Oil Heater Won't Turn on First Time

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Old 10-27-07, 05:23 PM
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Oil Heater Won't Turn on First Time

Hi there!

I found this site a few weeks ago when I was looking for some help with my heater. You people are very knowledgeable and I tried some of your suggestions. They didn't help me, so I thought I'd try a post and see if I could get some more specific answers. Thanks in advance for all your help!

I live in New Hampshire. A few weeks ago it naturally decided to start getting cold outside, so I thought I would turn on the heater, it wouldn't kick on at all. No noise, no anything. Last year the heater worked fine up until April when I didn't need it anymore. By turning on the heater I mean flipping the switch on the electric thermostat to heat and making sure the temperature was down below what it is in the house. I installed the electric thermostat myself about three years ago, it has worked fine up until now. The thermostat clicked, but no starting of the heater.

I have tried multiple easy things such as checking to see if I have oil, hitting the reset button (only once I swear!), unplugging the heater and plugging it back in, turning it off at the circuit breaker, flipping the oil switch off and then back on, and restarting the thermostat. I can hear electricity humming at the heater itself.

Some specifics about my heater are:
Brand: Beckett
Model: AF15
Serial Number: 981027-96493
Year Installed: I want to say.. Late 90's, probably 1998
Year of Last Tune-up: last winter

I live in a mobile home and the heater is located in it's own little closet. My father recently installed new flooring in my house in the hall just outside the heater closet this past May. I don't know if it could have anything to do with the problem like a jostling of a wire, but anything's possible I suppose.

I'm not an extreme do-it-yourself person. My father is a construction worker and he taught me a lot so I know quite a bit, but it's not something I use in my daily life. However, if it is something more advanced I could still use the explanation as I know an electrician who did a lot of the wiring in my house that I could call for help.

I'd just like to make sure it's not something silly before I call a service person out to my house. Money is really tight right now and I can't exactly afford it, but if it needs to be done then I will call. Thank you so much for any help!!
 
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Old 10-27-07, 05:52 PM
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You said that you have the temp set below the room temp, which I assume was just a mistype by you. The thermostat has to be set above room temp for it to turn the furnace on.

There are several possibilities from what you told us.

Heres what you want to do first:


Go to the reset box on your furnace. On the right hand side of the box there should be 4 connections. 2 of them(should be closest to the furnace) should be yellow. Thats your electric eye(shuts the furnace off if it doesn't see fire). The other two, probably red and white, are your thermostat wires. Take a wrench or screw driver and jump the thermostat connections. If the furnace turns on then its a problem somewhere between the furnace and the thermostat. Make sure you push in or pull out the white safety switch on the door frame of the furnace
(usually on the left side). You need to do this or the furnace won't operate at all, then jump the thermostat connections.


If it turns on then go to your eletric thermostat and remove it off the wall. You will see the two thermostat wires(same color as the ones on your furnace). Jump those two wires and see if the furnace comes on. If it does then change the batteries in the thermostat. If it doesn't turn turn on the furnace, follow the wires from the thermostat back to the furnace and find the break.

If this doesn't work, tell us and we will give you more suggestions.

One other idea. To make sure there is power at the furnace, push in or pull out the white switch on the door frame then find the fan switch control. The control should be near the fan. It has a pull switch like the door frame. Push the switch in to turn the fan on. If this turns on then that means there is power to the furnace. Also, on the burner there is a black plug that plugs in on the left side of the burner area. Make sure thats plugged in.
 
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Old 10-27-07, 06:43 PM
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Oops, that was a mistype. The thermostat temp was set above the room temp.

The thermostat wires are both white, but I knew which ones you were talking about. They're the same as the ones I used to hook up the thermostat when I installed it. I unscrewed the wires and jumped them (by jumped I'm pretty sure you meant touch them together, just wanted to make sure we're all clear on that). Jumping the wires didn't do anything. I did pull out the white switch by the door latch before I did it.

Then I pushed in the fan switch. The fan did turn on. I checked the black plug from the left of the burner. It seemed a little loose, so I unplugged it and plugged it back in. But it's tight up to the plug opening. It seemed the plug housing was a little loose coming out of the box. I've never touched this plug before this year, so I don't know if that's what it was like before this.

Thanks again for your help! I really appreciate it!
 
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Old 10-27-07, 06:48 PM
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When you jump the wires you can leave them on the reset box. If you take them off, make sure you jump the two screws and not the wires you took off(make the screws connect to each other with a screwdriver or wrench). Remember to pull out the white safety switch on the door frame.
 
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Old 10-27-07, 07:10 PM
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I used a wrench to connect the two screws together, I got nothing. I tried it with a pair of pliers just in case the wrench wasn't cutting it and it didn't work either. I did pull out the white button first. Thanks!
 
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Old 10-27-07, 07:18 PM
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Miller CMF

On most of these furnaces there is a white button sticking out of a silver colored box above the shelf. If yours has one, push the button in. If the fan does not run, you probably have no power to the furnace.
 
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Old 10-27-07, 07:21 PM
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The fan turns on when I push in the white button on the fan box. But the heating element doesn't turn on. Thanks Grady!
 
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Old 10-27-07, 07:28 PM
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Terminals Jumped

When you have the terminals jumped, the door button pulled out, & the reset has been pushed, what happens? Does the motor run? Can you hear a buzz which lasts about a minute & then quits?
 
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Old 10-27-07, 07:48 PM
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I pulled out the white switch and touched both screws with the wrench. I hit the reset button (didn't try that before). I got nothing. No noise, no anything. Unless it's so faint that I can't hear it, but it would have to be pretty quiet cause I can hear the hum of electricity to the heater.
 
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Old 10-27-07, 07:58 PM
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Nothing happens

This is a long shot but worth a try. On the box with the reset there are 4 screws with wires attached. Two (hopefully the two you are jumpering) are marked T & T. The other two are marked F & F or S & S. Remove one wire from one of these terminals & try again. Let us know what happens.
 
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Old 10-27-07, 08:07 PM
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I just want to make sure I'm doing the right thing before I do it. Are you saying I should remove one F wire from it's place and try jumping the T & T spot? Or does it not matter whether I remove an F wire or a T wire and try it? I checked the heater and the wires are labeled F & F. Thanks so much!
 
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Old 10-27-07, 08:20 PM
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Wires

Remove one "F" wire, make sure the door button is pulled out, press the reset, & jumper terminals T & T.
Make sure that disconnected wire does not touch anything. It won't hurt you or spark but if it touches the jumper or an F terminal, the test won't work.
 
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Old 10-27-07, 08:38 PM
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Okay, I tried taking off one of the F wires and jumping the T terminals. There isn't much slack for those F wires to move, but it wasn't touching the terminals. I got nothing again. I tried putting the F wire I took off back on and taking off the other one to see if that would work. Still nothing.

When I hit the reset button it doesn't feel the same as it would when the heater is working. I've bled the line before on my heater, so I've had to push the button before. It just feels like a slack button, not like I'm actually pushing it on. Thanks again!
 
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Old 10-27-07, 08:44 PM
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Nothing Happens

If you don' have & know how to use a volt meter, we are pretty much at a stand still.

Just remembered something easy to try. Take a lamp or some small electrial appliance, unplug the burner, plug the lamp into the burner socket. Make sure the door button is pulled out. If the light does not work, you are not getting power to the burner.
 
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Old 10-27-07, 08:54 PM
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Woo Hoo!! Got the problem! I plugged a lamp into that socket and the lamp won't turn on. And I was using that lamp for light in the hall, so I know it works. I don't think there's anything I can do myself for that box, I'm not an electrician. But I can get in contact with the electrician that I know and he might be able to help.

In a pinch, since it's supposed to get down to the 20's tomorrow night, could I plug the heater into the wall with an extension cord? It would be a little hard to get the door closed I guess, and probably a little taxing on the circuit breaker for that room. But is it something I could do if necessary or something I should totally avoid?

Thanks so much! It's such a relief to know where the problem is!
 
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Old 10-27-07, 09:01 PM
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Wall Socket

NO NO NO NO NO. BTW, Did I say no?

If you did, you are taking away any furnace temperature safety control. Don't do it. I've seen more than one trailer burn down because somebody did exactly what you propose.

If you want to get into the electrial connection box tomorrow, it's really pretty simple. Most likely you have a burned off wire in there.
 
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Old 10-27-07, 09:11 PM
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Gotcha, I won't try that idea. I'm glad I asked that question. I've got a space heater in case, so no temptation, don't worry.

How simple are we talking? I've got wire cutters and strippers. I could go to the hardware store and get some wire. I could do something about as advanced as replacing the thermostat. If it requires a voltmeter, though, I don't have one and I wouldn't know how to use it if I did. Otherwise I'll just make some calls. Thanks a million times over!
 
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Old 10-27-07, 09:15 PM
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Wiring

You may not even need any wire. Just a wire nut or two.
Chances are, once you open that box, the problem will be pretty obvious. I can talk you thru it. I'll check in about 8:00 (eastern) in the AM.
 
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Old 10-27-07, 09:20 PM
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I probably won't start til 10:00 am. I'm watching the rest of the world series game. I'll check it out in the morning and post what I've got. Thanks!
 
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Old 10-28-07, 05:16 AM
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Wires

You will want to start by tuning the fan on. Push in the white fan button on the silver box.
Go to the circuit breaker box & start turning off breakers until the fan shuts off.
Leave that breaker off.
Remove the screw which holds the cover on the furnace's electrical box. This is the box into which the burner plugs.
Remove the cover & look at the wires. You will be looking for any burned or broken wires. Post results of the inspection.
 
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Old 10-28-07, 07:47 AM
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Morning!

I turned the breaker off and opened the electrical box. I looked in there but there doesn't seem to be anything burned or broken. I'm thinking I would know if it was burned cause it would be blackened, or broken cause there would be a wire hanging out not connected to something.

What I did find is that the black housing for the outlet is very loose. I can't pull the wires out of the housing, but they move a lot. However, this screw is next to impossible to get to. I was using a stubby screwdriver and it wasn't working. I may be able to find a tiny screwdriver somewhere. A tip on what tool to use for that if that's my problem would be good.

Also, I noticed by the outlet on the outside of the electric box there is this screw that is used to hold up the backplate I think. That screw was not tightened and was sticking out about a half an inch. That could potentially touch the plug for the heater and cause this to happen.

And you probably think, no, this couldn't happen, not under normal wear and tear. But my father replaced the floor right outside of the heater cabinet. That involved ripping up carpet, patching a hole in the floor, hammering, banging down laminate flooring, etc.

I'm not a skilled worker or anything, just giving my logical thoughts as to what could be going on. Let me know what you think and what my action should be next! Thanks!
 
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Old 10-28-07, 09:55 AM
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Screw

I'm not sure of what screw you are talking about. Somehow, I suspect it may be the ground screw for the furnace. Refering to the house wires which attach to the furnace, is there one bare wire & does it attach to a screw in the side of the electrical box in the furnace?

One more thing to check without a meter. Up near the blower there should be a small device to which two wires attach. Make sure the breaker is turned off & reach between those two wires. There may be a small button. Push it if it is indeed there. If it clicks, put everything back together, turn the power on & try the lamp or burner. Some of your model furnaces have this manual reset & some do not.

Anything more is going to require the use of a voltmeter & I would suggest you call a heater service company instead of an electrician. If you want to buy an inexpensive meter, you can get one at any home center, Sears, etc. & with the included instructions & our help, we can teach you how to do some basic testing.
 
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Old 10-28-07, 10:44 AM
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Okay, I found that ground screw. There's the bare copper wire and it is screwed to a piece of metal inside of the electrical box. That wasn't the screw I was talking about.

The house wires appear to go up to the ceiling and then disappear under the metal part of the chimney. There isn't any button up there, so I don't think I have one. Or are we talking lower near where the wires are for the blower? I didn't see anything, but I can look there again.

Now, get this. I thought I would try to move the wires into the black outlet housing better than they were before. They are in tighter and I turned on the circuit breaker. I plugged the lamp in and it turned on!! So I plugged in the heater.. not so lucky. Plugged in the lamp again in case the wire got loose, turned on again. Plugged the heater back in, nothing. Tried jumping it again like before, still nothing. Not sure where to go from here.. Thanks for all the help!
 
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Old 10-28-07, 11:13 AM
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If the lamp turned on using the black plug then there might be a problem with the reset box or the wires under the reset box. With the power off again, loosen the screws on the top left and bottom right of the reset box. You can use a 1/4" nut driver. Twist the box so it comes loose from the screws. Check the wires under there and see if any came loose from the wire nuts or if any got worn through and broke. If all looks good under there then you probably have a bad reset box and need a new one.

Just for the heck of it first, turn the furnace on then tap the reset box with a screw driver. Sometimes things on the inside get loose causing it to not work, in which case you would need a new box,

Grady had you check the electric eye wires(yellow ones). Make sure that when you reconnected them that the wires arn't touching each other. If they make are touching each other, the furnace won't turn on.
 
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Old 10-28-07, 11:55 AM
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I checked the yellow wires first. They weren't touching, but after looking at them in daylight it appeared that they weren't in there real tight. I fixed it so they are screwed in better. I tried jumping after that, nothing.

Then I tried tapping the reset box as I jumped it and hit reset. Nothing. I turned off the power and checked beneath the reset box. All the wires and wire nuts looked good, I don't think there is a problem there. It sounds like I'll need a new reset box. Is this where I call the service person?
 
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Old 10-28-07, 12:28 PM
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Just to clarify to make sure we are on the same page. Be sure to jump the thermostat wires and not the yellow wires. Jumping the yellow wires will make it so the furnace won't turn on. If you are comforable with small wiring you can change the reset box yourself. Just for one more test:

1. Take the reset box off again.

2. Take the black wire from the reset box and remove the wire nut.

3. Take the wire that is connected to that black one and connect it with the wires that are connected to the orange wire from the reset box.

4. Put the spare wire nut from the black wire from the reset box back onto the black wire so you won't get shocked.

5. Turn it on and see if it runs.

If it runs you need a reset box. Do not run the furnace this way. It takes a safety feature away. This is purely to see if the reset box is good or not.
 
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Old 10-28-07, 12:41 PM
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It works!! It works!! Woot it works!!

Okay, I need a new reset box. Can I get a reset box at Home Depot or Lowes? If not is there somewhere that will be open on Sunday that I can get this? If not then I can survive one more night until I get it. How much does a reset box cost?

Thanks so much! This is awesome! You guys are the best!
 
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Old 10-28-07, 01:48 PM
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Reset Box

What you want is called a primary control. If Lowes or H/D has it, the Honeywell number would be R8184G**** or
R7184A****. The asterisks represent the last four digits of the part number. Don't worry about them. The part should be well under $100. Better pick up a small pack of orange wire nuts while you are there. Just in case.
 
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Old 10-28-07, 03:45 PM
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Okay, I got the reset box. $79 at Home Depot. I hooked it up to the burner in the same way that the previous box was hooked up before. I used the same wire nuts and everything is in the same location. It didn't turn on. There's a red light on this box and the red light comes on when I hit the safety switch, it's geting power.

Now what should I do. There is a possibility I could have switched the yellow lines or the thermostat lines when I was messing with those before. Is it worth switching those to see if that works? Thanks again!
 
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Old 10-28-07, 04:05 PM
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The reset is already popped sometimes on a new box. Hit the button to reset it. Double check your wires too. The thermostat wires are normally closest to the furnace while the electric eye(yellow) wires are closest to you. They should be labeled 'T' for thermostat and 'F' for the electric eye on the side of the box. You can try jumping the thermostat wires also.

When you press the reset button, does the light stay on or is there a 30 second or so delay before the light comes back on?
 
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Old 10-28-07, 04:23 PM
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I've got the T wires in the right spot, and the F wires in the right spot, but I'm not sure if it matters if I switched the top T wire with the bottom T wire, or the top F wire with the bottom F wire.

I hit the reset button and nothing happened. This box has a safety switch where if I push it then the reset button pops back out and a red light comes on between the T wires and F wires. My previous box didn't have this feature. If I push the reset button the safety switch pops back and the red light goes off. I tried jumping the thermostat wires and nothing. The red light doesn't come on at all after pushing the reset button.

Thanks!
 
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Old 10-28-07, 04:32 PM
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Double check your wiring. View this image: http://i21.************/2vbqu86.jpg

Remember, turn off the power first!

Also, it doesn't matter which screw the thermostat wires go on as long as its one of the T's. Same for the yellow wires. As long as its one of the F's. Remember to pull out the white switch on the door frame.
 
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Old 10-28-07, 04:32 PM
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No Red Light?

After you push the reset, continue to hold the jumper on the T-T terminals for at least a minute. BETTER YET: Trip the safety lever. The red light should come on. Disconnect the wires from T-T. Install an unpainted paper clip under the screws at terminals T-T. Push the red reset button. WHAT HAPPENS?
 
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Old 10-28-07, 05:23 PM
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I tried the trick with the paperclip. I like that idea much better than holding the wrench between the two. Didn't work though. Nothing happened at all.

I checked my wiring underneath the box again. The thing is I only have one white wire coming from the heater. All the others are black. There's two black and one white that go in with the white wire, two black with the orange, and one black with the black wire. I can't really tell where they come from, as they are all coming out of the same hole from the burner. But I'm quite positive that I hooked them all up correctly from where they were on the old box.
 
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Old 10-28-07, 05:58 PM
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Wiring

Coming into the box onto which the relay sits are two wires coming from the plug. One is smooth & the other is ribbed. The smooth one goes to black on the relay.

The ribbed one goes to white along with the white from the burner motor & one black (there should be two which look exactly alike) from the transformer. Total of 4 wires hooked together.

The orange is the only one left. It goes to the black from the motor & the remaining black from the transformer. Total = 3.

It is very common to not get all of the wires tight under the wire nuts. Make sure the power is off. Hold each wire nut with one hand & tug on each wire going to it with the other. Most commonly, because of so many wires, the problem is with the nut with 4 wires. Bear with us & we'll get this thing whipped yet.
 
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Old 10-28-07, 06:22 PM
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I printed out what you said and took it to the heater so I could see exactly which wires go where. I checked them all. They all appear to be in the correct position. Then I yanked on the wires to see if any were loose. One came out in the orange group, so I took off the wire nut, twisted them together again, and screwed the wire nut on. One wire was also loose in the white group and I did the same there. Then I yanked them all again and they are all in there good. Turned on the breaker, hit the reset with the white button pulled out and still nothing.

Thanks so much for all the help! You guys are awesome! I'm hanging in here.
 
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Old 10-28-07, 06:31 PM
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For Testing Only

Last night I was very adamant about using a cord & plugging the burner into a wall socket. I want you to try it. ONLY LONG ENOUGH TO SEE IF THE BURNER WILL FIRE. NO MORE THAN A MINUTE. If it fires, we are back to the electrical box & probably the socket into which the burner plugs. I will be right here for at least another 1/2 hour.
 
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Old 10-28-07, 06:38 PM
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Tried plugging it to an extension cord from the wall outlet. Doesn't work. Plus, if it wasn't getting power that red light wouldn't light up on the box. I waited a minute, nothing. Thanks!
 
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Old 10-28-07, 06:47 PM
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Grrrrr

This is making me nuts, as if I weren't already.

Let me recap & please correct me if anything is not right:

Burner pluged into cord, plugged into wall socket.
Red light is on.
Jumper between T-T
At least one wire disconnected from F-F
Reset Button pushed
Red light goes out
No motor, no buzz, no nothing
Wait one minute
Red light comes back on.
 
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Old 10-28-07, 06:51 PM
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I did not realize that I had to take one of the yellow wires out again. So I went and did that and it kicked on! It came on! So now.. do I leave a yellow wire undone? I don't have the thermostat wires in, should I try it with them?
 
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