Heating HELP .com, not heating HATE .com



    To MaineF 250, your numbers are not working out. I'd trust the voltage before I trusted the resistance value you gave. Sounds like a bad relay. If you have 120 volts going IN to the relay, and have less than that coming out, the relay is bad. Also, have to test the output with a load connected. With no load, the voltage might look fine, and with a load, it may disappear.



    Also, check your multimeter to make certain you have the jacks in the right place for reading resistance. If not, you're seeing false numbers. With the leads directly connected to each other, the resistance should be nearly 0.



    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • MaineF250
    MaineF250 Member Posts: 7
    ...

    Thank you for the advice gentlemen, I found one of my problems.



    I was getting 98v at the igniter terminal and 4.6amps (had 48 ohms not .038, my bad) and the igniter wasn't doing it's job, I had fuel but no fire. The voltage was low and the plastic control board was warm (indicating a short). I took the control board apart and found solder missing from the circuit going to the igniter control relay. I figured I had nothing to lose so I replaced the small section of wire in the board and soldered it back together.



    I put it all back together and it fired off and started kettling and shut down. I temporarily bypassed the thermocouple that goes from the manifold to a round, black switch on the housing for the control board (still learning what all these switches/sensors are). I think it is for the low temp signal to the controller. Now the damn thing is short cycling so now it's on to troubleshooting that and replacing that switch, but for now I have DHW and heat.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Trianco Heatmaker ll Help:

    ME,

    I go out of my way to help anyone who needs help. There are circumstances where I have experience that says that I should say what needs to be said. You don't see the disasters I have seen. I'm sure that you have seen your fair share.

    F250 said that he wasn't all that great on electrical. I have a hard enough time doing electrical and I pretty much know what I am doing. I could have told him to check the pressure switch. They will screw up a Heatmaker up badly if they don't work as advertised. I know. I've been there. I've fixed them. So now, he's pulled out the board and found something that he soldered. Maybe that's OK but I worry about malfunctions and injuries or death. The unit stopped functioning because some safety control decided that there was a problem. Soldering a connection on a circuit board is an unauthorized modification of the UL approved listing. I would NEVER suggest that. Nor, would I attempt it. F250 did. That's his choice. I didn't suggest it.

    I've never forgotten nor have I ever gotten over the guy in Vermont who went to jail for manslaughter over the death of a family of four by CO poisoning. The circumstances weren't his fault. There was a problem when he owned the house. No one could figure out what the problem was or how to fix it. He told them to fix it. They said it was fixed. He sold the house. People died. He was tried, convicted and sent to jail.  For something he had no control over.

    The ignitor on a heatmaker is part of the flame sensing control circuit. I don't do safety on the cheap.

    I'm watching Holmes On Homes on HGTV right now. I have seen everything that is wrong on this house personally. Over and over and over.  I know when I am in over my head and I'm not afraid to ask for help. I also know when someone is in over their head. His "expert" is at his cabin some where up North. I'm not his "Expert".
  • MaineF250
    MaineF250 Member Posts: 7
    ...

    Icesailor, Wow, guess I didn't realize this was a touchy subject around here. I am a dirt donkey, and I used to be a heavy mechanic, I can tear down and overhaul a 16L caterpillar so I think I can manage to not blow my house up or poison my wife and kid with CO.  Ever done a tuneup on your car or MacGuyver'd something to temporarily get you through?  If so, are you an ASE certified mechanic? If not, i recommend you pay someone to change those spark plugs next time (for 4x the cost)  because you may have installed them incorrectly which may cause your car to stall while pulling into the patch of a 50 ton truck. I can fix damn near anything, but I know my limits and thats all I need to say. Sorry I came across as some renegade thats too damn cheap to call a HVAC tech, but I did what I needed to do. I don't want your job, so you're safe unless you switch to working on stuff powered by diesel.





    To the rest of you fine folks, thanks again for your help
  • MaineF250
    MaineF250 Member Posts: 7
    ...

    Icesailor, Wow, guess I didn't realize this was a touchy subject around here. I am a dirt donkey, and I used to be a heavy mechanic, I can tear down and overhaul a 16L caterpillar so I think I can manage to not blow my house up or poison my wife and kid with CO.  Ever done a tuneup on your car or MacGuyver'd something to temporarily get you through?  If so, are you an ASE certified mechanic? If not, i recommend you pay someone to change those spark plugs next time (for 4x the cost)  because you may have installed them incorrectly which may cause your car to stall while pulling into the patch of a 50 ton truck. I can fix damn near anything, but I know my limits and thats all I need to say. Sorry I came across as some renegade thats too damn cheap to call a HVAC tech, but I did what I needed to do. I don't want your job, so you're safe unless you switch to working on stuff powered by diesel.





    To the rest of you fine folks, thanks again for your help
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    curious

    Ice what case are you talking about in Vermont? I'd really like to learn more about that one...
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    I hear you Chris...

    And I worry about that EVERY time that I pick up a wrench/torch/electrical tester. And to your credit, you HAVE helped a lot of people out here. But you can't assume that everyone you talk to is going to blow/carbon monoxide themselves up just because they have a POC for a heating appliance. You also can not assume that everyone who asks for help is an unqualified knuckle head. If they are, it WILL come thru, and they will be treated accordingly. Remember the yahoo that wanted to stack Hydrotherms on top of each other to build the super efficient boiler? I think we handled him as well as could be expected.



    If we took your position on every request, we'd never be able to help ANY of the millions of people who come thru here. You feel badly about HateMakers, I feel badly about Vi Buzz bombs (aka HydroPulse boilers), but I don't tell them to rip it out and replace it. They're here because in most cases, they can't afford to replace it and just need it to limp along, buying some time, hoping for better times.



    I understand your passion. I don't understand your vehemence. Take it easy pal. Life's too short to be interrupted with a stroke or worse...



    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited April 2011
    CO deaths in Vermont:

    It was back in the mid '90's. I first read about it in a trade magazine like Contractor.

    There was a guy who built houses to live in and sell. I don't remember where it was but he bought a lot and built a house. It was on a hill so he built it into the hill. He had a long uphill driveway to get to the house and he had a garage under part of it so he could park his car. The driveway would turn to ice when it snowed. Someone suggested snow melt in his driveway and the hot water would melt the snow. He hired some local plumber to do the job and I'm not sure how everyone fitted into the scheme. He heated the house with wood. He had no other source of heat other than a wood stove in the first floor. He had a girl friend who lived with him.

    They built an addition behind the garage and installed a gas, draft hood boiler that just exhausted straight up through the roof over the boiler. To do the snow melt, you just flipped a switch and the burner came on. The only thing that would stop it was high limit or turning off the switch.  Because the house was so tight, they would leave the door to the cellar open slightly for fresh combustion air. There was a wall between the garage part and the rest of the cellar.

    Life was good. When it snowed, the guy would flip on the boiler and when it was melted, he would turn it off.

    One day, the girl friend called him up and said that the house was cold, the wood stove wasn't putting out a lot  of heat.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    CO Deaths in Vermont Part 2

    Sorry for the interruption. They called my flight to go home and I had to stop.

    I found an appellate court ruling of the case. I'll post a link at the end.

    What I remember of the case is reflected in the court case. The problem which was what so upset me at the time and still does is that at the time, 1986, CO and where it could come from and how wasn't as understood as it is today. I actually wrote to an attorney in Vermont telling them how it happened but I never heard anything. I only saw where the guy was found guilty and sent to jail.

    In my remembrances, the guy called his plumber to look at the problem. At the time, and this was born out in the order that I followed the story, the plumber had no idea what was causing the problem. Because it only would happen if the garage door was closed, the wood stove was burning, the gas boiler was running  and the cellar door was open. The plumber called the gas company and they couldn't figure it out but said it was a problem. He told them to fix it. After some work, it was deemed repaired. No one said what was done.  As I remember, there were two episodes of CO contamination. As far as I know, the owner was under the impression that the problem was fixed. My reading of the circumstances was that it wasn't because the "professionals" didn't understand the cause. The wood stove chimney draft overpowering the draft of the gas burner in the garage. That when the gas burner wasn't running, the gas boiler flue was acting as an open window and the flue gasses were sucked back into the building.

    The guy sold the house. The sticking point was did the owner have an obligation to tell the new owner of a potential problem with the boiler. I always felt that the owner, not being the professional, was under the assumption that the problem was fixed. No where in any testimony is there mention of the wood stove draft and the gas boiler draft were interconnected.

    The new owner had his daughter and son-in-law and two small children move in. They left the gas boiler on and they all died. The old owner was charged with manslaughter and convicted. The plumber and gas company said that there was a problem and told him to get it fixed. What the ****? They were there to fix it. They didn't understand what or how it was happening. The fix was so easy that a fool would be able to solve it. But no one was going to admit any ignorance in this sorry tale. And a zealous prosecutor wants to get some blood. He got it.

    The plumber and gas company could have just as easily been charged with a crime. The guy was made to be a bit of a jerk. He may have been. But he wasn't a killer. No one was a killer. But, the owner wasn't the professional. But the professionals covered their asses and guess what? They didn't go to jail. The customer did.

    If you read the story from the below link, remember, the jury is never wrong. Once they find someone guilty, it is very, very difficult to get something over turned. Because the jury, given all the evidence at time of trial, is never wrong. And in the case of prosecutors, most have only made one mistake in their lives. The time they thought they were wrong. Then, come to find out they were right.



    http://info.libraries.vermont.gov/supct/163/op93-010.txt
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    curious

    What leads you to believe the homeowner was wrongly accused? Every indication in court and from the servicemen on site was that he was warned of the issue and failed to respond?
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    CO case:

    I followed it from the beginning. What you read in a court case is not always the truth, the whole truth, and/or nothing but the truth.

    First off, no where in any court documents does it say that the homeowner was an expert in heating or venting. He hired professionals to do his work. He hired a professional to install the snow melt in his drive way. The professional probably vented the boiler through the roof of the shed. The gas company connected the gas. I think it was LP. Someone was responsible for the install of the boiler, the venting and the gas connections. It wasn't the homeowner. When there was a problem, the record shows that the homeowner hadn't a clue what was wrong. He called his "professionals" to correct the problem. They couldn't correct the problem that was so simple to correct, no one with any understanding of draft and physics would be ashamed of themselves to have not corrected it. Their lack of knowledge or superior CMA skill's, put it on the owner.

    If you personally, didn't see the real cause of this problem, I suggest that you do some studying of draft and how it works with positive and negative pressures. The clues are all there.

    Here's how it worked.

    A wood stove requires a large volume of combustion air. The house was modern and extremely tight. The fact that they realized that to make the wood stove work well, they had to open the door to the cellar slightly to give it more air. Air infiltration from outside. This worked very well on the many days that they had no snow and need to run the ice/snow melt boiler. Only when the wood stove, with the cellar door open would there be a problem. The "professionals" recognized that there was a problem. They didn't recognize where and how it was coming from. They claimed that there was a problem with the flue of the boiler. Was it a boiler that had a self closing damper that is illegal with LP? There's a problem with an illegal install. Then, there's how did the CO get into the house. With no other source of combustion air, it was all being pulled down the flue of the gas boiler. It was coming out of the draft hood. No mention is made if there was a spillover or roll out switch. That should have stopped the boiler from running with a reverse exhaust flow. Any competent technician should have known this. And easily fixed it.

    What isn't in the court record that you read of the appellate hearing or ruling is that the guy was first told that it was fixed. The owner told them to fix it. The story changes as the case went along. Why would you expect the "professionals" to take credit for this outcome.

    The simplest solution would have been to provide make up air in the boiler area AND that a door be installed between the garage and boiler room. No mention  is made if the boiler was 18" off the floor because of the garage and the ability to park a car in the garage.

    For myself, and I consider myself a professional plumber and heater, I would have recognized this problem INSTANTLY and known what to do about it. I also would have made sure the owner understood the problem and how it was occurring. It was an easy fix. There was and is no excuse for a professional that does heating to not have understood this problem. Though I give credit where it is due. Not as much was known about CO and positive and negative pressures at the time. Though I did.

    Look in this area for strings I have made about chimneys with dual flues where the used flue has an upward draft and the other unused flue is flowing down providing air to the house. Equalizing the inside and outside pressure.

    Like I have always said, the guy got screwed by an overzealous prosecutor who cherry picked his evidence to get a conviction on a person who seemed to be a bit of a jerk. Last I knew, there was no law against that.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    CO disasters I have found:

    Here's one from the mind files of CM's experience.

    I was asked to fix a leak on a SuperStore in a building. I was shown the tank and was surprised to find this big private car garage. On the second floor was an apartment that covered the whole second floor. At the top of the stairs was a big landing. The ceiling was the sloping roof. In the slope was a closet, as wide AS THE LANDING. maybe 10'+. It had swing open louvre type doors. In the closet was a safe pan with a Burnham draft hood open gas flame boiler with a standing pilot ignition. Beside it was the leaking SuperStor. I went about my business of fixing the leak. I realized that there was a strong odor of leaking gas. The control needed to be replaced. I called the LP provider to have them replace the valve. Then, I noticed that there were loose wires on top of the boiler. It was the spillover switch. I thought that odd. Then, I noticed that there was a big exhaust fan in the roof to get rid of excess heat run off a thermostat. More careful inspection revealed that the flame roll out switch had been disabled. There was a big wood louvre in the back wall so that they could get make up combustion air to the room. The front doors were fake louvres. After I fixed the leak, I looked around some more. The building was at least 100' long. I looked into the knee wall access to see where the make up air would come from. There were no louvres in either end of the building. There was no air for the roof fan nor for combustion. When the roof fan came on to cool the room, the only air that could get in to satisfy the needs of the fan was down the gas boiler flue. If the boiler was running, it would come out the bottom of the draft hood and trip the spill over switch. So, it was disabled. The same with the flame roll out switch on the burner that was disabled.

    I then called the gas company and told them to fix it. That I was notifying them of a problem. They did something when they replaced the control. The property was sold a year or so later. If someone had died, who would have been held responsible. I was the only one who recognized a problem that had been there for over 5 years and had been inspected, approved and in service.

    I worry about this kind of $hit.
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    I think

    I think anyone who cares about what they do worry about the mistakes. I to have seen system's that I refuse to work with and in some case's have removed LP tanks in order to make thing's safe. With that said I have also come across systems that I refused to connect to that other companies have. In one case I involved the state fire marshal's office and the local fire department. Although they agree'd with me, they stated that the issue I brought forth was a "gray area" and they couldnt do anything about it. My company tanks are not there, and I do not sleep in the house. I've done the best I can and alway's do.

    We however do have accounts with Heatmaker's. We try and service and inspect them yearly and the venting is up to code. I try very hard to get them removed but their is nothing that say's they are illegal.. I dont have to like every piece of equipment out there but I do try and make them safe. Any piece of equipment that is altered could in the long run kill someone. And if I find it I remove it or disable it.
  • SFAL
    SFAL Member Posts: 1
    fuse keeps blowing

    i was given a 10 yr old Heatmaker 2...unit was used very little...i used it to replace my old oil burner, it worked great for almost a week when it stopped working....now it blows the Buss MDL 3 amp inline fuse  about 12 hrs after replacing it..

    Thanks

    for any help

    Al sends
  • Slimpickins
    Slimpickins Member Posts: 339
    short on 24v

    You have a short on the 24 volt circuit somewhere. Hopefully you used an external transformer for zone valves.
This discussion has been closed.