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Water heater is making loud clicking noises and strange display

I have a Boilermate Premeir with a Smart Control. I believe this iscalled a parasitic system and operates off a zone off the house'sforced water heating system. The system has been installed for severalyears. We did have a problem with pipes freezing in the winter. Irepaired the pipes and repressurized the system, though sometimes thesystem loses pressure and I add water again. I did bleed the air fromthe broken loop.

Now,the smart control of the Boilermate has a minus before the ''On''. Itlooks like -On. Sometimes the minus flickers. Sometimes it looks likethe display will go off altogether and lately that has happened. Thesmart control makes a fairly loud buzzing noise, similar to a ********motor.

It is on a 24v system. Sometimes, when its display isflickering I hear relays or solenoids on the boiler itself flick on andoff. Sometimes the whole system shuts down. Then I must turn off theswitches on the boiler, wait a bit, and then sometimes things seemalmost normal when I restart things. The situation is getting worse.

Any things I should check? I have a meter and some electrical experience.

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  • 8 more comments 
  • bruce508
    bruce508 Jun 20, 2009

    Where would the thermostat be? Are you talking about the one on the main boiler? The problems seem to be associated with the water heater. Heating in the house was working fine, though we don't need it right now. Is there something I can check? Thanks.

  • bruce508
    bruce508 Jun 20, 2009

    The model number is WHS80. It is an Amtrol Boilermate Premeir indirect hot water heater.


  • bruce508
    bruce508 Jun 20, 2009

    Just to clarify: I am to connect the two orange wires to one another, then connect the two blue wires to one another, then connect the two purple wires to one another.

  • bruce508
    bruce508 Jun 20, 2009

    Do you want me to check the voltage on the black and white before I connect the blue and orange pairs each together?

    I suspect the voltage is going on and off because a relay box on the furnace boiler clanks on and off in sync with the smart control display going on and off.


  • bruce508
    bruce508 Jun 20, 2009

    Oh, I don't have gas. The furnace boiler is oil heat.

  • bruce508
    bruce508 Jun 20, 2009

    I checked the voltage on the black and white wire. Actually the voltage is 120v AC, not the 24v I thought.

    There was nothing connected to the blue or purple wires, so I left them alone.

    I connected the two orange wires together. Now the smart control still hums, but the relay on the furnace is not clanking, so I guess it was clanking because the smart control was oscillating in telling it whether or not it needed hot water. The boiler turned on and was running for at least a minute when I went back upstairs. I suppose I should now shut it off because I don't want the water to get too hot.

    But the furnace boiler makes a lot of noise when the flame is on, so I don't know whether or not the circulator motor in the water heater is on.


  • bruce508
    bruce508 Jun 20, 2009

    I went downstairs and turned everything off. I'm trying to understand where I stand.

    Is the smart control the same as the thermostat? Or is it in addition to the thermostat? I know there is some sort of probe, connected to the bottom of the smart box with a Molex connector through small wires, that goes under the tank, but I am guessing that is the replaceable heat sensor. So is that conceivably the problem or is it for certain the smart control itself?

    I feel like I understand part of this but not all of this.

  • bruce508
    bruce508 Jun 20, 2009

    When I did bleed the system after I fixed the burst pipes (in many places) a few months ago, it did greatly reduce the gurgling. I can do that again now. I was just doing the zone with the burst pipes which, of course, is not the zone with the water heater.

    The noises I heard came from two places: the smart controller box itself makes a sound like a little relay going on and off rapidly. That still happens. The other sound was the loud clanking from the relay box on the side of the furnace boiler. That no longer happens because, I suspect, the water heater circulator was on steady after the wires were shorted together. There is the noise of the furnace itself when the flame is on, but that is normal.

    So would I need to buy a new smart controller? Or are there parts in there I might be able to service? And are we pretty sure at this point that it is the smart controller? I noticed the conversion kits to go from smart to mechanical or the other way around were about $200 on froogle.com


  • bruce508
    bruce508 Jun 20, 2009

    I also found

    http://www.accentshopping.com/product.as...

    And I also found this page

    http://forum.doityourself.com/water-heat...

    which seems to indicate that a lot of people have this very same problem, so likely that is the cause.

    Unless you have some reason to think one supplier is better than the other, I'll probably just order from the lower one and wire it in myself when it arrives. But I may first dissect the old one to see if I can tell what broke and whether it can be repaired.

    You've been a great help. Sounds like you do this sort of work a lot. Have you been on fixya long?


  • bruce508
    bruce508 Jun 20, 2009

    He knows his stuff and is patient and good at explaining it!

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  • Master
  • 334 Answers

Hey,ther, sound to me like you need a new thermostat, is this the house tstat or for the water heater

Posted on Jun 20, 2009

  • 9 more comments 
  • seth veloso Jun 20, 2009

    also, can you give me the model number?

  • seth veloso Jun 20, 2009

    Ok, now the smart control should have some wires going to it. Make sure you turn the power of then wire nut the two orange wires coming from the boiler togeher, wire nut the two blue wires from the boiler together, then the two violet wires, put a wire nut on each one so they don't touch each other or anything else. If you don't have wirenuts just twist the wires together and tape them off to be safe. Once everything is covered and safe, turn the power back on and the boiler should fire off, proving the smart control is not that smart anymore and needs to be replaced. Let me know if you don't fire off after this.

  • seth veloso Jun 20, 2009

    Also, check the voltage at the black and white wires while the smart controller is buzzing.

  • seth veloso Jun 20, 2009

    no, the purple wires are not connected to anything, their circuit needs to stay open. When you do turn this on, stay by the switch and give it only a couple of seconds because you are energizing the gas valve too.

  • seth veloso Jun 20, 2009

    well, You should have steady voltage on black and white and all the other wires depend on what the smart control is doing, so yes the clicking relays I'm thinking is due to a faulty smart control

  • seth veloso Jun 20, 2009

    ok, same thing, except the oil burner should control itself and you don't need to worry about any fuel valves being open when you connect those wires

  • seth veloso Jun 20, 2009

    OK yes, do not leave it on and unatended while overridding. Still sounds like the smart control is bad. The noise can be coming from the pump not running (not sure where it is in your house) as well as air pockets from the leak that you had before. Make sure your pump IS running then try to bleed from somewhere high in the system.

  • seth veloso Jun 20, 2009

    OK yes, you are on the right page. There is a sensor connected to the smart control so that it knows what the water temp is. The smart control is indeed the thermostat with just a little more control feature (on/off differential for example) If the sensor goes bad, you will see "ER 1" on the smart control indicating the sensor is bad

  • seth veloso Jun 20, 2009

    Yes I am abou 99 percent certain since your display was going in and out as well. The only other thing that can cause all those relays to click like that would be the flow switch proving water flow. If there is a large amount of air in the system it will cause the switch to make and break. May be something to look into just in case, but I would expect noise all through your water lines (air) and your display not flashing like it is. The flow switch is usualy in a box mounted to the pipes near your boiler and pump and has two wires to it. Since it is a switch you can wire nut the two wires together to simulate a closed valve. Give me a minute and I'll see if I can find you a smart control a little cheaper.

  • seth veloso Jun 20, 2009

    Hey, this link is about as cheap as I can find

    http://www.partsguy.com/cgi-bin/PartsGuy...


  • seth veloso Jun 20, 2009

    I just started doing this a week ago, I have a broken back (not bad ) and I'm out of work. I usually work on boilers up to 40 million BTU's the bigger ones but they are all the same. All the suppliers are going to have the same product, it only has one manufacturer. Well, good luck to ya and I'm glad we got this all straightened out. Let me know if there was anything else I can help you with.

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