System 2000 oil heat system intermittent shutdown issue

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Old 05-21-12, 08:00 AM
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System 2000 oil heat system intermittent shutdown issue

I have the System 2000 installed, and it's been prone to periodic instances where it doesn't fire up and goes into an error condition, staying shut down until power is cycled manually. Oil burner is a Riello 40 series F3.

I've determined the problem to be due to the pressure switch cutoff that senses the outlet pressure to the chimney stack; when starting up from a cold condition, blower starts up, and after a brief delay, fuel delivery starts. At this point, the pressure as measured on a digital manometer showed a peak of 0.78 in-H20, which trips the switch (set for 0.07 +/- 0.02". The fuel to the burner immediately shuts down, and after a short time, tries again, with the same result.
If I relieve the pressure temporarily by opening the test port to open air during the start up, it starts up, and immediately closing the port again shows a pressure of 0.04". This seems to show there's no blockage of the chimney, and the problem is this initial puff from the burner starting up initially.

With electrical systems like starting motors, usually circuit breakers have a time delay to accommodate the initial surge current when starting up, and I'm wondering if there's normally an equivalent allowance for oil burners.

Or is the issue that there should be no initial surge in pressure when first firing, and this is an abnormal condition I'm seeing?

Note this does not happen all the time, and if the burner's already been running and warmed up, I can restart with no problems; it generally seems to happen only if starting from full cold. I've come home after being away a while, and hear the circulator running continuously with a shut down boiler system, which probably isn't good for the pump either, which might be a bit a flaw in the system design. Not sure why the circulator pumps should run when it's in an error condition and shut down, but that's how it is.

Any ideas which side to approach this from? Is it due to an abnormal surge in pressure on initial startup, or a lack of the design in the system to allow for the surge? I'm considering a mechanical workaround by connecting the test port tee to a large volume enclosed chamber to act as a pressure reservoir buffer and allow it to damp the initial surge, with no change in pressure protection after it pressurizes fully.
 
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Old 05-21-12, 08:06 AM
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On speculation it occurred to me the initial poof could occur if the ignition doesn't fire the mixture immediately, and delayed start after a cloud of oil in the chamber develops could result in the brief overpressure-
I assume sequence is that the blower and ignition are running first, and then the oil valve is opened after full oil pressure is reached, so it's expected to begin firing immediately as soon as the oil delivery starts- possibly this isn't occurring and delayed ignition is the cause.
 
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Old 05-21-12, 03:08 PM
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I'm hoping heatpro will come in and help out, he knows these systems pretty well!

I know that on a cold chimney your draft will be much lower than a warm/hot one, that's a given.

I also know that when my own system starts on a cold chimney the baro damper slams shut from the pressure spike in the flue. If there were a pressure switch on mine such as there is on yours, I'm quite sure I'd have the same problem.

sequence is that the blower and ignition are running first, and then the oil valve is opened
Probably correct. Is your burner primary control, or the S2000 control, adjustable for the time of the 'valve on delay' ? Making that delay time longer might serve to establish better draft in the chimney before the fuel valve opens and ignition commences and reduce the pressure spike.

Some (not all) Honeywell primaries have this setting. Not familiar with Riello or the S2000 controls.

Has it done this ever since installation?

Describe the chimney... masonry? manufactured?

How about the run from the boiler flue breech to the chimney? Straight? Not all loaded with 90s and 45s (which would increase the backpressure) ?
 
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Old 05-21-12, 08:18 PM
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Thanks for the info-

I'll have to check to see about possible settings for the 'valve on delay'; I don't know if it was set during the installation or not. It would help if there was something like a delay, even a fraction of a second, where the shutdown mechanism is held off, because the spike shows up only for a split second before dropping back down.

If the valve on delay is the delay from when the blower starts up to when the fuel delivery begins, it seems to be fairly long as it is- I'd estimate it's 5 seconds or more, if that is supposed to help establish draft. I figured the delay was mainly to pressurize the fuel system so it atomizes properly right from the start of fuel delivery.

The flue to the chimney has one short 45 degree angle, but otherwise is fairly direct to vertical. The chimney has a smooth liner, appears to be clay or something. Once running, there didn't appear to be any appreciable backpressure from the manometer reading. If there was some way to get past the initial turn on spike it seems to be okay in regards to flue/chimney restrictions.

Luckily it hasn't been all that frequent but I was hoping this System 2000 was a bit more reliable than it's proven to be so far.
 
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Old 05-22-12, 03:55 PM
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I figured the delay was mainly to pressurize the fuel system so it atomizes properly right from the start of fuel delivery.
Yes, I believe that's correct. The positive side effect is that draft is established to a degree before firing.

How tall is the chimney? Five seconds of 'blow' might not be enough to get to the top...

The other possibility is that the pressure switch IS over-sensitive... you may have hurt it's feelings!
 
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Old 05-22-12, 07:55 PM
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Chimney is about 20 feet maybe? Two story house, and it sticks out pretty much the same height as others I've seen.
The switch is set for 0.07" WC according to the label on it, and it didn't seem to trip early from what I could tell from a measurement I made using the manometer- It opened up at about 0.11" from the crude test I performed just just squeezing the tubes to provide the tiny amount of pressure.
Could be the S2000 is just using an overly sensitive pressure switch, because Grady mentioned in the Riello thread that the 0.07" seemed unusually low compared to other system designs. Whether it really needs to be that low to operate properly is a question.
So far the shutdown hasn't recurred with the 'delay' I'm trying out by teeing in a small air volume to act as a buffer for the pressure spike, sort of an expansion tank, but I can't tell if it's really doing anything or not, because it didn't happen very predictably even before.
 
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Old 05-26-12, 08:50 PM
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I was able to speak with an EK representative, and he indicated the reading I mentioned of 0.04" WC indicates insufficient draft for the System 2000 design, they normally expect a negative reading, or a slight vacuum rather than the positive pressure I'm getting.
He suggested installation of a stainless steel chimney liner to improve draft to enable the S2000 to work properly.

Confirmed that the pressure switch cutoff operates right without any delay from the point the burner starts up, so it will shut down if it it detects the startup pressure spike.
 
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Old 06-03-12, 08:28 PM
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Monitored the pressure at the tee fitting during a full burner cycle, and never saw the pressure go negative even after firing for a while. Only after the burner finished the cycle and turned off did the draft go negative as the hot air going up the chimney developed a vacuum.

Possibly the location of the tee monitoring point is just too close to the burner output to enable a vacuum to be seen. I don't know if the suggestion for adding a stainless steel liner would change this or not; since it would be smaller than the existing run, even if it's better insulated and would heat up faster.

In any event, the problem of the S2000 not firing hasn't recurred since adding the manual air volume as a buffer, though time will tell if it really did the trick or not.
 
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Old 06-03-12, 09:34 PM
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He suggested installation of a stainless steel chimney liner to improve draft to enable the S2000 to work properly.

And if that does not work will they reimburse you for the $1200 you may spend for a liner intalled by a contractor?

System 2000 IMO = issues IMO. Its a good unit when its working, but you need the right person to maintain them and that = $$$$$.

They should release manuals to the public IMO. I have seen many since they are made from a
Lebanon, NJ factory I believe.

Although they have lower flue temps a liner is probably warranted from what the faqs say..

Energy Kinetics FAQ

And remeber they do have training, and these are the people you need to find.

FAQ.

System 2000 dealers who actively participate in factory training and have extensive familiarity with System 2000 products are recommended for service.

Mike NJ


 
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Old 06-04-12, 06:57 AM
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You mention that your chimney has a clay liner, but what size is it? What size is the flue pipe (flue connector)? If the draft is still positive at the end of a burner cycle there's a draft problem that may or may not be resolved by having a liner installed. Best bet there is to call a chimney pro, that's their job. The draft will improve when the burner is off because there is a smaller volume of gases. System 2000 is not a positive pressure boiler although some slight positive pressure can occur on light off even with instantaneous ignition.

All primary controls supplied with the burners on an EK are whatever would normally be supplied on that burner by the manufacturer. Your Riello burner has a Riello oil control and has whatever features Riello would normally supply. Check their manual for further information. The System 2000 manager does not change any of those functions, it merely opens and closes TT based on boiler return temperature similar to an operating control on a conventional system.

Every system ships from the factory with a very complete owner/installation manual as well as the individual spec sheets or manuals normally shipped with the installed burners, whether oil or gas. In addition, Tech Support is available to any qualified burner tech, HVAC tech, electrician, chimney pro, etc.

Any tech who uses the excuse that they can't properly service your system because they are not a dealer or part of the "exclusive club" is using that as an excuse for not wanting to be bothered with training. As federal efficiency standards require more and more complex heating systems, more training is going to be necessary to stay ahead of the curve. It's no different from the changeover in vehicles from mechanical distributors to solid state ignition with a gazillion sensors.
 
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Old 06-04-12, 08:05 AM
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I've looked up the chimney when I had the flue off for cleaning but I didn't measure it; I'll get some more accurate length and diameter measurements when I get the opportunity.

The outlet immediately from the S2000 is 4", which goes right to 6" for the 2 feet run to the ceiling, and then to 8" from there, from the top of the ceiling and beyond. I'll have to remove it to look up the chimney again.

The pressure reading I was getting was only slightly positive, at 0.04" WC; maybe I'll see if I can get a reading from the flue connector itself. It may very well be negative up beyond the 4" neck of the S2000 enclosure.

This is probably unrelated to my symptoms, but the FAQ mentioned the use of sealed combustion, which the EK rep also asked about. The installation on mine does not have provisions for drawing outside air, but instead draws from the room it's in (255 cu ft) with three 1'x6" vents.

It's not been too bad lately after all the callbacks on the initial installation because it definitely saves oil over my old Beckett. With that one, the boiler room was nice and toasty throughout the winter because of all the heat it gave off. Not good for efficiency though- now the room remains cold because it has the insulated water tank and fires only when needed to maintain temperature.
Aside from the occasional outage I've been seeing, it's working fairly well. Have to say the older system was 100% reliable for me though, never had any outages of this sort at all. Guess it's like tradeoff when trying to maximize efficiency and running things at the threshold of combustion as opposed to running rich.

I didn't get so much as an owners manual with the original installation, but was able to get a manual from EK later on, to at least explain the trouble LED indicators I was seeing on the shutdown.
 
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Old 06-04-12, 08:35 AM
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Just wondering when it was installed and what type of warranty you got from the installer?

Aside from the occasional outage I've been seeing, it's working fairly well. Have to say the older system was 100% reliable for me though, never had any outages of this sort at all. Guess it's like tradeoff when trying to maximize efficiency and running things at the threshold of combustion as opposed to running rich.

IMO you should not be subject to this, and I would be asking the installer to rectify the issue with no cost to you.

The installer should have offered a chimney liner. I would say its on him. You need to do it diplomatically though.

I guess you could say the trade off is money saved on oil goes to the repair of your unit.

Mike NJ

 
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Old 06-04-12, 11:33 AM
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An adaptor to allow for outside combustion air is available from EK.

EK recommends minimum 5" chimney liner for the EK-1 but if you go over 6" it could very well start to diminish the draft. Since the puff switch is located at the over fire location that's the reading that you should be concerned about. +.04" wc is more than just a little positive since the preferred draft is -.02" minimum.

Continued operation at a positive pressure can shorten the life of the burner air tube and retention head. When the burner shuts off there will be a reversal of heat from the chamber that a negative draft will prevent.
 
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