Fixing the Dreaded Boilermate Buzz: Control Board Repair

Post Reply
User avatar
SMITTY
Member
Posts: 11912
Joined: Sun. Dec. 11, 2005 12:43 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - (custom built by Jim Dorsey, Taunton MA - RIP 4/18/13)
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (SOLD!)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler
Location: West-Central Mass

Post Sat. Jun. 29, 2013 12:21 am

Right before I shut down for the season I thought I heard my oil boiler kick on/off several times within a 30 second stretch. Heard it going to bed one night recently, went downstairs, and the boiler had caught right as I got down there , of course. Tonight, the wifey went to bed, and she calls me in the room and asks why the boiler kicked on/0ff 12 times in 30 seconds. WTF .... so go downstairs and the place reeks like someone fired up a diesel tractor down there. The problem? ELECTRONICS, of course. :mad: When I look at the Amtrol indirect-fired water heater display, it's flickering very rapidly, and the "dash" symbol (like a minus) is displayed next to the word "ON" - that only happens when the power is interrupted, and the unit restarted - once the dash disappears, the unit kicks on the circulator, if needed, and then the burner on the boiler.

Well this som bitch was also buzzing like a hornets nest, along with the flickering. The burner was kicking on/off because the unit would command the circ on ... and then would go haywire and kill the command - this would happen over and over. No wonder I've gone thru 1/4 tank of oil since March! ...

Found the manual tucked away, and retrieved the part number for the board. 2704A233. Google found several of them ranging in price from $170 - $260! :shock: :wtf:

A little more investigation turned up the solution I was dreaming about A FREE ONE!! This guy posted an EXCELLENT tutorial on the DIY forum on how to fix this electronic pile of crap without spending a dime. If anyone has the same unit I have - the Amtrol Boilermate (Home Depot special), model WH-7P, check out the post #12 by the guy Mikie from NC - I printed it out, and might tackle that job tomorrow. 8-)

I owe that dude some beeers! http://www.doityourself.com/forum/water-heaters/3 ... oblem.html

waldo lemieux
Member
Posts: 2268
Joined: Sun. Sep. 30, 2012 8:20 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: efm
Stove/Furnace Model: s-20
Location: Ithaca,NY

Post Sat. Jun. 29, 2013 8:02 am

Smitty

Awesome detective work. I know where there are several of these units that are in the scrap heap because of the same reported problem . I can have them for free, I think. :D I love how the co. knows the problem and they just want to sell you another mother board with the same design flaw. I owe you the same beers, if I could just get my wife to stop drinking it all :shock:

Good hustle
Waldo :cheers:

User avatar
SMITTY
Member
Posts: 11912
Joined: Sun. Dec. 11, 2005 12:43 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - (custom built by Jim Dorsey, Taunton MA - RIP 4/18/13)
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (SOLD!)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler
Location: West-Central Mass

Post Sat. Jun. 29, 2013 4:31 pm

Thanks man - yeah it worked out good. Hey if you can repair all of those, you could make a killing selling them on eBay. :idea:

A successful mission - we've got BUZZ free controls, and no more multi-kick-on b/s with the oil burner. Very happy. Cost me ZILCH - that is mint!! YEAH!!

Was a bit of work for me though, not having the correct equipment for the job. I have no solder sucker and a giant 230W gun!! Made this take MUCH longer than it should have. All told, just under 2.5 hours from start to boiler kick-on. I tried using a stripped 18awg wire to "mop" and "flick" the solder off. Then I tried making a sucker from a little rubber bulb used for batteries - that didn't work so well, so I used it to BLOW the solder off! Was a pain trying to heat all 8 contacts at once to remove the little legs from the board. I jammed a screwdriver under it, and kept twisting while I heated. Eventually that little prick came out! If all this heat didn't kill the board, then anyone out there with the LEAST bit of mechanical know-how will successfully pull this off, especially with the correct equipment!

Here's the abbreviated directions in my own words based upon the information supplied by Little Mikie on the DIY website:

First I had to remove the affected relay, and a little 3/16" round 4.7µ capacitor related to it. This relay is located adjacent to the hot & neutral leads in the lower left hand corner when you orient the board that way. Now with the relay removed, looking from the COMPONENT side (not the solder side) of the board, there will be 6 holes (PADS), then 2 below it, where the legs of the former relay went. Like this, only rotate this little drawing inside the arrows 90°CLOCKWISE so that the "6" are at the top and the "2" are at the bottom: >>> ::: : <<<

Starting at the lower left (the pair by themselves, below the six pattern) is pad 1 .... directly above that in the lower left hand corner of the "6" is pad 2 .... above that is 3 ... and last one on that side is pad 4 ... then ACROSS the TOP toward your right is pad 5 .... and so on down to the very last in the lower right hand corner which is pad 8.

SO:
  • Pad 1: Coil
  • Pad 2: NC contact set 1
  • Pad 3: Swinger contact set 1
  • Pad 4: N.O. contact set 1
  • Pad 5: N.O. contact set 2
  • Pad 6: Swinger contact set 2
  • Pad 7: NC contact set 2
  • Pad 8: Coil
So now, to install the 2 jumpers:

FOR 120V INPUT:
  • Jumper 1: From pad 3 to pad 4
  • Jumper 2: From pad 5 to pad 6

FOR 24V INPUT:
  • Jumper 1: From pad 2 to pad 3
  • Jumper 2: From pad 6 to pad 7
Now hook everything all back up and pat yourself on the back! :drunk: :cheers: :band:

Some pics of the process ....

The assembly:
Attachments
Amtrol Smart control unit repair.JPG
Board removed - if you look closely, you will notice the TWO 2W resistors there got a little hot. That may have been from this malfunction, or possibly from my old chinese generator that fried a few things in the house in '08 when it spiked up to 180VAC due to an unbalanced load. Made the lights in the house REALLY BRIGHT!
Amtrol Smart control unit repair (2).JPG
Here is a closeup of the overheated resistor, the hot & neutral leads in the lower left hand corner as mentioned, and the small capacitor that I have removed.
Amtrol Smart control unit repair (3).JPG
Solder side of the board under the overheated resistor. Note the discoloration!
Amtrol Smart control unit repair (4).JPG
Relay and capacitor removed - note the empty space on the board in the background for an idea of the pattern. Next pic will show this better. 2 of the pins pulled out of the relay - that is why your only counting 6. They got a little hot with the 230w gun!
Amtrol Smart control unit repair (5).JPG
Pay no mind to my TERRIBLE soldering job. It's tough using a 230w soldering gun for little things like this! Now that I'm done making excuses, this pic is of the 2 jumpers I made by twisting 4 strands of copper wire together from an 18 AWG coated wire.

waldo lemieux
Member
Posts: 2268
Joined: Sun. Sep. 30, 2012 8:20 pm
Stove/Furnace Make: efm
Stove/Furnace Model: s-20
Location: Ithaca,NY

Post Sat. Jun. 29, 2013 6:50 pm

:dancing: :clap: :smoke: :cheers: :nice: Thanx for the photo's. Pictures' worth a thousand words. Again good hustle!!

Waldo


User avatar
carlherrnstein
Member
Posts: 970
Joined: Tue. Feb. 07, 2012 8:49 am
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: combustioneer model 77B
Coal Size/Type: pea stoker/Ohio bituminous
Location: Clarksburg, ohio

Post Sat. Jun. 29, 2013 10:05 pm

In the future, if you need to remove solder from a board go to radio shack and ask for solder wick its like a ribbon made from woven copper. You place the ribbon over the solder joint and put the soldering iron on it and the solder melts and wicks into the ribbon.

User avatar
SMITTY
Member
Posts: 11912
Joined: Sun. Dec. 11, 2005 12:43 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - (custom built by Jim Dorsey, Taunton MA - RIP 4/18/13)
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (SOLD!)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler
Location: West-Central Mass

Post Sat. Jun. 29, 2013 11:17 pm

Actually I ended up buying a solder sucker off Amazon. Was going to buy the cheap one, but I'm just so sick of all the cheap crap that breaks nowadays - I want it to work when I need it to. It looks like a little soldering iron, but has a squeeze bulb hanging off the side.

User avatar
mozz
Member
Posts: 1094
Joined: Mon. Sep. 17, 2007 5:27 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Axeman Anderson 1982 AA-130 Steam
Location: Wayne county PA.

Post Sun. Jun. 30, 2013 7:34 am

You can also use the braid from a piece of tv cable coax. Flux helps to draw up the solder. I am wondering why you jumped the relay. Is something not going to work now or stay on all the time?

User avatar
Rob R.
Site Moderator
Posts: 11522
Joined: Fri. Dec. 28, 2007 4:26 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Coal Size/Type: Lehigh Rice
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy
Location: Chazy, NY

Post Sun. Jun. 30, 2013 8:05 am

How is the sensor mounted in the tank? Can you use an aquastat with a remote bulb?


User avatar
SMITTY
Member
Posts: 11912
Joined: Sun. Dec. 11, 2005 12:43 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - (custom built by Jim Dorsey, Taunton MA - RIP 4/18/13)
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (SOLD!)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler
Location: West-Central Mass

Post Thu. Jul. 04, 2013 11:19 am

The sensor is a thermistor that goes up inside the tank. It plugs into the circuit board. No idea how it works, but it does. The tank is so heavily insulated that a remote bulb would be impossible. Only place you could put it would be on the HW output line, which would call for heat whenever the hot water wasn't used. Unless you could just wire that bulb into the thermistor ...
mozz wrote:You can also use the braid from a piece of tv cable coax. Flux helps to draw up the solder. I am wondering why you jumped the relay. Is something not going to work now or stay on all the time?
Was using rosin core solder - suppose to have flux already in it. Guess I just put a little too much heat on it. Anyway, that relay controls the switch from 120v to 24v. Since my house and system runs on 120v, that's why the jumpers are where they are. For 24v the jumpers go in a different location as stated in the instructions above.

User avatar
McGiever
Member
Posts: 6086
Joined: Sun. May. 02, 2010 11:26 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: AXEMAN-ANDERSON 130 "1959"
Coal Size/Type: PEA / ANTHRACITE
Other Heating: Ground Source Heat Pump
Stove/Furnace Make: Hydro Heat /Mega Tek
Location: Junction of PA-OH-WV

Post Thu. Jul. 04, 2013 10:06 pm

Thermistor would not work at 120 volts with an added aquastat. That is one reason why the transformer is in the controller.
However, there are controllers available that would use the existing thermistor, but why, Smitty's fix is pretty hard to beat. :)

On a side note, I run my BoilerMate controls at 24 volts and all is well thus far. ;)

User avatar
SMITTY
Member
Posts: 11912
Joined: Sun. Dec. 11, 2005 12:43 pm
Stoker Coal Boiler: Patriot Coal - (custom built by Jim Dorsey, Taunton MA - RIP 4/18/13)
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Mark III (SOLD!)
Coal Size/Type: Rice / Blaschak anthracite
Other Heating: Oil fired Burnham boiler
Location: West-Central Mass

Post Fri. Jul. 05, 2013 8:08 am

Yeah from what I've gathered in reading, that relay seems to only go on the fritz with 120v -- on 24v there's no abuse to it, as it's a normally closed relay and thus does nothing if fed 24v ... if I remember right. I could've done that had I known it was dual-power. I have a 24v transformer above the boiler for the 3 zone valves.

Yeah the thing's been working great! Now though, I think that short cycling problem caused my 17 year old burner parts to fail. Been noticing several clouds of black smoke billowing from the chimney at start up. More than likely it needs a new electric eye, ignition coil, and electrodes.

oilman
Member
Posts: 214
Joined: Sat. Feb. 04, 2006 6:19 pm
Location: Central New York

Post Sat. Jul. 20, 2013 3:23 pm

There's a conversion kit available to go from the smart control to the mechanical dial control. A much easier fix. Amtrol #2704-392

Post Reply

Return to “Wood, Pellets, Gas, Oil, Geothermal & Other Heating Types”