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why is my lwco light always on?

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Ben_Nash
Ben_Nash Member Posts: 9
My safgard 400 light is always on. Is the wiring correct?

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  • Ben_Nash
    Ben_Nash Member Posts: 9
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    The light is a very faint orange light. Not sure if it means the lwco is working or the water level is low.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,455
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    That light indicates that the LWCO thinks the water is low.

    Now -- the first question is, does the boiler run? If it does with that light on, you have a very dangerous failure. It could be wiring, it could be the device -- but one way or another, if the boiler can run with that light on, turn off the boiler with the emergency switch and leave it off until you can find the problem.

    Now there are several possibiities as to why the light may be on which are worth looking at if the boiler does NOT run. First, the water level really is below the probe. That, in fact, is what it should do. If the gauge glass is showing a higher water level, the gauge glass connections to the boiler may be plugged -- or turned off. Another possibility is the probe lead wire is disconnected or loose. A third is that the probe is not grounded to the boiler -- someone used dope or tape to install it, most likely. And last the probe is just plain dirty and needs to be cleaned.

    Or, of course, the LWCO might be faulty.

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Ben_Nash
    Ben_Nash Member Posts: 9
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    Boiler runs. I just replaced the lwco last week. Light was on even on the old defective lwco.

    I have to double check if the probe was grounded or not.
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 2,012
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    Drain the boiler down. See if light changes. 
    CLamb
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,455
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    If the boiler runs with the light on, something is seriously wtong with the boiler wiring or the control -- or both.

    As I said above, this is a critical safety device and the boiler is not safe to run in this condition. TURN IT OFF
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,427
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    I would drain the boiler and watch the LWCO. I believe it changes to a brighter color. I have the same LWCO and it’s always somewhat lit, but when it goes off on low water it’s much brighter. 
    STEAM DOCTORCLambLRCCBJLong Beach Ed
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 2,012
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    Not that uncommon with the hydro levels. Somewhat of a tendency to have a very dim light 24/7, and a much brighter light when water is actually low. Assuming it's somewhat of a manufacturer's defect but who knows. If you can clearly distinguish between the two, then you should be good to go
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 2,012
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    Only stared noticing this phenomenon relatively recently 
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,455
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    Not that uncommon with the hydro levels. Somewhat of a tendency to have a very dim light 24/7, and a much brighter light when water is actually low. Assuming it's somewhat of a manufacturer's defect but who knows. If you can clearly distinguish between the two, then you should be good to go

    Oh please tell me that this isn't true -- that it's a manufacturing defect or a wiring problem. An indicator light which is brighter when in an alarm condition than when in a normal condition is a catastrophe waiting to happen. On for normal, off for alarm -- OK. Steady for normal, flashing for alarm, OK. Off for normal, on for alarm -- OK. But dim for normal, brighter for alarm? No. Please tell me no. That's unacceptable.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Long Beach Ed
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 2,012
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    I have noticed this in handful, last year or so. Brand new, out of the box. 
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
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    Has anyone asked Hydrolevel what the deal is? 

    My 2011 400 doesn't glow in normal use.  
    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
  • PRR
    PRR Member Posts: 156
    edited April 21
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    In other fields it has been noted that LEDs can 'light' at very low current, AND that they glow "better" every generation. In guitar pedals the boys have been using larger series resistors (lower operating current) on vintage designs so modern LEDs are not blinding. There are a few vintage pedals which ran "insignificant" OFF current, which is clearly visible with 21st century LEDs.
    (Back in 1976 I was finding "leakage" in most low-cost LEDs which absorbed small currents; semiconductor processes have improved a LOT.)
    It is possible the light in the factory is a lot better than the light in your cellar, so they don't notice the off-glow. (Guitarists often play in the dark so they are very aware of off-glow.)
    Of course an on/off indicator on a guitar pedal is a very different thing from a low-water error on a high power steam maker.
    Long Beach Ed
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
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    @PRR That could be a really good point. 
    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
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,455
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    I'm thinking @PRR may have nailed it. With the additional thought that if the unit is using solid state "relays" they also have a leakage current, unlike the real thing, unless there are optoisolators involved -- which is unlikely. Whatever -- in my none too humble opinion, a warning light which glows all the time at any level is unacceptablle.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 2,012
    edited April 21
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    I will tend to agree with Jamie. It's not all of them. Just a rather small number, but enough to be noticeable.
  • PRR
    PRR Member Posts: 156
    edited April 21
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    ...a warning light which glows all the time at any level is unacceptablle.

    With the pedantic-jerk note "visible glow", and not meaning my arc-burned eyes. :s Everything "glows" unless at Absolute Zero temperature. But room-temp glow is 1000 times dimmer than we see. But factories and tech labs may be lit 1000 times brighter than "just visible".
    If this is YOUR DESIGN, try a 1K or 470r resistor across the LED to divert stray current. Sometimes works in guitar pedals,etc.
    But if this is someone else's Safety CutOff, raise a complaint/support-issue. If it blows you sky-high and they find a strange resistor in the ruins, it's all on you. OTOH you don't tamper and Discovery finds a support issue from you pending, they were on-notice of your concern.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,455
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    Trying to make some sense here of @PRR 's comment above. With regard to brightness of a warning light, It must be bright enough to command attention on a casual glance at the equipment (or, in one of my old fields, the instrument panel -- where the requirement is not just a glance, but in the peripheral vision). Now the problem is that the background brightness against which it is used may vary quite widely -- in the case of an LWCO warning, from a pretty dark basement to as much as full sun shining on the equipment. This doesn't mean that the light need be as bright as looking at the sun -- that would be silly -- but that it must be significantly brighter than the material on which it is mounted.

    Conversely, if it to indicate off, it must be -- in its off condition -- sufficiently dim that it can't be seen in a darkened space.

    I expect that to some extent my concerns come from working with some of the earlier "glass cockpit" displays and controls (such as lighted -- or not -- status indicators or pushbutton selectors), which were plagued with warning lights and messages which had insufficient contrast. This problem is largely eliminated in current systems --mostly because the TSOs were modified to add that any illuminated indicator of any kind has to be actually off --zero current state -- when it's supposed to be off.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    PRR
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,212
    edited April 23
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    I'm with Mr. Hall on this one: This is messed up.

    I'd carefully check my wiring, grounds and neutrals for any faults. I'd check resistance measurements between ground and the boiler block. I'd check the transformer winding for leakage to ground. If all my work checked out, I'd make a very concerned call to Hydrolevel to find out if they know their Chinesium electronics are doing this sort of thing.

    Yes, I know there may be leakage in electronic circuits that can cause some glow to an LED, but it doesn't belong in a safety device indicator.

  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,741
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    I love the USA too but China makes all the most complex and well-made electronics today, when companies tell them to.

    are you all sure it’s not bright basement lights getting reflected by the led lens?

    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    ChrisJ
  • Sylvain
    Sylvain Member Posts: 147
    edited April 23
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    Precise specifications (good enough for…?) and quality control by the importer.

    China sends rockets to the moon.

    ChrisJethicalpaul
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,455
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    Mostly agree, at @ethicalpaul . With this addition: they do make the equivalent of the most complex electronics. Where I would disagree is the "well-made" part. For most consumer and general purposes, I would say reasonably well made. For situations which are failure critical, I would say no. If one can tolerate a mean time between failures (either hardware or software) of a thousand hours or so, they're just fine — and that's all that most people will pay for. Not that they can't make more reliable equipment, but they have grasped that the average consumer simply isn't interested in paying for it, so they don't.

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,741
    edited April 23
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    With respect, I think you are understating what they are making, Jamie. What electronic control systems, what electronic medical devices, what life-support electronics are not made there?

    It seems like you are saying a LWCO with through-hole circuit boards designed 30 years ago are more difficult to safely produce than a pacemaker, but I don't want to mis-read what you're saying.

    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
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    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
    ethicalpaul
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,455
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    I was referring to consumer grade electronics and gadgets — including, sadly, cars and trucks. Not medical devices — nor TSOed aviation devices (the price difference between a TSOed GPS unit and a consumer grade unit for instance is… astonishing. For a reason).

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,793
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    DJI drones seem to be extremely well engineered and made.

    Those are consumer grade.

    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
    ethicalpaul