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Beckett Burner irregular trips

Jimg56Jimg56 Member Posts: 1
Have a ~20 year Beckett AFG burner that starts, fires and runs clean but after a few heating cycles will fail to ignite and trip out. The set up has a Tiger Loop, good oil supply, nozzle is clean and blows oil, electrodes set right, transformer tested and creates good spark. Everything works fine except it mysteriously fails to ignite sometimes. Any suggestions? 


  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Tripped Up:

    Look down the burner tube at the end cone. You need a flashlight to see. If you see ANY carbon build up around the middle hole, you need to scrape it out with a used copper fitting brush by sticking your paw down that nasty, oily tube and scraping it off.

    I always scrape it out/off whether it needs it or not. 99% of the time when it does what you describe, there is carbon built up on the end cone and it lets the spark short to ground.

    When Beckett's start, you can hear the spark "scratching" as the burner motor ramps up. If you don't hear the "scratching", it is either grounding out or the transformer is bad. Regardless if it is sparking when you jump it out with a screwdriver. If it scratches but doesn't light, and you have one of those lovely sludge collector pots for a filter, the nozzle strainer may be getting plugged and be stopping the nozzle orifice from getting full pump pressure. Install a spin-on filter at the burner/pump.

    If you hear a delay from when the burner motor starts, and the "scratching" doesn't happen at the same time, but starts a second or more after the controls click in for the burner to start, check the carbon. If no carbon, change the transformer.

    That's what I always did.

    And if that doesn't work, a new Carlin EZ-1 was the best solution. 100% effective. Riello's work well too. Less forgiving and you need training.
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Member Posts: 2,385

    What is your pump pressure, and what is it mounted to for a unit?  Wrong nozzles, weak spark, draft issues,and improper air and "Z" dimension settings will all cause this to happen. What control is on this burner? One with a pre-purge, and interrupted ignition would be a big plus, as well as a post -purge.
  • earl burnermannearl burnermann Member Posts: 126
    what brand ignitor?

    If it's an old tar filled transformer then it could be getting weak. The new Carlin igniters have a bad habit of failing randomly. If you have a Carlin brand ignitor then I would recommend replacing it with either a Beckett or Allison brand igniter. These igniters are like light bulbs; once they fail they are not coming back. Makes troubleshooting the transformer easy.
    If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy!
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    I would suggest

    replacing the control to one that will interrupt the ignition, or shut it off after light off, if you go electronic ignitor. These do not like constant duty
  • WeezboWeezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    could be lots of things ..

    one possibility is the fire eye is seeing some soot or is loose , one is the transformer is getting to hot and degrading , one is small water molecules are bigger than oil , one is filtrated oil may have gurbered up the pump screen , on an on ...

    testing out all sorts of oil problems from a distance can be like that so many minor technicalities ...might even be a herd of no see ums live near by and race to heat their dead bodies goofing up the flame read by the fire eye..

    lint can cause problems swept into the gun right now my mind keeps focusing on electrolyte and i do not know why lol.. must have something to do with chemical additives to a tank of oil ... whatever... i hope it helped . i used to install a carlin oil burner control 4020002s one with the big red button : )

    seemed to just be less of a nusiance than the control on a beckette.

    the home owner then looks a lot guiltier when you ask them if they pushed the Big Red Button more than once : ))
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    (it could be) Lots of things,

    It could be "lots of things" but not EVER do I read of anyone commenting on the carbon build up on the retention end of the AF/AFG Beckett burner that you always talk about the dreaded "Z Dimension". I have NEVER found a "Z" dimension to be off on any Beckett burner I have ever serviced that was off. Unless it wasn't running properly and the end had burned off or someone before me thought that you had to loosen the screw that holds the "Z" dimension in place. And 90% of every AFG I have ever serviced had a coke buildup in the slots. The worse the build up, the more misfiring. In my experience, the more it misfires in my presence, and the only thing I do to it before a complete service to it take is take am old long handled copper fitting brush and scrape the carbon off and it fires fine after that, it sort of tells me that this was the problem.

    If you're just a parts changer and just change everything and it them works, how did you find out what really was the problem? It doesn't matter if it is oil or gas. Or a water pump that won't pump. You have to reverse troubleshoot to find the problem or else you are just a parts changer.

    Put all the pump pressure gauges on a pump you can find. Set it to 140#. Knock yourself out. What is the pressure between the outlet of the nozzle strainer and the nozzle orifice? You don't know. But when you carefully slide the electrode/nozzle assembly out of the tube and chassis, and you keep it horizontal until you get it over a container, and you flip it into a vertical position with the nozzle pointing up, if the oil doesn't run quickly out of the pump end, the nozzle strainer is restricted. Air has to run into the nozzle and through the strainer to break the vacuum. Compare it to a brand new nozzle that you just replaced and test fired. That's the standard. Anything less is a restriction.

    If you have one of those lovely sludge collectors for a filter, and it is all full of sludge, and you remove the cartridge and it is full of spooge, when you put the whole mess back together and you get a no heat complaint the next day, it was probably a big snot of spooge that went down and plugged the nozzle strainer. Change just the nozzle strainer. If it runs, dirty strainer. When you pull out the assembly, and it doesn't run out quickly, plugged strainer. Think the eye is bad? Put the Ohm meter on it.

    I wasn't the #1 service guy on oil burners. Some here have probably serviced more of them in a year than I ever saw in my career. But the first thing I EVER did with  a Beckett AF or AFG was to shine a light down the tube and look for the carbon build up. I can't be the only one that ever found it.
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    carbon build up

    I also find that. It can be caused by a a few different issues. One is the gun adjustment, or "Z" dimension. The shorter the tube, the harder the gun is to get in and out. Many guys will loosen the screw, and pull it back so it will go in and out easier. Not good. Another is impinging, and another is from the flame floating away, and not burning on the endcone itself. This can be from low pump pressure, improper air adjustment, wrong endcone , defuser, etc. Beckett AF/AFG is an excellent burner, and like most others, will only operate as good as the last tech to service it
  • addadd Member Posts: 94
    sound like a bad motor

    It definitely can be any control,but just by reading the initial post sounds like a bad motor.mister ice what is the deal between you Carlin, I don't see much of a difference between a Beckett and a Carlin since most of the parts are interchangeable , I personally prefer Beckett. Now if talk about Riello yes that is a real different burner and I am very proud of  it due to my Italian heritage ,and still in some applications I would not use it.
  • burnermanburnerman Member Posts: 296

    I agree about parts changers... check ohms if it is 4-600 ok but must be lower than 1500..use a  meter if this is ok.. I mostly try control/or motor leave the old part on truck 1 week.. if they have hit the reset every day for a week and I change the motor after a week.. its scrap..sometimes you as we all know try something and really hope we get it the first time.. hate call backs..
  • addadd Member Posts: 94
    how to check motor

    many years a go at a Beckett seminar, they showed as how  to check a motor with your ohms meter.I do not remember the right numbers but when you spin the shaft if your numbers are bouncing around instead of being steady you have a bad burner motor.on the other hand is hard to diagnose a burner from behind a pc.
  • billtwocasebilltwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    fails to ignite

    That could mean 2 things. Either there is no ignition on start up, or it just locks out occasionally.  Never easy giving advice just from a post. I am a Beckett fan, but like Carlin EZ-1 on certain units. They have come a long way from the old US Carlin, and 100 CRD's. I also like Riello, but they only run well on certain units. Also, non PSC motors with starting switches are not always easily trouble shot with an OHMs meter, and the new controls will not always help to trouble shoot by viewing the history. Sometimes you gotta just roll up your sleeves.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    I have no connection with anyone.

    There is ONE HUGE difference between Beckett's and Carlin & Riello's. Becket AF's & AFG's are fixed head burners. Carlin's and Riello's are adjustable head burners. That means you don't have to remove the burner to clean the retention head by removing the burner. With Adjustable heads, the head comes out with the nozzle, so it can be cleaned and checked. For those techs that do 8 dust and buff cleanings in a day, I promise you that not a one takes the burner out in that 45 minute window of cleaning.

    Beckett's were designed in the 1960's as a "One Size Fits All" burner that you could carry a bunch of parts on the truck and replace most every burner that a technician would find. Before Riello's, a smart Tech that had unresolvable problems with Beckett AF's and AFG's, switched to a Carlin or some other adjustable head burner and the problems would magically go away. Guy's who never used Carlin's and Riello's had come on the market in the USA and Canada, went from Beckett to Riello with the same results.

    Carlin's have the two electrode adjustment gauges. The red and the yellow one. Between the two, you can adjust the electrode/nozzle settings for 90% of all oil burners made. WITHOUT REMOVING THE BURNER FROM THE BOILER. Carlin's and Riello's carbon up too. It just isn't so critical when they do. And with a can of PCV cleaner, you can clean every part of the whole assembly, especially the retention head.

  • addadd Member Posts: 94
    i got it now

    I see your point Ice on the Carlin now and I get it. Unfortunately I always end up pulling off the burner to clean out the chamber and hit the outside of the retention head .I never thought about it from that view.But I still prefer a Beckett some afg models have v-head that is mounted  on the draw assembly like the carlin and riello.
  • addadd Member Posts: 94
    45 min cleaning

    I think the 45 minute cleaning needs to stop if,and when you need more time to clean brush and calibrate,   you'll see the numbers of service calls drop. I personally do not carry a watch on cleanings , because I do not like my name associated with a call back,unfortunately not everyone takes pride in what they do.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    AFG ll Heads:

    That's Beckett's failed attempt at converting to a true adjustable head burner. With Carlin's you have the head positioning plates that move it in or out to increase pressure through the throttle ring. With the AFG ll's, they gave you a bag of spacer's to move the assembly in and out. If the spacer sleeves were missing, you were out of luck.

    With the Commercial CF series, they all have adjustable head burners.

    For those of you who do a lot of service where you do like I once did, when you get one of these Becketts, before you do a single thing, look down the tube and see if there's any carbon build up on the head. Stick your paw down that nasty hole and put your finger over the edge and see if there's any carbon build up. If there is, scrape it out and try firing it up again. If it fires, it was a problem. Still do everything you need to. Carlin's have a different hole configuration and do it in a different way. The Beckett electrode is so close to the end piece that it doesn't take much for the spark to short to ground. I once found a carbon thread that I could barely see. I scraped it out with a brush and it started right up. It usually got worse when nozzle orifice pressure dropped because of plugged nozzle strainers.

    Just my experience.
  • icesailoricesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Quickee Kleen's:

    If you clean something for the first time, and it is a cold start where you KNOW that it was a "brush Down", change the nozzle, filter and screw, check the level of Kibble & Bits in the bottom of the boiler. Always put a new bag in the vacuum. When all done, take out the bag and weigh it. Leave it for the customer. Then they know how you really gave then their money's worth on your service call. And leave the slip from the printout from your analyzer. That is legal proof that it was running properly when you left it.

    I had an institutional account with three Weil-McLain Gold WGO-7's that were on indoor/outdoor reset so they ran below 140 degrees most of the time. There was no economical way to correct it. I cleaned the boilers every summer in August. I took 11# of Kibbles & Bits out of each boiler. 32# to 35# Total.
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