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Beckett NX Oil Burner Issues & Comments

Labenaqui
Labenaqui Member Posts: 22
We have used the Beckett NX exclusively with Weil-McLain UO Boilers now for over 15 years as our build-of-chioce. It has in fact become the basis of our now-patented "Neo-Gravity Hydronic Heating Appliance(TM)". See BoilersOnDemand.com.
Further incorporating Taco Delta-T Distribution Management, this combo has adapted to and accommodated a plethora of poor prior install system replacements. Undersized chimney liners or no chimney, a wide variation of baseboard loop installation conditions, poor environment, etc., it seems to work its way through them all.
The primary issue with the NX is lateral movement of the electrode(s) right out of the box. We first noted this on a 2014 install when servicing a few years later a carbon trace (short) had bridged to the spirolator foil tip. It could be due to under-torquing of the respective clamp screw, but not always. You must "uncomfortably" over-tighten them to eliminate movement, if you can totally. This condition has been reported to Beckett without response to date. A marginal design or process issue?
Meanwhile the electrodes are probed to detect migration before installation. We totally rejected one faulty unit in 2015 and returned it to distribution for exchange prior to install. Unfortunately this issue is still occasionally here with us in 2021.
The NX has always been a "plug & play" burner for us. Despite Beckett acknowledging that they do not wet-fire these, the factory presets have ostensibly been "right on the money" at startup. So another surprise in early 2020 when three units in a row would not even establish a fire or were so smokey as to trip off before an adjustment could be attempted. Investgation noted that a Hago Nozzle (specified as the only alternate to Delavan by Beckett for the NX) had been used. Replaced all of these with our Delavan Spare Stock and they all fired instantly and perfectly. Contaminated Nozzles? Don't care ..... we now disassemble and pull the Hago's along with electrode inspection before mounting.
To date, even as "little guys" in the trade, we have accrued well over fifty-installed-operating-years on all our NX-UO's without a single system-related service call ..... NOT ONE!
So, we are curious to know if fellow tradesmen or users have encountered these issues with the NX. Please comment .....

Comments

  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,421
    No
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    STEVEusaPA
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,434
    My only complaint with the NX is you can't adjust the air while it's running...well that's my 'main' complaint...lol
    steve
    Robert O'BrienSuperTech
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,421
    Steve, you can but you might get oil on your pants!
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    STEVEusaPA
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,022
    Been running mine for probably a decade- no issues.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,712
    My only complaint with the NX is you can't adjust the air while it's running...well that's my 'main' complaint...lol
    I have this problem with every NX I've encountered.  I remember a training class years ago where this was brought up and we were told that if it leaks oil when air adjustments are attempted then it is ok to leave the spline nut off. I've found this doesn't cause a problem unless someone fails to check combustion after replacing the nozzle. It's easy to set combustion out of whack especially if someone tries to adjust air without the spline nut loose enough....

    I have two customers with the Ultra Oil/NX combo. One stays clean, no issues.  The other one seems to constantly soot up. The problem boiler frustrates me because I have both setup the same way, and I'm always able to obtain a true zero smoke when I service it.  NX certainly isn't my favorite burner. Sometimes I think the AFII was a better burner. 
    STEVEusaPARobert O'BrienEdTheHeaterMan
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,434
    edited November 2021
    I took off the spline nut and just use an e-clip, can’t remember the size off the top of my head. Holds it nice.
    I asked the whole gang at the last trade show in Hershey why they won’t make the threaded part of the nozzle line a 1/4 inch longer.
    The basic answer is they don’t want to make another nozzle line specifically for the NX. But they could make them all that way. Won’t matter to the other burners.
    I wonder if your problem may be simply the quality of combustion air or the room depressurizing robbing that burner of sufficient combustion air (high efficiency clothes dryer, whole house fan, etc.).
    I feel like the NX suffers from the same finicky-ness of the Riello. It either runs great or it’s a PIA-just like a QB-180, right?😛
    steve
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,712
    Yeah the NX is definitely as finicky as a Riello, which isn't surprising since I heard it was designed to be like a Riello. 
    Great point about the nozzle line, would it have been so hard for the engineers to have thought of that? 
    You are probably right about the boiler that soots up, going to have to try running the dryer and any exhaust fans next time I go there.

    Another issue I have encountered with the NX is nuisance lockouts due to high cad cell resistance.  I came across one with the inside of the burner tube painted silver in an attempt to remedy this. I've found that I have to meticulously clean the flame retention head/end cone to keep cad cell resistance under 1000 ohms.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,434
    edited November 2021
    Oh no painted air tubes...
    They are actually ok with higher cad cell readings as I think the GeniSys primary control locks out much higher than the 1600 ohms of others. Although the instructions say >1600 to lockout. Just have to make sure everything is clear and that eye is perfectly aligned. Actually the eye should be farther down the tube.

    I thought I read another thread about Beckett either changed the head because it has a bigger hole in it to see the flame better or even drilling that hole a little bigger, but don't quote me on that. Might of been all the online training that happened when covid lockdowns were in place...fuzzy brain times.

    Maybe @Robert O'Brien will weigh in. He has extensive knowledge with all things, especially the NX and the GeniSys.
    steve
  • BDR529
    BDR529 Member Posts: 204
    Getting the mica windows for the early models has been a challege.
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,269
    I took my NX burner in my old house and zip tied the cad cell to the nozzle line. That made a huge difference in my readings. If I remember right, it went from like 2500 down to under 1000. And yes, the Genysis will continue to run even when it is over 3000, which is something I am not pleased with.
    Rick
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,434
    Yeah but @rick in Alaska wouldn't that make your problem worse? So the cad cell is closer or reading better/lower, and the primary won't lock out to say 3000, so the flame could be potentially really dirty before locking it out.
    steve
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,269
    Maybe. But the cad cell does read more accurate there. This would be the same issue with any burner though. I am wondering why the primary will go that high in the first place.
    Rick
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,062
    I always thought that a cad cell control would lockout (or be unreliable to run the burner) when the reading was 1600 or so and above, and that 800 or below was considered a good reading.
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,421

    Yeah but @rick in Alaska wouldn't that make your problem worse? So the cad cell is closer or reading better/lower, and the primary won't lock out to say 3000, so the flame could be potentially really dirty before locking it out.

    Cad cell resistance is inverse to excess air, as EA/CO2 go up, resistance goes down. Bio flame luminosity is lower, resulting in higher ohm readings. Modern primaries will not lockout at much higher ohm readings than generally believed.
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    STEVEusaPA
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 2,521
    My favorite nickname for the Beckett NX is the "Beckello"
    The Beckett people at the Hershey trade show did not like that nickname when they first introduced the NX way back when.
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey Shore.
    Cleaned & services first oil heating system at age 16
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,022
    If I have a choice between NX and Riello, NX wins. I have never liked how Riello crams everything in that dinky little box, making it difficult to work on for anyone with standard-size hands. Also a standard nozzle wrench cannot be used on Riellos, at least on the smaller ones. Sure they make a great flame, but is a Riello flame really better than that of a Beckett or Carlin?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    EBEBRATT-Ed
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,062
    And Riello parts don't fit anything else and vise versa. not worth the hassle imho
    SuperTech
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,434
    edited November 2021
    I was very big on Riello, in the beginning. Especially after taking Advanced classes with the Dragon. But besides all the air gate modification-jack to nothing to motor to just jamming it open-I'm fine with an AFG or a Carlin. They finally caught up and passed Riello on technology. Plus Riello has really fallen behind with bio and upgrading/certifying.

    I'm also still a little more than annoyed they never owned up to their mistake on o ring and gasket manufacturing and blamed it on the heating oil (aromatic heating oil or some sh*t).

    What I liked most about Riello was 2 basic air tube sizes, and their components rarely fail.
    What I dislike most about them is their finickiness, especially in non OEM installation. On the oil side, might as well throw on a Tiger Poop. And changing the burner motor.
    Improper perfect set up-especially combustion air and draft, and nuisance lock outs abound.
    And of course metric adapters for oil lines, 4 different screws to take it apart, etc.

    In my area, Philly suburbs, one very large company decided in the later 80's they were only installing and retrofitting with Riello burners in the hopes that the other companies wouldn't be able to service them so they retain their customers. Too bad they didn't properly train their own techs.
    steve
    Robert O'BrienSuperTech
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,434
    Steamhead said:

    If I have a choice between NX and Riello, NX wins. I have never liked how Riello crams everything in that dinky little box, making it difficult to work on for anyone with standard-size hands. Also a standard nozzle wrench cannot be used on Riellos, at least on the smaller ones. Sure they make a great flame, but is a Riello flame really better than that of a Beckett or Carlin?

    Are you really calling your hands 'standard-size'? LOL
    steve
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,022

    Steamhead said:

    If I have a choice between NX and Riello, NX wins. I have never liked how Riello crams everything in that dinky little box, making it difficult to work on for anyone with standard-size hands. Also a standard nozzle wrench cannot be used on Riellos, at least on the smaller ones. Sure they make a great flame, but is a Riello flame really better than that of a Beckett or Carlin?

    Are you really calling your hands 'standard-size'? LOL
    Well, they're certainly not tiny................ >:)
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,062
    I used to do start ups on Riello's. The first two were a B...h as i never had any training. These were all 2,500mbh-5,000mbh natural gas burners. Finally attended a Riello school that helped a lot.

    1 probably did 15 of these before I retired

    They are really good burners and well made and once you get the adjustments right they track perfectly from lo to high fire and back and forth which not all commercial burners do well.

    Combustion was very good.

    A really difficult burner to learn.

    But, there were issues

    On gas with the gas train mounted next to the burner and the burner in the lo fire position the butterfly valve in the gas line would be in a "barely cracked open " position. . as riello wanted a big turn down for wide range modulation. Now the gas line between the last gas valve on the gas train and the burner (maybe 3' of pipe) would be empty of gas on shutdown.

    So on start up you only have a couple of seconds to light & prove main flame. By the time the gas valve drove open and the gas filled the pipe fighting it's way through the barely opened butterfly your off on safety.

    There fix is to increase the size of lo fire to get the gas their quicker. But the increase in gas and air made the pilot flame and flame signal unreliable

    I started 9 of these on one job. The fix was to add an additional solenoid gas valve mounted right next to the burner to keep gas trapped between the last gas valve on the gas train and the new gas valve at the burner.

    Nowhere in their manuals did Riello specify the distance from the gas train to the burner even though I begged for this. And the gas train drawing didn't show any dimensions to the burner

    By the time I got to the start up the stuff was already installed. The contractor didn't want to here about repiping the gas train as the manual didn't specify. Riello had little support.

    And then there is the parts thing.

    One of these 9 burners had a broken cooling fan (plastic) and the plastic cover over the cooling fan was broken.

    I removed the plastic parts and did the start up. Couldn't leave it on line without a cooling fan so left it shut down. Ordered a cooling fan and cover. Had to come from Italy. 3 months later a new motor shows up.


    The only residential one I worked on another tech was their and he called me for help. The burner motor was having difficulty starting.

    By the time he called me the parts cannon had already been shot, new motor, new control & new oil pump.

    If you powered the motor you could only start it by spinning the fan.

    Somehow the motor and pump were binding we took it all apart and put it back together found nothing wrong.

    It was still binding up. I loosened the screws holding the oil pump and it releved the tension and it worked. As I recall the pump is driven off the motor with no coupling.

    I have no more patience for this stuff.

    I really can't see why someone would want a Riello in their house.
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,269
    "I really can't see why someone would want a Riello in their house."
    I'll bite. Because I don't want to have to repair a burner. I have worked on a lot of Riellos, and in the many years that they have been here, I have replaced 4 primaries, and about 6 motors. Two of the primaries were replaced because the room they were in flooded, although they were still working, and the other two just failed. The motors were changed because for some reason, the bearing on the pump side will fail, and i don't want to take the effort to acquire or change the bearing. Other than that, that burner is bulletproof.
    ( Well. after the air jack fiasco anyway).
    The thing is, I carry one burner motor and one dusty primary, whereas with the other burners, I carry a few of each, including electrodes, cad cells, etc. I just don't change these on a Riello. And, I don't have combustion issues either.
    I have only put in one commercial setup and have not had any issues with it yet, so I don't really know much about the commercial side as far as issues.
    Rick
    HVACNUT