Beckett oil burner that has no flame to intermediate blue flame


  #1  
Old 01-22-09, 10:31 PM
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Beckett oil burner that has no flame to intermediate blue flame

I need some help... don't we all?

I have a Beckett oil burner that has no flame to intermediate flame when heat is called for, when it does flame up it burns blueish white. I had had a problem originally with the flame sensor but after I changed it, it ran fine, for 5 days prior to locking its self out with this new problem. This is what I've done so far:

1} changed the thermostat
2) changed the flame sensor
3) changed the control unit
4) changed the line filter, screen filter in the pump, and nozzle
5) had the oil igniter tested (tested good)
6) checked the kerosene in the tank to make sure there is no water
7) tried to reset the electrodes and air based on the tech recommendations of our local oil servicer. They were kind of general with the info saying that the points should be with in a quarter inch of each other.

I'm sure I've spent a bunch of money on parts (almost rebuilt the darn gun) that I didn't need to, from recommendations of our helpful energy/oil furnace service and sales men.

So I need some advice, before I throw the whole furnace out the door. Because darn its cold here in the north east!

I can get product numbers and photos if needed.
Thanks in advance
 
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Old 01-23-09, 08:10 AM
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Firstly, I have never seen a BLUE flame on an oil burner before. I have seen little or no flame. So let's start with basics. TURN OFF THE E-SWITCH FOR THE BOILER.

1)I will ASSUME (I know what the other guys will say)that you have an above ground oil tank, at least it is higher than the boiler. Let's make sure that you have good oil flow coming out of the line first. You can do this by FIRST making sure the valve at the tank is closed, opening up the flare fitting at the end of the line near the boiler and putting it in a coffee can or hard plastic container, then having an assistant open the valve and see what comes out. If kerosine or oil (depending on what you are firing, comes out nice and clean, good! If debris comes out, or water and fuel comes out, then you must work on that first. Bleed out the tank of any contaminents. If nothing comes out, well, then you need to blow ouit the line. I am once again ASSUMing that you have a one-line fuel delivery system, if not DO NOT blow the line because you may have check valves on the line or you may damage the pump by doing so. Leave the valve off at the tank after this procedure.
2)Now that we have good clean oil coming out of the end of the line, hook it back up to the connection. Somewhere just after the connection you will have the fuel filter canister where you changed the filter element and carefully installed a new gasket. Take it apart again and make sure that the gasket is there, and that it is completely empty of liquids. You will want to replace the filter once again if you had water or contaminents in the fuel. Put it back together again.
3)Examine the screen once again to make sure that there is no debris or water or other contaminents present and make sure that you install the gasket FIRST and then the screen
4)Remove the nozzle assemble once again and take out the nozzle. BLOW through the skinny end to make sure that the tube is clear and that any debris comes out. Examine the nozzle to see if the little filter on it is clean. If ok, SUCK (carefully) on the firing end to see if it is clear (or just change it again in case it was defective). If not clear, change it again. (do not swallow anything no matter how good it tastes-----yuk)
5)Assemble everything again as it was and open the tank valve again.
6)Open the firematic valve again at the filter canister. OPEN is COUNTERCLOCKWISE so that the stem is visible. If the handle is loose the valve will be closed. DO NOT overtighten! OPEN it and leave it open.
7)There is a little hex screw at the top of the fuel filter canister. LOOSEN it (put a pie pan underneath to catch the oil) until you get oil with no bubbles coming out then close it again.
8)Get a 3/8 box wrench for the bleeder under the pump. Put your thermostat on maximum and have someone closeby to turn on/off the emergency switch. Put a pan under the bleeder and have someone turn on the switch AFTER you open the bleeder. Be ready to turn off the switch if the pan fills up. DO NOT CLOSE THE BLEEDER UNTIL YOU HAVE NICE CLEAN OIL OR KEROSINE COMING OUT WITH NO BUBBLES. Maybe having an extra pan may help. Have your assistant shut the switch when the pan fills.
9)ASSUMing that you DID NOT tamper with any oil pump pressure adjustments, that you put in the same exact nozzle that was there before the problem started, that you DID NOT tamper with any air adjustments, the boiler should fire up good as before UNLESS the pump is weak, the burner is faulty, or you tampered with combustion related adjustments.

If ALL this does not help---------it will be time to call a technician in to fix the problem! GOOD LUCK!

PS: If the primary relay (where the red button is to reset the burner) is BLACK (new style) we can tell you how to reset it AFTER you do the stuff mentioned above.
 

Last edited by boilersrus; 01-23-09 at 08:13 AM. Reason: forgot about the lockout
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Old 01-23-09, 09:17 AM
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Thanks for the quick reply, time to try again

Thanks for the quick reply.

The tank is an outside, above ground, standard 275 gal. type, and the furnace is about level with the top of the tank. The furnace is inside a single wide house trailer that I use for work. And although the gun has been rebuilt its still stock parts with no modifications.

Out of your 9 steps the only one that I did not do, after the last load of kerosene was delivered, (when the problems all started) was to check the line filter a second time at the tank, having checked it just prior to the delivery. I even did the blow/suck test on the nozzle, talk about leaving a bad taste in your mouth.

I've got fuel and pressure up through the nozzle, enough that if the 'blue flame' (your right, I'd never seen one till now ether) doesn't burn some of the fuel off, the electrodes and the floor of the firebox is damp with oil. And at the bleeder I get a clear, or should I say died red, kerosene.

I'm going to start over at step one and try again, but its starting to sound like I might have got a bad delivery of kerosene.
 
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Old 01-23-09, 09:51 AM
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There is one thing I did not mention, simply because there were so many other BASIC things to do. Have you pulled out the entire burner and checked the 'HEAD". I have seen F-3, F-4, and F-6 heads burnt to a crisp because someone put the wrong nozzle in and brought the nozzle set back distance to a point where they were shooting the flame onto the head.

The end of the blast tube (the part that is inside the boiler where you cannot see) should have a 'Head' on it (a round cover with little vanes on it and a smaller hole in the center). This would TOTALLY disrupt combustion and would give you a totally screwed up burn, no matter what adjustments you made should it be damaged or missing.

I have even seen burners where the head came off and was laying inside the combustion chamber. Maybe you should check this out too? 15 extra minutes of work
 
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Old 01-23-09, 03:26 PM
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I didn't get back to the trailer, I actually had some work to do today. But I can say, because I had the gun out yesterday, that the flame retention head (I believe that is what your talking about) is there and good. Although the inside of the head was coated in kerosene from the spray not burning at the end of my playing with the adjustments. And there was a little carbon buildup also on the inside.

I had wiped it down and lightly rapped on it with a wrench to make sure that it wasn't rusted through or otherwise rotting through.

Do you know what the measurements are (basically) for the space between the electrodes and the distance from the nozzle?

I'm going to go beat my head against the wall over this, this weekend. When I do, I think I'm going to take photos of the steps I do.
 
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Old 01-23-09, 03:44 PM
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Trailer Heater

What is the make & model of the furnace? Given that information I can probably get factory set up specs for you.
No Way, No How should that flame be anything other than yellow.

In general the electrodes should be 5/32" apart, 1/16" ahead of the nozzle face, & 5/16-7/16" above the nozzle center. The pump pressure should be 100 psig & the nozzle should be
1 1/8" from the outside face of the burner end cone. Most mobile home furnaces use the F0 burner head but the furnace model will let me verify that.
 
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Old 01-23-09, 07:36 PM
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For the novice I would suggest getting a 'T' guage to reset the electrodes properly. A GOOD boiler supply will have them for about $3.00 and will take the guesswork out of the equation.

Now that you 'fessed up' to 'playing' with the adjustments---Beer 4U2--Did you also play with the pump pressure adjustment? Come on, admit it.......... That's the little screw inside a big nut on the back left side of the burner, near the oil line. Did you unscrew it a couple of turns???? (hehehehe)
 
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Old 01-23-09, 10:31 PM
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I owned up to the adjustments of the electrodes in my original post, #7 on the list of things I did. But no I did not play with the pump adjustments. I might have if I had known about it before, but not until I had asked about it. I know better.

I'd like to know more about the T gauge.

In the mean time, I'll have the numbers off the gun and its parts tomorrow.
 
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Old 01-26-09, 11:12 PM
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a little farther ahead but more help needed

Ok I got the numbers and some photos. I know I said I'd be back on Saturday but I was just too tired. I posted them here at my personal blog.
MercenaryD Its a good thing that I have a backup

Thank you Grady for the distances, I now feel like a bit of an ass, after asking I found the distances on the bottom of the oil burner gun. Why I never saw it before I don't know.

I have set the electrodes and double checked all the filters. When I started the furnace up this time I got a small but nice flame. But it only lasted until the control module kicked the furnace off. Now it won't start up again. There is more about it a the link above (It's my personal blog).

boilersrus you mentioned working with the pump settings. How would I go about that, if that sounds like it is a problem.
Which way would I turn the screw to turn it up and down and how far can it go. Or better yet how can I test the pressure at all to see if its strong enough?

Now the numbers
Furnace Oil Burner Model: Beckett AF15
SunTech pump model: A2VA-7116
Furnace Former model 5LAY04
Honeywell control model R8184G 4009
Nozzle .50 80 degree
 
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Old 01-27-09, 04:24 PM
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Mobile home furnace

What you are working on is a Miller or Intertherm CMF65 or 80.
Judging by the .50 firing rate, I suspect it is a 65. How many bujillion of these things have I worked on in the past 20 years? Too many!!!!

The spec'd nozzle is a Delavan .50 x 80ºB with a pump pressure of 100#, & an air shutter setting of '3' with the air band fully closed. These nozzles are VERY proned to plugging or partially so. EDIT: I just noticed the air intake system. That '3' setting is probably too high. On the air intake's left side, near the bottom, is a nut (5/16 or 3/8"). This is the air adjustment.

Remove the nozzle assembly but DO NOT loosen the 5/16 hex head screw near where the nozzle assembly goes thru the burner body. Remove the nozzle & flush the assembly WELL with carb or brake cleaner. Install a new nozzle & reinstall the assembly. This pdf shows your pump & the pressure gauge port. http://www.suntecpumps.fr/Suntecus/P...%20Service.pdf
You can check the pump pressure with a water pump gauge
(150# capacity) adapted to fit the 1/8" pipe thread gauge port. Before firing the burner install the pressure gauge & loosen the air adjustment nut enough where you can slide it. Fire it up & let me know the result.
 
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Old 01-28-09, 09:14 AM
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Your right Grady, the furnace is a Miller.

I'm going to see if I can get a pressure gauge, and try the carb-cleaner. It might take a couple of days if I have to order the gauge. I live in one of those hole-in-the-wall towns where there is nothing around.
 
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Old 01-28-09, 02:19 PM
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Gauge

Most water pump gauges are 1/4" pipe thread. Just put on a 1/4 x 1/8" reducing coupling (also known as a bell reducer), add an 1/8 x (+/-) 3" nipple & you are good to go. Another way is to screw a 1/8 male pipe x 3/16" flare adapter into the bell & screw the 3/16" copper nozzle line on to that. One benefit of doing it the second way is you are not spraying any oil into the furnace.
 
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Old 01-30-09, 07:49 AM
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dersaffo-please let us know how you are making out. ok? thanks
 
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Old 01-31-09, 09:25 PM
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Tried again and failed again

It took me a few days to find a pressure gauge and then a few more as well as 5 hardware stores to find a 1/4 to 1/8 reducer. I've posted pictures here at my personal blog again.
MercenaryD Try again…. I tested the pressure and found it to be 100 or 101 psi. I cleaned the pump and the pipes to the nozzle. And only got a little bit of dark stuff.

When I put the furnace back together, I got a flame for about 20 to 30 seconds until the lockout kicked. I had tried to work the air a little, in small increments. But after the lockout it wouldn't restart. Even taking it back apart and recleaning it didn't help.

So what should be the next step?
 
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Old 02-01-09, 05:59 AM
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Won't fire

When you pressed the reset button I presume the burner ran but did not fire, correct?
Since this is a two pipe, you should not have to bleed air. Any chance you got the copper lines reversed? Contrary to instructions, some installers terminate the return line only a few inches into the tank. If yours is this way, that would explain the brief firing period. To see if you are getting fuel, watch the pressure gauge when you reset. If the gauge holds 100#, you are getting fuel & either have a fouled nozzle or an ignition problem (bad transformer, electrodes set wrong, etc.).
 
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Old 02-01-09, 09:23 AM
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You presumed correctly

You presumed correctly. And each time, I believe I did about ten tries between the two cleanings, the pump held the 100# for the duration of the cycle.

I'm hoping that its not the lines. Although I too had thought of that. I used extensions (they are hard to see in any of the photos) when I put this furnace in 3 years ago, they are different lengths and bent in special ways so it is hard to get them backwards.

The same goes for the tank. I hadn't bothered to check the return line inside the tank because it hadn't changed since the tank was hooked up in 1967. And last year I know I ran the tank dry at least once.

I am going to double check those anyway and trace the lines, although I hate the thought of crawling around under the trailer in the snow and ice.

Now here is a question or two I just though of :
Would the electrodes quit giving off a spark if they get wet with oil? Or is it possible for the electrodes to go bad? I wouldn't think so...

And as the electrical components on the burner were all tested as good, referring back to my original post where I had changed or tested all of them, could there be a problem with the incoming electric?

Why can't it already be spring so I wouldn't have to worry about this so much....
 
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Old 02-01-09, 12:11 PM
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Time for a professional

If you have pushed the reset that many times you have created an extremely dangerous condition. It's time to call in a pro.

Be sure to tell him/her what you've done. Failure to do so could result in someone getting hurt or the place burning down.
 
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Old 02-01-09, 05:24 PM
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got a flame but wont keep running

Originally Posted by Grady
If you have pushed the reset that many times you have created an extremely dangerous condition. It's time to call in a pro.
Well the place hasn't burnt down yet... all though at times....

And it was the local pro's that sent me here looking for advice.

Remember the original bluish white flame that I started with? Their solution was to do a service call at $125 to show up and $85 an hour to do the work and replace the whole furnace at $1900 to $3200. Not an expense I could afford. None of them wanted to work the problem just take the easy way out.

Anyway, I got a flame today that lasted the 15 sec between lockouts. Here's what I did, first because it was a nicer day I was able to move the snow from around the skirting and get under the trailer to trace the lines. With a helper inside and me down under we found that at one time or another the lines did get switched. I don't know if it was me or one of the others (local pro's) that did it, but there you have it. As I had said they were originally bent to fit specifically to each fitting, so how they got mixed up is beyond me.

I switched the lines, moved the electrodes a fraction up and closer to the nozzle, and I do mean a fraction. They are no longer becoming damp with oil and sparking nicely.

Now I get a nice yellow yet inadequate flame. And the lockout kicks the furnace off every 15 sec. I ran through 3 cycles adjusting the air and electrodes. And although each time the flame got better the furnace still kicks off and wont keep running.

So I think I'm closer yet...
 
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Old 02-01-09, 05:37 PM
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Whew!

You had me sweating. Is the flame still burning when the contol locks out or have you lost flame prior to lockout? How about smoke?
 
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Old 02-01-09, 08:05 PM
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Sorry

Sorry, didn't mean to scare you.

The flame goes out at the time of lockout, not before. As for smoke... there is a smell of carbon and unburnt kero but no noticeably visible smoke or left over oil in the burn chamber, Just the smell. No mysterious sounds ether.

Something I forgot to mention in the last post. There is pulse/flicker to the flame. It was faint and only did it on the second 15 second burn. The rest of the time it seemed to burn steady, just a low inadequate flame.

I was thinking maybe the air but it could be something else, causing the lockout.
 
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Old 02-02-09, 01:13 PM
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Weak Flame

It does sound like the air adjustment. Try closing it almost all the way down. If it fires & holds flame, look thru the peep hole & adjust the air until you get "finger tips" above the top of the chamber. The only other thing I can think of is a partially plugged nozzle.
 
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Old 02-04-09, 08:10 PM
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still trying

Just to let you know I'm still working with the settings, but so far the longest I have been able to keep the furnace running is 30 seconds between lockouts.

Other than an inadequate flame or no flame is there anything else that would cause the lockout to trip?
Because there was a couple of times, the longest run times, that I had a flame that looked like it was giving the flickering fingers.

I got another nozzle so that I can double check that the current one isn't partly plugged. I'll be trying that next.
 
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Old 02-05-09, 03:24 AM
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Nozzle

I think the nozzle would be a good move. A bad cad cell would cause a lockout. Disconnect the cad cell wires & when the flame starts take an ohm reading between the wires. You should get <1200 ohms.
 
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Old 02-21-09, 05:53 PM
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Got it working

Hi guys,
I just wanted to stop by and say thanks for the help. I go the furnace working.

I ended up getting in a pro in the end to finish it up. But at least he worked the problem instead of telling me to buy a new furnace. And best of all he only charged $15 an hour. Even so it still took him 4 hours to figure out the problem and solve it.

It turned out that the main problem was that electrodes were bad. They were burned down to the bottom of the points. They were worn down so far that there was nothing that could be done to them to make the furnace stay lit. And a secondary problem that the supply store here sold me 2 bad nozzles. After he put a third new one in it fired up and worked fine.

And yes Grady, I did get him to take care of the fuel build up too. It turned out to be a good thing, apparently between the time I last posted here and last Feb. 16th when the pro showed up, my dad had been trying to work on it himself without my knowledge of his doing so. There's no telling how much fuel he dumped in with his fiddling. You were right, its probably a good thing I didn't end up blowing myself up. There are some things that should be done be one person alone! ::scary::
 
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Old 02-22-09, 09:13 AM
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All is well

Hard to believe anybody can charge as little as $15/hr these days. If I were you I'd keep this guys name & number handy & treat him very well. I'm glad to hear you got things straightened out. Truth be known, I doubt the electrodes had anything to do with the flame not staying lit. Their only purpose is to light the flame initially. After that the spark can be & is shut off with the controls used today. In fact there is one burner which only sparks for 1/2 second. Be that as it may, if the electodes were badly worn they should be replaced so he did well. Bad nozzles are not extremely unusual especially if the seller doesn't move many of that particular size.
Lighting off a loaded furnace is indeed scary even for an experienced pro. A loaded up furnace can act real nasty. Been there, done that, no fun. I worked on one mobile home furnace exactly like yours where I removed the chamber, took it outdoors & lit a paper towel I had put in the chamber. That chamber burned for TWO HOURS while I cleaned oil out of the furnace.
 
 

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