Boiler Mate indirect water heater

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  #1  
Old 01-28-07, 09:00 AM
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Boiler Mate indirect water heater

I have an Amtrol Boiler mate model WH-7P indirect heater. It has been working fine for over 4 years but it started to make a buzzing noise from the electronic controller. (Smart Control)

There are no error messages, I unplugged the thermistor wire and got the Err 1 messge that that manual says you should get, plugged it back in and the error went away.

One thing not right: there are 2 old auto style glass vial fuses (20 amp) and one was blown, I replaced it and nothing different happened.

The buzzing seems to be now and then: not necessarily related to the circulator going on for the water heater, although it might be related to the burner firing ? I have removed the front mounting panel and a gentle love tap to the side of the plastic housing silences the buzz.

At first I thought it might have been a sticky contact inside the control box, but once I got it apart it seems like a deliberate buzz. Not much to the controller.

Otherwise the whole thing seems to be operating as advertised. Any ideas ?

Also, how do you remove the thermistor ? I was going to take it out to examine it but the mounting nut seems 'mushy' when I try to turn it, so I left it alone.

Thanks

You can email me at [email protected] if you have experience with this stuff.
 

Last edited by DIYaddict; 02-01-07 at 04:38 PM. Reason: Email address removed for your protection and so your email will not be filled with spam
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  #2  
Old 02-01-07, 04:24 PM
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Amtrol Boilermate water heater

I repaired the controlled (well, replaced) with no incident. I called Amtrol, and they were pretty good about answering my questions. The controller (Smart Control) is a solid state type device so there are no repairs to it: just replace it.

I think a contactor or relay for the 110 side of the device went kafluey so that was that.

The cost was moderate, I think anyway: $140 for the new part. Easy to install, it was an exact replacement for the original so just had to wire nut 4 or 5 wires.
 
  #3  
Old 02-01-07, 05:59 PM
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Thanks for posting the resolution to the probem.

Ken
 
  #4  
Old 02-03-07, 07:58 AM
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Boilermate Controller

Last thoughts:

For what its worth, the controller lasted 4-5 days after the noise started. Always curious , I took apart the old one and the small transformer on one of the two circuit boards smelled like it was cooked. And the fuze had popped again. Whether that was a result of a bad switch or the cause, ?? who knows. At any rate, I guess the fix is just replace it (the controller) within a few days and you won't need to take cold showers at all.
 
  #5  
Old 09-10-07, 05:37 PM
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Repair or replace Amtrol Boilermate with buzzing Smart Controller?

I think I have the same problem that you just detailed:

I have an Amtrol Boilermate Classic model WH-7P indirect hot water heater which is only a few years old and was working perfectly. Recently the Smart Controller on it started making a buzzing sound intermittently. It also would sometimes start my oil burner up 5-6 times in a row over 2 minute period of time. I have shut it down and temporarily switched back over to my old electric hot water heater which I left in line when I installed the Amtrol. Amtrol's technical service tells me that the problem is a relay on the Smart Controller which has gone bad. The only solution they tell me is to replace the entire Smart Controller for about $150-$160.

Does anyone have any other experience with this issue?

Surely the relay must be available someplace to allow a cheaper repair than $160 for a whole new Smart Controller, no?

Do you think with the increased cost of oil that an idrect hot water heater still is more efficient than a tank type electric hotwater heater?

How about an oil fired instant hot water heating system or electric?

Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.
 
  #6  
Old 09-10-07, 06:45 PM
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No oil powered instant water heater exists to my knowledge.

An indirect is a great way to heat water as long as the boiler connected to it is efficient. You can replace the control on your indirect with the standard dial control without much trouble but you won't have the cool display and all the features that make the smart controller so complicated. The dial control is not without its problems but much fewer than the smart controller.

Ken
 

Last edited by KField; 09-10-07 at 06:46 PM. Reason: forgot a word
  #7  
Old 09-13-07, 09:55 AM
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Ken, check the Toyotomi OM-148... - it's an oil fired on demand water water. I'm not sure what the minimum flows are.
 
  #8  
Old 09-13-07, 03:51 PM
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Who knew?

Of course he did. I checked that unit out and it looks very interesting. I will see if I can interest a customer in one and report back after the installation.
Thanks for the tip.

Ken
 
  #9  
Old 10-15-07, 03:23 PM
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My experience with Amtrol Customer Service

Hello,,, I have just experienced the buzzing myself. I have two WH 41’s, one for Domestic Hot Water and the other is for Radiant Floor heat. I purchased them back in 1999, before the “Smart Control” (which is a POS in my opinion). Let me digress a bit, my father put in a Amtrol Boiler Mate with the manual control knob back in 1986, and the thing has worked flawlessly all these years. So shelling out gobs of cash for something of superior quality that seemed to run forever, that was a no brainier. I had a controller (old style) go out on me when the NE experienced the big power outage in 2004. At the beginning of the power outage something happened and I lost 3 transformers throughout the house and one Amtrol Controller. An electrician told me it looked like the power was somehow back-fed into the panel. The controller that blew was on the domestic hot water tank, therefore ON. The heating system was powered down so that controller was unharmed. I switched controllers so I would have hot water and ordered the new controller, and when it came in,,, it was WAY more expensive than the quote. The guy told me Amtorl has a new controller, thus more money…. I picked up the new controller, clearly it was different, I called Amtrol and the tech guy reassured me it was better. Well,,,,,, I don’t know about better, my heating system is powered down 5 to 6 months out of the year and for the past three years I use a hot water wood boiler; the Amtrol is only on when I leave for the weekend to go up north, up to about 11 times a season. So the thing hardly runs. Yet the hot water system (with the old controller) has been hooked up sense 1999 (first few years I didn’t completely shut down the “switch off” the heating system), and is still running strong. Last week I powered up the heating system to make sure everything was working properly, well yesterday I went into the basement and I heard a buzzing, yes the New and Improved the controller was buzzing and flickering. It was a sickening feeling because I knew how much the last one cost me and I was not to happy that the one right next to it, the old style, was working properly….. For what these controllers cost I could purchase and replace an old style hot water tank annually, thus there goes the incentive for shelling out all that cash expecting it to last 25+ years. Spend all that money based on someone’s experience and you end up with something that has costly maintenance every few years because they made it the brains of the unit ‘better’. Today I will see how customer service treats me, but I have a feeling they have lost a future customer and any future endorsement of their product.

Update,,, while typing called Amtrol, talked to Mike, explained everything, he is shipping out a new one for FREE!!! So my advise, stick to your guns, tell them you are unhappy with their product, mention the internet and this site in paticular, and I hope you to will have a good outcome. Regardless of their goodwill,,, I do plan on ordering one of the old dial controls (tried and true) retro kits for the next time the controller goes as a back up…


And I have to ask, why do they even offer a retro kit (PN# 2704-392, back to the old dial style.) if the smart control is so much better,,, maybe the smart control has a high fail rate????
 
  #10  
Old 06-26-08, 09:26 AM
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Amtrol smart controller

Have the same problem, buzzing and then quit after a power failure. Hitting with a screw driver seemed to fix for a second so obviously a problem of a mechanical nature. As the display flickers and dies it is not likely a relay issue as they (3 the same)are outputs, controlled by the electronics and unit did work OK while it buzzed at first. I ordered a new one but took the old one apart. The problem I suspect is the laminations of the transformer vibrate and eventually fatique solder joints on the board. I resolder all the connections on the main board and hooked it back up. It works fine but still buzzed for a while. I did notice a overheated resistor but not sure if that is related. I would think that a permanent fix would be remove the transformer and provide a separate power supply module for the (5V likely, have not measured as yet) needed for the electronics. Bottom line, the unit is not sealed and repair is a possibility. Waiting on a new one but old working fine for now.
 
  #11  
Old 07-17-08, 03:29 PM
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How to find a dial control?

Originally Posted by KField View Post
No oil powered instant water heater exists to my knowledge.

An indirect is a great way to heat water as long as the boiler connected to it is efficient. You can replace the control on your indirect with the standard dial control without much trouble but you won't have the cool display and all the features that make the smart controller so complicated. The dial control is not without its problems but much fewer than the smart controller.

Ken
I have the Amtrol Boiler Mate with Smart Control. It seems to be having the same problem as the others described. I found the retro kit on the internet but it was more money than a replacement. Ken mentioned a dial control but I couldn't find one. Please be specific.
 
  #12  
Old 07-17-08, 04:51 PM
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Here is the web page from Amtrol with the part numbers you need for a smart control to a dial control.

http://www.amtrol.com/pdf/boilermateIO9040-586revC.pdf

Hope that helps.
 
  #13  
Old 08-09-08, 05:32 PM
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Angry Boilermate Smart Control WH-7

No luck with Amtrol. They are obviously aware that this part is a high fail item but refuse to extend the warranty beyond one year. Also a friend with the same boiler had a problem with the tank, started leaking at the bottom. Even though it was under the 5 year tank warranty he had a battle to get it replaced.
If I had this to do over again I would have just replaced the tank with an electric, cheaper and more reliable.
Live and learn ..
 
  #14  
Old 10-22-08, 07:21 AM
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Amtrol Email response to getting parts for SmartControl

Amtrol does not make the control. We buy it complete which means we would not have spare parts only completed units. Sorry to say you would have to purchase the entire unit.
Regards
Jeff Wellen
-----Original Message-----
From:
Sent: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 9:34 AM
To: Info
Subject: Smart Controller circuit board replacement parts.
Importance: High


My Classic 41 Gal Indirect Water Heater stopped heating water. Upon investigation I found the smart controller was not on, cycled power and it came on briefly made some chattering noise then the display rapidly flickered and it shutdown. I unplugged the temp sensor plug and cycled power and it come on with error 1. Soon as I plugged in the sensor the chattering and flashing occurred and it shutdown again.

I took it apart to the circuit board and power cycled , there are 3 relays within the smart controller, I found one of them to be chattering. If I tap on it with handle of screwdriver controller comes on briefly and heater relay engages then it again shuts down as above.

Is it possible to just get the controller board with the 3 relays and not have to buy an entire control unit?
 
  #15  
Old 10-24-08, 06:58 AM
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Tried to repair myself, No Luck....

I took my Smart Controller apart and revered engineered it by looking up the parts with Google.

It's 'Brain' is a PIC16F872-I/SO : http://www.microchip.com/

Description 28-Pin, 8-Bit CMOS FLASH Microcontroller

Other Main parts or 3 Relays , DOT PRO Corp:
dotpro dp7715-2c-24d-151 , Which is a 24VDC Coil, DPDT relay , DPDT = Double Pole Double Throw , Is rated at 240 Vac/110 VAC 8 Amps.

So I bought a Omron LY2FDC24 relay , DPDT 10Amp , 24VDC with a flange mount. Replaced the chattering relay which when I ohm'd the coil was infinity. Hooked it back up and that realy now chatters and after a few moments the Big resistor strated smoking and system went out...Now get no power at all, glass fuses are fine so guess I sent it to its grave!
So must not have only been a relay failure!

Found these websites for replacements:
http://www.partsguy.com/cgi-bin/PartsGuy/2704A233.html ,
Has both the Smart Controller and Retrofit Kit.

http://www.plccenter.com/buy/AMTROL/2704A233 , Sells the SmartCotrollers for $212 as of today, also seems to offer used units when available!

I'm am consdiering going with the retrofit kit, but then if I get another functioning smartcontroller, I can reverse enginner it and document working voltages to fix the old unit...Main board is simple enough, so maybe I can build my own Tim Allen unit that is of better quality parts.....Beer 4U2
 
  #16  
Old 10-27-08, 06:28 AM
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Thumbs up Amtrol, made my Day!

Just got this Email from Amtrol this morning,
Now that is what I call Great Customer Service!

Thank you Lord for answering a prayer, Wes.

Hi Wes
Sorry to get back to you so late. I was out of the office Friday. I have been thinking about your installation. If you would send me your address I would like to send you a new rev smart control on me.
Jeff

Jeff,

One other question I was told there is a Retrofit Kit to convert to a Mechanical Controller, Part # 2704-392



Is there a PDF copy of this kits instructions/installation? Am considering going with it.



For now I have eliminated the Smart Panel and have my heater and boiler maker circulator both running of the heater thermostat ,but

Of course that eliminates any control of the tank temperature.
 
  #17  
Old 12-18-08, 09:21 AM
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Amtrol sending new controller for free!!

I have the same problem. Buzzing started a couple weeks ago and this morning the buzzing stopped but so did the controller I took the controller apart and found the buzzing relay but it also looks like the resistor next to it could be bad also. No fuses were blown. While taking apart the controller the ribbon cable between the two boards came off fairly easily and I also noticed a bunch of bad solder joints on both boards. I think they have major quality problems with this controller.

I called Amtrol technical support and spoke to Jeff and he is shipping me a new controller for free. I mentioned that I read online about quite a few people having problems with these controllers so maybe that helped.

For a workaround I disconnected the controller and am just jumpering the thermostat wires for 15-20 minutes before I need to use a lot of hot water.
 
  #18  
Old 02-01-09, 03:16 AM
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Originally Posted by tnixa View Post
I have the same problem. Buzzing started a couple weeks ago and this morning the buzzing stopped but so did the controller I took the controller apart and found the buzzing relay but it also looks like the resistor next to it could be bad also. No fuses were blown. While taking apart the controller the ribbon cable between the two boards came off fairly easily and I also noticed a bunch of bad solder joints on both boards. I think they have major quality problems with this controller.

I called Amtrol technical support and spoke to Jeff and he is shipping me a new controller for free. I mentioned that I read online about quite a few people having problems with these controllers so maybe that helped.

For a workaround I disconnected the controller and am just jumpering the thermostat wires for 15-20 minutes before I need to use a lot of hot water.
I have the same trouble as everyone else. However, I spoke with Ray at Amtrol and he told me it was out of warrantee so there was nothing he could do. Why would my case be any different than others here?

Talk about timing! While I was writting this the control died! Can someone tell me which wires to jump to get the circulator on the boilermate running?

Thanks


David
 

Last edited by dlabrie; 02-01-09 at 03:59 AM. Reason: Add something
  #19  
Old 02-07-09, 06:47 PM
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Add another unhappy Amtrol Smart Controller owner to the list

Yes me describing the problem would just mirror all of yours buzzing the first time the hot water went off messing with the controller and changing the settings kicked it into gear but the buzzing remained and yes here is is 1 week later and gone. Now I happen to have the Amtrol tank I replaced it with that has the old knob control but I was told by a plumber friend that I cannot use that controller as the temperature (thermistor i assume) will not fit in the newer Amtrol WH series 41gallon I have. So yes I'm looking at the sites thankfully you've provided links to to get one overnighted as so many of the local carriers you must have an account with them to get material.
MY QUESTION IS THE SAME AS THE PREVIOUS POST, which wires did you jump to get the heater to heat so I can heat up the 41 gallons for 15 min or so and then disconnect so my family can get a hot shower. (Of course this happens on a Saturday... no shot of getting a new one until Tuesday if i pay the $20 overnight fee on top of the unit. And yes the retrokit is more expensive but I'm leaning towards it as it lasted for the life of my old Amtrol. This I replaced with a brand new unit a year an half ago and the plumber who replaced it when I called told me he replaces the smart controllers all the time. So I think Amtrol is doing this to make a few more bucks...the other didnt break fast enough.. lets make a solid state crappy unit and get residual income on the replacemnents... sounds like something these companies today would do. BUT PLEASE...ANYONE KNOW WHAT WIRES TO JUMP IN LIEU OF AN EXPENSIVE PLUMBER VISIT FOR HIM TO DO JUST THAT???? ILL BE FOREVER GRATEFUL... IF I DONT GET A RESPONSE AND THE PLUMBER IS MY ONLY CHOICE. I WILL POST THE JUMP FIX BUT PLS DONT LEAVE THEM ON FOR LONGER THEN 15 MIN AS MY PLUMBER TOLD ME.... BUT IM HOPING FOR AN ANSWER FIRST.
 
  #20  
Old 02-07-09, 09:09 PM
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Thumbs up Simple fix to get hot water when the smart controller dies

This will only apply if your indirect water heater does not have a seperate circulator pump as mine has a single circulator pump for the heating system and my newer Boiler Mate WH Series 41 Gallon runs without the need of its own indepndant circulator pump. I felt quite foolish once I realized in inspecting the unit that the outflow feed pipe is directly controlled by the individual zone controller. All that was necessary for me to heat the water in my heater was to open up the zone valve and lock it in the open flow position. This causes the furnace to kick on and the flow open flow of water causes the furnace heated water to flow into the hot water heater, in effect after 20 mins or so I had 41 gallons full of HOT WATER AND A FEW HOT SHOWERS FOR THE FAMILY. I did find out also that had I had the independant circulator pump from some research that too was simple. Taking the power lines to the circulater and cutting the power line wires going to the controller/hot water heater and using an ordinary outdoor extension cord, just strip both wires and insert each one into the female plug end of the extension cord and plug the cord in and bam your circlator is now powered on until your water heater is full of hot water you can check the outflow line and make sure not to overheat.. when you cant hold the pipe it being to hot to the touch your tank is now full of a nice hot water, I would imagine you would need to open up the zone valve and keep it locked in the full open position as well for that applicatoin. Well for now its as simple as a pusing the zone control to the open and locked position for 15-20 mins until the outflow line is to hot to be able to hold onto and your unit is full of hot water until I either get it at a local plumbing supply house or order it online from the PartGuy.com at PartsGuy.com -- Smart Controller 2704A233 with Thermister I may by the retrofit guy but I am going to try my hand at a little outrage at Amtrol Monday morning as I was told by my plumber that he replaces them all the time and as my amtrol has a lifetime warranty and the older knob style never broke they had to have a way to get residual income so the newer solid state "better unit" they sell tons of them as they convinently just make it past their one year warranty mark and blow out. The could easily feed the power to the board with a better design but this way they have a nice residual income on selling replacement SmartConrollers for the lifetime unit they sold you. Amtrol shame on you .... the more i think of it the more I think I'm going for the retrokit as a tempature probe connected to a copper wire connected to a knob controller has no solid state parts to die and last a good long while as my last one lasted longer then the tank that Amtrol replaced for free. So my has now turned to Beer 4U2 hope this helps someone.
 
  #21  
Old 06-20-09, 07:31 AM
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Going through this now - June 2009

I have the situation described exactly with the noises, etc. I've removed the controller board and indeed there are two resistor-like things near the transformer that look slightly burned as does the nearby board. There is no evidence of bad soldering, though, or any damage to the transformer.

So, what are these resistors and is replacing them likely to help?

Also, what voltage does the power supply provide? I could probably wire in some inexpensive DC adapter to provide it, I would think and just disconnect the old power supply.

I'm desperate as my large family is without water and we are not in an economic position to afford the $200 replacement at this point.

Thanks for any help.
 
  #22  
Old 06-21-09, 01:20 PM
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(Next day)
Just in the event that it might help someone, since all the symptoms seemed so much the same for this problem:

I'm not taking any liability for anyone following my example, but I did manage to get the smart controller board fixed (or so it seems so far). For reasons others have mentioned, it seems almost certain that the problems are in the power supply part of the smart controller. I thought it was interesting that it ran on both 24v and 120v. Mine was running on 120v. It would run for awhile, chattering all the way, then finally fail with a flickering then blank display and with a faint bit of smoke off a white component marked 3900J.

So I wondered whether if I ran it off 24v instead of 120v, whether that might take enough strain off the system or else force it into another mode where the original problem would not occur. To make the situation easier, 24v AC is available on a transformer attached to the main boiler. So I wired it into their instead of to the 120v AC line voltage (being careful that the cut 120v AC lines wouldn't touch anything). To my pleasant surprise, the display came on without any chattering sound at all. Now, about half an hour into this, there is hot water in the house.

I'm not going to say this will solve everyone's problems who sees these symptoms, but if your system is running on 120v AC and you have the above symptoms, you might want to try running on 24v instead and see if it then works.
 
  #23  
Old 10-03-09, 08:57 PM
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Hard-wired solution and 24V solution to buzzing controller problem

Hello all, I had the same problem everyone else has had—buzzing from the controller. I found this thread (which was very helpful, by the way—thanks) and learned enough to do some tinkering. If you're not able to get Amtrol to send you a free replacement controller, I came up with two fixes that work and one that doesn't:

<P>What doesn't work—trying to replace the relay which does all the buzzing. There are three relays (little black plastic boxes) on the controller, two omtron ones and a dotpro one (this is the one that seems to do all the buzzing). If you look carefully, all three have the same general specs: 24VDC, 8A,120VAC, etc. As I was tinkering, I wondered to myself, why not just use the same one for all three? Well, turns out the dotpro relay has a much larger operating range. As someone pointed out, the large resistor right next to the dotpro relay gets very hot. It's a high current resistor, so that's no problem, but it means that the relay, which is on the same circuit, is dealing with just as much current. So unless you can get the same exact relay, or make very sure that it has the same operating range, don't try to replace it, because it will get too hot and burn out. Which leads me to the two solutions which do work.

<P>Quick fix: If you all you want to do is run the boiler and get water into the hot water tank, here's how. You'll need to do two separate things: 1. turn on the circulator motor which feeds water into your tank, and 2. turn on the boiler.

<P>1.To turn on the circulator motor: First, make sure that the circuit for the hot water tank is off. This will cut power to the controller and and the circulator motor, so that neither start up until you've reconnected it all. If your system doesn't have such a switch, turn it off at the breaker. Then, open up the panel, and find the conduit that runs from the circulator motor to the controller on the tank. There should be three heavy-duty wires coming out of one cable; two of these wires (black and green in my case) will be connected to the blue wires from the control panel. The third wire (white) just connects directly to the board. Disconnect all three wires from everything, then tie the black and green wires directly together (the two wires that were previously connected to the blue wires). This hard-wires the circulator motor on. As long as you've got the circuit off, nothing should happen at this point.

<P>2.To turn on the boiler: Find the cable that comes from the boiler control: in my case, a black and red wire. They will be connected to the orange wires from the controller. Disconnect them from the controller and tie them together through a switch (leave the switch off for now).

<P>Now, go ahead and disconnect all other wires from the controller, leaving you with just the following: the black and green wires, which should be the most heavy-duty wires in the box, and were previously connected to the blue wires from the controller, are now hard-wired together. The black and red wires on one cable coming from the boiler controller, previously connected to the orange wires, are now connected together with a switch. Voila! Now, when you turn the water tank's circuit back on, the circulator pump will come on. Once you have verified this, flip the other switch you installed to turn the boiler on. Alternatively, you could use another thermostat in the house to force the boiler to come on. As long as the hot water tank's circulator is on, hot water will enter the tank.

<P>OK, so that's if you just want to get some hot water in the tank until you can replace the control. Now, I found another solution which actually turned out to be easier and more permanent. As someone pointed out earlier, the controller can run on either 110VAC or 24VAC. In my case (and I assume for the majority of installations) the controller is run off the 110V line which also controls the circulator motor. I found a 24VAC line coming off the boiler, and tried running the controller off of this, but it didn't work—every time the boiler came on, the controller went off. It has enough power—the problem in my case seemed to be that the boiler coming on shocked the system, and the controller shut itself off to protect itself. In your case you may be able to use the 24V off the boiler. If not, you'll have to find a transformer. Fortunately, I had one lying around. MAKE SURE ITS AN AC to AC TRANSFORMER! DC WILL NOT WORK! Any type of transformer for charging batteries or running electronics will be an AC to DC transformer and will not work. You will need a transformer from a low-voltage lighting system, such as track lighting, under-cabinet lighting, landscaping lighting, etc. As long as the voltage out is anywhere from 20 to 30 volts, it should work. Here's one from Jameco for $10: Jameco Electronics Power Supplies & Wall Adapters: JAMECO RELIAPRO : ADU240100E0461. Radioshack also has some basic ones for $6. You could try that and take it back if it doesn't work.

<P>To install the 24V transformer, assuming you are starting from the beginning (that is, have not yet tried the other fixes I mentioned above): Find the two supply wires on the controller. There should be a black and white wire attached to the board on the opposite corner from which all the other wires are attached. Disconnect these wires from anything else they are connected to, and attach them to the output on your transformer. It's AC, so polarity is irrelevant. For the input side of your transformer, there are three options:

<P>1. If you want to try taking power off the boiler, just go ahead and connect it. If it doesn't work, here's two more options.

<P>2. Plug it into the wall. Depending on what kind of transformer you've got, it may be all set to plug in. If not, just chop up an extension cord.

<P>3. For a more elegant solution, you can connect the transformer to the lines coming in from the circulator motor. These will be the same two wires that the controller was getting power from before you disconnected them to install the transformer—a black and a white wire.

<P>Now, turn everything back on, and it should work. I just finished mine up a few hours ago. I let it run through a complete cycle, and it functioned beautifully. It buzzed at first, albeit much more softly than before, but I gave it a little kick and it stopped. If the whole thing breaks down, I'll post again, but until then, I think this solution should last quite a while. I'm going to try and get Amtron to send us a free replacement anyway, but even if they do, I'll just keep it around until my solution breaks down.

<P>I meant to take a picture of the circuit and label it, but I put the whole thing back together before I remembered. If someone's got a picture of the controller board, put it up and I can explain which wires I'm talking about. I hope this helps!
 
  #24  
Old 10-04-09, 06:08 AM
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I was that guy that suggested that using 24v ac instead of 120v ac helped. It's still working just fine several months later.

Yes, you do need 24v and it must be AC. Yes, these transformers are pretty common and inexpensive. They used to be commonly used to power doorbells and such in houses. I don't know if that is still the case, but you should not have trouble finding one in an electrical supply store.
 
  #25  
Old 10-05-09, 12:53 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: New York
Posts: 3
update

Credit where credit's due: Thanks, bruce508, for the suggestion to use 24V. Mine is working great, and it's encouraging to hear that yours has been going strong for a few months now.

Also, I called up Amtrol today, asked for Jeff Wellen (the guy who sent weskm a free replacement) and he agreed to ship me a replacement controller with no arm-twisting whatsoever. I talked to a few people before him who weren't helpful at all, but Jeff was very friendly.

My plan now is to leave the controller set up on 24V until it dies, at which point I'll have a new one all ready to go, which I also intend to connect to 24V power. It seems like that puts a lot less stress on the system and will keep it working longer.
 
  #26  
Old 10-05-09, 02:20 PM
plumbingods's Avatar
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Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Manch-vegas, New Hampshire
Posts: 2,182
Most heating suppliers will carry a 120/24vac stepdown transformer rated at 40va (volt amps) These low voltage transformers are widely used to power 24v zone valves. Fortunately for us installers, they have finally come out with prewired controls making it much easier for the installer to wire up the zone valves. Unfortunately for you, there may be less of the standard tranformers on the shelf because of this.
 
  #27  
Old 10-19-09, 02:40 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: New York
Posts: 3
Sorry to hear that. My replacement came in the mail last week, but the old one is still going strong on 24V.

I noticed that the new one uses all three relays the same, so hopefully the problem is fixed from the old board design. I called up tech service and asked if it's better to connect the board to 24V or 110V, and they said it doesn't make a difference with this new board, as it's an improved design.
 
  #28  
Old 11-23-09, 06:07 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: new jersey
Posts: 1
smart control repaired

I just finished repairing a smart control. It started buzzing like all the rest. The problem was a 4.7ufd 50volt capacitor on the board. Some electronic soldering needed but pretty easy. If you let it go too long the relay will fry. 49c rather than $199
 
  #29  
Old 11-26-09, 03:05 AM
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: new jersey
Posts: 4
WH7L 41 gal no heat

had the same problem as everyone else. I have replaced the smart conntroller for the third time now.
Last night I installed the new unit and still had the same problem NO HOT WATER!! I set the temp to 135 still no hot water yet the unit turns on at the correct temp and turns off at the correct temp. Yes the temp goes past 150 when set at 135 and triggers the beeper but the water at the facut about 15 feet from the tank is cold. I left the unit went to bed and woke this morning and removed the wire temp sensing wire from the unit and removed the green and white wire from the sheeth for the zone control plug.( Its hard to remove because of the tightnes of the covering around the wires but can be removed ) I slid the temp sensor end of the red and black wire into the sheeth until it was flush with the end of the sheeth and then slide the wire back into the unit until it bottomed out and then slid it out about three inches and tightned the retaining nut. I turned the power back on and reset the unit to 135 degrees and made the turn temp zero under the 135 I HAVE HOT WATER AT MY SINK NOW.
I just thought by tricking the sensor by covering it into the sheeth it would allow the water to heat up more.

I feel that Problem is in the TANK not the controller. I think there has to be a problem with the coil that does not allow the water to hot and that because the temp sensor wire is not in the water that it is not allowing the water to heat up. It worked fantastic when I installed the unit . I jave had the unit for about 3 years, it was a replacement for another unit that went bad.
Rick
 
  #30  
Old 12-03-09, 09:02 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 1
Same problem with WH7L in Canada

Hi all,

Well, I've got basically the same problem as many here have reported...no hot water, no shower, and an upset wife and kids; when I went to check on our two year old WH7L indirect water heater, I find the SmartControl board to be broken, weakly chattering and buzzing periodically and offering no display.

Of course, I check online to see if there's a quick doityourself fix, and what do I find: literally hundreds of posts from users with the exact same problem with this disappointing, fail-prone Amtrol product.

I've contacted Amtrol Canada Ltd (800-256-3188) and left a message for their customer service rep, John, to call me first thing tomorrow morning.

I can't believe Amtrol would push what appears to a known faulty system on customers. I've looked at some of the work-arounds suggested in this forum, but I'm not sure I'm savy enough with electronics and wiring to get it right. Is it worth the risk of burning my house down (and god forbid someone in my family gets hurt) because I'm trying to fix Amtrol's incorrectly engineered system? Yikes!

I'll let you know what kind of help Amtrol Canada Ltd can provide.
 
  #31  
Old 12-14-09, 09:34 PM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 1
Early into the Thanksgiving holiday, I found myself with no hot water. Five years ago, when I gutted my house and had an oil-to-gas conversion with a new boiler and indirect hot water system, the plumber picked the Amtrol Boilermate WH-7P. In my previous house I had installed and enjoyed a tankless hot water heater. But we ran the numbers and the Amtrol seemed a better long-term value. Now I had my doubts about an expensive repair.

Like others found who posted in this thread, I found it was the Smart Control buzzing and clicking. I had to shut the Boilermate down over the long weekend. On Monday, thanks to you previous posters, I called Jeff Wellen at the Warwick headquarters, and he immediately sent me the new, improved Smart Control via next-day air. At no charge.

I replaced the unit and had copious, glorious hot water for the first time in days. Thanks so much to those of you who had already dug out this information for the rest of us, and to Jeff Wellen and his wonderful service on behalf of Amtrol.

"Civilization begins with hot water."
 
  #32  
Old 12-27-09, 06:45 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Taxachusetts
Posts: 2
Just went through the same "Buzz of Death" situation with my Boilermate WHS-80. My buzzing went on for a few months and finally the unit and my hot water quit on Wednesday this week. I pulled the Smartcontrol panel out. My panel is directly wired to the circulator pump. I simply wirenuttedthe black wires together and voila! the circ pump fired up. I left it on for about 45 minutes then disconnected. That was good for 80 gallons of hot water for AM showers. I spoke to Jeff at Amtrol and he sent a new panel UPS overnight at no charge. I have to say he is the best customer service person I have ever dealt with anywhere: pleasant, knowledgeable, and no BS. A real credit to the Amtrol brand. In the future I will have no hesitation in purchasing Amtrol products because they stand behind them. Thank you to all in this forum who helped save me from a Christmas disaster. I got the part Thursday and wirenutted it in. A few simple menu settings and I am now back in business! Easy and saved a plumber visit which would have cost at least $400. Thank You.
 
  #33  
Old 12-29-09, 06:10 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Canada
Posts: 1
My 2704A233 control just went black

I have just reviewed all of the comments surrounding this control and was starting to get concerned because I have to deal with Amtrol Canada and not US. Anyway this morning I called and was told that there is only a one year warranty on the control. I mentioned this web site and all of the premature failures and I was asked to provide an address and that they would be shipping a replacement control out to me. So thank you to everyone who have taken the time to post there problems and listing all of the information. Also the Amtrol for stepping up to the plate and so far coming good for what appears to be a design problem.
 
  #34  
Old 12-29-09, 10:31 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: billerica ma
Posts: 1
Thumbs up Jeff Wellen saves the day

I have just spoken with Jeff Wellen at Amtrol in Rhode Island and he is sending out a new Smart Control. I am elated. Thank you to everyone who has posted. What a relief to get the replacement at no cost. Now my DH can install and I can take a hot shower for the first time in days(weeks). Our Smart Control just failed completely. It also seems to be wreaking havoc on my heat - the room never gets to the temp set on the room's thermostat. I hope that get resolved too.
 
  #35  
Old 01-02-10, 07:01 AM
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Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: US
Posts: 25
I'm in the market for an indirect and was looking at Amtrol because I can get a decent price on one from the local supply house. But reading this thread makes me wonder if I should go with Amtrol. How do they stack up against other indirects? The controller thing bothers me. I have no issue with ripping into an electronic device and fixing it, but to have to do it as frequently as some have mentioned here bothers me in that I'm on the road enough that I don't need calls when I'm away and telling me there's no hot water.
 
  #36  
Old 01-18-10, 09:14 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: MA
Posts: 1
Replacement Smart Control

So - I had the exact same problem with my Amtrol WH7P. And of course it happened over the weekend.
The bad news is that I called Amtrol this morning and was told they would not send me a replacement "free" because my unit is 5+ years old and this is the first time I had a problem. The "good" news is that the replacement part was in stock at my local FW Webb plumbing supply (who said they replace a lot of these). The cost was $190 including tax (ouch!), but at least I was able to get the unit this morning and it is installed and running right now. FW Webb had stores throughout the Northeast, so hopefully if there are other desperate folks out there, this will help them out.
 
  #37  
Old 01-25-10, 09:48 AM
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 1
Thumbs up Amtrol Customer Service

To begin with I also have suffered a failure with my Smart control on my boilermate. This is the 2nd unit to fail since the installation. The 1st failed just as everyone had explained with the buzzing and then complete blank out of screen and no hot water ability. After spending $202.00 on a new smart control I had again experienced the buzzing followed by a complete failure within days. This just happened this past saturday after all normal business hours for any replacement parts. I tried the 24v wiring but had no such luck, part buzzed and screen bliked but never came up online fully. I then chose to bypass the smart control and operate the circulator for a temp. fix so that the family could shower with warm water. This morning I had contacted Amtrol customer service and solicited whatever help they could provide me after giving them basically the same story as above. The agent was extremely helpful and understood my complaints. The agent advised me that Amtrol in Jan. 2008 revamped the smart control completely and he would send one out to me ASAP at no cost to me ...the consumer. I was very pleased with my experience with them and will be awaiting my new part so I can get my system back to normal. In my opinion a companies reputation relies on quality products and good customer service. Amtrol has lived up to that expectation.
 
  #38  
Old 02-10-10, 01:36 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 1
Smile Boilermate control buzzing

Thanks to everyone who wrote about their experiences so that Google could find them. I too noticed the buzz last weekend and after searching the web, called Jeff on Monday morning. Jeff confirmed that failure was in the future. He asked how old my system was and when I told him 3 years, he immediately offered to replace it at no cost to me. I had a UPS package the very next day! I am an extremely happy customer and will certainly recommend a company with that level of customer service to anyone.
 
  #39  
Old 02-27-10, 06:53 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: Taxachusetts
Posts: 2
Same here about a 2 months ago. Jeff was great...I had a new control via UPS on my doorstep the next day.
 
  #40  
Old 03-15-10, 04:10 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 1
Jeff Wellen

i called jeff last week with a 4 year old heater and all the typical symptoms. had a new controller the next day and all is right with the world. **********Jeff Wellen********* was excessively pleasant to deal with. best customer service i have ever recieived.
 
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