Argo control boards somehow not sending a signal to the circulator pump

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Old 01-25-13, 09:53 AM
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Argo control boards somehow not sending a signal to the circulator pump

Name:  ARGO ZONE VALVE CONTROL-AZV 245.jpg
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This is the AZ-245

Name:  ARGO ARM861-3DP.jpg
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This is the ARM 861

I have an ARGO ZONE VALVE CONTROL - AZV 245. Please see attached picture.

3 Thermostats. They all call for heat.

The green light turns on and then the red light turns on.

The red light opens the zone valve controls that allow water to be pushed through the system.

The end Switch to the left (wire) is going down to another board (ARGO ARM861-3DP) to the priority zone.

The circulator pump is then wired to the priority zone on the bottom of the board.



Now here is the problem. Everything turns on properly but somehow the signal from the end switch on AZV-245 is not travelling to the ARM861-3DP. Sometimes the signal travels and the pump turns on and sometimes the pump does not turn on.



Here is the funny part. If I remove a thermostat wire (any of the 3 wires) from zone 2,3, or 4 on the AZV 245, it somehow resets the signal, the red light turns on the ARM861-3DP and the circulator pump turns on.

Now the questions:

1) Is it the end switch that is sending the signal from one board to another board to turn on the pump (B&G 1/12 HP pump)? Or is it something else?

2) Could the board be bad? Could air in the system be causing this?

3) Or is it the thermostat connections that send the signal down? I doubt all 3 thermostats are faulty and just replaced # 3.

4) Is there a way I can bypass the end switch on the board temporarily? It is a PIA to go downstairs and check the pump to see if it is working?

5) Could it be a bad relay (5 of them) on the ARM861-3DP? I know when I remove one they shut and turn on parts of the board.

Somehow the signal is not getting to the 2nd board. Of course there is no continuity when there is no signal. Thank you.
 

Last edited by NJT; 01-25-13 at 01:42 PM.
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Old 01-25-13, 02:02 PM
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Here is the funny part. If I remove a thermostat wire
If the relay on the 245 which drives the endswitch signal is not making contact, sometimes physical vibration alone is enough to cause it to work again.

Next time it does this, give an ever so slight 'tap' to the relay (the little black box) above the endswitch terminals on the 245 and see if it don't fire up.

Answers to your questions... KEEP IN MIND that I have not refreshed my memory on these two boards yet... but as I recall the operation of them, my answers follow. I'll look after I'm done and edit if anything is wrong.

1) Is it the end switch that is sending the signal from one board to another board to turn on the pump
Without being there to run some tests with a meter, we can't say for certain, but it sounds like it to me.

2) Could the board be bad? Could air in the system be causing this?
Two questions in one...

Define 'board be bad'... does a bad relay on the board make the board bad? If yes, then yes.

Air in the system? No, not a chance it can cause a problem with the electronics.

3) Or is it the thermostat connections that send the signal down?
Highly, very highly, doubtful. The GREEN LEDs always turn on with a heat call? Then, NO, not a chance.

The GREEN is an indicator that the thermostat is properly calling for heat.
The RED is an indicator that the associated Zone Valve has opened and calling for heat.

4) Is there a way I can bypass the end switch on the board temporarily? It is a PIA to go downstairs and check the pump to see if it is working?
I suppose you could, but then the pump would run constantly, and since it is wired to the priority zone, none of the other equipment connected to the 816 would function.

5) Could it be a bad relay (5 of them) on the ARM861-3DP?
FIVE relays going bad at one time? Odds of that are worse than hitting the Mega-Millions.
 
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Old 01-25-13, 02:17 PM
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Try this

This test will help us to learn which of the two boards is causing the problem.

The note says VERY CAREFULLY, because any vibration might skew the results. You need to 'sneak up on it' ...

If it is the endswitch relay on that board (or possibly something else wrong with that board, like a bad solder connection on the reverse side) which is causing the problem, expect the pump to turn on...

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I don't think that relay is a 'plug-in' as the others on the 816 panel are... is it?
 
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Old 01-26-13, 01:56 PM
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Thank you for all your responses. The problem stopped after the Boiler contractor installed a new wire harness and Vent Damper on the flue of the boiler. I had an issue where the gas valve was not shutting down at 180 degrees. He had changed the Aquastat and had to bypass the system just to turn on the boiler. But now after all 3 parts have been changed out, everything seems to be working fine. (I think). Next time I can work on this myself as I watched them from start to finish. Additionally, I changed the zone 1 thermostat wire to zone 3, but I believe the system is somehow all linked together. One control board needs to turn on before a signal is sent to another control board. Additionally the aquastat is then connected to the vent damper and another control module to an electronic ignition. Little complicated, but hopefully everything is working. I already have contacted Argo industries and they have given me the replacement boards necessary to swap out the boards (if necessary). It will be less expensive to replace both boards then to call out a service technician to sit there for hours to try to figure it all out. Again, thank you for your help.
 
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Old 01-26-13, 03:01 PM
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Glad you got it working...

A hint for future postings though, that might have helped us diagnose this one more accurately...

Give the FULL HISTORY of what has been going on with the system. I know that you posted some of the stuff in another thread, but we deal with so many problems here that it's hard to remember everything and it really helps to have ALL of the 'back story' when attempting to diagnose over the internet.

I would have approached this much differently had I known...

Good Luck!
 
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Old 01-26-13, 07:15 PM
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Again, I will do. Although I am new to the forum.

How do I search for posts that I have written?

Am I supposed to be receiving an e-mail when someone replies? Not sure.

I know on some other forums (car forums), I have received many e-mails. Again, it all started with the boiler not firing up at all. It just sounds to me like the board may not function properly if other items are not working. Everything is working fine and I would hope so as this was costly but not too costly to fix (could have been worse). If the temperatures were not so cold in NJ, and I had a week or so, I could have picked up all the parts and replaced them all saving a few hundred dollars. But as the temperature dropped to the mid 20's, the house in the morning was near 50 degrees and some rooms in the mid 40's. Luckily these 1500 watt electric radiators do the trick for the short. I really appreciate all your assistance and realize how much work it is being a Moderator.
 
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Old 01-26-13, 07:34 PM
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Hi Cat, I know... not a problem, just for reference to make life a little easier for all of us...

How do I search for posts that I have written?
If you click on your username where it is 'highlighted' in blue... pretty much anywhere... you will get a small menu and one of the choices is "View Forum Posts"...

Am I supposed to be receiving an e-mail when someone replies?
You can, but only if you 'subscribe' to the thread.

In the gray bar at the top of a thread you are reading, you will see a choice for "Thread tools", when you click that you will get a menu and one of the choices is 'subscribe to this thread'. Click that and you have a few choices of how often, etc... you will get emails.

Yeah, sometimes when it's this cold out, we have to do whatever we have to do... time is the demon!

I really like my 'oil filled' radiator! I use it even when the heat is working good! Nothing like a warm radiator spewing heat rays right at cold feet!
 
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Old 01-26-13, 08:59 PM
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Well I go downstairs to check on the Pump after I turn up the heat slightly to test the system. When I think everything is perfect. I Go downstairs and the Green Light is on and Red Light is on # 4, the only (only zone calling for heat). Pump is just sitting there taking a nap. No red light on 2nd circuit board showing the pump is running. So I carefully walk to the boards and take a jumper that already was made for the diagnostic testing of the aquastat. Very gently I touch both screws and the pump kicked on. I then removed the jumper and the pump shut off. Jumped again and pump turned on and repeated the steps a few times. Same outcome (on off, on off, on off). Now I take the white thermostat wire on Zone # 4 and remove it and slowly (without disturbing the board) put the wire back without even closing the white tab and now the pump is running. Boy am I spooked. Everything is leading to the end switch but why is a thermostat wire causing the board to reset. I was told by Argo Industries that there should be stranded wires used for these boards??? But the call for heat is there, the zone valve opens up. Do I have a bad end switch at this point? I am not good at soldering things and for the price of the board I would rather purchase a new board and call it a day. Changes are that in 30 minutes I can have the new board wired up. It does seem that when all 3 zones are calling for heat that the end switch turns the circulator pump on and they continue to move. I will run further tests only running zone 2 and zone 3 to determine if I turn one zone at a time what happens??

A few other points:

1) Could the boiler temperature have anything to do with this board? Does the aquastat have anything to do with the board or only the thermostats calling for heat causing the end switch to send a sign to the priority pumps, etc.?

One last thing that I believe that is not mentioned is the amber/yellow light to the left of the End Switch Relay is barely lit up at all times even during normal operation. The 2nd board is lit up.


This test will help us to learn which of the two boards is causing the problem


So is this the board that is causing the problems? The other board (right of red light) green light is lit when the hot water holding tank is causing very hot water. This has never had an issue. Any insight on this would be much appreciated as I do not want to purchase a new board unless absolutely necessary. I will be purchasing stranded wire and try this at the board as the rep from Argo has stated.
 
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Old 01-26-13, 09:04 PM
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One last note. Can I try to remove the board from those 4 plastic tabs (carefully) or I could completely mess things up? To determine if there are any problems with the back of the board?
 
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Old 01-26-13, 09:19 PM
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When you wrote to say that it was all fixed, I do have to admit I was skeptical. Somehow I knew that there was a problem that would not be fixed by the work you had done and the symptoms that you told us.

I feel as if the problem is on the 245 board.

When you touched the paper clip and relay on the 816 worked properly every time, and the green and red lights are both on on the 245 board it narrows the problem down greatly.

Everything is leading to the end switch but why is a thermostat wire causing the board to reset
If the problem is with the endswitch relay, this makes sense to me. If the contacts inside the relay case are dirty/oxidized when the relay is de-energized and then energized again they may well make contact the next time.

Also, if there is a bad solder connection, this is very common for the fault to be 'intermittent'. Sometimes it will work, sometimes it won't.

Have you tried the 'tap test' yet? I would bet that a very small 'tap' on the relay will cause it to function, just as the removing the wire and replacing it did.

1) Could the boiler temperature have anything to do with this board? Does the aquastat have anything to do with the board or only the thermostats calling for heat causing the end switch to send a sign to the priority pumps, etc.?
No, No, only the thermostats calling, etc... the problem is on this board.

One last thing that I believe that is not mentioned is the amber/yellow light to the left of the End Switch Relay is barely lit up at all times even during normal operation.
This may, or may not, have anything at all to do with this problem. Inconclusive.

I will be purchasing stranded wire and try this at the board as the rep from Argo has stated.
I do not believe that this is a necessary expense. While it is true that stranded wire is better for this application, it is probably NOT the cause of this issue.

The problem with solid wire such as yours is that it is very easy for a wire to break at the connections. Stranded wire is more flexible and this doesn't tend to occur. If your connections are not broken and the wire is connected properly, then I wouldn't bother with it... but that's up to you, just seems like a waste of time and money for no benefit toward fixing the problem.
 
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Old 01-26-13, 09:31 PM
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So at this point it looks like I need a new board. These are outdated and they have new ones with a priority. Unless anyone has any other ideas, I am ordering a new board. Tonight will be the test as it is cold outside. When I wake up the tempature should be the same. Otherwise on to a new board because of a very cold bedroom. Again ,thank you will all your help.
 
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Old 01-26-13, 09:40 PM
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You may be able to more readily obtain a TACO ZVC board which performs the SAME FUNCTION at the Argo.

I don't think you need the priority on that board, correct?

If so, then this one will be a direct replacement.

ZVC404-4 - Taco ZVC404-4 - 4 Zone Valve Control Module

Depending on where you live you could have it within 2 days of ordering.
 
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Old 01-26-13, 09:42 PM
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By the way, did you receive my 'private message' that I sent earlier this evening? Just curious about what I asked about...
 
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Old 01-26-13, 09:46 PM
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Before you pull the trigger on that Taco board (if you decide to use that instead), tell me what zone valves you are using.
 
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Old 01-27-13, 05:21 AM
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They are Honeywell Control Valves. There is a total of 3 on that zone. I have not done anything and will look @ the message. Just woke up about an hour ago. Thank you. I have pictures if need be.
 
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Old 01-27-13, 05:54 AM
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I have to compliment you NJ Trooper. Just like your name states, you are a trooper. You just keep going and seem always willing to help. BTW, I have no private messages in my e-mail, unless it is on the website. Can not find it. Here is an e-mail you can use [sorry, for your safety, had to remove email link, not allowed, per the rulz - NJT]. Thank you.
 

Last edited by NJT; 01-27-13 at 06:22 AM.
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Old 01-27-13, 06:27 AM
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Thanks Cat... there should be a link up top that says "Private Messages", third from the left just under the big old menu bar... click that and it will show your message menu...

It wasn't important, just curious about something is all...

OK, Honeywell valves will work with the Taco products no problem... if you do decide to go that way, let me know because I'm not sure if the numbers on the board of the Argo vs Taco are the same. So I would need to know what wire colors are going to what terminals on the board to verify the hook up.

We're always happy to look at pics... go ahead and upload them if you like.
 
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Old 01-27-13, 06:57 AM
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PleasePlease tell me exactly what you want and I will give you a complete breakdown step by step all in number sequence.

I know every wire that goes to every switch on every board and to the boiler, aquastat, controllers, etc.

Please tell me where to start. The Thermostat wires are up top (red & white). The 4 wires are going to the zone valves. The end switch is running to the priority zone on 2nd board and the circulator pump is on the 2nd board. There are 2 and 2 (boards) in total. I know one the end switch on one board is hooked up to the aquastat. I would not mind spending the extra $50 to stay with the Argo board, but they seem to all be the same.

Would you like the wires from the aquastat to the control module on the boiler which is all tied into the Honeywell electronic ignition on the boiler and wires and spark wires running into the bottom of the boiler plus a reset safety switch which needs and is being changed on Wednesday.

I will go down and give you a breakdown within the next hour or so. Thank you
 

Last edited by Catanzaro; 01-27-13 at 07:16 AM.
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Old 01-27-13, 07:13 AM
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All I would need to know to verify that the Taco board is a 'plug and play' replacement for the Argo is for you to tell me which of the zone valve wires go to which terminal or wire on the zone valve itself.

For example, I see on the 245 board the wires:

White to 1
Red to 2
Black to 3
Orange to 4

It's the other end of these 4 wires at the VALVE... what terminals they attach to there that I would need to know.
 
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Old 01-27-13, 07:39 AM
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I just did a little checking and it appears that the Argo and Taco use the same pin numbering on the zone valve terminals, so it would be a 'one for one' swap between the two.
 
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Old 01-27-13, 08:38 AM
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Smile

The Honeywell Zone Valves 40004850-001 has 4 wires. They are 2 yellow and 2 Red. Here is the sequence from the Honeywell Zone Valve:

1) Yellow to Red Wire on AZV-245
2) Yellow to White Wire on AZV-245
3) Red to Orange Wire on AZV-245
4) Red to Black Wire on AZV-245

Strange part. Daughter turned on T-stat on Zone 4. Pump kicked on. Then shut off after a minute. I jumped the wire and it turned on and stayed on. Usually just on and off. Then I shut off heat. Went upstairs and turned on Zone 3 and then went back downstairs. Pump was on again. This board is possessed. The good news is that last night the heat stayed on so pump the system did work like it should and there was heat. I will test the system tonight at a higher setting then normal to determine if in the morning the temperature will stay at 70 in the master bedroom.

I will move on and order the board. Could the ARM 861 board have any issues at all? I would hate to swap out the board and have the same issue and then realize it was the ARM 861 and not the AZV-245. But in the long run still a lot less expensive to replace every part on these systems then call in a service technician. LOL

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Old 01-27-13, 08:44 AM
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If ever in Jackson/Howell area give me a shout as I will take you out to lunch!
 
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Old 01-27-13, 12:57 PM
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Can I bypass the priority zone on the ARM 861 board and move everything over

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Can I bypass the Priority Zone on this board and have the end switch on the AZV-245 Board go directly to TT 3 (Thermostat 3) or the priority zone has to be hooked up to make things work. ? ? Just a thought?
 
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Old 01-27-13, 01:31 PM
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Can't tell that without knowing a whole lot more about your system.

We don't know what all is being controlled by the 861 ... multiple pumps I presume, but for what?

the end switch on the AZV-245 Board go directly to TT 3
If the endswitch relay on the 245 board is the part that is acting up, what good would it do anyway?
 
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Old 01-27-13, 02:20 PM
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At this point I am going to bite the bullet and purchase the boards. Thank you for your help. I will update everyone once this is all fixed. Enjoy the rest of the evening.
 
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Old 01-27-13, 02:47 PM
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The 861 Board (The one in tandem with the 245 Board) controls only 2 items. The TT1 is the circulator pump (small) that puts water back into the holding tank. The Priority is the circulator pump in question. The holding tank (shower & hot water) is the green light right of the red light. The isolated switch runs to the isolated switch board (left of picture) to the same isolated switch and another wire runs to the aquastat. So the isolated switch turns on the boiler. Both Isolated switch wires that come off the 861 board run to the Aquastat. As I went down to look @ the board, the red light turned on and pumps running calling for heat. Like I stated before the board is possessed. It should simply either work or break. The board has a mind of its own. LOL

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Old 01-31-13, 06:13 AM
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Well I figured out a way to bypass the signal. I found a Mag Jumper (Magnetic Jumper) for $12 that allowed me to go downstairs and jump the end switch on the board. Recommend purchasing this for troubleshooting. This allowed me not to remove any wires and have the pump run for a hour or so to heat up the upstairs. The temperature went from the mid 20's and 30's to the 50's and 60's after we fixed the boiler LOL .

Then it hit me. If the hot water holding tank is directly hooked into the TT2 on the 861 Board and that will turn on the pump why can I not hook the thermostats from upstairs directly to the board? So I bypassed the AZV-245 Board. What I did was remove the thermostat wires from the coldest bedroom on the so called bad board and removed the end switch wires and connected them together. I turned on the thermostat on and now the pump finally kicked on. Only one problem, the 3 zone valves now do not open. So as a temporary fix I had to open the zone valves for upstairs (Honeywell) manually, shut off the entire thermostat and keep them in the open position. What essentially is happening is that when the master bedroom calls for heat, heat is sent to all 4 bedrooms (3 zones). The only issue with this is the smaller bedrooms are about 4-6 degrees warmer than the master bedroom. But for now, everything is working fine. I am working on getting the same board (discontinued) for about $20. Waiting for a friend who has a family member that may have this in his warehouse. If not the case then I will order the new board. I basically bypassed the end switch and had to open the valves manually. Although when there is a call for heat downstairs or for the holding tank (hot water), there is a constant supply of hot water going upstairs. So basically I am running the upstairs form the downstairs zones. Again thank you for everyone’s help.
 
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