“Do it Once. Do it Right.” is one of my favorite sayings from our friends at Taco Comfort Solutions. It’s something all technicians and installers try to live up to when servicing customers. I’d like to share some information on how troubleshooting and installing Taco’s 007e and 0018e has been made easier with Taco’s innovative technology. See Figure 1.
Taco’s 007e Circulator
Let’s start with the circulators and questions you might have, such as what do the solid and flashing lights mean? The Taco 007e® is a variable speed, high-efficiency wet rotor circulator with an ECM motor. For installations, the 007e performance is ideal for hydronic zoning to reduce velocity noise or banging of zone valves closing against high head pressure circulators. Remember when we used to remove one of the springs from an older style zone valve to prevent this from happening? No need to worry about that anymore because the 007e has an additional Green Mode operating curve that will self-adjust automatically. How cool is that? This circulator also reduces power consumption by up to 85% compared to equivalent AC permanent split capacitor circulators.
Here’s how it works—the circulator will start in what’s called the normal mode; you’ll see the Orange LED during this mode. After seven days of constant running, the 007e will adjust its curve to Low Proportional Pressure curve for power optimization. This is the Green Mode; the Green LED will be displayed during this period. The 007e will reset to the original normal mode curve every time it cycles OFF. See Figure 2.
Now for some troubleshooting; if you encounter a White LED flashing on the circulator, this is an indication that the system is air-bound and you’ll need to purge the system. Believe it or not, this circulator is capable of attempting to self-purge itself. Here’s how—if the circulator becomes air-bound, it drops itself down to seven watts of power, and then quickly jumps up 42 watts, in most case this will burp the air out of the circulator and hopefully get caught and removed by your air eliminator in the system. If you encounter a solid Red LED, this indicates that there’s a blocked rotor and the circulator was not able to dislodge whatever is causing the blockage.
If anything impedes the flow of the impeller, the circulator recognizes this and will go to its flashing Red & White mode, drops itself down to its lowest power, then returns to full power, and proceeds to spin the impeller forward-and-backwards to cause a vibration that attempts to dislodge the blockage. Once the blockage is dislodged, the circulator will resume its normal operation. If it’s not able to dislodge the blockage, the circulator makes 100 attempts to restart (that process lasts approximately 15 minutes). Every restart is signaled by a short White flash of the LED light. If the locking is not removed through the automatic release process after 100 attempts to restart the circulator, it goes into standby and the LED remains a solid Red.
In this case, follow the manual procedure: during any attempt, the Red LED light keeps blinking; after that the circulator tries again to start. If the locking is not removed through the automatic release process (the warning light returns to Red), perform these manual steps to unlock the circulator:
1. Disconnect power to the circulator.
2. Close both isolating valves and allow cooling. If there are no isolation valves, drain the system so that the fluid level is beneath that of the circulator. This would also be a good time to consider installing isolation valves.
3. Loosen the four motor bolts and remove the motor from casing. Carefully pull the rotor/impeller from the motor.
4. Remove impurities and deposits from the impeller and casing. Then reinsert the rotor/impeller into the motor, restore the power and check to see that impeller is rotating freely.
If the circulator still doesn’t run it will need to be replaced.
Taco’s 0018e Circulator
The Taco 0018e circulator is awesome; it features Bluetooth technology and is a versatile, variable speed, high-efficiency wet rotor circulator with an ECM motor. It’s ideal for closed loop hydronic heating, open loop or domestic water applications. If you download the Taco 0018e Mobile App, you can see and control real-time system performance, as well as run system operation and validation reports, including performance diagnostics and history. You’ll know the most efficient setting based on real-time feedback and alleviate the problems of over-pumping.
You can now design systems with precision. See Figure 3.
Once you’ve downloaded the App to your device (phone or iPad), you can adjust the performance curves with accuracy. For a panel radiator with this circulator’s variable speed capabilities, you can set it up for a proportional pressure mode, so the circulator maintains a proportional pressure differential as the heating load increases or decreases. Your selection options here are Medium and High. See Figure 4.
A system with zone valves can be placed in the constant pressure mode. In this mode, the circulator will maintain a constant pressure differential in the system as the heating load increases or decreases. Once again, your selection options here will also be Medium and High. See Figure 5 for the equivalent 00 model at each setting.
Finally, a system zone circulator can be placed in the fixed speed mode, where the circulator will be infinitely adjustable and operate between its minimum and maximum speed. This allows you to control the circulator’s flow rate to precisely match the design load conditions. See Figure 6 for the equivalent 00 model at each variable speed setting.
Note: As far as the troubleshooting goes with this circulator, all steps pertaining to the 007e as relates to the Red & White lights applies to this circulator as well.
Service Education Circulator Troubleshooting Circulators These are just two of the many circulators available and happen to be favorites of mine. There are many others, both in type and brand, and choosing the right circulator is something many—including myself—have not taken into consideration over the years. Guilty as charged. Let’s be honest—how many of us believed for years that the Taco 007e was the right circulator for just about any scenario? Just because it worked and was heating the home doesn’t mean it was the right application, nor was it likely providing the optimum performance and comfort that our customers deserved. This is why it’s important to size a circulator using the chart provided by the circulator manufacturers. See Figure 7. ICM
Alan Mercurio is the Lead Technical Trainer & Assistant Director at PPATEC, a division of the Pennsylvania Petroleum Association. He can be reached by email: [email protected]; phone: 717-939-1781
ext. 101 or on PPATEC’s Facebook Page.
In ICM’s July/August issue, I mentioned how I looked forward to writing about the Carlin Pro-X 70200 Primary Control. The diagnostic capabilities of this control, as my friend Michael Warn of Carlin/Hydrolevel would say, provide you with a roadmap to determine what component to check as well as what caused that component to fail. Let’s use an example of the control showing a fault code that says “Check Motor” “High Amps” (Figure 1).
Notice it does not say replace motor; it is just pointing you in a direction that will likely lead to solving the issue(s) in a more efficient way. If you see that message, make sure the power is off to the appliance, then flip the igniter back (open) to expose the burner’s blower wheel. Push it forward to see if it feels tight/sluggish. Then remove the motor from the burner housing and turn the burner’s blower wheel again. If it moves with ease, then I would suspect it was the fuel unit binding up, and likely is in need of replacement. You can confirm this by using the burner coupling to turn the shaft on the fuel unit, and confirm it is in fact binding up.
If the burner blower wheel is hard to turn after removal, then it is the motor that needs replacement. However, still check the fuel unit. For this scenario, let’s pretend it is the fuel unit. Although we know it will be replaced, there are still some diligent steps we need to take in the hopes of preventing a call-back.
The 5 Whys
In my workshops, I often talk about cause, effects and chain of events. In the National Oilheat Research Alliance’s (NORA) Oilheat Technicians Manual–Silver, we refer to this as asking the 5 Whys. It is great that we have determined what part needs to be replaced, but we need to ask ourselves what caused it to fail in the first place? In this case, check for water in the fuel and the condition of the fuel filter and strainer. You’d more than likely replace those at this time and also check the system vacuum. All of these steps don’t really take that long, and they will most likely lead us to what actually caused the fuel unit to fail.
To check the system vacuum, you first need to know the anticipated vacuum. To determine that, just remember 1′ of vertical lift = 1″ vacuum and 10′ of horizontal run = 1″ vacuum. Then add any filters, fittings and valves. If the vacuum is lower than your anticipated vacuum, you have a leak somewhere and this needs to be fixed. If your vacuum is higher than your anticipated vacuum, you have a restriction somewhere and that needs to be corrected.
Another fault code, in this case from the Beckett GeniSys via the contractor tool (Figure 2), shows the message “DID NOT LIGHT.” This could be something as simple as the electrodes are out of alignment, which you could check with an electrode gauge; it could also be a faulty igniter. There are a couple of ways to check this. One way to test the igniter is the secondary coil test—place an ohmmeter across the igniter output terminals with the power off and measure the resistance between both springs/clips. The reading should be less than 2,000 Ohms and should equal the reading you get from both spring/clip to ground reading +/- 10%
Then measure the resistance from each igniter post to ground (Figure 3). The igniter is considered good if the resistance from each post to ground has no more than a 10% difference between posts.
Each manufacturer is different and they should be consulted for the proper output range and differential. It’s also important that you verify continuity between the igniter case ground and true ground.
Another test that is approved by most manufacturers is to bring the igniter output terminals to within ½ to ¾ of an inch apart and turn on the power (Figure 4). A strong, blue spark should be generated. Let it spark for about five minutes to see if the spark changes from blue to orange; if it does, replace the igniter.
Finally, you could also test the igniter with what is referred to as the input current test. Bring the igniter output terminals to within ½ to ¾ of an inch apart, as described earlier. Then using a multi-meter capable of reading milliamps, put it in series with the hot line going to the igniter and turn it on (Figure 5). Again, the reading should stay steady and not vary for at least five minutes with a strong blue spark throughout the test, while staying within 10% of the rated amperage draw for the device.
If you have any questions as to how to check and test any of the items referred to in this article, you can find the information in NORA’s Oilheat Technicians Manual – Silver, or feel free to E-mail me. ICM
Alan Mercurio is the Lead Technical Trainer & Assistant Director at PPATEC, a division of the Pennsylvania Petroleum Association. He can be reached at [email protected], 717-939-1781 ext. 101, or on PPATEC’s Facebook Page.
As I make my way back onto the pages of ICM (it’s been a while), I’d like to share a few of my thoughts and observations about how far our industry has advanced over the past several decades, and where it’s headed with today’s technology. I chose the title of this article because I want to talk to you about just that—change and acceptance. In future articles, I will go deeper into various systems and components, how they work and how to troubleshoot them.
Change – Many of us are often reluctant to change. The longer we’ve been in the industry, the harder it seems for some of us to keep up with those changes. My hope is that through this series of articles you’ll embrace these changes. If you have already, I hope you’ll be patient with those who haven’t and guide them by sharing what you’ve learned and the benefits to both you and your consumer, our customers.
Acceptance – Naturally, acceptance is the key to embracing change with anything in life. When we take the time to learn about any new system and/or component—this makes embracing that much easier, even for us stubborn industry veterans. I’ve been in the HVAC industry for 30+ years, and although I’m an advocate of advanced technology and improving things whenever and wherever we can, some of the changes have taken me outside of my comfort zone over the years.
Fortunately, I learned early in life that as long as you keep an open heart and an open mind, you can learn just about anything. As in industry instructor, I often share this advice with my students and I have witnessed it help both them and me embrace changes.
Technology in Today’s Industry – As I sit here sipping my coffee and writing this article, I think about how I can reach for my phone and in a couple of swipes on the screen, I can see in real-time how much oil is in the tank at the PPATEC HVAC training facility in Harrisburg, PA through the Beckett Link App. I can also monitor and even do some basic troubleshooting of the Regal furnace in the lab, through a Cloud-based application provided by NRGmax. These two examples are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of how many innovative and advanced controls we have today in our industry.
Readily available information – When I’m teaching classes or working in the lab with my fellow technicians, I often find myself telling them they’ve got it made today when it comes to troubleshooting equipment and components. I talk about the processes we followed back in the day to diagnose a system, and how with today’s advanced technology, many of those steps have been removed, making a techs’ ability to diagnose a system easier and less time-consuming. How, years ago, most of my technical troubleshooting guides and manufacturer’s installation and operation manuals were stored in a milk crate that was between the seats in my service van. By the time I was a senior tech, I had graduated to having two milk crates. It’s not about keeping everything you need to know in your head, but knowing where to find the information when you need it.
Today, you can have an unlimited amount of milk crates filled with valuable information, they just don’t have to be kept in you service van anymore; they are kept in folders on you Smart phones or other devices.
Trevor Brubaker, a fellow technical instructor, has the Evernote App on his Smart phone. It’s designed for note taking, organizing, task management and archiving data, such as technical notes, which can be quickly found just by using its keyword search function.
Among the advanced controls I look forward to writing in a future article is the Carlin Pro- X 70200 Primary Control. Michael Warn is a technical support specialist and fellow instructor who works for Carlin/Hydrolevel. He describes the troubleshooting feature of this control as not necessarily telling you what component needs to be replaced, just providing a roadmap of components you should check, and then determining what caused that component to fail.
In the next issue, I’ll take a deeper dive into this control, how it works and how to utilize its diagnostic fault history capabilities and control settings. I’ll also include a deep dive into the Beckett GeniSys.
Another quote I’m fond of sharing with my fellow techs and students is, “Once you understand the sequence of operation, troubleshooting is nothing more than the process of elimination.”
I look forward to sharing things I have leaned and continue to learn, and I thank my friends at ICM for providing me with this platform to share technically-relevant articles over the next six months. ICM