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I'm sick of my Cyclegard...

vr608
vr608 Member Posts: 144
edited December 2015 in Strictly Steam
I'm tired of my boiler shutting off every 15 minutes to check for low water. Are the Safgard and Cyclegard probes interchangeable? I'd rather not have to wrench out the probe if I don't have to and just stick with swapping the electronics.

Suggestions are welcome.
Peerless 63-03, 118,000 BTU (308 sqft), single-pipe steam system connected to 286 EDR of radiation, 30ft of baseboard and indirect DHW
3PSI gauge
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Comments

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,442
    They probably are, see what part number Hydrolevel lists for both and compare.

    Even if they aren't, the probe is easy to change. I'd dump the Cycleguard too.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • vr608
    vr608 Member Posts: 144
    The specs list 3 different probes; two are similar, one is a remote mount. The two similar ones vary only in length, so perhaps they are interchangeable. Barring any warranty issues, I'm definitely doing the swap.
    Peerless 63-03, 118,000 BTU (308 sqft), single-pipe steam system connected to 286 EDR of radiation, 30ft of baseboard and indirect DHW
    3PSI gauge
  • hvacfreak2
    hvacfreak2 Member Posts: 500
    After having a " Cyclegard " for many years I made the decision that anything with " gard " in the title is best kept at a distance from me. McDonell - Miller PS Series for me ( for now ). I'm going to shop around for a 67 I think .

    The old Cyclegard , fantastic control strategy " let's have them spend the money to start to boil some water and make steam and then cut the burner off ". " Great idea Ron " ( Ron More ) , " let's start production on this at once ". " Oh and I just got a call from Burnham , they want 5 million by next week , they also think it's a great idea ".
    hvacfreak

    Mechanical Enthusiast

    Burnham MST 396 , 60 oz gauge , Tigerloop , Firomatic Check Valve , Mcdonnell Miller 67 lwco , Danfoss RA2k TRV's

    Easyio FG20 Controller

    vr608
  • vr608
    vr608 Member Posts: 144
    Good stuff. I am definitely putting this on my list of todos before the end of the season.

    I honestly don't understand why anyone would think its a good idea to check for low water every 10-15 minutes, it is a massive amount of wear and tear on the entire system, not to mention it is horribly inefficient.
    Peerless 63-03, 118,000 BTU (308 sqft), single-pipe steam system connected to 286 EDR of radiation, 30ft of baseboard and indirect DHW
    3PSI gauge
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,226
    I'm sick of your Cyclegard, too.
    And they freak the new techs out in the field when the boiler turns off for what seems like no reason. Terrible product.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
    Bob Bona_4
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,442

    After having a " Cyclegard " for many years I made the decision that anything with " gard " in the title is best kept at a distance from me. McDonell - Miller PS Series for me ( for now ). I'm going to shop around for a 67 I think .

    The old Cyclegard , fantastic control strategy " let's have them spend the money to start to boil some water and make steam and then cut the burner off ". " Great idea Ron " ( Ron More ) , " let's start production on this at once ". " Oh and I just got a call from Burnham , they want 5 million by next week , they also think it's a great idea ".

    Have not had any complaints with my Safeguard 400.
    Not sure why I'd want a MM67 over one?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • hvacfreak2
    hvacfreak2 Member Posts: 500
    edited December 2015
    ChrisJ said:

    After having a " Cyclegard " for many years I made the decision that anything with " gard " in the title is best kept at a distance from me. McDonell - Miller PS Series for me ( for now ). I'm going to shop around for a 67 I think .

    The old Cyclegard , fantastic control strategy " let's have them spend the money to start to boil some water and make steam and then cut the burner off ". " Great idea Ron " ( Ron More ) , " let's start production on this at once ". " Oh and I just got a call from Burnham , they want 5 million by next week , they also think it's a great idea ".

    Have not had any complaints with my Safeguard 400.
    Not sure why I'd want a MM67 over one?
    I'm just being bitter about the past (and joking somewhat ). I'm sure the Safe#### is fine , I got stuck with the other.

    I watched my PS-108 cut off the other day when I was slightly over - filled at the time. It did that repeatedly ; hasn't happened since but really a wt# moment. I just thought to myself that it is time for a 67.

    hvacfreak

    Mechanical Enthusiast

    Burnham MST 396 , 60 oz gauge , Tigerloop , Firomatic Check Valve , Mcdonnell Miller 67 lwco , Danfoss RA2k TRV's

    Easyio FG20 Controller

  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,692
    I agree Chris the Safeguard is a fine product. My old boiler had an older (1982) Safeguard on it that was still working perfectly when I removed it. I actually kept it as an emergency back up on the off chance the new one had problems.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    ChrisJ said:

    After having a " Cyclegard " for many years I made the decision that anything with " gard " in the title is best kept at a distance from me. McDonell - Miller PS Series for me ( for now ). I'm going to shop around for a 67 I think .

    The old Cyclegard , fantastic control strategy " let's have them spend the money to start to boil some water and make steam and then cut the burner off ". " Great idea Ron " ( Ron More ) , " let's start production on this at once ". " Oh and I just got a call from Burnham , they want 5 million by next week , they also think it's a great idea ".

    Have not had any complaints with my Safeguard 400.
    Not sure why I'd want a MM67 over one?
    No electronics to go bad/flake out with power surge.
    Proven "technology" that's been around for decades. :D

    I dunno... I'll stick with old school MM float LWCO and feeders.
    They'll probably go the way of the dodo bird and mercury vaporstats, but while they are still around, I'll still install them.
    hvacfreak2Dave in QCA
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    I have my MM67 also. I think the Safgard is fine but like you said, very reliable.
    Dave in QCA
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,021
    Would the cyclegard help to sell replacement vent dampers also, in addition to all start components on gas train?
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,442
    edited December 2015

    ChrisJ said:

    After having a " Cyclegard " for many years I made the decision that anything with " gard " in the title is best kept at a distance from me. McDonell - Miller PS Series for me ( for now ). I'm going to shop around for a 67 I think .

    The old Cyclegard , fantastic control strategy " let's have them spend the money to start to boil some water and make steam and then cut the burner off ". " Great idea Ron " ( Ron More ) , " let's start production on this at once ". " Oh and I just got a call from Burnham , they want 5 million by next week , they also think it's a great idea ".

    Have not had any complaints with my Safeguard 400.
    Not sure why I'd want a MM67 over one?
    No electronics to go bad/flake out with power surge.
    Proven "technology" that's been around for decades. :D

    I dunno... I'll stick with old school MM float LWCO and feeders.
    They'll probably go the way of the dodo bird and mercury vaporstats, but while they are still around, I'll still install them.
    Yeah, you're right, we've never seen the switch or drain valve on a #67 fail have we? Not to mention all of them that get clogged with mud, but that's user error in my opinion. But, on top of many valves failing, we'll throw in the fact you need to drain water out of your boiler constantly and replace it with fresh water. No need to do this with a safeguard 400.

    I'd bet the safeguard 400's electronics are just as reliable, if not more so than the #67's mechanical switch.

    The Cycleguard is a piece, we're not going to argue that one.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • hvacfreak2
    hvacfreak2 Member Posts: 500
    JUGHNE said:

    Would the cyclegard help to sell replacement vent dampers also, in addition to all start components on gas train?

    I saved the CG from my old boiler just to remind myself that stuff like that does exist.

    hvacfreak

    Mechanical Enthusiast

    Burnham MST 396 , 60 oz gauge , Tigerloop , Firomatic Check Valve , Mcdonnell Miller 67 lwco , Danfoss RA2k TRV's

    Easyio FG20 Controller

  • vr608
    vr608 Member Posts: 144
    JUGHNE said:

    Would the cyclegard help to sell replacement vent dampers also, in addition to all start components on gas train?

    Honestly, that is the only logical reason I can think of for the Cyclegard existing, especially since the Safgard provides the same protection without the added stress.
    Peerless 63-03, 118,000 BTU (308 sqft), single-pipe steam system connected to 286 EDR of radiation, 30ft of baseboard and indirect DHW
    3PSI gauge
  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728
    Terrible control!
    Clearly who ever came up with this idea never ever worked in the field.
    Not real sure why they're still made.
    Bob Bona_4
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    ChrisJ said:

    ChrisJ said:

    After having a " Cyclegard " for many years I made the decision that anything with " gard " in the title is best kept at a distance from me. McDonell - Miller PS Series for me ( for now ). I'm going to shop around for a 67 I think .

    The old Cyclegard , fantastic control strategy " let's have them spend the money to start to boil some water and make steam and then cut the burner off ". " Great idea Ron " ( Ron More ) , " let's start production on this at once ". " Oh and I just got a call from Burnham , they want 5 million by next week , they also think it's a great idea ".

    Have not had any complaints with my Safeguard 400.
    Not sure why I'd want a MM67 over one?
    No electronics to go bad/flake out with power surge.
    Proven "technology" that's been around for decades. :D

    I dunno... I'll stick with old school MM float LWCO and feeders.
    They'll probably go the way of the dodo bird and mercury vaporstats, but while they are still around, I'll still install them.
    Yeah, you're right, we've never seen the switch or drain valve on a #67 fail have we? Not to mention all of them that get clogged with mud, but that's user error in my opinion. But, on top of many valves failing, we'll throw in the fact you need to drain water out of your boiler constantly and replace it with fresh water. No need to do this with a safeguard 400.

    I'd bet the safeguard 400's electronics are just as reliable, if not more so than the #67's mechanical switch.

    The Cycleguard is a piece, we're not going to argue that one.
    Yeah, the MM67 certainly isn't maintenance free. They do need a blow down weekly/bi-weekly but that's to remove crud that has washed into the boiler. I have to assume that same crud has washed into any boiler (from old mains/wet returns). I just have to assume it gets blown out when you drain a mud leg (certainly less frequently). I like the MM67 but wouldn't have an issue with the Safgard if there was a properly placed tapping on my boiler. Lacking that, the MM67 is a quality alternative (albeit old school).
  • BrianT1077
    BrianT1077 Member Posts: 108
    I am sick of my Cyclegard also. When I realized what it was doing I thought how stupid is this device. At first I thought I was having a problem with the new boiler, but when someone told me the Cyclegard stops everything during a heating cycle to check for foaming and water level then restarts everything 90 seconds later I couldn't believe it. Also as it has been said, keeps shutting and opening the damper. Meanwhile I figured great, I worked on getting my mains vented as much as possible then this stupid thing stops steam production and lets air back into the mains and prolongs the heating cycle and wastes fuel. I looked through the manual on how to turn it off and just let it monitor the water level and for it to act as a LWCO only but there is no option for that. I am looking to get it swapped out hopefully sometime soon.
    Crown Boiler Bermuda Series model: BSI103, BTU output: 85,000, single pipe steam system
  • vr608
    vr608 Member Posts: 144
    Hatt is probably right, mainly an insurance/liability concern on the part of manufacturers.

    So does this make the Safgard inherently more risky?
    Peerless 63-03, 118,000 BTU (308 sqft), single-pipe steam system connected to 286 EDR of radiation, 30ft of baseboard and indirect DHW
    3PSI gauge
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,471
    If foaming was occurring inside the boiler the Cycleguard would probably be a better bet.

    Once a steam boiler has been properly cleaned and skimmed all it does is waste fuel. This points to how important it is for people to know what it going on with their boilers, they cannot be installed and ignored.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,442
    I tend to agree with Bobc.

    Cycleguard was developed to protect boilers with unacceptable water quality.

    A boiler shouldn't be foaming in the first place and I don't believe it just magically happens for no reason. For example, too much steamaster may cause it, but it's not going to happen on it's own.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,692
    My take, it's to protect the manufacturer from hack installers and homeowners that don't want to take care of things. As long as the house is warm nobody cares. Most of us hate it because we know better. My Weil Mclain came with the Safgard and I am happy about that.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Why don't they make one control with a switch, which can be set to cycleguard for the first month, and then to safe guard when the skimming has been completed.--NBC
    BrianT1077Zman
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,442

    Why don't they make one control with a switch, which can be set to cycleguard for the first month, and then to safe guard when the skimming has been completed.--NBC

    Because according to them, Cyclegard is a huge benefit.

    http://www.hydrolevel.com/pages/cyclegard.html

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • vr608
    vr608 Member Posts: 144

    Why don't they make one control with a switch, which can be set to cycleguard for the first month, and then to safe guard when the skimming has been completed.--NBC

    I have a better idea:

    Why don't we get an electronics fellow to take Cyclegard apart and figure out how to disable the ILT.

    Can't be that difficult.
    I think this effort was attempted previously and ended with failure/abandonment. I cannot recall the thread right now, but ultimately the consensus was to simply go with Safgard as the alternative.
    Peerless 63-03, 118,000 BTU (308 sqft), single-pipe steam system connected to 286 EDR of radiation, 30ft of baseboard and indirect DHW
    3PSI gauge
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,442
    I don't think I'll be installing any modified LWCOs on my boiler.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    JohnNYBob Bona_4
  • vr608
    vr608 Member Posts: 144
    Here is the thread I saw:

    http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/comment/1365039

    I think there may still be a way to do it, just not sure how involved it is.
    Peerless 63-03, 118,000 BTU (308 sqft), single-pipe steam system connected to 286 EDR of radiation, 30ft of baseboard and indirect DHW
    3PSI gauge
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,471
    I took a brief look at mine abut 3 years ago, it looks like the timing is done in the digital domain; I don't recall the chips they used but I don't recall any custom chips. I'd like to compare a 10 minute setup with a 20 min setup, that would be the easiest way to see what they are doing IMO.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • hvacfreak2
    hvacfreak2 Member Posts: 500
    I'm not drinking any more so I wont be using the A32 Turbotorch on mine like originally planned , I might attempt to understand the evil within that thing one day.
    hvacfreak

    Mechanical Enthusiast

    Burnham MST 396 , 60 oz gauge , Tigerloop , Firomatic Check Valve , Mcdonnell Miller 67 lwco , Danfoss RA2k TRV's

    Easyio FG20 Controller

    vr608jonny88
  • vr608
    vr608 Member Posts: 144
    Assuming that the Cyclegard is just an "enhanced" version of the Safgard that includes the intermittent checks, this would be an awesome modification in my opinion. Also wouldn't be that difficult to implement assuming it's only a single component that is changing.
    Peerless 63-03, 118,000 BTU (308 sqft), single-pipe steam system connected to 286 EDR of radiation, 30ft of baseboard and indirect DHW
    3PSI gauge
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,442
    I could float the PIC off and install a new one but what would I use for code? Still sounds better, safer and easier to buy a proper 400
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,442
    Good luck with that I'll stick with a 400
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Robert O'Connor_12
    Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 728
    I like that it tests, but I'm wondering why it couldn't of been made to work without turning off the appliance. I can't begin to tell you how many times while out either on a call or installing a boiler that came with one you just stand there like a boob waiting for the stupid thing to turn back on. Many times doing a no heat call you finally figure out what was wrong and get it fired............then., off it goes, and you first start thinking something else just happened.
    If you make a boiler that's going to run out of water on the first cycle, then maybe they need to make it slightly bigger then, and stop this nonsense.

    Robert O'Connor/NJ
    Bob Bona_4
  • ttekushan_3
    ttekushan_3 Member Posts: 958
    The only boilers I could see these on are the ecr psb dunkirks. Very narrow passages, very thin iron, very little steam space before the outlets, and furious steaming. It seems that a single drop of oil pipetted in the boiler water would be enough to get foaming and surging! IMO, their minimum piping isn't enough to provide dry steam. In this case I can see the cycle hard saving a boiler.

    All the others I've worked with, it is simply maddening to watch a cyclegard cause steam distribution problems despite best efforts to balance the system, particularly single pipe.
    terry
  • hvacfreak2
    hvacfreak2 Member Posts: 500
    Oil fired , 1 pipe , cg , V7 is what I had. It used a lot of oil .
    hvacfreak

    Mechanical Enthusiast

    Burnham MST 396 , 60 oz gauge , Tigerloop , Firomatic Check Valve , Mcdonnell Miller 67 lwco , Danfoss RA2k TRV's

    Easyio FG20 Controller

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,442

    I like that it tests, but I'm wondering why it couldn't of been made to work without turning off the appliance. I can't begin to tell you how many times while out either on a call or installing a boiler that came with one you just stand there like a boob waiting for the stupid thing to turn back on. Many times doing a no heat call you finally figure out what was wrong and get it fired............then., off it goes, and you first start thinking something else just happened.
    If you make a boiler that's going to run out of water on the first cycle, then maybe they need to make it slightly bigger then, and stop this nonsense.

    Robert O'Connor/NJ

    How else would they make it work?
    The only way to get the foaming to stop is to stop the burner and without stopping the foaming, they can't tell of the probe is conducting via foam or actual water.

    They could install the probe in a protected "calm area" like on the commercial boilers, but that would cost money.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • vr608
    vr608 Member Posts: 144
    ChrisJ said:


    How else would they make it work?
    The only way to get the foaming to stop is to stop the burner and without stopping the foaming, they can't tell of the probe is conducting via foam or actual water.

    Since the Safgard doesn't need to stop the burner to do its test, I suppose they found a way to compensate for the foaming?
    Peerless 63-03, 118,000 BTU (308 sqft), single-pipe steam system connected to 286 EDR of radiation, 30ft of baseboard and indirect DHW
    3PSI gauge
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,442

    vr608 said:


    Since the Safgard doesn't need to stop the burner to do its test, I suppose they found a way to compensate for the foaming?

    Both Safgard and Cyclegard are always "testing". They simply get erroneous water level readings during boil. The probes believe the water level is considerably higher than actual.

    Safgard simply gets the proper water level, and feeds if necessary, at the end of the cycle.
    A good example of this is right after I installed my boiler I guess I had some issues due to oil in the water. The boiler would run fine, the water level appeared ok but when the system shut off the safgard would trip and say the water was low for a few minutes until it all came back.

    I guess the probe was reading foaming instead of actual water. No damage was done and I doubt any ever would be as the boiler still had plenty of water in it to be safe. All of that ended after a few good skims.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • vr608
    vr608 Member Posts: 144
    Gotcha, so essentially Safgard just prevents a dry fire scenario. Makes sense, and without all the intermittent burner disabling to run a "good" check of the water level that Cyclegard does.
    Peerless 63-03, 118,000 BTU (308 sqft), single-pipe steam system connected to 286 EDR of radiation, 30ft of baseboard and indirect DHW
    3PSI gauge
  • I presume Chrisj's calm area would be a surge column with the sight glass, and safeguard mounted on that.
    If that surge column were connected well below the waterline, and had a little drain slightly lower than the waterline height, then it might catch a lot of the oils, in it, trapping them in the column until drained off into a bucket.
    If for every hour of steaming, ten percent of the oils end up in this surge column, and are unable to return to the boiler, because oil floats, you have the auto skimming feature anyone can benefit from.
    If you are using a float type LWCO, then pipe it so that it also empties the surge column when it is flushed.--NBC
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,442
    edited December 2015

    I presume Chrisj's calm area would be a surge column with the sight glass, and safeguard mounted on that.
    If that surge column were connected well below the waterline, and had a little drain slightly lower than the waterline height, then it might catch a lot of the oils, in it, trapping them in the column until drained off into a bucket.
    If for every hour of steaming, ten percent of the oils end up in this surge column, and are unable to return to the boiler, because oil floats, you have the auto skimming feature anyone can benefit from.
    If you are using a float type LWCO, then pipe it so that it also empties the surge column when it is flushed.--NBC

    It's what ever that column thing is inside that commercial boiler. They call it a "protection tube"

    https://youtu.be/HG0M9wPDnzY

    They mention it a few times in their views. Apparently there's a LWCO probe mounted in that? That video specifically, talks about what we're talking about. Might help others see why the Cyclegard may actually be a good thing, but I still don't want one.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment