Zone starts circulator but doesn't fire boiler - again

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Old 09-27-14, 01:02 PM
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Zone starts circulator but doesn't fire boiler - again

Hi everyone.
I've read almost all the posts on here trying to determine a fix for my issue but just can't find a solution and going insane so i signed up for an account to post my issue.

I have a 4-zone house (downstairs is radiant, upstairs is baseboard) and 2 circulating pumps one for upstairs and the other is for downstairs. I would like to find the person who wired it up and yell at them for a bit for the frustration.

So what happens is when i call for heat from the upstairs zones, the boiler fires and the pumps come on. A little while later, the pipes get hot and everything is good. On the other hand, when the downstairs calls for heat, only the pumps come on without any heat - so pretty much in order to heat the house, i have to turn the upstairs on (not very efficient).

There are too many things happening that I am trying to determine where the issue is. I want to simplify it as much as possible:

Zone 1 (upstairs):
Games Room
V8044 Zone Valve

Zone 2 (Upstairs):
Master Bedroom
V8044 Zone Valve

Zone 3 (Downstairs)
Living Room
V8044

Zone 4 (Downstairs)
Family room
V8044

Zone 1 and 2 are connected to an RA832a which is then connected to the circulator. I believe that the RA832a is wired correctly. T T terminals are coming from the "red" end switches - I'll get to the X X terminals shortly.

Zone 3 and 4 are connected the same to the RA832a with a minor deviation. (The yellow leads are connected straight into the R8239A....is that strange?)

The X X terminals from the both RA832a are connected in parallel and fed to R8239A and then to the aquastat.

I guess at this point, i have many questions.
1. From the threads i read, the X X contacts should not have any voltages on them but when no heat is called, i do see voltages on the X X contacts. Q: how do i know if the RA832a is defective? How can i test it?
2. What is the purpose of the R8239A in this set up? Can the X X contacts just be fed into the aquastat?
3. The yellow leads that are also connected into the R8239A, is that just to supply 24VDC?

I have a multimeter and can understand electrical drawings so if you need any pictures of for me trace the wires and create a schematic i can. Let me know. Thanks in advance!
 
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Old 09-27-14, 02:27 PM
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Yes, a wiring diagram would be most helpful.

1. From the threads i read, the X X contacts should not have any voltages on them but when no heat is called, i do see voltages on the X X contacts. Q: how do i know if the RA832a is defective? How can i test it?
Won't get into the testing until we can see a diagram of what the installers have done... but;

The X X contacts by themselves won't have any voltage on them. They are called 'dry contacts'.

When they are connected to the aquastat though, you WILL read voltage on them which is coming from the transformer in the aquastat. I don't think there's an issue there.

2. What is the purpose of the R8239A in this set up? Can the X X contacts just be fed into the aquastat?
I suspect that the 24VAC transformer on the 8239 is being used to power the zone valves.

Yes, the X X can be connected to the aquastat. Whether they've done it correctly remains to be seen.

3. The yellow leads that are also connected into the R8239A, is that just to supply 24VDC?
You're talking about the yellow leads from the zone valves? Probably OK, but it's AC and not DC.
 
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Old 09-27-14, 05:31 PM
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Hi NJTrooper,

Thanks for the response - great fan, have been reading all your posts.

So i have quickly sketched up a wiring diagram but let me warn you, it is a little messy (I'll draft it in AutoCAD if needed ). I have also attached some pictures to hopefully help with the diagram.

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How the boiler is able to fire is when either zone 1 or zone 2 calls for heat. On the 8239 when i measure R and G, i get 24VAC. When other zones call for heat, the measurement is 0 VAC.

Thanks again!
 
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Old 09-27-14, 07:01 PM
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I think I can work with the sketchup diagram, but the forum resizes the uploads and that makes it a bit difficult to read. I imagine your upload was much higher res than what we see on the forum.

It would certainly help if you could set up a free account at Photo and image hosting, free photo galleries, photo editing and upload the full res there.

I'm going to study the one that's here for now...
 
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Old 09-27-14, 07:30 PM
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Is the "Box 3" in the diagram the one in the middle of the last photo?

Where is the 8239 located? Can you show a photo of that as well please?
 
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Old 09-27-14, 07:33 PM
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This is a Weil-McLain boiler, isn't it?

That 8239 is inside the boiler and part of it's controls I believe... yes?
 
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Old 09-27-14, 07:34 PM
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Old 09-27-14, 07:45 PM
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Yes, Box #3 is the one in the middle.

The 8239 is located on the side of the boiler and the aquastat is located in front of the boiler. Here are more pictures:

http://i1381.photobucket.com/albums/...psc1202d7a.jpg

http://i1381.photobucket.com/albums/...psc6227dc8.jpg

http://i1381.photobucket.com/albums/...ps1b1b12ba.jpg

http://i1381.photobucket.com/albums/...psf91ae6a7.jpg
 
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Old 09-27-14, 07:49 PM
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It is an older boiler but I don't think it's a Weil-Mclain...Allied Engineering boiler.

The pictures are still not hi-res so maybe this link will help. Should be able to scroll through the pictures:
http://s1381.photobucket.com/user/ta...b12ba.jpg.html
 
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Old 09-27-14, 07:55 PM
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OK, I think I understand ...

The downstairs zones are being powered by the transformer on "Box 3"

The upstairs zone valves are being powered by the transformer on the 8239.. which I don't like, but more on that later.

A couple more tests:

With all thermostats all the way down, when EACH thermostat is turned up by itself, does it's respective pump run? In other words,

Family room by itself will run it's pump... and Living room by itself will run it's pump.

Game room by itself will run it's pump... Master by itself will run it's pump.

Test each one INDIVIDUALLY and turn that t'stat all the way back down again before continuing to the next.

This proves that the endswitches on ALL FOUR valves are operating properly and triggering their respective 832 relay.

I believe they are all working, but want confirmation in case there are multiple issues.

====================

How the boiler is able to fire is when either zone 1 or zone 2 calls for heat. On the 8239 when i measure R and G, i get 24VAC. When other zones call for heat, the measurement is 0 VAC.
I need to clarify this a bit... because I don't know which zones are what numbers in your drawing.

The downstairs zones are

"Family" and "Living"

Upstairs are

"Games" and "Master"

Since you are saying that the boiler will only fire when 1 or 2 call for heat, I presume that you are calling Games and Master zones 1 and 2.

And it would follow that Family and Living are zones 3 and 4.

Is that correct?

=====================

I believe that one of your 832s is not making contact on the X X terminals.

I would like you to connect your multimeter set for AC volts first to the upstairs 832 X X terminals and measure the voltage both with and without a heat call.

Do the same for the other 832 and report your findings.
 
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Old 09-27-14, 09:29 PM
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Family room by itself will run it's pump... and Living room by itself will run it's pump.
Yes, when the thermostat for only the family room is called, the pump comes on.
Yes, when the thermostat for only the living room is called, the pump comes on

Game room by itself will run it's pump... Master by itself will run it's pump.
Yes that same also applies. Only difference with this is that the boiler fires with either zone.

I thought the same thing as well so I tried that but that part seemed to work.

I need to clarify this a bit... because I don't know which zones are what numbers in your drawing.
Sorry, should have been clearer on this but yes you have it correct. Zone 1 or 2 is Games room or Master bedroom (upstairs) while zone 3 or 4 is Living Room or Family Room (downstairs). Boiler fires only with Zone 1 or 2 (Games/Master bedroom)

I would like you to connect your multimeter set for AC volts first to the upstairs 832 X X terminals and measure the voltage both with and without a heat call.
With everything off the X X contacts on box #1 (Living and Family room) multimeter reads 27.1VAC and X X contacts on box #2 (Games and master bedroom) reads also 27.1VAC.

Turning on the living room only:
X X contacts on box #1 (one on the left in the picture) still reads 27.1VAC and X X contacts on box #2 (one all the way to the right) reads 27.1 VAC.

Turning on Family room only and turning off living room:
Same as above.

Turning on family and living room both:
Same as above.

Turning on games room only:
X X contacts on box #1 reads 0 VAC and X X contacts on box #2 reads 0 VAC.

Turning on master bedroom only and turning off games room:
Same as above.

Turning on master bedroom and games room:
Same as above.

Turning all thermostats off:
X X contacts on both box 1 and 2 report 27.1 VAC.
 
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Old 09-28-14, 09:49 AM
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Thanks for the better pics... perfect!

With the above information it's safe to conclude that the WIRING is OK since the X X contacts on both boxes are always both the same... even though the one box is not firing the boiler, it's clear that they are connected and no broken wires.

Box #1 has the problem.

The problem is either dirty contacts on the relay for the X X signal, OR a possible cracked solder connection.

Do you own a soldering iron and know how to solder PC boards? (NO ACID CORE SOLDER OR FLUX! only ROSIN CORE solder!) If so, you could remove the PC board and carefully inspect with a bright light the solder connections.

Google "cold solder images" for lots of pictures what to look for.

It's very possible that you will find a cracked connection and resoldering it will fix.

Also, carefully inspect the contacts on the relay itself. You might find a squashed spider between the contacts. You shouldn't use sandpaper on relay contacts, they have a plating that will be removed. You CAN clean them with a piece of shirt cardboard, cereal box, matchbook cover that is saturated with alcohol. Push the relay shut with your finger with the cardboard between the contacts and push pull the cardboard between the contacts.

Or, replace the 832 completely.
 
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Old 09-28-14, 02:28 PM
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Hi NJ,
So took apart "box #1" and using a multimeter, I checked the continuity of the X X contact to the relay (top right part of the board) and found that the continuity was there but I will go over it again with some solder. Here is an image of the current solder on the back of the board for the X X contact (left) and T T contact (right):

http://i1381.photobucket.com/albums/...ps21c460df.jpg

Does the relay look right to you though, here are some pictures:

http://i1381.photobucket.com/albums/...ps788d815f.jpg

http://i1381.photobucket.com/albums/...ps25b36be0.jpg
 
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Old 09-28-14, 03:09 PM
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the X X contact (left) and T T contact (right):
Those are usually not the culprits, it's the solder connections at the relay itself. How do those look?


Does the relay look right to you though,
No, not really. It looks like it's all caddy wompus and that the armature is way too far away from the coil. It must have been pulling in though based on the fact that the pump started up.

How does it compare to the other one?

That didn't get 'whacked' from rough handling when or after it was removed from the chassis, did it?
 

Last edited by NJT; 09-28-14 at 03:46 PM.
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Old 09-28-14, 03:45 PM
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Lest I forget... I said I would talk about why I don't like operating zone valves from the boiler control transformer.

Your boiler uses the transformer on the 8239 to power the gas valve. There really isn't enough amperage left on that transformer to operate two zone valves in addition to the gas valve. Obviously it's been working for some time now, but I wonder if you've ever felt the transformer on the 8239 when the [system was operating correctly before the relay box crapped out and] the upstairs zones were calling for heat... if you did, was it HOT?


It the transformer on the 8239 dies, no power to gas valve, no heat.


The way your system is wired, the downstairs zone valves are powered from the transformer on box #3, and the upstairs zones are from the 8239 transformer. That's why the yellow wires from those valves are going there.


Your wiring diagram doesn't show all the wires... there are wires coming from the two upstairs thermostats going to the "C" terminal on the 8239, aren't there?


Likewise, there are wires from the two downstairs t'stats going to one of the transformer wires on box #3, correct?


If you feel the need to 'off load' the 8239 transformer you would install another transformer at box #3 location, powering it from the 120VAC source in box #3, remove the yellow wires and the other wires to the thermostats from the R and C on the 8239, and wire them to the R and C on the new transformer.

Something like this:

AT140A1000 - Honeywell AT140A1000 - Foot Mounted, Plate Mounted, Clamp mounted or Panel Mounted 120 Vac Transformer (40VA)

OR, you could even get a single larger transformer that will handle all 4 valves, like this:

AT175A1008 - Honeywell AT175A1008 - Foot mounted 120/208/240 Vac Transformer w/ 9 in. Lead Wires (75VA)

BUT, if you have two transformers, and one goes out, at least you'll still have heat.
 
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Old 09-28-14, 03:50 PM
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Oh, and by the way, I believe whomever wired that system must have had some rat genes in his DNA. He obviously was building a rat's nest. He couldn't help himself though, so go easy on him if you do find him... it's a genetic trait.
 
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Old 09-28-14, 11:48 PM
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NJ,

Firstly, i really want to thank you again for your time and expertise. Is there anyway i can buy you a coffee or something?

After reading your post again, I decided to look further at the solder job and found one area that looked a little strange so i pulled out my soldering iron and gave it a little bit of heat. Then put it all back together and it worked like magic, the system came alive when heat was called from the living/family room.

It the transformer on the 8239 dies, no power to gas valve, no heat.
This will be good to know because i have a feeling this will be the next to go on this boiler.

Your wiring diagram doesn't show all the wires... there are wires coming from the two upstairs thermostats going to the "C" terminal on the 8239, aren't there
Yes, that is correct. All the upstairs zones are connected to the "C" terminal of the 8239

Likewise, there are wires from the two downstairs t'stats going to one of the transformer wires on box #3, correct?
Correct again, the downstairs are supplied from box #3

you could even get a single larger transformer that will handle all 4 valves, like this
I really like this idea but with winter approaching and system is working a lot better now, I will just keep everything as is.

I actually had one more question regarding pressure in the system. I have a pressure gauge in the boiler and when the system is not running, it is idling around 20psi. When the system is on and heat is being exchanged, the pressure increases to 24 psi. I know that the increase in pressure it expected because heat expands but should it be that high? All the downstairs is radiant heating over around 1200sqfeet and upstairs is just baseboard heating. I also shut off the intake from the main source because i wasn't sure if the pressure regulator was doing its job (set to 12-15 psi).

ps. I'll try to go easy on the person who wired the system. My background is electrical and I have seen many many horrible wiring jobs that don't even match any prints.
 
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Old 09-29-14, 06:05 AM
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My background is electrical
I sort of expected you were going to tell me that based on the diagram you drew... without electrical knowledge I doubt you would have been able to decipher all that!

I know that the increase in pressure it expected because heat expands but should it be that high?
24 PSI is 'ok' for a hot pressure, and the 4 PSI increase from cold to hot is pretty much right on.

Before puzzling over this too much I would first verify that the boiler pressure gauge is accurate.

There are two 'sticky threads' at the top of the forum... one is about relief valve spewing and checking/charging expansion tank, the other is about verifying pressure gauge.

Read those... and we'll go from there.
 
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Old 10-02-14, 09:06 PM
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NJ,

Sorry for the delay - i had to source some parts.

I read the sticky threads and did just that. The pressure gauge showed 18psi while the pressure gauge in the front of the boiler read 22psi. Now i am curious to know if the temperature gauge is even accurate.

I also checked the pressure on the expansion tank using a tire gauge and it showed 15psi.
 
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Old 10-03-14, 05:29 AM
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I also checked the pressure on the expansion tank using a tire gauge and it showed 15psi.
Following the procedure that said you can't get an accurate reading on the tank when there is pressure on the boiler side?

If you do not drop the boiler pressure to zero, you will be reading the boiler pressure rather than the uncompressed air charge on the air side of the tank.

Temperature gauges are 'usually' not too far off, but in any case, it's not really all that important in the long run. As long as the aquastat reliably and repeatably shuts off at high limit don't concern too much about it.
 
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Old 10-06-14, 08:07 PM
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NJ,

Did just that by emptying the water in the system until there wasn't anymore water coming out. Turns out the needle pressure gauge on the front of the boiler does not go below 6psi even though the system is empty. I then measured the pressure in the expansion tank and of course 0 psi so I took a bike pump and charged it to 12psi.

One final question (i know i have asked enough already ), is there something that needs to be mixed in with the water in the pipes to prevent oxidation and eventually leading to the failure of the boiler? When I was emptying the system, I noticed the water came out brown-ish which made it seem like there was rust somewhere and I am worried that the heat exchanger is beginning to rust.

Thanks!
 
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Old 10-07-14, 06:05 AM
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No, corrosion inhibitors aren't mandatory but it wouldn't hurt to use one I suppose. There are a number of manufacturers of boiler chemicals. Rhomar is one I know of that has CI ...

By the gallon:

Rhomar Gas Boiler Pro-Tek Corrosion Inhibitor - 1 Gallon - 922

Or smaller quantities in a 'kit' with a cleaner, and the inhibitor, test strips, etc...

Rhomar Boiler Chemical Treatment and Test Kit - 83287

The reason these things aren't mandatory is because once the water has been in the system for a period of time all the O2 is driven out and it basically becomes inert. For corrosion to occur, you need a ferrous metal, water, and Oxygen. Take away any one and there will be no corrosion.
 
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