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cant find this info

136lin
136lin Member Posts: 30
I am a plumbing and heating contractor. I need to show that a thermocouple failure is not caused by a bad water feeder or for that matter a good water feeder!



I have done searches for " thermocouples" on this site and on google but can not find a sketch that shows the thermocouple and the feeder are on different subsystems (gas train vs. water supply). I have looked in some of my reference books and they do not show it either. Does any one know a website that might show that relationship??

Comments

  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Make & Model Number

    Hi -  It would seem to me that the Installation & Operating manual should have the schematics you would need.  Let us know the make and model numbers of the boiler and water feeder in question and maybe someone here has the manuals.

    - Rod
  • 136lin
    136lin Member Posts: 30
    cant find this info

    Thanks Rod for your response.  What I am trying to do is prove to a layman that the pilot is hooked up to the gas control system and that the feeder is on the water/steam/safety system. I have seen the installation manuals but I do not think that will be clear enough for a non technical person.



    I can find a picture  of a water feeder and I find a schematic of a thermocouple but I am looking for something in writing that describes the separate actions of the devices and also shows what their functions are.



    It is possible that such documents do not exist, but I thought if anyone knew where to find them it would be one of your members.



    I appreciate any help that you guys can give.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,878
    I feel your pain.

    These types of situations are usually resolved when they get their info from someone else, even though you're right.  While you're at their home, try having them call the local gas company's service department (on speaker phone), ask for a service manager, descibe the problem, play dumb as the homeowner and ask the guy, "do you think the thermocouple failure is from the water feeder".  Hopefully he will confirm it is not, and they can hear his answer.

    or.

    Maybe direct them to this sight, or another, where you could pose the question, and let them read all the respones.

    It's a tough one.

    Maybe post the question on the gas heating thread. If anyone has a solution it has to be Tim McElwain
    steve
  • STEVE PAUL_3
    STEVE PAUL_3 Member Posts: 126
    Un-related sub systems

    Because the thermocouple is part of the gas train (as you pointed out) and the water feeder is part of the water supply system, they are two separate entities, unrelated to each other. I doubt that there are any wiring  diagrams showing a relationship. You might be able to write to a manufacturer posing the question to them. If they answer as to the uniqueness and stand alone relationship of each system, you then have something in writing to show your customer from the ultimate authority on the question. You seem to be very a patient guy.
  • 136lin
    136lin Member Posts: 30
    cant find this info

    Again thanks. I guess I need to tell a shortened version of the whole story.



    A customer is claiming that the repeated pilot outage was caused by the new electronic water feeder we installed. We are now going to small claims court, he is the plaintiff wanting a full refund.



    I am looking to take as evidence something that says that he is wrong and I am right. The fact that I am a licensed mechanical contractor with over 30 years experience in servicing boilers does not make me an expert. Apparently he knows more than I do!



    He would not listen to me or my equally experienced service man. If I can not find what I am looking for I will have to copy and paste some of the photos I have found.



    When writing to the credit card company to fight the charge-back, I used the analogy that blaming the feeder for pilot outage is like blaming a flat tire for the car not starting. Visa understood and refunded our money. Now I need to convince the Judge!
  • Contact

    Timmie McElwain at:



    [email protected]



    He writes textbooks on gas equipment and may be able to help you out.
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,878
    I was thinking the problem was going this way.

    It appears, and it really stinks, that you're going to have to bring an expert to testify.  Of course I'm not a lawyer, and you should ask one, but try to spend the money here to get it resolved, and if they're not happy with the verdict, let them appeal and incur the additional costs.  Maybe a local trade organization in your area can point you in the right direction for a recognized expert.
    steve
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    Flat Tires and Engines

    Hi-

    Sorry to hear that this has gotten to the small claims stage but if you're in business this happens to us all sooner or later.  As Steve pointed out it may be a good idea to get an "expert" to go along with you as a witness. Some sort of professional credential (like a gas license) would be necessary to qualify him as a witness.

       As others have pointed out you’re not very likely to find paperwork  that says to the thermocouple isn’t connected to the water feeder.   Your very good  analogy of a flat tire doesn't stop an engine from starting, I'd use often and explain that to the judge that right up front.

       If you’re going to court you need paperwork to back you up which sounds as though it is what you are trying to do.  Judges like to see solid written evidence, verbal comments (“He said..She said..”)  don’t carry nearly as much weight as something on paper.  



          Since you put in the water feeder you need to get a copy of the installation instructions.  Make 3 copies - One for the judge, one for you and one for the plaintiff. Hopefully the installation manual has a schematic drawing of the electrics.  I would make 3 separate copies of the schematic.   Hopefully the schematic has  120 volts written some where on it. If it does, use a colored high lighter and high light the 120Volts.  If it doesn’t,  look in the manual and find the page where it mentions line voltage of 120 Volts and then print on the schematic “120 Volts (see page (number) in the manual”. Draw an arrow from this note to the power leads on the schematic.  Highlight this note and the 120 volts on the page in the manual.   

    If the schematic doesn’t plainly mark it, you might also make a note (labeling it “Water Feeder”) with an arrow to the water feeder and to the LWCO (switch) (labeling it “Switch”) that operates the water feeder.  What you are trying to do is make it obvious to the judge that this is a 120V circuit.  Be sure to mention to the judge that this is an actual schematic of the unit you installed.



    I would then get a schematic of the thermocouple. Tell the judge that since you didn’t install the thermocouple you don’t have the exact installation diagram but as all thermocouple units are very similar the drawing / installation manual you are presenting is representative of the plaintiff’s unit.   Do the same thing you did with the water feeder manual. Get a manual and find and label the voltages which will be in microvolts.  



    Before the trial give a copy of the manuals and schematics to the plaintiff. (You can leave the notes and arrows out if you wish :) When the judge asks you what you have to say tell him you have copies of the installation manual and schematic which shows that they aren’t related to each other. He will then ask you questions and you can refer to the schematics in youyr explanation.

    When you give the judge the manuals and schematics be sure to mention that you have already given the same documents to the Plaintiff.  Being patient and reasonable goes a LONG way with judges.

     

    Be prepared to answer the question, “Why do you think the thermocouple failed just after you installed the water feeder?” as it is quite possible the judge may ask you this.

    As others have mentioned get hold of Tim McElwain.  He’s a good guy and few people know more about gas than he does.

    Good Luck!

    - Rod
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    edited July 2011
    how about

    how about just a simple description...notice the fact this description states that the thermal couple is self powered. Your gas valve is not affected by an outside source. This is found in Wikipedia by simply looking up t-couple. Bring a gas valve, a pilot, t-couple and explain the operation to the judge. Common sense should (notice should) prevail.

    A thermocouple is a device consisting of two different conductors (usually metal alloys) that produce a voltage proportional to a temperature difference between either end of the pair of conductors. Thermocouples are a widely used type of temperature sensor for measurement and control and can also be used to convert a heat gradient into electricity. They are inexpensive, interchangeable, are supplied with standard connectors, and can measure a wide range of temperatures. In contrast to most other methods of temperature measurement, thermocouples are self powered and require no external form of excitation. The main limitation with thermocouples is accuracy and system errors of less than one degree celsius (C) can be difficult to achieve..
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    More evidence to back you up!

    Ichmb -Taking a thermocouple, gas valve, pilot etc. along is a great idea! 
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,524
    I may have what you are looking for

    get in touch with me. I am also a registered expert witness on gas and gas control systems. My e-mail is [email protected]
  • 136lin
    136lin Member Posts: 30
    edited July 2011
    cant-find-this-info

    Thanks Tim. I have sent you a private message
  • haventseenenough
    haventseenenough Member Posts: 61
    haventseenenough

    u should be able to get the manufacturer to supply the gas and wiring train diagrams separately. tell him its the mercaptiane that is fouling their thermocouple, give em something to chew on
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,839
    My opinion...

    YOU are a LICENSED contractor, therefore you are an expert in YOUR field. Maybe not a recognized Expert Witness, but this is not a trial by jury, rather a hearing by a judge. Your credentials far exceed those of the homeowner, and the judge should be quite clear of your talent/capabilities.



    Personally, I don't think you need an expert witness, but then again, I am not a lawyer, for a reason...



    I like your analogy, and THAT is the kind of stuff that the judge will understand. The two are not related.



    Pure coinkydink.



    Good luck in your pursuit of justice. Let us know how it comes out.



    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.
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,524
    I agree an

    registered expert is not needed.

    As promised in my phone call to you last evening help is on the way.

    I have sent by mail this AM some material that will be helpful in presenting your case. The job of an expert witness is to bring the truth to bear in cases that have that in question. The drawings and materials I sent will certainly help to do that. In the end as Mark put so well you are an expert in these matters and certainly have a heads up on most homeowners who are often mis-informed.



    Let us know how you make out.
  • lchmb
    lchmb Member Posts: 2,997
    Tim

    Your one of a kind my friend!!
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,524
    Pure coinkydink????

    What on earth is that? You sure do have your own vocabulary Mr Eatherton.
  • 136lin
    136lin Member Posts: 30
    cant find this info

    Thanks guys for your info and encouragement and a special thanks to Tim.!!



    Being the expert in the room probably will not make a difference in the courtroom. Any one in the Detroit area understands that logic and the law do not always prevail in the 36th district court!! But you can be certain I will stress that and the analogy if we get that far.



    I thought everyone  knew what a coinkydink is! I just never saw it spelled out before.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,839
    A coinkydink...

    pronounced ko-inky-dink is an Eathertonism for coincidence :-)



    I can't take credit for it, and I don't remember who it was that first introduced me to it... but its fun to use :-)



    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.
  • Plumdog_2
    Plumdog_2 Member Posts: 873
    Off Topic BWTF

    I think it was Yogi The Bear that used the term Coinkydink.
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