Boiler sometimes fails to start on on itís own.

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  #1  
Old 01-17-19, 03:14 PM
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Boiler sometimes fails to start on on itís own.

So last week I noticed our boiler didnít start and we didnít have hot water. I went down and hit the reset and it fired right up and ran fine the rest of the night. The next morning I get up and it failed to start on its own at some point over night and the heat wasnít on. Again went down hit reset and itís fired up and ran fine. So I had the guy come out that day and clean it. He put a new filter and nozzle and vaccumed the heat exchanger out and it seemed to be all set. Friday when I came home from work it was 55 in the House because it didnít fire up and I had to push the reset again and it was good for a couple of days. He next time it happened I checked the Thransformer with the screwdriver spark test trick and it looked strong. While doing this I noticed he wires for the cad cell weíre almost cut in half from being pinched over time. So I replaced that and pump screen as well. But today it failed again to start while I was at work. I donít what could be causeing this to happen. I took some pics of the electrodes and blast tube to maybe see if anyone sees something weird.

Sorry for the wined post but I wanted to tell you all what Iíve done so far.

Maybe itís something electrical thatís behind those grey boxes?

Thank you for any help or info!
 
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  #2  
Old 01-17-19, 05:30 PM
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S,
From your description of intermittent shutdowns it sounds like an ignition problem which means your transformer or your electrodes.

Your tips look clean and having a tech do the service hoping they're gapped right. They look close enough. You could have hairline cracks in your porcelain ignitors which could give you trouble but that would be pretty consistent.

You have an old style transformer on there and although the spark may seem good, that transformer has bakelite, unlike the newer style today, that breaks down and can give you very erratic behavior. It may work for a day or week and then not and then repeat again. It dies slowly unlike the newer ones just die all at once.

If you want to play with it depending on your skill level you can shut off the power and disconnect the burner wire. Open up the transformer, covering the cad cell with a rag from the light, flip your boiler switch creating a spark. Do this repeatedly to see if it sparks every time or if it misses that once that will shut you down.

If you want to go further, remove your assembly and set it on top of the transformer studs or springs and turn power on and off as before to check your spark at the tips, to see if there's a break in the or delay in the spark.

It sounds like a task but it is really simple to do and will show you what is going on.

My guess is you'll need a transformer but this will show you what happens inside your tube. If you do this long enough with the cad cell eye covered you may have to reset the burner once in a while.

If you have to replace it below is a sight with options.

https://www.supplyhouse.com/Beckett-...r-for-A-AF-AFG

https://www.supplyhouse.com/Beckett-...rmers-20082000

Just a thought.
 
  #3  
Old 01-17-19, 05:51 PM
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Ok I can look at the spark again and see if drops out at all. Transformer and electrodes were replaced in 2010. I’ve also read that the newer electronic transformers are junk and if I need a new one to get the old style one like I have now. As I’m sitting here at home it’s running fine. lol
 
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Old 01-17-19, 05:58 PM
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It's up to you which one you want. It may run for a week or a day. That's how the old style act when they are starting to go. It is a matter of preference but I have a new style on mine and have used on others without problems.

The output is much higher voltage, around 17,000V compared to yours at 10,000 but it's a matter of preference. Make sure you clean your porcelains good and check for cracks. Length of time installed is irrelevant.
 
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Old 01-17-19, 06:20 PM
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Iím thinking Iíll just head to Home Depot and get a new one. There not really expensive and wonít take me long to swap out. They have the same one as you listed in stock there.

Thank you for help!!!
 
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Old 01-17-19, 06:35 PM
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They are inexpensive and if you're curious you can always bench test the old one.

https://www.supplyhouse.com/Allanson...-S-Burner-120V
 
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Old 01-17-19, 07:35 PM
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Just swapped it out. Will let you know how she runs.

Thank you again for your insight!
 
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Old 01-18-19, 12:51 PM
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S,
Thanks for the update.
 
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Old 01-20-19, 10:48 AM
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Well I was gonna come back and say that after I changed the transformer it ran great! And it did till this morning it failed to start again for some reason. So I hit he reset and sheís running fine now. Maybe I should change the electrodes??
 
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Old 01-20-19, 12:55 PM
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The electrodes could be the problem (they could certainly stand cleaning) but my money would be on a bad burner motor.
 
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Old 01-20-19, 02:51 PM
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Although the motor could be an option it looks like you have the older style that may have a red button on it which is it's own reset if motor trouble develops. If it has that overload reset button and it's not popping I wouldn't be too concerned about that being the problem.

On the other hand your electrodes are extremely dirty which is leading me to believe there is something happening in that tube somewhere. Those electrodes should be clean, being out of the line of fire. Definitely should clean and check electrode porcelains.

Something else I noticed is your retention head is distorted. Looks like one side is distorted from excessive heat like being right in the line of fire .Anytime oil hits a solid object it does not burn properly and it may continue burning off the surface after the burner shuts off. If you continue to have a fire in your chamber or in the line of sight of your cad cell it reacts as if there is a problem and it will go into safety mode after a certain amount of time preventing your burner from starting until reset even though there is really no other problem.

That is something you must catch after the burner shuts down so it can be time consuming and is hard to diagnose.

Something is causing that head to deform and I believe it's the oil burning on the head instead of being centered to go through it.

Could be wrong spray angle or misalignment of the assembly.

Just a thought.
 
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Old 01-20-19, 03:40 PM
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Hereís a better pic of the retention head.

https://imgur.com/gallery/vKumZ2n
Name:  burner tube.jpg
Views: 102
Size:  118.5 KB

Sucks because my boiler doesnít have a hindge to swing the burner out. To change the retention head Iíd have to unbolt the whole thing and remove the blower correct?
 

Last edited by PJmax; 01-22-19 at 12:23 AM. Reason: added pic from link
  #13  
Old 01-20-19, 03:53 PM
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That thing is all deformed, looks like it's been exposed to excessive heat and in direct line of fire. Would be good to replace it.

Remove the oil line and electrical if not enough slack and remove burner flange from the door. Replace gasket when reinstalling. Leave flange on burner so you will not have to remeasure tube placement or mark where tube goes to flange. Should be 3 bolts connecting flange to furnace.

When you remove head, check tube as sometimes they start to disintegrate.
 
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Old 01-20-19, 04:04 PM
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Ok hopefully I can handle that. I need a gauge to set the depth right?
 
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Old 01-20-19, 04:08 PM
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Enlarging that pic the head is all cracked and shows black which is carbon which is unburned oil which means that heat head has been in direct contact with oil from the nozzle which means either wrong spray angle or misalignment. Also check your pump pressure.

Yes, gauge or at least a ruler. Should be able to pick one up where you get the head. If your tube end is bad and you have to get a new assembly they usually come with them.

https://www.beckettcorp.com/wp-conte.../6104-BAFG.pdf

Page 9 but a lot of good info here.
 
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Old 01-20-19, 05:08 PM
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Thanks for the info! Gonna look into getting a new head. Are there different sizes?
 
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Old 01-20-19, 06:10 PM
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Yes, there are. You have an AFG burner so you will use an F head. There are different sizes so to speak. All the same physical size but the vein openings are different according to your firing rate.

What is your nozzle size. It is also stamped on existing head. Sizes are on page 5 of manual.

Sight for gauges to show your options.

https://www.supplyhouse.com/sh/contr...=beckett+gauge

https://www.supplyhouse.com/sh/contr...=beckett+heads

https://www.supplyhouse.com/sh/contr...+flange+gasket
 
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Old 01-20-19, 06:22 PM
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Ok thank you again. I saw this one that looks the same as mine. The last time it was cleaned it was a .75 nozzle they installed.

https://rover.ebay.com/rover/0/0/0?m...2F181969707672
 
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Old 01-20-19, 06:27 PM
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F3 is fine. That goes from .75-1.25.
 
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Old 01-21-19, 04:58 AM
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Something new to add to the issue. This morning it called for heat and the burner didnít kick on. So I went down as I been doing and hit the reset, it just buzzed at me for about 10-15 sec then stopped. I waited 2-3 minutes and hit it again and it just buzzed again but this time I tapped the side of the motor while it was buzzing and it fired up and ran. Maybe the motor is on the way out.
 
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Old 01-21-19, 08:11 AM
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That's almost a dead giveaway the motor's on it's way out.
Presuming your existing motor is 3450 RPM, this is the motor for your burner. https://www.supplyhouse.com/Beckett-...-7-HP-3450-RPM
 
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Old 01-21-19, 11:23 AM
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Yup itís that one. Of corse noone around here stocks them. It will take a couple days to get one. One thing I just noticed too when looking back at all the service tags from the previous owner the nozzle says .85-80 and the one thatís in mine now is a .75-70A. So itís been switched at some point.
 
  #23  
Old 01-21-19, 01:10 PM
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Check the number on the head when you have access to it just to see. If .85 is original, although you could still have the F3 head you may have an F6. F6 only goes to .85 firing rate where the F3 goes to .75GPH.

The 70 & 80 are different degrees of the width of the fire.

With the F3 head you can use either nozzle.

Glad you found the motor. Looking at the pic it looked like the old style that came with its own reset with motor troubles so I just eliminated it but glad you caught it. Just to make sure you could lift up your transformer and spin your fan and make sure it spins free.

A failing or sticking pump could react the same way, making the motor hard to start. Most likely the motor but worth a look.

Just a thought. You have numbers on the boiler front. Do they give you any nozzle specs.
 
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Old 01-21-19, 11:13 PM
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Yes I did spin the fan without issue. All seemed good to me. Here are two pics I took of the front plate on the boiler and the brochure that I found.

https://imgur.com/gallery/JnZhrNU
 
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Old 01-23-19, 08:56 AM
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Got a new motor new electrodes and a new retention head comming tomorrow. Got the gauge to set the electrodes and the "Z" depth as well and a new flange gasket!! The only thing I haven't replaced is the pump. lol I gonna check the pressure tonight on it.
 
  #26  
Old 01-23-19, 11:13 AM
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S,
If this doesn't work get a cord of wood. lol. Good luck, let us know.
 
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Old 01-25-19, 06:50 AM
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Replaced the motor lastnight. It couldn't have been any easier, it took all of 15min really. It's running great so far. When I removed the old motor it did have the red reset button on the opposite side out of my view. It wasn't tripped tho. Man it's a lot quieter now!! I'm waiting for a couple more parts to come in to replace the retention head so I hope to do that this weekend.
 
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Old 01-25-19, 01:37 PM
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Sounds like your gaining on it. Good luck.
 
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Old 01-25-19, 03:20 PM
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I assume the three bolts that hold the burner to the boiler donít have nuts on the back right? All the videos I see the burner is held on by studs with nuts. Mine has bolts, just donít want to have a nut drop down inside the firebox when I loosen it up.
 
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Old 01-25-19, 03:48 PM
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Just bolts, your safe. For once I don't write a novel and they're telling me it's not enough. You can't win.
 
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Old 01-27-19, 11:15 AM
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So I changed out the retention head and replaced the electrodes and set the gap and ďZĒ depth for the nozzle. What a difference the new retention head makes for the flame! I used to see the flame when I opened up the viewing door blowing all around in there. Now itís down in the firebox where itís supposed be. I canít thank you enough for all your help everybody!!! The only thing Iím not sure about is tuneing it. But itís seems to be going good so far. Hearís what the retention head looked like.

https://imgur.com/gallery/FPjpZjp
 
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Old 01-27-19, 12:07 PM
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It was toast that''s for sure. Usually damage like that is due to poor draft & heat beingreflected back onto the head. On another note, I'd clean those electrodes & put them away in case of an emergency.
 
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Old 01-27-19, 12:50 PM
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Yes I thought the same thing about the electrodes! When I had he burner off I could feel and see dust being pulled in from a draft. Maybe I should have the chimney looked at and make sure itís not real dirty? Iíve never had the boiler side looked at just the fireplace side that I remember.
 
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Old 01-27-19, 01:24 PM
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It definitely was time. Just like a new burner now.
Just make sure you have a clean burn and proper draft and the right nozzle and the rest it will take of itself.

Thanks for the update.
 
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Old 01-29-19, 09:20 AM
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So lastnight I noticed it sounded loud while running. Not on startup just running, and I moved the air slider. The one that you move up and down, I went too much and it killed the flame. So I put it back to where it was and it fired up again. But this morning it didn't fire up on its own, so I hit the reset and it fired up for 5-6 sec then shut down. I tried this twice with the same results. So I then moved the other air amusement. The one the you move back and forth that has the indicator arrow on it. It was open about 3/4"- 7/8" ( Which is was always sence I moved in. I never touched this before) I closed it up to about 1/4" and hit the button and it fired right up. It's going good now and is much more quite. I can barely hear it upstairs now. Flame looks good and it cycled fine while I was there. Do you think whit the new motor and retention head that it was getting too much air? I'm guessing someone adjusted it over the years to compensate for the ageing retention head? Seems to run smooth now but I don't have gauges to tell if it's tuned correctly or not.
 
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Old 01-29-19, 02:48 PM
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S,
Too much air is definitely what shut it down. Without a smoke test and gauges it's hard to tell but if it's running good enjoy it.
 
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