Burnham Alpine 105

Discussion in 'Boiler Forum' started by Capindres, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. Capindres

    Capindres New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Soldotna Alaska
    Hellow everyone,
    I purchased a Burnham Alpine 105 about 21 months ago. (and I'm not happy)
    Have had alot of issues with this unit. My current issue is what Burnham calls "soft lockout"
    Boiler will come on as normal, and run through its cycle and ignite the boiler.
    Then the water temperature will begin to rise in 2 degree increments, 92, 94, 96 etc.

    Then when it reaches arround 100 degrees plus or minus it will do this: 92, 94, 96, 98, 100, 98, 96, 100 then soft lockout
    because it says the temperature rise was to fast.

    I cleaned the combustion chamber as per manual. (very little to clean)
    Circulation pump is fine and working proper. I cleaned the Ignitor and temp sensor as per instructions in the manual. (still same problem)
    I ordered new replacement Ignitor & sensor and installed them this morning. (Same results)

    Does any one have any idea how to cure this problem? Burnham is no help, just try to get advise from these people.
    You would think that they would go out of their way to help there customers.... NOT!

    I do believe that I made a grave mistake of purchasing a BURNHAM ALPINE 105 boiler, and would never recommend to anyone
    the purchase of one of these products. Since the installation by a Certified licensed plumber, I've put over $1,500 in repairs & plumber labor expenses
    into this boiler.

    My intution tells me that it's probably a malfunctioning water temperature sensor, or a computer malfunction.

    It's starting to get cold here in Alaska, the temp. is dropping down into the low 30's at night. And my Plumber is booked until Sept. 30th.

    Thank You,
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,817
    Location:
    New England
    You may have some air in the system and it is not actually moving the water. An air lock can cause this. First thing I'd try is to bleed it to see if there is any trapped air. I don't know the specifics of this boiler installation, but many call for a primary/secondary loop. How is yours installed? When the call for heat occurs, are the circulator(s) actually coming on? Do you have an air extraction device? Is it gunked up and no longer functioning? If you have zone valves, are the valves actually opening? Many of those have a manual override, you could try manually opening the one that is calling for heat. How many zones do you have? How about an indirect WH? If you have one, is that warming up properly, or does it fail when that zone calls for heat as well?
  3. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,785
    Location:
    01609
    No-flow or low-flow an inadequate air-purging would be my first guess too. Certified or not it wouldn't be the first (or last) time a plumber walked away from the job thinking that the system was fully purged & up to snuff, and had the ongoing capacity to bleed air automatically.

    Got any pictures of the installation?

    What type of radiation?
  4. Capindres

    Capindres New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Soldotna Alaska
    Yes it's plumbed correctly. It has the the primary and secondary loop so that the boiler can circulate indepenantly of zone control valve circulation. And it also has an automatic air bleed valve. It has worked fine for the past 4-6 months with no ploblem. The main circulator is working fine, as well as the zone valves. At one point I set several thermostats to call for heat, then manually forced zone valve's open, all with the same soft lockout.
    I just talked with Burnham again this morning, and they are "preplexed" and gave me a phone number of a plumber in Washington whom I called. He thinks it might be the High limit switch is malfunctioning. So I have one on order by Blue streak air. Will be here this afternoon and will try.

    Thank You,
    Capindres
  5. Capindres

    Capindres New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Soldotna Alaska
    There appears to be no air in the system. It's set up where I can easily check for iar, either in a single zone, or the system in general. The problem is not that it's overheating and shutting down, rather, it rarely reaches its set point of 180 degrees, yet reports that the temp is rising to fast and then soft lockout the system and shuts down. Then after about 20 minutes if left alone will reset its self and start over again. I have 2 types of radiation. Baseboard heaters upstairs, and in-the-concrete-floor heat down stairs. The HW is on its own zone going through one of those rectangle laminated copper heat exchangers.
    I was able to contact a plumber in the know in the Washington area (Burnham gave me the number) and he thinks it's a malfunctioning Limit switch. Have one on order, will be here this PM and will report back once I get it installed and determine the outcome.

    Thank You,
    Capindres
  6. Capindres

    Capindres New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Soldotna Alaska
    Well I received the upper limit switch, and installed it. Noticed when I drained the water from the boiler it was dis-colored, so I also flushed the system until I got clear water.
    Got quite a bit of "sediments" that looks like sand until you smash it between your fingers, then it looks like mud. So far seems to be working just fine :--)) Temperature climed without any soft-lockouts except while I was flushing the system while it was running, but I kinda expected that because I was messing with the water temperature. But time will tell.

    Thanks to all who posted a reply, I was just about ready to take a sledge hammer to that darn thing. :)) (not really)

    CapIndRes (CAPacitance-INDuctance-RESistance) on YouTube - If you get a chance check out some of my "free energy" video's
  7. Capindres

    Capindres New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Soldotna Alaska
    Well I'm still preplexed. Seemed to run fine .....but.... I still have the same old problem of "soft lockout" not as often, or at lower temperatures, but never the less still doing it.
    SO, thinking it might be the main computer board (I have a brand new one purchased last winter while fighting another malfunction) I switched the main board computer's out.
    Still does the same thing.
    FACTS:
    New Igniter (gap set to .170 inch)
    New flame sensor
    New High temp limit switch
    New computer board
    Main circulation pump (closest to boiler) works fine (3 speed set on #2) have also tried #3 speed with no noticable difference.
    All zone valves are working, when activated by t-stat and call for heat, then the boiler responds, you can feel the individusl zone pipes getting hot fast.
    No restriction in Air inlet to boiler
    No restriction to exaust from boiler
    Boiler burn chamber is clean
    No air in system
    Water has been purged from system to remove sediments that were present
    Air flow fan "seems" to be working fine.

    Any one out there have any other thoughts?
    My plumber will be here Friday (this is Monday)

    Thank you,
    Capinders
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,817
    Location:
    New England
    Some loops are quite sensitive to the pump speed, what does your manual say the adjustable speed pump should be on? 2 may not be good for it. The sensor that monitors the supply temperature may be bad, or the connection loose...it sounds like the controller is doing what it is supposed to - it appears to think there's no or little flow, the temperature is rising too fast, and predicting the possibility that it might flash to steam (which can cause an explosion and thus not good!), so it is shutting the flame down. After a cool-down period, it tries again.

    If the connection from the sensor has push on leads, make sure they are tight, then remove them and reinsert which, if they are corroded at all, may clean them enough to work. If it is a solid state sensor, it is very sensitive to the overall resistance, and any corrosion can mess up the reading.
  9. Capindres

    Capindres New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Soldotna Alaska
    Final outcome:
    The Alpine 105 has 2 (two) temperature sensors on the top of the boiler on the left hand side, about 3 inches or so apart from each other. They are both the same make and model. One of them was bad. As soon as I replaced the first one all my problems went away. (but not until after over $600 in modifications to my system)

    What bothers me is the fact that when I called the Burnham tech. service help line, they didnt know what to tell me, but directed me to a plumber in the North West (Washington) who gave me the best advise he could think of. (check the High temp switch, located in front of the other 2 temp sensors) I replaced it, and still had the same problem.

    Hired the Plumbing outfit who installed the boiler, and The installer (very knolegable individual) sugested I re-do part of my plumbing, that it might be the problem.
    2 days later after (ME) re-doing the plumbing to his sprcifications, the boiler continued on with the same ol' soft lockout problem. So what did I have to loose, I oredered 2 new temp sensors.
    5 days later they came in, and I installed the first one, re-filled the boiler and turned it on..... :)) No more problems. Been almost 4 days now.

    Circulation problems? I would tend to agree if....... it had not been for the fact that for over a year I didn't have a circulation problem, or at least it worked fine.

    Anyway for any of you out there with a Burnham Alpine, having soft lockout problems. Check your 2 temperature sensors on the boiler. I now keep a spare handy, as it takes about a week to get parts here in Alaska. And when it's 30 below zero that could spell disaster.
  10. Tommywa

    Tommywa New Member

    Messages:
    1
    Location:
    Alaska
    Alaska, I just got a quote from Anchorage Plumbing and Heating

    Was there not a warranty for the 105 to fix the problem?



  11. mage182

    mage182 Member

    Messages:
    64
    Location:
    NY
    I've come to find that Burnham doesn't really do warranty work. They make it very hard to reach anyone that can help and then just pass you on to a list of contractors on their site to call for service. Contractors that are actually certified to work on Alpine boilers are few a far between. Most of tech on their website that I've dealt with just throw parts at the unit and hope it works.
  12. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Messages:
    21,817
    Location:
    New England
    In the strive for efficiency, and America's shortage of well trained techs and engineers, you're right, lots of time, they throw parts at things. FWIW, I always try to read the manual and try to understand how it is supposed to work (when they provide that info), and then, have a better chance of figuring out what could be wrong. Most every time I just try to wing it, something goes wrong - either it doesn't work, or worse yet, it destroys something! This is why it is very important to select a device that is well supported locally and from the manufacturer, in the long run, it ends up lots less expensive and stressful.
  13. BadgerBoilerMN

    BadgerBoilerMN Master Hot Water Mpls,MN

    Messages:
    303
    Location:
    Minneapolis
    The contractor should be calling the Burnham tech line. Unfortunately they rarely have the number nor are directly to it by the local distributor. We know how to use an amp meter, but then, our customers don't mind paying for competent service. Most of the residential hydronic heating industry is congregated by technicians that lack the experience and training they need. The information is out there, but you have to go to the manufacturer's training room to get it in most cases.
  14. Capindres

    Capindres New Member

    Messages:
    9
    Location:
    Soldotna Alaska
    The problem ended up being one of the two thermal resistor sensor's inside of the boiler.
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