reversed polarity flashing code message , how do I fix it ?

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Old 10-20-10, 04:56 PM
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reversed polarity flashing code message , how do I fix it ?

I have an old forced air Confortmaker gas furnace ( early 90's), that has an Amana ignition control replacement for 2 years now.
Today , the furnace didn't turn on with the thermostat raised calling for heat. The Amana control has a flashing yellow light that the instructions say is due to reversed polarity. I was able to get it running by jumping the thermostat wires, and the control showed the normal green light. I then replaced the thermostat .
I was able to run it once , but not on the second try. The flashing yellow light returned on the Amana ignition control . How do I fix the reversed polarity ?
 
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Old 10-20-10, 07:57 PM
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I should also add that after I was able to run the furnace with the thermostat wires jumped, I tried the old ( existing ) thermostat once again and the yellow flashing light came on and the furnace did not fire up, which led me to think that it was the thermostat at fault. However, after that, I did the jumping of the wires once again, and this time it didn't fire up. I did proceed to install a new thermostat as mentioned already and then the story continues on . . . fired up once and then back to the flashing yellow light and no more fired ups.
What does it mean , the reverse polarity ??
 
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Old 10-20-10, 08:22 PM
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You have three wires coming to your house from the utility. Two are "hot" wires and the third is a neutral wire. The voltage between the two hot wires is 220-240 VAC. The voltage between a hot and neutral wire is 110-120 VAC.

You furnace is presumably designed to operate on 120 VAC, which requires a connection to the neutral line and a hot line. (There's also presumably a green ground wire).

These neutral wire is designed to be connected to a specific connection on the furnace, and so is the hot wire. Thus they are "polarized." If the wires are connected in reverse, you get the polarity error code.


Other things can cause that as well, such as a defective circuit board.
 
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Old 10-21-10, 03:44 AM
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no re-wire took place, and the furnace has run normally with the replacement Amana ignition control for at least 2 years. I have tried early today a new Amana ignition control, and it too didn't work and the same yellow flashing light error display can be seen.
Could the flame sensor cause this ?
I do have doubts that it could , to try to answer myself, because I think that a faulty flame sensor wouldn't prevent the furnace from fire up or even prevent the process leading to it, not to mention that it too, was replaced 2 years ago.
I'm leaning into thinking that it may be faulty thermostat wires or maybe the transformer.
Any other thoughts ??
 
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Old 10-21-10, 08:02 AM
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It could be the wiring connected to the flame sensor because the flame rectification system converts the AC voltage to a DC signal. If the polarity is reversed then the DC signal isn't going to make it back to the control board.
 
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Old 10-21-10, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by kyoung22 View Post
It could be the wiring connected to the flame sensor because the flame rectification system converts the AC voltage to a DC signal. If the polarity is reversed then the DC signal isn't going to make it back to the control board.
OK , I can replace it, but how is it that the polarity got reversed ?
 
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Old 10-21-10, 08:12 AM
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Wires could have been switched by mistake? I'm not sure...
 
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Old 10-21-10, 08:40 AM
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I'd start by checking the polarity of the wiring at the furnace using an AC voltmeter. Guessing and supposing that it's correct doesn't cut it.
 
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Old 10-21-10, 08:57 AM
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Not to sound too inept, but I'm not sure how I can determine polarity with a voltmeter. How does that work ?
 
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Old 10-21-10, 11:07 AM
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update

I did a removal and place back of the wires going to the ignition control once again, and this time it has run 2 cycles already and the green light is still on.

I know I didn't fix anything, so whatever is causing that "reversed polarity" is still there.
Wait and see I guess
 
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Old 10-21-10, 01:09 PM
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Before you said a yellow light was flashing to indicate the reversed polarity, now a green light is on? Isn't that a good thing? what does the green light indicate?
 
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Old 10-21-10, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by kyoung22 View Post
Before you said a yellow light was flashing to indicate the reversed polarity, now a green light is on? Isn't that a good thing? what does the green light indicate?
Yes, it is, the green light means it's working for now, but I didn't fix anything, so I'm afraid that it will revert to not working and the same yellow blinking light error message.
Had it work properly right after I replaced the thermostat , then I would feel more positive and competent
 
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Old 10-21-10, 04:56 PM
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Originally Posted by vilafria View Post
Not to sound too inept, but I'm not sure how I can determine polarity with a voltmeter. How does that work ?
Well, the true hot wire, tested to ground, would only show voltage. The neutral wire to ground will not. If it is the neutral (white) wire that shows the voltage, and the black (hot) wire shows no voltage to ground, then the polarity is reversed. Not sure if your furnace is sensitive as to which ignitor wire gets hooked to what.

Do you know why they make a big deal out of polarity? In theory, when polarity is reversed, depending on where it is in a device, but let's just say for worst case example it is right at the furnace switch - that being the case, the switch could be OFF, and yet hot current would be throughout the entire furnace all the say back to the switch.

That means, in theory, that if you touched a couple certain wire and/or metal things on the furnace at the same time, you could get a terrible shock, even though the switch was OFF!

That is why they have polarized plugs on devices that plug into wallsockets today, for that very reason. Take your toaster. Would THAT be a surprise if you thought your toaster was off and you fished a piece of stuck bread out of the toaster with butter knife (never a good idea) and got the shock of your life? Could happen more easily if the polarity was reversed and hot juice entered the toaster, ran around the insides, and finally got switched right at the very END of the toaster's circuitry, rather than at the beginning.
 
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Old 10-21-10, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
Well, the true hot wire, tested to ground, would only show voltage. The neutral wire to ground will not. If it is the neutral (white) wire that shows the voltage, and the black (hot) wire shows no voltage to ground, then the polarity is reversed. Not sure if your furnace is sensitive as to which ignitor wire gets hooked to what.
Thanks, I understand it now.
I wonder what might be behind this problem then, because all the wires are in the same position now as they were while it wasn't firing up ??
 
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Old 10-21-10, 06:47 PM
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I dont' know. Don't know if it is a false message or for real.

You are not the first person here to post of this reversed polarity blink code. I've never run into this myself.

Anyone else?
 
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Old 10-21-10, 07:09 PM
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It may be a false message regarding the polarity, but the fact that the furnace didn't fire up, remains. I bought a voltmeter just in case
 
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Old 10-23-10, 06:05 AM
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update

Still running.
I checked the electric connections to the furnace, and found out that it's not a dedicated power line. Maybe somewhere else on that line is the root of the reversed polarity problem the furnace has experienced.
 
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Old 10-23-10, 12:59 PM
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Originally Posted by vilafria View Post
Still running.
I checked the electric connections to the furnace, and found out that it's not a dedicated power line. Maybe somewhere else on that line is the root of the reversed polarity problem the furnace has experienced.
I think though for that to affect the furnace would be impossible because if the wires were switched somewhere else, different from at/in the furnace, that mean black and white would be connected somewhere upstream, meaning you'd have a dead short that would blow the breaker. If the polarity were ONLY reversed upstream, then the cable at the furnace would have the white wire as being the hot wire - which could easily be checked out.
 
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Old 10-24-10, 10:28 PM
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Originally Posted by ecman51` View Post
I think though for that to affect the furnace would be impossible because if the wires were switched somewhere else, different from at/in the furnace, that mean black and white would be connected somewhere upstream, meaning you'd have a dead short that would blow the breaker. If the polarity were ONLY reversed upstream, then the cable at the furnace would have the white wire as being the hot wire - which could easily be checked out.
The line that originates from the circuit board splits to feed the furnace and also the kitchen wall sockets. I do recall a couple of times a couple of years ago the breakers popping, and on those couple of occasions, I recall it now, losing the furnace too. Didn't follow up on that then. The funny thing is that the breakers have not popped in these last two years.
 
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Old 10-25-10, 06:56 AM
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Having other outlets or appliances on the circuit that includes the furnace shouldn't be a problem.


It's not clear to me from your posts if you've verified that the polarity for the furnace is correct.


The polarity issue is something that can crop up in a variety of ways. A furnace that's operated OK on reversed polarity for years can start having an issue with it.

And occasionally polarity is reversed when someone makes changes to the wiring in a circuit or at the breaker box.

The place to start is to check the polarity at the furnace and verify that it is correct. You have had MANY posts on this thread but I don't see that you have performed this elementary check.
 
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